Friday, July 30, 2010

Fun Mom Friday: Movie and S'more Pops

Will came up with an fantastic idea for a fun family activity this week.

He wanted to watch a movie outside one evening so we took our small television with a built-in dvd player outside and made it happen!
We popped a big bowl of popcorn, but we also made Rae's S'more Pops, a fun twist on traditional s'mores! 

You stick large marshmallows on lollipop sticks (or a plastic fork in our case) and dip in melted chocolate (I melted Hershey's milk chocolate chips in the microwave) and then dip in crushed graham crackers. Easy, fun, and yummy! Thanks for such a great idea, Rae!
This was such a simple idea for big fun. All five of us, six if you include Jack-the-Fat-Beagle, sat under the stars on a perfect summer night watching one of our favorite movies. I'm going to be soooooo sad when summer ends. 

Were you a fun mom this week? I know you guys are fun because I read your blogs and you inspire me all the time! Link up here with your own fun idea. Moriah happens to be a real-life friend of mine, but you don't have to know her (or even read her blog regularly) to link up!

Happy Weekend to you all!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home: Part Three

I'm pretty sure that in Part I or Part II, I mentioned that I don't really like my house. It almost feels disrespectful to say that after all that God did to get us here, but the truth is that I really don't love it.

The layout is weird. The space is tiny and feel like we're on top of each other most of the time. We knew those things when we bought this house but I don't think either of us planned on being here this long.

Honestly? I struggle with being content in my house.

Some days I do this weird flip-flop thing and get all prideful about it. When friends come back from Africa and talk about how rich we as Americans are and how big our homes are, I smile smugly and think that somehow my tiny house makes me less guilty. Or when foreclosures pop up left and right in my town, I think to myself, "I can afford my house. It might be small, but I'm not house-poor." Pride. Isn't it ugly? It's hideous, really. And sinful. Ugh.

Some days I wallow in self-pity. I look around feel sorry for myself and complain that my gift of hospitality is restricted by the space I live in. How can I have possibly people over for diner when it's a stretch for all five of us to sit around the kitchen table? We do it, of course, but it ends up feeling like a youth group event with people scattered in every room of the house sitting on the floor, the windowsill, or wherever they can find space. That was fun in middle school. Not so much in adulthood.

Our house is about 2300 square feet.
You're right, that's not small. But....

Our basement isn't finished so the part that we actually live in is 1200 square feet. That's tiny. Especially for a family of five.

So why don't we sell this house and move? Excellent question.
First, the economy is tanked right now. I prefer to wait it out a few years and hopefully recoup some of our home's value. Second, if we move to a bigger house right now we'd likely be house-poor and I would need to work. There's nothing wrong with being a working mom, but that's not our desire for our family at this point in time. Plus, have I mentioned how much we love our neighbors? The thought of moving away from these people makes me incredibly sad.

So why don't we finish the basement and increase our living space? Excellent question. 
It makes sense, and I guess it's not totally outside the realm of possibility. I just don't think that finishing the basement would give us space where we most need it--in our kitchen/family room.

The only thing I really can do this point is adjust my attitude and focus on the positive while changing the things I can. Spruce things up. Make things cozy and warm. Fill it with things that are meaningful to us. Some days that feels easier than others.

The bottom line is that it's not really about our "house" as much as it is about our "home" and home is a place that my family loves. We may not look at the layout or the furnishings or the size of our space and sigh with deep contentment, but I'm pretty sure all five of love being together in this place. We've filled it with lots and lots of terrific memories over the years. We've filled it with laughter, and love, and family and friends and those things are deeply satisfying.

Part Four? Photos.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quite Possibly The Best Money I've Spent All Summer

I bought this blow-up pool for the kids the other day and it might possibly be the best money I've spent all summer. They absolutely love it and they each have a bright pink sunburn to prove they've spent hours outside this week. I feel bad about their sunburns. Really bad. I re-applied sunscreen multiple times. We just live close to the sun!

It's been warm here lately. I'm tempted to say it's been hot, but the high 80s probably sound heavenly to all of my southern friends so I'll stick with "warm".

It's really only "warm" in the afternoons though. Most mornings and evenings I still need my Slanket (quite possibly the best money that John spent last winter) when I sit outside. I love Colorado! I also love the color orange. And I really, really love my Slanket!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Saying yes. Or no.

