Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Things I Forgot

Many of the Presidents in the White House had pets. The most unusual pet we heard about was a raccoon. President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge had a pet raccoon in the White House. Now, that is weird.

President and Mrs. Truman had a summer, Little White House, in Key West. Sounds like a place we need to go visit....its educational, ya know? I took a picture of the Presidents Hawaiian shirt for Greg.

Sabrina, Katie, Amy and I toured the local JoAnn's store today...gotta use the coupons. We had fun looking at all the goodies and purchasing some of them.

Tomorrow we are going to the "Big Red Kitchen" for lunch. This is Sabrina's friend Robin. Her blog address is on my sidebar. It'll be fun to meet someone whose blog I regularly read! Seeing Julia Childs Kitchen and then the Big Red Kitchen, how much excitement can I handle in one week? Educational opportunities abound!

Today is rainy and nasty and cool. Greg has left to go to W. VA. I got an email from him cause his Verizon phone doesn't work up there. He claims that is where they send wayward mosquitos, there are evidently tons of the little biting creatures. Hopefully, he will find the bug repellent in the car.

Monday, May 25, 2009

We are in Virginia

Saturday morning we got up and started on our llllooonnnggg drive to my sister in law's house in Northern Virginia. In the middle of the afternoon, we saw a sign for the Russell Stovers Candy outlet in Athens TN. Of course, we had to stop and buy. We bought a 3lb. box of "bloopers" candy for $4.99, if we had bought the same size box of perfect chocolate it would have been $35. Just a bit excessive for our budget. For dinner we ate at the Apple Barn Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN. I have wanted to go there for years and never had the chance. When we were there after Christmas, we couldn't find it. Mom was in Pigeon Forge last week and told us how to get there. The food was really good. Then we drove to Bristol, TN to spend the night. We got to the hotel at 10:30 and we all fell exhausted into the bed.

Sunday morning we hit the road again. We stopped in Staunton, VA and ate lunch at "5 Guys Burgers and Fries"...really yummy! Then we went to tour Woodrow Wilson's home and Presidential Library. Did you know that he couldn't read until he was a teenager and that he couldn't ever write really well. As President, he either dictated everything or wrote in his own shorthand (that only he could read). We have toured the homes of Washington, Adams, Polk, Jefferson, Lincoln, and the summer homes of Roosevelt and Eisenhower. We have taken lots and lots of pictures with no restrictions. At Wilson's home, photography was not allowed. I don't even know why, very few of the items in the home were even the family's, most were reproductions. This didn't make sense, at all.

We got to Sabrina's and got lots of hugs from our niece and nephew. We ate a wonderful dinner and stayed up late talking and catching up with all the "gossip".

Monday was on to Washington DC and the Museum of American History. It was worth the wait and we had lots and lots of fun. We took tons of PICTURES of these national artifacts with no one telling us no. (Go figure!) We are not exactly sure what happened at one display, but either Eddie or I sat off an alarm. We both leaned over a display to look at it and the alarm sounded. (Did you know that folks used to use hair and plaster as insulation in houses between the outer and inner walls? We were looking at the hairy plaster when the alarm went off) After we ate our tremendously expensive lunch (4 lg. pieces of pizza and 5 drinks was $50) we finished the tour. They had a whole wing of American Inventions...toaster, vacuum cleaner, lightbulb, different engines, waffle iron, and marshmallow toaster. Yep, it was a little tin box that you melted your marshmallow in. There were lots and lots more but the kitchen gadgets stuck out in my mind.

Sabrina and I had a great time looking at the tv kitchen of Julia Child and all her dodads and gadgets. We took lots and lots of pictures there. Katie and Greg watched the cooking shows that played continuously on the tv's in there. That woman was such a character. Did you know she was 6 ft 2 in. tall? That was our last exhibit before our long hike back to the car.

I wore the pedometer today and we walked 3.02 miles (except for Katie, she rode that mileage). And that was just in 1 museum. We spent about 5 hours in that one building and didn't see everything. The Lord held off the rain until we got back to the car and then the bottom dropped out of the sky.

