Monday, July 27, 2009

What I've been up to lately.

The best part about summer (for teachers & students at least!) is the free time! Time that I use to read, bake, garden, etc... and to tackle all those fun projects that the school year keeps me from.
One little project that had totally slipped my mind was my desire to find the perfect recipe for cookies from scratch. I've found some perfect cake recipes (long gone are the days of boxed cake mix!) so it's been high time I move beyond the world of break-and-bake cookies.
I've done the same to biscuits. It's just as easy to make them from scratch. I have the old tin measuring cup my Granny used for making and cutting hers, and it's getting used a lot. All it I do is mix up 3/4 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of shortening, and 2 cups of flour until the dough is nice and pliable. Then cut them out and bake for 20 minutes on 375- and the feeling you get from eating them knowing you made them from scratch makes them so much more yummy that any other biscuit! It's a similar feeling with these cookies...
Jake mentioned a craving for cookies & milk earlier this week and it dawned on me that, although I've made sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, and even Giada's AMAZING Lemon Ricotta Cookies from scratch, my chocolate chip cookies always end up being pre-made. Not that there's anything wrong with them, in fact- they are great, but that there is something to be said about going completely homemade. So anyways, I found a bag of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips in the cabinets and there was a recipe for cookies on the back so I tried it out. Unfortunately, I noticed half way through the recipe that it yields 5 DOZEN cookies, so be prepared to take them to some get-together. Luckily, I was able to pawn all of mine off onto the kids at VBS at church that evening.
These cookies turned out amazing. The only thing I did differently than the recipe calls for is I used butter flavored Crisco instead of butter, since I didn't want to use up all my butter. Also, I was fresh out of vanilla extract so I used almond flavored instead, and I'd be willing to be it made them even better. The cookies were beyond perfect, and I can't wait to make them again. By the way, the original recipe is here on the Hershey website, along with some cool ideas of things to make with all them cookies!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
* 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup butter flavored shortening
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon almond-flavored extract
* 2 eggs
* 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips
1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar and almond extract in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. **Note: My cookies were in the oven NO LONGER than 8 minutes!
Add a glass of milk and all is well with the world! Hubby snapped this picture of me when I came into the office to show him how pretty the cookies turned out!
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Anyways, being that I have absolutely nothing pressing until school starts now that summer school and vacations are both over, cooking/looking up recipes is my biggest hobby! So much that I've been clipping so many recipes out of magazines and printing them left and right! One that I've been dying to share is for Bruschetta Chicken Bake. It was in the Kraft magazine, I believe. In fact, I just googled it and Kraft has it online as well. Anyways, I don't layer it like it shows online, I just kinda mix the chicken all up in with the stuffing, but I imagine it makes little difference.
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Here's the recipe:
Bruschetta Chicken Bake

*1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
*1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
*1/2 cup water
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
*1 tsp. dried basil leaves (use fresh if you have it!)
*1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.
Layer chicken, basil and cheese in 3-qt. casserole or 13x9-inch baking dish.
Top with stuffing & tomato mixture, and sprinkle with extra cheese. Bake 30 min. or until chicken is done.
It is Hubby's newest favorite, and super quick and easy. <3

