Friday, May 27, 2011

Food Friday

I remember the panic that would overtake my little person when I heard the ice cream van in our neighborhood. It was a race against the sound of the creepy ice cream music to get the dime from Mama and bolt out to the street before the little people passed by our house. Our ice cream van drivers where little people. Until I moved to Memphis and saw an ice cream van, I just assumed they were all little people...I am so naive and such a dork, I know.
Anyway, an orange push pop was always my Popsicle of choice from the ice cream van. I found some at Walmart this week and brought them home. It brings back such fun memories and Henry loves to take a few licks. I am finally at that place in life where sharing a Popsicle is actually a joy!

It is time for corn on the cob and that makes me so happy. I love finding the happy old man on the side of the highway with the 10 for 1 buck deal, bringing them home, shucking them and putting them in the freezer for later. Grilling them is my favorite. We grilled some this week and it was so yummy! I just hate digging corn out of my teeth afterwards.







Yes, I started couponing this week. I went to this fun and informative coupon class in town last weekend and got all sorts of valuable information. I also met lots of women who coupon and have coupon swaps. Next week I have 2 coupon swaps to attend. I am laughing, but so excited!



I am just starting to build up my coupon collection. This week I saved a lot comping at Walmart and pairing some of the comps with coupons I had. I ended up buy 16 cake mixes, 12 2 liters of my joy juice (Diet Coke), 6 packages of 99% ff ground turkey, and too many other things to mention and spent what I normally spent before coupons and comping. We started quite the little stockpile this week and I love it....and Randall is liking it too!



They say it can take 2 to 3 months to build it up where you can walk in to the store each week and just buy bread, milk and produce....that is my goal! I have a folder of great couponing info I plan to share with my family and close friends who are interested in couponing also. There is truly no need to pay full price for a name brand cake mix....just sayin! And no, I will not be the crazy coupon lady who devotes a bedroom to her stockpile and has to dust it.



And the little foodie is like, "Mama, do we really need all these cake mixes?!"






Happy Food Friday!



Abby


Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Dentist

Today I took the kids to the dentist. This was their 6 month check-up and cleaning and I try to knock this one out in one day. There are both advantages and disadvantages to doing it this way. The advantage is that we have the waiting room to ourselves. We take up the bulk of the hygienist & dentist's time for about three hours. The disadvantage is it takes up to three hours!

We came home with 2 cavities among the four children. Unfortunately the 2 cavities were in one child. I'm going to hate to have to brush teeth that aren't mine, but its either that or this child is going to have to start paying for their own cavities!!

Now that I think about it, I have taken all of my kids to the doctor/dentist most every time for the last 10 years. Hardly ever do I just take one child to a visit. I think it might be boring. I could be wrong, but I don't think I'll ever know!

I'm now trying to find activities for us to do this summer. Cheap ones of course. And activities that will entertain a 13 year old boy and a 7 year old girl at the same time. It seems pretty impossible now that I have typed it. I guess sleeping late and swimming are the only things that will meet that requirement. And sadly, my kids don't sleep late. Oh well, swimming it will be!

Any ideas for summer activities?

Julie

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Randomness Part 4,390,213

***The devastation and loss in Joplin upsets me greatly. The outpouring of support from the people of Arkansas is heartwarming but the support of those just affected by tornadoes in Alabama just blows me away. (Bad use of words.)

***Our cousin Hollye's husband Matthew was in a car accident this morning. He is very sore and will be for days but thankfully came away from flipping his car, and sliding down the expressway with just soreness. We are so very thankful to God that no one else was hurt and that Matthew was able to walk away from the accident. We love him so much, he is one of us. Poor guy!

***Stephen preached on the return of Jesus Sunday. I am so excited about seeing Jesus's face. Can you imagine? Getting to see Him face to face? It's more than I can fathom really.

***We drive by the pool everyday to see the progress that is being made for our summer of swimming! Yesterday they were power-washing it. Painting is next and then it gets filled with water. My excitement can hardly be contained!! I need to remember to buy goggles for the kids.

***What's up with ya'll? Anything exciting? Any big summer plans? Tell us, we really want to know!

Julie

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dedication Day

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord, for his whole life will be given over to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there." (I Samuel 1:26-28)



Sunday we were blessed to dedicate Henry to the Lord. Henry did really well and enjoyed seeing a picture of himself on the big screen. He kept pointing at it, when his fingers weren't in his mouth, of course. Our pastor shared the spiritual meaning of Henry's name and it fits him perfectly, "Ruler of the house"! It was such a sweet time for our little family.





