Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Pictures - The View From the Van

These are pictures from our trip down to Myrtle Beach last weekend...enjoy...

The World's Greatest Invention

The World's Second Greatest Invention...
The Chauffeur (aka He never lets me drive...)
More Trouble. My Saving Grace.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This is not a Food Blog

But I love food. As much as I would love to start a food blog, I just don't have time or the energy (or the skills) to do so. Lately I have been stalking some food blogs that are very, very good. And that make me hungry. And that make me think that I was perhaps a chef in a previous life. I love to cook. Unfortunately, I live with one of the pickiest eaters alive (although he is getting better), and I don't get to make a different new and exciting meal every night. And that's okay. I try to sneak in a new recipe once a week, omitting the ingredients that would make Ray cringe (or just not telling him what's in it). Here are some of my favorite sites:

Simply Recipes
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Amber's Delectable Delights
Sugar and Spice
Adventures of a Cooking Mom

Every once in a while when I try one of the recipes off my favorite food blog sites, I will share it here. A couple of weekends ago, I made this recipe off of the Simply Recipes site (here is the link to the recipe):


1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 1/4 pound), melted
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
A large pinch of Italian seasoning (herb mix
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 lbs of skinless, boneless, chicken meat, cut into pieces no larger than 2x2 inches


1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. In a bowl, combine the minced garlic with the melted butter. In another bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Dip chicken pieces into garlic butter, then into crumb mixture to coat.
3. Place coated chicken pieces on to a 9x13 baking dish. Try to leave a little room between each piece. Drizzle with remaining garlic butter and bake uncovered 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Note that the chicken will get much more browned on the bottom side than on the top.
Serves 4-6.

Now for what I did differently (aka I don't know how to read sometimes...). I forgot to put the Parmesan cheese in the mix and I didn't drizzle the chicken with the remaining garlic butter. Oh, and I am clueless as to whether my butter was unsalted or not. And it still turned out great. The kids loved it as did Ray.

Now go eat!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Audrey will put anything (obviously) in her mouth

Tuesdays are kind of hectic. I pick the girls up from school, and I pretty much have to run home and get Ashley changed, get her a snack, and make her go to the bathroom (not necessarily in that order) prior to immediately leaving for soccer.

So we get home, I put Audrey in my lap with a lollipop and start to get Ashley dressed. Audrey all of a sudden starts crying. I assume she has bitten her tongue, so I take the lollipop away. She continues to cry. So I stand up, turn her upside down so she will open her mouth and look inside.


I freaked out. Ray had just walked in, I told him to go get the tweezers and made him get it out. It actually wasn't stuck in very much, just kind of on the side of her gums. But still.

And no, I don't know where she got it. I assume at school which I will talk to them about when I pick her up today. But she could have easily done that at home too. Needless to say, I scoured the floor last night to make sure nothing but random cheerios were on the floor. I think it might have scared her enough (and caused enough pain) that she might not do it again.

I have a few more grey hairs this morning from this...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Weekend at the Beach

This past weekend, we did one last jaunt to Myrtle Beach before the end of summer. The weather was hot, but we had great company (our neighbors) (for more pics, go check out her site, Edie has a kickass camera and I don't) and we got to eat at our favorite places. We had breakfast at Hot Stacks and dinner one night at a Japanese Steakhouse. We enjoyed some beach time as well as some shopping. We packed as much as we could into the weekend.

I was going through my pictures last night and came across these two pictures. They pretty much sum it up. Friendship, beach, sun, sand. Who could ask for anything more.

Hayden and Ashley at the beach...

The only downside to the whole weekend was Saturday night. Ashley was having a hard time going to bed and wasn't listening to me. I took her into my room to try and get her to calm down. That only fueled her fire. She screamed at the top of her lungs, keeping every other kid in the house awake. I couldn't get her to stop, and I didn't know what to do. The more I tried to rationalize with her, the more she screamed. The more she screamed, the more I cried. Finally Ray came in and somehow got her to calm down. She was exhausted I know. She was mad and frustrated. And she wasn't listening.

