Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus!

This is our birthday cake Ava and I made (excuse the messy toaster oven). It tasted a lot better than it looks (I let Ava do her usual poking around before I thought to take a picture). The red velvet (as apparent from the crumbs showing through) and cream cheese icing were really good. The most fun was the toasted coconut for the hay in the middle. The writing gel didn't do as well as it usually does, hence the blobby stars of david on the sides.

Ava told us she loved aaalll her presents. We went a little overboard this year since we couldn't do much last year. Not that that's the point of the season, nor does she know the difference. But nevertheless, let's just say her birthday not being too far off, she won't be receiving as big a load. We stayed in our jammies all day, just the three of us. So it was nice and low-key. We normally like to leave the big gatherings to Thanksgiving, so Ava can stay home and not have to leave her playing. We will, however, go see mawmaw Jennings Saturday and then my momma's Monday. So Ava will be excited to open even more stuff. I really need to go through her toys again and make another donate bag.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday, Christmas Edition

The ending being the most important and true fact...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ramblings For The Day

I'm sitting here trying to talk myself into braving the store for a few things I wanted to get for Christmas dinner, and one last gift. But, it's cold, windy and raining somewhat, so it wouldn't be hard to talk myself out of going, would actually be much easier. I'm also thinking about all the wrapping I have to do tomorrow night. Which reminds me I don't think a couple things I ordered on going to make it on time. On top of all that, trying to make up my mind about supper for tonight. So now I have a bit of a headache.

Ok, enough complaining. I did think of a cute way to do our Happy Birthday Jesus cake. I'll post pictures even if it looks strange. I'm doing red velvet for one thing, and I've actually never had that kind before. I've heard it's just like chocolate.
Kevin has to work Christmas eve and the night of Christmas day, so we'll be doing Christmas at home this year. We did family for Thanksgiving. But, I don't think he has to work New Year's eve, so he won't have to kiss Jeff (his coworker) at midnight haha.
Ok enough rambling, time to get it done. (I would say 'er instead of it but I can't stand that)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bittersweet Day

They just announced that the skeletal remains found in Orlando are in fact those of little Caylee Anthony.
I don't particularly like to post about sad current events, but I have been following this case closely. Maybe because of her age, so close to Ava, or maybe just that the entire thing has been so tragically saddening. I say bittersweet because it is a relief to so many that the main question has been answered officially. And also the relief that she is in the best place she could be now, with her heavenly daddy.
Do I believe that the mother did it? I believe in innocent until proven guilty, but whether or not she did it, God will see to justice served ultimately.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Merry Christmas to all!
My Christmas card I made. And yes, I did model it after a certain expensive card site.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My First Black Friday

For some insane reason, for the first time, I decided to brave the stores on the biggest shopping day of the year. I did not make it up as early as I'd planned. Which was too bad, because they were already out of a few things I wanted to get. It was packed in the few places I went, but not quite as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't have much luck with most of my list. The things I couldn't find I'll have to search for online. Part of my list I had already planned on doing that anyway (especially ebay and amazon's private sellers). I just thought I might could get a good deal on some things by going early.

One thing I got on sale was our Christmas tree. We decided to get a new one because Kevin wanted one with multi-colored lights instead of the all clear we had (which was wearing out anyway). We thought Ava would enjoy it more too. I put it up last night, the earliest I've ever put up our tree. If it were up to Kevin, it would be left up all year. He just really enjoys looking at it, as he is a big kid. I forgot I was going to look for a new star yesterday. The one we have is so heavy, I have to strap it to the top branches. I'm just thankful I don't have fight with the section of lights that I had to on the old one for the past 2 years. We did get it in 2002 though.

Now I'm going to vacuum up my mess. I was just too worn out last night (I did three loads of laundry in between). That and the rest of my long to-do list.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Has Come And Gone, How Sad

Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for, I wish I had time to list them all. I am really so thankful we are not in the same place we were this time last year. But, we're not looking back, and are hoping to improve even more on that next year.

We had a good day with the family, but to be honest, I really didn't enjoy as much as I'd like to have. Because Kevin had to work tonight (he works 7 on, 7 off, so no holidays off), the whole day was pretty rushed. I had to rush around to get everything ready to leave, then, of course, every one's in a hurry to get all the food ready, then we didn't get to stay all that long so Kevin could get back for work. I had to take dessert with us along with the left overs. I did try to take my time to enjoy eating the main meal, but we didn't have time to be there much later on when we all usually eat some more. Not that I even needed to be eating what I did the first time, but it's part of tradition. Even if a bad one.
The good thing, though, is everyone made it and we were all there for my mother in law. Ava didn't eat much of course, but she was busy having fun playing. The youngest there was 9, I think, but she didn't care. The food was all very good. Including one Irish potato casserole that I have to get the recipe for. I tried to look it up online, but couldn't find one with what seemed like the same ingredients. If anyone has a good one, please email me.
I am thankful for all God provides everyday of the year, but days like today are just a little extra gift. Even if they do wear you out, it's in a good way.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Definitely Thanksgiving Time...

Because I have not cooked this much in one day since last Thanksgiving, or maybe Christmas. And I'm not even hosting it at my house! We are actually going to Kevin's mother's. This is the family's first major holiday without their daddy, so it will be different and a little tough. But they all know he's spending this Thanksgiving in heaven, the best place to be for any day.

So, back to the cooking. I have been charged for the past few years with making my variation of green bean casserole and dump cake. I never even really liked green bean casserole until I tried this recipe. I will post it below (I thought I got it off food network's site, but now I can't find it). The biggest difference is the heavy cream and cheese that make it so much better (to me anyway). I am also making homemade macaroni and cheese (also from food network, paula deen's recipe). I'm just trying to cut down on how much Kevin's mother has to do. She's already doing the turkey, dressing (best ever, also makes oyster but I don't eat it), sweet potatoes, and some desserts. Probably some other things I can't think of too. That made me think of something. I meant to ask her if I needed to bring some extra rolls. Oh well, there will probably be plenty. Oh, and I'm also taking a couple gallons of sweet tea. She usually only has diet drinks and sugar-free tea, but I have to have sweet tea on a holiday.

