Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It Wasn't All Fun and Games

Sure, we had a lot of fun at the beach. But Olivia did miss 1 1/2 days of school. Not too bad - but I think she made up with it with several things she learned during the trip.

And if I do say so myself, it was pretty interesting!

Olivia was determined to bring back shells for her class and teachers. She knew exactly how many she wanted, and we didn't stop hearing about it for 4 days! ;-) (I'm thinking one of her love languages is "Gifts" - but that's a whole other topic!)

Since Destin is not a shelly/rocky beach, we had to put a little elbow grease into searching for these special shells. They (Daddy Doc and Olivia) figured out if they dug little holes in the sand as the waves went up and down, little clams would pop up and were easy to catch!

Here she is digging her little heart out for those clam shells. And her little orange bucket she collected them all in! She must have had 100 or so by the end. When she would put them all in the bucket, the clams would open up and stick out their little siphons - which they use to collect nutrients from underneath the sand.

When the got up to the condo, they researched a little more about these clams as well as other shell types.

They learned that they use acoustical vibrations to sense out the size of the waves in order to be pushed up on the shore and under the sand. The little bands of brown and white on their shell tell you how old they are. They grow faster in the summer with brown stripes, and slower in the winter with white stripes. (I think I have that right) The shape is perfectly designed to pull them under the sand by the ebb and flow of the waves. Their biggest prey is not birds, but starfish and other sea urchins. These little clams do eventually grow into the bigger sized clams that make pearls.

Needless to say, we weren't going to bring all these little clams home with out - achhem - gently killing them and stealing their homes. What turned out to probably be her favorite part, Olivia helped Daddy Doc boil them and scrape out the little clams inside. The shells for the most part were still in tact and resembled butterfly or angel wings!

First thing Monday morning, she packed up her backpack full of the shells she was going to pass out at school. I also printed out a picture of what the shells looked like in her bucket with all their siphons out. I'm hoping she can tell them what she learned, and also bless her little buddies with a gift she worked so hard to bring them!

Who needs school when you can go learn even cooler stuff at the BEACH!! That's what I'm talkin' about. Oh, and she also counted to 200. Thanks every-single-mile marker on the way to the beach. :-) Those were some big tough numbers! But she's got it down pat now!!

I wonder what fun facts we'll learn next time....only 3 months until we all get to go!!! :-)

Monday, March 30, 2009

More Tornados, Hail, and Sunshine

After 3 straight days of doing this:

(playing tic tac toe)

playdough creations:

letting Olivia have the camera:

and doing a lot of this:

We finally got to do a little of this!!!

The sun finally made an appearance around 2:00 Saturday afternoon. And it was so funny how fast the beach filled up! All those people (including us) that were cooped up in the condos completely flooded the beaches!!

Sunday was another beautiful day - not a cloud in the sky! So we got out there by 9 a.m. to soak up some of those rays before we had to go home! I got a good 4 hours in the Florida sun! :-)

But we're home now, and I'm sick. Ugh...I'm supposed to come back completely re-energized and rested! And I feel totally spaced out and stopped up! But at least my being sick will keep me home to reorganize for the week(s) ahead. And spend some good time huggin' on the ones I haven't seen in a few days. I wish I could kiss 'em though....but I'll save that for in a few days!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tornado Take 2

So we seemed to bring a little bad horrible tornado weather with us this week. This morning is our second tornado warning so far. And they're saying the same thing for tomorrow morning! :-) Oh well.

It's still nice. We've had some good food, watch some movies, napped (minus Olivia), and just hung out!

We've made it down to the beach but it's awfully windy and overcast. Luckily the pool is heated so we'll probably go for a swim sometime too!

So here are some pics! Hopefully we'll get a peak of sunshine this afternoon and I can get some more good ones.

I sure do miss the other half of my family! I can't wait to get home and hug and kiss them ALL!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


So apparently, Giggles the clown thinks I am Olivia's sister. And that her grandparents are her parents. That is definitely a first!

