Thursday, July 31, 2008

Purple Princess Bear

CG is at that stage of life where she adores the colors pink and purple (purple being her favorite, who do you think picked out Molly's collar?). She loves all things sparkly and of course anything to do with a princess!
Last night, we took the kids to the mall for a special treat. We ate at the Rainforest Cafe (it was kids night and they ate for $1.99) and then to Build-A-Bear to use the gift certificates they got for Christmas from their great Granddaddy. The bear you see above is the bear CG built and picked out all by herself. You may not be able to tell from the pics but the bear is purple with sparkly silver threads all over it. She then proceeded to pick out a Sleeping Beauty outfit for it complete with pink, purple, and yellow panties. The bear is so hideously gaudy it is cute and pretty much sums up without words the stage of life CG is in right now! I think anyone who knows her would pick this bear out as hers if their was a bear line up. Oh, and in case you are wondering, she named the bear Aurora (Sleeping Beauty's name). Aurora is what she wanted to name Molly so she settled with naming her bear that. KJ and I could not stomach having a dog named Aurora!

Puppy House Training Fun

This is one of those puppy house training moments no one shares with you when you are talking about getting a dog. Having to take your puppy out in a thunderstorm with torrential rain! Molly was sitting by the door begging to go out for about 10 minutes while KJ and I debated the pros and cons of taking her out. KJ finally dawned his raincoat and proceeded to take Molly out for about 10 minutes in the stormy night only to have her not go. I was next, I walked her around the yard for 15 minutes in the rain before she finally went. The joys of puppy ownership! Maybe now she will figure out it is best to go immediately upon being taken out in the rain. The sooner you go, the sooner we can all get back inside!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chigger Update

FYI: I have done a ton of research now on chiggers and the best way to treat them. A common misconception is that they burrow under your skin. This is not the case. Tiny microscopic larvae (disgusting, I know) get on your skin and inject some kind of stuff under your skin which causes your skin make a little tube so they can suck up your liquified skin cells. They never burrow under your skin. They brush off very easily and will come off in the shower when you bathe. The red bumps that form are your bodies reaction to the substance they inject under your skin. The white bumps are the feeding tubes. The longer that the critters are actually on your skin feeding the worse the bumps and the longer the itching. It is recommended that anytime you are in places prone to them that your come home and bathe immediately (we all waited until that evening). The bumps show up 12-14 hours after the bite. Putting clear nail polish remover on the bumps has been the home remedy for years with the assumption that it kills the chigger because they can't breathe. Since the chigger is not there under the skin it doesn't work for anything but helping relieve the itch but cutting off the air flow to the bump. We have been using anti-itch meds and taking Benadryl because I don't want to put the harsh chemicals in nail polish on our skin although I am about to the point I don't care as long as the itching stops (the anti-itch meds do help).

Okay, I know this post was more info than you could ever want and most of it disturbing, but I hope it prevents some of you from this misery!

A Warning

Our little jaunt to the blackberry patch was not quite the innocent sweet time I thought. I had no idea that blackberry bushes were a haven for chiggers. Well I do now! HJ and I are covered in chigger bites on our lower body. They itch like crazy! Luckily CG did not get any bites but she had 2 ticks on her legs and I had one. Yuck!

Just wanted to send out a word of warning regarding wild blackberry patches!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Baby, It's Hot!

It is so hot here. Hovering right around 100 degrees with the heat index! Uggghhh! It is even miserable to go out and play with the kids. We did get out early this morning and took a "hike" through the woods, which is one of the kids favorite thing to do. HJ discovered a huge patch of wild blackberries! We proceeded to pick as many as we could and plan on going back next week when most of them will ripen up. The kids were so excited about their "find."

