Thursday, June 30, 2011

Creating Masterpieces

Little Guy and his friend decided they wanted to get creative.    Since painting is on our summer bucket list they decided to work on that.     They set everything up on the back patio and enjoyed a morning of painting and talking and having fun.    That is what summer is all about isn't it?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On The Trail

Hubs and Little Guy have discovered a new weekend past time.    Hiking.    They love it.     Here are some photos from some of their hikes over the past few weekends.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Little Guy's Cooking Camp

Little Guy took a week long camp at the Viking Cooking School.     The menu for the week was INCREDIBLE! 

Day 1 - Grilling Workshop: Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Herbs; Lemon Pepper-Crusted Grilled Steaks; Grilled Vegetable Kebabs; Grilled Fruit with Brown Sugar Glaze. Sample Recipe: Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Dip (Tzatziki); Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Day 2 - Desserts Workshop: Fresh Seasonal Fruit Cobbler; Classical Chocolate Soufflé with Peanut Butter Crème Anglaise; Fresh Fruit Tarts

Day 3 - Backyard Barbecue: Easy Barbecued Ribs with Fresh Peach Barbecue Sauce; Pit Master's Fire and Spice Dry Rub; Real Deal Barbecued Chicken; Roasted Yukon Gold Potato Salad; Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chile Lime Butter. Sample Recipe: Lemonade Pie

Day 4 - Summer Southwestern Supper: Brined and Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Glaze; Roasted Sweet Potato Fries; Black Bean, Tomato and Avocado Salad; Individual Fresh Berry Pies. Sample Recipe: Rich Cream Short Pastry

Day 5 - Alfresco Dinner: Romaine Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette and Homemade Croutons; Seafood Pasta; Garlic Bread; Chocolate Chunk Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Fudge Sauce. Sample Recipe: Fresh Mozzarella

On Friday, they had a simple graduation ceremony.   When I arrived, Little Guy escorted me to my seat and went to pour me something cold to drink.

He also brought me a cup of the homemade chocolate chunk cherry ice cream with homemade fudge sauce that they had made in class that day.     It was so delicious!

Earlier in the week, they had taken photos of the students in class to give them as souvenirs.   Here is Little Guy holding his photo.    It is now proudly on display on our refrigerator.

Finally, here is Little Guy with his instructor, Chef Sally.    Little Guy really learned a LOT from her.   She was so sweet!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Uninvited Dinner Guest

Big Guy announced right after Sunday School that he had a craving for quesadillas.     What an easy lunch request to fulfill.     It didn't take long to get lunch ready and we were all sitting around the dining room table.

It was a typical lunch.    Talking.   Laughing.    Discussing what our plans were for the rest of the day.    Right towards the end of lunch I felt something under my foot.    Something weird.    I pushed my chair back and looked under the table.

"Boys!   What is that?!?!?"

All three boys looked while I back WAY up.

Big Guy reached under the table and grabbed up the snake which had been under my feet and I had just stepped on.   

There had been a snake under my dining room table! 

The guys seem to think that the cat brought it in as a "present".     All I know is that if the cat brings in anymore "presents, the snake won't be the only thing that is dead!

Still shivering.... 

Friday, June 24, 2011

God's Love Letters To You

Experience a unique conversation with God through a daily devotional reading based on twenty Old Testament and twenty New Testament books of the Bible. Written to help the reader listen to what God is saying in His Word, God’s Love Letters to You offers a life-changing encounter with God through the story He is telling. Author Larry Crabb brings the big picture of God’s story into clearer focus, helping readers catch an enticing glimpse of how each of these forty books of the Bible advances the story. The goal? To lose our story in His.

Each day’s devotional includes:
-a selected Scripture reading
-a short devotional message
-reflection questions
-a closing prayer

Book Review

This 40 day devotional book is based on Larry Crabb's best selling devotional book "66 Love Letters".    Crabb took 40 selected passages from his book and then added Scripture, thought provoking questions and prayer.    If you are not in the habit of having devotions or if you have gotten out of the habit, this would be a great book to use to get back into the habit.

Crabb leads you through forty days of experiencing God's love and discovering what He has for you in your daily life.     You will find that each day's Scripture applies to you in a unique way.     Although the devotions will only take you about 15 to 30 minutes, you will definitely find yourself pondering these thoughts throughout the day.

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from BookSneeze. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Reading Programs

I love summer for a lot of things, but I LOVE the summer reading programs.    Kids can actually go backwards in their academic performance during the summer.     So much of that backwards slide could be prevented by READING!    

Here are a few summer reading programs...

Most important... Check out your local library!    Our local library is doing a reading program called "One World, Many Stories".

Tyndale is doing a summer reading program for adults AND teens/kids.   If you read 5 books, you get to  select a free book.   Click the link and read their requirements for participating!

Borders is again doing their Double Dog Dare Challenge.   Read ten books, get one free.  That is pretty simple!    Plus you have until September 5th to read! 