I keep having Blog ADHD and I can't remember what all I had to tell you all about so I keep having to look back on my last post to remind myself- lol!
Ah, the accidental Pineapple Right-side Up Cake.
Yeah, you know how some nights after dinner you get this crazy sweet tooth and you gotta have something for dessert or just die? We had one of those nights last week and I kept finding myself back in the kitchen, opening the fridge, staring into space and dreaming of sugar. I HAD to bake something. The only fruit I had (with the exception of some blueberries & blackberries I've picked and frozen for later in the year) was this can of pineapple. I googled some pineapple cake recipes, but decided to wing it and try it on my own. So, I did the usual flour-sugar-milk recipe like I do for a cobbler, but I put the pineapples in the bottom of the cake pan, with just a little melted brown sugar syrup on the bottom, hoping to create something like a pineapple upside down cake... well, goofus me put it into a Springform pan and the whole brown sugar and pineapple mess starts leaking out right after I poured the batter in on top. UGH. I almost through it out, but I said "oh, what the heck" and poured the whole mixed up mess into another cake pan and baked it like I would a cobbler. As it baked, I made more sugar syrup, just using brown sugar and granulated sugar and a little water until it was clear and thick and yummy looking. I noticed the pineapple had somehow floated to the top of the cake and so I poured the syrup over the top and continued baking it until the whole thing looked golden and delicious. It smelled amazing. It turned out to be so good. My parents were over visiting the next day and I gave them a piece. My mama crossed her eyes and moaned when she took a bite, and Daddy looked at me all big-eyed & said, "Good Lord, what are trying to do, kill me!?" and shoved in another huge bite! It was a total whoopsy and a complete success.
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Excuse the poor lighting of the picture, I didn't use the flash.
Here is the recipe, based off what I think I did:
*1 cup self-rising flour
*1 cup sugar
*1 cup milk
*1/4 cup water
*1/4 cup brown
In one bowl, mix flour, sugar, and milk until you have a smooth batter.
Melt the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan until almost but not quite thick.
In a greased cake pan, combine a can of drained pineapple chucks and about 4 tablespoons of the syrup with the cake batter and bake on 375 for about 45 minutes.
While the cake bakes, take the rest of the sugar syrup in the saucepan, add in a splash more water and about 1/2 a cup of granulated sugar and about another quarter of a cup of brown sugar, and keep cooking it down until you basically have a golden sugar syrup. Pour it on top of the cake until the top of the cake is just barely covered, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.

I'm telling you, it was delicious, super sweet and tropically tasting.
I'm pretty sure I'm gonna put this one up on Tasty Kitchen, which is the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond's food website. Although I'm a big fan of blog, I just recently stumbled onto the Tasty Kitchen site, and holy cow. I love it. I made me a membership, logged in, and I've already uploaded some recipes! Get on there and friend request me, my screenname is Breezybride08. It's really neat. :)

So in addition to all my fun in the kitchen, I'm spending my last weeks of summer being a book worm. I've been reading a novel every 2 days or so, staying up all night to finish them.
So far, the ones I've really, really liked are Jennifer Cruise's Faking It & Cecila Ahern's Love, Rosie. Ahern's book was a little corny and predicatble, but it was cute and girly. I think she wrote the book that's now the movie, P.S. I Love You. But Faking It was really crazy. It was a fun read. I'm not sure what's next up on my reading list, but sometime soon, I've gotta, gotta, gotta get my hands on Dorthea Benton Frank's newest, Return to Sullivan's Island. I've met her, got several signed copies, and read every book of hers. I love her books so much and this newest one revisits a family from one of her earlier books (and one of my all time favorites!) and I'm just sooo excited about it. I heard about it at a little bookstore we went to on vacation, where I was able to get a "buy two used books and get an advanced copy book free" deal. The advanced copies were miscellaneous books I'd never heard of, but this one called By The Time You Read This caught my eye. It was so, so good. It was very sweet, and when it comes out in August, you should get it. :)