Anyway, back to the heat. Our air conditioner is on the fritz. It can't keep the house cooler than 80. It is pretty stinkin hot in the house. We are going with out any lights all day long in an attempt to keep it cooler. All of us are walking around in the bare minimum for decency. Even the dog is feeling the heat! She stays laying on an air vent soaking up the little bits of cool air emerge from the vent. It is pretty cute! Here is hoping the repair man can get out soon!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Molly

Well it has now been over 3 days with a dog. I still look at her sometimes and wonder as to where this dog came from and how long she is staying and then I remember she is ours and am still a little overwhelmed. However, I do not regret the decision to get her. The kids just love her and she has been such an easy, good, sweet dog. I think I was prepared for absolute craziness but she is so sweet and well behaved it is still such a shock. She is sleeping thru the night, has not had a single accident in the house, plays great with the kids, and is pretty much just chewing her toys (with just a couple minor slip ups), and she lets me bathe her. (I was glad to hear from Becca that her dog was so good too, all I had heard was horror stories so it was nice to hear that a puppy can be good, because I keep waiting for her to go crazy, its good to know that this might not all be an act but she might really just be this good and sweet!) I think she has been a great addition to our family and it doesn't hurt that she is just too cute!

*Sorry for all the Molly posts, but she is the biggest thing to happen to us in a long time and pretty much consumes our days right now*

This little position of Molly's is adorable. She sticks her front and back paws out and lays flat on her belly. It gets me every time because it is so cute. I also love her little nub for a tail. It is hilarious to watch it wag!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The First Night

I have to say, I was dreading last night. I have heard so many horror stories about sleepless nights with puppies. However, apparently Molly is awesome! She went right into her crate with no fuss. I did not hear a peep from her until I woke up in a panic at 2:30, that she had not woken up to go pee. I had read that young dogs need to pee twice in the night. So I rushed out of bed and dragged the poor, sound asleep dog out of her crate and into the night to pee, where she peed a tiny bit. I put her back in her crate and did not hear another peep out of her until I woke her up at 5:30 again to pee. This time it was pouring down rain and she did not go. So back in the kennel she went until 7:00! I am so impressed with this dog and she is cute to boot! More pics to come soon. Man I wish I had my SLR camera working. Soon though!
So far no accidents!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mini Vacation

I never thought that I would ever be able to say that I took a mini vacation to Knoxville. However, being a Nashvillian was something I never thought would happen either. This Sunday, I packed the kids and I up and the three of us headed to Ktown for some fun. On Monday, we spent the day at Splash Country with my Mom, Tuesday we went to the zoo with friends and then went over to Grammy and Grampys for a visit. On Wednesday, we headed back up to Splash Country with friends and my Mom. Unfortunately, it is hard to get pics at Splash Country but trust me when I say the kids loved it! We had such a good, fun mini vacation. HJ bawled crying in the car when it was time to leave. He had so much fun with friends and Grandma!

A New Addition

Well we have a big announcement! This is something we were definitely not planning but are pretty excited about, I think..........

Last week, KJ and I took leave of all of our senses and committed to adopting a dog. Molly came to live with us today. The kids are thrilled and Molly seems to be a complete dream. She is not barking, jumping, or biting. Three of my big dog pet peeves. She loves to play with the kids and will let them pet her however they want. She let us immediately slip a collar on her and even doesn't seem to mind the leash to much. I have been reading a great book, Good Owners, Great Dogs, to help be prepared for the new addition. I have absolute no experience with a dog and this book has been great. Molly has, so far, been the model puppy. I was expecting so much and she just seems so mellow and sweet. It may be just her first day though and the hyperness and craziness of puppyhood could hit anytime. However, I think I am more prepared now that I have read this book.

Molly is an 8 week old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. A sweet little herding breed. They are supposed to be super intelligent but in a medium size body. They are supposed to be easy to train and great with kids. So far, I am very impressed. She seems to be a great, welcome, addition to our family. The kids, especially CG, have wanted a puppy for a long time now and are just over the moon with our little Molly. CG keeps asking if we really get to keep her forever. She is just so happy. She loves petting and brushing her. She even sits beside her while she is napping and looks at books and pretends to read to her. It is so sweet! HJ is looking forward to Molly being able to play fetch and soccer which I am sure will come very soon! He loved it today when she chased him around the baseball bases. (Yes we realize our grass needs to be mowed!) So without further ado, here is Molly!

Friday, July 18, 2008

I am convinced....

that my son can only speak sentences that end in a question mark. I am equally convinced I may lose my sanity due to this fact.

What I am Listening To...

