Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Checking in from South Carolina...

We made it here on Saturday evening and have been pretty busy ever since. I haven't taken any pictures as of yet, but hope to tomorrow. So far we have taken all the kitchen cabinets out, removed the linoleum, tile and subfloor, taken out a zillion floor staples and had the ceilings painted. The house looks like a wreck and freaked Tim out quite a bit the first day he saw it! We also got to Home Depot and ordered the new cabinets and countertops. We still need to go out and find carpet - hopefully tomorrow. Keith has his paint crew scheduled to come paint the walls on Saturday and I think all the doors will be painted tomorrow. Tim is ready to lay the wood laminate floor tomorrow and Friday. It is really looking like it could maybe get done on schedule, but I am not willing to say it for sure. In other news... we turned the power on to get the AC going. It wouldn't work. Keith called a friend that is in the AC business. He came out after work and found that somebody had stolen the coil and other copper parts out of the unit. How nice! We are wondering if they didn't steal a light fixture and the faucet as well. They were missing, but we didn't really think of theft. The back door and a window had been broken out, but no damage was really done. Then we found this! So, we need to see about a homeowners claim. The AC guy said he could maybe fix it, but really it all needed to be replaced to a whopping price tag of $4000! Ouch! We decided we didn't want to replace it until we moved in because it could just be stolen again at this rate. I sure hope we can get a claim for this. On a happy note, my kids are having the best time. They are so busy playing all day and just really having fun. Sebastian has been so good for being out of his normal routine. I can't believe how smooth the trip has gone. Savannah has been with Karis constantly and they even have another girl next door to play with. I really think this move will be so good for my kids. They just have so many people to play with and lots of outdoor things to keep them busy! On Monday, we went swimming all morning long. I think it was the most relaxing time I have had in months. It was just so good to feel the sun beating down on me and know that I couldn't stress too much over not selling my house for that moment. So - there you have it - the update so far. I really did try to take pictures today, but when I went back over Tim had already locked up. I was lazy and didn't want to walk back over to him and get the keys - so no pictures. Sorry!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Busy, busy, busy...

Don't you just wish I had some pictures to share with you? I don't *think* I have taken any in the last week or so. It seems I have been super busy for one reason or another. I can't remember what I did on Monday - it must have been something - but I can't think of it anymore. Tuesday was our last day of co-op. Wednesday we had some friends over for swimming. Yesterday was a marathon shopping day. Since gas has gone over $3 a gallon, I feel that if I am heading to what I call "way up North county" - I must take care of everything I want to do up there all at once. I had to get my oil changed at the dealership because we have a freebie thing through them. My sister said she would follow me up there and then I could just leave my car. So, me, my mom, my sister, Savannah and Sebastian left the car off and ran to Kohls. I may have said this before, but I love Kohls for clearance stuff. I mean I LOVE them! Their normal prices are really not all that great, but clearance is awesome! Yesterday I was looking for a swim suit for Savannah. Usually we are Target swimsuit shoppers. I did go there to begin with, but it seems she is getting too tall to fit into Target brands anymore. I guess I have also missed the boat on swimsuit shopping season because there was not much to choose from. Who knew that the end of June was too late for swimsuit shopping. We didn't find one at Kohl's, but we did find an absolutely lovely dress for her to wear in my niece's wedding. I can't believe I haven't posted about my niece, Tabitha, getting engaged. Now, I know I have a picture of her and Caleb somewhere - so I will try to find it and show you all who I am talking about. She asked me to get Savannah a white dress for her wedding. Then she would like her to have either a lavender or ummm... I think it is like a melon green ribbon around the middle. This dress has tiny pink roses around the middle, but I think if she doesn't like them, I can remove them and put the ribbon around the middle. It it just so pretty and the best part - it was $56 and I got it for $16! I also found her a pair of pants marked down to $5. Finally, I got me a top for $5. Gotta love clearance. Next we headed across the street to the mall. I am not in the mall much. Actually, the last time I was there was in January. I wanted to go to Sears and Penney's to look at swimsuits. I also wanted to go to Gymboree. Tim's sisters gave Sebastian Gymboree outfits for Christmas. They were a little too warm, so we returned them and got a gift card. I wanted to wait until they had sales or clearance on short sleeved shirts. Since I haven't been to the mall since January - this was my first chance to look. As luck would have it - they were having their semi-annual clearance sale. I got him 6 short sleeved shirts for more than 50% off the the regular prices. As a side note - I like the quality of the shirts - but is there really anyone crazy enough to spend $22 on a 2 year old's t-shirt? Ummm... not me! I was really okay with the $5 price tags, but not what was under the clearance sticker. Actually, before we went there we got to eat lunch in the food court. Why is this exciting? Because I really love the Bourbon Chicken place. Savannah does too - so we split a huge plate of the chicken and macaroni and cheese. YUM! We finally headed to Sears after not finding anything in Penney's and found her a very nice swim suit. I am also happy to say that they are actually ADDING material to the little girl swim suits this year. Almost all of them came with a little skirt or shorts! That made me happy! We had left the house at 10am and got back at 4:30pm. All in all a very good day. Sebastian was a trooper and didn't freak out at all. I love that he still takes naps, but I also am liking that he is flexible when he doesn't get a nap. I have been sorta glued to my house from between 1pm and 5pm for the last 33 months of his life!