Ok, I'm going to check on the cake. For some reason I always have a hard time getting it done all the way. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Green Bean Casserole

4-5 cans cut green beans
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped finely
2 cups sliced can or jar mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup white cheddar, cut into small cubes (if I can't find white cheddar, monterey jack does fine)
1 can fried onion rings (family size)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large skillet, melt butter, then add onions. Cook about 2 minutes.
Add mushrooms, cook them til they start to brown.
Stir in soup and cream. Bring to a simmer.
Stir in cheese, melt thoroughly. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Stir in green beans and toss to coat.
Transfer to a buttered casserole dish.
Top with fried onions and bake for 30 min. or bubbly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick Update

Ava's eyes are officially pretty much fine. They only really get concerned if the eyes are crossing in more than out. The eye muscle is fine and she has 20/20 vision (which means she has escaped the inevitable glasses for now). He just said to keep an eye on her and if it gets more frequent or tends to get stuck off to one side to come back. Poor thing did not like the three sets of drops to numb and dilate her eyes. Enough got in though, and she did great for everything else. They were actually impressed. And they did have a prize box for her to go through. They let her pick out several things, so Ava was equally impressed.

Car's headlight bulb was changed today too. Yay.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Past Week

Not much has been happening around here lately. I spent last week trying to get rid of the worst sinus junk I've had in a while. The past few times that Ava and/or Kevin have been sick I've been able to dodge it somehow, but said my turn was coming. I'm still sniffling and popping my ears, ugh. I'm just thankful it's better now.

Ava and I made a trip to Memphis Friday. We spent one night at my mama's. We really don't get up there often enough. Ava loves to play with mimi and pops. I had to stop by the bank (they don't have ours down here), because I somehow lost my bank card the week before. This time I got my picture taken to be on it, but hopefully it won't happen again.

Tomorrow Ava has an appointment with an opthamologist. For a few months now she does this weird thing with one of her eyes where she'll be looking off and it will go to the side. It's kind of hard to describe, I just hope she's not getting lazy eye. I know she'll probably have to wear glasses within a few years since both hubby and I do.

Speaking of hubby, I'm about to go make him get out there and change the bulb in my car's headlight before the rain starts again. It went out day before yesterday, and it's making me paranoid I'm gonna get pulled over. I passed 3 police last night with my high-beams on, and just knew they were going to turn right around to stop me. I don't trust the thing about having the bulb and receipt with you will keep you from getting a ticket.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 08

Ava started out with a lot of candy, some of the older ladies we live near each gave her a bag of goodies. She had a fun rest of the day, in spite of just starting to get a cold the night before, of all times. But she did very well. We went to daddy's work first. All of the employee's kids come by there to get candy from everyone. Later we went to the church for games and trunk or treat. She had a big time there, plus we won a door prize. Then went on to a few houses. She did not want to stop going door to door, running to each one. Of course, she now has enough candy to last her til next halloween. I can't believe it is now November!

Poodle cutie going to daddy's work

She did it!

Trunk or treat.

Gimme the candy!

Mama and Ava

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shouldn't Surprise Me

Oooookay, so much for my concerns over Ava's concentration and attention, at least for Candyland. Now, after just the first few (of unknown total number) times of playing, she has it mastered to the point she beats me. Although she doesn't yet comprehend landing on a card that sends you backwards is a bad thing.
Also, we worked on the letter L with all the leaves around now. She picked up a few and we painted one side to print on paper. They didn't want to cooperate though, so she painted the whole sheet(s).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Halloween reminiscing...

First one, a bit young for trick or treating, an outfit we already had.

Second year, little ladybug, rained that year.

Last year, cheerleader again, that's a scarecrow if you're wondering.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trekking Along The Preschool Path

First of all, it has finally cooled off here! Yaaay! I almost complained about it being too cold last night, but then stopped myself, and remembered how short-lived this coolness/cold always seems every year. That and I've been counting the days since late spring for this day. I really do love it, hubby especially does, and so does my hair (hates heat and humidity).

Moving on, on today's preschool home school agenda was learning to play another new board game, Candyland. I love using board games as learning tools. There are so many aspects to use: colors, counting, shapes, letters etc. depending on the game. We dove right into the candyland, but then had to backtrack a little and do a little basic practicing. She was having a little difficulty understanding we were following a path to win. She would try to move her man to any square of the color on the card. So I stopped and had her follow my finger as I said different colors I to move to. She seemed to do better. We'll work on it.
I think I'm going to cut back the computer games for a while. I think it is affecting her ability to concentrate and follow one thing at a time. On the computer (mostly nick jr. and noggin's sites), she can just skip to the next thing if she can't catch on or gets bored. I noticed with this board game (not all the ones she has), she didn't want to stay with her man and what was just ahead, but would even move to a square way back (right color, wrong direction). I don't know, could be her age too.

Aaaaanyway, another thing I thought of today to work on is lower case letters. She knows all the upper case, but has difficulty with most lower. I think I'm going to make some flash cards with the upper on one side and lower on the other. I also want to make some number flash cards. She can recognize 1 through 9, but double-digits are a challenge. Her favorite art thing is painting. We're working on coloring in lines, and scissors for that area too.

My challenge is keeping it all short and simple. That's for her attention span and my patience.:)

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Miracle To Report

The little 2 yr old girl, Natalie, I posted about before that was receiving treatment at St. Jude for a brain tumor has just been declared tumor-free! Apparently, the doctors there have been able to shrink it so much that it is not even visible, they're saying gone. I don't know any other details right now, but I think that's the most important one. God just completely turned upside down they're bleak prognosis.
Hopefully, now the family can plan on a brighter future with her (the dad could not bear to even think of it before). Praise be to God for this amazing miracle!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Now, Randomly Speaking (something I'm good at)

I have been tagged again by another friend Tiffany to do a quirky list of 7 random things about myself. I thought, at first, it was only kitchen items as Tiffany did hers on, but then I actually read the directions more closely. hello.

1. I met my husband through a blind date set up by my cousin (not with a cousin). She was later my matron of honor, mainly to thank her, but also we were close growing up.

