Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To Consign or Not to Consign

It is that time of year again.

Everywhere you drive, you see billboards for consignment sales for children's clothes. They have cutesy names and cute logos. And they make you want to go buy some used clothes!

I have been selling my kids clothes in a consignment sale in Little Rock called Duck Duck Goose for years. It is really the only way I bring in money for the family. Its really the least I can do!

Generally the sale takes place at the very beginning of the spring and the very beginning of the fall. Which means that I must go up to the attic, bring all of last years clothes down and have a try-on session with the kids. Oh my, but how they love it!

Oh, how I kid!

With four kids in the house and all their clothes from last year out and usually in my bedroom floor my house is a clothes mess!

After they try the clothes on and it is determined what can still be worn and what can be sold the real work begins. The clothes must be hung on hangers, priced, tagged, put in the computer, sorted by size and packed to be taken to the sale.

The biggest drawback is that the sale happens so early in the season that the kids aren't ready to wear the new seasons clothes. So, right now there are summer clothes hanging in the closets and fall and winter clothes in plastic tubs in my room waiting to be hung up in the closets. It will be like this probably until the middle to end of September.

Oh, I get tired just thinking about it.

But when the sale is over, just a few short days from when I took my clothes to be sold, I get a check!! Real money, in my hand!! My paycheck. To be spent on more kids clothes.

So, I choose to consign! How about you?

Julie

Friday, August 27, 2010

Food Friday

When the hubs is away there is little cooking going on at my house. He is harvesting his corn right now and not home very much. So, frozen and quick grabs it is. It makes the topics for Food Friday a bit dense. I have not been watching many cooking shows lately either. I have been watching a lot of Praise Baby and Disney Channel instead. It makes my little foodie happy.

You might not think of cauliflower as a convenience food, but I do. I love to buy it and broccoli and grab a handful at a time and chomp away. I bought cauliflower this week and have really enjoyed it. Frozen meals can be so overdone. I bought this one for the first time this week and loved it. It tastes different than the other frozen pizzas I have had in this line and others. Tell me - what do you do besides frozen meals when you need a quick and easy meal at home for just yourself? I need ideas!! He harvests beans next....there is no end to the frozen foods in sight! ha.

Really, Woman...you want me to eat a banana with this thing?

Ok, so it tastes like a banana...


Wow, Mama, this is actually good!

It is not Food Friday without a little glimpse at my little foodie.
Tell me - what do you give your babies with this mesh eater thing? Do you like using it? I am at a loss on what all one can do with it.

Happy Food Friday!
Abby

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Freedom!

Today was the big day!

Daniel got his cast off!!!

We have been anticipating this day for 5 long, hot, non-swimming, non-bike riding weeks. I have had to wash his hair, get him in and out of the bath (no, I probably didn't HAVE to get him in and out of the bath, but it just seemed like the right thing to do) and he has been stuck on the bottom bunk at night. He doesn't like the bottom bunk at all.

I will say that he has gotten off pretty easy around the house though. He hasn't had to take the trash out, take the clean clothes into my room from the laundry room, scrape his plate into the trash after a meal (we REALLY need a disposal!), or bring in the groceries.

I have a feeling his brothers are going to make sure he pays them back for having to do his share of the work for this time.

He hasn't had to wear shorts that button or zip. Or wear shoes that tie. He loved that! He lives for sports shorts and crocs!

I was going to post a picture of his new free arm. But it still doesn't look very good. The bones have healed but his arm still isn't straight. It makes me grimace to look at it, and even to write about it! The doctor gave him exercises to do for a couple of weeks and then we go back to make sure he has full range of motion. He said it could be months before his arm looks normal.

AAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Please let me know if you have experience with this. I was expecting a normal looking arm, and I didn't get that.

Tomorrow we are going swimming. A family in our church has an above the ground pool that is still open for business! While their girls are at school, we are going to have recess at their house!

Its been a good day. I took all the kids but Samuel with me to Little Rock today. We missed him, but had a good time anyway. It was a good day to be a mom!!

Julie

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest..."

