Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Most Feared Word in the English Language: TEENAGER

That's right, as of today, a teenager lives in my house. Even weirder, I gave birth to her. Our oldest daughter, Kora, in turning 13 today! What a bittersweet milestone. The title notwithstanding, Kora is actually a wonderful daughter and a joy to have in the house.

Kora is very musically talented, and loves horses. In some ways she's still a little girl, but other days I get glimpses of the woman she will become. When I think that she has only a few more years in our household, it scares me to death. There's so much I want to teach her, and I can't imagine the house without her.

But most of all, what I want to know is who gave her permission to go from this:
and this:
to this:
or this:
and this?!?
Happy birthday, Kora! Thank you for making me a mommy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sometimes you can't escape THOSE conversations even when you only have 2 of your kids with you...

I had to take Ashlynn and Brynna to our family doctor today for check-ups. I left the others at home with our oldest, who is now old enough to watch them for a little while.

A gentleman walked in after we had been there for a few minutes, checked in, then sat on the other side of Ashlynn from me. He was smiling at her and talking to her. Then he looks at me, then at Brynna who was sitting on the other side of me from Ashlynn, and asked me, "So how'd you manage that? A red head and a blonde?"

Me: Well, I've got a couple of brunettes at home, too.

Him: You mean you have FOUR kids?

Me: No, I have 6. I also have another red head and another blonde at home too.

Him (with his eyes bugging out of his head): You have SIX kids? You need to teach your husband what a television is!

I didn't dare reply to that one.

Him: You really have 6 kids? You don't look old enough to have six. How old are you, anyway?

Me: Older than I look, evidently. [No joke, I actually get this a lot.] My oldest is 13 and this (pointing to Ashlynn) is the baby.

Him: Six, hmm. (Silence for a couple of minutes.) Are any of them adopted?

Me, laughing: No.

Him: Did your husband have some already when you married?

Me, figuring this guy isn't going to give it up: No. I had all of them. I'm 36 and had my first when I was 23.

Him: You're 36?!? No way you look 36! (Turns to the 3 other people in the waiting room) Do you think she looks 36? I just turned 60! (Not sure what this had to do with anything.)

Silence for a minute.

Him: So, you had all of them yourself? Thirty-six and already have 6 kids. Are you trying to set some sort of record?

Me: No. We just like kids.

Brynna pipes up here: Especially girls!

Me, laughing: Yeah, they're all girls.

Him: ALL GIRLS? I can't even imagine having 6 kids, let alone 6 girls.

He went on to tell me a funny story he had heard from a Christian comedian about dating. I also notice that the tattoo on his arm says something about God on it. Then he continued.

Him: I like kids, too. I drive a school bus and it's the best job I've had in my whole life. You know what the Bible calls children, right?

Me: Yes, I do.

Him: It calls them blessings. And you've been blessed a lot.

Me: Yes, I have.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Moving On

We had a bit of a sad day today. Kora's been taking piano lessons from Ms. Penny for about two and a half years, and today was her last lesson with Ms. Penny. Ms. Penny is "handing her off" to the teacher in the conservatory that teaches the more difficult literature. In other words, Ms. Penny gets 'em young and gets 'em ready. We are so pleased Kora's progress during these last few years. Kora cried today, hugging her teacher 'bye, though she'll still see her often. But Ms. Penny will always have a special place in Kora's heart - and mine. :-)

This picture was taken after the spring recital in May.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Potluck Survival Guide

PhotobucketPotluck Survival Guide by Cherie Kimmons

Price: $18.96, regularly $24.95

I was really looking forward to getting a look at this cookbook. This is no ordinary cookbook; this book was written just for bringing dishes to feed a crowd. We have a small church and we eat together at least twice a month. This is not counting the get-togethers with other groups or with other families. Needless to say, I'm constantly looking for new things to bring.