That's kind of been the gist of life here these days. Cook, bake, read, garden, swim, visit with people, sleep, then repeat. I'm not complaining, lol. The only thing terribly interesting has been my neighbors. Bill Dauterive, the guy beside us, spent most of summer sleeping on his back patio, has seemed to completely disappear and I've not seen his new girlfriend, Lenore, over to visit at all. Maybe they're vacationing together. Or maybe she didn't come back after he made her sleep outside with his on swing that night she stayed over & all this time he's been inside nursing a bruised heart. I'm hoping the poor fella is okay in there. The lady that lives behind us has been suntanning like she has all summer, so no change there. But interestingly, right across the street, I saw a truck at Carol's. Carol is a lady my mom knows because she went to high school with her older sister (remember, I live in a town where everyone knows everyone). I couldn't figure out what they were doing over there. Her aunt, Miss Peggy, lives right down the block, and I noticed Carol's car was over at Miss Peggy's. I kept watching and realized they were moving stuff out of her place and into Miss Peggy's. Later, we were leaving home one day and saw Miss Peggy and Carol sitting together outside and Carol was in a wheel chair! My Hubby stopped by and talked with them while they were sitting outside again this week and as it turns out, Carol, who's only in her 40s, had a stroke while she was driving and was in a wreck! We hadn't realized the car was wrecked! Anyways, apparently some plaque in her arteries broke loose, went to her brain, and caused the stroke. It may be 6 months before she will be able to live on her own again, bless her heart. I was in shock! Women that young don't have things like stokes yet! Keep her in your prayers.

Well, I'm off to bed. I hope you all are taking the time to enjoy the rest of summertime. Read a book, bake something. Have fun or enjoy doing nothing. That's what I love about this time of year!

PS- Look at how pretty this picture of us from our vacation turned out after some editing with the color... :) In fact, it's so pretty I'm gonna add it to my sidebar pictures soon!
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PS (again)- while I've been either in the kitchen or in a book, Hubby has been bird watching. We've got a bird nest on the front porch, and it looks like we have BABIES! How exciting!
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Love, Love, Love Y'all!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Coming soon.

Note to self:
Recipes to share:
-chocolate chip cookies (from scratch)
-the accidental pineapple right-side up cake
-brushetta chicken bake (the hubby's new fav)
Stories to tell you guys:
-My summer reads... I'm going through a book every 2 days! :D
-My teaching-itch. It's returned. I'm like in full-fledge, I-CAN'T-WAIT-TO-TEACH mode! I think it has something to so with the boxes and boxes and boxes of school supplies popping up at the local Wal-mart... (digression: Speaking of popping up at the Wal-mart~ There were sooooo many grudgy looking women wondering around the grocery store in BELLY shirts today. I mean really. It ain't lady-like to let your beer gut flop over you low rise jeans, and let it your belly button ring & nasty looking happy-trail show to the whole world... And I saw, like, at least 5 women doing this... It's just so wrong!)
-My quest to never make canned biscuits again.
-My obsession with the world of Tasty Kitchen. It's a love story really.
-Oh, and I can't forget to tell you all what happened to my poor neighbor! :(

<3 <3 <3

The Almighty Dollar

So, in church this morning I had some beautiful realizations about redemption and salvation and about peace in times of turmoil. I heard God speaking to me. It was one of those kinds of Sundays. <3

It was a beautiful day. Inside (of me) and out (of me).

We went and saw a movie with my parents(kinda impromptu, but a whole bunch of fun) and I was feeling pretty smiley all day. Really, just a perfect Sunday.

When we were taking up the offering this morning, the preacher said something about a man having no trouble tithing 5 dollars of his 50 or 50 of his 500, but the more money he made, the more trouble he had giving over 10 percent to the Lord. And the punch like was something like the man was told by his pastor that the easiest way to fix that dilemma was to pray that God brought his income back down to 50 dollars so tithing wouldn't be so hard on him. It got me thinking about how true that is for so many of us, and I even whispered a prayer that if being well-off would make me like that, that the Lord never give me that kind of money- if it would come between me and Him.

Since Hubby got paid, we could go grocery shopping. We've been needing to stock up on some basics for a while (my baking experiments this week depleted the flour, vanilla extract, those things, you know... haha!) So we did. And because we are soooo tight on money, we must budget every single cotton-picking dime to make ends meet and right now, the ends kinda aren't meeting. We're trying to get blood out of the proverbial turnip. And we got into stupid argument (the 2nd one of the weekend- and we hardly EVER- and I honestly mean EVERRRRR have fights) over the way we make our grocery lists. I know.

