Friday, April 30, 2010

Linky Love: GiftZip

There's a new better and faster way to send gift cards to those you love! provides consumers with immediate access to hundreds of retailers' instant, emailable gift cards. They promote greener gift giving and seek to eliminate the use of wasteful plastic. strives to save you time and energy, without sacrificing any part of your shopping experience!

I personally love this concept as we have so many family members across the country and sometimes it is hard to know exactly what to send them for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc....   

I hate the impersonality of a gift card in a lot of ways, but if I know that my brother-in-law wants the latest John Grisham book then I love the idea of sending him a gift card to Barnes and Noble so he can go and buy it.     Or sending a card to my niece next year when she is in college so she can go buy things she needs at Walmart.

There's so many different eGift cards to choose from! Some of my favorites include Fat Brain Toys, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, iTunes, Lands End, Blick Art Materials, and so many more. All you do is click on the store you want, and you are zipped right to that store's eGift card purchase page. Super easy and fast! So, ditch the plastic and check out eGift cards at!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mmmmm.... Tyson Grilled Chicken (FREE Giveaway!)

Have you tried Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken?    Talk about a great solution for quick suppers that still taste great!      I love the fact that this chicken taste yummy whether it is hot in a soup or pizza recipe or cold in a sandwich or salad.
Grilled Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Strips

•Strips are from 100% whole breast fillet
•Fully cooked, prepared in minutes
•100 calories per serving calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving
•19g protein per serving
•98% fat free
•No preservatives

Healthy, tastes delicious and perfect for any night of the week.   What busy mom wouldn't LOVE that combination?   

We used our first bag (notice I said first bag) after grabbing it in Walmart one night after a baseball game.   It had been a crazy day and in addition to a baseball game, Little Guy had photos.      When we walked in the door, Little Guy offered to make us supper.   

He made this amazing chicken pasta for us.     Soooo wonderful!   

Little Guy's Chicken Pasta
(As told to me by Little Guy)

1 bag Tyson's Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 pinch rosemary
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 box penne pasta
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Put pasta on to cook in boiling, salted water.     Make a mixture out of rosemary, italian seasoning and worcestershire sauce.   Set aside.   Put olive oil and butter in skillet.     Heat and then add chicken.      Pour worcestershire mixture on top.    Cook according to package directions.      Heat heavy cream and add parmesan.       Don't let it boil or it will become too thick.      Drain noodles and mix with pasta sauce.      Top with cooked chicken.    Serve to your hungry family.    

Leftovers?   There were NONE!

Tyson is so excited about these great new Grilled and Ready Chicken products that they have given me 10 "free product" coupons to pass on to you!     So I am just going to make this EASY!      The first FIVE people to comment will receive TWO coupons.     (Make sure and leave your email so I can contact you!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

We Are Family

It was a rough weekend for friends and family in Mississippi.    Damage was unbelievable: 

• Attala — 35 homes damaged and seven injuries

• Choctaw — 114 homes/mobile homes damaged, two businesses, 15 injuries

• Holmes — 60 homes damaged and 25 injuries

• Monroe — 48 homes/mobile homes damaged, three businesses damaged, one injury

• Union — 63 homes/mobile homes damaged and one injury.

• Warren — 42 homes/mobile homes damaged

• Yazoo — 319 homes/mobile homes damaged, 10 confirmed dead

It is the worst natural disaster my home state has encountered since Hurricane Katrina.   However, just like Hurricane Katrina, people are more than willing to help in any and every way they can.   There are SO many people who are willing and wanting to help that they are urging people to register through the following website:

Or you can call the MS Commission for Volunteer Service to register at 1-888-353-1793.

Donations are currently being accepted for tornado relief at Brandon City Hall or MS State Fairgrounds. Best things to donate: cleaning supplies, clorox, pine sol, brooms, brushes, lysol, insecticide, bedding, sleeping bags, blankets, towels, and toiletries.