Usually when our summer starts drawing to a close, I start thinking about my fall schedule and the things I want to commit to during the school year. I currently have four email messages in my inbox asking me for a big commitment for fall. Four. That's a lot considering it's not even August yet.

Those four emails are overwhelming me right now. I'm not afraid of commitment, but I am afraid of losing myself in activity. Been there, done that, and hated every minute of it.

I took some time Sunday afternoon to jot down some thoughts that should probably become a permanent set of questions to ask myself before I commit to anything. Feel free to add to my list. Or to disagree with me. 

1. Does saying yes to this make me happy? Bring me joy?

2. Or does it cause me to feel stress? Why?

3. Does it cause me to feel guilt? I decided a couple of years ago that I was not going to let guilt be a motivator in decisions I make. The end result is never a good one when I follow guilt's lead.

4. Do I genuinely want to invest in this project? In these people?

5. Is it the right thing to do? Is there benefit/reward in pushing through hard things simply because it's the right thing?

6. Does this commitment reflect my priorities? Does it add to or detract from them?

7. Is saying yes realistic? Do I have the time? The energy? The resolve to see it through to the end?

8. Does saying yes leave room for spontaneity? That might sound selfish but days that are full of commitments leave little room for play. And play is important. For all of us.

9. What do I sense God is asking me to do?

10. What does my family think about me saying yes? Or no?

Honestly, some decisions are bigger than others but I think this is a good place (for me) to start.

A couple additional thoughts:
Just because I'm good at something doesn't necessarily mean I'm called to do it. 
Just because I'm good at something doesn't necessarily mean I always enjoy it.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. I get into big trouble when I utter the word "maybe"

I'd love to know if you have questions you ask yourself before you commit to things or what your decision making process looks like. Seriously!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Talking to Strangers

Early last week the kids and I were out running errands. I got a couple of texts from John but wasn't in a place where I could reply to him so I handed my phone to the kids and asked them to text their dad and tell him that we were okay and I'd call him soon.

My older two kids have cell phones of their own and in their contact list John is "Dad" so naturally that's who they sent the message to.

Uh oh.

In MY contact list, John is John and Dad is my dad. Yeah, I still have my dad's number in my phone. I haven't been able to bring myself to delete it. It just feels I'm not ready to take that step (now or possibly ever).

Almost as soon as I realized what had happened, I got a message in reply: Is that you, Spencer?

I'm still getting used to my new phone (yay for the slide-out QWERTY keyboard!) and I sent a couple of goof texts back. So embarrassing.

Another response from the stranger: Call me.

Honestly, I was a little shaken. It's getting pretty close to the anniversary of my dad's death. I tend to think about things chronologically and often reflect back on what I was doing this time last year, or the year before, or even the year before that. This time last year I was in Arkansas taking care of my dad and getting ready to drive back to Colorado with the kids and rendevous with John for our family vacation to Durango. This time last year was H-A-R-D. Seeing a message from "Dad" pop up on my cell was unsettling and brought a flood of feelings back in an instant.

I threw my phone in my purse and kept checking things off of our errand list in an effort to distract myself. When we stopped for lunch, I pulled my phone back out to check messages and I sent the stranger a text apologizing for the messages that hadn't been intended for him/her.

Another response: No worries. I have kids who live in Colorado, recognized the area code and thought it might be them. I thought they might be trying to reach me.

Hmmmmmmm. How strange.

My dad had that cell phone number for probably 15 years. And now it belonged to some stranger in Arkansas who had kids who lived in Colorado (and in my area code).

I found that just a tiny bit unsettling. And just plain weird.

I felt compelled to respond to this stranger and tell him/her my life story. If you know me, you're not surprised. Ha! Actually, I replied and simply told him/her what happened. That I'd asked my kids to text my husband and they sent the message to their 'Dad'. That his/her number had belonged to my dad and I was not emotionally prepared to delete it from my contacts. That I was truly sorry for the misunderstanding and interruption.

To my surprise, the stranger responded again. I'm sorry to say that I accidentally deleted the message from my phone yesterday. I really meant to save it. It said something like: I am so sorry about your father and I completely understand. You have a wonderful rest of the day and may God bless you.

It wasn't earth shattering or even profound. But the words of THAT stranger on THAT day were comforting to me. Deeply comforting.

This journey of grief is so complex. There are days that I'm fine and other days that I come completely undone. The smallest of things can catch me off guard and send me spiraling into a depression that I don't even fully realize until it's full blown.