Today will be busy too. We have to get ready to leave for SC. Tim's is off for two weeks after today. We are heading up to SC to work on our new house up there. We are buying wood laminate flooring from Sam's Club. He needs to take out the kitchen cabinets and tile to install the laminate. We have to find carpet for the bedrooms. Of course there is painting the WHOLE house. Keith told me he is bringing in some of his paint crew - so it could be done it ONE DAY! That absolutely amazes me! Finally, I am hoping Tim will put the white bead board wains coating in our master bedroom - like we have here. We are thinking we will be there for a little over a week. Timmy and my mom are staying here to keep everything ready for a house showing at any time. I have a list a mile long to get packed and cleaned before we go - but for right now I am blogging! I am excited about going up to see our new house, but a little nervous because Tim has never seen it. I am hoping he won't wonder what kind of drugs I was on when I said we should buy it. I am so nervous about so many things! If I were a heavy drinker - I think I would be sucking a Bay Breeze down right now. Anyway, that is my major update. I will have a computer up there, so I may be able to post "Work In Progress" pictures, but I am not guaranteeing anything. Can you all pray for a safe trip and smooth house progress? Thanks!

Monday, June 18, 2007

"I can't read..."

His daddy slicked back his hair after a bath. He has something against the adorable baby curls!

This morning I was chatting with my brother-in-law on the AOL Instant Messenger. Sebastian came over and looked at the words flying across the screen. He gives me the most serious look and says, "I can't read..." Ummmm... Yes, that would probably be the case because you are in fact two years old. Maybe we should try potty training first. Oh and you have to know that he says "can't" with more of an English accent - think "con't read" or however you would spell it! It is so darn cute to hear him say it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Deep philisophical thoughts I mentioned I may or may not write about...

I sorta feel I should share with you what all has been going on in my mind lately. I haven't really written it because it isn't all HAPPY! I try to make my blog a happy place, so when you have a lot in your head that is not happy... that means there is not a lot of stuff to blog about. As I have written, my house is for sale. It has been 6 weeks and not a lot of activity. We are constantly playing this game of questioning every single decision we make. Should be hire a realtor? Should we lower the price? Should we move and leave it empty to sell? Should we rent it? Should we run and hide and drink strawberry smoothies on a beach in St. John? The house is done and at least as much as I can tell - it looks great! Unless everyone I know is lying to me because every single comment has been positive. Before I was so busy fixing and doing that I had a focus. Now I am busy maintaining, but that leaves time to think about so much and that leads to freaking me out. Some days I feel like I am dealing pretty well. Then all of a sudden it hits me! I can't breathe! Yesterday was one of those can't breathe days. Tim called me on his lunch like he always does and I was in a full panic. He has been so great! I mean you can't imagine how calm he has stayed through all of my ups and downs. We made a few more plans and decided to go with them. Yesterday afternoon, my neighbor came by to get her son, Jonathon. You may remember I wrote about him awhile back. His parents are getting divorced and it is a mess. She had gone to court yesterday and asked if Jonathon could stay here. When she came to pick him up she stayed to talk for awhile. I don't wish her pain on anyone, but somehow it helped to put my sheer panic of a few hours earlier in perspective. She said it clearly, actually. She ended one of her statements with something like - Well, at least you just need to sell a house and you aren't losing your husband and breaking your family apart. Wow! How awful for her! I really wish there was something I could do - I can watch Jonathon and that does help - but something more would be nice. After she left, I kept thinking about what she said. Add to that that Tim's brother, Keith, was here earlier this week. So many times I kept looking at him and feeling the sadness that Debi was not physically with him anymore. I spent some time one of those evenings just looking at Tim and thinking what would I do without him? It really hit home with me that as long as I have him and our kids, things will be okay somehow. So those are my deep thoughts going on in my head. I haven't been blogging because I think I am just not feeling the cute, fun things of everyday. I guess for right now sometimes I will see the everyday blessings and some of those other days - I will just be trying to remember to breathe.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My cheese steak sandwiches...

