Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Spirit

I hate to say it but I'm not really in the "Christmas Spirit". I'm in more of a pensive mood this year. I cherish my family, the reality that God sent his son for me and others, and memories I have made over the years.
I'm not in the mood for parties and celebrations that really have nothing to do with Christmas is about. My efforts at decorating have been half-hearted, my baking minimal, and my other typical preparation sparse. However, I know this too shall pass. Maybe next Christmas will find me more in a celebratory type frame of mind.
I am super excited about my upcoming trip to the mountains. A little alarmed about how cold it's going to be but excited just the same. I may get to mark off something on my bucket list-waking up to snow on Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Serenity Prayer

God, grant us the...

Serenity to accept things we cannot change,

Courage to change the things we can, and the

Wisdom to know the difference

Patience for the things that take time

Appreciation for all that we have, and

Tolerance for those with different struggles

Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the

Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the

Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

Life has been difficult this past year- I lost my Mom in February, my Dad went to an assisted living facility a few days later, my niece had a stillborn, the hubby is trying to make it in a new career, I feel as if certain individuals are trying to push me out of my father's life, my Dad seems to be slipping away, my childhood home will soon be sold, the contract for the program I work for was supposed to expire 12/31 but has been continued to 2/28, this thing called grief is sometimes overwhelming, I feel "told" what to do by many, and more.
I often times refer to the Serenity Prayer when leading group or counseling clients but rarely think about it applying to my own life but IT DOES. It's close to the whole idea of Letting Go and Letting GOD. I need lots of reminders to do just that.
All of that said, I am so glad I have my faith, my husband and my precious little girl. No matter what happens-GOD is in control.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


What I am thankful for this year:

Wonderful memories
Healthy, beautiful child
My job
My father
My in-laws
all my senses
Knowing we get to go on vacation for Christmas :)
wonderful babysitter who I completely trust
losing weight (LOTS more to go)
improving relationship with my brother
finding comfort in God's words and promises
a husband who is a part time stay at home Dad
election results
and more

Happy Thanksgiving! Rejoice and Give Thanks for all you are given. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

My DIY Christmas Plans

I have decided to massively simplify gift giving this year. The adults will be getting a magnetic frame/plaque, and coasters and maybe one other gift. I'm not sure what the "other" will be yet. Maybe a small decoupaged notebook for the ladies and ??????? for the guys. I was thinking maybe cakes in a jar for my Dad, but no clue for the other 3 males.
Baby R will be getting handmade blocks with animals, a set of puzzle blocks (from thrift store books), DIY bath crayons, foam shapes for the tub, DIY hooded towel, maybe some lacing shapes from foam, more felt food (not sure what yet), purchased dish set, a pillow pet, and a Baby All Gone.
If things go as planned, our Christmas will be spent in the beautiful surroundings of my ideal place. There are a lot of things that have to fall into place to make it happen but I am praying it does.

Ideas from:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Our theme for the past few weeks-FARMS and What My Child Is Reading This Week(s)

Little R is having fun with our Farm theme. I have been a little slack, umm lazy and the theme has been sparse on activities and a little lengthier than I intended. We once again checked out LOTS of books on the subject and spent tons of time reading.
Some of our books on Farms- Cock-a-Doodle Quack!Quack!, Little Farm by the Sea, Cows, Cock-a-doodle-hooooo (R's favorite), Chicken Joy on Redbean Road (my favorite), Once Upon a Farm, Seasons on the Farm, All Pigs Are Beautiful, and many more.

A few of our activities-cotton ball sheep, TP roll horse, painting cow spots, picking cotton (random spot on side of road-I know, bad mommy), stopping to look at cow farm, lots and lots of Old Macdonald Had a Farm, and others.
By far the funniest thing that happened was on Halloween at the mall. Little R went up to the Chick-Fil-A cow, waved and then proceeded to try to lift up the front of his costume near his umm..unmentionables. I was horrified and then she oh so sweetly she looked at me and said "Mom, where's the udders for milk?. I couldn't help but laugh. LOVE that girl, she makes my heart smile.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Zoo trip and Fall Festival


We were planning a trip to Tuscaloosa this past weekend but decided to put it off since the hubby had a chance to work floor duty. Weekend flloor duty is a great thing in our world right now, it's when most people look for houses. So, since I had already asked off, R and I went to the Zoo on Friday.
Little R had multiple meltdowns prior to leaving the house and I considered not going at all because she was being such a difficult little thing. But alas, we went anyway and had a fabulous time. I printed out some Zoo field trip worksheets to take along and off we went. This was R's first time at a Zoo and she was super excited over most everything. She especially liked the giraffe, pigs, and lemurs. OH, and the peacocks...she tried repeatedly to catch one :) R was thrilled to be able to touch the giraffe and found the lemurs amusing. R and some other little guys were running around the lemur exhibit and the lemurs were running around following them. It was great. The playground was also a fun distraction while we stopped for a snack. So, what started out as a less than ideal day, finished perfectly. (and no potty accidents, yay!!)
And if you are wondering where the absolutely adorable outfit came from-check out She makes some great stuff and her blog is a blessing to read.