Greg and Eddie cooked us a delicious pork shoulder for dinner. Now we are sitting here, stuffed full of good food and exhausted. Got just enough energy to blog and then its bed time!

Tomorrow is another day! (hummmmm, where have I heard that before?)

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Night at the Museum"

We just got back from seeing "Night at the Museum". (We had to get ready to go next week) It was a really good movie. Greg got off work early and met us for an afternoon date. We have seen Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln, Sacagewa (spelled that wrong), and Amelia Earhart come to life. As Amy said when we left the theater...wouldn't it be neat to be there at night, but I know it doesn't really happen. Ahhhhh, she doesn't believe in magic anymore.

Now we are packing for our trip. The school books are staying home...shhh, don't tell them the museum will be educational! We are taking the wheel chair for Miss Kate cause the museum is huge. She is doing great at walking but wants the extra help. She is hoping to set off the detectors at the museum!

After leaving Aunt Bri's house we are headed to Smith Mtn. Lake in VA to spend a couple of days with the grandparents. The kids will love riding the jetski, swimming in the freezing cold lake water and eating sausage balls. I'll include Greg in "the kids" cause he will do all of the above. I don't jetski (tried it twice and the thrill escapes me) and the water will be too cold. I will however sit on the dock and take pictures. Maybe Greggie will take me on a boat ride!!!!

What are they going to complain about next?

We have some lovely neighbors who have become the "parking in the street or yard police" and turn us into the city or call the police. They obviously have lots and lots of time on their hands and have targeted our home. For the last year, we have answered the door several times to police or city ordinance enforcers complaining about the cars. OK, lets think about this....we have 7 kids, 4 of them drive and have their own cars AND we have 3 cars and an RV. Does anyone out there have a driveway in a neighborhood that can accomodate all of those vehicles?

Late every afternoon there are 1-3 vehicles parked on the side street (we live on a corner) at our home. It just depends on which older boys come to eat a free meal at the parents. They are usually gone by 8 pm. The police showed up at 6pm (dinnertime) and said there had been a complaint...James' van...and that if it wasn't moved in 30 minutes off the street, it would be ticketed or towed. Its not against the law to park in the road. It is against the law to park in the road overnight. James moved the van and Greg called the police chief to complain. Turns out the officer was under the assumption it was being parked all night there, wrong, and that we had a homeowners association that prohibited parking on the street, wrong again. Greg told him that if he came back to the street and looked from our driveway, he could see 4 cars on the street at different houses...he didn't want to come back. We have been targeted by some people with too much time on their hands.

So, we now have a 40 foot driveway in our sideyard for the RV and extra visiting children or grandparents. So what are the neighbors gonna complain about now?

According to city ordinances we could have a couple of chickens...hummmmmm, that is a possibility. At this point I would want some loud cluckers! I could borrow a homeschooling friends goat and stake it in the yard to be seen by the nosey folks! Amy wanted a loud mooing cow but we would called on because the yard is not big enough for livestock. Do they want to complain about our garden in the backyard or maybe my kids spashing in their pool or the smoke from the grill every weekend or maybe the flowers are too colorful in the corner flower bed. Good grief, get a life and live it.

Hopefully, there won't be another chapter in the continuing saga of the tiki travelers home. But who knows?

We are hitting the road tomorrow. On Sunday we will be arriving at Greg sisters house in No. VA and staying till Thurs. or Fri. Greggie has meetings in W. VA starting on Tuesday and the kids and I will be staying with Sabrina and hanging out. Monday, we are all going into DC and visiting the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Can't wait...have wanted to go there the last 3 years and it was being renovated. But now, its open!!!!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

American Idol

I will publicly admit that I am hooked on this show. It all started 5 years ago. A girl from Snellville, GA was on the show....Diana DiGarmo. Remember her? She was the 2nd runner up to Fantasia. I was teaching at our church's Wed. night childrens group and all the little girls in my group talked about American Idol (the results show was right after they got home from church). So the month or so of the show, Amy and I started watching. After the last "contest" show, we voted for the first time. Lets just say, Diana did not lose because we didn't vote. Allen got in on the act and voted for her over 100 times. I haven't seen her back on the show since then but she is on Broadway in different shows. Amy and I got to meet her at a meet n greet and she is a really sweet girl.

