Oct 27, 2006

The Return of The Award

Morning Glory tagged me for the "Refrigerator Meme", so I put that up over on my blog meme: Mama's Memes. Check it out if you're so inclined. :-)

Does anyone remember an award that I used to give out? An award I said that I would give out every Friday after trying a new recipe submitted by one of you wonderful readers out there? I called it something like, "I Helped Kristen Cook Award"? Is that ringing a bell to anyone? For any of you out there who are new to my blog, I'll give a little background. I am no Martha Stewart. I am no Betty Crocker. I dread dinner time every day because I face the dilemna of what to cook for my unbelievably picky family of eaters. Awhile back, I asked my readers to start submitting recipes to me to assist me in my cooking woes. I received many great recipes and decided that on Fridays, I would hand out a little, albeit "cheesy", award for recognition in helping me cook. And then I got lazy. People quit submitting. I ran out of ideas....again.

Awhile back, a blogger named Code Yellow Mom submitted a recipe to me in my comments. And this weekend we tried it and it was delicioso! A hit with all the family (except for Care Bear who would exist solely on peanut butter and cheese if she had the choice). So, I am bringing back the award this week to recognize Code Yellow Mom for her fabulous contribution. If anyone is interested in contributing to this cause, feel free to submit a recipe in my comments, or by emailing me; my address is in the sidebar. So, without further ado, the return of the "I HELPED KRISTEN COOK AWARD".

I Helped Kristen Cook

Awarded to:

Code Yellow Mom

And here is her recipe:


2 lbs. lean boneless pork loin (or roast)
1 large onion
2 large red bell peppers
1 clove garlic
1 lb. small new white potatoes
2 Tbs. parsley
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp. basil

Cube the meat. Heat the oil in a dutch oven. Add the pork, and garlic and saute until pork is lightly browned on all sides. Chop the onion, add it to the pot. Chop the peppers and add. Saute until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes (undrained), parsley and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the pork is tender, about 20 minutes. Seriously hearty and delish. Hope you like it!(I'm waiting until it's cool enough to make it here.) Oh - and I like to do Rhodes frozen rolls with it and sometimes a salad if I feel like chopping more veggies. :)

Oh - the potatoes go in right after the peppers. Cook all that for five minutes before you add the tomatoes.

It was so yummy! I highly recommend it! Thanks Code Yellow Mom!

Care Bear Prayer

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for the snow today! I got to play with Blondie 1* in the snow today and it was a lot of fun; except then my hands got really cold and I had to come inside and take a warm bath to get warm again. But it's OK because Blondie 1 said she was going to make me something really cool.
Please help Micah** to get better. Mommy told me he's sick and I want him to get better because I want to meet him someday.
Oh, yeah, I forgot to ask you about my dreams. Please help me not to have bad dreams. I love you.

*Blondie 1 is Care Bear's best buddy in the neighborhood.
**Micah is a little boy that Grandma Dawn told us about the other day that has an urgent prayer need. Please click on the link if you are interested in praying for this little guy.

Oct 25, 2006

Prayers of Children

Have you ever listened to a child pray? Have you noticed how simple and coversation like their prayers are? At least that's how Care Bear's prayers are. Obviously, as a child, she doesn't have the capability to do a long, grandiose, complicated prayer, but Jesus listens to her prayers just the same. And my suspicion is that Jesus may just prefer the simpleness of the child's prayer. It's as though they are sitting right there, on His lap, just telling Him about their day. Like they would their best earthly friend.

Changing the subject a little (however if you'll bear with me, you'll see where I'm taking this and how the two subjects tie in), have you ever watched the Care Bears movie (the old one in particular)? All the Care Bear's have tummy symbols. The symbol that they have on their tummy indicates both their personality, as well as a certain "power" that they have when they do their "Care Bear Stare". The Care Bear Stare is used when the Care Bear's need to ward off evil or bad things. Their tummy symbols give them the power to do this when coupled with the stare. My Care Bear received this moniker from me due to her undying love of Care Bears and her ridiculous collection of Care Bears. (not to mention that she is very caring little girl!) My Care Bear just enjoys her Care Bears and prefers the new Care Bear movies that don't really get into the whole "warding off evil" and "Care Bear stare" stuff. And she just likes to play with them.

Last night, after Care Bear went to bed and had done her "good night prayer" to Jesus, I had to smile thinking about her and her prayers and how much Jesus must enjoy listening to her prayers. We can all receive inspiration from a child's prayer and the simplicity of them.