I must admit, I'm not a big fan of small zoos, I feel they never have enough room for the animals. This one had a few exhibits that I would consider adequate but most were TINY. I felt sorry for the animals being cooped up in such tight quarters. But, I'm glad she got to experience it.

Sunday, the family went to an outside Fall Festival at the church we attend. There were quite a few blow up activities and R loves to jump and slide so it was perfect. She wore pieces of her ladybug costume but no wings or antennae :( We were able to get a picture with all of her costume on before we left. R had a hard time waiting in line for the activities, and didn't understand why she could only jump for a certain amount of time-we are working on the ideas of sharing and waiting your turn. R had lots of fun and cried when we had to leave. I appreciate so many of the local churches having Fall or Halloween type activities. I don't want to keep R from celebrating (i use that term loosely) Halloween but I am completely against the focus on the gruesome, evil and wicked. I just can't be okay with devils, demons, bloody things, etc as entertainment and amusement.


So glad we got to do some fun things this weekend.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What am I thinking?????

The past few months I have been thinking ALOT about babies. I so completely have baby fever. However, I am almost 40, the hubby is 50+, our financial situation is not good, and I never want to be pregnant again. I have never felt so bad in my entire life. Why can't adoption be more affordable????

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Major Accomplishment

After MONTHS of training, bribing, pleading, praying, praising, hoping, wishing, and cajoling......Little R is going to the potty on her own. Potty training R has been difficult beyond belief. My husband and I have tried all kinds of rewards, tactics, and strategies to no avail.We tried stickers, little prizes, witholding favorite TV shows, extra movie time, songs, dances, special snacks, etc-all in an attempt to get her to use the potty. Then one day it just happened. She seriously just decided she would start going to the potty. R has had a few accident free days, one with MANY accidents, and most have been 1 or 2 accident days. She has even made it through nap time dry. I can hardly contain my excitement :)
Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dinosaur Unit and What My Child Is Reading This Week

Our current learning theme is Dinosaurs and we are reading many books on this subject too. R's favorites are Dino-dinners-probably because it mentions poop!, Dinosaur Days, Can I Have a Stegosaurus Mom Please?, Dinosnores, Danny and the Dinosaur, and Dinos in the Snow. We are also reading Gorgonzola-a Very Stinkysaurus, Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures With the Family Lazardo, Dinosaurs (nonfiction) and The Little Dinosaur's Big Adventure. I am also using Meet the Dinosaurs, My Favorite Dinosaurs, and a few others to read excerpts out of.
R seems to be enjoying this unit, me-not so much. I was never really into dinosaurs and I'm still not. I am learning right along with Little R. She can already identify Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex. So far our projects have been few and far between. We have made a TP roll Brachiosaurus-I think that's what it is (Littlefoot from Land Before Time), DIY fossils, rock dinosaur, and a dinosaur/forest painting/collage. I'm having a hard time figuring out artsy crafty things to do with this   theme. Maybe I'll come up with a few more before we finish this one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Caterpillars and Butterflies

Caterpillars and Butterflies have been a pretty big deal around our house this year. The Gulf Frittalary butterflies are laying eggs by the hundreds or at least dozens on our purple passion fruit. Little R and I have successfully harbored (maybe wrong term) four caterpillars to butterflies so far. We have had 2 casualities too :(
We have not been able to see the egg to caterpillar stage. I have put leaves in our bug jar that I thought had viable eggs but no baby caterpillars yet. We have had teeny tiny caterpillars turn into butterflies. Maybe next year we will be able to watch the entire life cycle.
I can't wait for the monarchs.

Monday, September 20, 2010

More Bugs-our Themed Activities

As a part of our "unit" on BUGS, little R and I spent time completing a few projects, learning about different bugs, and exploring the great outdoors.
We made a wooden bead, pipecleaner and pony bead spider; clothes pin and coffee filter butterfly, and a clothes pin and pipe cleaner dragonfly. Little R and I had tons of fun watching caterpillars turn into butterflies and learning about the life cycle. We have watched quite a few tiny caterpillars grow big and turn into butterflies. I think the most fun was exploring our yard for different types of insects. Just in our yard we found roaches, grasshoppers, spiders, ants, beetles, roly polies, bees, moths, earthworms, caterpillars, aphids, butterflies, flies, stink bugs, and a praying mantis. I was thrilled to find the mantis :)
Little R learned the three parts of a bug, but not really where they are on the bug. The most surprising part of this for me has been R's lack of fear. I try soooo hard not to let her see my fear of bugs, but she sometimes picks up on it. I do insist that only Daddies touch spiders though :)
Other activities we completed:
2 videos from the library on Insects and bugs
Counted with bugs
Talked about flyers versus walkers
Watched a lizard eat a bug

Happy learning.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What My Child Is Reading This Week-Bugs and Insects

We have checked out LOTS of books over the last 2 weeks relating to our bugs and insects theme. Some have been a hit, some not so much. The hits have been The Very Ugly Bug, The Caterpillow Fight, Bob and Otto, The Big Bug Ball, and I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. The first 2 were read over and over and OVER again. Little R was able to recognize the covers to the first 3 after a few days and would say, "read Bob and Otto" or "read the Caterpillow Fight" when she saw them. Love it!!
Some of the not so liked ones- Manuelo, the Playing Mantis (just didn't hold her attention), Insects Are My Life (probably a bit too advanced), and On Beyond Bugs.
We also read a few books we already had around the house-Ten Little Ladybugs, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and A Bug's Life.
I will post soon about some of our bug/insect themed activities.

