Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Cool Costco Find


Boy did I ever find a cool find at our local Costco on Friday!

They are perfect for our house! A real find...

Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets!!!

The girls and I had them for lunch yesterday and boy are they good! They have a great taste to them, especially when you put them in the oven instead of the microwave!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Have You Seen My Dog?

Our phone rang a while ago, and thanks to Caller ID, the information said "FIND TOTO" with a phone number with a Los Angeles area code.

I went ahead and answered it.

It was a recorded message stating that a neighbor in our area had lost their dog. The recording gave details as to what the dog looked like, it's breed, it's name, and how to get in contact with it's owner.

The recording also said you could review details on their website www.FindToto.com. And sure enough, I typed in our zip code and there was all the information I'd just heard about on the recorded call we had just received!!

Steven and I were busting up over this website. It's a brilliant idea. But it was a bizarre phone call to say the least.

Where Does the Time Go?

In some ways, it's hard to believe that this week is the final week for Hannah being off track. And then some days, when the girls are at one another constantly, I can't believe we still have one week of being off track. LOL.

When it's the last week of 'vacation', I always feel like I need to get as much shoved into the week as possible. Today, my car is in the shop getting brakes, a couple of tires, and an oil change, which helps in us getting things done around the house - laundry, mopping, cleaning. Hannah is working on finishing up her homework packet and then we can play the rest of the week. A trip to Disneyland for sure, perhaps a trip to Encinitas to visit Uncle Bart for his birthday, a trip to the park with friends, and a birthday slumber party to go to at the end of the week.

Once Hannah goes back to school next Monday, she'll have ten weeks of school left and then her 3rd grade year will be behind her. She'll be nine in just a few short weeks and I can't believe it. There's also kindergarten registration coming up for Rachel and the thought that our 'baby' will be in kindergarten come August simply blows my mind.

I feel like time is moving at warp speed. Why was it that time seemed to move as slow as a turtle when we were kids, that Christmas took forever to come every year. But now as adults with children and busy lives, Christmas and life in general seems to come at warp speed?

Does anyone else feel that way??

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What is it??

We took the girls to the park around the corner from our house last night after dinner to feed the ducks. It's a beautiful park with a large lake and nice playgrounds and lots of big beautiful tress. We don't go there very often though. Sometimes there's just too weird of people hanging about.

We found the ducks and geese in their usual hangout area. And as soon as the message was sent through the 'duck squad', more and more ducks and geese made their way to where we were. Including these two:We've seen these two before, how can you miss them? We were watching them last night and they did this thing with their neck that makes you think they are a chicken. But they have webbed feet.

Is it possible that that a chicken and duck got together and made a new species?? And what would they be called..."Chucks" or would they be called "Dickens"?? :)

What do you think?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Thirteen years ago today, March 23, 1996, we were married.

We met at the church Singles Retreat in May 1994. Following the retreat, we both attended the weekly ministry and over the weeks and months to follow, we developed a friendship. By the end of the year, or very early hours of the morning of January 1st (we'd gone to Knott's Berry Farm on New Years Eve), we were officially dating. We became engaged on November 1st, and were married four and a half months later. Thirteen years later and with two beautiful daughters, our life together has been blessed in so many ways. I am truly thankful for the Prince Charming the Lord brought into my life.

Happy Anniversary Steven, I Love You! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's Tournament Day

Hannah has a Karate Tournament today.

I hate tournament days.

Okay, I don't hate tournament days, I highly dislike them. They are stressful and full of anxiety, and I'm not talking about for Hannah, for me. LOL. (Although, yes, Hannah does get nervous on tournament days).

Any mother who has children in any type of sports knows what I'm talking about. As a mother, you want to see your child succeed, and do well. On tournament days I only want to see Hannah do well, even if it's 4th place, so that she'll get a 'good' trophy and not one of the compensation competition trophies. She's at the age now where she realizes 5th place is not so hot.

But the older she gets, and the higher belt she earns, the less kids there are to compete against. At her last tournament in December, there were only four kids in her age/belt level. We knew before the competition even started she'd place, it was just a matter of where.

I definitely think Team sports has an advantage. They loose and win as a team. When you compete individually, which is what Hannah does, you loose and win as an individual, and that can be tough. But I also think it may have taught Hannah some things along the way the last three years.

Pictures and Update will be posted later tonight on Hannah's Blog.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cakes! Cakes! Cakes!

It seems like there have been lots of cake decorating going on in our house in the last month or so. And the various containers of leftover frosting in the fridge is proof!

I've recently updated my cake decorating blog and thought I'd share some of the projects I've been working on. Some have already been shared and written about already, but others haven't. But here's the link if you want to check out some of the stuff I've done lately, or even not so lately. LOL.

Creative Cakes

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is it Spring? Or Summer?

