Thursday, November 19, 2009

PREGNANT

So I am pregnant! Hooray! And I can't seem to do anything but throw up. All day. Every day. Its all I can do to make sure my 2 year old is fed and changed. I'm guessing God allows us to forget all the misery that comes with the joys of pregnancy so we will actually do it again. I really,truly don't remember it being this bad. I am 6 weeks along and am praying that the good times come here pretty soon. So for the time being, I will probably be MIA. Anybody have any good home remedies for the nausea/vomiting? I would greatly appreciate it! In case I'm not back before, Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Party Time-Batman cake



    My nephew turned five this week and I had the pleasure of making the cake for his Batman themed bash. The party was held at Pump in Up which is this really cool inflatable party place in Chattanooga. Harrison and Chloe alike had a blast and were looking like they might keel over from exhaustion after a mere 30 minutes of running around.

Janine and I met two weeks ago to discuss ideas for the cake and she found a few pictures online that she and Andrew(the birthday boy) really liked. She was expecting up to 30 people for the party so I decided to do a 10 and 6 inch stacked cake. Andrew is really in to batman right now and I was super excited to do something a little bit different. Especially since Janine wasn't super picky about what she wanted. The inspiration for his cake was found here on flickr but I changed it up a bit and added a few elements of my own.

these little guys remind me of the old batman cartoons with the "BLAM" and "POW" popping up everywhere



I baked a dozen cupcakes with some leftover batter and had some really cute cupcake wraps that matched the theme perfectly. Makes me think of gotham city with them all around the cake.




Andrew's expression when he saw the cake was priceless. That is my favorite part of the whole process. I love making people happy and who doesn't love cake?




I love this one..he is looking so lovingly at that cake!




sneaky pants over here snagged a cupcake and had most of the icing gone by the time anyone noticed. His face was so yellow that it looked like he had jaundice.




After we all scarfed down our cake and ice cream it was time for presents. I love the expressions on all of their little faces. Andrew looks very pleased with his booty but what cracks me up is the reaction of the two other cuties. Harrison seemed equally amazed at this gift. It is so fun to catch things like that on camera.
Overall it was a great party and Andrew came up to me before he left and said "thank you aunt kristy for making my cake." He is such a sweetheart.


and on a final note....



Sunday, November 8, 2009

What I Love About Sundays



                                                                My beautiful babies...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pumkins & Nemo

We spent the weekend before last running the roads. Monty was out of town and we needed to get our pumpkins so we went to the local pumpkin patch with our neighbors and their kids. The 20 minute car ride was actually quite relaxing which is not a word I ever use to describe time spent in the car. Living in the South, I get kind of used to the awesome show when the leaves turn but that cute windy road we took was absolutely amazing. We had to wait in line for a few minutes to buy tickets so I of course thought "picture time" and forced the boys to pose for me.

Our neighbor's three year old Logan is the cutie on the right and he was not feeling the photo opp. We finally got to the stand to buy tickets and realized that we only had about an hour before we needed to leave for Nemo on Ice and decided we should come back the next day so the kids could take their time and have a little fun. I was able to grab a few more pictures before we left.

My two little cuties

Before I told them we were leaving without a pumpkin..

sidetracked by leaves, melt down averted

We then headed to Chattanooga and Harrison was a complete chatterbox. He was soo excited to see Nemo but I don't think he has even seen the movie. The drive seemed to take forever this time because we were so ready for the show. We were able to get really good seats and I had set aside a little bit of money so I could get the kids an overpriced but really cute Nemo souvenir. I don't think I have ever seen my child sit as still as he did during that show and it was for such a long time! I wish I could bring some of those skaters home with me. I could get so much done.

Plus how cute is this guy?



All sugared up and ready for the second act to start



happy kiddos



cool glow in the dark fish



How cute is this little octopus? Why can't we find halloween costumes like that?


Funny looking Nemo


Happy Dory, happy boy

Monday, November 2, 2009

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream


      One of my best friends is getting married in a few weeks and I had the pleasure of  doing some cupcakes for her lingerie shower. I know she likes my white cake but I wanted to stray from my normal recipe and try something new. I found this recipe for a vanilla buttermilk cake on a few different sites and it sounded so delicious, I knew I had to try it. I was afraid from looking at the batter that they were going to be too yellow in color but they baked up beautifully and turned out a lightly golden color. I have been looking for a new buttercream recipe as well and found a really yummy one that I thought would pair really well with the buttermilk cake. It comes from Elizabeth Faulkner's Demolition Desserts which is a book that  has so many amazing recipes that I want to try them all. This buttercream is quite smooth ,super easy to make & pipes really well.
      

