Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What a weekend!

Saturday and Sunday were full of fun. My Little Men had been pumped up about Saturday, and it turned out to be amazing!

Saturday started out with both John & Jordan having games at 9am. We had a power breakfast of yogurt and oatmeal and headed out into the light rain. I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing the teams pray before their games. So cool! I was glad their fields were next to each other. I stood between both hoping not to miss any plays. Jordan was really getting in there and John was running like a gazelle. I just love soccer! (It does help that my guys are playing!)

Joseph had his own set up in the rain. He traded off watching both games, taking pictures, and reading Archie. He was sure to keep the drizzle off of him and enjoyed staying warm (the Crocs don't make sense.) with a Cafe Mocha, breve style. What a life!

Colonial had a family fun festival beginning after the first set of games. The boys had a blast! The boys were a bit disappointed the Railhawks didn't come due to the rain (Colonial had made the call), but that didn't stop them from having fun! The gym was full of inflatables - bounce houses, slides, obstacle courses, and a bungee trampoline! John and I took turns waiting in line for over 2 hours for John and Joseph to have a turn. It was so cool!

In another area, the boys played all sorts of games for tickets. They all visited the prize table for many goodies. Joseph was addicted! He played until he could purchase itune gift cards... to share with his brothers - what a guy! There were many other activities, too... Jordan was thrilled to win at Putt-Putt! I was so proud of him; Jordan helped the attendant to one of the games for quite awhile. They all had such a good time. The best was still to come....

 RAILHAWKS... the local professional soccer game. I do believe my guys (all 4 of them) are fans for life. Okay, I may be hooked, too! The kids were thrilled to meet Swoops (mascot), while walking up the parking lot. He was personable. Once inside, there were more inflatables - bounce houses and hoop practice. We scoped out the place, got some dogs and found our seats. We had one exciting night watching the North Carolina Railhawks play the Minnesota Stars. I tell ya, some pretty unfair calls though. My voice was hoarse by the end of the night and I still sound froggy! This was the last game of the regular season and they're #1!... They did lose by 1, not worth mentioning. It was fan appreciation night. After the game, the players and the coach (so cool!) went around, gave high 5's and then autographs. The players signed the back of John's shirt, posters given to the boys (first 1,000 fans), our Railhawks ball, and even Jordan's DS! The coach thought it was really cool that Jordan wanted the DS signed and was happy to hear that Jordan plays a soccer game on it. All the guys were psyched to have their pic taken with Matt Watson. I'm tellin' ya, fans for life! In fact, hmmm, I'm still a little hesitant. We were looking at going to the Duke/FSU football game here on the 15th of Oct. Wouldn't ya know? That's the night of a playoff game! The boys are choosing the Railhawks over FSU! Unbelievable! Okay, now ya know where our family will be on the 15th!

I think that was enough for Saturday night. :)

Sunday was another great day of worship at Providence. Tim and I were 'helpers' in Jordan's class. Fun! A few of the leaders at Providence have developed their own curriculum (and is available for other churches.) It's incredible! I love it!

Sunday afternoon we went to a neighbor's birthday party for their son. Desmond turned 4 and celebrated at Chuck-E-Cheese. Needless to say, my guys had a great time. (I couldn't believe they were still going!) Desmond was scared to go into the ticket booth, Joseph was thrilled to go in for him. (Jordan lost to the rock-paper-scissors.) Lol! I had never seen such a thing in action. Pretty cool!

I do believe I'm still recovering from the busy, but fun weekend.

On a side note.... We had salt burgers (yum!) and roasted potatoes one night. I'm surprised the smoke detectors didn't alarm with the burgers cooking. Yay! While shopping, the kids spotted Miami rolls, and begged for Fried Egg Sandwiches. I first had these while visiting my cousin north of the City (NYC.) They would be made with salt, pepper, and ketchup... or with jam. We do ours the savory way. Fry the bacon.... toast the rolls in the bacon grease, cook the eggs in the bacon grease, and then layer the egg, cheese, & bacon on the roll. Top it with salt, pepper, and ketchup and ya have very happy, greasy kids, lol!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2.51 inches of rain in 1.5 hours!