As you can see from the pictures below, people need everything right now!

Our governor, Haley Barbour, has declared Tuesday as a Day of Prayer to remember Mississippians who suffered losses in Saturday's severe weather and for those families who lost loved ones in last week's oil rig accident.

Barbour says the past few days "have been tough for many Mississippi families."

Barbour has ordered state flags to be flown at half staff April 27 through April 30 as part of a period of mourning.    

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Open for Business

My Little Guy raised money last summer for an orphanage in Africa.   With the extra money he raised he was able to sponsor two children.    He is determined to be able to sponsor them again this year so came up with the idea of starting his own baking business.      We not only fully support his compassionate ministries, but there are so many wonderful lessons to be learned in budgeting, planning, time management and many other business skills.

The following is what Little Guy put together to send to friends and family letting them know about his business:

“Tanner’s Sweets and Treats” is run by a kid but you will be satisfied with what you get. This business was made for fun, but mostly made to help me raise the money to sponsor my friends who live in an African orphanage. Their names are Maluga and Nakumuli. My goal is to raise the $100 to sponsor each of my friends for the next year.

I will baking one dessert each week for you to pick from. If you would like to order, just email me and place your order.

Thank you!
Little Guy

Week 1
April 26 – May 1st
Deadline to Order: April 25
Chocolate Chess Pie
Price $12.00

Chocolate chess pie is your basic chocolate pie with a slightly different flavor.

Week 2
May 2 – May 8
Deadline to Order: May 1st
Southern Praline Cake
Price $15.00

Enjoy this Southern Praline Cake with your morning coffee or as an after school snack.
It is all the delicious flavors of praline in a yummy bundt cake. Freezes GREAT!

Week 3
May 9-15
Deadline to Order: May 8
Peanut Butter Pie
Price: $12.00

This peanut butter pie is my Daddy’s favorite and a summertime treat.
It is a light, creamy, peanut butter pie that you can eat now or save in your freezer for later.

Week 4
May 16-22
Deadline to Order: May 15
Super Delicious Chocolate Cake
Price: $15.00

How do you make a chocolate cake super delicious? Take a chocolate cake.
Add chocolate. Stir in more chocolate and top with even more chocolate!
A chocolate lovers dream.

So far, Little Guy has received 13 orders which means after he deducts tithe and supply costs he is already halfway to his goal!      

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Best Medicine

My family and friends have been so wonderful to me since my hospital stay.     One of the things I wanted to do was make a list of some of the wonderful things that were brought to me while I was in the hospital.     Hubs and I have been very lucky not to have to stay overnight at the hospital other than the birth of our boys.     This lack of experience has left me lacking in knowing what to bring someone in the hospital.

However, I received some amazingly thoughtful and wonderful things which made my hospital stay comfortable:

Flowers -  My church middle school youth group sent me this amazing flower arrangement.   
I love sunflowers and those arrangement gave my stark hospital a beautiful bit of color that just made me so happy!

Pajamas - The hospital wanted me to wear the hospital gown because of all the wires I had hooked up to me, but I was completely miserable feeling so exposed.    My sweet husband went out and bought me a gown that buttoned down the front so that the doctors could be happy, but I could still be completely covered as well.      Having pajamas that made me feel like a person again... priceless!

Flip Flops - A $1 pair of flips flops.   What a simple gift is that?    But I hate getting out of bed and putting my feet on the dirty floor and then crawling back into the bed.    Those flip flops made me soooo happy!

Insulated bag - A sweet friend brought me a bag filled me goodies.   The bag in itself was a gift because it was an insulated bag and gave me space to store items that I had at the hospital.     People would bring me cold drinks or small food items and having this insulated bag allowed me to keep them cool.   What a great idea.

Card Games - Late at night when the halls were still very loud and hubs and I couldn't sleep, it was so nice to have card games to play like Phase 10 and UNO.