The past two days here in Southern California have been HOT! It's just the middle of March and it's been between 85 and 90 both days. While the beautiful, clear days are very much welcomed, the warm temps are just a little bit too much for this time of the year. Definitely a reminder that the summer months are just around the corner...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All That You Need

So many times we put our faith in people and not in the One who will never fail us. And sadly, people are human and they are going to fail to live up to our expectations. They aren't going to do what you think they should do. In times of crisis, they aren't going to call like you think they should, or visit as often as you think they should. People aren't going to live up to our expectations.

But there is one person that can always be counted on. There is one friend who sticks closer than a brother and will never leave my side or fail to live up to my expectations. This friend is all I need when it comes to placing trust in someone.

That friend, is Jesus, and He is all that anyone needs.

"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear, nor be afraid of them;
for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you.
He will not leave you nor forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:6

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Potluck and Bunko

This past Saturday night, the Couple's Ministry at the church hosted a St. Patrick's Day Potluck and Bunko night. It was sooo much fun! The ministry provided the corned beef and cabbage and the rest of us provided sides and desserts. The game of Bunko that followed was a blast and we had so much fun! I'm thinking how much fun it would be to invite couple's over to our house and have another night of Bunko! THAT's how much fun it was!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pink Slips and Teachers

I heard a brief snippet on the news Friday morning about the movement of wearing pink in support of all the preliminary pink slips that were to be handed out to California teachers that day. By the end of the morning, more than 26,000 teachers had been given preliminary pink slips. The day had been given the name Pink Friday.

So many surrounding school districts in our area have laid off dozens, some even hundreds, of teachers and aides. So far, I've not heard of any layoffs in our own school district. But I know the concern is there. One way to cut back on expenses is to do away with the class size reduction that is in place for grade K-3. Right now, in our school district, there are no more than 20 students in grades 3 and below. If they do away with that, and increase class size, they can eliminate positions. I heard there is a school in the next school district over that the class size was bumped to 35 students in recent weeks.

Not only am I sad for the teachers and assistants who've lost their jobs, but all this has got me to thinking about my own children's education will be affected by possible larger class size.

Hannah is already at the top of her class in reading. She's read all of the chapter books her teacher assigns to the reading groups and is reading them all for a second time. She got all A's (Advanced) and P's (Proficient) on her report card two weeks ago. At her parent/teacher conference in November, the teacher told me she gives Hannah extra worksheets to complete when she's done and waiting for her classmates to catch up. I can't help but think of how much more this would be the case if another ten, twelve, or even fifteen kids were added at this grade level.

I did read over the weekend in a news article that in our school district, it's in the teachers contracts for class size reduction to remain in place, and if it's changed, there must be a vote on the issue. That's reassuring...for now. But if things got really bad, and if larger class sizes meant saving ones job, I can't help but think the issue could be put to a vote, and possibly win.

This all got me to thinking about if classes became larger, I think I'm at the point now where I would homeschool the girls. We have many friends at the church who use a Public Charter School where you are accountable to a teacher, gives the lessons, even tests your kids, offers extra curricular activities, it's just like public school, but at home. Hannah could move at her pace and not have to wait for classmates to catch up. And if we went with this particular one, I'd have the support of many friends at church as well.

There was a time I thought I'd never send my kids to school, that's I'd homeschool them. And then we put Hannah in preschool and saw how the teacher had more patience and more energy and hadn't already exhausted both by the time school started with arguments on what to wear, what's for breakfast, etc, etc. LOL. The Lord opened the door for Hannah to go to the school she's at now. We take the school year, one year at a time, and so far, we've not had any problems. She's been successful, has all the basics down, and has grown and matured that I think we might just be able to homeschool if need be...

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Tonight Show's Outdoor Concert

Oh. My. Gosh! What an awesome, awesome adventure this afternoon was!

We arrived to the NBC studios to only find a few other people waiting for the outdoor concert. We were given the rundown on the rules and the plan of action. Before we even entered the front doors all cameras and all phones had to be turned off and put away. If at any point after that moment, the security dude saw your stuff out, you were kicked out! There was no messing around, that's for sure. Our purses were checked and we went through a metal detector and then escorted through the back hall of the set of The Tonight Show, which had already started and Jay Leno was in the process of his opening monologue. We were taken to the outdoor stage and there we waited for the next 45 minutes.

There were then eleven in our group and we had the front row! We chatted with the few people around us. Randy's band members were also walking about and just hanging out. His acoustic guitar player who also does the background vocals, Lance Day, came over and chatted a great length of time with us. That was cool. I've now met two of his band members! :)

It was soon nearing time for the concert and during one of the commercial segments, the studio audience inside seeing the taping of the entire show came out to the concert area and filled in behind us. There were a couple hundred people and we were in front and center!