All of our Ocean Theme Activities

As mentioned in a previous post, our first theme for practicing preschool was Oceans. We did lots of craft projects, read many books, and watched Shark Week and a few ocean related movies (The Reef, The Little Mermaid). I thought I would combine all of our craft and learning activities into one big post with pictures :)
Things we made/did:
craft foam crab
Ocean theme collage with magazine cutouts
Mixed media collage with stickers, seashells, tissue paper seaweed
painted seashells
counting with seashells
paperplate fishbowl
bead covered cardboard starfish
sticker fish/fishbowl counting
ate Goldfish and whale crackers
Fed the fish in our saltwater tank
Observed fish and hermit crabs in our tank
Field trip to St. Andrew's Bay

AND a still have to do-hand and footprints in wet sand. Bad mommy for putting this one off :(

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

She's Three-3-tres

My little one turned 3 a few days ago. I can't believe my baby is 3 already. It's one of those situations where it seemd like just yesterday and forever ago at the same time that she was a tiny little thing who barely stayed awake for more than an hour at a time. I distinctly remember calling the hubby super excited to tell him she stayed awake for more than 15 minutes of our daily walk. I actually called him multiple times to say "she's still awake" as we walked. Now, we look at each other at 11:00 pm and say "Wow, she's still awake" but it has a totally new meaning. Yes, I have a little night owl/energizer bunny.
At one time in my life, I was adamant I was not having children. I was perfectly happen be childless and carefree. Then, something changed. Maybe it was the biological clock, maybe it was God, whatever it was, it happened and I found myself longing for a baby. She is definitely a gift from God and I couldn't imagine life without her.
Happy Birthday to my amazing, beautiful, loving, energetic, funny, adorable, loved, bouncy, sassy, and wonderful little girl. I love you always and forever to the moon and back.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What My Child Is Reading This Week-Ocean Theme

WaveRub-a-Dub SubWe are still in the midst of our Ocean theme so the books R and I are reading reflect that. This week we are reading Rub-a-Dub-Sub which is R's favorite. It has rhyming words, repetition, and cartoon type characters and follows a little boy's imaginary journey. We are also "reading" Wave by Suzy Lee. This is a picture book only with simple charcoal drawings depicting a little girl's encounter with the waves and seagulls. I think this would be a great book to add to our library and maybe have R narrate a story for the pictures, possibly coming back in a year and doing the same. The other two we are reading are One Lonely Seahorse and In one tidepool : crabs, snails, and salty tails. In One Lonely Seahorse, all the pictures of sea creatures are made of food, mushroom crabs, ginger lobsters, banana dolphins, and bean eels, R was a bit confused by the pictures but I thought it was cute. I liked the repetition and rhythym of In One Tidepool and R did too.

In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails, and Salty Tails (Sharing Nature With Children Book). One Lonely Sea Horse
I am sold on this theme or unit idea!! It provides me with the structure I need for arts and crafts type activities, books to read, and counting. I can definitely see me using a theme or unit approach to homeschooling. I

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cute stuff I know I'm going to miss

Little R does and says so much cute stuff I know I'm going to miss when she gets older. That is, in between being a little terror  
Some of my favorites:
I want to hold it "just a little second" 
Mommy "take me a bath"
The way she says "girl", can't describe it phonetically but trust me, it's adorable
The way she sometimes leaves off the first syllables of words- member for remember, Cole for Nichole, mercial for commercial
How she runs around after a bath saying "look at my naked hiney"
The random things she focuses on-one day it's a plastic magnifying glass, the next a rubber band ball, the next her Gumby and Pokey
How she sings me a song when I'm sad
Her infatuation with garbage trucks and lizards
How she dances with such energy
And so much more.
My little R will be 3 next month. It doesn't seem possible my baby could already be that old.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More ocean theme activities

R and I have been doing a few projects relating to our ocean theme the past few days. We made a collage of ocean/beach themed pictures on painted posterboard. R painted and glued on pictures I cut out of magazines. We also made a collage of foam fish, crabs and whales(leftover from her 1st b-day party), seashells, and rolled up tissue papers and streamers for seaweed. R once again painted the paper, stuck on the stickers, seashells, and tissue paper. I put the glue down for her but she was definitely not happy about it. :) I got the idea for the mixed media collage (sound so fancy that way) from this blog-
We also assembled a crab from foam. Don't remember where I found the template but I traced it on to red foam, cut it out and let R put the pieces together and add wiggly eyes.
I like using a theme-it gives me the direction and at least a little bit of organization I need. Pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trip to Library and What my child is reading this week