If you read Maine Mom, then you know that recently she began doing a fun little thing at the end of every post where she tells us "what's under the bed". Adopting this idea from her, I thought it would be fun and inspiring to post at the end of my posts "Care Bear Prayer". (instead of Care Bear stare--clever huh?) Just giving insight to a child's prayer, and the power that is still within a child's prayer despite the fact that she is not praying complicated prayers revolving around serious issues. Jesus still hears her prayers (and everyone's of course) and loves them just the same. I am going to post two of her prayers today from this week, and then whenever I post after this, I'll do her prayer from the night before at the end of the post. I hope you enjoy hearing her prayers as much as Jesus and I have!

Care Bear Prayer

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for this day. And help me not to have bad dreams tonight. And thank you that we had a fire in our fireplace tonight. Even though it wasn't a real fire log; sometimes we have fires and we put paper in the fireplace, but tonight we just had a fire log but we didn't put paper in the fireplace. I love you Jesus, Amen.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for the cool dream I had last night. And help me not to have bad dreams tonight; only cool dreams and happy dreams and funny dreams. And thank you that I got new toys two weeks ago, and new clothes two weeks ago. And thank you that my Grandma C came over to my house and my Grandma P came over to my house and my Grandma Dawn came over to my house, even though Grandma Dawn just lives a block away. I still love her. Amen.

Have wonderful days today!

Oct 24, 2006

Oh, Yes...I Am The Queen!

No dis-respect intended to the Queen of all things, my lovely cousin Queen Beth of course. However, I definitely crowned myself Queen of my home this weekend.

I am bestowing myself this honor due to everything I accomplished this weekend. Most of what I accomplished had nothing to do with housework, or anything as un-interesting as that. Let's go down the list:

1.) Friday evening after work was "carve pumpkins night" for our kids. Care Bear already had her pumpkin from a field trip she took with her preschool to a pumpkin patch. She had the distinction of picking out the largest pumpkin of anyone in her class; most of the other kids were able to fit their pumpkins in their cubby holes, but Care Bear's had to sit along side the cubbies because as she proudly announced, "It's 20 pounds!!" Feisty informed me she wanted a "little pumpkin just my size" and Anakin was more than miffed that Care Bear had the largest pumpkin of the three.

Our children refuse to do your ordinary run-of-the-mill triangle eyes and nose and toothy smile jack-o-lanterns. They have to do those fancy schmanzy pumpkins that require some sort of artistic ability, of which I have none....or at least I thought I had none. Usually hubby does the carving of the pumpkins because I've never felt that I had the patience or ability to do the kind of carving that our children desire. However, this time, hubby just wasn't getting it together. He was pre-occupied with making mixed CDs and it was already getting late, so I took it upon myself to get the carving going. I ended up carving the girls' pumpkins and hubby attempted Anakin's pumpkin, but it got severely screwed up. So, here is a picture of the girls' pumpkins courtesy of their mama: (they don't look as good as they did at first because they're sagging a little and they decided to get a little creative and color all over them before I was able to get a picture).


2.) Feisty and Care Bear were both in desperate need of haircuts. Feisty, although she is 2.5 years old has never had a haircut. (Don't judge me, please.) Feisty doesn't have a plush head of hair and I kept putting it off because I just wanted it to get long and feared by cutting it that she would look bald again. But this weekend, it was just time. So, while I was at praise band practice with hubby, I had Grandma take them to get their hair cut. (I know that this isn't really something I personally accomplished so it doesn't fit in with the theme of this post, but I had to post the pics of Feisty's first cut that my mom took since I couldn't be there). Presenting Feisty at her first hair cut: (she did wonderfully).

hair cut 1hair cut 2

hair cut 3hair cut 4

3.) Grandma P (hubby's mom) was in town this weekend from a far off northern state for her bi-yearly visit. Whenever Grandma P comes, she comes bearing ridiculous amounts of gifts for my children, and while this is nice for the children, it is a huge pain for me trying to find space for all their new toys and space in their closet for all their new clothes. Every time she comes, I feel the need to go through their toy boxes and their closets and weed out things to make room for their new stuff, but I never get around to it, so it all just accumulates. In addition, most of the toys she brings include the disclaimer: "adult assembly required" and tiny, tiny little pieces that inevitably get lost within minutes of getting opened.

