Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Jam 2014

Hey there friends!  Well, we finally got our snow here in Georgia earlier this week.  Lance and Matt and I had a lot of fun playing in it, but I just felt so bad for the folks who were stranded on the highways.  I was almost glued to the tv set watching the news about the weather system and the traffic jams.  

The system came in a little faster and a little further north than expected, so everyone left work at the same time and the chaos ensued.  Fortunately Lance only goes to the morning session at school.  We were home pretty early before the snow even started.  Matt was able to leave early, and his normal hour and a half commute only took two hours.  I was so happy to have all of us home.  I had some homemade cookies ready for him when he walked through the door!

Here are some of our pictures.

   Hope you all are safe and well!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Things are looking up

Hey there friends!  I hope everyone is having a good start to the week.  After I dropped Lance off at school this morning, I jogged two miles.  It isn't three (which is what most of the road races are), but I figure two is better than zero.  Speaking of fitness, I joined a gym today.  The opening fee was only one dollar and the monthly fee is ten dollars.  I'm so excited.  I'll probably have to quit after the baby is here, but at least I can get in a few workouts between now and August.  

Lance was a real trooper today as I dragged him all over town running errands.  I went by the doctor's office to talk to them about my appointment for tomorrow.  I have been so stressed because my updated health insurance won't go through for another month or so, but I was able to find out that tomorrow's visit will be less than fifty dollars.  Yeah!

We did have some fun stuff on the agenda for today though.  We stopped by Panera Bread for lunch, and we also went to a park.  Here are some of our recent pictures.  


Here's to hoping that this continues to be a good week!  : )
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Friday, January 24, 2014

Entertainment: books

Hey there friends!  I just wanted to share a few books I've recently read.  They say you either have the time or you have the money, but you don't ever have both.  Well, fortunately I have a lot of free time.  Reading has been a nice escape for me lately.  I also enjoy reading aloud to Lance when he is in the bathtub (captive audience).  


I recently started going to a book club at the main library in Covington.  Our January assignment was to read a book by Lee Smith or any Southern author.  So, I picked up Family Linen which was written in 1986 and is around 270 pages.  This is the first time I have read anything by Lee Smith.  She wove a dramatic family tale that is full of amusing and endearing characters.  The main character named Sybil goes to see a hypnotist who unravels a deep childhood memory of her mom killing her dad many years ago.  Upon going to confront her mother, Miss Elizabeth, she learns that she had a stroke and is in the hospital.  After the death of her mother, Sybil wants to keep moving forward to find out the truth.  Don't worry, I haven't given anything away.  This is just some of the drama described in the jacket cover!  Smith gives you the point of view from many of the family members, and sometimes it is hard to keep them all straight.  I'm glad I don't have too much drama in my own life, but peaking into the lives of these characters was an adventure.  

On a much lighter note, the book I Funny has had plenty of internet buzz, and had such a long waiting list at the library that I finally just bought it for myself for Christmas.  It was written in 2012 by the best selling author James Patterson who now writes children's books, along with Chris Grabenstein who recently wrote Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library.  Just a warning, you will absolutely fall in love with the main character!  The wheel chair bound, middle school kid named Jamie Grimm doesn't let anything hold him back of becoming a great comedian.  Humor was the one comfort he turned to after an accident years ago.  He doesn't want any favors or special treatment, he just needs you to listen as he tries out some "new material".  Coast along on his journey of being a "stand-up" comedian.  Don't forget to check out the newest in the series I Even Funnier.

A while back I braved The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot.  This time, I picked up one of her shorter books titled Silas Marner.  The copy at the library was so old, that it had a bookmark ribbon!  It was published in 1861, and it is 206 pages.  I was initially intrigued by the Wordsworth quote at the beginning, "A child more than all other gifts that earth can offer to declining man, brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts."  It is an amazing story of betrayal, slow moving justice, and redemption.  Eliot (whose real name is Mary Anne Evans), paints a harsh picture of backstabbing church folk.  Silas ends up getting the short end of the deal when he befriends some folks in his local congregation, but it all seemed a little heavy handed to me.  Overall though, I did enjoy this lovely novel.  Watching the very slow hands of justice turn in Silas Marner's favor is a story you won't soon forget. 