2. Because breast feeding didn't work out (preemie-related problems played large part), I pumped all of Ava's milk for one whole year (2/21/05-3/9/06). I was determined that every bit of milk she had was breast milk, even if it meant pumping at several times every day and night. I even had an adapter to plug it into for when we were on long trips. I did actually miss it some afterwards, but not the monthly payment for the hospital pump (only way to go for full-time pumping).

3. In high school, I really wanted to do something in marketing one day (was even in DECA, a high school/college marketing club). I liked the creative aspect I could express myself in.

4. I have flown (in an airplane) only once. That was to Cancun, Mexico for our first anniversary. It was a great all-inclusive resort.

5. I'm a bit of a history buff. I love to research and find out interesting info on towns, its history, old houses and buildings, people etc..

6. I love artsy/craftsy stuff. I like to sometimes find projects and add my own touches. I did scrap booking for a while, but kept neglecting the books I'd start, so I do some digital scrap booking now.

7. I prefer old movies and tv shows to new ones. Some favorite movies: You Can't Take It With You, The Shop Around The Corner, Little Women (30's version), The Thin Man, etc.. Some tv: Andy Griffith, Ozzie and Harriet, Dick Van Dyke, etc.. Now it's like they're from a whole different world, not just time.

I was tagged, therefore, I tag:

I'll have to decide on that later. I've taken too long just to do the list right now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Try to control your laughter...
Over this past weekend we celebrated Ava's official potty training achievement. We didn't do anything big, but I did make the cake I bribed promised her once she was doing it all in the potty and without me begging each time. It did not, however, turn out anything like I was planning. I ended up having to do the frog and kandoo a totally different way, which is why he looks like he had botox injections around the mouth and eyes. Then the piping I did around the whole thing did not work out because the tips for the squeeze tube icing kept popping off (that's also the reason for the terrible "ava" and "it").

But, Ava, of course, did not care and loved it anyway. She had to have candles on it, 5 to be exact, for some reason. We let her put it on her table and poke around on it all she wanted. I also got her a few balloons, which is one of her most favorite things.

Yes, she had just woke up as she looks. I finished the cake while she was napping.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Honestly Speaking

My friend Jill has tagged me for a list to confess four things that may be difficult to admit in my life right now. Actually that was several days ago, so maybe I should add my procrastination to the list. Being that I am pretty critical of myself most of the time, it shouldn't be too hard to come up with some. The hard part will be narrowing it down to any number.

1. So I'll just start with me specifically. There are days I feel I am not doing enough to be a godly wife and mother, ok there's a lot of those days. One thing I sometimes feel guilty about even though I know it's one of the best things I can do for Ava, is not working outside the home. This is mostly because of the financial aspect. I just remind myself that just because we don't have every little luxury there is, that no amount of extra money would make up for the things I would miss with Ava. Another thing that would actually create more guilt if I did work elsewhere is my feeling unable to keep everything spotless and organized all the time. I sometimes feel I am constantly straightening with no results to show. Also, would be my inability to plan meals, homemade of course, for at least a week. It just never works out when I try. This is mainly due to my husband's deciding he wants something totally different from my plan mid-week on. Who, by the way, reminds me regularly how grateful he is for all I do and of course, how much he loves me no matter what.

2. Then there's Ava. I am usually quite critical of my parenting skills. I guess this stems from being a first-time parent of only the one child. Am I doing all I can to raise her to be the selfless child of God I hope she'll be? Am I doing what I should for home school preschool? Do I let her eat too much of the wrong things? Does she get enough exercise? Am I choosing the right ways to discipline? These questions could and will go on til she's 18 I'm sure. But then when she's living her own life somewhere I'll be going back over them wondering if I'm the cause when something goes wrong. At that point I hope to be able to just hand it over to God and pray for the best.

3. I'm getting frustrated with myself on my weight. I don't have the will power I had several years ago when I lost so much so quickly. Granted, I don't have the same reason I did then. I should be able to do it for myself and my family now. Exercising, when I do, is not enough now. I just don't want to ever let myself get up to where I was before. I never got to my ultimate goal weight, but now it seems soooo far away. After Ava, I had just 10 lbs left (to the weight just before pregnant) for the longest time, now I know that has actually increased. I want to set a good example for Ava early, by staying active and eating right.

4. I know I don't make enough time for God in my daily schedule. Which I feel especially guilty of since I'm at home so much. I am working on this. I have been trying to get up before Ava at least by an hour to read the bible and talk with Him. I know that the above things along with others I could continue to list could be more easily dealt with by doing so more regularly. I know he doesn't want me piling these insecurities on myself, but rather bring them to lay before Him to guide me through. Instead of telling Him how I don't know if I'm doing this or that right or complaining about things I can't do anything about at all, I should remember the verse "Be still and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10 and know He's there to take it all.

The Rest Of It

For all those I left in suspense with the picture of my finished project yesterday (ok, mainly Tiffany hahaha). This is the rest of the costume they call poodle cutie.

Which, btw, I found online for less than half the price of other sites, so I had to jump on it. And because it didn't come with the shoes, I decided to find a way to make them since she'd probably never wear them again ( Mine are a bit different. But I got to looking at a picture of the real thing and decided they needed to be more authentic (in my usual obsessive way I do most projects).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Look what I finally finished (never mind the dirty carpet)! They are for Ava's halloween costume.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Birthday Shmirthday

(uhm, that's gonna need a few more candles)

My birthday was yesterday, and my age is already catching up to me because I forgot to post like I planned last night. The day came and went just as I wanted, quietly with my little family. No big party, just dinner out at a new place since I don't really have a favorite down here. We actually went all the way to the big town of Cleveland (MS that is), to The Pickled Okra. We had heard it was good, and were expecting a small country place. What we didn't know was it had bar and grill tacked on to the end of the name, but that's ok, so is a lot of other places like Chili's. Being smaller, the bar was much more of a focal point, so it felt weird having Ava there, but they did have a children's menu. It did create the downside of not much of a non-smoking area. But those things were easily forgiven once we got our food. Just about everything was great.