Saturday was one of those hot, humid, miserable days so R and I went to the library. I decided to go ahead and take a stab at a theme for the next few weeks with our books and projects. I chose an ocean/beach theme since it is super easy to access hands on experiences with that here.
I checked out quite a few books while R played with Leggos and puzzles. This was the best she has acted in the library EVER. I was super impressed. Yay!!
On the way back to the car, R noticed a few baby toads. We stopped to look at them and of course she wanted to take one home. I compromised and walked to the retaining pond with her instead. OMG!!! There were hundreds of tiny little toads everywhere, some still with tails. There were a few tadpoles but it looked like most had already passed that stage.
Back to books, we are reading Sam at the Seaside, Abigail the Happy Whale, Scuba Bunnies and Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef this week. Over in the Ocean is my favorite. The artwork is amazing-all the pictures are of polymer clay and it combines our theme with counting and music. I looked the book up on Amazon and noticed there are more in the series Over in the Jungle and Over in the Arctic. These will be must reads for us too.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Really? You actually expect me to believe that??

Honesty and believability seem to be in short supply in my realm of clients lately. I currently work as a substance abuse counselor for a non-profit agency. The majority of my clients are court ordered (dependency, some criminal, some both) and a few are voluntary but encouraged to attend by DCF.

Some of the reasons I have heard for testing positive for various drugs
-I thought it was a tylenol
-The person I had/have sex with uses
-Rode in the car with someone who was using
-Brownies :)
-Drank coffee made with filter used for drug manufacturing (unknowingly of course)
-Thought it was just a rolled cigarette
-Cleaning the dresser, counter, etc in a hotel room that had a white powder on it
-Someone put it in my chapstick
-Oral sex
-Person conducting drug test put drug into urine
-Ate poppy seed muffins, buns
-Hemp Lotion
-Found a baggie with white powder in it and decided to taste it

Reasons for testing positive for alcohol
-I use a lot of hand sanitizer
-cough syrup
-ate something with wine/sherry in it
-had candy with liquer in it
-ate rum cake
-didn't know the energy drink had alcohol in it

FYI- laboratory alcohol tests have thresholds that allow for incidental alcohol ingestion

Explanation for drug charges
-My friend threw it in my purse
-I didn't know the 50 boxes of cold medicine were for making meth
-I grew it for a dealer friend, since I had a green house and he didn't
-They left all the manufacturing materials at my house when I wan't there
-Someone put it in my glove box
-I was keeping it for someone else
-A relative left the medication at my house because she is in the process of moving (in a ziploc)
-I rented a car that had drugs in it

One of the oddest stories I've heard
- I got burned when I knocked on a friend's door, he answered and immediately tossed a bottle of "shake and bake" at me and I missed 

Just thought I would share a little of what I hear on a daily basis. Sometimes it takes all I can manage to keep a straight face.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thrift store finds

The hubby, R and I went to the Thrift Store in Tuscaloosa while we were visiting my Dad for Father's Day. This store is huge and I could spend hours in there if I had the time. I found a Disney matching game in almost new condition that will be used with little R. I got 2 plates and 2 saucers to use for a tiered tray, maybe 2 trays actually. I also got 3 like new puzzles for R-1 for now and 2 that are a little advanced for her now. Plus, I found a skirt for me that is very bohemian, love it :)
The rest of our weekend was rather uneventful. I cleaned Mom and Dad's house a little, packed up some mementoes for my nieces and brother, and organized a few things. I did talk to my Dad about moving here with me, permanently or even temporarily, he made it clear he doesn't want to. On one hand I understand not wanting to move away from the town you are used to but on the other, I think, why wouldn't you rather be with family versus staying in a tiny room surrounded by strangers. I must admit, my feelings are hurt. I have so many questions I want to ask but don't. I just tell myself to love my Dad as much as I can and move on.
On Father's Day, my brother and his girlfriend came down and we all ate lunch together with my Dad. We just sat and visited with each other versus doing anything or going anywhere. It was nice to see family without the rush of going out to lunch and fighting the crowds.
Hope everyone had a good Father's Day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Almost summer cleaning and Still on this journey called grief

The hubby is on a cleaning mission. We he have has decided it is past time to start keeping out house cleaner and neater. I am a bit of a pack rat, I come by it honestly though (read some old posts about my parent's home). I keep stuff, LOTS of stuff. I collect stuff, not alot of it but enough. I am also unorganized. I like junk drawers. Junk drawers are my easy way out when cleaning umm, stashing the clutter. The husband used to be a really neat and orderly guy, he says he gave up on it because of me. I say it's because he got lazy :) Either way, our house is a bit of a mess and we are not setting a good example for little R. So, our mission for the next few weeks is purging some of the clutter, organizing what we have, dusting LOTS of stuff and spending some time cleaning the overlooked, avoided and forgot about spaces. YUCK!!!
Part of his mission involved hanging some family pictures we already had in frames. Well, he chose to hang one of my Mom that we used at the church when the family received friends. I saw it on the wall and a flurry of thoughts went through my head-wow, she looks happy there, look at her smile, my Mom is gone, I can't see her smile, will Reagan remember her?, we used the picture at the church, I should be happy she isn't in pain, I should be happy she is in heaven, when do the tears end?, and the thoughts just kept going from there. It's been a little over 3 months now and I can say things are getting a little better. I don't cry every day now..YAY!!
Miss you EGF