I haven't processed too much of my grief on this blog (for a couple of reasons) but I did want to share this story. It was strange and unsettling, yet also comforting and not at all random. And I'm fine that makes sense to no one else buy me.

I shared this story with some friends who suggested it was a God "hug"---evidence that God sees my heart, sees my hurt, and wanted to remind me that He cares. Hmmmmm...I believe they're on to something.

Half and Half

I'm sitting here drinking coffee and that title just came to me. Half and half.

Half catch-up.
Half links.
Half-y Saturday morning to you!

John was in New Jersey (again) this week. After a super long day of flight delays, cancellations and crazy pieced-together flights he made it home around 3am this morning. Ugh.

I'm thrilled that he's home. We all are actually. And we have a fun family day on tap!

I told you last week I'd post pics of our tie-dye projects. 

One more picture. This poor, poor book. I was sitting outside reading one morning and ran back inside when my doorbell rang. I forgot that I'd left my book out there until mid-way through a huge afternoon downpour. I'll be buying the library a replacement book. I'm thankful it was paperback.

Alright, here's some links I wanted to share:

Thanks to Betsy, I am now a Sporcle addict. So is Sarah. We've spent a LOT of time on that website this week. It's sorta like an online Outburst. You pick a category list (for example Pixar movies) and have a limited amount of time to guess/list the answers. Seriously fun. Seriously addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I've been wanting to try these cookies ever since I saw a giveaway on another blog. They're made right here in Colorado but aren't available in my little town so next time I head to Colorado Springs I'm going to pick some up. Can't decide which flavor to try first!

I also really want to make this blueberry-zucchini bread. Doesn't it look yummy? I've had this recipe bookmarked for a week or two but every time I bring blueberries home the kids gobble them up immediately. I'm going to have to put a "Please don't eat these!" post it note on the next carton I buy!

Speaking of baking, please tell me that you guys know about Silpat? I don't ever bake cookies without it.

I've found a couple of new blogs recently that I'm really enjoying. FunMom has some GREAT ideas of things to do with your kids. I really want to try this one (water gun art) soon! And I'm also enjoying Make and Takes. Super, super cute stuff there as well.

A couple of you asked about the shirt Abbey is wearing in the picture on yesterday's post. I won a giveaway last spring from Snootie Patootie and let Abbey pick out a shirt. She wears it all the time!

Earlier this spring I bought a red and blue striped polo shirt that I love. I had it on one day this week and my friend told me it reminded her of Zoom. I laughed so hard. Do any of you remember Zoom? I used to LOVE that show. If you loved it too, click here and sing along! (And laugh). I also used to love The Bloodhound Gang segments that were part of the PBS science show 3-2-1 Contact. Anyone remember that? I found some of Bloodhoung Gang clips on YouTube! I was sad that my kids weren't the least bit interested in the blast from MY past.

Hope you all have a great Saturday. I think we're going to see Ramona and Beezus later this afteroon. I loved all those books when I was little! (And I have a tiny crush on John Corbett).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fun Mom Friday: Watermelon, Anyone?

I came across this recipe for watermelon cookies this week and knew immediately that Sarah and Abbey would LOVE to make some.

Didn't they turn out cute? They were as yummy as they look, and surprisingly they didn't taste a thing like watermelon!

I have to admit that baking with my kids isn't one of my favorite things. But you know what? They love it. They chatter and smile the entire time and that makes me happy! 

Have a fun mom idea of your own? Visit here and link up! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I got an email yesterday afternoon from my mom wondering when I was going to blog again. She's probably the only person that notices if I go five days without posting anything. The truth is that sometimes I feel like blogging is the most natural thing in the world and other times I'd rather remain inert. I'd say this week has fallen into the latter category.

Summer is winding down. The kids go back to school three weeks from today. Three weeks. Sigh.

Our week has been very full. More full than I actually prefer summer weeks to be, but it's been good and we've all had fun! I'm just trying to savor these remaining days of them being at home with me before we become a slave to the school schedule.

Here's a peek at some things we've been up to. 

Shopping for school supplies! Happy to report that we purchased every last thing on everyone's list. Not happy to report that my checkbook took a ginormous hit.

Playdates! We've had several this week. Yesterday afternoon we had three of our neighbors over to play and they stayed and had a picnic dinner with us. Sarah prepared everything...and wanted to take this picture.