Lastly, Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster was exactly what reviewer Heather Gudenkauf wrote, "A haunting tale that will leave you breathless."  This 304 page book was written in 2011.  I came across it a few years ago on a blog I follow.  My library didn't have it, but I was able to find it at a yard sale for only $7.  I read it towards the middle of December when I first found out I was pregnant.  It was a time that I wasn't really feeling well, and this book was a really entertaining distraction.  Every time I would start to nod off, something really scary would happen to jolt me awake.  It was quite the ride!  The book starts off with a young couple inheriting a cottage in the English countryside.  Grace and Adam, along with their young baby Millie look forward to a slower pace of life compared to their London lifestyle.  A week in, Adam takes Millie out for a stroll in the snow covered beautiful landscape.  The mother, Grace, becomes very worried after a few hours.  She then finds the pram on the doorstep with her peacefully sleeping Millie inside...but where is her husband Adam?  Ride along on this sometimes lazy, sometimes jolting tale, and you won't be sleepy for long!          



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Monday, January 20, 2014

Just Relaxin'

OK, I'm not making this up.  There is a hormone that pregnant women have called Relaxin.  This is what I'm attributing to my being a little lazy lately.  As my crafting projects patiently wait for me, I've enjoyed hanging out with Lance, and getting caught up on my reading.  By the way, I'll do some book reviews soon!

I'm now twelve weeks along, and feeling pretty good as long as I don't get too hungry or too full which has been challenging especially if I do a little jogging.  I get so hungry and then want to eat everything in sight, but if I get too full I'll feel ill the rest of the day.  We're also trying to figure out our health insurance stuff.  It's been a headache, but hopefully it will all work out well pretty soon.

Lance and Matt are doing really well.  We're thankful to have had a minimum amount of colds and sickness so far this winter.  Lance and I went to the library on a rainy Friday afternoon recently, and he was a little disappointed that his computer station was already being used.  He kept walking over there...it was so funny, I had to take a picture. 

    
Well, I hope you all are doing well.  Talk to you soon!

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Faith Friday - You Version

At the end of October, I started using a Bible reading app on my smart phone called You Version.  It has been very helpful in keeping me on track.  The app has many different Bible versions, fonts, text sizes, and plans to help you on your journey.  It even has a highlighting feature. 


If you think you might be interested, you can check out their website at https://www.bible.com/.
(that is also where I got the picture)

With You Version you can use your smart phone or your computer.  Don't worry if you miss a few days, you can always go to settings and click on 'catch me up' if you are falling a few days behind.  I actually got about two weeks behind, so I used the catch up feature the other day.  My favorite part about this app is that you can have it read to you.  It is really nice when I'm feeling lonely and sitting in the parking lot waiting for Lance to get out of school, and I can have this man's voice reading me the Bible.  It is hard to describe, but it is just really comforting. 

And as far as the Bible itself....whoa!!  You want some drama?  Action?  Murder and mayhem?  It's all here!  Over the years, I have read through the New Testament a few times, but I have never read the Bible cover to cover.  Let me tell you, the Old Testament can be really dramatic!  I have recently started Joshua, but here is my take on the first few books...

Genesis - family drama
Exodus - more family drama and a lot of action
Leviticus - God's people are truly set apart, and He is so over-the-top in love with us
Numbers - God cares about the details
Deuteronomy - many warnings, and also many blessings...I have highlighted many verses in this book

I'm excited to continue this journey.  Hope you are able to check out the site.  : )



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Monday, January 13, 2014

Crepes anyone?

Years ago when I was on my own, I used to love to go to I-Hop on Saturday mornings and eat Strawberry Crepes and read the Weekend AJC newspaper.  After Matt and I got married I made an effort to make them myself.  It took a few tries to get it just right.  I do enjoy making them every once in a while.  They take a little longer to make compared to pancakes, but once you taste them you won't mind the extra effort.  Also, the good thing about crepes is that you can make them for any meal or even dessert.  You can stuff them with a cream filling, meat, fruit, or whatever you choose.  Have fun with it.  You will want to have the Filling and Toppings ready before you actually cook the crepes.  

Crepes 
1 cup all-purpose flour
salt
1 and 1/4 cups of milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix the flour, pinch of salt, and milk together while trying not to over-stir.  Blend in the eggs, and cooled down butter.  If you have the extra time, put the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour.  Or, you can just make it the night before if you plan to make breakfast crepes.  These cook up fast, so be careful.  Using a ladle, put some batter in a non-stick pan covering all of it, which is difficult.  Just try to swirl the pan a little and hope the batter keeps moving.  Make sure it is just a thin layer though.  They cook up in just a few minutes on medium heat.  Flip and cook for another minute.   

Cream Filling 
cream cheese
whipped Cream

I usually microwave the cream cheese for a few seconds to soften it.  Then just add in the whipped cream.  Use whatever amounts you like.