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Garden, take two

Last year, my garden was a bit of a dissapointment. Pretty much NOTHING grew. I hope this year proves to be better. So far I have planted 2 kinds of beans-1 bush bean and 1 runner, zuchini, squash, carrots, tomatoes and bellpepper, plus basil, cilantro. I have already picked some beans..YAY. We had enough for 2 tiny servings of sauteed green beans. I was incredibly excited. The zuchinni and squash don't look great but they are growing, the carrot seeds washed into a few big clumps so after being thinned I have only a few left to survive the summer. I planted 2 bellpeppers in my daylily bed and plan to add some more one day this week and I have tomatoes in various spots around the house. The tomatoes and bellpeppers both have tiny little fruits on them. If I find a spot, I think I will add some winter squash too-just don't know where to put it. I think I could double the size of my garden and I would  still run out of room.
I read the book square foot gardening and tried to implement a little of it into my plan but my garden bed is laid out a bit larger so I found myself just planting in rows...with all the wasted space and weeds that go with it.
Happy Gardening

Friday, May 21, 2010

Saving $$$$$$

I have discovered this new website and I am amazed at some of the deals you can get at local grocery stores if you just spend a few minutes here and there printing coupons, clipping coupons and making a list. The website lists the best deals and matchups with various forms of coupons.

Just yesterday I got 4 boxes of Ronzoni Pasta for $0.39 a piece by taking advantage of B1G1 and using 2 coupons of save $1 off of 2 packages, Right Guard Deodorant at $0.49 (4 of them), Green Giant Steamers (4 again) at $0.69, Simply gogurt 8 packs for $0.29 using printable $1.10 coupons in combo w/ them being on sale for $1.39 and smaller boxes of Hefty ziplocs at $0.64 a box by combining a printable coupon and the B1G1 special. YAY!! (I never knew you could use 2 coupons when getting B1G1 deals) OH, I also noticed instant mashed potatoes are B1G1 (2 for 1.25) and you can print a coupon for $0.75 off 3. So, 3 boxes of potatoes for less than $0.40 a piece. I'm not a big fan of these but I do sometimes use them when I am in a super hurry.

The website lists specific details for various stores in the South. From what I have read-Publix pretty much accepts most competitors coupons, meaning you can use a Target or Food Lion or CVS or Winn-Dixie coupon there AND a manufacturer's coupon on the same item. Really great savings. So, you can stack a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon and of course pair those w/ B1G1. Cool!!

I will definitely be stocking up my pantry with these savings and picking up extras here and there to donate. Finances are tight at my house but there are tons of people who don't have jobs, food, a house, etc. I can certainly afford to donate a few items of food I can purchase for less than $0.75 to our local charities.

I'm going to try the CVS extra bucks thing out soon too. We will see how that goes.

Happy Shopping!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Pronunciation: \ə-ˈvȯi-dən(t)s\

Function: noun

Date: 14th century

1 obsolete a : an action of emptying, vacating, or clearing away b : outlet

2 : annulment

3 : an act or practice of avoiding or withdrawing from something

Avoidance is something I very guilty of-especially these past few months. I have always avoided confrontation in my life, it's just a part of my personality. I don't like conflict (hubby might disagree a bit :0) whether my own or someone else's. Currently, I am avoiding a multitude of things such as going to my Mom's grave, taking down pictures at my Mom and Dad's house, committing to a healtheir lifestyle, enforcing a schedule for R, difficult discussions with my father, asking certain people to mind their own business and show some respect for others, and facing the mortality of my Dad.
Being a counselor, one would think I would NOT avoid such things..WRONG. I know the negative consequences of such avoidance but still do it. Some of the avoiding is very purposeful, some is not, it just gets shoved to the back of my brain by virtue of all the other stuff going on. SO, I must find a way to deal with all the emotions and situations in my life in a positive, healthy matter and stop avoiding the potential conflicts and confrontations that come along with life's ups and downs.
Counselor, counsel thyself!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Glossy paper flowers

Love, love, love these flowers made from magazine pages. I cut the circles, R chose the combos, and it was a team effort for the other steps.