But she loves her octopus face paint and butterfly balloon!

Hear That?

It's the waves and white sandy beach of Destin, FL calling my name!!!

I'm out people...and I ain't turing back - until Sunday, that is. And to help Robert out, I'm taking half the family. Well, one goes with me where ever I go. ;-) But still...I got 2, he's got 2!!

I've only been away once before without kids. And even though I'll have Olivia, she's so easy it'll be like taking a best friend! The opportunity presented itself and the more I thought about it, the better idea it sounded. Because come a few months from now I can pretty much "X" out the rest of my life the next year or so - having a newborn and all. Who knows when I'll be able to get away again...let alone by myself.

But all is good!!

Now, I can really get my tan on. Hopefully the weather will cooperate!!

Ta ta for now!

Monday, March 23, 2009

This and That

Not really much to say. Just recovering from our spring break week. Even though we didn't change up much of our normal routine, it still wore us out!!!

The weather was beautiful at the lake...and I got a little sun. Now, with my Jergen's lotion and L'oreal sublime bronze, hopefully pretty soon I'll be back to my beloved bronze self again!!! haha I certainly don't go gettin' my approval from the color of my skin, but it's the littlest things can make such a difference in how we feel. Hey, it could be so much worse!!

We have a busy week this week. I have some things brewing that if work out like I would prefer, it'll be a nice little break from reality!! We'll see...more on that later.

I'll leave you with some more pics of the weekend! I was just thrilled to get one of ALL the kids smiling - it even had the sunset in the background! Though they aren't looking straight at the camera, they ARE all smiling...hey, I take what I can get.

We did a little bit of this....watching Dumbo. Olivia loved "babysitting" the other baby. Good practice..and she loved it!!

A little fishin'...I think we only dropped poles/net in the water twice.

A little boat ridin'. It was kinda chilly with the wind.

And a lot of relaxin!

I hope everyone had a great spring break!! Now I guess we're counting down to SUMMERTIME!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lakin' It

We're on a mini-spring break vacation! It's gorgeous and we're having so much fun. Friends should join us soon and then the real fun begins!!

I'm so glad we decided to get away for a few days. A change of scenery was much needed!

Team work. And look at those cute hineys! All three of them... ;-)

Check out that blue sky! The temperature and wind is just perfect! And then it gets cool at night...hopefully we'll get a bonfire going. The kids gathered wood this morning!

Now, I'm off to get my tan on. We know how much I love being tan.... :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To Speak or Not to Speak

This particular setting has happened a couple of times before. It's such a funny thing. And I haven't completely figured out how to handle the situation.

Let me explain.

We were at the park yesterday. It was BEAUTIFUL! The kids are running around soaking up some vitamin D, I'm chatting with friends. It's perfect.

Then this precious little boy comes toddling across my line of view. He SO cute...and looks SO familiar. Wait a minute...do I know him?.....yep.......I stalk his momma's blog.

So I don't personally know this girl. I actually had no idea she lived in Birmingham. But we apparently know some mutual people.

I decided to NOT speak this time. Because I have run up to a girl before at the gym saying, "I'm not a stalker, I promise, but I recognize you from your blog...etc, etc, etc!" And I don't know, I guess I couldn't figure out if was good idea or not.

But this is the thing. I'd be willing to bet that she's at least come across my blog once....or even more. I know that we're both linked on at least one blog together. And you know, you're bound to click eventually. So she could have totally been having the same reaction. "These kids are SO familiar!!" etc

So what do you do? Run up to "strangers" and announce you read their blog and introduce yourself? Keep to yourself and leave them alone? Leave a comment on their blog after the fact? I don't know what the appropriate blog-to-public etiquette is or even should be! Emily Post better get on it and add a chapter in her book called Internet Etiquette. 'Cause I need some tips!