... and it happened while Jordie and I were at Awanas tonight. The lightning was following us there and it poured while we were inside. (He had a BLAST!!!! Yay!!!!! His new buddy was with him when they broke into small groups.) The ride home on Glenwood was slow. Many puddles caused splashing even though I slowed down, and it was still pouring! It's a good thing we took our walk earlier.

Hmmm.... I WAS excited to get Lily a harness. I thought she'd be sooooo happy to go outside and it would be safe. Ha! She was great the first day, really enjoyed it, never tried to get it off. She's clever. Miss Lily waited until we were off our guard. Yesterday, on went the harness and out went Lily, John, and Jordan. (The boys didn't have harnesses on.) She was enjoying the great outdoors. Jordan came in (I was out for a bit.) and while John quickly came in to get something, Lily, escaped from her harness! She didn't go far and is safe back inside. Hmph.

"Good Morning Girls" is a group I've joined. I'm loving it! We're going
through I John for 12 weeks using the SOAP method.

1. S- Write out the scripture passage for the day.
2. O- Write down 1 or 2 observations from the passage.
3. A- Write down 1-2 applications from the passage.
4. PPray over what you learned from today’s passage.

We get online with our small 'group' and share... sooooo rewarding!
Part of why I shared this is because I love getting up in the morning and having my QT (or now GMG) in this lovely chair in our bedroom. The view from our window is peaceful and is just a great way to start off the morning. I am blessed.

Today was nice. My Little Men (Young just doesn't sound right!) talked me into playing Mario Kart before school. I'm glad they did! Although, the wii version is much more stressful than the game cube. School is just amazing. I love to watch them discover, grow, and learn. What a blessing to be able to share so much with these guys. Before lunch we visited the club house (cookies were available for the guys) and then took our walk. After lunch and a little more school, we went down by the pool. LOL!!!! My boys were a trip! The water was in the 70s and they were COLD! They'd jump in and quickly get out. Finally, they stayed in for awhile. Back North those three would be in water when it was only in the low 60s ~ acclimating already! I usually bring down work, but this time brought down a book I'm reading, Redirecting Children's Behavior by Kathryn J. Kvols. Excellent read for parents.

Some nights our gang likes to have sandwiches. A favorite of the boys is grilled cheese. They like American, Cheddar, Provolone, or a combination. Tim got to work on theirs, while I toasted up baguettes for ours. He ended up with a roast beef sandwich, and I had prosciutto. We both had Asiago cheese - yum!

The other night was a favorite for me. I was at home in the kitchen while my guys were all hanging around. Tim and Jordan played chess at the kitchen table. John worked on copying his science report at the counter. Joseph chilled with his science book in the living room. I love having the smaller space. With us all in three different 'rooms', the chatter was welcomed.

What was I working on? Eggplant Fries at Joseph's request ~ the guys cleaned them out! It's just a simple batter of flour, salt, & pepper. The eggplant benefits from the same treatment as green tomatoes waiting to be fried... salt them and allow the eggplants to drain to remove some water. I put the finished 'fries' in the oven on low while finishing the Pork Scallopini (it's very quick after the preparation.). The pork is pounded thin. I like that a little goes a long way. The scallopini is finished with white wine, capers, and lemon.... Such an INCREDIBLE dish devoured by our entire family! Thanks, Dad!

 Today, I took some random pictures. I won't include them all. :) ... different leaves, barks, insects,.... I do believe John completely supports his Dad's dislike for spiders. Miles away he would stand (maybe not that far), when I took shots of any spiders. Even though no spider was near this leaf caught in a web, he wouldn't look.

 A beautiful yellow garden spider was near our mail kiosk. Spiders are amazing creatures, and have such interesting webs. We decided to let him hang and not try to keep him as a pet. The harness wouldn't fit him anyways. ;)

Goodnight, my friends.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


...should be outlawed on Sundays! I was soooooo looking forward to Providence this morning. UGH! Too bad Providence didn't have an afternoon service, lol! The boys think they should only be allowed on school days and they'd let me take the day off teaching. How kind. :) 
Tim and the boys watched Andy Stanley this morning. I guess he wasn't a hit once he talked about how the spouse was more important than the kids (and should spend time together out ALONE), lol! It did give us an opportunity to discuss it. I asked the boys if things for them were better when Mama and Dad were doing well or arguing. They all agreed life was better when Dad and Mama are happy with each other! They now like Andy Stanley and think we should go out more. :)

I'm enjoying the afternoon with my favorite guys. Yay! It's football season!!!! The Panthers are on (now that we live in NC, and the Bucs aren't televised (Bucs are losing.))... Go Panthers! It's been a good game. Green Bay did just get a touchdown though.