As a Baptist, we dedicate our children to the Lord. It is not baptism or christening. It is a voluntary act in which parents who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ present their child and themselves to the Lord as an outward expression of their gratitude to Him for the child. It is a formal appeal to God, asking for his assistance in rearing the child. It does not impart salvation. Henry will have to ask Jesus into his heart once he reaches the age of accountability.



We not only dedicated our sweet boy, we also joined the church. We did a 2 for 1! We have been visiting since since last fall and we were finally ready to move our letter and become a part of the church family. We had a time finding our place here in Jonesboro, but God led us to the right place in his perfect timing and we are thrilled!




Our prayer is that we can always teach and show Henry the love of Jesus. He is truly the best gift from God we have ever received, and with this precious gift we have a lot of responsibility to raise him in a Godly home. We want him to always know how deep, how long, how wide and how high God's love is for him....Henry Patton L!!




"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he grows old he will not depart it." Proverbs 22:6





Abby


Friday, May 20, 2011

Food Friday

I think I have shared this recipe for crescent apple dumplings before, but because I have made them for the hubs this week, I thought I would share again. This is sin in a 9 x13, ladies and gents! They are so easy to make and they have no enemies, so you can't help but make them from time to time. These may be at the top of Randall's list of fave eats.

2 medium Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
cinnamon (for sprinkling)
12 oz. (1 can) Mountain Dew or Sprite.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cut apples into 8ths. Open a can of crescent roll dough and carefully separate the dough along the perforations. Place 1/8 of an apple on one segment of dough and then roll/wrap the apple in the dough. Place in the prepared pan and repeat with remaining apples and dough. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add sugar and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour butter/sugar mixture over the apples, then pour the can of Mountain Dew or Sprite on top of everything. Sprinkle the pan with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 40 minutes. When the dumplings are done, remove from oven and serve with a spoon full of sauce. I usually plan on two dumplings per person, before they go back for seconds. And then breakfast. Then second breakfast. Then a little snack. For true transcendent awesomeness, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

And here is my cute little foodie helping me plant tomatoes. I hope the squirrels don't eat them all up again this year. I guess we shall just wait and see!



Happy Food Friday!


Abby

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Busy-ness

Well, its the end of the school year and busyness has hit!!

We have been running all over the place the last few weeks and will be for the next couple of weeks. I must brag on my kids. Now, I know they are 13, 10 & 7 so they should be well-behaved but I have put my children in situations lately that have required them to sit quietly with nothing at all to do and they have made me such a proud Mom! I forget that I have really great kids. I also forget to tell them that they're great. This will serve as a reminder to go and tell them. Tell yours too!

I've been helping decorate for a wedding & reception this weekend. Those of you that know me and those that have been to my house are laughing loudly right now and feeling so sorry for the bride. It turns out with someone else on my team I'm not so bad! We've had late nights this week with a couple more to go but the reception is going to look beautiful and the ceremony is, well, it will be just right!

Last night between decorating I helped out at the Senior Dinner our church had for our 11 graduating seniors. Cooking, plating and cleaning may not be what I'm best at. Strangely, last night I felt more at home giving my opinion on where flowers should hang and benches should sit. The seniors and their families had a great time, dinner was awesome and clean-up was clean-up. I told them next year we're taking the seniors out to dinner! HA!

So, I've been busy. What have you been up to? Buying graduation gifts? ( I need help in that department!) Planning a wedding? Getting over a cold? Tell me!

Julie

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Elmo!



Henry has been saying "me-mow" for weeks now and we have had no idea what he is saying. He is so cute when he says it and we just make up ideas for what it means. Well, this morning I figured it out. He is saying "Elmo"!

He must watch it as school from time to time because we rarely watch it here. I turned it on this morning and he went crazy. It made me laugh and so proud to figure out what "me-mow" means. I guess we will have to watch Elmo more, much to our dislike. Barney and Elmo drive us nuts!


Abby

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sweet Saturday

We had a fun-filled weekend at home. It was much needed for our little daddy. I was so shocked that his phone did not ring concerning corn or beans at all on Saturday. I know Henry loved it. He needed a few days of rest, that is for sure. He works so hard to provide for us and does it very well.



Saturday was the National Letter Carriers Food Drive. I serve on the development committee at The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas and took great delight in helping with this event. Our committee members have servant hearts and it is such a joy to serve the community along side them.




We brought in over 20,000 pounds of food on Saturday. One day of people giving at their mailboxes...amazing! We have great leaders at our food bank who help share the mission and need in our community. I am so glad to have this resource right down the road from my house. I may not ever need it, but it is there if I am ever in need. What a fun and heartwarming way to spend a Saturday afternoon!