Since then, she has been doing this thing where she growls at us if she is mad. We have started taking toys away from her when she does this and trying to get her to express her anger in a different way. Mostly, we want her to calm herself down without growling at us or yelling sorry at us.

By Sunday night, I was exhausted and emotionally drained. In the midst of her yelling and screaming Saturday night, she had told me she didn't want any Mommy time on Sunday. My feelings were hurt. Of course, she didn't mean it and we did have time together, and I think she even forgot she said that to me.

Please, please tell me this is a stage, just like everything else??

Contests (I am going to win one of these days...)

I absolutely love the site 5 Minutes for Mom. They have great advice and awesome contests. And as an avid scrapbooker who keeps having issues uploading my pictures to those sites to have them printed (I will not name them, but they drove me batty last night), I would LOVE this.

Also, my good friend CPA Mom has a great contest on her site. Go check it out too.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fun Monday...

I know, I have been a bad blogger. I didn't give anyone Friday pictures. See, we did one last weekend in Myrtle and we left Thursday night. I took some fun pictures of our drive down, and then the wireless internet wasn't working, and I was just plain lazy. I will post some pics tomorrow...

On to Fun Monday, hosted by Lisa's Chaos...

"I’d like to know more about you, what makes you tick. I’d like to know how you started blogging. Did you keep a diary under lock and key safely hidden as a child? Do you still? Do you share the same things on your blog that you would have, or do, in your diary? Why did you start blogging and why do you continue? May as well throw in any roadblocks you have run into while blogging. If you still have your old diaries we’d love to see them."

I am pretty sure I have written a little bit about this before. I started as a way to keep my family in touch with us since we relocated to North Carolina a little over a year ago. I wanted them to be able to read the stories and see pictures of the girls. My extremely internet saavy brother told me to start a blog and gave me an example to follow, Dooce. I used her site to find other bloggers more like me and that I enjoyed reading and the rest is history. I love using this as an outlet to write and I especially love it to find help when I have issues or questions about my children. And believe me, after Ashley was possessed by the devil on Saturday night, I am totally going to lean on you guys to help me out.

I did keep a diary as a kid, and I am pretty sure I no longer have it. And for now, this is my diary. I may not share all my deep dark secrets (like how I have seen Clay Aiken in concert three times), but I pretty much tell all the embarrassing or funny stuff that happens to me. And I can only hope you guys can laugh with me too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I never win, so I really don't know why I am trying....

A few contests I am entering...maybe this time I will get lucky...

The first is at The Disney Blog. We are to post the answer to the following questions to be entered to win fabulous prizes. Plus, you will get an insight into my mania about all things Disney...

1. Have you ever celebrated your birthday at a Disney theme park? If so, tell us about it.
I have celebrated my birthday at Disney World 3 times, and I am missing celebrating it at Disney World this year by ONE DAY. But I am still counting it cause we leave for Disney on my birthday.

My best memory about my birthday at Disney was my 30th birthday almost 2 years ago (gasp!). I was very pregnant with Audrey, and Ray booked me a pregnancy massage at the Grand Floridian Hotel. Fancy Schmancy. And I got to lay on my stomach because that had that great pillow with the huge hole in it. And I love laying on my stomach.

2. What is your favorite or most useful tip for guests of Disney's theme parks?
One of my most useful tips for guests of Magic Kingdom is for getting into Mickey's Toon Town and therefore getting in line for autographs early. We take that little known path by Space Mountain and wait at the rope into Toon Town. Toon Town normally opens an hour after the park does, and houses a tent that has Mickey in it as well as a tent with the Princesses and other Disney characters. One year, Ashley actually got to hold Mickey's hand as the rope dropped and he led her to the tent. Pretty cool.

3. What is your favorite Disney theme park attraction or show and why?
This is HARD. I really like all of it. But if I have to pick just one, I will take the Tower of Terror at MGM Studios (soon to be Hollywood Studios). It has ghosts, scary things, and is a cool ride based on a show I used to watch with my Dad when I was younger.