During church, all was well in the world. We had tithed, we had just gotten paid, and nothing was amiss. Saw a movie, had some laughs, great day. Then we get home and find that the mortgage was not automatically paid like it usually is (something to do with a teachers 10-month verse 12-month pay cycles) and the tanning bed place took out 30 bucks after I canceled the dang thing last month. And the power bill is way up. And my books are gonna be about 500 dollars this semester. And the scholarship check I'm waiting on is still MIA.

Money is ruining my perfect, beautiful Sunday. I was in such a happy mood. Now I feel like we keep getting knocked down over and over, even though we do tithe, we use (and strictly, I might add) a budget. We track our spending more closely than any other people I know... what's the deal here? And on top of it all, how unfair is it that people I know who have babies to feed amongst all the other things they pay for and no college degree under their belts seem to be floating along just fine? It confuses me!

Just this weekend at a friend's wedding shower I was told how wonderful it is that Hubby & I were waiting til at least one of us was through grad school, making sure we both had degrees and spent some time just the two of us growing before bringing kids into the world. But how come all those people I know who didn't do things the so-called "right" way appear to be better off financiall than we are? It's annoying me. And I know things will be different once I start working and get school out of the way, and how much grad school will help in the long term... and I know in the long run we are making the best decision for us. And that's all that matters anyway.

I can't help but feel like the devil heard my heart singing praises this morning and he didn't like me praying that money not come between me and God, and now I feel like that's exactly what he's trying to do. And if he can't get it to come between me and God, he's at least gonna try and make me & the hubby fight about how to best plan and prepare for a budget-friendly grocery shopping trip.

Foot-holds. I cannot let him have a foot hold into my life.
Satan, get out of my head, my marriage, and my wallet.

Lord, help me and Jake see the stupidity in our arguing. Help us remember to think of one another first before we speak and communicate effectively with one another. Help us to have peace about money, help the ends meet, and keep us humble and happy. Don't let us forget that everything we have or ever will have is Yours first. Don't let us let money worries or woes get us down or upset. Thank you, Lord, for freeing me of this worry, and giving my heart the freedom and peace that only comes from your grace!

I feel better.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cowboy Boots

I really, really want boots.

Like super-cute cowboy boots- pretty enough to wear out with a sundress when I feel like channeling Taylor Swift (aka T-Sweezy) but tough and rugged enough for working with the horses over at the in laws, you know... not just for looks.

I'm that kind of girl would wear muddy, dirty boots with that sundress out on Saturday night.:)

I wore a pair of Whitney's (hers were not expensive ones- I think she said she got them at Wal-mart for Vacation Bible School!) when we went out for her birthday in Myrtle Beach, and I loved it.

Heck, I even had a few guys hit on me in those things. They called out, "Hey, Cowboy Boots!" and continued flirting until I pointed to Jake and then pointed to my wedding band. HAHAHA... oh, the fun.

Anyways, I saw these on, which is my all-time favorite place to look for shoes. Once I got a pair of $150 hiking boots for $29 on sale on that site, and they ended up being the best shoes everrrrrr.

I really want to order these:
They are $179 & they've got a 1 1/2 inch heel. I loooove them.

I Like:

L4935 by Justin at Zappos.comL4935
by - Powered by Service

I don't complain about our poverty often. Most of the time, I enjoy it. It means appreciating what you have, taking pleasure in little, simple things. I don't mind not having cable or satellite TV and looking up shows like "The Hills" on Hulu, or telling people, "Sorry, we can't this week, we just can't afford it." Being poor makes you humble and wiser, I think. Not having the money to do whatever you want builds character.

But it is really, really, really, really difficult to be a shoe addict when your poor. :(

Oh, glorious, beautiful, wonderful shoe shopping... How I miss you so!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Home, Home, Home!

Hey everybody!
I'm so sorry I've not updated- but you know how it is when you get home from a vacation- all heck breaks loose and it's hard to get a moment to breathe!

