Saturday, May 31, 2008

Caleb and Tabitha are goin' to the chapel...

This is my niece, Tabitha and her soon to be husband, Caleb. They met when she was 16 - I think that was almost 5 years ago. You know how sometimes you just know that two people are meant to be together? I know this about these two. They remind me of Tim and I when we were younger. I am so happy that we get to be here to see them become husband and wife. I pray they have the wedding of their dreams!

Credit Card Points

I am in Virginia for my niece, Tabi's, wedding. We have a little time to kill before we head on over to the church. I wish I had a picture of Tabi on my computer, but I don't think I do at the moment. Anyway, we are staying at an Econo Lodge. It is not the greatest hotel I have ever stayed in by any means. The carpet seriously needs to be replaced, but on the whole it is clean enough and good enough. Why am I telling you about the Econo Lodge? Here is the thing... when I planned our trip to Williamsburg in the fall of 2006 - I was looking at a Choice Hotel for that trip. While I was booking the hotel, something popped up and asked if I wanted to get a Choice Hotel Visa. It offered me two free nights with the deal. The Visa was linked to my personal bank which made it perfect for me. This made it so I could see our balance every time I checked our online banking. It made it really convenient to pay off our card weekly. We use our VISA for everything - seriously - everything we can. We also pay it off in full about once a week. I never could get to the point of using a Visa for everything if I had to keep the receipts to know how much money to put aside to pay the total when the bill came. I can use Visa for everything if I can check the balance every few days and take it right out of my checking account. The thing with this Visa is that you get points. I know you are saying that your visa has points too. Most do. Frequent flier miles, etc. The thing is that I have found you need a lot of points for airfare, etc. With this one I earn hotel nights. Well, technically, you can use it for other stuff, but hotel nights are the most generous thing they offer - I believe. Since signing up with them - we have not had to pay for a single hotel night anywhere. Last week, when Savannah and I were in Florida - yep - three nights at a Quality Inn were free. This weekend we have two rooms for two nights - FREE! I am still ever the frugal lady though. I generally try to stick to 6000 or 8000 point hotel rooms. They have all been fine. I would say this Econo Lodge teeters on the "fine" category. My family insists it is okay and I love them for their good attitudes. I love knowing that we have about 8-10 free nights just waiting for us to use whenever we can get away. If you want to know more about Choice Hotels Visa - just go to their website - HERE! Okay, I need to get my family ready for the most lovely wedding to take place this year. Yes, there will be pictures - I promise!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pecans, pecans, pecans...

I am making a bazillion Mexican Wedding Cookies (also called snowball cookies) for my niece's wedding. I somehow volunteered to make 500 cookies to fill 250 adorable wedding boxes. I *think* I am about done baking. My mom, two sisters, and I will fill the boxes today. I would take pictures, but my camera is in Florida. I say PECAN different than my mom. I say pi-ˈkän. Here is the link to HEAR the three different ways to say it. I don't happen to like pecans at all. I tasted one of these cookies and HATED it. Everyone who loves pecans say they taste great. It is really hard to make 500 of something and not be able to tell if they taste good or not. Oh well, I guess I will trust the pecan lovers. At least I wasn't tempted to test one from each batch! Take my poll and tell me how you say PECAN. If you need to listen to the key - the link is above.


A favorite at Christmas time, pecan-filled cookies are
scrumptious all year 'round.

Prep: 45 min Baking: 18 min

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine all ingredients except powdered sugar
in large mixer bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl occasionally,
until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes).

Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1
inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes
or until very lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes; roll in powdered
sugar while still warm and again when cool.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Nutrition Facts (1 cookie): Calories 130, Protein 1 g,
Carbohydrate 11 g, Fat 10 g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Sodium 50 mg,
Fiber 0 g

This recipe courtesy of Back of the Box Recipes. Home Page

This recipe created by Land O'Lakes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Checking in...