The next year was the year of Carrie Underwood. From her audition, to the end of the show, I predicted she would win. What an incredible voice. Then we've got Bo Buice, David Cook, and Taylor Hicks and all the many other wonderful singers.

Every season, its fun to watch who they bring on the show to mentor the singers. Guys and Gals I haven't seen for the last 20+ years. Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton John, and honestly some folks I have never heard of.

The last show of the season is always a Grand Finale and last night was no exception. Rod Stewart, Kiss, Cyndi Lauper, and many more. And even though its been 30 years since they hit the scene...Kiss still disturbs me. However...congratulations to Kris Allen. He is a great singer and seems to be a very clean cut, American young man.

And all you mama's out there...if your babies can't sing, don't encourage them to try out for the show. Some of these kids can't find a tune in a bucket and the moms are crying that the judges can't recognize real talent. Thats because it isn't there. I do believe that the Lord gave us all talents but some folks didn't get the "carry a tune" talent.

Now, what to watch on tv. Survivor, Amazing Race, H***'s Kitchen, NCIS, How I met your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Chuck, Idol, and CSI have all had their season finales. Hope the reruns are good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Before and After

This was our hallway at the front door.

Mom busted up the first brick!

Getting the finishing details done.

Sitting down on the job.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Many Hands Make Light Work

Many hands make light work or Praise the Lord, I am getting a new floor or whew, the foyer is done or man, we are getting old. Any of these titles apply to our weekend.

4 years ago, Greg bought this house for us. I generally like the house but some features I did not like. The first was the faux finishing in the kitchen. Vines and fruit are not me...my Mom and Greg's Mom both liked it, but not me. It is now painted over. Then it was my small oven...we all know how that was handled. Big oven now...happy baker! But first and foremost with me was the brick floor. Argh...this covered the kitchen, dining room, foyer, laundry room, hall and bathroom. A plus for this floor is it hides dust, crumbs, etc. But, I can't stand on it long barefooted. It is uneven and hurts my feet and legs. We spend hours in our kitchen...cooking, homeschool, etc. and my kitchen counters are my cutting boards for fabric. So the uneven brick is departing!!!!!!!!!! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!

Greg and I went to Lumber Liquidators on Saturday morning and came home with hardwood flooring for the foyer and living room (nasty, stained carpet). Now we are also going to do the dining room in it. I had the honor, priviledge and thrill of busting the first brick in the foyer! What an exciting moment! Greg, me, Katie, Will and Amy busted brick in the area. Allen got off work and came over to finish it off. Bricks were busted, lots and lots of dust was flying and I was a happy camper. Amy and Katie got quite adept at chiseling up the bricks and enjoyed the work. Will used his expert garbage skills to toss all the broken bricks in the can for us. Then Greggy treated all the worker bees to Mexican for dinner. Afterwards, we went to Home Depot and picked out a tile for the kitchen, laundry, hall and bathroom. Its a large (14 x 14) square and really pretty.

Sunday morning we went to sunday school and church. Then home for lunch and some more cleaning on the area that was under the foyer bricks. After it was cleaned, vacummed and mopped, the real fun began. James, Allen and Greg laid down the moisture barrier and started the wood. The foyer is mostly done except for trim work. That will probably get finished tonight.

It is gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone did an awesome job and really worked hard. We are going out of town on Friday for a week and then my Mom comes to visit, so I don't think anymore will be done for 2 weeks but that part is done.

And, I have walked barefooted on it and given it the Donna Seal of Approval! Thanks Greg!!!!!

Oh, if anyone needs to work out any aggression or anger...we will let you know when we bust more brick. You are more than welcome to come over and be aggressive with the old floor, and hey, its cheaper than therapy!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I have always used coupons to some extent but now I am really using them regularly. Here are some of my super bargains today....