What would you do?

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Little Piece of.....the WWW

Well, it's official. I now own a little piece of the world wide web. And it's my blog! It has it's own domain name now!


This also alleviates the need to change the "of 3" since there will now be 4. And I can't honestly say that we would be 100% done after that! I know it sounds crazy, but I would love a big family. :-)

The change takes a few days, but you should be automatically redirected and nothing should really change for my readers. But if you do read my blog in google reader (or any other program that pulls RSS feeds) you may want to go and change it.

Pretty neat, huh. It's also much easier to say to people now...and easier to remember!

We had a pretty low key weekend. It was filled with naps galore. At least for Robert and I. :-) I haven't been napping during the week (just going to bed really early) and I've been getting tons of sleep. Guess I still had a little catching up to do!

And we topped off the weekend with a date night! It's been a while! Soooo nice to get out with no kids and go to a restaurant that we like and not cater towards the kids. :-)

This week is Olivia's spring break. I'm trying to get a little schedule together so we don't go too crazy wondering what to do. And that I can still fit in what needs to be done! We may head to the lake towards the end of the week, but if you want to play, shoot me an email! :-) We're always lookin' for something fun to do!

Friday, March 13, 2009


...Sewing!! I tell ya, when it hits me, it hits me. I just can't stop sewing. And I love it! I have 5 dresses finished (several that need to me monogrammed), 2 dresses that I can't put together until I monogram, and then 4 more cut out and ready to be put together!

And to those who asked about fabric...HOBBY LOBBY!! They have really stepped it up in the cute fabric department. And they have TONS of cute trim!! Hancocks is really going downhill.

Now, if it'll just get warm enough again to wear them all!! :-)

Also, Leisha gave me the idea to get some cheap t-shirts from Walmart and get them monogrammed! I'm going to have to keep them pretty simple for Landon. He's gotten really opinionated about what he wears these days! But I think he'll like them!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

CVS Trippin'

I finally made it back into my beloved CVS yesterday. It had been so long, I had ECBs about to expire in a matter of days. I only had $9.98 in ECBs.

Here's how it went down.

1st Transaction:

3 boxes of GM cereal - $10.00
Crest Pro Health mouthwash - $2.99
Colgate (BOGO) - $2.79
Colgate - FREE
Vaseline lotion - $3.69

Coupons used:

$3/15 CVS coupon
$9.98 ECBs
$1.50 - vaseline lotion
$1.00 - colgate
$0.75 - colgate (you can use 2 coupons for BOGO items!)
$1.00 - cereal

Grand Total - $2.14 (Saved $25.04)

Received Back - $9.00 ECBs

2nd Transation:

Huggies Jumbo pack - $9.88
Huggies Jumbo pack - $9.98
Huggies Jumbo wipes pack - $6.49
2 Garnier face washes - $10.00

Coupons used:

$5/30 CVS coupon
$9.00 ECBs
$1.00 - Garnier coupon
$5.00 - Huggies coupon
$5.00 - Huggies coupon
$3.00 - Huggies coupon

Grand total - $10.48 (Savings of $35.20)

Received back $5.00 ECBs!

So even though my out of pocket total wasn't a few pennies, that was still an unbelievable diaper deal. I will be going back to get some more jumbo packs of diapers for $4.88. You can't beat that. And the wipes pack too!

These coupons are available to print from this website. There are TWO Huggies coupons available. And I have never in my life seen a diaper coupon that large! You are able to print 2 (of each coupon) from each computer in your home! :-) So I was able to get several....and even had a few from last week! Needless to say Lillian won't need diapers anytime soon. But since we'll be buying diapers for a least another 3+ years, we buy even is we don't need - especially if the price is right!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Friendly Reminder

This seems to come up more and more often lately. But I just wanted to remind people that this is a BLOG - not real life. These are small glimpses into our lives that we choose to let you see. This blog hardly comes close to personifying what really goes on everyday in our life.