Supplies needed:  old magazines or scrapbook paper scraps or damaged books destined for the garbage, etc
                            glue stick or hot glue or all purpose glue depending on stem material used
                             paper brads (basic ones from office supply store or decorative ones from hobby store)
                             rolled magazine page or skewer or stick

 a) Cut circles from scrap paper-I used a kiddie bowl for a template-can also use graduated sizes or just adjust when cutting design
b) Fold 1 circle at a time in 1/2 a few times (same process as the paper snowflakes you made when you were a kid)
c) Cut folded circle into a petal shape, making sure the tip (pointy part) remains intact-I cut some down before shaping so I had different sizes
d) Unfold
e) choose a few sets of petals, pierce through the middle and hold together with brad
f) if using paper for stem, roll up into skinny tube, glue edge with glue stick
g) attach flower to magazine page stem with brad, may need to pierce hole w/ scissors first or glue to skewer or stick
h) fold or pinch edges of petals to add dimension

Lots of display options too-in a recycled metal can, nestled in marbles in a flower pot, stuck into moss covered styrofoam in a rectangular dish, etc (maybe not the magazine stems)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

She Colors My Day

I happened upon this song by Amy Grant the other day and it brought me to tears. I did a little research and discovered the story behind it. What a touching (and heart wrenching) inspiration. The song reminds me to relish and cherish the days I have with baby R, no one is promised tomorrow.

here and now i'm going to stay

in her world i'm going to play
rolling in her cartwheels,
feeling just like she feels
lost inside her curls and her sun rays
she colors my day
in red, pink, blue and shades of grey
whenever we play, she colors my day
in the night she's a flashlight
in her skin i end and begin
to a smile that's always dreaming
to a song that's always scheming
to hands that hold my own
like warm sun rays
she colors my day
in red, pink, blue and shades of grey
whenever we play, she colors my day
in a green and violet skirt
she magically plays
she colors my day
i need her light - she's warm, she's cold she feels just right
she's my best friend - she takes,
she gives, it just never ends
i feel so real - in like, in love
i'm head over heels
she's my best girl - she runs, she jumps she spins and she
— written by cristina carlino and stuart mathis, produced by stuart mathis

Take a look at the website if you would like more info

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baking with R

R and I had a fab time making homemade granola bars a few days ago. She enjoyed pouring ingredients in and stirring with lots of sampling. I used this recipe, with lots of tweaks. Next time I will try the original recipe first and then make adjustments. Mine are far from extra chewy but I severely changed things (less sugar, tiny bit more honey, added applesauce, and nuts and raisins and dried cranberries) around so who knows what the recipe actually turns out like. The hubby always tells me to follow the recipe the 1st time and then make adjustments, maybe next time. Mine turned out good -not chewy but not hard either. Not sure how to describe them, kinda like a bar cookie texture but not really. :) I have plenty to put in the freezer for snack time.
The hubby and I have decided to try to eat more healthy and save money at the same time. This mean less over processed convenience food and more whole, natural foods. We already make our own pizza, some breads, and just started making refried beans. It is definitely a learning experience for me. I am so NOT a cook, that is hubby's expertise. So, it is a journey of trial and errors for me. Happy cooking.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Fun

We had "company" over Friday night for dinner (homemade pizza) and little R loved all the attention. My oldest niece was down here with her Aunt and her children for a short beach vacation and we got to spend some time with her. R was happy to see her Aunt Brandy and very pleased to be able to play with and boss around :) two older kids. The adults spent time reminiscing a bit while the kiddos played and watched TV.
Saturday morning EARLY I met Brandy and Sheila and her 2 at Crooked Island Beach for some shell hunting. We found some great shells and sand dollars, held a small shark, and had a good time just visiting. I'm not sure those shells were worth the irritation I am now enduring from the sand gnats though. My lower legs are covered in bites that itch incessantly. Makes me want to scream or take enough Benadryl to just sleep until the itchies go away.
We got to spend more time with Aunt Brandy on Sunday at the pool. However, Little R would not leave the pool steps willingly. The few times I got her off of them it involved crying, whining, grabbing, etc. We still had a fun time though and I actually think R was content to be sitting on the steps just playing in the water. It was a bonus for her to get to be around other kids too.
Last night R and I and her Granny baked sugar cookies. R had fun stirring, rolling out dough and using the cookie cutters (love the mini cutters from pampered chef). She even served cookies to her Granny and PawPaw. The smile was priceless.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter and beyond

R looked adorable in her new Easter dress her Granny bought. She went to the nursery at church somewhat reluctantly but did okay so I'm told. Can you believe I didn't take a picture of her in her dress???? Yeah, me neither. We did film her hunting Easter Eggs, she was beyond funny. I am convinced 'WHERE' is her new favorite word.
This weekend we headed out to Pier Park in PCB to shop for Mommy some clothes and ride the carousel. Little R asked about the carousel and ferris wheel the entire time we shopped, but managed to keep it together until time to play. She was super excited about the carousel-until it started moving. Then she decided she wanted off and wanted to go home. R didn't completely melt down but she certainly was not happy about the ride. Right as the ride was about to stop she said "That's not so bad". That little lady makes me smile :) To complete our day we had lunch at 5 Guys Burger and Fries, visited with R's sitter who we happened to see, threw pennies into the fountain, played with toys at the toy store, played in the sand and ate rainbow popcorn. I love our mommy and me dates .