I had coupons for feminine products. Walmart generally carries a small bag of these for $1, I had a $1 off one coupon...so it was free. I also had 3 other .75 coupons, so the next 3 bags were .25 each.

Kraft salad dressing. I had 2 coupons for $1 of one bottle. The bottles were on sale for $1.58 so after each coupon they were .58 each. Gotta keep Katie and Amy in Ranch and Thousand Island Dressing. This was at Walmart also.

Johnsons First Aid coupons for $1 off one item. I had 3 coupons and bought 1 box of bandaids, 1 box of gauze pads, and 1 box of butterfly bandages. they averaged about .60 after the coupons.


Suave deodorant .50 coupon off one, on sale for .99. Kroger doubled my coupons so I got it for free. I have scrounged lots of these coupons so we are set in the deo. department for a while.

Suave Shampoo and Conditioner coupons $1 off 2. Bottles on sale for $1 each, so after coupon they were .50 each. I have quite a number of these also.

Johnsons Bath Buddies Soaps.....coupons for .50 each. On sale at Kr. for .99, when coupon was doubled they were free. Then a coupon printed with my receipt $2.50 off 3 Johnsons products, so the next 3 were .25. Then another one printed...I will go back next week and get more. These will go in shoeboxes at Christmas for Operation Christmas Child for Samaritan's Purse Ministries.

Oscar Mayer Bologna is on sale for .99. Kraft coupon available for $1 off 2. So after coupon, 2 packages are .98. We bought 6 today (2 each in 3 different transactions). Katie and Amy each paid for 2 packs.

We always buy a Sunday Paper now for the coupon sections. You can go on many websites for products you use and see if they offer coupons (sometimes you have to sign up on their mailing lists for emails to get the coupons). Coupons.com is a great website to find printable internet coupons. The Kraft website has lots of coupons. A couple of weeks ago I went on websites of products we use all the time and thanked them for their product and told how much we enjoyed it. We got many, many coupons mailed to us from the companies. I didn't ask for coupons but I did send nice emails (if you do this, make sure you fill out your name and address when requested). There is also a website named Coupon Clippers.com that offers lots of coupons for a nominal handling fee. I have gotten coupons from them 3 times and never had a problem. Thats where all the Suave and Johnsons coupons came from. Cool tip I read on another blog...after you print the coupons, hit the back arrow and it will print again. Then you have 2 of the same coupon/s. You can only print 2 coupons, it won't let you print more than 2. However if 2 different sites have some of the same coupons, you can print 2 on each site.

Happy Bargain Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My First Sauce done on the Grill

I've been watching a bunch of Bobby Flay reruns on Bar B Que. He likes to put some kind of sauce on almost everything he does. So I tried it. My girls call my result fancy ketchup. I am leaning toward calling it a tangy steak sauce. I was grilling redfish when I made it, but it works good on steak too.

I melted 1/2 a stick of butter and added 1/4 cup of onions cut into small pieces. I sauteed the onions until the turned soft. I added the juice from one lime and 6 0z. of pineapple juice and one can of rotel. I also added a small scoop of brown sugar and stirred it in. I kept on cooking everything until much of the liquid was gone.

If I had stopped there, I would have had a spicy salsa topping for the fish I was grilling. By cooking it down the spice factor shot up. My boys would have eaten it and loved it, but it was a bit too spicy for me and Donna.

We then added 6 oz of tomato juice and I liquified it with a blender. It came out looking like ketchup but with a chili sauce flavor. Just the right amount of heat. I would call it mild. Somewhat like cocktail sauce but with jalapenos instead of horseradish as the spice.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sabrina's Birthday!

You wouldn't know it by here blog, but today is Bri's birthday. I searched thru my files to find the perfect picture to put in here. This isn't it. I fully anticipate getting hit in the shoulder for this, but it will be worth it. If anyone would like to see more embarrassing pictures of Bri, let me know. I am sure something can be arranged.