     I am also quite retarded and didn't think much of the kosher salt that it called for when I was looking over the ingredients so I didn't pick up any at the store. When it came time to make the icing, I figured that regular salt would work the same. Boy was I wrong. The icing tasted great at first, then when you got a big mouthful of it, the salty flavor was enough to knock you out. I didn't really notice it until I got to the shower and tried a whole cupcake with the heaping mound of icing. It wasn't horrible exactly, actually most everyone loved them but I did find one with a tossed in the wastebasket in the bathroom and it was missing one tiny little bite. I can't help but laugh. I'm learning! I will definately pay more attention to the ingredients list and do my research.

    Here are a few pictures of the finished cupcakes. I made 2 dozen total and custom made the little pink S candies in honor of Lauren's new last name to put on 12 of them. I filled half a dozen cupcakes with chocolate ganache and topped those with silver sanding sugar then I used a large star tip and pink flakes to dress up the other half of the cupcakes. It is amazing how that one little tip can make your cupcakes look so much more professional! I love it!






Vanilla Buttermilk Cake- makes an 8-inch layer cake or 24 cupcakes





4 whole large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 t vanilla extract

1 1/4 c buttermilk

3 c cake flour

2 c sugar

4 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

8 oz unsalted butter, room temperature



-Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter or spray the bottom and sides of three 8-inch cake pans. Line with parchment rounds and grease.



-Place the eggs and the yolks in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Whisk well and set aside.



-Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a mixer; whisk to blend. Add the remaining 1 cup of buttermilk and the butter to the dry ingredients and with the mixer on low speed, blend together. Raise the mixer to medium speed and beat until light fluffy (about 2 minutes).



-Add the egg mixture in three additions, scrapping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Don’t overmix.



-Divide the batter among the three pans. Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack and remove the paper from the bottoms. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

* this recipe made almost 3 dozen cupcakes







Vanilla Buttercream




as adapted from Demolition Desserts



Makes about 2 cups



Ingredients:



4 oz. unsalted softened butter



2 1/2 c. or 10 oz. powdered sugar



1/2 t. kosher salt



1 T. plus 1 t. whole milk



1 t. pure vanilla extract



1 t. fresh lemon juice (I put 1/2 t.)



Directions:



In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter & salt for about 30 seconds and then add half of the powdered sugar and the milk to the butter and beat again until combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, the vanilla, and the lemon juice and beat until combined. Scrape down the bowl again. Beat on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy.
*I doubled this recipe and had just enough to ice 2 dozen cupcakes.


Let me know what you guys think about these recipes! have a great week!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What I Love About Sundays


We had so much fun on Halloween. I'll write more about it this week but for now, here is your weekly pic! Harrison was Woody from Toy Story and Monty was a football player. Harrison saw the helmet in the floorboard and decided he needed to wear it as well. Nevermind that it weighed as much as he does and that he was stumbling all over the place. Ha! This little boy that answered the door didn't know what to think!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Livestrong Challenge Austin 2009


My internet was down for 2 days! I was going crazy. I could access my blog on my phone but I couldn't upload a picture so I was especially upset about missing my Sunday post. The good news is that Monty(my hubby)is finally home. hooray! The kids and I were pleasantly surprised when he came home a bit early last night. I wasn't expecting him for another hour or so and as I was coming out of Harrison's room he was almost to the top of the stairs and I almost pushed him back down them. He was exhausted so I didn't get to hear too much about his trip but he did show me a few pictures.


 I don't think I mentioned it but he was in Texas for the Livestrong Challenge. He has been biking for years and is a huge Lance Armstrong fan so he was thrilled to have the chance to go down to Austin and ride in the 2009 Livestrong Challenge. He left on Wed. with his brother, mom and pops and they arrived in Austin on Friday morning. He told me that there were tons of people there but it was surprisingly calm and orderly. He got registered and went around to visit the different vendors stands. He was super excited to go to Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop which is owned by Lance and the women's breast cancer awareness tent.