I do have one new picture to share. Jordan was awake and in the bathroom for awhile last night at 10pm.... I was quite surprised to see him 'shaving.' Not to worry, he doesn't use a blade.... not yet.


after thoughts

... I believe I'm finally caught up. :)

I am enjoying our new home and my family. I've been concentrating on them a lot and keeping busy as to not miss anyone. I do. I terribly miss friends, family, and places. But I'm thankful.

Thankful that we have an  apartment, a job, wonderful boys, and a God who loves. He's always with us. My mornings are filled with His Word and encouragement. It's amazing to see Him working in our family and others. Grateful.

Grateful also for wonderful conversations with friends and family, and visits too! ... technology :)

Although I feel lonely at times, I'm not. I'm very blessed. And with that I'll say goodnight. <3

Finally.... today

What does one do when they're up early, fed a healthy breakfast, and ready to leave for soccer games only to discover they're cancelled on account of rain and soaked fields? Here's what our house did...

Tim was already at work. He was up and out by 5am, which explains why I'm the only one awake right now. I enjoyed chatting with my folks while the boys played and watched some cartoons. Then, on to shopping. Harris Teeter. I do love that store! It was even better today with triple coupons and $2.97 milk! (Milk here is EXPENSIVE!)

 Once home, my Little Men helped with groceries, cleaned their rooms, and then grabbed the Life game. It was great having them set up at the dining table, chatting back & forth, the Ipod playing on the Bose, and myself in the kitchen.

Yep, the kitchen. That's where I spent the rest of my day! Happily!

First on my agenda was meals for another evening. Nothing like playing with the meat! I made a couple of meatloafs in a blanket of bacon, taco fillings for a couple of meals, and burgers for a couple more. The boys really want me to make salt burgers. I'm not sure that's a good idea with our touchy smoke detectors. They go off when the water is boiling or taco mix is cooking... speaking from recent experience here.

It was nice when Tim came home somewhere after the meatloaf and before starting on dinner. The kids continued to play Life and Tim was able to work on more work at the counter.... loving the stools!

Dinner was a combination of a couple of new recipes. From Best Country Recipes, I tried the Baked Potato Fans. The topping for it was amazing... homemade breadcrumbs, butter, Jack & Parmesan cheese, paprika, garlic powder, and s&p. We all agreed it'd be good for Cheese Toast and on  Mac n' Cheese. Good stuff.
My niece, Heather, had just posted about French Onion Bread Soup by Tracey Seaman from Rachael Ray's magazine (Mar '08). Thanks, Heather ~ it's a keeper! I picked up a nice baguette today for the soup along with gruyere cheese. We will add more broth next time (serving 5 instead of 4 and our baquette was a sponge!) and I'm thinking about mixing in a little gouda with the gruyere. It was delicious, though... perfect for our damp, rainy weather.

Tim's plate.... he does love his onions!
Goodnight y'all!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I have always enjoyed nature. As a child I couldn't wait to be at the beach, go camping, to the park, or just hang out in Granny's yard. Her landscaping (as well as my parents'... thanks to Dad) was amazing. I'm fortunate enough to have a husband and boys who love nature as well.

There are some familiar trees here and some not so familiar trees. The boys are working on a report of the tree of their choice. Once again we headed to Ulmstead Park. It was nice to have a wonderful ranger spend time showing us trees and a bit about them.