The oldest expiration date was 1994....a can of chili. The best was an opened box of cream cheese from 2004. I threw both in the trash. I have to laugh, but those people probably had nothing to give and gave it all. That is usually how that works.







Grandaddy and Coco came to town and watched Henry while I worked at the food bank. We did not know our little daddy would be home when we arranged for them to come over for the day, so Randall was able to go run some errands he had been needing to tend to without a little Henry in tow! Henry got to have some alone time with his people and Mama and Daddy got to do their thing...a win-win for all.




I love a movie and never go anymore. Until Saturday, it had been 2 years since I had stepped foot in a theatre. I used to go every weekend with Melissa. There were very few movies I did not see before 2002. Randall and I started dating and we liked to talk and movies prevented that, so we never went. I can count the movies we have seen in our 9 years together on one hand. ha!



Saturday night my big haired and fabulous friend, Brittni and her ever-so- sweet BFF, Misty and I went for coffee and a late movie. It was so much fun. I felt like a little old lady out at night and not suppose to be. We laughed so hard. I love that they include me. They are alot like Melissa and me. They have been BFF's since childhood, but unlike us, they still live in the same town together. Their friendship has been such a blessing to me this past year. I know how three can become a crowd, so I think that makes us get along well. I respect the boundaries with a forever BFF situation...just sayin! I love these two girls! It was a great Saturday and I admit...I was pretty tired in Sunday School the next morning!







Abby



Friday, May 13, 2011

Food Friday

I love an oyster. I wish this tray of goodness was in front of me instead of this keyboard! Last weekend Randall intended to take me to eat them, but we ended up in the play area of McDonald's eating chicken. The things we do to please our children and get the wiggles out after a long car ride. It was a memory, that is for sure! Randall WILL be taking me back over the flooded Mighty Mississippi to eat them again really soon... and Henry will be visiting his Grandaddy or his favorite M'Town cousins while Mama gets her eat on!



King Ranch Chicken is so yummy. Mama made this alot when we were growing up and it was always a favorite in our family. I made this for our neighbors this week. It was tough taking it out of the house all warm and ready without eating any of it! For those of you who don't have a recipe for this yummy dish, here it is:




1 cooked chicken - deboned and diced


1 can Rotel


1 can cream of mushroom soup


1 can gumbo soup


tortilla chips


shredded cheese




Mix soups and Rotel together. Layer chips, chicken, soup and cheese in a greased 13x9 pan until full. Top with lots of cheese. Cook at 375 degrees until bubbly. I serve french bread and salad with this dish. It should serve 6.




It is not Food Friday without my little foodie. He loves the idea of drinking water out of a cup. It is always a wet and fun mess. He had just taken a drink in this picture...oh, how I love that wet face!


Happy Food Friday!


Abby

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Random Happies

These two give me purpose and I am so thankful for that! Henry and his Daddy wear me out, but make me laugh most of the time. They are two peas in a pod, that is for sure. Henry loves going on truck rides with his Daddy to his plots. This one was ready to plant, so Daddy's crew is actually there right now planting beans and corn.


The great flood of 2011 had been so sad and stressful for those around us. The flood may be sad, but this picture of 3 generations of Rives boys makes me smile. Randall's Grandad's house butts up to the White River and it is now in his backyard. They were checking it out. His house is not in danger, in case you are wondering. No worries...it is just a sight to see! Thankfully it is going down now.



I love looking out my kitchen window and seeing this. Randall tried to dig this flower bed up last year because he wanted a deck, but I saved it from ruin and I am so glad! He sort of likes it now too, but he won't admit it. I planted bulbs a few weeks ago and they are trying to come up. I can't wait to see it with all that extra color from the irises and lilies!



I love my sister. She sent clothes for Henry, some Cricut letters she made for me and a DVD. She decorated the outside of the box with all kinds of messages. This was my favorite. It made me laugh outloud!



The joys of parenting. I smile at this picture. Henry is SO busy and in turn, we are SO busy slapping that arm and saying "No". It gets exhausting at times. Henry was behind his great-grandaddy's house trying his best to get into everything he was not suppose to. I see this shot in real life about 50 times a day...got to love it!



I hate a cat. Nana has a really fat cat named Bit. Henry loves that cat. Oh, me!




Gigi and juice. After naptime Henry has to have Gigi in one hand and his juice in the other. Life is so sweet and simple, really. I just love all the simple moments of my life!





Abby

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Little Date

Henry and I had a mother/son date night on Friday night in honor of Mother's Day. His Daddy took our picture on the back patio before we left the house. Randall gave him all kinds of pointers as he put him in the car and waved us down the driveway. It was cute.