 We have had some close calls with cancer and this is a cause that is very dear to our hearts. We really hope to take the whole family down next year so we all can be involved. Monty ran in the 5k run on Saturday morning along with about 2500 other people. He finished in just under 25 minutes and was able to relax the rest of the day as the bike portion didn't start until the next day. Sunday morning came early as they had to check in at 7 a.m. for the 8 o'clock start. He biked the 45 miles in 2 hours and 40 minutes. It wasn't a race so each entrant kept their own times but he was pretty happy with his time. He stopped a few times to help his brother who had a horrible time with cramping and at one point couldn't even bend his leg. They both pulled through and crossed the finish line. I am so proud of them both.


 As I said before, Chloe and I want to go next year and do at least the bike portion. The challenge is open to all ages and they have everything from a 5k walk/run to a 90mile bike race. The only problem we might encounter is that each entrant is required to come up with a $250 donation to enter. I guess if we have a year, it shouldn't be too hard.
 Hope you all are having a great week!    

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Time for a challenge

My husband left on Wednesday for Texas. This is the first time he has been gone for more than a day and to tell you the truth, I was pretty nervous about him leaving. It is strange how dependent you can become on a person. I spent an entire afternoon worrying about him going and wondering what I was going to do while he was gone. I am a 30 year old mother of 2 and I was worried that I would be lost without my husband around. I suppose that is a good thing but none the less it is strange and silly that I felt so helpless.
 So here I am, two days into it and things are great. Of course, most of you out there could have probably told me that I was worried over nothing. It has been nice actually, having him gone. I have been able to spend a lot of time with the kids and we have had a really good time. Chloe and I had stayed up kinda late watching tv last night and had a sleepover in my bed. I forgot how much that kid kicks and punches while she sleeps. She is pretty strong for such a small girl. She of course wanted to sleep in there again tonight but she had to promise to at least start out on the far, far side of the bed.
 I have been reminded in the past few days of how much fun my daughter is. Although she has attitude for days sometimes, she really is a great kid and I love hanging out with her. I really need to get better at telling her that. My technique is way off. I'm afraid I'm always using my crazy mom voice and getting on to her for things instead of telling her how proud of her I am and encouraging her. I vow to get better! Starting tomorrow!
 We actually are going to a pumpkin patch tomorrow to pick out our pumkins and then we are going to come home and carve them before heading to Chattanooga to see Nemo on Ice. I can't believe the tickets cost so much money! Fortunately, Monty's brother was able to get us a discount on the tickets. I think Harrison is gonna love it and Chloe seems pretty excited too. I'm glad shes not too old for this stuff just yet. I know I probably only have a year or two left before she doesn't want to do anything with us anymore. I remember when my older sister started that and I just didn't understand it. I don't remember ever feeling that way. I always liked spending time with the family. Of course my parents probably have a different story. I need to call my mom and get the scoop on how much of a pain I was at 11 years old but it is late and I need to get to bed. Busy day tomorrow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Firty-one

Yesterday was my birthday and according to my son I turned "firty-one". It is a strange feeling to be thirty-one. Not barely thirty,still pushing or rather clinging to that late 20s thing but actually in my thirties. This may take a while to get used to. The kids gave me their handmade cards after dinner and I love seeing their proud faces when they give me things they make. it makes my heart swell up and I get this warm, heavy feeling in my chest. I guess that is what true love is. Well more than true love, a mothers love. nothing in this world compares to this feeling. I am so lucky.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hand Cramps

So I am trying to get off the ground with my couponing. I have a binder loaded with baseball card inserts,divider tabs,scissors & pens. Now all I need is to fill it with my coupons. I have clipped and cut and sorted for what seems like hours and this pile of inserts doesn't seem to get any smaller. My hand is KILLING me. Wish I could work these scissors with both hands. I guess thats what I get for not clipping them from the beginning. I think I got a little ahead of myself when I decided to start clipping coupons "for real" because I started buying 2 and 3 papers a weekend, pulling the inserts out and then stacking them in places that I would inevitably forget about until Sunday would roll around again and I would go buy more. At this point, I still was unsure what to do with all of these coupons but boy was I excited to have them.

So now I have them clipped and somewhat organized but I still have to stuff them all in their individual little sleeves. What I really want to do is put the whole mess away and go to bed. Alas, I must soldier on if I want to hit the stores this week. It seems a little daunting to think about matching all of the coupons with what is on sale and trying to decide what stores are worth hitting up. With a toddler in tow, the fewer the stops the better. I really don't have to do much work now that I have discovered two amazing websites. The ladies at http://www.southernsavers.com/ & http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/ pretty much do all of the work for me. All I have to do is click a few buttons and they have all the latest sales matched up with what coupons work and there are even links to printable ones. They even give you scenarios showing the best way to use your coupons at the drugstores where you can get things for free almost every week.