Puzzle Games - The Special Needs ministry puts together baskets with puzzle books and small magazines for people who are in the hospital.   Donald and I enjoyed working the Sudoku book and we got a lot of use out of this basket.

Magazines - My sister brought me a stack of magazines from her house.   She said that they were ones that she had read, but I hadn't so they were so great to receive.

Hand cream - Oh to feel like I smelled normal instead of like a hospital!   

Wet wipes -  I am a germ-o-phob so having these to wipe off the phone, remote and tray made me feel cleaner and a little more in control of my surroundings.

A pad and pen - My mind was shot and there was no way I would have remembered all the thoughtful gifts without that pad and pen.

Movies and CDs - These passed the time on my laptop when the hours were long and I wasn't allowed to get out of the bed.    I don't think I have ever thought of renting movies for someone in the hospital before, but I will now!

Laughter - A couple of Big Guy's friends came to visit me which really touched my heart.     They kept me laughing the entire time they were there.     When they left I felt better than I had in days!

and no matter how old the patient is.   Never forget that they are never too old for an adorable stuffed animal.    This cute little bunny, from one of my best friends who is going through cancer treatments and knows a thing or two about what hospital patients need, helped me make a few little visitors feel more comfortable in my hospital room!

I don't know about you, but I feel so much better equipped the next time someone I love is in the hospital.

Monday, April 19, 2010


It Only Takes an Instant for Love to Strike

Tragedy hits the Allenhouse family on a hot summer night in Ohio when a mother of four vanished. Eight-year-old Vada virtually grew up overnight and raised her three younger sisters while her father lost himself in his medical practice in the basement of their home.

Now, Vada is a grown woman, still making her home with her father and sisters. Her days are spent serving as an errand girl for Cleveland’s fledgling amateur orchestra; her evenings with Garrison Walker, her devoted, if passionless, beau.

Dizzying change occurs the day the Brooklyn Bridegrooms come to town to play the Cleveland Spiders and a line drive wallops the head of a spectator. The fan is whisked to the Allenhouse parlor, and questions swirl about the anonymous, unconscious man.

Suddenly, the subdued house is filled with visitors, from a flirtatious, would-be sports writer to the Bridegrooms’ handsome star hitter to the guilt-ridden ballplayer who should have caught the stray shot. The medical case brings Dr. Allenhouse a frustration and helplessness he hasn’t felt since his wife’s disappearance. Vada’s sisters are giddy at the bevy of possible suitors. And Vada’s life is awakened amid the super-charged atmosphere of romantic opportunity.

To read the first chapter of Bridegrooms, go here.   CHAPTER 1

Book Review

When approaching a new book, my boys like to play a game where we look at the cover and talk about what we think the story line will be.     I do this because of my desire to teach my boys to think creatively as well as to use their observation skills.     They too have become "book cover judgers" like myself. 

The book cover of "Bridegrooms" through me a little for a loop.    My first thoughts were definitely along the lines of "Little Women".    Doesn't it you?     But the author throws in a marvelous twist because Bridegrooms aren't just potential suitors, but the name of the professional baseball team which comes to town to play.     The path of the sisters and baseball players cross only because one of the spectators is hurt during a game and is brought to their father who is a doctor.

This one event changes their very organized and scheduled life into craziness.   Not just because of the sick spectator, but because of the men who keep waltzing in and out of the door and putting a kink into all of their hearts.

Every sister has a different personality and handles this situation very differently.    I love the fact the Waterbrook Multnomah has a quiz where you can see which of the sisters you are most like.   You can take the quiz here....

Which Allenhouse Sister Are You?
You are Vada Allenhouse
You are responsible, like to be in control and like to date those that make you feel secure. Underneath a practical and level-headed demeanor, though, lies the desire for romance that sweeps you off your feet.
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo

The quiz told me I was Vada.    It said, "You are responsible, like to be in control and like to date those that make you feel secure. Underneath a practical and level-headed demeanor, though, lies the desire for romance that sweeps you off your feet."