And for the other contest I am entering? I really, really want this organizer. Please pray that I win!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy the dark

Thanks for all the suggestions yesterday...I am going to use them all! I had one person email me with another great suggestion that I thought I would share with everyone. When you stop to eat, you eat and let the kids run around like madmen. Then have them eat in the car. Great idea for those places like Chick-fil-a that has those playground things (which I totally hate but for the sake of sanity, I will let my kids go in them).

Onto other is Ray's Dad's birthday. Who Ray is named after. Who the girls call "Papa Mocha" (their dog is named Mocha). Who Ray and I call "The Muffin Man" as he is the Bakery Manager at a BJ's Wholesale club store. Happy Birthday Old Man!

And yes, I am in the dark. At work. Since this is the second (or third? I've lost track) of oppressive 100 degree heat (four days we have hit the record of 105, including yesterday), they have asked those of us at the hospital who are not in direct patient care to turn off lights and save energy, especially between the hours of 1:00pm and 9:00pm. So here I sit, working at my laptop with only my desk lap on. It's actually kind of nice, but also kind of sleep inducing. Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Wake me when it's time to go home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Road Trip - I need your help

For our trip in October to Disney, we are driving. Yes, I know. And yes, I am aware how many hours I will be trapped in my beat-up van. It is about 9 hours from here to Orlando.

Ray is excited about this driving excursion. He seems to recall "fun" road trips from his younger years. I think he is delusional. I also think they he fails to remember how as kids we weren't strapped in a five point harness car seat during road trips. We had free roam of the the vehicle.

He also thinks that they kids will love it. Really? Cause I don't know any 21 month olds that love being trapped in a car seat for that long.

We are planning to stop about 6 to 7 hours into our trip on the first day. On the way back, balls to the walls, we are going to do the drive in one day.

What I need your help on is any tips/tricks/products/games/whatever that I can buy/steal/trade to keep my kids entertained. And yes, my van is fully equipped with a DVD player, but I would like to be able to break up the DVD watching with some actual activities so their brains don't turn to mush. Plus, Ray and I can only take so many Backyardigans episodes, even if their tunes are very, very catchy.

So bring it. Tell me some tricks. The planning begins.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fun Monday - Little White Lies

Uncaring Bear is hosting this week's Fun Monday...

Share with us a little white lie that you may, or may not, have gotten away with. Perhaps it's something more sinister than a little white lie - maybe even a deep dark secret that you've kept buried for years! All the better! Now's your chance to get it off your chest and confess: "Yes, I did eat that last slice of cheese cake", "No, I wasn't washing my hair that Saturday", "Those pants do make you look fat"!

This is really the only one I can think of off the top of my head, and it was really Ray that did the lying, although I am as much to blame as he is.

Ashley was only 2 weeks old, and friends of ours that lived down the street from us had asked us to feed their cats for them while they were gone for a weekend. We did it often for them, and it was no big deal. So the weekend came and went, and you guessed it, Ray and I in our sleep deprived state COMPLETELY FORGOT to feed the cats. Our friends hadn't really reminded us about it, and we were blessed with the worst sleeping baby on earth, so our brains just weren't functioning properly. When our friends came home that Sunday, they called to see how the cats did. Ray was completely caught off guard and told them the cats were fine. No other questions were asked, and we are guessing the cats really were fine. We are not sure if they knew we didn't come over or if they thought we did. It still bothers us to this day that we did that as we love animals, but it was only one night and the cats were always left with plenty of food.

I will say this though. These same friends of ours would watch our cat for us when we were gone. We came back from a trip to find 100 pictures of their baby girl in random places all over our house. Including my underwear drawer. We have lost touch with them as they got divorced prior to us moving to North Carolina.

Go visit Uncaring Bear for all the other lies...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

And the Award Goes To....

Last week, Pam at Random Thoughts gave me an award.
"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award."

I am truly honored she thought of me! And whatever my husband says about me being mean, just ignore him. It's only because I won't let him eat ice cream for dinner....