To keep this from turning into one big restaurant review, I'll just give highlights. The appetizers were very good (I always have to try the spinach/artichoke dip everywhere and Kevin had to have fried mushrooms which I don't like anywhere). My shrimp and crawfish pasta pascagoula was really good (actually better than I thought it was going to be, as I'm not a huge crawfish fan, but like it if it's not too strong). But then I try to get something new to me at a new, to me. Kevin liked the majority of his seafood platter. Ava seemed to like her chicken and fries (no big shock). We all shared the vanilla bean cheesecake for dessert, as I did not have much room left for more than a few bites. No, I did not mention it was my birthday, I never do at restaurants. Aside from trying to keep Ava off the small stage in front of the big expensive large screen t.v.'s (it seems she had an appetite for performing more than food), she was actually pretty well-behaved despite us giving into her rare plea for coke. It helped also that she slept part of the 45 minutes it took to get there. Which, by the way, I'm not sure if I'd make that trip again specifically for this place, but if passing through or near it I would certainly go there again.

Now, as far as my saying turning 31 was going to be harder than 30, it's, of course, not that bad. I just think it's a little surreal now that I am not just 30, but officially "in my 30's". I know, that sounds crazy, but I just can't help but think of when I used to think over 30 was so older, and so far away. But, I wouldn't want to go back to the age when I thought that by any means. No, everything God has placed in my path over the years, good and not-so-good, has been a blessing. So, I look forward to the years left He grants me, and see each one as becoming wiser and closer to Him (as in knowing, not as much seeing ;) ).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Almost "Frog Cake" Time!

Well, folks, I think Ava has finally just about graduated potty training. She has number one mastered, has for several weeks, but number two every time just hasn't been as easy. But, for the past week, it has all been in the potty! (I'm knocking on wood as I type.) She has been pretty excited each time, so I'm hoping she'll keep it up. She loves to show us the lovely shapes each time, and of course, we get excited and cheer for her too. Actually, she just had me go in there, and she showed "fellow" too (her pocket-size imaginary friend).

So, now she has been reminding me of the promise I made to make her a cake with the Pampers Kandoo frog saying Ava Kandoo it!, but I told her we'd give it just a little longer to be sure. I told her early on I would make it once she was completely going on her own and doing both one and two (peepee and poopy to her, but I hate to keep writing that) in the potty only. I'm going to give it till next week, then we'll have a little party for her. I'll post a picture of the cake if it turns out decent. Maybe I won't get into copyright trouble.

She has taken a little longer than most kids, considering she's over three, but like I said before, we had a lot going on during the first time we tried. Then again, kids can be ahead of others in one area more than other areas. I know she's still progressing just fine, if not ahead, in most other things. As in the home preschool we've been working on.

To update that, we've been doing some workbooks (one is for 4-6 that she's doing pretty well in). We also do a numbers/letters board game, and some art. She loves reading so far, and likes to try to tell the story by the pictures and what she remembers it saying. I decided to forgo the kits out there for now, and just do a few activities that I know she'll like each day. Trying to keep it simple as her attention span is about the same as her peers. We'll save the more scheduled kits for kindergarten. I just hope I make it that far.:)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Get movin'! (me, that is)

I forgot to mention last week that I have started exercising on an elliptical machine we were given by some friends. They are cleaning out to get ready for a new baby. They didn't really like it anyway, but I don't get that, because I love it. I have never been able to get into treadmills, but this is different, and actually much better for you because of the low impact on your body. It's kind of like a stair master in a circular motion. I just moved it up to level 2, and am at about 15 minutes at a time now. I'm hoping to be at 30 min. within a few weeks. I like also that handle bars are movable, so you get a little upper body workout too.

When Kevin used to frequent the gym (several years ago now), he always said this was his favorite piece of equipment. I have wanted to try one since then, and it was one reason I agreed to fit it into this apartment. But that means it's not in a room I can just shut the door and forget about it. It's actually in the bedroom, so I'm pretty much constantly reminded. That's a good thing, though, considering just dieting doesn't seem to be working like it used to. I knew that day would come, and figured it would be about now, seeing how I'll be 31 the week after next!
Oh, man, that could be a whole other post, I think 31 is gonna be harder to face than 30 was.

Anyway, this also means no more excuses about not being able to go walk. It always seemed to be something. The weather, scheduling around Kevin's weird work schedule, couldn't take Ava or she'd whine the whole time about the playground equipment, or some other something. So now I'm determined to keep it from being a clothes tree, and make it work for me. I've found it's a great time to listen to more than just music, like books on cd, sermons on the radio (I listened to a Charles Stanley broadcast the other night), you can even prop a book or magazine above the display panel thing, but I haven't tried that yet. Not sure how that would work, might cause some kind of motion sickness like reading in the car.

But any which way, I hope I can keep it up, and do highly recommend this machine (or trainer as they call it), to anyone looking for a good cardio workout at home.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's Up?!

Ok, a month, really? I know it's wordless Wednesday, but I'm not allowing myself to have it that easy this wednesday!

Anyway, not too much all that exciting has been going on. I've been working on researching home school preschool programs for Ava (which I've been doing for forever it seems). Meanwhile, we've been working on some educational activities. Which, really we've been doing for a while. It seems I've always tried to incorporate educational activities as much as I can. I found a web site that has a list of what most preschools teach, and she pretty much knows and does much of it. We did just start working on scissors and glue(sticks). I think she has inherited my creativeness (if I can call it that), and she does well on computer games (which have taught her an amazing amount of stuff) like her daddy. She also loves to be read to and pretends to read telling a little of her own story, so I hope she will always have that love. I just really hope she loves and does well in math, unlike me. Kevin didn't love it either.

Another big hope for her education is that I can stick with the homeschooling. I've heard and known so many that have done so well having been home schooled. I tell you though, one of my biggest inspirations to really give it a go was the Duggars, you know the million kids family. The mom home schools them all, and I figured if she could manage all of them, I could handle one.