Anyway, I don't know what got into me this weekend, but instead of leaving it up to hubby to assemble all their new things, I decided to do it myself. Knowing hubby, those new things would sit around for days, maybe even weeks before they got put together, so once again, I took it upon myself. The girls each got a "My Scene" toy: Care Bear got a make-up shop, and Feisty got a coffee shop. Here they are after their assembly (minus most of the tiny parts which I quickly grabbed and bagged up in their little purses before they got lost; they know where they are when they want to play with them):

coffee shopmake up shop

4.) Anakin got a mega-blocks ship model to assemble which included over 560 itty bitty lego pieces to put together. He wanted it put together right away yesterday and when I told him he should probably wait for daddy to get home to help him he asked me, "Well, can't you help me?" Now, I'm thinking to myself, "Pumpkins I can do; little girly toys I can do; but a LEGO SHIP model with over 560 pieces?! That may be stretching it." But he was so eager and daddy wasn't home yet, so I sat down at the kitchen table, pulled out the instructions and got to work. I finally put it down at 1:00 a.m. for the night, and as I was taking it upstairs to hide from Anakin so I could surprise him the next day with my progress, I ran into the baby gate, dropped it and it fell apart! If I was a cusser, I would have cussed; instead I cried. I was able to salvage most of it this morning and worked on it before work, and here it is: (still got a little left to do, but most of it is done...and I'm bummed this picture is so dark)

Lego Ship

5.) Grandma P also got them each flags to attach to their bikes. Care Bear wanted me to put it on yesterday, but I told her to wait for Daddy to get home. However, while she was at pre-school yesterday afternoon, I thought to myself, "What the hey....I've done so many other things this weekend; I might as well give it a shot." And I got it on. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture because while I was taking pictures of all these things, Care Bear was off somewhere on her bike showing off her new flag.

6.) Feisty wanted me to put her flag on her tricycle. However, there was no way to attach it to her tricycle, so instead I asked her if she wanted me to help her learn how to ride her tricycle. So we rode up and down our street, over and over, and she finally got it! She's not a "perfect" rider yet; she still needs my help on hills and over bumps, but she's got the idea now! Here she is on her tricycle, and very proud.

tricycle rider

Phew. That was my weekend. In addition, Saturday and Sunday night, I had 12 people over at my house for dinner (pizza one night; KFC the next courtesy of Grandma P). Suffice it to say, I am tired!

So, how was everyone else's weekend? ;-)

Oct 20, 2006

I'm Being Honored

Honored at my job for ten years of brutal service. Just me. No one else...

OK, so I'm not the only one being honored. I'm probably among a couple hundred others, but regardless......

I had a piece of mail in my mailbox this morning when I got to work. I was going to scan it and post it here, but thought that the words might appear too small and you wouldn't be able to read it, so I'm just going to type it out.

October 13, 2006

Dear Kristen:

On the occasion of your 10 years of service to **** **** University, I am pleased to extend a sincere thank you for your fine work and commitment to this institution. The members of the **** **** University Activities Board join me in inviting you to participate in the Celebrating Service Milestons event on Thursday, November 9, 2006. All three employee groups will come together in this recognition event. An invitation will be sent to our campus community.

3:00 Awards Ceremony
4:00 All-University Reception
To recognize your years of service, you will receive a special pin upon arrival. This memento signifies our appreciation for your dedicated service to **** **** University. Your name will be published at the event. Following the ceremony is a reception in honor of you and your fellow honorees. There will be a photographer available to take a complimentary photo of you and your spouse or guest during the reception.
It is my pleasure to invite you and your family and friends to be our guests for these events. Please respond to (email address here) by October 31 to let us know whether or not you will be able to attend. If you have any questions please contact ************.
Thank you for your fine work and dedication to **** **** University. We look forward to seeing you on November 9!
(President of the University)

When I started this job nearly ten years ago (ten years in January), little did I know that ten years later, I'd still be here. It's not a bad job. The benefits are good, the pay is reasonable, and they work with my schedule....I just thought by the time I was 31 years old I would be working my dream job. Maybe that dream job will never come; if not, retiring from here won't be too bad. If I'm here 25 years, I can retire with 75% of my wages.....by the time my girls graduate from high school I could be done working.....if I stick around. We'll see where life takes me in the next 15 years.

And did you see that? I get my name in the publication. I'll be famous again! Hey, it's better being famous for that than famous for this!

Have a superb weekend y'all!

Oct 18, 2006

Songs In Feisty's Heart

**I created a new blog specifically for memes. I was tagged for two memes and decided to make a blog for just memes. So, I put one of those memes up this morning and will work on the other one this afternoon. Go check it out: Mama's Memes .**

Both of my girls really love to sing. They come by that honestly what with the fact that they come from two very musical families. Care Bear loves to make up songs. She'll use singing as a way of talking when she's playing. However, get her on stage or ask her to perform and she freezes up. Stands there on stage with a "duh" look on her face, not a word coming out of her mouth. I'm hoping one of these days she'll grow out of that. If you notice her singing and praise her on it, she'll clam up and quit singing. So when she sings, I smile inwardly to myself wishing that I could comment on it, but not doing so because I want her to continue with her singing.