The author, Cherie Kimmons, did a great job bringing this collection together. After years of bringing dishes to feed her kids' sports teams and other activities, she put together what is really MORE than a cookbook. She has guidelines for what to feed kids before a game and what to give them after, ideas for buffet meals (like a potato bar or waffle bar), a great chart for multiplying quantities of everything from meat and pasta to muffins for a crowd. She includes decorating ideas and even help if you are the one in charge of planning the entire menu for an event, not just bringing a dish or two. There are instructions on cooking up large quantities of the staples, such as boiling chicken or cooking pasta. She also has helpful hints on making dishes kid-pleasing. She emphasizes dishes that are relatively inexpensive and easy to make, though there is a lot of latitude in that. For instance her seafood dishes would obviously cost more, where as the macaroni and cheese would not.

The bulk of the book is spent on recipes. I was very pleasantly surprised that the recipes were not all casseroles. In fact, not all of them are main dishes. She has a great variety of side dishes (which is something I struggle with coming up with for a potluck), desserts, breakfast items, etc. One of my favorite features of the book is that nearly every recipe has notes on the side with ways to make variations of the dishes so that it can be made multiple ways. Some have alternate meat ideas, or different vegetable to add, a different sauce, etc.

Last week, I was able to make a couple of the dishes from the book for our church's potluck lunch, including one of the "Hall of Fame Recipes" which are select recipes from the book that are her never-fail-people-always-beg-me-for-the-recipe dishes. Both turned out very well. My husband particularly liked the Spicy Baked Beans.

The only downside to the book, and it is a small one, is that I wished it had more hints or directions on cooking for events when you can't cook it at home and then immediately serve it. For instance, at church, we make the dishes at home and then have to either keep them warm in a crockpot or in an oven. But we are all used to that, and it wasn't that hard to adjust the recipes I made for that.

I am looking forward to making more of the recipes in this book. I received this book free to review, but I would definitely have paid money for it if I had seen it in the store! If you cook a lot for groups, you really ought to look into it!

This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by Five Star Publications for this review.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Money Saving Mom, one of my favorite blogs, is having a 24 hour giveaway. She has 5 $100 gift cards to the merchant of your choice to giveaway. So head over here if you are interested in entering.

If you're not already a reader, be sure to stick around and read her blog!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.

Winston Churchill

Friday, December 11, 2009

What's for Supper - revised

I had to revise this 'cause I'm a total dork and forgot to add in the cheese.
Two XL pizzas, one pepperoni, one BBQ chicken.

$1 for the pepperoni (half a package)
$1 for the chicken (BBQ thighs from HEB I grilled then chopped up into 4 helpings and froze)
less than $0.20 for a couple slices of bacon
about $0.05 for chopped onion
about $0.20 for pizza sauce (maybe, maybe more like 10)
a few pennies' worth of BBQ sauce
a few pennies for the ingredients for the pizza dough (which took all of 3 minutes to make)
$1.60 for mozzarella cheese (bought in bulk at Sam's)

Total: Less than $5 for two XL, very yummy pizzas. It's virtually impossible to make ourselves order pizza delivered anymore, especially when the kids PREFER homemade pizza any day of the week!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


We got a check in the mail yesterday.

That doesn't sound like such an earth-shattering event, and it certainly wasn't a large amount, but the source is what has surprised me.

We've all heard about these "billions" of dollars of unclaimed money that the state comptrollers are holding, right? A few weeks back, I saw a link to this site. It lists the links to all 50 states' lists of unclaimed or abandoned property. Even though we have always been very careful with our money and I thought there was no way that we could have money we had forgotten about (how does one forget about money?), I clicked on Texas and started searching for Kelly's name first. After all, he's more forgetful than I am (ducking for cover now...).

I couldn't believe my eyes when his name was on the list! And it was from the medical clinic that I worked for in San Angelo for the last year of college and right before he went active duty. I also saw a couple of the doctors there, especially when I got pregnant with Kora about 6 months before we left town. Since it wasn't in my name, like it would if they had owed me money from my paycheck, I have to assume we over paid a medical co-pay. But really, that's just a guess.