In other news, last week we made a trip to Memphis, mainly because I was craving good barbecue (although I did find another place here I want to try). We ended up on a bit of a wild goose chase for my favorite place, Whole Hog Cafe. When we got there we were met with a very sad sign (for two reasons), reading that they're general manager had passed away. The sign said they closed in January, but I was just on their website and they didn't mention it at all. So, we decided to try their other location (they actually have others in different states also), and it had been closed too, actually the place already for rent. Why they didn't mention that on the other location's sign I don't know. So, needless to say, we ended up going somewhere else, and not barbecue. I felt bad for them, but I was so disappointed.
Oh well, we may have to make a trip to one in Arkansas where they're based sometime. With gas prices as they are, that may be a while.:(

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Ava will be exactly three and a half tomorrow, and since I cannot believe she is already, I thought I'd reminisce with the first picture of her.
My little 4lb, 13.8oz preemie.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trip To The "Better" Walmart

The other day I needed to go to Walmart for just a few things, and since it was the only errand I had that day I decided to make the little trip to the one in Grenada, about 30 min. north of here. I call it the better one, because, well, it is. It's just laid out better, and each department is better supplied. They even have some things they don't carry at the one here. Plus, Ava likes it because they have a game room and little kiddie rides in the lobby. Also, they have a McDonald's in the back with the life-size Ronald sitting on a bench Ava has to visit (and kiss and hug). The drive is not bad, there's some scenery with the hills in the area, and it's a straight shot off 82 on 7. It's still a bit far for regular Walmart trips since ours here is only 5 min. away.

This particular trip ended a little different. As I was about to pull out of the parking lot, I saw a Petco van that had some dogs inside, and the windows were not even cracked open. Although not as blazing hot as usual, it was still very warm, and more so inside a car. I felt so bad for them. They were jumping around barking. I found it ironic the van also had the IDA (In Defense of Animals) logo on the door also. So, I decided to snap a picture (I had the camera because Ava told me on our last trip she wanted me to take a picture of her with Ronald next time), and email the organization.

I sent an email that night, and got this very prompt response:

Hi Amy,
Thank you for writing and for bringing this to our attention. Our staff would never leave a car unattended with dogs in it unless the air conditioning was on. The van you saw was being driven by Doll Stanley,our sanctuary director, and she indeed had the engine running with AC on.We really appreciate your conscientiousness, caring and concern, and we could only hope that others would do the same in your position.
Your email and reminded us that it's time to send out an e-news reminding people to not leave their companions in the car.
Please let me know if there's anything we can do for you in the future.
Thank you for all you do for animals!
Valerie Mizuhara
In Defense of Animals

I felt better, but thought it a bit strange they left the van running in such a busy parking lot. I sent one back thanking her for the quick attention and response to the matter, and that I was glad to know they were in good hands. I then got this additional response:

Hi Amy, Thank you for your vigilance. Doll's dog was the one shown in your photo. She is very aggressive when anybody comes near the car, which is another reason Doll has to keep the engine running and windows rolled up.

She also sent this, today:

You reminded us that it was time to send this out.

That made it even better, and I let her know how glad I was the organization is out there, and to extend my thanks to Doll. Glad I thought to snap the picture. And here's the one requested by Ava. (Just as I moved around to get one from the front, she jumped up and ran to play with the little video game they have).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Pawpaw!

Saturday would have been Kevin's daddy's 72nd birthday. Kevin had to work, so Ava and I went to Greenville to spend the day with mawmaw. The three of us along with one of Kevin's brothers went to the cemetery. Mawmaw wanted to release a happy birthday balloon that she said would be going up to pawpaw. She let Ava do that, and at first she just took off with it like it was a kite, pretty funny. I was a little concerned she would get upset having to let it go, but she actually enjoyed watching go up. Mawmaw did very well. She does pretty well most days now.

Ava is still a little confused when I tell her pawpaw is in heaven, and we can't actually see him now, but we will again some day. She called him on her play cell phone on the way back and told him we brought him a balloon and happy birthday. But then, poor thing, she started crying when we turned into mawmaw's drive saying she didn't want to go back to mawmaw's, she wanted to go see pawpaw. She remembers going to see him at the nursing home. She said she remembers him giving her hugs and playing with her. She's just at that in-between age where they seem to understand a lot of things, but can't fully comprehend all concepts. We had a nice rest of the day with mawmaw, and she was very thankful we came to help her through a tough day.

A burpy-surrounded Ava on the way back.


First, for hubby. He had the tests on Friday. Of course, he didn't find out anything about the CT, but the carotid ultrasound was clear, praise God. I know the CT won't be clear, but we're hoping the area won't be too much worse. We're also hoping won't have to wait until his follow-up with the dr., or even his neuro appt. to find out. I would think if it's significant we'll hear as soon as it's reviewed next week.

I meant to do a one-week potty update on Ava last week, so I guess this will be the 2-week. We're not quite there yet, but she is definitely making progress, praise God again! She has been going in the big potty for most times she needs to go. She has even gone in two potties outside home in the past week. She's still working on catching it in time, but is getting better. I can definitely tell a difference in last week and this week. We all get excited and cheer big every time she makes it to the potty. I think the light at the end of tunnel is starting to flicker!:)

Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Another Prayer Request

I can't believe I'm just now getting to sit down and post this, it's been a busy day. Now that it's so late, I only have a minute. So, to make it short, please add Kevin, my sweet husband, to your prayers today. He had a kind of mini-physical today, and the biggest thing is they want to do a CT tomorrow to check on possible TIA's (mini-strokes), which he had also back in January. That was due to a slow leak type thing in his brain he was diagnosed with then, and, yes as a man, he's just now getting it rechecked. Also, he is to have a carotid ultrasound to check for blockages. He had some other more minor things going on, but those are the biggest. Please pray all goes well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Special Prayer Request

There's a very special little girl I'd like to ask you to remember in your prayers today. Her name is Natalie, and she's just two years old. Natalie has a brain tumor that she's been receiving treatment for at St. Jude. Her prognosis is not good.

She and her parents, along with her five year old sister recently moved back down here to Greenwood. Kevin has been close friends with her daddy for several years. They were living a very normal life in Alexandria, LA just several months ago. Her parents quit their jobs and moved to Memphis just after her diagnosis. They decided to move back down here (they are originally from this area) to be close to the grandparents so they could keep her sister during visits to the hospital.