Enjoying the rain! We've had thunderstorms every afternoon this week. I love summer storms! The girls went out and jumped in some puddles after one storm (wish I had taken some pics!) and we've seen double rainbows TWICE this week. The picture below is only a single rainbow, but it was so bright and was perfectly full! 

Enjoying our backyard! And rediscovering toys we love. 

I went to physical therapy yesterday and guess what? My therapist released me as a patient!!!!!!!!!!! She cleared me to resume all physical activity, except running, at this time. Seriously, I think that yesterday was the happiest day of my ENTIRE summer! I am so thankful that I'm feeling so much better. 

Cleaning. Cooking. Laundry. Crafting (the girls). Reading. Sleeping in. Home repairs. Making trips to the library (we've been twice this week). Planning some fun back-to-school stuff with a friend. Watching movies. Hanging outside until dark with our neighbors.

Oh, and last night we went with some friends to a concert at our local park. The music was great. The company was better. 
(Will is making a face like this in every single picture I took last night. Hmmph. Teenage boys!)

So that's a little of what we've been up to.
Hope you're having an awesome week as well.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fun Mom Friday: Under the Stars

At the beginning of July I asked the kids if they'd like to sleep on the trampoline one night. They enthusiastically replied "YES!!!!!" and then they asked me if I'd join them. Without really thinking I said I would. But that night...and for many nights after rained. If it wasn't storming at bedtime, then we had chances of thunderstorms and at our altitude you don't mess around with lightning or the chance of lightning.

So we waited. And waited. And waited some more.

This week we finally had a night without rain or the chance of a storm in sight so we piled sleeping bags and blankets and pillows on the trampoline and spent the night under the stars.
(Had to have a little bedtime snack...and some dancing...before we settled in for the night. Smile.)
We even talked John into joining us! He and Abbey were the last two sleepyheads to come inside.

We did this the night before Sarah's birthday, hence the reason we were all up super early that morning.

Things we didn't factor into our plans for a good night's sleep:

  • Neighbors who think it's fun to set off firecrackers at 11:30pm on July 12.
  • The nearby train. Wow. It's much louder than I've ever realized.
  • Everyone rolls to the middle of the trampoline.
  • And you feel every movement every person makes.

Still, it was fun. The stuff memories are made of. Deep, contented sigh.

Be sure to visit here for more Fun Mom Friday ideas, or link up with one of your own!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Food Chain

Here are a few food links I've been wanting to share.




Food Chain.

Get it?

Okay, never mind.

Last weekend I made Kellie's Roasted Corn and Tomato Tart.
It was AMAZING! Especially with my farmer's market loot. You've got to try it!

I also rediscovered a recipe that I'd forgotten I loved for Greek Pasta Salad. Oh my word. I think I could eat this every single day.

I think I've linked this before, but this is my new favorite way to dress up strawberries. Tangy and tart and pure deliciousness!

I was flipping through Sarah's old photo albums this week and came across some pictures of her making painted toast. It's a super easy, super fun idea to use with kiddos at breakfast.

We grill burgers almost every weekend during the summer months. My favorite thing to eat with them are sweet potato fries. Someone asked me if I make my own. Nope. I just buy this brand. They are DELICIOUS. So are the onion rings! And so are the oven fries. Yum.

Do you make homemade guacamole? I do sometimes, but I usually end up eating the avacados on a sandwich (or just sliced with some salt)  before I can get the guac made. I've been buying this product for as long as I can remember and it's perfect when you need guacamole in a flash. It's great straight out of the packet, but it's even better when you add tomatoes, onion, garlic, and lemon juice. This spring I discovered the 100 calorie snack packs. I love the smaller size not so much for the calorie count but because there is less waste! I'm picky about the tortilla chips I use with my guac though. These are my favorite. These are a close second. And these come in third.

I think that's enough links for now. Happy Thursday to you guys.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

We had such a fun time celebrating Sarah yesterday!

Our day began with everyone in our house waking up super duper early. As in before 6am.  
We all had a very good reason for rising so early, but I'll share that in another post this week!

Of course Sarah wanted to open her gifts right away, and of course we let her!
Abbey picked out this cute piggy bank for her sister. Sarah has been wanting one since we saw Toy Story 3. She's also been wanting her own 64 count box of crayons so Abbey gave her some of those as well. She was thrilled.

John picked out this alarm/radio/iPod docking station for her. She loved it. Especially the remote control feature. It's pretty cool!