And this is who I am passing it on to:
CPA Mom - She is known across the blogging world for sending stuff to those having babies, those in need, or just because. Definitely inspiring.

SJ - Yes, I am totally allowed to nominate my best friend from high school. Am too. And she is totally nice, was then in high school, and she still is. I have my Chicken Poop lip balm to prove it.

Kellie - All of the comments Kellie leaves on anyone's blogs are thoughtful and well, just nice. I really don't think she even knows how to be mean. She's definitely been a positive influence on me.

The Cagle Clan - Go look up nice in the dictionary, and her and her family is pictured there. Seriously. I could not have picked a better neighbor or blogging friend or friend if I tried.

Lost a Sock - Another blogger who is definitely inspiring...her and her husband set goals in life and make sure they do what they can to make them. Like becoming a CFO like her husband just did and losing weight.

Happy Working Mom - Did she mention she watched three children FOR A WEEK so that her babysitter could go on vacation? Oh, and the youngest was 8 weeks old? Talk about being nice...(and this is totally for her....GO HOKIES, BEAT OHIO).

Abbilyeverafter - Someone else who I am sure does not have one mean bone in their body. Really. She oozes niceness even while living in Northern Virginia and all that traffic.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Pictures - I am now officially a Soccer Mom

Ashley started soccer this past week. She did pretty well, as good as any four year old would do. She paid attention about 90% of the time. I had to drag her away from a very tempting dirt pile once or twice.

Underneath those pink socks are also pink shin guards.

Her buddy from school is on her team which definitely helped out.

It's really kind of like herding cats.

Audrey decided to be a ham at dinner last night. She is getting used to me and my camera.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stressful Couple of Days

As most of you know, I am pursuing my Master's Degree in Elementary Education. On the schedule I am now, I am set to finish classes next August and then I would have to student teach for 12 weeks. If I am in a teaching position already, I don't have to do the student teaching and therefore go unpaid and without health benefits for 12 weeks.

Since teachers are so needed in much of the US, you can actually start teaching in North Carolina using "lateral entry" prior to having your teaching license. You just have to be working towards it and have passed the PRAXIS (teaching exam) to be eligible.

What I did not know was that most elementary schools and their principals do not hire lateral entry. If I wanted to teach middle or high school, I would get in no problem.

Anyways, I have had a few interviews, but I have chalked most of them up to practice as the education world seems to be very different from the corporate accounting world. But on Monday, I interviewed with a charter school here in Raleigh and they actually offered me the job. But today I am turning it down for multiple reasons.

First, they couldn't even pay me close to what the first year teachers make in my county. And basically, it wasn't even enough to cover daycare costs. Then, I would have to walk out of my current job as classes start next Wednesday. I just can't do that. And the school. I would be going in as a brand new teacher, no experience, teaching in a school that tests scores have gotten so bad the school is deemed a "low performer" by the state. Talk about challenging.

So this week has been stressful. I would love to teach as soon as possible, but I know that I have to make the right decision in doing so. I can't just jump into someplace just because they are willing to give me a job. Ray has been the grounding voice in all this. He is the one that brought me back to reality and helped me talk through all of it.

After many discussions with Ray and looking at my class schedule and such, I am going to try and accelerate my classes. As in take more than one class at a time. It may mean a couple more late nights for me, but if I can get into student teaching by next spring, then just maybe I can start teaching for real next fall.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Life of a Realtor's Wife

  • We often get the urge to move...(can we say 4 houses in 9 years of marriage?)

  • Phone calls at dinner

  • Scaring me in the car because he is driving and talking and writing down something

  • Work hours are not your normal 9 - 5

  • Phone calls at dinner

  • Getting to look at any house that's on the market (great decorating ideas)

  • Not a scheduled paycheck

  • Your kids get excited when you mention going to look at a house

  • Phone calls at the pool

  • Phone calls at dinner

There are many websites you can get mortgage rate
if you are looking into mortgage
It can get hard when trying to find a decent mortgage company that
will give you the best mortgage
that are out there. It's difficult to get home
but with some research you can save money.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Well Children, A Cool Package, and Virginia Tech

First off, everyone is healthy (knock on wood). Ashley had fun being shuffled between me and Ray yesterday so we could both do some work. We had back to school night last night at their school where Ashley got to see her Pre-K room and pick up one uniform shirt (I had to buy the rest, and yes, she has to wear a uniform to preschool). I think both girls were a little confused as to why we were at their school at night. At one point, Ashley asked me if she was spending the night, and she didn't seem to happy about the idea. I of course told her no, we were just visiting her new class.