Feisty has recently become a singer as well. She sings with her whole heart and soul. Depending on her mood, she will either demand, "Don't sing with me, Mommy!", or request, "Sing it, too, Mommy." Her favorite music of all is her "Jesus music" whether it be her various "Jesus tapes" she listens to in the car, or her "Jesus videos" she watches and sings to at home. While driving in the car yesterday, we were listening to a Jesus tape. The girls were pretending that their Jessie and Woody dolls (from Toy Story) were in a praise band and singing along with the songs. When the song "Father, I adore You" came on (which happens to be Feisty's particular favorite), I noticed it became quite a bit more solemn in the car. I looked back at Feisty singing every word with her eyes lifted to the sky as though she was singing the song straight to Jesus.

Later that day in the evening, after Feisty had had her bath, I brought her downstairs with me to sit by the fire and put her pajamas on. By that time Care Bear was in the bath, Anakin was off somewhere playing and Daddy wasn't home yet. So we were cuddling by the fire when she asked me to sing to her. I began to sing "You Are My Sunshine" to her. When I was done, she informed me that she was going to sing it to me. With great gusto and at the top of her lungs, she sang to me:

"You Are My Sunshine!
You Are My Sunshine!
You Make Me Happy
When Skies are Great!
You Make Me Happy
When Skies Are Great!
You Make Me Happy
When Skies Are Great!
You Are My Sunshine!"

And then she looked at me and clapped. It was the most beautiful version of the song I have ever heard.

We then went on to sing "Jesus Loves me" to which she knew every word.

It was a day of music for Feisty. I hope music always stays in her heart.

Oct 17, 2006


No, not "Plura-What", said the doctor. "Pleurisy". Oh, OK. That is so much clearer. In laymen's terms, Pleurisy is swelling (inflammation) of the thin layers of tissue (pleura) covering the lungs and the chest wall. And that is the latest illness afflicting me. Remember Mr. Nasty Cold Germ Man and the subsequent Mr. Nasty Flu Germ Man? Well, they never seem to have gone completely away and the past weekend they really got me down. For awhile now, I've had this dull but ever present pain that goes from the front of my chest through to the back of the chest; it hasn't been painful enough for me to go into panic mode, but annoying nonetheless. However, when over the weekend I began to feel as though I was suffocating and that I wanted to throw up when the slightest morsel of anything (even air) went through my throat, I figured I might need to get it checked out.

I had the hubby take me to Urgent Care last evening and after 2.5 hours there, two X-rays, an EKG and making me blow into this blow-thingy, they determined it was "Pleurisy". The word (which sounded to me like some kind of nasty bug I'd find on the bottom of my shoe) was intimidating and shot me into panic mode when I envisioned myself once again (like I was 4 years ago when I was inflicted with pneumonia and spent two...yes two...entire weeks in the hospital), laying in a hospital bed with wires, tubes and bleeping sounds around me. Not remembering from one minute to the next what was going on because I was so drugged up. The doctor must have seen the sheer look of panic on my face because she assured me very quickly that it isn't serious and most likely due to a "former illness" I may have had that caused irritation and inflammation in the lining of my lungs. Most likely that nice case of pneumonia and probably festered by Mr. Nasty. Thanks a lot. So, now, I am on a steroid (to bring down the inflammation) , an antiobiotic (to ward off any other Mr. Nasty's who may want to invade me), and an inhaler (to open my bronchial airways so I don't feel like I'm suffocating....cuz that's really not a fun feeling y'all.)

She told me that within 3-5 days, I should feel better....and if not, go to the E.R. Cool. As long as I don't spend the holidays in the hospital, or die and leave my kids motherless....I'm all good.

Oh, and by the by, it's snowing mad-crazy here today. Brooke posted a nice picture of what our neck of the woods look like today. Cool. No, COLD. Glad I saved that last fire log for tonight and didn't use it this morning....even though I wanted to so badly while I was drinking my coffee and folding laundry.

fire log

(Yes, I am lazy, folks!)

And one last thought: I just discovered I've been tagged for two memes. I'll get to those tomorrow! :-) Thanks!

Oct 13, 2006

In Memory Of My Grandpa

I'm putting this slide show back up at the top because awesome Pamela showed me where to go to get the song I wanted. I posted another post below this today, so read that, too. But enjoy the slide show WITH THE SONG! :-)

Bed Time Prayers

Last night when I was taking Care Bear up to bed she told me, "And let's say our goodnight prayer to Jesus, too, mommy." "Of course we will Care Bear!" was my response. "But you go first." she said.