Happy Birthday Sis. You are a special caring and loving sister. You've helped me thru more than one though time and I appreciate you and love you.

I found the picture of you and mom eating the chocolate dessert strait out of the dish but decided not to put it here because it might embarrass you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Is it a good idea to do pirouttes 7 weeks after your ankle is rebuilt during major surgery? Ummmmm....NO. Miss Katie did too much at dance today. Her ankle was already swollen from playing in the pool all afternoon and this really did it in. It is bruised and swollen. I don't think this will be repeated any time soon.

She really only danced for about 2 minutes but it was 2 minutes too long.

Her participation in the recital in June will most likely be limited to walking onto stage.

We did show all the moms and kids her x-ray pictures today at the pool party. Impromtu science lesson for all! Shock and awe would be accurate descriptions of everyones reactions. They also got to see her walk. Go Franken Foot!

Pool Party

We had our 1st pool party of the year today. I have been on the Leadership Team of our homeschool group this year. I was the treasurer. I guess everyone thought since I "taught" the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace for our group this year, I could handle the account. I guess I did a pretty good job since I was "re-elected". OK, I agreed to do it again next year and no one else volunteered, so its my job again.

We usually have our leadership meetings at the local yummy McAllisters Deli. We have had some intense meetings that have lasted 2-3 hours. This was our last meeting for this school year and I wanted to do something fun. So we invited everyone over for a pool party.

Kim, Marie, Nora, Jeannie and Shannon brought their kiddies...John Thomas, Faith, Grace, Amanda, Branuen, Quaden, Shelby, Isabela, Max, Stephen and Carrie plus Katie, Will and Amy. Yep, 14 kids ages 2-17 in our pool and having a wonderful time. One of the benefits to homeschooling is that everyone is used to being with all different ages and they all get along. There were noodles, squirt toys, bubbles, and floaties. Many rides down the slide and lots of goodies to feast on. We even talked about a little "business" but not much.

It has been a great year serving with these ladies. Kim and Jeannie have decided not to be on leadership next year and I am really going to miss them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chili Rellenos

This was a new one for me. It started with roasted poblano peppers. I fire roasted them on the grill till they were blistered then stuck them in a bag for five minutes. The skin blistered off easily. Then I cut them open and took the seeds and goopy stuff out.

We had some left over taco meat and rice. I added that to some onions in a frying pan along with a small can of tomato paste and a can of chpotale peppers in adobo sause. First time I've used these. They smell wonderful. Like barbque sause. When the peppers hit the pan they let capsisum into the kitchen. We coughed and choked a bit, opened the door and turned on the fan.

I spooned the meat rice mixture into the opened chili with some cheese and just for giggles put some peach salsa on the side.

My face turned red, my hair started sweating, and my sinus' are all cleaned out, but dang that was good.

Happy Cookin'

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Frankin Foot Walks Again!

Can you believe This?

My baby has deck screws in her leg!

The two longs ones are into her growth plate. The dark part behind the screw is the only part of her bones that are not complete. The plate has 8 screws in it and is much larger than we thought. The plate is on the outside of her ankle.

The little mushroom looking piece was put into the bone where it split and the two broken bones are growing around it and it will strengthen the bone from now on.

Here is a picture of our babies first step!

We are so proud!

Actually she is doing everything the doctor told her to do and is healing much faster than we were originally told. She will begin transitioning to walking without the boot this week and should be out of it in a week or two. She doesn't have to wear it at night anymore. She over did it a bit today and it turned blue a bit, so she is under daddy orders to take it easy and slowly transition back.

Amy was so proud that she baked her a cake.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Weekend

I have decided that weekends are just not long enough. There just isn't enough time to get everything completed.

Friday night, the girls and I had a date with our favorite man! Greg took us to Backyard Burger to have dinner and then we cruised the aisles at Hobby Lobby looking for stuff. I bought lots of beads to make more beaded nativity ornaments. I have been using the Mill Hill beads but they are hard to find here and have to be ordered. So I have found an alternative on the jewelry making aisle that do great! So I have made the big switch. A plus to this is they frequently go on sale for 1/2 price, which is great.