I love being a hostess. I like to think I am a hostess with the mostess...at least that is what my mama tells me and we all know mama's blow wind in their babies sails. I will run with it though...I like it!
I love overnight guests. Well, I actually love all guests. Yet, the ones who choose to rest with us get the pleasure of signing our guest book during their stay. It sits on the bedside table in our guest room. My sweet sister made this for me Christmas 2007. It was signed once in my Mississippi home by her family and then moved to my home here in Arkansas. It has been signed a lot since then and I love it. I have had several of my dearest friends laugh at me about my book when prompted to take some quiet time and write in it...and then my sister harasses me in it each time she stays. It makes me laugh. I love the story it tells. My Mama uses it as a journal when she is here and writes down all we do during the day and then tells me how wonderful I am, etc. Anyway, there are many of you reading this who are due an overnight stay and have a page waiting on you in the book. Reservations are now open...

I also have a memo board...a zebra memo board. It screams "Abby Jo" and I like a loud welcome. (I tried to blur the photos for a bit of privacy here, but it just looks bad now...oh well) I take photos of special memories of the person or family who is visiting us for the night. This particular board is set up for a stay that my Mama and Aunt J had with us. It was a fun board to do because I was able to mix lots of people on the board. I like to see people's response to the board when they get settled in their room for the night. It always brings a smile. I like my guests to know they are loved, appreciated and always welcome.


What fun things do you do to welcome people into your home?
Abby

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Remember me?

Its school time and I love it!!

I love the school supply aisle at Walmart so very much! The pencils, notebooks, folders, erasers, pencil boxes, backpacks, paper, pens....

It could be a sickness.

Speaking of school, I found my first friend in first grade on facebook over the weekend. I was so very excited to find her.

Her, not so much. She didn't even remember me. She finally said she remembered my hair and that I had freckles. I think she found our class picture, still couldn't remember me, so she just stated the obvious.

Oh well! I have fun memories of her, aparantely she, not so much.

Which brings me to this little story. It has nothing to do with school, but does have something to do with people not remembering me.

Friday, Anna and I went into a local gift store to request a door prize for a women's conference we are having this weekend. I have browsed and shopped in this store many times over the years we have lived here. The owner has always spoken to me and checked me out when I purchased something.

But Friday, she didn't remember me. She even asked if I had ever been in her shop before. I assured her that yes I had, and reminded her of who I was. Well, I tried to remind her, she had no recollection of me.

I wish there was a class picture for that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Old School Giggles

As children all over our communities head back to school I find myself thinking about my old school days. My mind goes from elementary to college and it makes me giggle like a school girl.

In my day the back to school clothes shopping craze was not what it is today. Our 64 count box of Crayola's was IT. Nobody cared about your new shirt or your new shoes, just about your colors.

I loved carrying my lunch in style. My Mama wrote me little notes and put them in my lunch. Can you believe this was actually MY lunch box. I found a picture of it on a vintage website and it is now $60. I can assure you my Mama did not pay over $5 for it back in 1983! I loved, loved, loved this lunch box. I wore it out and then got a Rainbow Brite lunch box. After that one wore out I was too cool for a lunch box.


"As if! Stop it!" When I started junior high the Trapper Keeper was too cool for school. I had one in this very color in the 7th grade. I thought I was the cat's meow when I was old enough to have one and carry it from class to class. This may have been the only cool thing about me in junior high...I hated junior high and don't know many people who relish those days. What an awkward, awful stage for a child. I dread Henry going through that. Poor thing.


Ah, the cones. Let's jump up to college. I was a basketball manager from 7th grade through 12th grade. I was quite the statistician and it scored me a full scholarship to the junior college in my hometown. I served my first year and then bailed. I blame it on the cones. Coach made me dress out with the girls and run drills. I never see an orange cone without having my lungs and thighs burn a wee bit.


The much needed and dreaded syllabus. It was the road map to each college course. Sometimes I wish I had a syllabus in real life. It would make things so much easier, you know?!


So, what comes to YOUR mind when you think of school days?

Abby

Friday, August 20, 2010

Food Friday

Cake Mix Pumpkin Muffins

I really like these because they are low fat and really yummy! I also use a chocolate cake mix sometimes to mix it up a bit. I made these this week and have enjoyed eating on them. I still have a few left and wish you could come over and try one!

(18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves until smooth. Spoon equal amounts of batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers. They remind me of my Granny. She made them for us a lot. I have learned that I really like the yellow and orange peppers the best. This week I made stuffed peppers with just the yellow and orange. They were soooooo good!

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup rice
1 cup water
6 bell peppers
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook rice. Put the peppers in a saucepan and bring to a boil. This will help make them tender. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the turkey until evenly browned. Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers after they have cooked. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.) In a bowl, mix the browned turkey, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers. Bake 30 minutes, basting with sauce once.