We were finished opening gifts/cards by 6:15AM. Six. Fifteen. A.M.

So we had breakfast. Sarah requested cinnamon rolls. The kind from the can. And she wanted to eat on her "Princess for the Day" plate. I neglected to snap a picture of that. My bad.

Fast forward a few hours. Sarah and I collected three of her friends and headed to Chick-Fil-A for a quick lunch before taking in Despicable Me. I'd heard it was a cute movie and it really, really was! The girls all loved it.
After the movie everyone came over to our house. Sarah told me last week that she only wanted fruit and homemade ice cream for her birthday. She was very specific about the fruit: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and peaches. And she was very specific about the ice cream: homemade Cookies and Cream (it really was delicious!) And she was very specific about not having cake. Until the day before her birthday, and then she decided she'd like some cupcakes after all. Smile.
She got some fun things from her friends...they know her very well and gave her things that were "very Sarah". One friend gave her a set of these fashion design models which are pretty cool!

Sarah also requested that they do a tie-dye project. Abbey did this for her birthday in March and I bought the double tie-dye set so we had almost everything we needed. Last week we bought some canvas bags and t-shirts (super cheap and with a coupon)! I'll try to post pics of our finished projects later! Abbey got to make a bag and the girls also dyed a bag for one of Sarah's friends that wasn't able to join us.
After the party, we took everyone home and picked up a take-and-bake pizza--Sarah's final birthday meal selection.

At this point, we all nearly collapsed from exhaustion...and from being up since BEFORE 6:00am...but we had still had one final birthday surprise for Sarah.

John and I gave her some horseback riding lessons as her big gift, and John had arranged for her to go meet her instructor and the horses. It was a beautiful way to end a GREAT day!
Doesn't it look like Ellie the horse is smiling in this picture? I LOVE it! I think she probably was smiling. She was a very friendly horse!
We love you, sunshine! You are a joy to everyone around you. I hope your 12th birthday was everything you wanted it to be!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

If you live here, they will come.

If you've never seen Field of Dreams, then you might not "get" my title. And if you've never seen that movie then I suggest you watch it soon.


Two of my college friends have been in Colorado Springs lately. I've found that sooner or later most everyone visits Colorado and when they do, we'll get a chance to connect!

A couple of weeks ago I got to have dinner with Susan aka Carpool Queen and her boys. I didn't get a pic of the boys, but here's a pic of me with Sus. Our time was short, but very sweet. I loved it, Sus! Thanks for making it happen.

If you're not reading her blog, then you are missing out on some funny stuff. Seriously, I can't read her blog while drinking anything. She's that funny. But she's also deep and serious and I wish to goodness I'd known her better back in our OBU days.

I suggested to Susan that she should change her name to CarTripQueen. She made a 5000 mile journey across the good ole US of A with her guys last month. Brave, brave girl.

While Sus was trekking across the country, she stopped to see Deena, another friend from OBU. Deena happened to be Sus' little sister from their "social club" days. [Note: Ouachita didn't have sororities or fraternities but instead had social clubs.]

So guess who also visited Colorado Springs recently?

Yep. Deena. (She doesn't blog but she really needs to!!!!!!!)

Deena and her family spent the 4th of July weekend at the very swanky Broadmoor and I got to have dinner with her one evening.
As soon as she emailed me this pic, I titled it: Snow White and the DWARF. Good grief I am short!

Deena is another friend I wish I'd known better back in college. She was a year behind me so we were really only at OBU together for a year before John and I married and moved to Dallas/Fort Worth. I like to think we made up for a lot of lost time when she was here! Thanks, Deena, for making time for me in the midst of your fun getaway. And thanks for listening to me talk and talk and talk! I loved seeing you and meeting your beautiful family!

I really dislike these two pictures of myself because I think I look so, um, shall we say LARGE in them? Ugh. That's what 12 weeks of no cardio will do to a girl. Ugh. 


I'll be back tomorrow with details of Sarah's 12th Birthday! We've got a super fun day planned for her!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let the good times (and the randomness) roll!

I won these fun glasses at Bunco the other night. Aren't they awesome?
Evidently, I'm the Bunco queen because I've won "Most Buncos" and big money the last two months. My sweet friend Tiffany hosted our third neighborhood Buncoversary last week. She gave out hilarious awards and prizes to everyone and I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time. See my award? I really am the Bunco Queen. Do you play Bunco? Isn't it such mindless fun?
Friday evening we were watching ABCNews. We love Diane Sawyer and we're loyal to ABCNews, but I really think it's because we enjoy their Person of the Week segment. Know who their person of the week was last week? Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird which was published FIFTY years ago. Have you seen any of the anniversary hype? 