Jordan is sticking with our new (to us) state tree, the Flowering Dogwood. It is also Virginia's state tree and British Columbia's provincial tree. It'll be beautiful to see them in bloom come spring.
Joseph was really wanting to write about the Loblolly Pine and was thrilled to discover those are the pines in our apartment complex and most of the pines in the area. Nothing like a tree to make one's day! It's amazing how tall they are. Joseph did find one more his height. :)

A break from trees to show y'all the lizard we came upon. My first lizard in NC! Growing up in Florida, I loved watching lizards and trying to catch them. During trips down, my Young Men (still my Little Men), now like to do the same. We were all singin' and dancin' to meet this little fellow. The poor lizard thought we were crazy!
John chose a new favorite of mine. We had been finding these very intersting 'cones' outside our patio. Mom came up with the clever idea of using them for decorations, a wreath? There they were at Ulmstead's! Come to find out it's Sweetgum from the Witch Hazel family. The 'cones' are its fruit... a multicapsular spherical head filled with seeds.

I've include the pic of the shrooms amongst the trees, for I am a shroom person. I'm obsessed with the numerous different fungi. So beautiful and unique. So savoury or deadly. There were many around our Northern home I often wondered about cooking. Tim said his mother used to cook them up ~ yum!

<3  How do I ever make a heart for my blog when using the laptop? Hmmm.... help?

Still getting caught up...

The day my parents left, the 7th, I decided to cut school short and treat my Young Men to KungFu Panda 2. They'd been wanting to see it and having the $1.50 theatre here makes it easy. I loved just spending time with them and hearing them laugh.
John and Jordie's first games for soccer were Saturday the 10th. We're really liking the program at Colonial. My favorite part is that games begin with prayer. It's great to see the kids unite in prayer with God before attacking the ball. It's nice to see everyone playing and great sportmanship being kept a priority. Of course, there's nothing like teamwork to put that ball in the goal! (as long as it's not ours!!!)

Our cat, Lily, has her own 'mouse' to play with. It's stuffed with catnip. Was she ever 'happy!' She pounces around with her prized possession often. One of her favorite places to rest after is on the quilt I made for Granny on Granny's chair. I love sitting on this chair to read or do my quiet time. From it I have a peaceful view out of our bedroom.
Upon completion of reward charts in school, I took the boys to Monkey Joe's one day. We had never heard of it before. MJ's is made up of many different inflateables ~ bounce houses, slides, climbing, and mazes. What a wonderful place for kids to run and play! I loved seeing the beat red faces.

I'll close this post with one of our favorite breakfasts. Oatmeal. Back home, (oops.) Back in the North, we'd buy our oatmeal in bulk at the Mennonite store. I do miss Martin's Store! Occasionally, I'll make Baked Oatmeal, but usually this is how I fix it... cranberries, cinnamon, cayenne, a little freshly grated nutmeg, brown sugar (not too much), and some butter. My Men love it! It's a combo of Dad's fixin's and my own. There would be nuts in there too, 'cept for a couple of boys I know.


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Kitchen...

...is one of my favorite places. I love to cook, bake, can, and create. I also love to clean it up after... 'cept for mopping the floor, taking out the trash and scrubbing the hard stuff. That's why they're the jobs for the men in my home, both young and wise. My 'Young Men' (they're probably getting too old to be called my 'Little Men' anymore *sniff*) also enjoy the kitchen. They jump at any opportunity to help out. Even my pickiest eater loves to create.

My goal is to thin out the little collection of cookbooks I have. Hmmm, a close friend of mine believes I have a few too many and should actually be ashamed. She's right, I'm an addict. There could be worse things to be addicted to, right? (Nothing like blogging in the middle of the night.) Here's a pic of most of my cookbooks (Yes, most... not all.) There are also recipe boxes, magazines, and a binder. I did get rid of quite a few before moving though, maybe a dozen? Maybe.

My Young Men are helping the intervention... of trying what we want in each cookbook and then passing the books onto a friend who has only one cookbook, or tossing the book if the recipes stink! Here was a night from Italian Family Cooking.

We'll start with dessert because that was made first. How beautiful! Speckled Chocolate Sponge Cake. Joseph picked out the dessert. We had fun making it, and didn't it just turn out gorgeous? Well, my sweet tooth, Joseph, didn't care for it. It wasn't sweet enough, which is exactly why both John and Tim enjoyed it. I thought it was okay, but not for all the work. Give me Granny's chocolate mousse or Mom's Devil's food cake anyday!