I received my package from ChrisB for the S.U.M.M.E.R swap CPA Mom organized. I wish I had the card that came with the package as it had a really cool poem in it.

My trip to Virginia Tech Friday and Saturday was great. It was nice to get away, even if it was just for one night. We had been having unbearable heat in Raleigh, and I had forgotten how Blacksburg seems to miss out on the humidity since it's nestled in the New River Valley. The weather was amazing, low 80s, low humidity. It was also nice going back during the summer when the campus was pretty much empty.

Burrus Hall, the main administrative building

It was hard seeing the Memorial and being reminded of the tragedy that happened last April. When my friend and I were visiting the Memorial, it is right in front of Burrus Hall and you can see most of the campus academic buildings as well as the church. A wedding was going on, and the sky was a bright blue and we were standing looking at stones of 32 people that had died for no reason.

Norris Hall, the site of most of the shootings

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fun Monday

Beckie at Give it a Try is hosting this week and its simple. Tell everyone your favorite treat, whether it's sweet or sour or whatever.

This is my all time favorite candy bar...

But the treat of the month (or I should say last few months) is chocolate ice cream mixed with peanut butter. Honestly anything peanut butter will just about do me in. Maybe it's because I am the only one in my family who can actually eat it, who knows.


On a different note...I will have to catch with everyone tomorrow. Audrey threw up Saturday night and had a fever and Ashley decided to do the same last night. Fun times. So I am home today. Go visit Beckie for all the participants!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Pictures - Audrey Gets a Haircut

Audrey had begun to look like a shaggy dog. Unlike Ashley who had her first haircut earlier than a year, Audrey's hair is much finer and not growing as thick as her sister's. It still needed cutting and she has received many compliments on her new hairdo.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another Edition of Where Am I Today (or Yesterday...)

Go here to see my review I did for The Opinionated Parent...

Go here (and scroll down to the August 6 entry, I can't get the permalink to work) to see the cool product that was mailed to me for me to try out for free. How cool is that??!! If only someone would mail me a new stroller or perhaps a side mirror for my van, that would be awesome...

Today is another scorcher as it is in most of the East Coast. Yesterday it was 83 degrees outside when I left my house at 6:45am. It finally reached 103 with a real feel of 112...

Tomorrow I am heading out of town. (I will be posting pictures tomorrow, I had Audrey's first haircut done on Monday (sob)). My friend Julie (the one in the picture of me in NYC with my Mom) and I are heading to Virginia Tech to check out the campus, the memorial they are building, and just hang out without kids at our old stomping grounds. I haven't been back in 3 years and am looking forward to see the campus. I am not looking forward to all the feelings that I will have in seeing Norris Hall where most of the shootings took place, but I think this will be a good trip. And maybe I will find a Virginia Tech apron...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Almost exactly a year ago, I took my Mom to NYC for her 50th birthday. I remember going to Old Navy prior to the trip and trying to find something cute to wear.

That's me, second from the left...

I thought I had succeeded in finding something cute and that hid my "figure". I was completely wrong.

Upon returning, I had my annual exam with my OB. I had high blood pressure and weighed the most I have ever weighed (sans being pregnant) in my entire life. Then a little girl that lives on my street asked me if I was pregnant.

I signed up for Weight Watchers the next day, thanks to my Mom who paid for my first couple of months.

And now?? I wear a size 6. I didn't even wear a size 6 in college. I can buy a small or medium shirt, depending on the cut. With my boobs and my weight prior, that would have NEVER happened. I was comfortable hanging out in the XL sizes. And speaking of boobs, I lost a couple of cup sizes as well.