Last week was so incredibly busy. I was hoping I would get a post on here, but in all honestly, I just didn't have that many free moments. Savannah went to the doctor last Tuesday. She was really unhappy to find she had STAPLES for her ankle incision. (Pictures are in my camera with Timmy in Florida.) The doctor wanted to leave them in until today. We are heading there this afternoon. The good news was that she could swim with the staples in place. Whew! A weekend at a hotel in Florida without swimming would not have been a good mix. We left for Florida on Wednesday morning. Not as early as I would have liked, but not too bad. We made great time getting there. I dropped Savannah off with her friend, Serafina. They were so happy to see each other. Next, I went over to my Florida house to meet with our tenant. She is just the sweetest mom. I think if we lived near each other, we could be friends. They have been making some changes to the garage/rec room. So far it looks pretty good. They love my house and want to buy it very soon. They could use prayers to help them get the loan. I, of course, want my house to sell for obvious reasons, but I would also love for this family to be able to buy the house they really love. Finally, I met my friend Linda. I have talked about Linda, Linda, Bo, Binda before. I love this person. She has been such a great friend to me for well, we figured it out - 13 years. She took me to the most wonderful dinner at Carraba's. I had never been there. I told her that we tend to be more of Arby's people! We just talked and talked. Then we went back to her house and talked a little. Sadly, she had to get to bed because of early morning work. I woke up the next morning to an empty house. I occurred to me that I don't think I have EVER woke up in an empty house. I went from my family's home to mine, Tim and Timmy's home. I can't think of a time that nobody was home when I got up in the morning. It was very strange. It was also very relaxing. If you are a mom especially a homeschooling mom that has her kids around her every waking moment, I cannot recommend enough getting a weekend away. It does wonders for your mind, body and soul. I got my shower and ready to leave. Then I went over to my old across the street neighbors. I wanted to make sure Bev was doing well. She has been cleared of breast cancer and is well! God is Good! I had such a nice time visiting with the two of them. I really miss seeing them. I finally picked up Savannah. We met up with some other friends and got on the road to Orlando. We checked into our hotel, had dinner and then Timmy came to shuttle me over to the big convention hotel. It was SO GOOD to see our other friends. I have missed them so much! They are still all the same - full of life and great stories. They make me feel excited just because they are all on the hyper side. I say that with love! I thrive on their energy. I wandered the vendor hall for a little while and then I just went and had a good time talking with friends. Friday was busy, busy. We got to the vendor hall early and shopped. I saw a couple speakers that I enjoyed. I will try to write a separate post about the different speakers I saw. Savannah got to go to the pool with her friends thanks to Herbie (a great homeschool dad) taking her for me. Friday evening I met with my scrapbooking buddies and went to dinner. We had fun minus Betsy flinging nasty calamari at me! I went back to my hotel and called it a night. I knew Saturday was going to be a busy day. Savannah and I were up and over to the speaking ballrooms by 8:30. I am so glad I made myself get there. We listened to Carol Barnier talking about finding the gift in your child. I will add more detail later, but I am so glad I went to this. If I had time for only one speaker, this would have been my choice. She was simply inspiring. Afterward, Savannah and I had a treat. Starbucks hot chocolate. Okay, I had mine with
hazelnut. If you click that link there - you can read about my "chocolate crack". It was so incredibly yummy. We sat in the big overstuffed chairs and enjoyed our treat. Then we made our way to the curriculum hall. I hadn't bought much the day before, so I needed to get myself in gear. Seriously, I didn't need much. I did really well. I didn't break the bank. Savannah hung out with me most of the day. I stopped to meet Timmy at some point. He introduced me to Vhalyn. She is a beautiful young girl that he says he would marry in a minute. He nicely took his sister with him, so I didn't have to put her through anymore vendor hall stress. I finished up my shopping and realized there wasn't really time to go get dinner before graduation. Savannah was okay with a lunchable. I had the most wonderful idea - HAZELNUT HOT CHOCOLATE! Yes, I had TWO CUPS in ONE DAY! I felt so guilty, but I didn't care. It was the best dinner! It was perfect to grab and head to the graduation. Their were 263 homeschoolers graduating. I was emotional last year watching the graduation because my son was graduating. I didn't expect to be emotional this year though. There is just something about seeing 263 kids that their families poured themselves into to get them to that point. The girl that gave the speech had me close to tears. I can't believe how fast Savannah will be standing up there. A few our "our kids" were graduating. After the ceremony, we all met by the pool. The adults sat and talked. The little kids went in the pool. The teens went in the hot tubs. It was a very nice evening until the security kicked us out at 12:15. Party poopers. Savannah and I got back to our hotel around 1:30am. That was one long day. Sunday was to be a long day too. We got up and met Timmy. He took Savannah with him while I ran over to the Keds outlet to get shoes. The traffic was awful! We eventually all met up at Downtown Disney. It was to be the last of our visit with friends. We made our way out of their and headed for SC around 3:30. Finally rolled into the driveway around 10pm. It was a busy trip, but so fun and exciting. I am glad we did it. Savannah did amazing with having to get the hang of walking again so quickly after surgery. It was just an amazing blessing to be given the chance to visit with all of our friends.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