We went to Chick fil A because they were having a mother/son date night. They had red carpet rolled out for us, they seated us and took our order at a nicely decorated table. They had live music, flowers and balloons for us. They had little handouts on the tables to teach boys manners and printed menus so you could order from the table. I loved it! Henry loved it because he got his chicken and ketchup...he is such a simple date. It was the first date I have ever had where I had to feed my date, clean his snotty nose and change his diaper. I enjoyed it a lot though!



They had a convertible you could take a ride in. I had no intentions of partaking in this activity and if you know me well, you must know how it took biting all my pride to get in that car and ride around the mall parking lot on a Friday night....just sayin! We were the first ones to arrive and to leave the event....my date goes to bed pretty early. So, when we were leaving they asked us to please ride so they could take some pictures. I can't say "no" that well, so I got in with my baby and rode with a nice man whom my son kept calling "Daddy". Henry loved being in the front seat and looking up at the sky. It will be a funny memory for me to share with him in years to come.
It was so cute to watch the next mother and son get in the car after us. he was probably 8 years old and he was in the backseat going "oh, yeah! This is so cool!" His mother looked no less thrilled than I did as she sat in the front with that nice man. Oh, the things a mama will do for her boy!

Last night I received the handmade school gift he made me. Here she hangs in all her glory! A hand towel that can never be used or washed. I love it. I have to admit I was not going to send him to school Friday, but found out that was when they were making Mother's Day gifts and I wanted one! So he went to school and came home with blue paint on his neck, belly and hair. The stripped them all down to their diapers and painted...I wish they had taken pictures of that!


My mother/son date was so much fun. I hope we have started a little tradition. Being a mother to Henry is the biggest blessing and being his date was such a treat!


Abby

Friday, May 6, 2011

Food Friday

The 19th annual Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive will be held again on the second Saturday in May—this year, on May 14—local letter carriers in 10,000 cities will help stock community food banks, pantries and shelters for the summer months.
To help paint a picture of what’s at stake for this year’s drive, NALC President Fredric V. Rolando pointed to recent Department of Agriculture statistics measuring hunger in the United States. “Those figures show that the number of Americans living in homes lacking sufficient food topped 50 million in 2009,” Rolando said, “with one in three of those—17.2 million—a child.

Sadly, Arkansas is the hungriest state in our nation. Please join me in donating a large, sturdy bag of non-perishable food items at your mailbox on May 14th. Note: Please check the expiration dates...if your family won't eat it because it is expired, neither will those you are helping. Food banks throw away expired food just like you do. You would be amazed at what I have seen donated at our local food drives.
This is a passion of mine. I serve the Food Bank of NEA in several capacities, and I will be there working in the warehouse on May 14th as the food is brought in on the mail trucks. Come join me if you are in my area and whether you are here or there....be sure to see if your city is participating and leave a sack of food at your mailbox!


I love my little foodie (this is a few weeks old...the paci is a thing of the past now)! I can't imagine not being able to feed him when he is hungry. I can't imagine not knowing where his next meal will come from. I can't imagine not being able to grab a cheese cracker or an animal cracker out of his bag in order to get him quiet while doing our weekly grocery shopping. I can't imagine not being able to pour juice/milk in his sippie cup when he yells and reaches out saying "Juice" 50 times a day! I surely can't imagine sending him to bed hungry and knowing there was nothing I could do about it.


In our society I know we get cynical about this at times because of the abuse of WIC and Food Stamps by people who drive nicer cars than those of us who work hard to pay cash for our store brand groceries and formula. I have witnessed it time and time again and know people personally who have abused it. It is irritating, I know. Yet there are people who could loose it all today and not have that assistance. So many people are one pay check away from going under. I have seen it with my own eyes at the food bank and it has taught me a lot about judging by appearance.


A mother of two young boys drove up to the food bank on a Friday afternoon in a cute little workout outfit in her SUV with an expressionless face. She left the boys in the car because I am sure she did not want them to know where she was and what she was having to do...but they knew. Kids know. I was on a ladder throwing away expired green beans watching with a birdseye view. I stared because I was in awe and I was beginning to pass judgement ( like I do when the skinny little thing with designer jeans, fresh highlights, nails, and a designer purse whips out her WIC in front of me at the store...while I look like white trash...come on, you know what I am talking about!) in my head when I watched her whisper with embarrassment to the lady up front.

She stood tapping her foot staring out the window at her car. About 2 minutes later a man from the back followed her out to her SUV with emergency assistance (food) for the weekend. Since that moment I have been a changed woman and a better volunteer. I cried. Did her husband leave, did her husband loose his job and she is a stay at home mom and has no family near by to call on for help, did they have more bills than they had resources that week....who knows, but it happened. It happens every week and I want to know I am helping people like that lady because that could be any of us some day and she had two little foodies in her SUV needing their afternoon "juice".