And what is Food Friday without a glimpse of my little foodie?! We were headed to Kroger last weekend and this is him tackling his diaper bag in excitement. I left him in the den playing with his toys so I could run back to the kitchen to get the car keys and I came back to this...so cute. He adores the grocery store. I love taking him while it is easy. I am sure the day will come when I will leave him at home with his Daddy...but for now it works.

Happy Food Friday!
Abby

12 Days Older

We've established that I love birthdays, right? I really think they are the most perfect day of the year.

Friday the 20th was my Grandaddy's birthday. He loved to tell me that I was 12 days older than he. Which was hilarious to me as a child.

Grandaddy and I were close. I loved that man. He was funny, witty, and just plain sweet. And he always made me feel special.

I wasn't born into his family, instead I was loved into it. And besides my daddy, my Grandaddy had a large role in making that possible.

We had some good times together. Luckily, he got to meet Stephen before he died. Or maybe its the other way around. Stephen was lucky that he got to meet Grandaddy before he died.

There's just something about wanting your loved ones approval of the one you love and marry. My Pawpaw died before I was in high school (before Abby was in 1st grade), and I wish he had met Stephen. Just so he would see that I married well. I know he would have been proud too.

Happy Birthday Grandaddy!
Julie


PS. I was unsure of how to spell Granddaddy, so I spellchecked it and both ways, Granddaddy and Grandaddy, passed spellcheck. I guess it is up to me to decide, so I choose Grandaddy. Maybe this is why Abby always called him Peeps!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Little Blessings

Aren't our kiddos the cutest!
B: Daniel, Anna, David - F: Samuel and Henry

We are blessed to be a close knit family that shares everything...and we mean everything! We love that our children are following in our footsteps. It makes us sister-mamas so happy. Our sweet cousin, Sarah, took this photo for us a few weeks ago and we love, love, love it.

Abby & Julie

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Short Story- Lost

I have been looking all over for a cute story I wrote about Stephen and I meeting, dating, falling in love and getting married.

I started writing it weeks ago so that it would be ready to post for our anniversary. And now I've lost it.

Just the story. I haven't lost my mind. Yet.

It was real cute. It started off telling about how the first time I remember him he was riding his bike down my street, stopped and asked me to "go with him" ( and I knew he didn't mean go riding bikes down the street!), I said no, and he left. I was twelve.

I told a few cute stories of other romances we both had and watched from the sidelines. How we decided to hang out together one summer. Probably out of sheer loneliness, boredom and embarrassment of being alone and bored. And how our friendship deepened. We learned about each other, we laughed, I cried (because I'm a girl, and its what we do), we had fun times.

And then he went back to his girlfriend at school.

Surely she knew something was up when her 19 year old college boyfriend didn't visit her not one single time that summer. Didn't she? I don't know. I picked out her birthday present that summer. Oh, I loved those Anne Klien earrings!

And then we broke up with our respective special ones. And slowly fell in love with each other.
It was beautiful. Lovely. Perfect.

And the engagement. Well, perfection once again.

Our wedding day was hot! It was August, I had a long sleeved dress on, he in a tux. We were hot. And hot for each other! (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!)

It was a beautiful wedding, with the most beautiful flowers ever!

And now it is 17 years later. I knew we would make it 17 years. I didn't envision shopping for our 12 year old son's bed with our other three kids in tow on our 17th anniversary though. That NEVER entered my mind!

But we did, and it was fun. And then we celebrated at dinner with some of our favorite couples in town. We had a great night of laughter, good food, and just plain old fun!

Happy Anniversary to us! 17 years! I love him so much!
Julie

Friday, August 13, 2010

Food Friday

Food Friday is of course not complete without a photo of my little foodie. I thought this was a fitting way to start our post today. This is how we cool off during these dog daze of summer...Sonic Happy Hour. Whoo-hoo. Most everyday you can find my car or Daddy's truck at any local Sonic. We go so much that we know which Sonic has the best ice and drive out of our way to get a drink there if time allows. I love the simple things in life... and a Diet Coke with lime.
Too hot to cook!

It is oppressive. I love using that word and am using it any chance I can when referring to the heat of 2010. My word...can a sister catch a breeze?! Anyway, the kitchen was closed at our house this week. No cakes, no casseroles, no wonderful stove top dishes. Frozen meals and quick grabs were my friend. Those foods wear on a girls taste buds after a few days though. I am ready for a little something, something from the oven.