Strawberry Topping 
strawberries

For this particular time, we thawed out some strawberries we had in the freezer.  I just cut off the green leaf tops and put most of them in a food processor.  You can also save a few to place on top. 

Orange Topping 
clementine oranges 

I put a few peeled oranges in the food processor, and saved a few whole pieces to make the dish look pretty.

When you have the topping and filling ready, cook the crepes, put the filling in the middle and wrap, then add the topping.  Add a little whip cream to the very top.  If you have any powdered sugar in the house, you can dust the crepes with it to make it look extra special.  Let me know if you try it out. 

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lance's progress

I just have to brag on my big boy this week.  He is having so many little milestones lately, and his personality is really starting to shine through.  It has been so much fun just getting to know Lance!

Some of his favorite things to eat are chocolate chip cookies, bacon, Swiss cheese, and macaroni and cheese.  When it comes to the cookies or the bacon, he will take a few bites and then want a whole new piece.  This is how mommies get fat by the way.  I just eat whatever he hands back to me.  Although sometimes that little hand makes it's way across my plate to steal some of my bacon, so it all evens out!

When Lance and I are out running errands, he is always a little apprehensive about public restrooms.  Germs of the general public don't scare him, but those really loud hand dryers do.  He has to 'scope things out' whenever we walk into a restroom.  It is so cute.  I pretend he is my protector. 

The potty training is going well.  Lance just goes in the bathroom at home on his own.  I'll usually go in there with him to see if he needs any help.  It is a little worrisome when he not only takes off his underwear, but also his socks and shirt!

Lance does have Expressive Speech Delay.  The Pre-K program at school seems to be helping.  It is just a slow process.  When he does want to say something though, he will really let you know!  He loves to say train, truck, or bus.  There are many other words he says, those are just the main ones.  He says them very enthusiastically and loudly.  He is also really loving his alphabet letters lately.  I put the alphabet letters in his nursery, and he just lights up when we starting saying them. 

  
He also loves his new train sets he got for Christmas.  We have a few books and movies about trains that he enjoys, and Matt even got him a magazine about trains.  Lance looks like such a big boy when he is slowly turning the pages and admiring all the trains. 

Well, thanks for sharing this all-things-Lance post with me.  Hope to talk to you soon!


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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Home Tour - Master Bedroom

Hey there friends!  First of all, I just wanted to say thank you to those of you who read my blog.  It makes it so much more fun to work on a special project knowing that I will be able to share it with you all.  So, thank you!

Even though I have temporarily shelved the Master Bathroom project, I had a lot of fun redecorating the Master Bedroom.  I guess I just wanted to pick the easier project to do so it would feel like I'm accomplishing something.  

I didn't take any before pictures, but I basically just took the old pictures off the walls, sewed some new pillows, and rearranged the furniture.  The red couch, which was in the playroom, looks a lot better in the bedroom.  It is so funny how you can just reshuffle things around and make them look so much better.  We (hubby and I) did have to spackle the walls and repaint a few spots from taking down the old pictures.  Then, I rearranged the furniture, hung the pictures that used to be in the living room, and sewed some new pillows.  

  
Here are some more close up shots...


I picked up the fabric for the pillows at a local fabric outlet store when I went to get stuff for the bathroom.  It was a little pricey, but I like the way it turned out.  Thanks for sharing this with me!  Now I just need to get motivated to work on the bathroom project!  

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Monday, January 6, 2014

In Season

A new year of goals and resolutions is a good thing...just not in the dead of winter.  I told my husband the other day that we should all make these resolutions of health and fitness in May or June when fresh fruits and vegetables are more readily available, and the weather is more amenable for getting outside.  Well, with my husband's help, we were able to find a few helpful websites for looking up what fruits and vegetables are in season (in the US) throughout the year.  Here they are: 

This website has a good list of fruits that are in season at different parts of the year.  It is called Nourish Interactive, and it has some cute kid games on the website also. 

For this website titled Fruits and Veggies More Matters found here, you can click on the Meal Planning tab and then find the What Fruits and Vegetables are in Season? tab.  They also have a Healthy Kids tab where you can click on Kid Friendly Recipes and find some really fun recipes such as Technicolor Vegetable Pizzas and Banana in a Blanket.

Lastly, the About.Com website found here is really detailed.  It gives descriptions of many of the vegetables, which can be really helpful.