More about my dad...

My sister posted a comment below about some of her memories of my dad. I wish my other sister and brother were into computers. They could share as well. Leann, you are right about the Christmas Eve rides. They were the best! My dad took us kids out to do donuts in the snow on Christmas Eve. Oh, ummm... I guess we were supposed to just be looking at lights. Santa would come to the house while we were gone. I loved this time with him and looked forward to it every year. I was also thinking about how on one Mother's Day we went driving around. Hey Jude was playing on the radio. He turned it up really loud. When you got to the NA... NA... NA... NANANA... part - Hey Jude - we all just started singing it as loud as we could. It was so much fun! Every time I hear that part of that song, I feel like I am sitting in the car between my mom and dad singing my lungs out. Good times. I could sit here all day and think of more things. He always went to my softball games. The only reason I played softball was because I knew my dad would come to my practice and games. He would come straight from work to watch me. All dressed in his suit and tie. His mustache. He shaved it once when I was really little. I cried and told him to put it back. He grew it back right away and never shaved it again. Great times. I was a lucky kid.

My dad...

It has been 10 years, today, since my dad passed away. I wondered why my mom was really wanting us all to go to dinner together and then it hit me - what day is it? Sure enough I looked at the calendar and there it was. 10 Years. Where did 10 years go? I have had two babies since then. We have moved twice. 10 Years. It is a long time and in some ways not so long. I told Savannah and Sebastian it had been 10 years today. They never met their grandpa. Timmy was my only then. My dad loved him to pieces. He was "Timmy Boy" to my dad. If there was ever a good reason to have your children while you are young it is so your parents have more years with them. I was pregnant with Savannah when my dad passed away. The very week he was in the hospital, I had my ultrasound that said it looked like she was probably going to be a girl. I remember going to his hospital room and telling him, "We think we have ourselves a girl!" He asked me what we were going to name her. I told him "Savannah". He said that was a "hillbilly name". I know it sounds harsh, but it wasn't. It was his sense of humor. He was really happy we were going to have a brand new baby girl soon. My dad was sick for a really long time before he died. You would have thought we were prepared for him to go home. It was still a surprise to all of us.