Lunch with the girls

I have been eating lunch out with girlfriends quite a bit this summer. I love lunch menus, good girl fun without the guilt of leaving the son or hubs at home to fend for themselves like we would at dinner time, and the fellowship...sweet fellowship! I fear I make my working gals late getting back to work because I am in no hurry to rush off these days. I am learning more about my sweet friends and deepening my relationships. It makes my heart happy and puts a smile on my face. If you are my personal friend, live in my town and not had lunch with me this summer...we must hook up!




Food, Inc.

Have you heard of this? if not, you must watch this trailer. It is eye-opening. I am not going to share my thoughts too much on this because the food/chemical industry puts food on my table, but it makes me think about all the processed foods I eat (like the frozen meals I have eaten all week). I liked one of the author's of this companion book saying that if your great-grandmother would not recognize it, don't buy it! Anyway, it is worth a quick glimpse. Pretty interesting, I thought.



Happy Food Friday!

Abby

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big 4-0 Photos

Julie turned 40 over the weekend, as you know. I thought we should finalize the celebration with some photos. Julie never posts photos so I will. I really am a good sister.
She must be really loved because most everyone came to town to celebrate her.

The kids did birthday card crafts at Marmie's with the help of Aunt Abby...it was fun.

Julie had fun being spoiled by everyone.

This is Julie and me with her BFF from high school, Cindy. She is like family. I fear Anna may like slumber parties with Cindy more than Aunt Abby. I told Anna to never tell me...just lie to me! Cindy is a load of fun.

We loved staying with Mama and visiting TBEO.


And a trip to the Fort the same weekend with these sweet people makes it extra, extra special. Julie loved having our grandparents help her celebrate her new decade.


It was a fun weekend. I always love quality time with the family back home, getting lots of hugs and laughs from the Fab four and making my sister go crazy. It was a great birthday weekend!


Abby


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Coke and a Smile

Me, Mawmaw, Cindy, and Uncle David

I had such a fun weekend with all of my family (except for my Miss/Tenn folks). I hadn't seen most of them since Thanksgiving. And in our family, that is just too long. But sadly becoming the norm since my generation doesn't live in the same town and with all of our kids it is hard to get together.

But when we do, we have a good time.

After an eventful week, I arrived in Fort Smith on Thursday afternoon and quickly went to my friend Cindy's house. I've told you about her before. I've known her since I was 15. We just love each other.

I wasn't feeling my best, and things of the week were weighing on me. When I got to her house, she looked at me and handed me a can coke from the freezer and a king size Snicker. The coke was slushy and the snicker was chocolatey and nugetey and good.

It was the best way to start off my birthday weekend!


Julie

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Forty and Fabulous

Here's a story of a bathing beauty who is now the BIG 40

She has always had a warm smile and soft heart

She was born to shop and be a baby mama
She always had a little rough and rowdy side

Having a sister at the age of 8 was a rude awakening

But she was always happy to be bossy to the younger family members

Her great legs and loud mouth made her a great cheerleader

Boy, she sure is pretty though

...and smart too

and a real catch with the older men!

Yet a younger man snagged her and made her his bride...a very beautiful bride.

And today she is still in-love with her man...


and has four beautiful babies.

Julie has had four fabulous decades and here's to many, many more!

Happy 40th Julia Kathryn!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Food Friday

Cherry Chocolate Cake
Because it is my old sister's birthday on Sunday, I felt the need to make and post this recipe. Our great-grandmother "Granny" made this for Julie's birthdays and it is one of her favorite cakes. I got up this morning and made it for her. It is always a fun cake to make because it reminds me of making them with Granny in her kitchen. It is easy and yummy!
1 Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix (Granny only used DH)
3 eggs
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can chocolate frosting
Mix all and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Cool and then ice cake with chocolate frosting. And then call Julie and tell her it is ready...she will come running!

And in true Food Friday fashion, we have to have a photo of Henry. Henry is eating his bottle in Julie's van with the help of Anna Kathryn. He loves his 6 ounces every three hours and Anna loves to help take care of him. It is a win-win for both of these sweet babies...and me!