So, first of all let me tell you about our vacation. We first drove down to Whitney's in Georgetown. Whitney is one of my very, very best friends. We went to Winthrop together as freshmen, but she transferred. But, even after she left school, we've stayed close, making road trips back and forth to spend the weekend with each other, plus lots & lots of late nite phone calls! LOL.
Anyways, last Thursday was her birthday, so we came down for the celebration. We went to Garden City, Pawleys Island (of course), Myrtle Beach (I've officially partied on Broadway-haha!) and spent time in Georgetown. I swear, I might as well be an honorary graduate of Georgetown High School since I keep in touch with (and LIKE) more of the people I know in that town than I do people from my own small town high school. This trip was even better because I had Jake with me- and he got to meet all the boys and we had a great time down there. We left from Whit's house late Saturday night for Florida. Jake drove first and I slept. It was almost time for the sun to come up when we made it to Florida so we stopped in Jacksonville Beach and watched the sunrise over the water. We continued on down the A1A taking the scenic route through Florida and loving every minute of our little road trip together. We stopped in Palm City (I think) at a rest area and I took over and drove the rest of the way. I let Jake sleep going all the way down through Ft. Lauderdale and then we crossed onto I-75 and went through Alligator Alley. It was a neat road! Then we came on up 75 though Naples and FINALLY made it to Fort Myers. We didn't have to take such a long way around- but it was like a whole tour of Florida. We planned it that way. We got checked into our resort, the Pink Shell Beach Resort there in Fort Myers Beach, and unpacked and made dinner. And of course, we checked out the beach & the resort pools and got groceries. Monday we spent the whole day on the beach and then went to the Shell Museum across the bridge. I felt a little bit nerdy there, but we honestly had a lot of fun there learning shell names. :) Nerdy nugget of knowledge: Florida's State shell is a Horse Conch. Which isn't actually a conch- it's a tulip. We also drove my car up onto the beach there, which was fun in itself. We ended the day with a cold drink and sunset walk down the island, like we did each night. <3 Anyways, the next day we went to Lovers Key for a picnic and Jake laid in his hammock while I splashed in the bay. Then, we spent the afternoon on Sanibel & Captiva Islands, where we saw the Sanibel Lighthouse and went to the coolest antique store ever. We went to lots of little shops and art galleries. The beach at Sanibel was so pretty. We could see our resort across the bay from where we laid out. We had the very best ice cream that day too, coming home from visiting the Henry Ford & Thomas Edison Winter estates in Fort Myers. This little ice cream shop called "Love Boat Ice Cream" had the most delicious Key Lime Pie ice cream. It was so good, I almost cried. LOL. We went back to the resort & I made fajitas and margaritas for us for dinner. So yummy & fun. We walked along the beach and found tons of conchs and crabs that night!
The next day was our waverunner dolphin tour. We went with some other people (a French family of 4 who hardly spoke English, a mother and her 2 youngish kids, and of course, the tour guide herself) on jet skis and saw tons of dolphins and manatees. It was so much fun- well, until Jake tried to kill me by FLIPPING the jet ski! Kidding- that was actually quite hilarious. I snapped a picture of him trying to flip the thing back over with the underwater camera I had attached to my wrist as I swam back to the jet ski. We were about a mile off the coast & here I was just a floating! LOL. We had so, so, so much fun on those things. We ended the afternoon on the beach, sunning and swimming and shelling. Then, we got cleaned up & ready to go out and had a nice dinner out (you didn't think I cooked EVERY night, now did you?!?) at this local place called Matanzas, right under the bridge on the water. It was awesome. I had heard they had the best pina coladas on the island, so, of course I had to get one! We watched the sun go down over the bay, and the colors were amazing. Breathtaking. Thursday was our last day in Fort Myers so we spent that morning on the beach and went to the pier and window shopping before we left. We checked out of our resort and headed up to Tampa. We stayed in Tampa with a friend- one of Jake's former bosses, Darren, who now works for a YMCA camp in Florida. He recently moved down there and invited us to stay with him. Being hardcore YMCA folks, we got the grand tour of the camp, hung out with some awesome counselors and kids, played disc golf, and got a look a real bonafide Florida swamp! We went out to dinner at an awesome Greek restaurant where they danced, smashed plates, and through napkins in the air, yelling Oh-Pa! loudly... I loved, loved, loved it! We spent the next day in Tampa before heading back towards home, traveling up the other side of Florida & coming home through Georgia. I drove in Atlanta traffic for the first time and it was like, whoa. We made numerous pit stops along the way, especially for Sonic Happy Hour- half off grape slushies are the best for road trips. We finally made it home on Saturday! We had an amazing vacation! I loved every minute- but it was good to be home.
Here is a slideshow of the vacation!