She has already had a six hour brain surgery and treatment they weren't sure she'd make it through. By the grace of God, she did. It has affected her pretty significantly though. She has problems with one eye, she has lost much of her strength, and her speech development has regressed. She is currently going back to St. Jude every two months to keep a check on the tumor. Please pray that on her next visit, it is has not grown, and that her strength comes back very soon.

Of course, please remember the whole family. Her daddy admitted to Kevin for the first time last night that he just can't even think of her future right now. I can only imagine what they must be going through. They have had many blessings since moving. Another one of Kevin's friends here helped get her daddy a new job. Her mother is a nurse that actually used to travel to different to places, and could probably find one easily here, but has decided to stay home with the girls, understandably. I am planning on getting to know them better myself, and Ava will have some new playmates. I hope that we can be additional support for all of them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Giveaway Over At Friend Tiffany's Blog

Speaking of Jeremy's family, his wife and another good friend, Tiffany is having a giveaway on her blog. She is working on a new recipe book that needs your individual favorite recipes, and one person will win a Starbucks gift card! Click on this link, and leave a comment with your recipe to enter!

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Awesome New Blog!

I have recently added a link (see column to the right) to a great new blog from Center Pointe Community church in Orlando, FL. My good friend from Murfreesboro, TN, Jeremy (he and his family recently moved down to orlando to further his ministry as pastor there), has just helped create their new blog. It has all kinds of great information, like book recommendations and online bible studies. Be sure to click on Pastor Jeremy's name, and let him know what you think!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

No! No! Bad Dog Mommy!

I've been afraid to even look to see the date on my last post. I do think about posting everyday, I just haven't been able to get myself to sit at the computer long enough to do one. Another big, frustrating to say the least reason, though, is my computer is still yet to be fixed (I hope I can get through typing a whole post). Now, my husband is telling me I have to find a certain cd that I can't find since moving. Surprisingly, I have been keeping up with reading all the blogs I like to check often. So, this time I'm not making any promises to myself, I just need to work harder at self-discipline (and my husband-discipline).

Which, leads me to my subject for today, potty training. I know, that doesn't seem relevant. It is in that I've decided part of the problem I'm having with my nearly three and a half year old, is me, my inability, it seems, to not be consistent enough with her. Either that or I need to toughen up. I've read several books, even have a video. I get all pumped up, and tell her today's the day, all peepee and poopies go in the potty only. I'll ask her several times if she needs to go, and of course, most of the time she says no. If she has on panties, she'll usually hold it, and if she has on a pull-up, she just goes in it. It does not bother her at all to go in the pull-ups. We've tried several different incentives (from stickers to Chuck E. Cheese). I know, for one, I need to be more forceful in telling her to go in there and at least try when I know she should need to go. That, and I probably shouldn't just put a pull-up on her when going out somewhere.

Soooo, I've decided that just like I went to the pull-ups full time, not using diapers at all anymore, I need to do that with panties. I've also decided to replace the potty chair with a potty seat on the big toilet. I'm hoping this will also help when we're away from home with only a big toilet. I don't think that should cause any confusion, since she does like to get her step stool and sit on it closed when I'm in the tub. I've told her that's the way to use the big potty like mama.

Also, today, like once before, I explained to her that no peepee or poopy is to go in the panties, she must go to the potty if she feels it's about to come out. Except, this time, I made sure she practiced a few times right after my explanation. We'll use pull-ups at night for now, but really, most mornings she's pretty dry now. Which makes me think I need to get on the ball cause she's way past ready. At least, I think. I'm hoping it's just been either her stubbornness, or my lack of experience and not some sort of developmental problem. Which I really don't think is it, considering she shows no delays in any other way. I really want to help her get through this soon, so she can attend dance or gymnastics classes she's talked about (yes, I did tell her if she went on the potty everyday, she could do). I've gotten the advice to just let it go, and she'll do it when she's ready. But with her turning three and a half next month, it's just making my own anxiety about it worse, which I know doesn't help me or her.

I've been praying for guidance, but would also appreciate any tips from others out there that share or have shared in my plight. 'Cause I'm really feeling like the big fat mommy failure considering my big plan oh so long ago was to have trained by two and a half!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quick, What's My Motivation?!

Diet #1 million, take one! (that little graphic is supposed to be animated, oh well)

Ok, first of all, my computer is about to drive me to the edge. It's been having problems off and on for a while now. I will be so glad when my computer geek husband finally decides to fix it. It's like what they say about doctors making the worst patients, computer people are the worst with their own (or own family's) computers.

Aaaaanyway, let me move on while it's working, for now. I just started another diet yesterday. I think I'm doing pretty good so far. I've got to figure out how to get some real walking in though. It is just too hot here to do much. I'd either have to get up at 5 or go after like 10 at night. I may have to figure out something to do inside, I have always wanted a spin bike. A friend of ours is getting rid of their elliptical thing, but I'm afraid if it's too hard I won't stick with it. Or I could just stick a picture of me from about seven years ago on the fridge. It was around then that I lost 50 lbs on my own. It really didn't take that long either, but then trying to win this certain guy helped that along (rolling eyes). Not hubby...that was just before him.

I started ballooning out in high school, and just kept going til around 180. The lowest I got to was 127. I was pretty impressed too. I don't remember exercising much, I just didn't have much of an appetite. Now, of course, I don't have that particular motivation and being 30 now doesn't help either. But, I'm pretty motivated...I think. I'm definitely working on it. I have never been able to get rid of that last 10 lbs after having Ava. Luckily, with her coming so early, I didn't gain as much as I probably would have (like to my high school weight). I have worked on it off and on, but I'm determined to get rid of that plus more now. I would love to get to my goal weight, which I didn't even do when I lost the 50. For my height, I should really be in the one-teens. I know to just set my goals for a reasonable amount at a time. It's just I know my metabolism and my will-power are not where they used to be. I don't have the best genes for it either.