Happy Food Friday
Abby

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion

Henry and I decided to head west on a moments notice. We set out on our journey and half way there our car decided it did not want to continue on that journey with us. It was 107 degrees that day. Thankfully we were in my old college town and we had our sweet Lindsey there to take care of us. She was an angel that day, for sure. I love how something that could have been really stressful, chaotic and scary turned into a fun memory. Thank you to her Uncle Troy for taking us to supper and making fast friends with Henry. Thanks to Mrs. Edna (her mama) for coming to make sure we were okay and making us smile. Lindsey, you are a lifesaver of a pal and I am so glad you love me more than your luggage! hee hee
Marmie came to the rescue and picked us up and took us to our final destination...her house. Henry was so happy to see her and give wet kisses. It was a great week to come and a much needed one. The trip here was a bit more than I bargained for but God knew I needed to be here and showed me how He is in control of my comings and goings. What a lesson and blessing we are getting here this week, fo'sho!

The icing on the trip here is seeing my BFF's sweet boys. This is Luke being poked and picked by our little Henry. Luke is the baby I asked you to pray for in May. He was airlifted to the children's hospital in our state to have emergency surgery. As you can see, he is a healthy baby boy now. Praise! He and Henry are fast friends and I love it.

And I forgot to post this on Monday when he turned 8 months. He is a big boy! I love his personality. He lights up the room, he talks all the time, has 3 teeth coming in, can give a high five (thanks to his Daddy) and he loves to laugh. I feel blessed to have a happy child. It makes for a happy mama!
Abby



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Letter to Daniel

Daniel,

Sometimes we make wrong choices and have to suffer the consequences. Sometimes the consequences are swift and other times they are long and drawn out.

Sadly, July 23rd you made a wrong choice and the consequence is long and drawn out.

I know that when you thought about sitting atop the chair you thought it would be neat. And that you would hop right down and eat lunch. But, that isn't what happened. You never got lunch that day.

Instead you got a cast. A cast to be worn for 5 weeks. Not a long time in the winter probably, but in the summer 5 weeks seems like forever!

You have had to give up swimming for the rest of the summer. You have enjoyed the pool this year more than any other year. I'm glad you made great memories there and that I was able to be there with you.

You have beeen such a trooper with all of this. You were diagnosed with mono on the 20th, broke your arm on the 23rd, and left for church camp on the 26th.

You never cried at the hospital. You never shouted or screamed. You went to camp, having to hold your broken arm up all of the first day because doctors orders were that you hold it up to avoid swelling for 3 days. So, you did. With no complaint.

You couldn't swim or take part in volleyball, ga-ga ball or any of the water activites and you never complained. You had to have help tying your shoes, putting on and taking off your clothes, and taking a shower and you never complained. Never whined, cried. Nothing.

You had to leave camp a day early to go to the doctor. We waited for 2 1/2 hours to see the doctor so that he could say 20 words to us and you never complained. You didn't complain when you couldn't hold your hamburger with your one hand.

You even unloaded the van when we got home from camp.

Daniel, you have amazed me through this. Thank you for stepping up to the plate, for being tough, for not complaining and for letting me love on you more than usual. For letting me hold you, look at you, and kiss you more than normal.

I'm proud of you. We all are!

Love, Mom

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Dolly Parton Tour!

Have I told you that Samuel is on the puppet ministry team at our church? I can't remember.

The pmt is made up of 7 6-12th grade students and one adult leader. They practice once a week and are really good!

They perform at nursing homes, various churches and anywhere else that asks them to come.

Last year they did their version of a singing Christmas Tree at church that was absolutely delightful! It was funny, poignant, and meaningful. Everyone loved it!

Last night they performed a show as the kick-off to their summer puppet tour. They not only perform with puppets but also do some black-light (where everything black can't be seen, but neon and white show up in the light) drama.

Oh my goodness it was good! Let me just say that Samuel was awesome. All the other kids did a great job, but since this is my blog Samuel did super-duper good!!!

I was so proud of all of them. They work so hard to get everything "just right" so that the messages in the songs is never muted by what the puppets are doing. The songs chosen were perfect for everyone in attendance. Old, young, boy, girl.

Today the pmt leaves on their first mission trip. They are headed to the Smoky Mountains to do a few puppet shows. They will also visit Dollywood and the Dixie Stampede. I guess they should have called it the Dolly Parton tour, but that probably wouldn't have gone over very well!! HA!

If you are so inclined, pray for them this week. Samuel is away from me and isn't with any family members. This is a first! Pray for safety, and good times!!

Thanks! Julie