Full Attention by Jeremy Riddle

This has got to be one of the best worship/praise CD's I have ever heard. I had the pleasure of hearing him sing "God Moves in Mysterious Ways" in person and was moved to tears. I went home and downloaded it and then ended up downloading almost every song from this CD. I listen to it over and over when running and working out. It really speaks to me where I am right now in my walk with the Lord. I don't usually recommend music as I know everyone has their own tastes but man is this good! It is too moving, rich, personal, and just plain good not to recommend!

Here are the lyrics for the song that got me listening to this wonderful artist!

God Moves in Mysterious Ways

God moves in a mysterious way
His Wonders to perform
He plants His Footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm
Deep in unsearchable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright Designs
And works His sovereign Will

And ye fearful saints fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings
Yeah (and) in blessings (yeah)
And in blessings on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His Grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face
His Purposes will ripen fast
Unfolding ev'ry hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flow'r

And ye fearful saints fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings
Yeah (and) in blessings (yeah)
And in blessings on your head

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His Work in vain
For God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain
In His own time
In His own way yes
In His own time
In His own way

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Uninvited Guests

Usually I love to have a house full of guests. It makes me happy. However, these disgusting things are most unwelcome and uninvited (thankfully they are not inside or I would have to move)! They are hornworms and they have taken up residence in my tomato plants and are doing their best to eat my sweet innocent plants. I have picked 9 off already. They are very hard to see as they blend in perfectly with the plant stems and leaves. Uggghhh! I hate bugs and these are the most disgusting plus destructive, the worst kind! Does anybody know of a nontoxic remedy to them (I don't want to spray my plants)? Or am I stuck just looking for more of these nasty things daily to try and save my plants? They haven't done to much damage so far and I hope I have gotten them all but we thought we did last night when we pulled 4 off but this morning when I checked I found 5 more.
Sorry for this most disgusting post and picture but this is me trying to keep it real!

Be Still My Heart

There is not much in life that gets my heart going more than when my sweet hubby gets out his guitar to sing and worship with the kids. It is such a sweet, precious thing. I am blessed indeed!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Confession Time

Okay, I have a confession to make. I spend way to much money on groceries and toiletries. I have not been a good steward of the money that God has provided KJ and I. I have been one who just goes to the grocery buying whatever I feel like without a super clear cut plan on what to make for the week and thus way overspending. I haven't looked at the sale ads to plan my meals around sale items or clipped coupons. I really haven't put much thought into it, just going along my merry way buying what appealed and spending an absurd amount each month. Neither KJ or I really thought about it until the other week, we sat down to map out our new budget for this school year (two kids in school means A LOT less money each month). When we really sat down and looked at the appalling numbers and realized how much we could be saving if I would just put a little more effort, commitment, and diligence into my shopping and planning, I was super convicted about it all. My job as the homemaker is to be a good steward of our money and I have not. I would not get a good performance review! Nor would I hear "Well done good and faithful servant." I am now completely committed to cutting our grocery and toiletry budget by at least half but hopefully even more in the coming months.

Some of the ways, I am going to do this is by being super diligent to a meal plan and sticking with it! I would like to plan my meals around what meats, dairy, and produce are on sale at the stores I shop at. I want to stick to my list with no impulse buys (this is big because I am very very bad at impulse buying!). I am also going to try and make all of our breakfasts to cut down on the money I spend on breakfast items (ie: cereal bars, frozen waffles, and frozen pancakes.) I am off to a good start with this as I now have a huge stash of homemade frozen pancakes in the freezer as well as a loaf of zucchini bread! I am also going to try and become a diligent coupon user. There are a lot of great web sites and blogs that help out in all the areas I have described above. One thing that really has my interest is playing the CVS and Walgreens game. You can amass some significant savings by shopping at these stores and learning how to shop with coupons, sales, and extra bucks.