I do NOT have it all together. I can NOT do everything. I'm a huge sinner with an even bigger Savior.

I'm not sure people would like it if I posted every time I fought with my husband or yelled at my children. What a depressing blog that would be. I would be happy to share my shortcomings with almost anyone who asked - I ain't scared. But we'll save those for face-to-face, private conversations.

So please don't draw assumptions on us from just what you read here. Though I'm flattered by some of the comments I receive, I want you to know I'm still just an imperfect human. And I'm pretty sure some of you knew that already! :-)

And since we've had no pics of Olivia lately, here's one to make up for it!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Bread

I had some questions about the sourdough bread recipe I use. First let me say, I am NO professional bread baker. In fact, I'm not even a beginner. I'm whatever comes before beginner!! HA! I was not too successful in my previous bread-baking escapades from last year. I maybe got it right once. But it must the these pregnancy hormones. Because every night in bed (you know, after my huge dinner AND couple of rounds of desserts) all I can think about is a fresh, hot loaf of sourdough bread with butter on it. And yes, the real butter - not my fake spray butter I use sometimes! Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it now!

This is the same recipe my mom used when I was growing up! She had it down pat....I mean, down to a science. Every loaf was perfect!

Sourdough Bread Starter

1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons instant potato flakes (basically 1/4 cup)

Mix yeast with 1/2 cup of the warm water. Combine sugar, remaining one cup of warm water and potato flakes. Stir. Add yeast mixture, stirring again. Cover loosely with foil or plastic wrap (punch holes in cover). Let mixture stand all day. Refrigerate that night. After three days, take it out and feed it.

Sourdough Feeder

1 cup warm water
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons instant potato flakes

Mix all ingredients, then add to starter. Allow starter to stand out of refrigerator all day. Mixture shouldn't rise, but will start to bubble. At the end of the day (or 12 hours), remove one cup of starter o use in making bread. (If not making bread, give one cup of starter away or throw it away.) Return remainder to refregerator. After 3-5 days, feed again.

Sourdough Bread

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup starter
6 cups of bread flour

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a wodden spoon until a stiff dough is formed. (You can use your bread hook on you standing mixer) Oil another large bowl. Put dough in oild bowl, then turn dough over so oiled side of bread is on top. oil a large peice of wax paper, cover bowl with oiled wax paper, then cover with a towel. Allow oto stand overnight, or until dough has doubled in volume.
Punch dough down. Knead 3-4 times (too much kneading will release gasses needed for rising). Divide dough into two equal portions. Place each portion in a greased 5 inch by 9 inch loaf pan. Let rise all day, or until doubled . Bake on bottom rack of 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. REmove from pans and brush with melted butter. Cool bread on a rack. If bread runs over sides of pan, next time make three loaves from this recipe.

Tips (yeah, I know tips from a less than beginner)

1. I used a big glass pickle jar with holes in the lid to hold my starter.
2. I used my bread hook on my kitchen aid mixer to mix the dough. Then left it in the bowl, sprayed it with pam, sprayed some saran wrap with pam and loosely covered it.
3. I left mine in the oven with the light on to rise - gives it just a little heat.
4. Salt kills yeast. So don't add those to ingredients right on top of each other. I add the salt in the middle of the flour, then add the starter last.

My biggest problem was it not rising enough while I cooked it. Well, the first loaf always turned out okay, it was always the subsequent loaves. I could never find a reason for this and kept up my starter as best I could. I decided to start over, with fresh new ingredients. Also, I'm hoping the soon to be more humid days will help with the rising. I also plan on trying to cook only one loaf at a time. Two loaves was just too much for me. Plus, I couldn't give it away or eat it fast enough and was wasting money. They say that the starter has to "get used" to your house. That the longer you have it going, the better it gets. So it can take some time. I've heard of people having starters for YEARS and years and years. Crazy, huh. You can't forget about it...it's like a pet. It'll die if you don't feed it!