Our prayers:

Me: "Dear Jesus, thank you for this beautiful day. Thank you for Mommy, Daddy, Anakin, Care Bear and Feisty. Thank you that Care Bear had a good day at pre-school and got to go to the pumpkin patch and pick out a huge pumpkin. Help Care Bear's stuffy nose to go away, and help her to feel good tomorrow. Help us all to sleep good tonight. We love you, Jesus. Amen."

Care Bear (in a barely audibly, sleepy voice): "Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Help me to sleep good. I love you, Jesus. Amen."

And then there was sleep.

Oct 11, 2006

Long Absence

I don't believe I've gone this length of time without posting something since I started blogging back in February. But....I only usually blog at work, and having been out for a week and a half, it kind of limits my ability. Add to that a funeral, lots n lots of family in town, and yet another illness, and blogging definitely took a back seat.

Thank you so much to everyone for your kind words and prayers over the last couple of weeks as my grandpa entered the kingdom of Heaven. It's been a difficult two weeks and I'm having a hard time getting back in the "groove" of things at work after being gone for so long. I kind of feel like my life existed in a little circle of family and grieving and the outside world so much as disappeared.

But life goes on and I must move with it.

The slide show that I posted yesterday didn't quite turn out as I had envisioned. Shortly before my grandpa died, I decided that I wanted to do something special. At first, I decided that I wanted to do a slide show on my blog....like I did yesterday....with pictures of my grandpa. Then I expanded the idea to doing a DVD slide show presentation at the funeral. I spent time with my grandma and my aunt poring over about a dozen photo albums filled to the brim with pictures of my grandpa, his ancestors, all the way down to recent pictures of me and my family. I narrowed down the selection to about 50, and with the help of a wonderful couple at church, scanned the pictures and put them into a DVD presentation for the funeral which turned out so great. I am forever indebted to these people for letting me use their computer, their scanner, their expertise and their time in order to make my vision a reality for my grandpa and family. The slide show was put to music: the song was perfect. "Oh, How The Years Go By" by Amy Grant. I had envisioned having the pictures with the music in my slideshow for my blog, but after lots of time and copious amounts of frustration (and even a Napster purchase!!) over getting the pictures in the right order and finding the song to put with the slideshow, I gave up and what you see is what you got. Here are the lyrics to the song, and if you know it, you can just sing the song in your head along with the slide show. That's the best I can do for you because I GIVE UP!

Oh How The Years Go By

In our times of trouble
We only had ourselves
Nobody else
No one there to save us
We had to save ourselves

And when the storms came through
They found me and you
Back to back together
And when the sun would shine
It was yours and mine
Yours and mine forever

And oh how the years go by
And oh how the love brings tears to my eyes
All through the changes the soul never dies
We fight, we laugh, we cry
As the years go by

There were times we stumbled
They thought they had us down
But we came around
How we rolled and rambled
We got lost and we got found
Now we’re back on solid ground

We took everything
All our times would bring
In this world of dangers
’cause when your heart is strong
You know you’re not alone
In this world of strangers

(repeat chorus)

And if we lose our way
Any night or day
Well we’ll always be
Where we should be
I’m there for you
And I know you’re there for me

(repeat chorus twice)

As the years go by

Trying to handle explaining death to my young children was a challenge; one that I hadn't really given much thought to until grandpa got really bad. Their ages are 8, 4, and 2. Obviously, their understanding of death is going to be different and the way to handle each case is going to be different. With Anakin, I basically just gently explained the truth: Grandpa's health is getting very bad, and he will probably be dying soon. He handled it very maturely; behaved very well at the funeral and asked questions when he had them. With Care Bear and Feisty, I explained that Grandpa will (and did) be going to Heaven soon to be with Jesus. Feisty was too young to comprehend any of this, but Care Bear's response was, "When he feels better, will he come back and see us?" Aye, aye, aye....I'm just not so great at this. At my mom's last week, she wrote Grandpa a card and told my Mom that this is what it said: "Dear Grandpa, I love you and I will miss you when you are at Jesus." ...... Let me just give you a moment to go get your hanky.....

They are doing alright. Occasional act-ups and temper tantrums that are occuring make me wonder if this is them responding to his death out of inability to express their grief in other ways, or if they are just being brats. My vote is the former; I hate to think of my kids as brats.

And I will leave you today with a drawing done by Care Bear this morning. It is a turtle and her baby. I assumed it was Crush and his baby from "Finding Nemo" but mom says she identified them only as "mommy turtle" and "baby turtle". Care Bear has turned into quite an artist. She doesn't get it from Mama! That is for sure!!

turtle picture by hayley