CVS has some amazing deals. Each week they offer some great sale items and with coupons you can get these toiletries for next to nothing and get CVS money back. Walgreens has great deals too but they don't offer money back. So anyway, after much, much research, reading, and amassing coupons, I was ready for my first CVS and Walgreens trips. You can see what I scored below! I want to leave you with some links if you are interested in learning more about shopping for steals at CVS and Walgreens. One of the best resources I have found for learning how to be a better shopper in general but also at CVS and Walgreens is Money Saving Mom. She has amazing tips and advice for how to create a grocery budget, meal plan, and shop for amazingly cheap. She feeds her family of 4 for $35 a week. I won't ever get there as I am not willing to shop as much as she does for deal nor can I give up all the fresh fruits and veggies we eat but I am excited by the wealth of ideas and knowledge she has. In her blog, she also outlines the major deals to be had at both CVS and Walgreens each week with where to find the coupons you need to do the deals! A huge time saver. This link will take you to the CVS deals for this week. At the bottom of the blog post are links to take you to places to read about how to play the CVS game. Another great website is She has lots of great advice but also, you can research the great deals your personal grocery store is having that week with the coupon needed beside each deal. This was a huge help to me this week in planning my shopping trip! I was able to get some great deals at Kroger on dishwashing detergent tabs (I scored Electrasol tabs for $0.33 for a good size box!) I also got a great deal on shampoo for the kids (Loreal kids for $0.55) I wouldn't have found or figured those out without reading her line by line site for deals.

Anyway, with more diligent planning and shopping, I hope to be a much better steward of the money we have been given to steward. I believe this is my Christian duty as a wife and mother to be the best steward I can be. Like I said I was really convicted! So enough about all that, now for some fun. Here are the deals I got at CVS and Walgreens this week.

This was the purchase that got me started in the CVS game and will hopefully carry me through quite a ways. The deal was if you spent $20 (before coupons) on any Maalox, Excedrin, or Gas-X item you would get $10 back in CVS extra bucks which can be used on anything in the store for your next purchase. Well this turned into a great deal. With coupons, I spent $13.28 out of pocket for the above items including tax. However, I got $10 extra bucks back, and extra $1 buck back and a $3 off a $15 purchase coupon back! So really, when you look at it that way I only spent $2.28 for all the items. My goal is from now on in my purchases from here on out to use little if any of my real cash to purchase items. Hopefully, with coupons and extra bucks plus the great sales they have each week, I can keep our house stocked with toiletries and stuff for very little cash! Incidentally, that $3 off a $15 purchase coupon I got to use on another purchase, is figured before you lay your coupons down. So say I had a total of $16 (before coupons), I could put that down making my purchase $13 and then you could subtract any more coupons you have and then pay with extra care bucks and hopefully earn more extra care bucks to replace the ones I spent.

This was a great deal on these toothpastes. This was my second CVS transaction. I got both toothpaste tubes for only $0.05! They were buy one get one and I had two $1.50 coupons to use. That gave me a $0.21 overage which they applied towards my tax on the items which was $0.26 resulting in my 5 cent purchase.

From Walgreens this week, I got these shampoo and conditioners for free! Yes free! They were buy one get one free on sale thru Walgreens and there was a buy one get one coupon in Sunday's coupons. So I got both free! Sweet!

Anyway, all I have read says it really takes a 3 month commitment to doing this to see the huge, massive savings you read about. You have to have the time to amass coupons and stock up on things when they are on super sale instead of just buying it when you need it. I hope to give it the full 3 months and hopefully, I will be getting our toiletries for pennies! This has taken awhile to figure out and I am still figuring it out but it is actually a lot of fun to see how much you can save and how cheaply you can get things you need.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Make This!

If you've got a lot of zucchini laying your house that you don't know what to do with, make this! It is heavenly and the best part is you get two loaves. One to eat and one to freeze for later. Even the kids gobbled it up and I can't seem to stop snitching bites. Yum. Oh, and did I mention how wonderful it smells when it is baking? Oh my! This is too good not to share.

Amazing Zucchini Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup orange juice
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. In large bowl mix sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla
3. Beat until well blended
4. Add zucchini, applesauce, and OJ, stir well
5. Combine flour with next 5 ingredients
6. Add to zucchini mixture, stir well
7. Add nuts if adding them, stir gently to combine
8. Pour into 2 greased 9 inch loaf pans
9. Bake for 60 minutes, till toothpick comes out clean
10. Let cool in pans 10 minutes
11. Remove from pans and let cool completely
12. Enjoy!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Recently, I have made a couple really good cookies that I thought I would share about! The first is the Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookie! These came from the blog, Picky Palate, and they are wonderful! The only thing is that next time I won't crush the oreos up so much. These are a definite keeper as the kids and hubby loved them!