I wasn't a daddy's girl when I was growing up. I was (still am) a mommy's girl. My dad was a good dad. He took care of us and made sure we didn't go without. He wasn't mean or angry. Sure, he had a booming voice and many people thought he was scary. I never really thought that about him. He was just dad - with the big voice. I remember being very little and sitting in his lap while he would read the newspaper. He seemed HUGE to me. Great big arms and could hold the whole paper wide open to read it. I remember being older and going to work with him on Saturday morning sometimes. I remember stopping at the Clark's gas station for candy. He brought me out a Hershey's with Almonds Big Block Bar. I was so excited. When my niece, Sarah, was born, we would take her to visit his friends. She was maybe 1 year old at the time. He loved his Sarah Bearah. He had so much pride bringing her to all of his friends' houses. When I got pregnant, it was hard for my dad at first. I was 16 and had chosen to plan to start my family. Some parents would be angry and not help. My dad was angry. Then he helped. He made sure I had everything I needed. On the day that Timmy was born, he was right there. When they wheeled me from the delivery room, my arms felt heavy and I thought I would drop Timmy off the cart. I handed him to my dad. That was the beginning of a wonderful 9 year relationship between my dad and Timmy Boy. He got sick right after that. Oh, what a struggle he had ahead of him. It was a long battle. The following year, we told him we were getting married. He wasn't walking at the time. He got into rehabilitation and he got himself walking with a walker and then a cane. He walked me down the aisle. My scrapbook page says that "Parents are supposed to be proud of their kids on their wedding day, but I was proud of my dad." I was so happy to have him walk me down the aisle.

My kids are all daddy kids. They love me and they have fun with me, but they adore their dad. I loved my dad and I knew he loved me. What really stuck out to me though was the old saying that says something about children feeling loved when their father loves their mother. My dad LOVED my mom. He adored my mom. If there was one thing I could say about my dad it would be how much my mom meant to him. It was a good way to grow up. I hope my dad is proud of who I have become. I hope he has been watching my kids grow up. He would get such a kick out of them. I love you dad!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Busy, busy, busy... pre-op appointments on Monday, Savannah's surgery on Tuesday, all day field trip on Wednesday, laundry and more laundry on Thursday, cleaning and cookie baking on Friday. I have all sorts of posts in my head. Some I want to post, others I am not sure I should. Oh and I am having so much fun using my Itunes gift card from my birthday. My refurbished IPOD nano arrived today. Tim gave me a $25 gift card. I am just listening to lots of music. I don't have a busy weekend planned, so I will try to get some of my pictures and thoughts together. Come back tomorrow!

Friday, May 09, 2008

My Oldest...

(Don't ask me why his shirt was so wet!)

I have been thinking about this post for awhile. Tim II wants to join the military. Seems like a simple sentence to write, but probably one of the more difficult ones I have ever written. I never, ever saw him as a kid who would join the military. Don't get me wrong... I respect our military. I have several family members and a few friends that are or were in the military. It is not that I don't think a great deal of them. I just never thought about MY SON joining the military. He is 19 and trying to figure out who he is going to be. I have been so busy taking care of Savannah and Sebastian the last 3 years, that it seems that Tim II just grew up without my permission. Tim II says he wants to be an EMT/Medic. He wants to get training for this. Part of me wants him to just take the courses here and go that route. Part of me suspects a 4 month course in EMT training is just not what you make a career out of. He looked into the volunteer fire department (and was accepted) to get training there. I was pleased and thought that might be the way. Then he came home with the news he really wanted to just join the military. Uggghhhh!!! So, over the last month or so, I have been thinking on this a lot. Somehow my brain latched on to a memory of him riding his bike to school for the first time. He was 7 and in 1st grade. The school was not far by any means. He begged all year to ride his bike. I kept telling him he was too young. Finally at the very end of the school year, I agreed to let him ride with our neighbor kids, Adam and Amber. Amber was several years older than him and I knew she would keep an eye on him. The night before he was going to ride his bike to school, I was so worried. I wanted to tell him that I had changed my mind. My stomach was in knots. I kept seeing him get hit by a car or getting taken by somebody or an alien coming out of the sky to scoop him up. I was a wreck. The next morning came and he got ready for school so quickly. He got his helmet on and was ready to dart out the door. I made him stop so I could snap a picture. I needed to record this astounding event. I was, after all, letting my only child - my little boy - the love of my life - ride his bike to school. I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I held my breathe and I let him go. I let him do it and he was fine. He was happy and growing up. So, I have been thinking about that a lot this month. I don't want my son to go away. I want him to live close to me always. I want him to come over for chicken Parmesan. I want him to be there for Sebastian and Savannah's birthdays. I want him to hang out with me the next time I may find myself in a hospital because my kids banged themselves up again - cheering me on and letting me know it will be okay. I want him to be in my daily life. My heart aches that he will leave me someday. I fear he won't come back. That he will meet some wonderful young lady that has family is Arizona or Seattle or some very far away place. He will call me and say he is in love and moving there. My heart will break. I have been his momma since I was 16 years old. I went from a child to having a child. I have spent the last 20 years trying to be the best mom I could be. Now, I am just supposed to let him go. Just like when he was 7 and wanted to ride his bike to school. Only this time, the tears have been coming and I am trying really hard to be supportive. I am just going to have to hold my breathe and let him go.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Tim II can use some prayers...