What did your test say?    Now that you know who you are most like you HAVE to read the book and find out ALL about these wonderful sisters! 

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Lions, Tigers and Bears

Every spring the children of our church are invited to load up the buses and take a day trip.    One of the favorite destinations is to go to the zoo.    This year was no exception as Saturday morning they headed to Memphis.   

Big Guy has been to the Memphis zoo several times and he made several comments about the improvements they have made since the last time he had been.     He loved the fact that they had so many water features around to keep you cool.

He had his camera and took quite a few pictures for me...

The next pic has my hubs' finger in it.   He is trying to make it look like the pirahna ate the end of his finger off.  ha!   
And the cute panda.   Little Guy was really disappointed that I couldn't see him on the panda cam.   The last time Big Guy went he called me on his cell phone and I logged into the panda cam and was able to see him at the panda exhibit.    For some reason the panda cam was off line while they were there.

Didn't Big Guy do such a great job taking photos?      I am so glad that the guys had so much on this trip.   They were all exhausted by the time they got home, but they really had a good time and can't wait until next year.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Foto Friday: My Little Pirate

New uniforms.   Fresh cleats.
The smell of popcorn and hot dogs wafting through the air.
Little boys asking for sunflower seeds.
The crack of the bat.    Sliding into bases whether they need to or not.
Moms cheering their little boys on to victory.
Dads giving sideline advise and wishing they were out there playing.
Dugouts.   Batting cages.   Endless loads of laundry.
Cool summer nights and scorching summer days.
It is baseball time again!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Quick Update

Thanks so much for all of your notes and emails of love and prayers.     You guys are the sweetest ever.      I am thinking that "Dr. K Storm" (my new knickname for her) should go into the medical profession.    It has been her concern all along that I might be having pulmonary embolisms.      It has been nice to have K to tell me about what to expect.

I can't remember what I told you last, but thanks to my sweet husband being willing to give me my shots the doctor allowed me to come home earlier than he planned.     Donald literally exclaimed, "What an answer to prayer!" after he left the room.     On Tuesday the doctor said that he wouldn't even consider letting me leave the hospital until my level was at a solid 2.     Tuesday night we both prayed about it and Wednesday morning the doctor walked in and said he had reconsidered and was going to let me go if Donald would give me the shots and bring me back for lab work.       Donald started packing before the door shut good.    

I have still been hurting a lot and am scheduled for more tests next week.      I am under very strict instructions not to lift anything heavier than 10 lbs, no housework and to be very careful to not get bumped and definitely not get cut.    

I have adjusted to the eating restrictions much easier than I thought I would.    Even giving up my morning coffee wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.      The worst part has been craving asparagus and green beans.     I want some sooooo much!     (In case you don't know, you can't have green vegetables because it contains Vitamin K which causes your blood to clot.)

My parents sent me the most beautiful and delicious fruit arrangement from Edible Arrangements.   What a nice treat after five days of hospital food.

Oh goodness it was so delicious.    Those are chocolate covered apples.    They were sour apples covered with a dark chocolate.      Amazing!      The pineapple was freshly cut and the cantaloupe was mildly sweet.       We all enjoyed it so much.

Speaking of food, Little Guy has taken over the kitchen since we got home.     Tuesday he made homemade hamburger buns using the bread machine and turkey burgers using a recipe he made up.     

Wednesday night he made us an amazing chicken pasta dish that he made up as well.    I wish I had a better picture.   I grabbed this one with my phone before we all ate.    We were starving because we waited until Big Guy got home to eat.     It was so delicious we have all asked him to make this again very soon!

Big Guy has been wonderful too.     He has cut the grass, helped with laundry, and doted on me to make sure I have everything I need and more.     Although I am fully capable of getting up to get a drink, he always makes sure I have one.       I can't tell you how many times he has come running saying, "Mom, did you call?   Do you need anything?"   