I can't remember how old I was when I first read it, but I remember being engrossed from beginning to end. It's a brilliant book. A timeless classic. 
Imagine my surprise and joy when Sarah asked us the next day to find our copy for her to read. John pulled it out for her and she's been reading away...and giving me running commentary as she goes. I LOVE it! John and I were sitting outside reading and drinking coffee yesterday morning before the kids were up. Sarah woke up first, saw us outside, grabbed To Kill A Mockingbird, and joined us. Swoon.

Speaking of classics, we introduced our kids to Field of Dreams last week. Such a good movie. We'd forgotten how much we loved it. I thought it was so cool that Katrina's 10-on-the-10th list was a recap of her visit to the Field of Dreams movie site!

This picture that Abbey drew just makes me smile. It's been on our refrigerator for awhile but I'm not ready to take it down. Check out John's hair, Will's (pink) shirt, and Jack's tail. Cute, cute, cute!
I had a little taste of what it feels like to send our teenager "out with friends" over the weekend. Can't say I loved it. I pretty much worried the entire time he was gone. He went out for burgers with some of his Wyldlife friends and their VERY responsible leader(s) but I didn't really relax until he was home. This growing up and letting them go stuff is hard for me. We coached Will before he left on how to calculate a tip at the restaurant because he's never gone to a sit-down place without us. I bit my tongue when he texted me that they were walking around the mall for a bit after dinner. And again when he told me they were getting drinks at Sonic. I trusted the leader he was with but it's just really, really hard for me to lengthen my mom-tether. Maybe it's good that we have a son to start this process with. I have a feeling it might feel even harder with the girls. So thankful for cell phones though!

Oh! Oh! Oh! My leg and hip are SO much better. I haven't taken ibuprofen in days! I have very little pain anymore and have resumed most of my normal activity. I don't think I'll be running again (for awhile)(maybe EVER)(who am I kidding?!?) My therapist told me if decide I want to run again she'd like to teach me how. Evidently I have bad mechanics and she doesn't want me to re-injure myself. I don't care to re-learn right now, but I'll probably let her teach me at some point because honestly? Walking is so boring to me. I usually end up running just to get a workout over with sooner. But I'm not in a hurry for ANY of that just yet. Trust me. I'm super, super cautious these days.

Some dear friends sent us a FUN package last week that really blessed us. There was something special for everyone in it, and this is what she sent me!
Isn't it cute? It's a cinch bag with back straps and I immediately threw my wallet, lipstick, and my camera in it and have taken it everywhere I've gone since. Thank you, NTH, I LOVE it! You blessed our family in a HUGE way. We love you! Be on the lookout for something to land in YOUR mailbox this week.

Alright. Gotta get movin'. Tomorrow we'll be celebrating all things Sarah and I've got a long to-do list to get ready for her 12th birthday party! Peace out, peeps!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

10 on the 10th!

Okey dokey! Time for 10-on-th-10th and another boring list. My brain seems to be incapable of forming fun lists anymore so today I'm giving you a run down of what's on tap for our weekend. Hold on to your seats, people. It doesn't get much more riveting.

1. T-ball game. We're going to our neighbor's t-ball game this morning. We have lots of little kids who live around us and the boys all idolize Will. Seriously. They love him. A couple of weeks ago, my doorbell rang one afternoon and it was our five-year-old neighbor asking if Will could come out and play. It's so cute. Will is really great to play with them when we're outside. The ballgame should be very fun! Here's a pic of him with our little friend!

2. Finish grocery shopping. I went to Walmart yesterday with a big list. I was walking towards the front of the store and I saw a M-O-U-S-E run across the floor in front of me. I stifled a scream and made a beeline for the checkout. So super gross. I wanted to throw up. I have to go back today and finish my list. But I'm NOT going to Walmart. *Gag*

3. Stop by the Farmer's Market. I can't believe we haven't been yet this summer! John asked me to put BLTs on the menu plan so now I'm on a quest for some juicy home-grown tomatoes. Wish I lived by Kellie or Stephanie. They were killing me with their talk on Twitter yesterday of having an abundance of tomatoes from their gardens!