Yesterday I made a salad of cabbage, toasted pecans, and grapes...
For the dressing, I used Rice Vinegar, Sesame Seed Oil, and a few spices like Sesame Seed, Ground Coriander Seed, and Ground Ginger.

Now that we've got that covered, I sure wish some more pleasant weather could hurry up and get here!   


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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rocky Road Brownies

If you have been eating raw carrots and working out at the gym all week, then you probably need to take a sugar-break.  : )  I made these Rocky Road Brownies the other night using brownie mix (made according to box directions), chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and mini marshmallows.  I mixed everything together and put it in a greased pan.  If you want them to be a little gooey, just cook them for a lesser amount of time.  


For maximum caloric intake, add a scoop of ice cream...enjoy!
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Friday, January 3, 2014

Potty Training...so far, so good

This past week everything seemed to fall into place to start potty training Lance.  School was out, Matt was home with us for a few days, Lance is now three years (and three months) old, and we need a break from buying diapers for a little while.  We were going to try this back in August when I did this post.  However, things didn't work out...i.e., we gave up.   

A few days before we started, Lance and I ran a few errands and went out to lunch.  I received an Applebee's gift card for Christmas, so we went there.  Other than having a hard time getting him into the high-chair, he was a very pleasant date. 
So, I am glad we got to romp around town for a while because apparently potty training requires spending a lot of time at home.  Going to run errands could unnecessarily complicate things.  
   
On the first two days of the potty training I was starting to think I might need to rent a carpet cleaner.  At the end of the second day Lance was able to go in the toilet.  The third and fourth days have been going well with only a few accidents.  I have him wearing big boy underwear with a cut out pad insert from a cloth diaper.  Of course I still have the regular diaper on him at night, which I am told that phase will last for quite a while.  Here's a picture from the first day when we were all a little tired and stressed.  Lance watched a movie and then just passed out on the couch...ha!
Anyway, we're excited to see such quick progress.  Lance gets to put stickers in his sticker album when he has a successful trip to the toilet.  So cute!  

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review of 2013

  


In January I reviewed The Mill on the Floss, a 508 page well written, engaging, classic book that unfortunately does have a sad ending.

February brought the first of many road races, The Pancake Stampede 5k, in which I ran a 27:51.  It was 23 degrees that morning, but we did get a free post-race breakfast!

In March, after working as a secretary at a funeral home for a few months, I felt led to start up another blog titled Compassion Corner
  I also wrote a cute 10 Most Un-Romantic Things to Say post.

April brought Lots of Catching Up, and for May we had a Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Breaking a fifty minute 10K at the Torture Trail was not in the cards for June, but it did get me motivated to re-focus on my running.

July's heat did drive me back indoors long enough to read and review one of my all time favorite books, The Dark Tower and Other Stories.

 In late July I put in a two week notice at the funeral home, and I was even able to train my replacement.  The timing was perfect, and at the beginning of August I was able to start staying home with Lance again.  Our "staying at home" started off with a week long trip to Virgina with Matt's parents.  It has been so nice to go back to spending so much time with Lance!  I am truly blessed!

In September I ran a 24:47 in the 30the Annual Covington Fuzz Run 5k. 
 The theme was Back to the Future.  I was the 22nd woman overall and I got second in my age group.  Just being in the 24's should bring a smile to my face because it probably won't be happening again for a while. 

Some cooler October temperatures brought many trips for Lance and I to the library, and I decided to start up a blog for children's books titled Kelly-Belly Book Reviews.  
I was also able to share this Sweet Story about giving a Bible verse to a lady at church. 

In an effort to spruce up the house, I did a Laundry Room Renovation in November. 

December brought some really Good News that our little family will be expanding!  Once again, we feel so blessed!

Thanks for sharing these memories with me!  Happy New Year!
PS. Stayed tuned this week for Adventures in Potty Training, and a Bathroom Renovation....don't worry, one doesn't have anything to do with the other....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Italian Salad

When I hear the words Italian Food, I immediately think of delicious bread sticks and a big salad.  There is a local Italian restaurant that we sometimes go to that has really great salads.  After getting the ingredients at the store today, I couldn't wait to come home and make it!


Here is what I used: 

Romaine Lettuce
Cucumbers
Garbanzo Beans
Pearl Onions
Canned Beets
Mozzarella Cheese
Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing

The restaurant also used sliced mushrooms.  For the dressing, I just mixed some Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar using a whisk.  Let me know what you think!

Happy New Year!    

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our trip to Athens...Georgia part 2

As the previous post stated, we were having lots of fun exploring Athens, Georgia.  Although we had quite a ways to walk, we finally made ...