Awhile back I said I was going to write about making these sandwiches. I am finally doing it today. Of course, I have to write more than just HOW to make these. I have to tell you something to make it more interesting. First - I LOVE Sam's Club. I mean I really, really love this place. I go at least twice a month. I probably buy 75% of our food there. I know what I like to get and I love that they always have samples. I can't tell you how many things I now buy because I was able to try a sample of it first. I also love Sam's because their milk is cheaper and I buy 8 gallons of it every two weeks. A couple of months ago, I spotted this new item in the freezer case. Oooooohhhhh... could it be? A cheese steak you could make at home that tastes good? Almost too good to be true. Not only that... it is way cheaper than getting cheese steaks out. This package contains 12 pre-measured cuts of steak. I only need one for my sandwich, but Tim needs two. I will explain that more later. The package is right around $9 or so. Have you been to a Charlie's Steakery or Firehouse lately? ONE sandwich costs about $8! So, this is a bargain. I cautiously gave it a try. I brought it home and made dinner for everyone including my sister and my mom. In the end it got rave reviews! You will notice I have two pans. That is because my family is picky. They won't eat mushrooms or green peppers on their sandwich. Tim and Timmy will eat onions, but Savannah won't. I sort of compromised. I make one pan with all the stuff and one without. All the stuff... I love all the stuff! It makes no sense that I love peppers, onions and mushrooms, but I do. I am so picky. I really eat like a kid. Okay, I have always like mushrooms - that is not really new. Several years ago, I started getting cheese steak sandwiches from Charlie's Steakery. Once I noticed you could add mushrooms. Great! I started getting it that way. Then last fall when I was in an airport somewhere (Atlanta, I think), I ran to the Charlie's Steakery. I got my sandwich with green peppers, onions and mushrooms. It was so good! That was it for me. I now have a deep need for cheese steak with all the stuff.

Steak - Eze from Sam's Club
I use chicken broth to cook up the onion, pepper and mushrooms. You could use butter. I just am trying to not add extra fat and calories. Whatever works for you.

They come frozen - 4 to a pack. If you add all the stuff - one is enough for a sandwich. If you just have meat and cheese - then two would probably be better.

I cook the "stuff" until the mushrooms shrink up.

Add the steak (you can add it frozen, but I let it defrost first -usually.)

Plain pan with steak.

After it is all cooked up.

I then add shredded mozzarella cheese. You can use other cheese and it doesn't have to be shredded.

Mix all the cheese in.

Put in on your choice of bread. My mom has been making it with garlic bread, but I am trying to not think about that. I would love it, but it is more fat and calories! Don't tell Tim about this - he will ask for garlic bread.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Last of the graduation/convention pictures...

I am back to post the last of the pictures. We had Timmy's graduation party this weekend and that kept me pretty busy. I *think* we have some pictures of that too. I didn't take any, but I am pretty sure Tim did. This was my 5th year attending the convention and it was the most stressful year thus far. I really, really did not enjoy the time to go see workshops or really even browse the vendor hall. I know I am not supposed to whine here, but I am not going to end this with whining. It is just a process to get through to the end of the post. I think it was A LOT to combine my usual homeschool conference stuff with the graduation stuff. I had to be at a meeting and pick up tickets and that would not be a huge deal except the hotel/convention center takes FOREVER to get from one point to another. Add to that the hotel was not great. Don't get me wrong - it was very plush. The service was bad though. I had a whole lot of problems and that just added to my stress. Okay... whine over... all of this to say, I am glad we stayed at the hotel and spent the small fortune it costs to stay there because my son had the best time. He had a graduation weekend he will never forget. He went to the dance and had a better time than at is crappy prom. He hung out will all of his friends around the clock. I didn't have to worry he would be driving to our hotel off site late at night because I knew he just had to walk up to our room. For that - I am grateful we were able to stay on-site. NEXT YEAR - I think I will reclaim the rejuvenating part of the convention for myself. I don't know that I will take Sebastian even though he was a great trooper for so much going on. I am not even sure I will take Savannah. She didn't have a lot of play time because she had to shuffle from one place to the next. I will take Timmy because, let's face it - we arrive and I barely see him again until we leave. Each of these 5 years, I have asked myself if I really need to go to the convention. The very first year I went with Debi. Just me and her. It was pure bliss. I loved every moment of it. Then she was gone and I really didn't think I could ever go back. That first year after she died was really hard to go to the convention. I actually cried when the convention flyer came in the mail. My mom, as always, lifted me up and made me go. We had a good time. I accomplished a lot. Savannah was with us, but she was just great. THEN - my kids took over! The last 3 years have been a lot about my kids enjoying the weekend. I am all for giving my kids a good time, but I also really think I need to take some of that focus and put it back on me. I have a lot more years to homeschool. I think that 2 days out of the year it would be nice to hear some great speakers remind me of why I think this path is important. Of course all of this is subject to change. As we all know, kids have a way of changing things. Only time will tell how next year's trip to convention will look.

He's talking to me!
View from our window.

These two are a little blurry because Tim took them from our 5th floor window ZOOMING in. Savannah is in the middle of both of them along with some of Timmy's friends.

Timmy's friends Christopher and Patrick after a late night!

Awww... isn't Timmy cute?