I then checked my name in Texas, his name in Oklahoma (we lived there for 3 years) and my name in Oklahoma. Nothing else showed up, but it was still money we didn't have before, right? Then I looked at the paper work you had to submit to claim it. Then I wasn't sure we would be able to get it because I could find nothing that had the address there in San Angelo on it, to proved we had lived there. Because we were college students, we filed income taxes from his parents' home, since it was listed as our permanent residence. And we had no utility bills, pay stubs or anything left from 13 years ago. Even his orders to enter the military just listed "Texas" as our address.

Finally, I looked at our college transcripts. Fortunately, his had our San Angelo address on it - and his Social Security number which they needed as well. But I still wasn't sure that was sufficient to prove to the Texas state that he was who he said he was. Evidently it was, though, and we received it yesterday.

The moral is, even if you are positively sure it is a waste of time, go here and search anyway. You might be surprised.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jack Frost Nipping at Your Nose

We are experiencing something resembling a real winter here in South Texas. A couple nights ago, we even had a hard freeze - down to 24 for several hours. This might not sound like a big deal, but if you've ever spent a year here in San Antonio, you know we can go an entire winter without reaching the low 30s, even at night. I think our average high in the winter is in the mid-60s. Yeah, I know, it's sickening.

But over the last week or so we've had more than one freeze, including the hard one Friday night/Saturday morning. Right now it drizzly and in the low 50s. I love the colder weather, but it certainly isn't what we're used to around here!

Funny story about all this:

Saturday morning, as I said, we had a hard freeze overnight. It was 24 degrees when we got up Saturday morning and I took a look outside. My almost 13 year old, Kora, observed, "The grass looks funny and there's this silvery kinda stuff on all the cars. Why does it look like that?"

So I introduced her to "frost." Yes, she's seen things like snow and frost before, but not in several years. So she had to call all her little sisters over to the windows to observe the frostiness. Kelly and I just laughed. Man we've got to take these kids up north sometime and let them see what real winter really is!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Conversations with a 5 year old

Lauryn and Hailey were watching an old Blues Clues video this afternoon. Steve, the host, sings the theme song, which ends like this:

'Cause when we use our minds and take a step at a time,
We can do any THING... that we wanna do!

Then Lauryn talks back to the TV:

"No we can't, we have PARENTS!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Talent Show

While we were up at the farm, the kids put on a talent show. I'm not sure who's idea it was, but it was one of Kelly's cousins' brainstorms. They must be "fun moms" cause I would have never thought of it. They came up with several categories and the kids chose to be in a few each. It was quite entertaining. I'm glad I wasn't one of the judges!

We started with singing. Aubrey volunteered to sing but then didn't think of anything until she got up there. So she sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."Then her cousin Madison got up there and sang a country song I didn't recognize (which means it came out after 1999). She sounded good - definitely got that country twang!Next came a funny face competition. Aubrey had just eaten a lollipop and dazzled the judges with her scary smurf imitation.However, the winner was little cousin Ian. Not sure what he's supposed to be.
Then came a drawing contest,
a musical instrument contest (Lauryn wanted to play something so this is a little harp like thing that hangs by the front door)

and a "fashion show."

Then came a crazy hair contest. Brynna won this one. I died laughing when I saw her because, as I told her, she looked just like my pictures from my sophomore year in high school! Minus the red hair of course.
Next came the eating contest. the fastest person to eat a roll and drink a glass of water wins.
I don't know what Lauryn was thinking but this was the category she wanted to be in the most. This is the girl who takes twice as long as any of us to eat a meal. We've been known to wipe off the table around her! Needless to say, her cousin Tucker beat her by a landslide.
Then we went outside to see who could hold their breathe under water the longest. Fortunately it wasn't that cold. I still wouldn't have done it, but several did, including several of my girls.

Then we had a contest to see who could throw the ball the farthest.

To my complete shock, Kora won this, much to the dismay of 8 year old Tucker, the oldest male cousin at the farm.

If we had had a cutest baby contest, Amy's baby Kodah would have won. Isn't he adorable?
They had such a good time, and the adults had aching sides when it was over. Too funny!