Barnes and Noble is sponsoring Imagination's Destination this summer, where kids read 8 books to earn a free one. This goes through September 6, and is good for kids in grades 1-6.

Chuck E Cheese offers a Reading Rewards Calendar (along with several other rewards calendars). Once a child has completed two weeks of reading, he or she can submit the completed Chuck E Cheese calendar for 10 free tokens.
Scholastic and WordGirl is challenging kids to read at least four books this summer.   But more importantly they are trying to set a new Guiness World Record!       In summer of 2011, students around the world logged 52,710,368 reading minutes with Scholastic.   This year they are hoping to break that record!  

Monday, June 13, 2011

When Hubs and Big Guy Are Out of Town

Mom and Little Guy might just go on a "date" and have some fun.

We might just take a cooking class at our local library and learn how to make homemade pico de gallo and guacamole from a local professional chef.

 We might just go to Barnes and Noble to walk around looking at books.     While looking at a game book on miniature golf (seen below), I might just happen to make the innocent comment, "This book doesn't have any balls."  to which my nine year old burst into hysterical laughter.

I might just turn forty shades of red and start walking quickly out of that section of books.   And while we are walking we might have passed a book written by Jennifer Weiner which only escalates hysterical from not only Little Guy but now myself.

At this point, we may or may not have been asked to leave from Barnes and Noble.     But NOT before we bought a crazy game (more on that later!).

With our stomach yelling, Little Guy suggested Little Tokyo for supper.   Yummy!     Some Mississippi roll, Dynamite roll, teriyaki salmon and we were stuffed.

We decided to go grab FroYo from Sweet Tree Yogurt.     Little Guy wanted to submit a pic to their photography contest they are running right now.     You create a yogurt creation, take a photo and then submit it.    

While there the weather decided to go INSANE!    We made a run for the van and Tanner prayed out loud while I drove.    No "just might" to that part!     When we got home our front porch furniture was all over our yard.   That wind was scary strong!

Now that we are safely home, we may or may not be screaming at the top of our lungs in frustration over this crazy game Little Guy bought today called Perplexus.

You remember those little games we used to get in birthday party favor bags?

Yea, well, ha!   Ha! Ha! Ha!   Perplexus is one of those on steroids and psychotic drugs!   This thing will drive you crazy, but you can't put it down because you want to beat it so bad.     At this point, Little Guy and I may or may not be fighting over this crazy perplexing puzzle madness!

I can say that is just what we MIGHT do while Hubs and Big Guy are out of town!!

Summer Bucket List

It has been so hot already this summer that it feels later in the summer than it is.     Big Guy has been volunteering at VBS all week this week.     He heads up the sound and media team.  

We are saving our money for two big vacations in the fall/winter so we won't be making any big trips this summer.     However, that doesn't mean we can't have fun.     I have been working on a summer bucket list.

Here is our starting point:
  • VBS
  • ride bikes
  • learn how to cook something new
  • sign up the boys for at least one camp (found a cooking camp for Little Guy, just need one for Big Guy)
  • go pick berries at a local farm
  • have a water balloon fight
  • swimming
  • sign the boys up for summer reading programs -- might as well earn prizes for those books they are reading!
  • go to Vicksburg to play with the twins 
  • 4th of July fireworks
  • go geocaching
  • visit a museum or art gallery
  • go bowling
  • explore a Mississippi city that we haven't discovered yet
  • go to some of the great Mississippi festivals (tomato, blackberry, watermelon, etc....)
  • read a book
  • pack a picnic for after church at least one Sunday to enjoy at the Reservoir
  • buy a new ice cream maker so we can make homemade ice cream
  • enjoy a week with our friends from Atlanta
  • celebrate my 21st wedding anniversary
  • lots of game time after supper

What is on your summer bucket list?

Friday, June 10, 2011

National Iced Tea Month

Who knew that June was National Iced Tea Month?   I ran across this little tidbit on one of our homeschool "fun facts" calendars.    Of course, being southern I silently balk a little because everyone knows that it really should say National Iced SWEET Tea Month.   After all, iced tea isn't tea at all unless it is sweet!  

Iced tea was first served at the 1904 World's Fair.    They tried to serve hot tea, but it was summer and it was too hot.   Nobody wanted to drink that stuff.     That guy didn't want to lose his money so he cooled it down by pouring it over ice.    People went crazy and bought him out.    Iced tea was invented.   

Not too long ago my friend Tyanne posted this video by Anita Renfroe.   It is a song about iced tea.    She hits the nail on the head!    Happy National Iced SWEET Tea Month, ya'll!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Miracles Still Happen

Last year in June I told you about Todd’s best friend who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He had cancer in his prostate, abdomen, lungs, at the base of his brain and along his spine. He has been undergoing treatment since then. He has had scans at two different points and they had seen no progress.

Last week they did a scan and said that they felt they needed to do a Pet Scan to determine what to biopsy and how to determine what needed to be done. We have all been pretty discouraged. If you could see Cade you would know just how desperate the situation has gotten. He only weighs 100 pounds now and looks very sick.