Jay Leno came onstage and he introduced Randy and he sang one song. He was so close, you could have easily have touched him if he'd put his hand out. After the song, Jay came back on stage and they did a few promotion spots that proceeded the eleven o'clock news promoting the show. Then Randy sang his signature song, Forever and Ever, Amen.

The event finished with one of Jay Leno's right hand men doing interviews and asking questions of the Randy Travis fans that appears only on the website. He was passing out Tonight Show merchandise for right answers, I got a Tonight Show ball cap. LOL.

Both the concert and the fan interviews can be seen on the website here. You can see Amy in the video of the concert, she's wearing a red sweatshirt and can be seen when the camera pans from the right side of the stage. I can be seen in the fan interviews. LOL. If you click on the link and start with the concert, it automatically takes you through all the stuff, you just have to wait for it to load.

The officials cleared out the stage area pretty quickly and before we knew it, we were back out front where we started. This is the only picture of our Tonight Show experience and it's taken just outside the front doors.This was an amazing adventure and I"m so happy I got to have it!

The Weekend

It's Friday morning and I am on the brink of a very busy weekend.

This morning will be taken up by getting groceries, possibly Costco. Then there's the fun of unloading it all and trying to make all the frozen goods fit into the teeny tiny side by side fridge/freezer combo. Have I mentioned before I'd love a small chest freezer?? LOL.

The real fun starts this afternoon! Me and a friend are heading into Burbank/Hollywood to the NBC Studios to see Randy Travis perform on the outdoor stage of The Tonight Show!!! For FREE!!! I am SO excited! I found out about this event when I was notified of the search for people to come and watch through Randy's (cause you know we're on a first name basis) Facebook page two days ago. Steven said I should go for it and I did! I was notified by the Randy Travis officials that my name has been added to the list! We have to be in Burbank by 3:45 and I really am not sure when they will tape. I *think 4:30. I need to remember to set our Tivo to record The Tonight Show. I'm charging up the camera, I'll post pictures in my spare time over the weekend.

Saturday is a busy, busy day. We have my niece's 5th birthday party at 11:00. The girls are excited to see their cousin and play in the bounce house that Uncle Robbie rented. Then in the evening, the church is having a Couple's Ministry St Patricks Day potluck. The church is providing the Corned Beef and everyone else is providing sides and desserts, etc. After dinner, we're playing Bunco! Saturday will be a fun day.

Sunday is church and then in the afternoon, Hannah has a birthday party to attend to for her friend she's known since birth. It's a Spa Party where they are going to do pedicures and manicures, etc. Hannah is very excited for that party too!

The weekend will gone and over with before we know it and we'll have one week of being off track behind us! Anyone else have big plans for the weekend??

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Adjusting to the TIme Change

We're now a few days into the time change and it's taking a while to adjust. Although Rachel is back to her normal time of getting up at 6:30. The first day or two she actually slept in until after 7:00. Thankfully, we are off track and not needing to be out the door because it's been after 7:00 when I finally roll outta bed.

The late afternoons are an adjustment as well. The afternoon sun tells me that it's 3:00/3:30, when in all reality it's 4:00/4:30 and dinner really should be thought about and started. So, we've been eating dinner just a little bit later the past couple of days. Which also gives Steven just a little bit more time to finish loose ends and thoughts for his work day.

The extra daylight the evening provides is an adjustment too. However, last night, it gave us some extra daylight to go help my Dad, who's tearing up all the grass along the street. I know, give it a few more days, especially come the weekend, the extra daylight will be nice, but for now, for some reason, this time it's taking some time to adjust! Anyone else having that problem???

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Special Day

It's March 11th, the anniversary of my Gramma's passing away. Today marks seven years since her departure to heaven. It's been my Mom's and I "thing" to spend the day together in some way, shape, or form. We've done things ranging from Disneyland to just shopping, as long we're together, who cares what we do.

Today, we hit a Walmart SuperCenter, about 25 miles from home. We spent over two hours wondering the huge megacenter and were wishing our local Walmart still had a lot that the Supercenter has, their amazing craft and material section, for one example. From there, we proceeded towards Cabazon. They have a huge outdoor outlet mall and we had just one stop to make, at the Le Creuset pan store where my Mom needed to get some special cleanser and talk about the wear and tear of her pans.

Just up the road from the outlets, and past the casino (no gambling for us today, we had the girls, LOL), we took the girls to see the big dinosaurs. It was the highlight of their day! We stopped off here a couple of years ago when we were with our friends on our way to Palm Springs. Now you have to pay to go into the dinosaurs and there's even a wood fence around the T-Rex. Not as cool looking as it once was...seeing a T-Rex standing so tall out in the middle of the dessert. But the girls still thought it was cool to say the least.
This picture cracks me up. I was so concerned about getting the dinosaurs head in my pictures that I wasn't thinking about smiling. Mom is laughing hard at me for my wanting a picture of the four of us with the dinosaur head, who knows what Rachel was doing, and something in the parking lot was much more interesting than looking at the camera for Hannah.We had a good day together, but it's hard to believe we've been without Gramma for seven years.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This is the Day

A couple of days ago, a gentleman from our church had the following on his Facebook status.