I am still trying to get a system going for my drugstore coupons. I think I may get a smaller accordian file since I will probably only have a handful in there from week to week and just keep my binder for my grocery stores. Now the big problem is what to do with all of these inserts I haven't cut yet. I even found some in the garage the other day. Can't tell you how they got there or how long they were there because they were expired. Such a waste. Looking forward though, I will figure this out and hopefully soon I can share with you some amazing savings!

What do you use to organize your coupons?

What I Love About Sundays


Chloe performed with her dance team at the Apple Festival this year. It was soooo cold! We definately were not prepared for it but we had a good time anyway. They had just about every kind of apple available fixed every way possible.There were lots of other good treats as well. I was hoping to try a fried twinkie before we left but I was so cold all I could think about was getting home and into some cozy sweats. I don't think we are going to actually have a fall this year. I think it has skipped on into winter and that makes me sad. The months of September,October & November are my favorites mostly for the weather. Oh well, I guess we will just have to make the most of it. I will miss my flip-flops though.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What I Love About Sundays



 Chloe and her buddy Leah decided to go "ghost hunting" and came down the stairs in their all black get-ups. I remember doing crazy things like this when I was her age. She cracks me up.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

new name

So I foinally decided on a name for my little cake business. I'm not telling just yet as I'm still working out the details with the website and liscensing but I will let you all know soon! It is such a relief to have finally decided on something. I'm not kidding, I used to spend hours at night unable to fall asleep because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I have little notes strewn everywhere with names and ideas on them.
I'm sure Monty is just glad I finally stopped asking him what he thought of them. There were many nights that I wld wake him from a deep sleep with my newest revelation of the most perfect name for a bakery. He would sleepily say that sounds good and go back to sleep never recalling the conversation the next day.
Anyhow, I'm trying to get a logo designed and will hopefully get that website up soon. I will be sure to let you all know when I'm done.Have a great day!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

cake,cake,cake

   I had two cake orders this week and they kept me busy. They were both on the creative side which I love. It gives me a chance to try new things. Our good friends Aaron and Sarah had me do an army theme cake for little Landon. He is all about the G I Joe stuff right now and his face upon seeing the cake was priceless. His jaw literally dropped to the floor. He goes "WOW that's a cool cake!" He is so cute. That really is the best part of the job to me. I love being able to bring little bits of joy to others in the form of cake. I had a wedding cake to deliver this afternoon. The couple had a destination wedding and were celebrating with a reception for the friends and family who couldn't make the wedding. They seemed to be a fun couple and wanted a cake that "didn't really look like a wedding cake,"  so I did a 3 tier square with lots of circles in the wedding colors. I was really happy with the way it turned out. Hopefully they enjoyed it as well. I didn't get home from delivering it until 8 this evening. I had to stop by RiteAid to get some free stuff before weekely sale was over. I was able to get a fusion power razor,scope outlast toothpaste and an oralB toothbrush for free after coupons and rebates. I am getting quite addicted to this freebie game. lol. A neighbor stopped by earlier and I laughed while explaining what I was doing surrounded by piles of coupons, envelopes and a huge paper cutter. Monty said "yep, this is married life. This is what we do." I was cracking up.
     
 We had a minor setback this afternoon when I was about to leave. I noticed that my keys were not in fact on the hook where they belong. I searched and searched and I finally found them in the back seat...of my locked car. I was less than thrilled. It only took an hour for a locksmith to get there. an HOUR. What if I had locked the cakes in the car? They would have been a melted mess. I have got to find my spare set. once the guy finally did show up he no more than stepped out of his van and put what looked like a huge blood pressure pump in my door and my alarm was going off. Glorious! and all I had owed this man who saved the day was 40 dollars. wait, what!? 40 bucks you say? oh yes, he made 40 dollars in less than five minutes. I told monty we had to get one of those pumps!



Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm still here!