Kevin has just started on his own quest too. He's doing weight watchers again. He's done body for life before also. He lost the most with that, but that is a hard one to stick to. He has actually considered the lap-band thing before. I know I would rather him do that than the gastric bypass for sure. I wish I could get the band, but I guess I'll just be thankful I wouldn't be a candidate for that. I'm kinda doing weight watchers too. I'm trying to convince him we need to go to the meetings. They have one place here. It's at a gym, maybe that's what I should do for exercise. Or maybe I should start by getting up from here!
Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

"I'm Meeelllting..."

To quote the wicked witch. The heat here right now (around 90, humidity 65%) is just oppressive, and it's barely June. That means it will only be getting hotter. I used to always dread coming down here to visit family and friends from this time til like November! You walk outside and it just sucks the air right out of you. Opening the front door is like opening the oven door. I don't know, maybe God provides this kind of heat and humidity (that seems to stay at 100%) for the type crops they grow here. There has to be some reason besides just making people miserable. I have always lived in the south, I know heat and humidity, but down here it just seems worse. Maybe because we're closer to the equator, but then it doesn't feel like this on the coast. There's like this suffocating heat belt cinching the middle of the state. I also don't like that it makes me moody (as obvious from my post here). I can see why the national murder rate goes up in the summer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Squeezin' In A Wordless Wednesday

Thought I'd start this, even though I almost forgot as it is almost Thursday.:)

I just love these for some reason, maybe it's my artsy side. I'd never even seen these until we moved here and saw them around town. Maybe one day I'll have one.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sharin' My Pot Pie Recipe Right Quick

I just made this tonight and thought I'd share the recipe that I had actually planned on posting for the Mommyfest potluck, but didn't get back on in time to.
I make it every now and then, as it's pretty quick and easy. I got it somewhere on the internet, but have tweaked it a little, as I do most recipes I find. One day I'm going to try a totally new way and change it to a beef version. I'll post it when I do. Or actually, if you have a good one, let me know!

Chicken Pot Pie
8-10 Chicken tenderloins cooked, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 can Cream of chicken and herb soup
1 can Cream of celery soup
1 150z can Veg-All
1/3 Cup of milk
2 Ready-made pie crusts, room temp.
1 Egg
1 9 in. glass pie dish

Preheat oven to 375.
In a large bowl mix the first five ingredients together.
Press first pie crust evenly into the bottom and sides of dish.
Pour mixture into dish, spreading evenly.
Place second pie crust over top, lightly score the center, and pinch edges together with the bottom crust. (I fold over the edges first all around rather than cutting off the excess.)
Beat one egg in a small bowl, brush it evenly over the top crust (don't forget the edges).
Place dish on a cookie sheet or shallow pan, bake 45min.-1hr., depending on your oven.
You may need to cover loosely with foil if the top is browning too much too quickly.
Allow to cool at least 10min. before cutting.

The egg wash gives it an awesome top crust.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Backsliding Already!

I can't believe how long it's been since my last post! And I claimed I would be keeping up better this time. I didn't even do the end of the mommyfest post. Oh well, I'll try to do better next year. We had a pretty busy week last week, but for the most part, I just haven't had much to blog about. We made a couple of trips to Memphis, the second was pretty fun.

One thing we got to do while there was the movies, and with the closest theater now being an hour away, it was a treat. We went to Peabody Place (a mall-type place in the heart of downtown Memphis) to see the latest Chronicles of Narnia movie. It's usually our favorite theater to go to, or at least it was when we lived on Mud Island (nice area way downtown, like right at the river) about four years ago. Unfortunately, it was a bit depressing this trip. Although it was a Thursday, there weren't many people at all there. Some of the stores had closed, including one restaurant we were planning on going to. We ended up eating at Jillians (a three-level games and food place), which was very good (in spite of one three year-old begging to play games). Which we didn't do a whole lot of this time, just as many as the free card that came with the kids meal allowed. I do hope business picks back up soon, and they're able to get in some new stores and restaurants. It's a great addition to downtown, and would be a shame if it just continued to go in this downward direction.

As for the movie, I know I know this installment is not exactly the best pick for a three year-old. But, we don't normally make it through much of any movie with her, and she really liked the first "lion movie" as she calls it. I didn't realize there would be a bit of violence right at the beginning, but then, I did know there was supposed to be more in this one. She was mostly interested in her little kiddie popcorn tray. She did get antsy as usual, but liked the talking animals and was excited to see the lion again. Believe it or not, we got to see the entire thing. Ava did fall asleep about half way through, which helped.
We really liked the movie. I always say the first of movies with sequels is the best, but this one was just as well done. I would love to read the series, but fear the movies may have ruined the chance to enjoy them. I wish I had read them first. The message was good and strong through the movie. The continuing battle of good and evil that will always be timeless. But also about keeping your faith strong even when others don't agree with you... at first. Aslan reappears to one of them after a while of them being away, but the others don't believe he has come back. That is until towards the end, when his help is provided to them when they need it most. The one he appeared to, at first wanted to just go along with the others, but when she decides to renew her faith in him, she's able to get Narnia the help they need to win back their rightful place there.
I know, don't start a movie review career, hope that wasn't too confusing. I am looking forward to the next one that will be out 2010.
Hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day tomorrow. Try to stay cool, like don't go outside at all around here! That is unless you enjoy turning into molten lava.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blog Party/My Intro

It's time for the Mommyfest Blog party! It is this week May 12-16. Just click on the link above to join the fun! This will be a great way to meet fellow mommy bloggers from all over. There will even be giveaways and contest prizes! I'm new to it this year, but I am looking forward to the fun!
Me and My Family, The Intro
Hi! I am Amy, 30, a stay-at-home mom who's been married to Kevin for over 6 years. We have been blessed with one, beautiful daughter, Ava, 3. We moved to MS from TN about 2 months ago, and it has been quite a transition. I just recently started this blog to help me through it. In it I post mostly about what we are up to around here, sometimes it's a bit of a rant, but I try to include how God is teaching us through it all, and how His blessings always shine through!
So, please stop by and let me know what you think, your advice on things, or just a hello! I love to discover new blogs to read! Have fun this week, I can't wait to meet you all!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

We All Have "Bad" Days

Ugh, we've all got sinus junk at the Jennings residence. Well, Bubu actually doesn't seem to have it as bad, very much a blessing. I just had to use nasal spray again, earlier than I was supposed to, because my head was about to explode. It's been here since the weekend, but mine actually got worse yesterday. I don't know where it came from, but it needs to move on along, quickly.