Hey y'all! (look I am starting talk like I am from the South!) Timmy is headed to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). I am asking for prayers that he makes wise decisions while he is there. He has clear ideas of what he wants to be offered. We need to pray he has the right test scores and that God puts him on the right path. If you want to say a prayer for his momma - that she can accept this is what he wants to do - that would be great too! I have started and stopped a post about this several times. It is there, I will hit publish at some point.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Strawberry picking...

Last week we went strawberry picking. Timmy, Savannah and I went picking in Florida 6 years ago and had a blast. I have no idea why it has taken us this long to go again. This time we were lucky enough to invite a whole bunch of family along for the fun. It was a perfect day to be out there. I think everyone had a great time!

It is hard working "testing" the quality of these strawberries!

Somebody has got to do it!

Best Buds!
(Okay, they just don't know it yet!)

Derek working very hard to find the best berries.

Laurie, Crystal and Savannah

Karis and Vilma

Who is that pretty girl tasting a berry?

I love this smile! =)

Savannah had the brilliant idea to melt chocolate for the fresh strawberries.

The ups and downs a week can take...

Last week was a draining week. Yes, I remember that I try not to whine on my blog. After all, I just wrote about that like last week. Bare with me. There will be more to this than just a whine, I promise. Last Monday morning, I woke up to our Florida tenants calling us and telling us the house air conditioning was broken again. Ugh! Absolutely not what I wanted to hear. Okay, I can deal with it. I decided to not call the AC place back that was our there last month because we had several problems with them. You are just playing Russian Roulette when you have to find an AC guy in Pinellas County. There are 800 of them and most of them are crooks. I did finally get somebody out there and the price wasn't horrible, but it certainly wasn't penny candy. It took a few days to get this cleared up. During that time, I was trying to potty train Sebastian. I realize this is not rocket science, but it may very well be the most frustrating thing I have ever tried to do. I am just plain worn out from it. It is one mess after another. Even if I were not potty training (which I may be giving up - read on), Sebastian has been - how does one say - very ACTIVE lately. He is just getting taller and bigger and into so many more things. It is one big mess after another. That brings me to Friday morning. I took Savannah to the doctor for what I thought was her last ankle appointment. The doctor comes in and says we need to schedule surgery. HUH? WHAT? SURGERY? Panic set in. My head was swirling. I don't like my baby girl to have to have anything like surgery done again. Then my brain went to her current insurance is ending at the end of May. Then she will have less coverage and this may be pre-existing, etc. I started rambling to this poor doctor and his nurses. We left the doctor's office waiting for more information to come later. I was in a fog the rest of the day. Tim came home from work. He puts his check on the counter. He was supposed to be a due a pretty substantial raise this week. A raise that would be so needed and so wonderful. I look and the raise it not there. Add to my fog. The weekend continues, mostly okay except for washing my cell phone in the washing machine and then on Saturday night or more appropriately Sunday morning, Tim II calls. He is pretty amped up and he says he just hit a deer going 70 mph on the highway. My heart just raced.