Please don't give up on me. I know I haven't posted in over a week. It has been insane around here. Harrison was sick then Chloe was sick and I have had 6 last minute cake orders. Two of which are due this weekend and the others are for a wedding next weekend. Yikes. I haven't had time to do anything but bake. I actually had to miss one of Chloe's performances for the first time. Turns out,tonight was the last game of the season. She made sure to lay on the guilt really thick. She loves to give me a hard time. I really hope I can carve out some one on one time with her soon. My friend Laura invited me to see Casting Crowns in Chattanooga on the 10th and I think ill ask her if she would like to go. It would be fun to have a girls night. She has been working so hard lately. I feel bad for her. She has so much homework every night and doesn't get home from practice until 5:30 and games until 9:30. I don't miss that at all. Anyhow, enough of that for today.I'm going to try to get some pics uploaded soon. Lots of cakes and cookies and cupcakes. Yum. Hope you all have been doing well and I promise not to stay gone that long again!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Long Week

These past two weeks have been so crazy. I think it has a lot to do with the rain. I finally got caught up on laundry which NEVER happens and I was able to spend a little time working on cake stuff. yay. Thankfully all of this happened before Harrison got sick. We went to his Wee Gym class at the YMCA and as we were leaving, I noticed that he felt hot. A quick check of his temp when we got home revealed that he had a fever of 102.4! His pediatrician said to try to get it down with tylenol and if it wouldn't break, I should take him to the ER or bring him in to the office the next morning. Fortunatly, the medicine worked and as soon as his fever was gone, he was back to normal. He had fever on and of the next day but the doc didn't seem too concerned because it stayed down if Harrison was taking tylenol.

So during his bath that night I noticed a really bad rash on his bottom. Five full tubes of boudreauxs butt paste can attest to the fact that he never gets diaper rash. As I was lubing him down with his array of sensetive skin/eczema preventing/scar healing lotions I noticed the tiny red spots on the back of his knees...then his ankle...then his foot. This is not good. It was at this point that I did what I always do-yell for my husband. He agrees with my expert diagnosis that this is in fact very very bad and we should wrap Harrison up in his towel and run him across the street to our good friend and nurse in training Sarah. She will have the answer!!! After searching many large books and coming up with nothing, we turned to the trusty old internet( i love you internet...you hardly ever let me down) and within minutes, she had an answer. Hand,Foot & Mouth disease...wait, what!?! Are you kidding me? That just sounded horrible. Apparently it is just a virus and will run its course. The rash does not itch and the fever only lasts the first 48 hours. So I made him an appointment for Monday just to make sure.

Meanwhile, we had a pretty good weekend. The fair was in town,we went to the teddy bear picnic at the library and stopped by the family expo at the museum. It was quite eventful ,but by Sunday afternoon, we were all ready for the weekend to come back around so we could just relax.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I don't remember where I found this (let me know if anyone out there knows!) but it really made an impression on me.I told Chloe about it and it gave me a wonderful opportunity to talk with her about speaking to people about Christ. Please take a minute to turn off your phone,tv or whatever and really give this story your attention.


17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a
class. The subject was what Heaven was like. "I wowed 'em," he later told
his father, Bruce. "It's a killer. It's the bomb. It's the best thing I ever


wrote." It also was the last.


Brian's parents had forgotten about the essay when a cousin found it
while cleaning out the teenager's locker at Teays Valley High School in
Pickaway County. Brian had been dead only hours, but his parents desperately


wanted every piece of his life near them-notes from classmates and
teachers, his homework.


Only two months before, he had handwritten the essay about encountering
Jesus in a file room full of cards detailing every moment of the teen's
life. But it was only after Brian's death that Beth and Bruce Moore realized


that their son had described his view of heaven. It makes such an impact
that people want to share it. You feel like you are there." Mr. Moore
said.


Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving
home from a friend's house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in
Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck
unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.


The Moores framed a copy of Brian's essay and hung it among the family
portraits in the living room. "I think God used him to make a point. I think


we were meant to find it and make something out of it, " Mrs. Moore said of
the essay. She and her husband want to share their son's vision of life
after death. "I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I know I'll
see him.


Brian's Essay:


The Room...


In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.
There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with
small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list
titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.


But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly
endless in either direction, had very different headings.


As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one
that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the
cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names
written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I
was.


This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my
life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a
detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled
with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and
exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense


of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see
if anyone was watching.


A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed."
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have
Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed
at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at
my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger",
"Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased
to be surprised by the contents.


Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I
hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.
Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these
thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth.
Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.


When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched," I realized
the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly,
and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut
it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I
knew that file represented.


When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run
through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test
its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt
sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage
broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these
cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I
yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn
the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I
could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card,
only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.


Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning
my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then
I saw it.. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With."


The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I
pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell
into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then
the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started
in my stomach and shook through me.