The food bank in your area serves the local food pantries at churches, etc. Food banks generally refer people who come for assistance to one of the local food pantries, but sometimes it is too late in the day or the need is too great at the time, so they too have emergency assistance on hand for those in need....a little food for thought! So, what your church pantry lacks in congregation donations....the food bank takes up the slack.


Happy Food Friday...

Go get your donations ready and help the hungry!

Abby

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Troubled Heart

This last week has been a tough on one my heart.

The tornadoes that ripped through Alabama were terrible. And just knowing that hundreds of people lost their lives is heartbreaking. But one of the towns hit badly by those tornadoes was Ider, AL, where my friend Lisa lives. She, her husband and their four children hunkered (she'll love that I used the word hunkered!) down in their brand new house. The house they just built, and just moved into a few short weeks ago. The neighbors on either side of them lost their houses, one even losing its concrete slab! Lisa's house sustained quite a bit of damage, so much that they can't live in it right now. My heart hurts for her. She is a preacher's wife to the core, she is wanting to serve and minister to those in her community that are suffering and struggling. She is also a wife and mother to the core, wanting to see her family restored with a feeling of security again. Pray for Lisa and her community!

Yesterday we first heard of a Boy Scout Troop from Louisiana that was lost in a state park here in Arkansas. This park had been the sight of severe flooding in the recent past and 20 people lost their lives there on just one night! The park once again was experiencing a great amount of flooding. The boys were supposed to arrive home in south Louisiana Sunday night but didn't. The parents traveled here to find their boys! It turns out that the boys were stranded somewhere in the park because of the flooding. They couldn't find them in all their searching Monday and the news said that searching would resume this morning. Well, as the mom of a Boy Scout my heart was troubled. I could hardly sleep! Every time I turned or moved in bed I was thinking of and praying for those boys and their parents. I was confident they were safe, but worried about their well-being. And the parents, well, if I couldn't sleep I can't imagine what they were going through. I woke up this morning to great news! They had been found! And they were airlifted out this morning. They were safe, sound, and a bit embarrassed. Prayers answered.

This has turned into a lot of writing which means its a lot of reading for you. Sorry about that.

Sunday night Stephen and I were watching Celebrity Apprentice and I saw the crawl on the bottom of the screen saying the President was going to speak. It was 9:45! We turned the channel to FOX News, (they sometimes get on my nerves, but I like them better than the alternatives) and Geraldo was on. I thought can it get better than this?!! I mean really?! When he said that Usama Bin Laden had been killed, I smiled and clapped my hands. I believe my tweet went something like Woo-Hoo! I was proud of the military. Mom and I were texting about the Special Forces and how proud we were of them and how we had such confidence in them. It took a while to calm down and go to sleep. Then I woke up Monday morning and it seemed that on Facebook and twitter, (isn't social media grand?!) people were saying that we shouldn't be celebrating his death. That we shouldn't celebrate an unsaved person's demise. I began to wonder how people took my woo-hoo tweet. I was in no way celebrating the fact that UBL was in hell (I assume that's where he is). I was celebrating our victory! We had been searching for this man for years. Years. And after much investigation he was found. I believe it was and is worthy of celebration. It's a victory for the United States. I read a note written by a friend that referred to the story of David & Goliath. David killed Goliath, beheaded him, and the people danced in the streets. There was no discipline from God for doing so. It was a victory. Goliath was killing and making His people suffer. Much like UBL did. I wish UBL had come to Jesus, repented of his sins, and lived a life for the Lord. What a great testimony that would have been!!! But,he didn't. And our armed forces did what had to be done.

Okay, I've been on my soapbox and now I'm getting off. Feel free to comment. Remember though my feeling are on top of my shoulders and are bruised easily!! HA!

Julie

Monday, May 2, 2011

Henry - 17 Months


This little booger bear is 17 months old today. He has had a busy month. He no longer sucks on a pacifier, nor has he replaced it with his thumb or a finger...yay! We took it away one day and we, nor he, have looked back. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
He says lots of words and will repeat like the Rain Man a lot...so cute! I love that he now says "mama" with a sweet little smile. Henry also gives wet kisses now and will also blow kisses.
Henry is all boy. He plays really hard and has the scratches and bruises to prove it! What a big boy he is now and what a blessing he is to his Mama!




Abby


P.S. I like this blog post about taking no pleasure in the death of the wicked...a good, quick read and great reminder for us this week!