So, I guess that is a full update.     I am taking care of myself and following doctor's orders.     It may take a while to get well, but that is OK.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Every Kid Needs A Tree

I am sure you are wondering why I am posting a random picture of a tree.    This tree is in our neighbor's yard.   Not just any neighbor, but the yard of Little Guy's best friend.      Do you see how HUGE that tree is?   

Here is Little Guy's best friend, J, standing under some of the bottom branches.   They have been friends since kindergarten.     They have the same birthday.    They were born in the same hospital just minutes apart.      Sometimes I joke and tell them they could have been in bassinets in the nursery right next to each other.    They both love the same types of books, love science and can play for hours.      They are truly friends and hated it when friends at school teased them for being friends.

Back to the tree.... if you look really close you can see Little Guy and J way up in the top of that tree.    It is their club.     Every day after school they met there.      The phone will ring, Little Guy will answer and all I will hear him say is, "You home?....   Meet you in the spot in five."       They have put in a pulley system and a basket to get things to the top.      They have customized it so that they can spend hours up there.    They read and laugh and even have a security system (a huge rock) in case anyone tries to get up into their tree.

Despite the fact that sometime it scares me to see so high up in that magnolia tree, I love the fact that they have this tree.    When I was growing up I used to climb in the apple trees at my Mammaw and Pappaw's house.    My sister and I had the best time playing in those trees.     We could play all kind of pretend stories in the limbs of those trees.

Every kid needs a tree!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Linky Love: Frick Frack Foto

I take so many photos that one of the things that I haven't done is have a lot of professional photos taken as the boys have gotten older.    Recently I decided that I wanted some photos by someone who takes GOOD photos.    Big Guy is about to turn 13 and it has hit me how few years I have left with him at home.

Two of my sweet blogger friends own Frick Frack Foto and they take some of the most beautiful photos you have ever seen.     I knew I wanted them to take my boys pictures too.

While I was in the hospital the pictures arrived.    It was so fun for us to all sit together and look through the pictures.     Trying to narrow down which of these pictures I am  going to frame for the wall is going to be hard because I love them all.

Here are some of my favorites...

I could go on and on, but they are my sweet boys so of course I love the pictures.     Thank you SO much, Frick Frack Foto!     I love you girls so much.     

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Avoid Healthy Foods

Who knew the doctor would give me a list of HEALTHY foods to avoid?!?    Apparently certain foods are high in Vitamin K which cause your blood to clot.   Obviously this is not something I want to happen so for now I will be avoiding...

cranberries and cranberry juice
green veggies (that is a LOT of veggies!)
kiwi fruit
blackeye peas
frozen blueberries
carrot juice

With summer and fresh veggies around the corner... I guess I am going to have to put up some veggies in the freezer.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Last Friday I woke up feeling really rotten.     I haven't been feeling well for several weeks now and have made several doctor's visits and gotten quite a few prescriptions.   However, when I woke up last Friday I knew something was wrong.     We put in several calls to my doctor and he advised us to go straight to the ER. 

Within 30 minutes of arriving at the ER I had been poked, prodded, tested, hooked up to IV's, oxygen and heart monitors.      It was quickly determined that I had blood clots in my lungs and I was admitted to the hospital.     I was very shocked.     I thought they would just give me a shot and let me go home.   

I was wrong.     I arrived on Friday and I am still sitting here in a hospital room, hooked up to the ICU having my heart monitored and getting shots in my stomach every night.    

I have been so blessed.    My precious husband has taken care of me so wonderfully.    My sister and sweet friends of ours let the boys spend the night with them the first night of our hospital stay.   My parents volunteered to come over and stay in our home so the boys could be in their own beds over the weekend.     As of now, hubs' mom is at the house.    

It wasn't exactly the way I thought we would spend Easter Sunday, but my sweet Big Guy knew how much I was looking forward to the service so he went and recorded the service so I could watch it from my hospital bed.       Little Guy made me a special lunch and delivered it to me on Easter Sunday as well.     