I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming
shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.
No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.


But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.


No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched
helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear
to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I
saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst
boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me
from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a
pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands
and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could
have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with
me.


Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end
of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over
mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say
was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these
cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name
of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the
card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think
I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it
seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed
His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."


I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door.
There were still cards to be written.


"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Phil. 4:13
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes
in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

rainy days

I have been a little more than overwhelmed lately by my responsibilities at home. Not to say that I don't love being able to stay home and raise my son and daughter but some of the duties that come along with it are really getting to me. I am in an emotional battle with myself almost everyday over the fact that my home always seems to be a wreck and yet a lot of the time I just dont feel like cleaning it up. It hasn't always been this way. Well I have always been a procrastinator but I have become exceedingly lazy over the past few years. I just don't have the drive to do things like I used to. I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything anyway. I clean,cook,play with harrison and try to spend some time on the computer. Everyday it is the same and I feel like the days have just been rolling by. Does it even matter if the dishes are always out of the sink? If every speck of dust is off the shelves? Don't get me wrong, I do take pride in my home (I try to anyway) but it just gets so monotonous and we don't have company all that often. I find myself thinkin that things can wait. I get sidetracked so easily anyway so I start something and I will think of something I was supposed to do earlier so I run off and leave clothes in the dryer, the vacuum in the living room, a pile of clothes half ironed....

It reminds me of a children's book I used to read about a stork who was always "putting everything off until tomorrow".He left dishes and food  lying aroung and of course, I'm sure you all know the moral of the story as well as I do, but I am seemingly immune to retaining the lessons I have learned in life. I let things go and let things go and then I blow up because it looks like a tornado has hit the entire bottom level of our house. I know that it is my fault for allowing Harrison to keep so many toys downstairs and I've never really forced Chloe to take her things straight to her bedroom when she gets home so they are always right in front of the door. Seriously. Like sometimes you cant even open it because her things are lying there. I of course assume  she realizes that this makes me crazy (which she doesn't) and I end up getting on to her about it because I'm so mad instead of maybe taking the time to nicely remind her to take her things up to her room, or at least contain it to a small area. Maybe one day she will remember to do what I ask and I will remember that she can't read my mind.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that I subscribe to an amazing site called Proverbs31 ministries and just as I was approaching a nervous breakdown, I woke up a few days ago and found THIS in my inbox.

 I am 30 years old and God continues to amaze me with what He does for me. Even the small things. He is there with me always and reminds me that I am not alone, that I am normal for feeling the way I do and that no matter what He will never give me more than I can handle or let me be tempted beyond what I can bear.  Check out I Cor. 10:12-14 for the real deal. Have a great day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

COUPONS!

I attended my first coupon class today and it was so much fun!! I have been more of a voyeur than anything of the local couponers and have really wanted to get involved but I needed a push. That came tonight when I was picking up Chloe from the library and saw a cute little sign saying "couponers this way" so I followed the signs and found a whole room full of women exchanging coupons. Little did I know, the meeting was put together by a super cool gal named Jamie from Chattanooga Cheapskate. They meet in the Cleveland Public Library every other Tuesday to swap coupons and tell about the latest deals they have found. All it took is one meeting and I'm hooked. Two weeks seems like such a long time to wait to meet back up with everyone! If you like to save money at all, you should def. check out her site. She has tons pf great information on how to make the most of your money plus her blog is really cute. So I have already met two sahms who want to get a moms group together in the Cleveland area and I met yet another one tonight. I am so excited how things are starting to come together. I have been stressing lately and have really felt the need to find some friends and get out of the house. I have been cooped up with Harrison for a while, I hope these ladies can handle me. So if there are any Cleveland ladies out there reading along, we are looking for some stay at home moms who want to get together and let the kids play while having a little grown up conversation. Hopefully we can get some sort of schedule soon with times to meet. Let me know if any of you moms out there in blogger land have any tips on putting a group like this together. Thanks!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

BABE

Harrison's new favorite movie is babe. Surely you all remember the one about the talking pig? He calls it the "kig movie" and I always have trouble figuring out what he is saying. I don't really understand his obsession with this movie but he loves it. Its better than watching spongebob I guess. We actually are trying to wean him off that cartoon. One of the trials of having such a gap in age between the kids is that Chloe is into things that Harrison just isn't old enough to partake in. One such thing is the choice of television programs. I was very careful once Chloe started watching T.V. to monitor everything she watched and for the most part, she only watched VeggieTales and PBS. I did not allow anything having to do with magic or anything violent. I still don't allow her to watch PG13 movies unless I have seen them and okayed them. I have relaxed a bit on the shows I let her watch now that she knows what is real and what is fake.