Will and James went to the movies and drove through Mickey D's. afterwards. Then they all watched a Blockbuster movie here at home. We really live in the fast lane! Betcha didn't know the fast lane ran right through Mississippi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday morning, we all piled in the car and made a trip to Dunkin Donuts again. The kids got the chocolate donut with chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles. This was Amy's favorite. She kept telling me it wasn't too icky sweet (but ya can't believe Amy since she is a chocoholic). So, Katie gave me a bite of hers and Amy was right. Actually, it was a really good donut. My favorite is the apple and spice donut. It is filled with apple pie filling...really yummy.

We went and bought a bunch of pool chemicals. This supply should last us about 3/4 of the way through the summer. We also hit Home Depot and bought a book about building an outdoor kitchen. I don't know how elaborate we will get with this, it may just be countertops around our grills. But we are adding on to our decking so we need to decide what we are doing before we start.

2 of our new favorite tv shows are "Boy Meets Grill" and "Throwdown" both hosted by Bobby Flay. Greg is getting lots of pointers and tips and new ideas to try. A throwdown we watched yesterday was country fried steak and he challenged Paula Deen. Now that was a hoot! Of course watching these does make us hungry!

We got the corn and some more peppers planted and put cages around our tomatoes. The garden is thriving and we are looking to fresh produce.

Time to go eat lunch! Have a happy Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Grill Pictures

I got fancy this weekend.

Bar B Que shrimp.

Donna says I can do them again.

The veggies are egg plant, bell pepper, and onions. I have some TJ's Bar B Que sause in the skillet getting warm. That is our favorite sause right now from Trader Joes. It's really good and organic.

I brushed it on the shirmp and stirred them with some of the onions and bell pepper, kind of stir fry on the grill in my new basket. That's right, we went to Bass Pro Shop and dropped some stimulus money on Bar B Que supplies and goodies. Stuff like a jalipino rack. And a rib rack. And some dipping spoons. Oh and a steak hook. All kind of goodies to cook with. We went to the store looking for some fish to grill, but the didn't have what I wanted (trout or redfish) so we went with the shrimp. Donnas said "Yumm."

Here are the ribs from 2 weeks ago. I am looking forward to doing them again. Check out that smoke ring. Man that looks good. I'm wanting some ribs right now just blogging about them.

We got some more peppers today for the garden and got them in the dirt. Amy and Will hit the pool again. I got in and sat on the steps and got wet, but stopped there. It is still cold. We found some stuff that is an invisible blanket. Some kind of chemical that makes the water warm by keeping the heat in at night. Gonna try it out to see if it gets warmer.

Have a great day in church tomorrow!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Yahtzee & No School Friday

Ahhhhh, its no school Friday today! Gotta love it!

After the cleaning chores were done, the kids and I sat down to a rousing, rip roaring game of Yahtzee. We tweaked the original game a little and played Triple Yahtzee. Do you remember that? They used to make triple yahtzee score cards and you simultaneously played 3 rows. My Dad and I used to play this. They don't make the triple cards anymore, so we just made our own.

There are advantages to playing the triple game...every roll can count in one of three columns. You have lots of chances for the major point rolls...3/4 of a kind, full house, small/large straight. And YAHTZEE! Pretty cool, Will and I both got 2 yahtzees!

Disadvantage is, it takes a long time to play.

About half way through the game Amy said "hey, this is math!" Well, yeah! But its fun math!

Watch out for cheating though...one of my darlings (who shall remain nameless) will write down whatever in any spot. If this person rolls a handful of junk, they will write it down anywhere on the score card whether it goes there or not. Ummmm, NO, this does not work. Ya still have to be vigilant even in Yahtzee.

At the end of the game, when all the columns are added up, then you add the 3 columns together to get the winner. Today, the winner was................drumroll please.............................ME. Of course the fact that I have been playing yahtzee for at least 30 years probably has more to do with me winning than any skill.

It was a fun hour and yes, it was Math!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!