Monday, March 15, 2010


This emotion called grief is so much more than just an emotion for me. It's a way of thinking, a state of being, a process to work through, an explanation of why I am the way I am right now, and even more.
My grief started months ago when I realized my mother was not getting better mentally. I started grieving then for the Mom I knew, the one who was no longer there. This grief was something I faced everyday when I was on the phone with her or with just Dad when I would hear her say " tell her I Love her, that's enough". I made that call every afternoon as I drove home from work and every afternoon I would arrive home in tears. Poor little R was so confused by my tears, my silence, my desire to be alone-she would sometimes come up to me and pat me and say Mommy, it's okay, don't cry.
I'm not sure when I realized or accepted that my Mom's cancer was terminal this time. I think I knew it from the time she told me, right before our trip to Mobile and Bellingrath Gardens. I remember talking to her about chemo and reassuring her she didn't have to go through it again if she didn't want to. I wanted her to know then that she didn't have to keep fighting if she was ready to go home to Heaven. She of course decided to go ahead with chemo and fight the disease, but it was short lived.
Seeing my Mom so helpless and such a shell of her true self helped me accept her prognosis. Each time I helped her dress, bathe, eat, transfer, etc, I began to let go of my hopes of her getting better. It felt like I was letting go of a huge bunch of  balloons one by one-sad to see each one float away but relieved there were less to hold on to.
It's been a little over 2 weeks since Mom died and I still have times when tears well up for no reason. I am distracted, lost in random thoughts, unmotivated, cranky, irritable, emotional, and the list goes on. I've completely lost my composure a few times in the car and in the shower. I try to maintain when I am around others. I'm one of those people who feel crying is something you do alone or with a close friend/companion, not in front of people. For me, grief is a very personal experience, one I choose not to share with many people. Sharing it here is cathartic for me and somehow okay since at least my tears are private.
On a different note, no matter how much the hubby and I argue, disagree, fued, etc-he holds my heart. Hubby was there for my Mom when my emotions wouldn't allow me too. He held her hand while she took her last breaths. The fact he did this proves he is an amazing man, even if I sometimes forget he is. I <3 RLB

EGF, Always in my heart

Friday, March 5, 2010


Eleanor Gray Fulmer went home to be with the Lord on 2/25/2010. She will be missed by many, especially me.

God looked around His garden

And found an empty place.

He then looked down upon the earth

And saw your tired face.

He put his arms around you

And lifted you to rest.

God’s garden must be beautiful

He always takes the best.

He saw the road was getting rough

And the hills were hard to climb,

So He closed your weary eyelids

And whispered "Peace be thine".

It broke our hearts to lose you

But you didn’t go alone,

For part of us went with you

The day God called you home.

I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight that ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumns’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there;
I did not die.


As the time of my mother's death draws closer, I am trying to remember all the fun times we spent together as mother and daughter, and as a family.
With the recent snow in Alabama, I was reminded of a trip my Mom and I took to Mobile in 1992 or 1993. We went down for my interview for physical therapy school, with the intention of spending just one night. Mother Nature had other plans. As we were driving back north, the snow started falling, quicker, harder, bigger-whatever words you use for LOTS of snow. It finally got bad enough that I felt I couldn't see good enough to drive safely, so we stopped at the first hotel we came to. We ended up on the outskirts of Thomasville in a little crappy motel with NO amenities-zero, nada, zilch.  We check in the hotel and do our best to get some sleep after watching the weather. Morning comes, we are starving so I go to the desk and inquire about the roads, which we find out are closed until at least noon.
BY this time, I'm starving and wanting to go somewhere for breakfast, that wasn't a possibility because of the roads. So, we ended up going to the convenience store across the street and grabbing stuff from there. I assumed we would at least be able to venture into the town for lunch, wrong. After spending the morning calling my Dad and some relatives, we spent the rest of the morning watching TV and joking about the whole situation. Lunch time rolls around and we just catch the news report that the roads going north are closed for the rest of the day. ACK!!! We have no more clean clothes!
With that lovely news in mind, mom and I attempt to drive into town, no luck there, the tires just spin on the ice in the parking lot and I have to coax the land barge back into a parking spot which was no easy feat for a Southern girl. I of course then made the trek over to the convenience store to scavenge food for lunch. Thank goodness for microwaves :) This type of routine goes on for another day until the roads open up. We actually washed our clothes in the sink with shampoo, added conditioner to the rinse water for fabric softener and dried them on top of the heater. How's that for improvisation???
By the time we were able to leave, the car was covered in snow and ice and I was certainly not equipped to shovel (or whatever you call it) snow off the car. So, more improvising with a hotel garbage can and hot water from the tub. The drive home was pretty uneventful except for 2 spots that required being pulled through the snow and ice. You have to love guys in trucks with a wench who just stay in a spot and help people who get stuck. I heart the South :) The short trip home did take forever but it was worth it to be in our own beds and have real CLEAN clothes.

