Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Scavenger Hunt

In keeping with the "we don't do normal" tradition, we spent our first day back together racing around Winston Salem on the hunt! Mama and Daddy came up with a series of random items that you would never imagine finding together. Luckily our group had the ingenious idea of hitting up Target. Target has everything, and they certainly didn't fail us this time around! Some of the items on the list included an Easter bunny, coins with your birth year (harder than it sounds!), pumping someone else's gas, all group member's sharing a soda, and on and on. Despite the downpour it was actually a lot of fun. I highly suggest starting the tradition the next time your family gets together! A few pictures from our adventure:
 Climbing a tree
 David wasn't too excited to stand in the puddle on the playground.
 With our Easter bunny!
 Our lottery ticket won $2! Which David promptly spent on another ticket. . .
 Pumping a stranger's gas
 With our birth coins
 With an out of state plate

Did you pick up on the common theme in all the pictures? Bunny ears were required! Mama has a twisted sense of humor. . . I hope your Easter weekend is just as exciting!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adventures in Puppysitting

This week I had the good fortune of puppysitting for our friend's pup, Jeter. Jeter and Daisy are the epitome of BFF. We got dogs about the same time, so whenever we all hang out, Jeter and Daisy have entertained each other. This makes our lives significantly easier and our hanging out much less stressful. Scott is also working in Alabama and this week his usual puppy care couldn't watch Jeter. Since the girls get along so well, it was a no brainer that she would stay over here.

For those of you who have seen our apartment, you know there isn't much space. Add an additional dog and a mess of stuff, and we have the recipe for chaos! Honestly, it wasn't so bad. That is, it wasn't so bad for me. The people in the apartment below us may beg to differ after the girls decided to have a midnight wrestling match. Here are a few pictures from our adventures:
 Lost in their bone chewing
 Take a breather after terrorizing each other at the dog park.
 What I came home to one afternoon. How this happened is still a mystery. . .
Pooped after a long day of play!

Overall it was a great week. I could have done without the crazy walks (picture two very strong dogs pulling me in opposite directions on a slick road, yea, it was interesting) and twice the mess. The fact that they wore each other out, so much so that I actually got some things done around the house, more than makes up for it!

Thankful Thursday-

I survived!!! And by survived I mean, I lived through the longest winter of my life-no breaks since the last week of January. All my teacher peeps are shaking their heads in sympathy now while all my real-world peeps are shaking their heads at the fact that we even need a break. I realize you don't get "spring break" in the real world, but you also don't have 120 different hormonal personalities to keep up with. Try not to be TOO jealous. Here is what I am thankful for this week:

*Easter candy*
(Peeps and Cadbury eggs make my tummy happy)
*warm weather*
(and the cute outfits that come with it)
*heating pads*
(work wonders on tight shoulders after a stressful day)
(the dogs keep each other entertained leaving me with a few minutes to actually get things done at home)
(can you tell I'm excited?!?)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Family Favorite

Every family has the meal that they love. You know the one. It's the only meal that everyone is completely happy with eating. Growing up in a family of seven made it nearly impossible for my mother to find that meal. No matter what she prepared there was always at least one person who insisted on cereal for their supper instead. Until we found. . .Robin's Chicken Casserole! A few years ago someone made it for us when Mandy was in the hospital and we haven't been able to veer away from it since then! It's super easy to make and positively delicious to eat hot, cold, lukewarm, upside down, frozen etc.

Robin's Chicken Casserole
5-6 cooked chicken breasts (a rotisserie chicken works well too!)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can drained potato pieces
1 pint sour cream
2 tsp. dried onion
1 tsp. Morton's Own Seasoning
1 stick of butter
1-2 sleeves of Ritz Crackers

Preheat oven to 350. Cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces. Mix together cream of chicken soup, cream of potato soup, potato pieces, sour cream, dried onion, and Morton's Own Seasoning. Add to 13 x 9 casserole dish. Melt a stick of butter and mix with 1-2 sleeves of crushed Ritz Crackers. Sprinkle butter-soaked crackers over casserole. Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

What is your family's go-to meal?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

Give someone a compliment. I dare you. Tell them they have a cute top on or that you liked how hard they worked on that last project. What do you see? Most likely you see a smile, and hear a "thank you". A few months ago I was fortunate enough to attend a phenomenal training called Capturing Kids' Hearts (CKH). One of the main theories behind this model is that you have to capture a student's heart before you can capture their minds. Think about it. How many teachers did you have that you absolutely despised growing up? Did you do as strong of work in their classes as you did in the classes taught by your "favorite" teachers? Most likely not. While this is taught specifically to teachers, I think the concepts are ones we can apply to all aspects of our lives.

One of the major pushes in CKH is to give affirmations. We practiced this at the training by creating "affirmation bags" and giving them to each other over the next few days. It's amazing how much more confident you can become in yourself, and your teaching, when someone is complimenting you on it. This past week our principal had us create affirmation bags to place in the office. Over the span of three days we were supposed to affirm our coworkers. This came at a perfect time since many have completely checked out thanks to our impending break.

Many thought it was silly (and I'm sure some of you are rolling your eyes now!), but it's amazing how far those affirmations lifted me this afternoon. With each affirmation that I read, the warm fuzzies in my tummy grew (I promise I'm not 3 years old. . .) I felt like I could accomplish anything in the classroom with these people's support. I can assure you that I am a much more productive worker when I feel appreciated and supported, and I'm sure many of you are too!Though it was tough not reading them all, I did save a few for a rainy day when I would need a pick-me-up.

I challenge you to affirm someone. Give them a compliment about their work or their outfit. Tell them you admire their grace and poise. Show someone how much they mean to you. It can be as small as "great job today" or as great as "you are an incredible worker and this company is lucky to have you. Affirm at least one person a day for a week and watch the change that happens. It will blow your mind!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I do not consider myself much of a worrywart, but over the past few months I may have developed "worrywart" tendencies. I know I am wearing out the phrase "crazy time", but this really is a crazy time for us! We are officially fifteen days away from EOG's. To any and all teachers out there, prayers are coming your way! It is crunch time at school. All new material has been taught and we are reviewing everything they have learned in the past seven and a half months. Obviously this brings certain layers of stress and worry with it. I've actually done very well in moving beyond the stress aspect of it, but I still can't help but worry about "my" kids.

I worry about the ones who have struggled all year. I worry about those that have only passed one Quarterly Assessment (or none at all). I worry about those with test anxiety. I worry about those with focus issues. I worry about each and every child for some distinct reason.

In other news, we still aren't sure about David's work plan. His company has done the best they can up to this point to keep us informed, but even they don't know what the contracting company will decide. Every day it feels like we are an inch away from the finish line with a decision, and then it feels like we've been thrown miles back. I understand everyone is doing the best they can in this cuckoo economy, but this type-A planner needs some details! Should we plan for Alabama or should we start looking at houses around here? Should I look for a part-time summer job or should I plan on packing our lives? At this point, I'd just be happy to know when I'm going to see my husband again after our beach trip (HOORAY!!!!).

So, yea, I'm worrying about a lot right now. Today's sermon at Hope Church was all about worry and how we need to free ourselves from that worry through God. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I need to let go and let God take control of my life. Who cares where we are two months from now as long as we're together? My children will be uber prepared by the time the EOG's arrive so why do I let myself freak over something out of my control? Many of you are carrying similar burdens in your lives, but why? Why do we allow ourselves to be bogged down by these needless worry when God so graciously gave His only son so we would not have to?

Matthew 6:34 says, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." What do we need to do to live by this mentality? While I'm working on enacting this in my own life, I'd love to help you do this same in yours! 

Worry is like a rocking chair-it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down

I firmly believe that rainy days are good for the soul. They give us an excuse to sit around in our cozy clothes (as if I needed another excuse to do that!) and relax. Currently I am sitting on our porch with the pooch just listening to the rain fall. If it were a sunny day, I would undoubtedly feel the need to rush around accomplishing things in the few spare hours I have. Not today. Today I will probably venture out to run some errands, but I won't feel the need to rush. I will probably do some cleaning around the apartment, but I won't feel the desperation to complete it all. And I will most likely get some school stuff done, but I won't be pressured to complete it all in a certain amount of time. There is just something about a rainy day that reminds me to slow down, and for that I am grateful.

Friday, April 15, 2011

(Belated) Thankful Thursday-Live a Little, Love a Lot

I need to live a little, have some fun
Take some time, waste it on number one
Take the girl, get a map and pick any old dot
Live a little, we need to live a little, love a lot
Kenny Chesney

It's been another crazy week, abut we did get answers to some questions we were asking! A few things I am thanking God for this week:
(much-needed in my profession!)
(who doesn't love getting mags in the mail?!)
*straightforward bosses*
(it's always nice not having to guess the next step)
*6 days until Spring Break*
(need I say more?)
(so convenient and cheap!)

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pudding Chocolate Cookies

Every Wednesday our Community Group meets to share our thoughts on different passages of scripture. We also rotate bringing different sweet treats to share! The few recent times it has been my turn I've tried to prepare something new. This week's treat is Pudding Chocolate Cookies!
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup  packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 tsp. vanilla
2   eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
2-1/4 cups  flour
1 pkg. (12 oz.)  Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks

make it:
Preheat the oven to 375.  
Beat butter, sugars, dry pudding mix and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. 
Add eggs and baking soda; mix well. 
Gradually beat in flour. 
Stir in chocolate.  
Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

They are quite scrumptious, if I do say so myself! They were very chewy and didn't even harden after a few days. I do believe I am going try it with devil's food pudding next time around!