The next wonderful cookie is the Lemon Gem. One of my favorite cookies are the lemon cookies from Ham and Goody's in Knoxville. They are so good! I am always looking for a recipe that would be similar so I tried these. These aren't the Ham and Goody's cookies but they are still outstanding. They melt in your mouth and are heavenly! They take a little time to make but are definitely worth it! Mine aren't as cute as Stephanie's at Stephanie's Kitchen, where I got the recipe, but were not bad for my first try. I made them with red, white, and blue sprinkles for the 4th of July. I overcooked mine just a bit but I will definitely be making these babies again!

Hot Wheel Fun

For their birthdays, Grammy and Grampy gave each of the kids a Hot Wheel just like KJ had when he was a kid. Well the hot wheels were a hit! The kids favorite thing to do outside is push their hot wheels up our VERY long driveway, which has a nice, gradual, slope to it, and then ride it down to the bottom of the driveway as fast as they possibly can! It is hilarious to watch and looks like so much fun. They do it over and over and over again every time we are outside!

Getting on the hot wheel to head down the driveway as fast as he can!

Ready, set, GO!

Going down! (CG is nearing the top for her trip down.)

Look at Miss C push her hot wheel to the top! HJ is starting down and picking up speed!

Going faster and faster! Almost to fast for my little pocket camera to catch!

Time to start all over again!

Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July Hike

On Friday, we took the kids for their first hike! We went to Radnor Lake State Park and hiked all the way around the lake. It was a little under 3 miles. The kids did great. It was a very easy trail and the kids loved looking for animals. We saw a TON of deer. We even got to see a baby deer but I didn't have time to get my camera out for that one. We hope this will be the start of many more family hikes. We would love to find a trail that goes to a waterfall around Nashville but aren't having a lot of luck finding an easier hike the kids could do to a waterfall or water feature. If you know of one, please let me know!

We had plans to go watch fireworks that evening but after a big day at the farm on the 3rd, and a hike that day the kids were exhausted so we canceled going to see the fireworks, put the kids to bed at 7:30, and KJ and I watched a movie. Pretty lame for the 4th of July but it was perfect for us!

Thursday at the Farm

On Thursday, we had the wonderful privilege of going to the farm that my friend grew up on in Nashville. She is actual a friend from Ktown and we have been friends since our first born were babies as we were in a Mom's group with them. Another absolutely dear friend of mine, who was also in the same Mom's group, drove down from Ktown to join us for the day with her two kids: Miss M and little T. Her sweetness and generosity at doing that just made my day! Both women had to miss my birthday party so it was such a treat to spend time with them, especially here in Nashville! HJ thought it was awesome that his friends were here in Nashville. I absolutely love that he can just pick up where he left off with them as if no time ever passed since he last saw them.
We were all blown away with the farm! What an absolutely amazing place to grow up! It is over 300 acres (right in Nashville near everything!). They have a pool, horses, barns, llamas, miniature ponies, donkeys, cows, turkeys, and fish. It was like paradise for the kids. It was so fun to watch the kids play in the pool, explore the farm (on golf carts, how fun!), see the animals, and just have an awesome time together. I had a wonderful time catching up and hanging out with two dear friends! The good news was that we got to hang out quite a bit with my friend from Nashville, as they were in town for the week visiting family so you will see some more pics in coming blogs on some more time with them and their daughter Miss L.

Friends since birth: HJ, Miss L, and Miss M

Ready to head to the pool! The kids loved driving around on the golf cart all over the farm.

Can we please get in the pool already????

Checking out and petting the miniature ponies and the donkeys. They were a little pushy as they thought we might have treats and were very disappointed to find out we didn't. We were also playing, How many people fit on a golf cart?" The answer is 4 adults and a lot of kids!

I am not sure who these strangers are???

Pure Sweetness!

What better way to spend the day than playing with awesome friends in the pool?

HJ and CG watching the cows and mowing at them trying to get them to come closer. The cows were very leary of us and wouldn't come near the fence.

HJ, CG, and Miss L standing in front of the Casa de la Llama (or the llama barn!) Unfortunately, we did not get any pics of the actual llamas.

The girls hiding from HJ in a fun game of hide and seek!