Sunday we got readjusted to home, went to church and lunch with my parents, and that evening went to the garden. After 10 days away, we had lots of gardening to do. We picked crowder peas, beans, and corn and visited with my grandparents, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary while we were on vacation. Since then, I've been so busy trying to get all the beans, peas, and corn put up for winter and not to mention tackling the mountain of laundry left to do from our trip. Luckily, Jake doesn't have YMCA campers over at the park he works at this week, so he's been home helping and spending time with me so it's not been so overwhelming. He's actually been quite a sweetheart (example: last night, he treated me to a candlelight back rub... tell me I'm not spoiled!)... We went grocery shopping yesterday and by working together and shopping at Aldi's we got all of our groceries for less than 30 dollars. We also took one of our mystery vegetables (you remember that thing growing up in the yard that no one can identify?) up to the county agriculturalist to see if they can identify what it is and maybe even find out if we've created a new veggie that is true to seed- if it is, we might can name it! How cool is that!? It was more proof that we want to have a place to farm someday! <3

My agenda today was to take care of my financial aid for the upcoming school year. EKK- I can't believe its my last!!!!! Long story short, 2 scholarships are missing off my account- one because the check is running late, and the other because my paperwork fell through the cracks between the College of Education, the office of Financial aid, and the scholarship program. It has been a huge headache, and it won't be resolved until tomorrow, hopefully. If you've ever had to sit on the phone nad deal with a problem like this, you know how annoying it is!

I'm trying to use this week to get caught up on so many things- laundry, the garden, school stuff, cleaning, sleep, just to name a few, because we're gonna be back at it again this weekend. We're supposed to be going out to Whiskey River with my friend Jennifer and her fiancee, Randy, and hopefully, hiking and rock climbing with my cousin Josh & his wife, Maleah. Plus, Heather's bridal shower, too. Busy, Busy, Busy!

My last update is the most important one- Daddy had his tumor removed on the Monday before we went to the beach, and this past Friday he had his stitches removed and he's been to see the oncologist. The oncologist said that Daddy basically has a unique case of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and he was concerned that the incision to remove the tumor might not have gotten it all, so Daddy will be receiving larger amounts of radiation than he originally was told. Also, part of the standard treatment of his particular kind of lymphoma is to have a total body CT scan and a bone marrow biopsy, which he had today. If these tests, along with some others, come back negative, that means his cancer has not spread and that he will be less likely to have to have chemotherapy of anything like that, and the radiation should take care of it alone. We've also been told he has a 5% chance of the cancer returning after its all gone. Please, please, please keep Daddy in your prayers. Pass it along to your friends, family, church, anyone. I have faith but I feel the devil trying to get into my head and make me doubt and worry. I know that God can heal him & I believe He hears our prayers. My Daddy is an amazing man and I believe that the Lord has work still to do through him, and will keep him here with us. Please, please keep us all in your prayers.

Well, that's all that's going on here in the life of Breezy Bride. I've gotta go take care of a load of laundry now- and get some lunch. :) Oh and PS- I so got an A in my summer class!!!
One more thing- I finally put up pictures from the 4th, just like I said I would. Check them out here.
LOVE LOVE LOVE to you all!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm home!