Also, this morning the car window didn't want to go back up (never thought I'd wish I had manual windows). It's been warning me, but today, it just said ok that's it, no more chances...fix me. So, with my sore little fingers, I just drove to the first auto-type place I could find. They tried, but, of course, couldn't fix it, so they referred me to another place. The other place got it up, but it needs a new switch, which they have to order, of course. For now, because of something he had to keep fixed a certain way, none of them are able to go up or down. Not that we put them down a whole lot anyway, but I just hope the air doesn't go out or end up in a lake.

Theeeen, I was at the store and had all the things in my cart to make this chicken salad I've been wanting to try my hand at, and the only rotisserie chickens they had cooked was lemon-pepper. It would be over an hour for the regular. I just took a deep breath and said I'd have to come back later.
Ok, one more, and that's it I promise. I got back home and took another cold pill and it got stuck. It seem to take forever to get down. They're liquid gels, but they could make them flatter, they're like a football shape. I know, big deal sniffle sniffle, but hey, it hurt... for a while.

But through everything, I know I need to remember the aphorism, I'm too blessed to be stressed. That's why I put bad in quotations. I should be thankful these are microscopic in comparison to the much worse problems of many people out there. And believe me, I am. I should be thankful just to have been awakened today, and that there are blessings to be found even in what we consider problems in our day. I am thankful I have medicine for relief (and that it did go down on its own), that they did finally get the window up (and I met some new, very nice people--that didn't charge me anything), and I wasn't going to make the chicken salad til tomorrow which means I would have had to reheat the chicken to be sure it was safe. Ok, I feel a bit better. Hope you had a good day too.:)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Delta Phenomenon

In Memphis, where I'm from, their thing is barbecue, everywhere you go, each place trying to outdo the other. Here in the delta, it's (apparently) hot tamales. Even the finer restaurants here have them on the menu. I guess you could even call them a delta delicacy. They even have their own tracking website

Up until recently, since moving here, I've been on a quest to find the best, or at least some good ones. There are a few variations of these simple, yet addictive little morsels of goodness. There's spicy or not, wrapped in corn husks or wax paper (both in bundles of 3-6), and cooked dry (steamed actually) or in broth. I have discovered that the majority you find here are spicy, in corn husks, and in broth (which most recipes of are highly prized by each cook). It's definitely something I'm afraid to try my hand at making. If you've only had the ones in the can, you haven't had a real hot tamale.

I have had them at one place in Greenville that were good, but I have just discovered even better here in Greenwood at KK's Delicatessen. This is a simple, unassuming little place that makes them homemade. I was pretty confident they would be a safe bet. And my confidence was proven, as they were great. When you buy as many as I did, (Kevin was pretty confident in them too), they come in bundles of six in a shallow broth in a roasting pan. You heat them up at home in the oven. I knew the aspects to judge on, not that I'm an expert, but I know what I like. They came through with it all. The cornmeal casing had just the right texture, slight grit, right density without being mushy. The meat filling was just right, in the amount, and tenderness. They were pretty spicy, but tolerable, and I think is what tamales need to give extra flavor.
I plan on trying more places (as long as they're homemade) while I'm here. I just hope they can live up to KK's.

They give a whole new meaning to the expression bundle(s) of joy.

Ok, I have made my quirky post for the week. I think I'll try to come up with one each week. Hey, you gotta lighten up life every now and then.:)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Greenwood Is Growin' On Me

I'm not quite ready to call Greenwood home forever, but it is not the dreadfully boring place I, well, dreaded. We've been able to do a few interesting things so far. Just last week I got to meet Alton Brown (of Food Network fame) at a book signing/talk for his new book Feasting on Asphalt. That was pretty neat. He was his usual witty self. He seems to be a great dad in addition to his food knowledge. I didn't get my picture with him, like others (my camera batteries decided to die just before).

One I snapped during his talk, not the best shot I know.

The bookstore it was held at is in a restored building downtown, as many businesses are beginning to move into. There's a pretty big renewal of the downtown area going on. There's one hotel there called the Alluvian that is actually on some kind of gold rating list on the Conde Nast site. That area, along with the rest of the town is rich in interesting history, especially pertaining to the civil war. I love to research the history of places I live or visit. There's also a blues museum, a cotton museum, several really good restaurants, and of course Viking headquarters with a great cooking school. Just a few weeks ago they had the River to the Rails festival downtown. They had different activities for kids, lots of food, crafts, live music etc. That was a fun event, especially for Ava.

Ava and bunny...

They had a dog parade...

Ava and piggy...

Better picture of cute piggy...

They had an antique car show...

Ava finally going down big slide
(after begging to, it took her several attempts)...

Ava on moon bounce...

We've also been to a few of the nice parks here several times. One great thing is Kevin's work is less than 5 minutes from where we live, so he's really glad to not have to deal with a long commute as in the past. Surprisingly, traffic can still get pretty congested for a town this size. So, along with being closer to Kevin's mother and family, we are finding good points to being here all the time. Like I said, it may not be forever, but I believe it's where God wants us for now, and we'll be blessed wherever that may be.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Starting Anew

Well, here I am starting yet another blog. This time I am promising myself to do a better job of keeping it up. I just hope I can come up with enough interesting stuff to share!
We were just recently uprooted from TN and planted here in Greenwood, MS. A place I never thought I'd end up. I like to think of it as God keeping life surprising and interesting, or at least that's been my solace throughout our transition. I've actually been pleasantly surprised by most of the town, so far. Considering our past year, we're, at the very least, quite thankful to be here. So, we're gonna try to make the best of it, and I think this blog will be pretty therapeutic, as journaling is for most people. It may end up being taken over by stories mostly about our daughter. She is often our comic relief, as kids usually are, and might be needed here too!