So go ahead, my fellow bakers! Give it a try! And then let me know how it turns out! :-)

Monday, March 9, 2009


When you know your son has a double header soccer game his first day of soccer ever, BRING A CHAIR! I don't know what I was thinking...standing there for hours. And knowing I was going to stand some more...whew, I learned my lesson.

But, wasn't it a GORGEOUS weekend. Finally, it just makes me HAPPY! All that sunshine! And I have a nice u-shaped sunburn, right on the middle of my chest...bright red, staring at everyone. Hopefully I can get it evened out soon. :-)

Landon had his first soccer game. And after only 2 practices, everyone thought it went much better than expected! Robert was an awesome coach. Landon, well, he kinda wanted to wrestle around out there more than play. But he did very well!

It was so nice to hang out with friends this weekend....and be able to keep the kids outside! What a difference it makes! We also went to Bruster's (I think they're starting to know us there now) Friday night. They were sure to remind us (of course, I was already on top of it!) that Saturday night was PJ night and if you wore your PJs you got a FREE waffle cone! Not a shabby one either..big, huge, yummy waffle cone! So you bet your bottom we were there in our PJs! And were treated to one monstrous ice cream cone!

Continuing our "stay outside the whole weekend" weekend, we celebrated a birthday at the park Sunday afternoon. Another gorgeous day. I'm so ready for this weather. Except, when cluttering my room with spring/summer clothes on Saturday, I had a complete meltdown. I mean, crying and all. (darn hormones) Nothing fit. (I guess that's what you get in the second trimester!) But you know when you're pregnant and you don't like things to fit the same way when your not pregnant. Not that I'm huge, but I've hit that point where everything's uncomfortable. Maternity clothes don't even look right on me yet. And it's not fun to go through pretty much all your clothes with no luck on anything fitting. It's quite depressing. For some reason this time around, I'm having a hard time embracing the physical changes that come with pregnancy. Usually, everyone is so excited to have a little belly and start showing. Ugh, not me this time. I dread getting on that darn scale, or trying on clothes that used to be big and now aren't. I'm sure I'll come around. But going up and down, up and down, 3 (and now 4) times...it's hard.

Ok, sorry about that rant. I've just hit that really awful "in between stage".

No pics of Olivia today..she was at the lake all weekend! But even in nice weather, pictures turn out better!!!


Love that shot (above) of Landon! Wind in hair, nice bright sky! Have I told you I LOVE this weather!?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lucky Day

The icecream man showed up at the park today....and it was Olivia's treat! Yum!

Parenting Tip #133 and #134

#133 - Don't let a baby (who you knows loves lipstick) find a bag full of red tubes of lipstick.

#134 - WD-40 has special powers.

We all know how much Lillian just loves lipstick. So I can't say I was shocked when she found a bag of lipsticks (given as a gift) and play Leonardo da Vinici in her room.

I found about 20-30 red lipstick stains all over the girls' (semi-white) carpet in their room. Now, I did not freak out too much because the carpet was a bargain carpet from an outlet store and I spent the little $$ I spent on it knowing that I could part with it one day because it was nice and "loved" on. :-)

BUT, I also didn't want to leave the stains there.

So I summoned my stain fighting weapon of choice - WD-40.

The first try:

Oh my goodness, I think it worked. But that wasn't a big one.

Try #2 - this one was a doozy - nice and dark:

OMG....it came clear out!

One more try - I cannot believe my eyes!

Ah, WD-40, you will stay a dear, close friend. You're many talents are multiplying through the years! And to that mother at chick-fil-a who made fun of me when I said WD-40 was going to take the lipstick stains out - well, you should really think before you speak next time!

Now the million dollar question is how to get nail polish out of Lillian's dress. Because she tried to paint her toenails yesterday. (And yes, I already tried the WD-40 AND Goof off!)