Well, we made it back from our vacation in Florida! It was amazing.

I can't wait to share all the pictures and stories!

But as for now, I'm pooped. The traveling, the unpacking, trying to get laundry done, get groceries, and all the other things to do when you get home... I'll blog soon, though!

I've missed you all and I'm glad to be back!


Monday, July 06, 2009

Hiatus & Updates :)

So I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! We certainly did! We spent the 3rd hanging out with our friends Chase & Heather, swimming and cooking out, and then met up with my parents for fireworks, and then had breakfast (homemade red, white, & blueberry pancakes, per my request) with my Mama & Daddy before heading over for a big family cookout the night of the 4th with Jake's family. We got to see Jake's cousin Nelson for the first time since he left for the Navy back in January. He looks so handsome and has changed a lot in these 6 months, but he's just a sweet & respectful as always. We are all so proud of him and it was good to have him home to visit. And Lord knows, we had enough barbecued critter to feed the whole Navy. It was quite yummy. I made a blueberry cobbler and brought a bottle of the goodness that is Firefly. :) My mother in law happened to make some fresh Citrus-ade (like lemonade) which was absolutely perfect with the Firefly, and the whole crew loved it! I got to roll around in the grass and push little Paul on his bike. He ain't so little anymore, he's 4 now. I remember when he was born- so premature we didn't know if he'd make it. I love him and would raise him as my own if I could, so I treasure those moments we get to play together. I held his ears while Nelson (his Bubba, lol) shot off fireworks and Jake lit sparklers for him. :) I'll have to add pictures to this post another day. Sunday, we had leftover BBQ with the in laws for lunch and my mother in law helped me sew the cutest wine glass coasters ever, so someone remind me to tell you guys all about that when I have some extra time as well. It was definitely awesome! :)

I definitely had a better holiday weekend than most of the people from Cherokee County, SC, where I'm from. As you probably heard on the news (it's been all over CNN and Fox!) there has been a serial killer on the loose in Gaffney, and 5 people dead. Most people knew at least one of those killed. It's been a sad, scary week for everyone. At least they think it's finally over. Supposedly a man killed by police today during an attempted burglary near Dallas (a little town that's not too far from where Hubby & I live!) is believed to be the same man as the Gaffney Serial Killer, so I'm so glad that our prayers were answered & no one else lost their life to this crazy man.

Today, my daddy had his surgery to remove his tumor. This morning Hubby & I got up and met my parents so that we could be with her while he was in surgery. He did well and has a 3 inch or so incision where they removed the tumor, with stitches. Once it heals and they take out the stitches, he'll start radiation for 4 weeks. Thanks everyone, for praying for him & my family. Cancer is a very scary word, but I'm thankful that his doctors believe his will be easily treated. I'll keep everyone updated in the weeks that follow.

Also, this is gonna be my last post for a week or two. We are heading down to Pawleys Island & Myrtle Beach this weekend for my best friend's birthday and for a fun weekend on the Carolina coast, and then embarking on our first real road trip as hubby and wifey. We'll be heading to Fort Myers for a week and spending our vacation on the gulf coast, then cutting across Alligator Alley and driving up the A1A before stopping by a the home of friend who recently moved to Florida to spend the next weekend with him. A few days after we get back, we're going backpacking and camping at Crowder's Mountain with my cousin & his wife. Needless to say, I have about a 3 week vacation ahead of me. Ah, this is the life! We've saved and saved for this and I'm so ready for it!! :) With all this vacationing, I might not be able to update the blog for a while, so bear with me, I'll tell you all about it when I get back and catch my breath.