4. Pull weeds. See? I lead such a riveting life. We have rocks that border our back fence and I have one little stretch of rocks that I need to weed before I can post pics of our backyard transformation. Thankfully we've had a lot of rain this week so that should make the weed-pullin' a little easier!

5. Kill the ants in the backyard. Ugh. They're everywhere. I can't sit outside without them crawling on me...and it's so gross! Not as gross as a mouse in Walmart but still gross. They're going DOWN today.

6. Finish my spray painting project. I learned a big lesson last fall about spray painting in enclosed spaces. And I know not to paint on windy days. The problem is that it's been windy whenever I've had time to paint. I'm determined to finish painting this weekend. Very determined.

7. Do a little birthday shopping. Miss Sarah will be twelve on Tuesday. John and I have lots of gift ideas for her but we need to narrow it down to one or two things and get them bought and wrapped.

8. Church. We skipped last week (block party) and the week before (camping) and I'm feeling very much out of the church loop. We did have a week of VBS squeezed in there, but I feel all out of sync when we miss this many Sundays in a row.

9. Upgrade our cell phones! John and I were due for an upgrade back in September but we put it off thinking/hoping/praying that the rumors were true and the iPhone was coming to Verizon in June. Nope. Nada. It didn't happen. We both just want the free phones that come with our contract, and hopefully by the time our next upgrade comes around these two Mac lovers will be rewarded for their patience. And an iPhone 6 or something.

10. Rest. Relax. Maybe nap. This is always on our weekend agenda. It's become such a habit. And naps outside on a sunny afternoon are my fave!

Alright. If you want to play along, great. Just post your list of 10 things (any thing you choose!) on your blog and link your post here. Happy Weekend to you guys! Peace out, peeps.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Fun Mom Friday: Sno Cones

Moriah@pleasepassthesalt is one of my oldest and dearest blog friends. When she emailed me earlier this week to tell me about her Fun Mom Friday carnival I jumped in with both feet because I had something fun I wanted to do with the kids. Sadly, my super fun activity was derailed because of evening thunderstorms this week so I'm going with Fun Mom Plan B:

Sno Cones.

Yum! My kids L-O-V-E sno cones and I love to be a fun mom and say yes when they ask me to make them.

Years ago when I was pregnant with Abbey (and sick round the clock) my sweet neighbor, Kathy, gave me this ice shaver. It was a super thoughtful gift at the time because I constantly craved ice, and it's been a gift that has kept on giving us lots of summer sno cone fun!

I usually try to stock up on sno-cone syrup at the beginning of the summer to pour over our shaved ice but since I kept forgetting to replenish my supply I finally decided to make my own. It is SOOOOOOOOOO easy, so good, and so cheap! It tastes much better than the flavors you buy in the store. Does anyone else think the store bought syrup tastes like soap? Blech.

Here's the recipe:

Sno-Cone Syrup

2 cups white sugar
1 cup water
1 or 2 pkgs unsweetened Kool-Aid (flavor of your choice)

Mix sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about a minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in contents of Kool-Aid packet(s). Let cool. Pour over shaved ice. 

I put ours in one of my old sno-cone syrup bottles, but if you had one of those sports-type water bottles with the pull up spout, that would work GREAT. 

Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 16 oz. 
Sarah and Abbey made up a name and label for this particular flavor: "Sabbey's Savvy Tropical Punch".

I don't think you necessarily have to have an ice shaver to make snow cones. When my kids are sick I chop ice into small chips with my Pampered Chef food chopper (You know the one that hurts to use because you hit it repeatedly with the palm of your hand? Yeah. That one). You could try it that way. Or pulse your ice in the blender and then pour the syrup over it.

We don't just enjoy sno cones in the summer though. We scoop cupfuls of snow in the winter and drench 'em with syrup for a tasty (albeit freezing cold) treat.

Fun trivia: I worked at a Tropical Sno stand one summer. Some friends' of my parents owned it and I got to make a little money and eat all the sno cones I desired. And I ate a lot of sno cones that summer. A whole lot.

For those of you who know that I care quite a bit about nutrition and are wondering why I'd give my kids pure sugar mixed with Kool-Aid, I'll just go ahead and tell you that I've been lazy about what my kids are eating these days. Need proof? Okay. were YOU a fun mom this week? Check out Moriah's blog for other fun ideas or post your own and link up!