John's dish was going to be lamb. Nope. This Mama would not be making anything from a poor defenseless lamb. No way! Go to Athenian Gardens if you want good lamb (or the orzo that goes with it.) Then he chose Herb-Stuffed Pork Chops. Let me tell ya, not only did we have fun making them, they were delicious! A definite keeper!!! We did butterfly the pork to stuff them. John and I decided we could also try pounding boneless pork (or chicken) and use the same stuffing. Yummmmmmmm!

Jordan decided to make Garlic Bread. Mind ya, all the guys did their shopping for their part of the night. Jordan wanted to make sure he picked out the perfect loaf. While working with garlic, Jordie decided he wouldn't lick his fingers when done next time. He did have fun rubbing it on and was surprised how little garlic you need for heat. I think his favorite part was brushing on the olive oil. Ours was eating it.

I did choose a dish, Zucchini with Garlic and Tomato, of which I didn't take a finished photo. The vegetable eaters really savoured it. The picky ones, well, they could tell it was veggies.
I'm hoping to have all the guys choose a meal like this at least once a month. Oh, they all jump in to help make dinner whenever I'll allow them, but having them plan it was fun.
I do believe I'm off to bed, but first I want to hop over to Amazon and look at this cookbook I'm thinking of getting. Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Simpson is suppose to have great recipes for getting kids to eat their veggies. What's one more cookbook?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not blogging frequently means I have a life, right?

Nope. It just means I haven't gotten around to putting pics on the computer and that I'm pooped by the end of the day! So much to catch up on.... will have to do it over a couple of days. I'm about ready to fall asleep now.

After Dad & Mom arrived and were given a super duper quick tour of the apt., we zoomed to John & Joe's practice. It was nice they got to catch a bit of it. Both boys met us with beat red faces... I really should take a pic of the church they practice at... Colonial. It's HUGE. It's nice they offer many activities for the community. Well, there are my parents, not resting after the drive, but watching the guys. :)

We did some games while they were here... marbles. Here they're all huddled jumping over each other's marbles. We played a little pounce. A wonderful game (great eye/hand coordination with speed) I used to play with Granny. *sigh*. Hmmm... it was fun, although not many people like to play or will play with me anymore. Hmph! I took it easy on all, though - 'cept the last round when I got to play my heart out! I am slowing down, lol! Arthritis will do that to ya. Oh, and a personal favorite, Canasta. That was for the grown-ups. My Little Men do love to play it, though.

My parents did receive a proper tour of the apartment, complex, and surroundings. We drove through William Ulmstead Park, which is just beautiful. In fact, the boys and I went there today. A trip to BJ's (this one is enormous! All North Country friends should take a trip down to see it, lol!) to get John and Joe's new glasses. Johnny was thrilled to get transitional lenses... and Joey was psyched with his Harry Potter look. What a pair!

Okay, well we must eat. At home we enjoyed some meatloaf and cheese pie. The pie was with spinach this time. Joe prefers the spinach (he's not a big bacon eater) and was therefore ecstatic! My kids amaze me at times with their food choices! Really, what's wrong with bacon?  Oh, yes, for Labor Day Tim grilled dogs out by the pool. (Don't worry. No animals were hurt in the process.) The guys even had a chance to swim for awhile.

Tim & I had been waiting for my parents to try an Indian restaurant here. We'd been eyeing Zayka's. Wow! Talk about delish!!!! It was incredible. I've enjoyed some fantastic Indian food before, but Wow! Amazing! We'll definitely be back!!!! Oh, my... see the pic? Joey's drinking a sample of Mango Lassi. We couldn't believe the size of his drink that came. My sweet tooth, Joey, couldn't finish it. (Good for him!!!).... Hmmm... still in search for a good Mexican restaurant. Harder than I thought.

Before my folks took off, we grabbed some shots... the view from our patio and the patio itself. It was nice to have them visit. We sure do love company. :) Y'all are pretty much caught up through the 7th.... Maybe tomorrow night I'll have a chance to write more. As for now, off to bed! Oops! Not quite yet. I do need to find a dollar coin for under John's pillow. :)