I have received phone calls, Facebook notes, cards and visits.      I am so blessed to have so many loving people in my life.  

If You Give A Boy A Webcam...

You will find a ton of pictures like these stored in his picture file!     What a fun find!
I hope he doesn't kill me for snatching them and posting them on my blog.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Little Red Rocking Chair.... Part 1

"Don't touch that!" I heard my Big Guy tell one of his friends one day.  "She loves that chair because she has had it since she was a little girl."    I realized that they were talking about my little red rocking chair.    I don't have many things from childhood, but this is one thing that I do have that is mine.

Originally this rocking chair had a cane bottom to it, but through wear and tear it had to be removed.   My Dad cut this piece of board and nailed it into the bottom so I could still play with my cherished chair.

Although you might only see a rocking chair, it was so much more to me.     Of course you could sit and rock or read books or even watch television (all 2 major stations), but that is limiting the possibilities.     If you rock fast enough it would scoot across the floor which meant my sister and I could rock at the same time in our own rocking chairs having races.

I flipped my chair over and would sit inside the back runners and it would become a car.    Turn around and it could be a spaceship.     If you sit on top of it, it could be a horse for playing cowboys and indians.    Surprised?    I had two boy cousins right next door and that was their absolute favorite game!

Throw a blanket over my chair and we could have a house for our Barbies.     I was not a big Barbie girl, but my sister wanted to play sometimes.     (We also would build houses out of cinder blocks, but that is another post.)

My boys have laughed and laughed at my stories.    Not because they think they are funny, but because they think I am pitiful!    Who only has a television with 2 major stations?!?   Ha!    

I have had this rocking chair with me since I moved out of my childhood home.   It has moved with me everywhere I have gone.    Recently, I decided that I wanted to do something for my sweet little red rocking chair.

I am going to give it a little refinishing.    I have been thinking about it for a few years.    I thought about asking someone else to refinish it for me, but I decided that I wouldn't trust anyone else with my treasure.     If someone was going to do it then it was going to be me.

So, here goes.    Very soon, I will post part 2.    Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen.... JUST As He Said!

[Jesus] uttered a triumphant cry: "It is accomplished!" and
it was as though he had said: "Everything has begun!"

The Last Temptation of Christ

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Krisa!

I remember the day Mom found out she was pregnant with you at the doctor's office.  

I remember Mom and Dad driving past each other on the street and their eyes locking in certain understanding as Dad tried to read her for a "yes or no".   

I remember Mom almost passing out in the grocery store when she was pregnant with you. 

I remember Mom trying to play an April Fool's joke on Dad that Sunday night only for you to play the joke on her!

I remember all the times we got mad at Mom because she actually let you cry.  

I remember the time you barfed all over me at church.

I remember Shera and I loving the fact that you had learned to crawl and letting you crawl back and forth across the bed until you got too fast for us and fell off on your head.   Didn't tell Mom about that one!

I remember bringing you a dress back from Mexico and Mom getting your picture made in it.

I remember that you had Mom and Dad wrapped around your pinkie finger (still do) and you convinced them to let you do things that they just laughed at us about.    

I remember that we all thought you were the most beautiful, talented, and genius little girl that had ever born.... much the same that we all feel about MM and LK now.

I remember that we are never shocked, but always proud at each of your accomplishments... gymnastics, high school cheerleader, academic accomplishments, MSU cheerleader, MSU graduate, wife, mom, sister, friend.

What do I hope that you remember?     That you have a big sister who loves you so much and always will.

Happy Birthday, Krisa!  

P.S.  If you need a babysitter so Tay can take you out for your birthday..... ME!  ME!   ME!
(Stole this pic off my sis' blog.    Aren't my sis and BIL a sweet couple?)

Good Friday

Christ has not only spoken to us by his life 
but has also spoken for us by his death.
Søren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers