Sunday, July 31, 2011


Thursday June 16, 2011

All right, here is the deal. When I started scrapping, I did only 8x8 albums. Well now that I ONLY do 12x12 albums, I can't stand knowing I have these 8x8 albums and that they don't match. Compulsive, yes. Obsessive, yes. Crazy, err....maybe. But I decided to rip the pages from my 8x8 albums apart, most of them at least, and try to make them into 12x12 layouts. Here are a few, except the last one, that snuck in here somehow!

My sister's surgery

Wednesday June 15, 2011

Today was the big day. Heidi was undergoing yet another surgery. Heidi is my oldest sister and has a disease called Tuberous Sclerosis. It is a rare genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow on the brain and other vital organs, such as the heart, kidneys, eyes, nose & skin. Unfortunately for Heidi, she has them on her brain and kidneys. She has already undergone a surgery to remove a tumor off her kidneys. The same surgery will happen again today due to the growth of a tumor.

Heidi is hopeful, from what the doctor has said, this surgery should not be like her last. Last time, her incision ruptured and she started to bleed internally. Her incision from the last surgery stretches across half of her body. This time, the doctor told her, it will be a much smaller incision.

My mom and her husband John are down at Methodist Hospital with her and I am home taking care of the kids, hers and mine.

Praying all goes well.

After many of hours waiting to hear, we finally got a call that she was out of surgery. All went well, the doctor said he had to take less than 1% of her kidney this time and was able to "burn off" a few more tumors to prevent them from growing as well.

Heidi is in recovery and will hopefully be home within 5 days.

Until then, the kids and I have some big plans. Next week the boys go to their first week of camp!

Bacon-Cheese Stuffed Shells

Tuesday June 14, 2011

Time for another NEW recipe! This one, I thought, was to die for, taken from Taste of Home magazine! I love the creamy, rich, white pasta sauces, so this was delicious to me! It's a bit of prep work, but man, in the end, sooooo worth it!

Prep: 45 min. Bake: 40 min.
Yield: 12 servings

24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 c. chopped fresh mushrooms
1 c. finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp. plus 1/4 cup butter, divided
1-1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened, divided
1-1/2 c. shredded asiago cheese, divided
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c. crumbled cooked bacon
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 cups shredded Romano cheese
1-1/2 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in 1 Tbsp. butter until tender.

In a large bowl, beat ricotta and 4 oz. cream cheese until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup Asiago cheese, Parmesan cheese, bacon, 1 Tbsp. parsley, garlic salt, nutmeg, pepper and mushroom mixture. Spoon into shells; place in greased 13x9in. baking dish.

In a large saucepan, melt remaining butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add the cream, broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in Romano cheese and the remaining cream cheese, Asiago and parsley. Pour over shells. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. Uncover; bake 10-15 min. longer or until bubbly.


Hall Closet makeover

Monday June 13, 2011

Today I got a wild hair up my butt and decided that my hall closet was no longer going to be the catch all closet. Shoved full with anything and everything I don't know where to put.

I ripped out everything, which consisted of my school books, bath towels, soap, toilet paper, craft supplies, blankets, etc. I even ripped out a shelf (which I will admit, that was a mistake).

I then painted the closet to match the hallway, replaced the shelves and headed for Target.

I left Target with a few new baskets and a new clothes hamper.

I really like saving trial size products for packing purposes & I like the idea of having a "guest basket". Although, it's doubtful I'll ever use it for guests. But it's the thought! ;) So I whipped up a little tag to tie to the basket that says, "Be Our Guest". Cute touch!

After putting everything back in order, I stepped back, took a look, and felt a tid bit more organized, even though I was thinking, "The hamper would have fit even with that other shelf in there, leaving you with more storage space!" Ugh, live and learn, right?

Bible School

Sunday June 12, 2011

As you may remember I taught Sunday school last year, so I was asked to help with our vacation bible school this summer. The kids love going and I enjoy it too. It was Panda-mania, so of course we did a lot of panda projects, games, snacks and movie.

Me and Lindsay were in charge of the 1st & 2nd graders, which was fun, because that was Tatumn's group, and apparently Turner's as well! Oh well, there will come a time when he wants nothing to do with me, so I might as well enjoy it while it lasts!

Mara joined us again this year. It's always fun to bring a friend along, Tatumn was thrilled! Each night we ate supper at church and the kids enjoyed 3 nights of Panda-Mania!

Dance Recital 2011

Saturday June 11, 2011

Tonight is the big night! Tonight Tatumn gets on stage and shows us what she has learned over the past year at Fusion Dance. It's always very exciting (nerve racking in my case) to watch!

Last night she danced the father/daughter dance and I helped out in the back room. Wow, that is exhausting, making sure 20 kids under the age of 6 don't get lipstick on their white tights or smear mascara all over their faces and then costume changes, wowzers! Needless to say, I wouldn't make a good "pageant mom".

Well, we all had our seats in the front row this year and loved it. The girls did a fantastic job! Tatumn, my niece Laci, and good friend Kennedy are all in class together and were the cutest cowgirls you have ever seen! My oldest niece Desiree, 13, dances as well. It's always so much fun to see the older girls dance, especially when they are dancing to songs from back in the day! We heard a little Notorious B.I.G. tonight!

After the dance was done we went to have supper, 11 p.m. yes, at Perkins. The girls are always so excited to "celebrate". And that is what we did, another successful year of dance under our belts! Can't wait to see them next year!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Georgia Peach Chicken Sandwiches

Friday June 10, 2011

Tonight I tried a new recipe. We get stuck in the same old stuff way too often, spaghetti, alfredo, grilled chicken, pork chops, etc. I found this recipe awhile back and decided that I was going to buy all the ingredients and try it out. I will be the first to admit that I have a hard time making something from a recipe because I think it costs too much to buy all the ingredients, and then you are stuck with leftover ingredients that go to waste. But this recipe wasn't so bad. They turned out pretty well!

1 lb chicken breast (cutlets)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp finely chopped pickled jalapeño chiles (I substituted these with sweet relish)
1/2 cup pecans (finely ground)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 kaiser rolls, split
1 peach, thinly sliced
8 green leaf lettuce leaves

1. In a med. bowl, combine the chicken and buttermilk. In a small bowl, stir together the mayo and pickled jalapeños.
2. In a shallow bowl, combine the pecans and bread crumbs. Working with one piece at a time, remove the chicken cutlets from the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off, and coat with the pecan mixture.
3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cutlets and cook, turning once, until golden-brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.
4. Spread the jalapeño mayonnaise on the cut sides of each kaiser roll. Assemble sandwiches with the chicken, peach and lettuce.


Serves 4.

Park Hoppin

Thursday June 9, 2011

I took the kids "park hopping" today. We started out around 9:30 a.m. and went to A.P. Anderson park. They swung, crawled around on the jungle gym and went down the "big" slide a million times. We stayed there for quite some time, long enough, that when we left we had to pick up lunch. We hit up McDonald's and brought it down to our next park, Baypoint. There they ate lunch, rather quickly, because what kid wants to eat when they can play?! They made some new friends and played. Off to the next park, Colvill. This is the "best park", due to it's size and the fact that it has 4 playgrounds. The kids always have a blast there! When we left, I was ready to head home but they begged for one last park, their old school, Sunnyside. I decided to swing into my sister's house, grab her kiddos and we walked down to the park from there. They hit a few balls, again played on the playground, and stared at the kids who were at daycare at their old school! A tinge of jealousy in their eyes, haha! Honestly, I think I could have left them there and they would have loved it! Finally, tempers started to flare, the heat was getting to them, and we were in need of a restroom. We headed out, not without some tears. We got home about 4, it was a long day!!! But the kids thought it was awesome. They will sleep well tonight!

Of course I forgot my camera, so I snapped a pic of them at our first park, thankfully, before my phone died!

Lemonade Stand

Wednesday June 8, 2011

Today the kids got to have their first lemonade stand of the season. We grabbed some fresh apples and m&m cookies from the store. Made a batch of lemonade, 2 actually, and set up shop. They were so cute with their little aprons on. They sold out on cookies almost immediately. They were pleased with their earnings as well, $15! They put it away for a pool day! They even made it on the Republican Eagle web site for photo of the day! But look how cute they were......

Slip N Slide Fun

Tuesday June 7, 2011

Summer is here and nothing says it like good slip-n-slide fun in the front yard. The kids spent the entire day, almost, outside, sliding down the slippery mat over and over. They used a bottle of my dish soap to make it extra slippery. When I got out there, my whole lawn was bubbles and my full bottle of soap was empty. I don't recommend it, while, yes, it makes their little butts slide down faster, it kills the grass! ;) After, they lounged in the front lawn in their suits on top of their towels and waved at passing cars. I'll always remember the sight of them running, laughing, laying out and enjoying the summer sun!

2011 Dance Photos

Monday June 6, 2011

Tonight was dance picture night. Dreaded for the make-up/hair process but greatly anticipated to see how cute they look in their whole attire. Tatumn did pretty well this year, cooperated nicely with her make-up, just a few tears. Her hair, different story. I wasn't thinking when we cut it all off that it would need to be up in a pony tail for a wig within a month, but we managed, a whole lot of bobby pins and hairspray so thick, it would have stayed that way for well over a month!

This year is also extra special because Ben and her are doing the father-daughter dance, which means he gets his photo taken as well. Here are a few pics I snapped!

Good bye Wilderness

Sunday June 5, 2011

Today was our last day up north. We would have stayed one more day but we needed to be back since the girls have dance pictures tomorrow. It was also probably a good thing we were headed out because Turner was one crabby boy! We attempted taking a walk but had to turn around because he laid in the road kicking and screaming. Oh the joy of having kids! But the kids got a little more sand castle building in and Heidi got the camper cleaned. We headed out with 3 little ones buckled in and a sick Aunty in the passenger seat. Heidi was down and out with a migraine so I drove. We stopped for a bite to eat and made it home before supper time. It was a great weekend!

I had never seen a ranger station before, had to take a picture.

Taking a walk.

Up North

Saturday June 4, 2011

Yesterday Heidi and I left with the kids, minus Tatumn (she stayed home to attend a birthday party) and took off for the northern wilderness. John and Heidi have a camper at a resort called Maple Ridge, north of Grand Rapids. We left after I got done with work and arrived about 9 p.m. It's a 5 hour drive and with the little ones, we had to stop. Once we got there, we settled in and got ready for bed. Unfortunately, not without chaos! Turner had a deer tick on him, which I was able to pull off and ended up causing no issues, thank the lord! But it still gave us a scare, with all the troubles lyme disease causes.

We woke up this a.m. and enjoyed some time at the beach even though it's still a bit chilly and the water is definitely cold. The kids didn't care, they splashed, found rocks and dug in the sand. Heidi and I enjoyed sipping on some refreshing cocktails and reading our books. We grilled and the kids played in the sand pit, building all sorts of cool castles.

After awhile, we decided to head into town and do a little shopping, and buy me some allergy medicine, something I should not have left home without. We scoped out the shops, bought the kids a few trinkets, walked around a few other resorts, checked out another swimming location and headed back to the camper.

In the evening we enjoyed some more good food, a boat ride from Lyle, the owner of the resort, a fire, roasting marshmallows, smoke bombs & sparklers.

Before we knew it our weekend was coming to a close, we were headed home the next day! It was relaxing and fun to get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life! Even if it were only for 1 day!

The way up was beautiful!

Dragon flies were everywhere, thankfully, because Lyle also taught us that they eat the skeeters! The kids had fun catching a ton of them!

The Linder's camper.

Sitting on the pontoon, enjoying the loons, my book & a drink!

The kids, no fear of the cold!

Last time Heidi was up at the cabin she noticed this nest in the fish cleaning shack, we were lucky enough to get a look at these little babies!!

Thankfully Maple Ridge is equipped with a tire swing/park/volley ball court. Keeps the kids busy!

I enjoyed a weekend off of cooking thanks to Heidi!

Of course we stopped at the grocery store/gas station/gift shop to do a little shopping, we will find shopping wherever we are!

At the resort that reminded me of "Dirty Dancing". It almost felt like the 1960's the way the dining lodge looks and the stairs that lead up to the main lodge, you almost thought "baby" would come dancing up them at any moment! haha!

The kids enjoying a different swimming area.

When we went on our boat ride with Lyle he told us the reason for all the branches missing off the bottoms of the trees were do to deer. I always thought it had to do with water levels, learn something new every day!

Lyle, owner of the resort, took us for a boat ride and let the kids each have a turn driving the pontoon. They love him, he carts them around on his four wheeler and golf cart as well.

The kids enjoyed the smoke bombs!