This post was still in draft form and I finished it today (3/5), one week and a day since my Mom went to Heaven.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I am trying to maintain at least some sense of normalcy in the household throughout these trying times. This week R and I (and Dad too) have worked with hearts-coloring, counting and identifying smallest and largest. We will use some of these as Valentines for the grandparents.
Last night all of us made a devil's food cake to take with us to Alabama-with a few slices sampled of course. R did most of the adding of ingredients, turned on the mixer, and helped pour the batter into the pans. She was so proud! She kept saying "my first cake". Precious.
I have to include how the cake baking came to be.... R and the hubby went to the grocery store on Wednesday. When hubby went to check out, there was a cake mix in the cart he didn't put in there. Our little chocaholic snagged it and added it in. Hubby says she insisted on holder her chocolate the entire way home and he spent quite a while explaining to her she couldn't eat it right then.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I feel like I have shed a million tears over the past few days, and millions more over the past few months. I know there are even more millions to come.

My heart aches, my entire body hurts and I feel as if I am walking around in a daze. My Mom's health continues to decline and my father has finally admitted he can no longer meet her needs by himself. She requires almost total care now-she needs help in and out of bed, in and out of the chair, with toileting, dressing, etc. Right now she is in the hospital because she is unable to hold food down and is very weak. So far, I know nothing about her condition except for her vital signs are stable. Not knowing is sometimes much worse than the alternative. I know death is coming soon for her and I have accepted that. I understand I will see her again and we will be a forever family. I just want her pain and suffering to end, I want her to be calm and at peace.

I am still hoping to get both of my parents unto an assisted living facility in the next few weeks. Technically, Mom is too severe for one but they are willing to give Dad the extra help until Hospice can be called in. She can't get into an ALF while under Hospice so we are waiting for her to move in and then get her started with them.

On another front, my oldest niece just suffered a major loss. Baby Nora was due 2/12/2010 and she went home to GOD on Monday. My niece went to her Doctor's appointment Monday and they couldn't find a heartbeat, same thing at the hospital. Labor was induced on Tuesday and baby Nora was born hours later. The doctors have no real explanation at this point. There is a possibility the cord was kinked or something comparable. My heart just breaks for my niece-she was so excited about Nora. She was truly the happiest I had seen her in years. She did everything right in her pregnancy-no alcohol, no smoking, no caffeine, eating healthy, etc. I know sometimes things just happen but it is so hard to accept. No one has told my father about the baby yet and neither my brother nor I want to, even though we know it's necessary. I do have a dear cousin who is a counselor and close to the family who has offered to come in from out of town and be with my parents when my brother tells them.

All of this leaves me feeling like I should be 3 places at once. I need to be at work-I have obligations there not to mention upcoming subpoenas. I need to be with my Mom and Dad and I need to be with my niece and brother. What to do???????????? I'm praying fervently for strength and guidance but am also experiencing some wavering in my faith. That too makes me feel guilty. So for now, I am walking around in a daze from lack of sleep, massive stress,  and overwhelming emotions.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Toddler Art

Thought I would share some of R's art- We used these for grandparent gifts and hubby got one too. R used watercolors on canvas. She enjoyed the splattering part the most :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday rewind

Our holidays were rather uneventful this year-which is a good thing. We spent Christmas week in Alabama with my parents and my brother and his 2 girls were there for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I was a little dissapointed the hubby's daughters didn't come down for a day to see their little sister but all in all, everything went well.
Once again, we had the traditional breakfast casserole (Cracker Barrel knock off) and a pretty simple lunch. Christmas lunch was:
Smoked turkey breast from Honey Baked Ham
Coleslaw leftover from Christmas Eve
Sweet Potato casserole
Chicken and dressing-my MIL's recipe
Veggie casserole prepared by my niece
Homemade rolls from someone at Mom and Dad's church
Banana cream pie my niece made
I thought about making a pecan pie but decided against it. Mom and Dad already had a cake someone brought over and cookies and candy sent by my MIL. The last thing we needed was more sweets.
Christmas morning was too funny. The hubby and I were up drinking coffee, not expecting little one up for quite a while since she was up so late the night before. Well, little gets up without saying anything and walks into the livingroom and sees her tricycle. I hear her say "that's mine" so I yell for the hubby to get her. He runs, picks her up and whisks her back into the bedroom while I cover up her Santa toys with a blanket. I then occupied R long enough for the hubby to get the video camera so we could tape her seeing the Santa toys. Poor kid was so confused :)
Finances were/are tight for everyone this year so the gifts were simple and that was okay for me. I actually enjoyed Christmas more because there was no rush to wrap, find, buy, make those last minute items. We got to focus on The Reason for the Season and being together as a family.
On another note: No pattern sewing is NOT for me. 1st pair of pjs I forgot to stretch the waist out before cutting, 2nd pair-not sure what happened but they were lopsided-majorly. So, no matching PJs this year. I think I'll look for winter themed fabric in the next couple of weeks and buy a pattern so I can start early for this Christmas 2010.
I did get alot done at my parent's home during the week. You can't tell but I made 3 trips to the thrift store with the back of my car stuffed, put a small chest of drawers and bookshelf out on the street for pickup and threw away massive amounts of trash. My hubby put in a handheld shower to make it easier for my Mom to get a bath. I also put 10 + meals in the freezer for the parents to have for dinner. My next trip will involve cleaning out the kitchen-Mom has enough dishes to serve an army.