I'm currently in a tizzy to get everything I need to be done finished before the weekend. My research papers for class are all half-way done and due TOMORROW so I need to get off here and finally finish those off. My class, which as you know I've thoroughly enjoyed, ends on Wednesday and we leave for Pawleys on Thursday, and somewhere between there I have to get all our laundry caught up,get the house clean, and recruit our lovely friends, family, and neighbors to be house-sitters, garden harvesters & flower waterers, pool cleaners, dog-sitters, fish-feeders, and mail-getters while we are gone, on top of packing, making up our vacation itinerary, and finishing up everything for summer school. ACK! I'm slightly overwhelmed!!

Well, the coffee is now brewed and the blog is now updated, so I've gotta get to work on these tiresome research papers. Wish me luck. I can't wait to tell you all all about our wonderful vacation when I get back! Love to all!

Post-vacation addendum:
Here are the pictures I promised to share!

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Friday, July 03, 2009

My Child-Dog

So I finally have proof that my dog is indeed a person and not just a dog. Just a few minutes ago, I stepped outside to pick some blackberries off of our bushes (I have to do this before Hubby gets home from work or else he eats them all & I'll have none put up for cobblers & pies this year!!) and I left the door open behind me. Now, if you are from the area, you'd know that there has been a ton of murders this week in the county where I grew up & where my parents live- just 20 miles away. So everyone including me has been on edge. Anyways, I come inside, wash off the blackberries and put them into a bag in the freezer. Well, I start looking for Bella, our dog. I search the house over & realize that the laundry room door is shut- and I know I didn't shut it before I went out. I get all nervous and call my mom and go & get a large knife and walk through the house with the knife and phone looking for an intruder who may have stepped inside while I was outside. Looking in every closet, behind doors, etc, I finally check the laundry room and open the closed door. Bella is in her "house" (her crate) with the crate door pushed to. With the house empty, I can't figure out for the life of me how this door got shut and Bella's crate door pushed closed (but not latched) and we just assume it's a ghost or something and laugh it off, saying oh well. About 5 minutes later, I walk into the laundry room and see that Bella has peed on the floor in front of my washing machine, and it dawns on me. The crazy dog punished herself for her accident. She must have realized she was gonna be in trouble, went and pushed the door shut with her nose, got into the crate, and pulled the crate door to with her paws, knowing that when she does something like this, we put her in her house and shut the door. It was so funny. When I saw the pee, I said, "Bella..." kind of sad, calm sounding (the voice you use when you're not mad but disappointed in your kid) and just quietly pointed to the mess. She lowered her head and gave me the puppy-dog eyes and walked back into the house.

I'm telling you- the fact that my dog punishes herself for messes and knows what I mean without me even saying it is proof that she is more of a child than a dog. <3

I love my four legged child.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

This sucks.

Kidney stones suck.

If you've never had one, I pray that you never do.

I think I've had about 14, counting this one. I started getting those tell-tell twinges of pain in my side a few weeks ago, and last night they got so hard and frequent, I raided my medicine cabinet for pain pills I got during my last episode with a devilish stone. I went to bed and slept like I was out cold. This morning, the aches are dull, constant, and I feel nauseous. I've been through this dozens of times, so there's no use going to the hospital or the doctor. I just gotta drink water and get through it on my own.

Not to mention the fact that the one time I had to have surgery to remove one, the surgery and the effects of the antibiotics was wore than the stone. I had a stent put in, and waddled and wore Poise pads for a week since I had no control of my bladder and the medicine made me throw up every time I moved. I was dehydrated and felt like I had "heartburn of the vagina" or so I supposedly told my nurse as I was in the hospital. Yep, no desire to experience that again.

This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to cook and clean for company Friday evening, have 4th of July plans with the family on Saturday, and 5- count them 1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE research papers due on TUESDAY! I still haven't started on one and have to do the research for 2 of them. Ugh. Plus, another 1/2 a bushel of beans to break & can and photos to upload for class. OH, I just remembered my library books are a day late, too. :(

Plus, Daddy's surgery to remove his tumor is Monday.

Kidney stones are little demons. They purposefully come and attack you at the most inconvenient times.