Just ignore the crazy hair and weird smile...

The other nice thing about this? I inspired Ray who in turn lost 50 pounds to match my 60 pounds lost. Together we lost enough weight of a petite adult.

Yes, I totally took this picture at work...I obviously need more work to do...

We have changed our lifestyle. I used to eat McDonald's once a week, now I go months without. Greasy, fried food actually gives me a stomachache, so avoiding it isn't difficult. I haven't had a regular soda in a year. Diet Coke is my champ. I measure out my portions and Ray and I normally share meals when we eat out.

Don't get me wrong, we still treat ourselves once a week to a milkshake from Sonic or ice cream from Cold Stone. We just now know when enough is enough.

And it has been fun (although expensive) changing our entire wardrobes. The outlet mall in Myrtle Beach has been our friend.

I hope Ashley only remembers "skinny" mommy, and not the one who looked like she was stung by a bee in the face.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Terrific Tuesday

I have been a little MIA in the blogging world. Last Thursday, Ashley was sent home from school with a low grade fever and complaints of a stomache ache. She continued to spike a fever over the next couple of days, but Tylenol and Motrin kept her feeling like herself. Then Ray was pretty sick, chills, fever, cough, headache. I actually didn't even sleep in the same bed as him two nights because a) I didn't want whatever he had and b) he needed some sleep.

By Sunday, everyone was feeling better. But then Sunday night, Ashley was up most of the night and even managed to throw up all over her bed at 2:00am after I made her take some medicine. Just what I need in the middle of the night. So I kept her home yesterday and even took her into the doctor just in case she had strep or something. Nope, just a virus that was probably on the tail end of it. She was of course fine the whole day, and I did get to go to Target and do some much needed laundry.

So I am back, back to work, back to the daily grind. Today here in Raleigh? 101 degrees. Tomorrow? 100 degrees. Thursday? 101 degrees. I think we will be staying indoors in the evenings.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fun Monday

Sorry I am a little late getting this one in...go see ChrisB for other participants...
This week we are supposed to show our aprons. I love to cook, but do not have any aprons. I would love to have this one though...

Now off you go to visit the rest of the Fun Monday participants...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Pictures - Ashley's Party (Finally)

I am finally posting these pictures. Have a great weekend and enjoy!
Her birthday cake on Friday night.
The table at the birthday party. Tea party style.
Don't Crocs look great with princess outfits?
The girls playing Disney Bingo.
Music time.

The band that wished Ashley Happy Birthday

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Morning Routine

I recently read this post about switching routines and such. In our house, Ray does the morning. I am up and out of the house by 6:45am. On most mornings, the girls aren't even up. And actually if they do get up, it's just that harder to leave. Audrey wants me, and Ashley wants some snuggle time on the couch.

But Ray has the whole thing down to a well oiled machine. He even makes Audrey an omelete every morning as that seems to be the only thing she will eat for breakfast. They are dropped off at school at 8:30am Right on time, no crying fits, all things in the backpacks (he did forget Ashley's bathing suit for water day a few weeks ago, but neither of us realized it was water day), refills of diapers for Audrey if needed, and he pays the biweekly payment to them (which if I told you how much we pay these people, you would choke on your coffee).

How does he do it? He doesn't give in. Me, well, I tend to give in a little. Although a few weeks ago when Ray was out of town, it all worked out. I had the kids to school on time. I had all their stuff. I even remembered my purse which is the first thing I tend to forget. And no, I did not make omeletes. I gave into Ashley pleas to have cinammon rolls which are super easy to make and Audrey ate them as well.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ashleyisms - Potty Mouth

I was trying to use the restroom the other day. Audrey was napping and Ashley was playing...I had left the door to the bathroom open mainly because I forgot to close it.

Ashley promptly came over and starting talking to me.

"Ashley, can Mommy go potty in peace?"

"What are you doing Mommy?"

"Going potty...I will be a minute."

"I'm shutting the door for you, I don't want to hear your poop plop."