The problem I have run into is that Harrison is usually in the living room while she is watching her shows. I don't want her to have to go to her room just to watch television but I can't just ban Harrison from the living room either. What generally happens is that he ends up watching the shows with Chloe and now we have to face the fact that he loves Spongebob,Hannah Montana & icarly. Now I don't really have a problem with these shows but I don't know if it is good for Harrison to watch them. Is it hurting him at all? I know he picks up on things quite easily so if he is going to watch t.v. wouldn't his time be better spent watching something educational? Monty and I have just recently realised that we need to be aware of what we watch while Harrison is in the room. I know that I am not going to watch Greys Anatomy with Chloe in the room because the content is too mature for her but I didn't give a second thought to Harrison being in the room. After all,I thought, he is just a little guy and has no clue what is happening. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I read somewhere the other day that children even as young as Harrison who are exposed to adult programming(im not talking x-rated! just fighting,violence,sexual innuendo,yelling,etc.)grow up with a different perception as to what is acceptable. They almost become desensitized to it. They may not be watching everything that happens but as they are sitting in the floor playing with cars, they hear it all. Soooo, we have tried to remember that and hope to be more aware of the background noise.
Any thoughts on this bloggers? Anyone have any experience with this or advice they want to share?
I am open to suggestions!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama's School Speech to Kids with Transcript & Text

Today, President Obama made a speech to school children across America. If you're curious about the transcript and text of his speech you can view it in full below as his prepared remarks were released by The White House Media yesterday. The very idea of his speech has caused a bit of controversy, but I'm impressed with this effort.

I attended public school my entire life and my memory may be failing me thanks to Mom Brain, but I don't ever remember a Presidential address aired in our schools. I find his message inspirational and I like how he is trying to share the value of an education with everyone across America despite the varied circumstances or hardships many aspiring students may face.

Here are the prepared remarks taken directly from the White House Media release.

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.

Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.

Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.

Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Here's one for CakeWrecks

This wonderful concoction of sugar and flour is available for purchase at our local bakery. Now this place makes a great cake and have produced some amazing looking desserts but if this is the new trend for the baby shower, count me out. lol.

All I'm saying is, how do you cut this thing? I'm wondering if the guest of honor will want to be the first to dig in to it? It gives a whole new meaning to the term "baby cake." Who wants the head?!?!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

slip n slide

Chloe and her best bud Leah had a blast the other day on the slip n slide chloe received from her grandparents. I used to have so much fun on those things when I was a kid. We got it all set up, unfortunately we don't have any sloping areas in our yard, and got the hose attached to it. Chloe took off running and looked like she was going to get some real distance. You can imagine our surprise when she only went a foot or so and came to a quick stop. Apparently you have to grease those things down to get some good action.
We sent Monty inside to fetch the dish soap. we got the whole thing coated down with some Dawn and it was nice and slick. 

                                       They were tired of waiting and were ready to go!
Chloe was up first and took off, she was cracking me up with her tongue sticking out.
pure joy!

Leah tried it surfer style but still ended up on her belly. She almost flew off the end!
Those two are always acting crazy. I think they both are starting to feel the stress of being in 6th grade. Leah's mom and I talk often about the mood swings and "attitude problems" the girls seem to have every single day. Chloe and I have always been pretty close and I have always been more of an ally than enemy but lately we just can't seem to get along. I think the battle of the hormones is about to ensue. I have been spending time in prayer about this especially as she is so vulnerable and impressionable right now. 
I know that I can't control who she talks to and what she is exposed to all the time but I am shocked at some of the things I hear are going on with kids she knows. The number of pregnant girls at her MIDDLE SCHOOL is insane. I am torn in how I feel about these kids being allowed to continue going to school while their little bellies are growing more and more. I know that more than anything, these girls need to be encouraged to continue their education but I don't like the idea that my child is spending time at school with them and is offered the idea that if you get pregnant, everything is o.k. and you get to just act like nothing has changed. If anything, it is a novelty to be pregnant, everyone paying attention to you and giving you special treatment. Pregnancy is a time to be pampered and taken care of but it isn't something a teen should be dealing with. anyway, enough of my ranting. Have a great day!