Lots of drama for that past week, huh? More than I prefer. That was the whine part. Make no mistake that I was worn out, crabby, sad, emotional and any other adjective you would like to add in there. Here comes the part that allows me to put all of this on my "no-downer" blog. Let's back up to the AC in Florida... It really does stink that we have had to pay more that what we make in a months rent for repairs on that house in the past 30 days. It stinks, but God somehow made sure we had the money. Nobody had to starve or go without this week to make sure we could tend to that house. Now lets talk about Savannah's surgery. The nurses in this doctor's office were wonderful. They got on the phone with the sometimes frustrating insurance company and got them to approve another surgery. Even though this all happened in the out of state and out of network place. They got it scheduled for next Tuesday instead of the end of the month because we are going to Florida for convention and then to Virginia for Savannah to be in my niece's wedding. They just took care of it for me. The other thing is that Savannah will be fine. She will heal from this. Her doctor is making sure she is getting the best care. He doesn't like the way the screws are affecting her growth plates, so he is taking action. That is way better than saying we will deal with it when it is really a problem affecting her growth. After we left the doctor's office, in my fog, we went to target. There was a car in the parking lot with "PRAY FOR CLAY" on the back window. I have seen this little boy on the news. He has cancer. I have prayed for him. I thought, "Wow... this is just a routine surgery. What are you in a fog about? You need to pray for Clay and get your head screwed on right!" Then we are onto Tim's pay raise. A short while after I noticed his raise wasn't on his check, Tim came out to talk to me. He said his boss forgot to include the raise on his check and he just gave him some cash to cover it this week. He handed me the cash! Okay, what was next? My cell phone. I have insurance - hopefully it will either dry out or I will get a new one. It stinks I have to get all those phone numbers again, but I have already gotten a bunch of emails with number from my friends and family today giving me their numbers. It is nice to wake up and open an email box with notes from these people. Finally, there is the deer hitting Timmy's car. Oh my! I am still just ill over this. I keep thinking what if he hadn't been okay. My sweet niece, Joanna, lost a friend from this very incident. I cried so many times yesterday thinking what if it had been different. I was a mess. It doesn't matter that he is 19 and 220 lbs. He is my baby. Just sitting here thinking of it, is making me cry. Where is the good in this? His car is wrecked. We dropped comp and collision insurance last month. Well... he is safe! He was not hurt! He called me for help! You know what else... he has the MOST AMAZING ATTITUDE! He worked so hard to pay for that car. He paid for every dime of it over these years. It is wrecked. He is still not in a bad mood. He was not crabby or anything. He was just thankful he was okay. I am proud of him. I don't think I would be so together. Heck, I was really, super ticked I washed my cell phone. I mean - I was throwing a mini-tantrum. It was a cell phone, not my car that I had put all my money into for 3 years. Heck, he still owes money to us for parts he had to have put on this winter. Nope. He didn't throw a tantrum. He just accepted it. He is growing up. The other good news is that Tim just bought an old truck. That means we have an extra vehicle for Timmy to drive until we figure out what is next. We had no idea when we bought that truck, we would really be needing it. So, there were lots of ups and downs this week. Each time I was down, I found myself just praying. Praying and praying some more. I didn't know what else to do. God took care of each of these things. No, some aren't exactly the way I would like. I really don't want Savannah to have surgery. I really would like Timmy's car to be just fine. They aren't perfect, but they aren't unimaginable. We can live with them. Somehow, God is working it all out. I am still praying about potty training. I don't have any silver lining story for that one. I bet you were all hoping I was going to to say - POOF! On Friday, Sebastian was fully potty trained. No such luck. I guess God can't answer all of my prayers in a week. Maybe this week?