Wordless Wednesday [04.13]

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Living in an apartment makes it difficult to get to know your neighbors. There are no opportunities to meet them when you're out doing yard work or walking. There aren't as many chances to bond over holiday cookouts or scheduled events. We are lucky enough to live in a complex that has a "team" to plan things like that! The team is comprised of a young couple who do everything in their power (and allotted budgets) to keep events rolling. With David gone I haven't been to as many events. I'm not really the type of person who is brave enough to dive into the social ocean without at least one back up to talk to.

Another outlet we have here is a cozy dog park. And by cozy I mean you can barely toss a tennis ball without it flying over the fence. Nonetheless, it serves the purpose of keeping dogs contained while they romp around. Our ADD princess has difficulty playing there by herself (shocker, I know) so we usually only go in there if there is another dog there. Her playmate of choice is a Dalmatian/Jack Russell Terrier mix named Piper. I'm pretty sure Daisy has a massive girl crush on her. Anytime she sees Piper out chasing her ball, Daisy starts whining like she is dying a slow, miserable death. I usually cave in, primarily just to shut her up, and she drags me (literally) to the park. Lucky for me, Piper's "mom" is great too!

Y'all have already met the "Bread Lady", who is up to her usual antics by the way. This time Daisy is dining on homemade banana bread. Spoiled doesn't even begin to describe her. . .

Most recently I met the people a few floors below us. Their little family is made up of a single mother, her son, and their precious eight week old Jack Russel/Australian Shepherd mix, Sadie. From where I toss the monkey, Sadie can see us. Sadie's mom has informed me that Sadie's love of Daisy is much like Daisy's love of Piper. I nod comfortingly and assure her that Daisy is a great playmate despite her previous love interest.

It is hysterical to watch them play. Picture an eight pound Jack Russel jumping on our monster of a lioness. Daisy will lay their politely until Sadie goes for the ears. At that point Daisy is off running circles around the poor baby. All the while Sadie is still on her leash (she doesn't quite understand the commands "no", "come", or "get your little butt over here" yet) and being yanked back. Daisy fully understands the leash means Sadie cannot actually get to her and takes full advantage of this by getting into range, then running away, getting into range, then running away, getting into range-you get the point.

All things considered, we really lucked out. Though, all these nice things don't cancel out the fact that I am counting the days until we go house hunting!

Her attempt to sneak in a stick without my knowledge

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday-I'd do it the Same

If I could do it again I'd do it the same, not one regret I wouldn't change a thing
-Corey Smith

This week has been another week of craziness, no big surprise there. In all honestly, the craziness will probably stick around until the end of the school year. In fact this post is coming to you straight from my bed thanks to a combination of allergies and student germs attacking my already run-down body. Despite the crazy that is coming on, I am still so grateful for everything I have. I am blessed to have a job that stresses me out. David is blessed to have a job that keeps us on our toes. We are blessed to have a home. The list could go on and on. A few things I'm thankful for this week:

*co-workers who cover for me despite their own insane schedules*
*David will be home for Easter!!*
*neighbors to laugh and share life with*
*Russian tea*
*Mommas who still look out for their adult children*
*storms that bring warm weather*
*spiritual growth within our Community Group*

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We Are Family

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to have my sisters in town to visit! Mandy and Abby are currently freshman at Appalachian State, so I haven't been able to see them as often as I would like. My sisters are amazing young women with a bond like no other. Since they are identical twins they have shared almost every major life memory with each other. In recent years they have each been challenged by severe health issues, yet they never stop sharing their love, and fabulous senses of humor, with the world! I am so blessed to have been able to host them in our humble abode!

While we didn't do anything uber exciting, it was a pretty superb weekend any way! We puttered around the Concord/Charlotte area frequenting a few yummy restaurants and running up quite the tab at Redbox. It was wonderful relaxing and having girl time. We let some boys interrupt us on Saturday when Harrison (he completes the triplet trio) and John (David's younger brother) joined us for supper and ice cream sundaes!

It was a wonderful weekend filled with memories and a massive consumption of calories. The best kind of weekend you can have with sisters!

Relaxation at its best!

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.  
~Marion C. Garretty

Monday, April 4, 2011

Donate Life!

Did you know that more than 100,000 men, women and children currently need life-saving organ transplants? Or that every 10 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list? Or even that An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant? Are you an organ donor? April is Donate Life month!

This issue is very close to my heart considering Mandy, my sister, received a liver transplant in the Fall of 2007. Mandy was on the list for thirteen months after spending the majority of her life in and out hospitals with a failing liver. I cannot even begin to comprehend the journey that God took her on, but the root of it is Mandy was blessed beyond anything we could ever imagine!

I am bringing this up today in hopes that you will consider becoming an organ donor. Donate Life is a phenomenal organization that can get you set up with all that you need to do in your state. You can also print out a family notification card to keep in your wallet that expresses your wishes to your family.

Consider talking to your friends and family about organ donation, because you never know who is looking for this information!