Last week before the first scan I called a bunch of our friends and asked them to join me on the front yard of Cade’s house to pray. Two nights ago before the Pet scan a group of people met on their front lawn to pray. It scared their neighbors pretty bad because they thought something had happened to Cade, but once they realized we were still just praying they just joined us.

Yesterday the results were in.  The scan showed minimal signs of cancer. Almost every spot they saw was dead! The few tiny spots they saw – they couldn’t tell if they were even alive! They are going to do a biopsy to see. If they are active they are going to do a less harsh chemo. If they are dead then they will be FINISHED with chemo.

This is a complete MIRACLE! Only God could have done this. Not even doctors and medicine could have given us these results this quickly.

Cade’s medical team will meet today to discuss his plan. For now we are all so excited that God has chosen to heal Cade. We know his journey isn’t finished. They still need to continue flushing his kidneys and bladder to prevent any permanent damage from the extremely harsh chemo he has been undergoing. His body needs to completely recover. The remaining cells need to test negative. However… those are just details. Ones that we are trusting God completely to handle.

I wish you could have seen the looks on the boys' faces when I told them the news. Little Guy could not say anything. He just jumped in my lap and wrapped his arms around me with tears running down his sweet face. Big Guy's face broke out into a smile and he kept saying, “Awesome!” over and over again. Our family prayer time last night was so full of praise. Obviously, Cade has been in our family prayer times every night since the day Cade was admitted to the hospital last year.

I couldn’t resist sharing with you that my God is an awesome God! He is the same Yesterday, Today and FOREVER!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Toomers for Tuscaloosa

You know me.   I am a BAMA girl.   Live and breathe the Crimson Tide.    So much fun to tease my Auburn friends.    Even "hate" them.   

However, I have a newfound respect for Auburn.   I will never look at Auburn in the same way again.   See, Auburn fans were the first people to jump in and volunteer to help after the tornado tore through my beloved Tuscaloosa.     

They are still on the scene today.   They have a Facebook page.     They even have a website

You will notice that I have added their button to my sidebar.    You can click on it and see what they are doing to help rebuild.      

They aren't just helping Tuscaloosa.   They jumped in and helped when tornadoes tore through Joplin, Missouri as well.     These Toomers are hard working people.

And even though I thought I would never say it.   I just have to say thank you with a big, "War Eagle!"

Please don't tell my Daddy!  *smile*

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Big Guy!

 14 Amazing Things About You...
  1. You are 14 years old.   I have had 14 incredible years of being your Mom.    That simple fact is amazing to me!!
  2. You are taller than me.   5 foot 8 inches to be exact.    The perfect size for me to put my head on your shoulder when you give me one of your amazing hugs.
  3. We bought your summer sandals and they are a size 12.   That is just one size smaller than Dad's.
  4. This fall you will be starting high school.    I can't even think about that without crying yet.    Every time I say "high school" I turn into a weepy mess.
  5. You have transferred your toddler love of Lego's to a computer game called Minecraft.    You amaze me with your ability to craft and create things.
  6. There is nothing like hearing you laugh and talk with your friends on xBox Live.    You guys aren't half as interested in what you are playing as you are in just laughing and talking together.    
  7. Speaking of friends... I love the Christian friends you have chosen.   Stephen, Miles, Cade, Blane, Joey, Carter... quality friendships.  
  8. I love that you have so many interests:  reading, military history, video games, music, church, archery, shooting sports, running, volunteering, art, skateboarding, movies, technology, and so much more!
  9. You have a heart of compassion.    Your compassion shows whether it is something minor like our sweet cat has hurt her leg or it is something big like your friend fighting his battle with cancer.   
  10. You have the best sense of humor.   You can make me laugh until my sides hurt.
  11. You have a gift for technology.   Grown men come to you at church for help with the media and technology.    I love that you volunteer your time to be a part of that ministry.
  12. You are a wonderful example for your little brother.    He looks up to you and listens to you.    I love you for being the kind of brother that he can emulate. 
  13. You don't choose to be a leader, but your friends look to you to be that because they trust your judgement.    God is going to use that quality in you, sweet boy.
  14.  Most of all, we are so proud of you because of your heart.    Each day we see you grow in wisdom and stature and as a reflection of Christ.     "There is no greater joy than to know that you are walking in truth."  3 John 1:4

Happy Birthday, Big Guy!
You are such a precious gift and 
we love you more and more every day!
Mom and Dad

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shaken - Update

Update on Cade...

This afternoon the doctors called Cade's parents.      They were able to deliver better news.     All chemo has been put on hold and a Pet Scan is now being scheduled.      There was some evidence in the scans of dead cells in the lungs.    The Pet Scan will determine if there are any live cells. 

Please pray with us.    Cade has been saying for weeks, "What if the cancer is gone and we just don't know it?"

His faith has been stretched to the point of breaking the past few months.     Our prayer is that Cade will see God's power and his faith will be restored in what is such a tough time in his life.

Also pray with us that all cells they find are DEAD!