"This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Let's not waste it!!


While I know the verse. I liked what he added, "Let's not waste it!".

I got to thinking about that.

How many times in a week do we waste away a day with not being glad and rejoicing? How many days are 'wasted' with being negative in our thoughts, in our actions? How many days are wasted by not taking in all the surrounding beauty the Lord has created?

We don't know how many "days" we have left on this earth. I know for sure, I'm going to try my best to not waste the days that are given to me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Rambling

It's the first day of being off track, and between the springing forward of the clocks over the weekend, and not needing to get up and out the door, I was able to sleep in until about 7:15! Which I realize is really 6:15, but it was still nice!

When we go off track, our normal routine is thrown off and we go into the "off track routine". Hannah prefers to eat breakfast later in the morning, instead of shortly after she gets up (she's like me that way), and we don't always sit together for breakfast as a family when we're off track. Beds aren't made right off the bat, and things are overall just more relaxed.

Today, my goal was/is to not leave the house at all. No running here, no running there. I want one day home...all day. This coming weekend is BUSY! Hannah's has a girl function on Friday night, Saturday morning is my niece's 5th birthday party, that night is the Couple's Fellowship at church with a St. Patricks Day potluck followed by playing Bunco! Then Sunday afternoon, Hannah has yet another birthday party to go to. So today, we're home and I'm going no where. LOL.

It seems like our cupboards have been lacking in the snack/something good to munch on department lately. So today, I wanted to bake some cookies and use up the too ripe bananas and make some banana bread. In this day and age of rising grocery prices, it's better economically to bake cookies from scratch. Not only are homemade cookies better on the pocket book, but homemade cookies are yummier and make a lot more than you'd get in a package of store bought cookies. I used my handy dandy little scoopers and all the cookies came out in uniform shape and size, all eight dozen! We know have cookies to pack in our lunch when we meet friends at the park later in the week!

Other than that, I'm just getting things done around the house. Dinner is already in the oven. The next two weeks worth of meals are being planned and a grocery list is in the works. The girls are getting along relatively really well today. And all in all, it's just a nice day at home!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Springtime Landscapes

I love this of of year at Disneyland where the flowers are so colorful and so beautiful. I want flowers in my yard to look like Disneyland flowers. LOL. I suppose I could if had the cash flow positive that Disneyland had, in addition to the landscape crews that work in the night, replacing the dead and ugly with new and pretty.

These are just a few pictures from around the park today. Enjoy!Pay no attention the lines of people lined up at the ticket booths, after all we are in a recession and it's rearing it's ugly head at Disneyland. NOT!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Going Off Track

I don't think there was ever a time more anticipated for Hannah going off track than this trimester. As of 2:15 this afternoon, Hannah will be off track for four weeks! And I'm counting down!

The past couple of weeks have been extremely busy, not to mention the stress and anxieties of her performance, that I'm so ready to have a break from getting up, dressed, and out the door every morning by 7:35. Rachel will still have school her normal two days a week, but she doesn't have to be there until 9:00.

I'm not sure what things will do while off track. We were looking for something fun and vacation-like to do as a family, but this last week found Steven's company doing layoffs and paycuts. While Steven still has a job, he did take a pay cut, and they've discontinued expense reimbursements (his company paid for his phone service and our internet connection). So we won't be doing anything BIG this time we're off track. We have our Disneyland passes and lots of different friends and family we can make trips with. There's also the 'old fashioned' fun of meeting friends at the park with packed lunches. LOL. At any rate, I'm just looking forward to less hectic mornings.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Eggs and Stucco - Don't Go Well Together

Monday morning, as I opened the doors to cable company workers informing us of some work to be done in the neighborhood, I noticed the wall to our front door had been egged. What a mess that was. I scrubbed with a scrub brush and soap and to much prevail, it did not work. I emailed a friend from church who owns a pressure washing business to see what he recommended and he offered to come over on Wednesday afternoon to take care of it with some pressure washing.

Tuesday morning as I pulled out of the garage to take the girls to school, there was a whole egg in the yard, as well as another broken one. But there was no egg on the house. My first thought was save the whole egg, it can be dusted for prints! Yes, a little too much CSI watching going on in our home. LOL.

Wednesday morning we were good. But sometime between me opening the front window blinds and about 3:00 in the afternoon, we got egged again! This time it was the window. Thankfully I noticed it about ten minutes before our friend arrived to pressure wash the already known egged area.

It took some work, but the egged areas all came clean. I've alerted some of the neighbors as well as the neighbor who is an LAPD officer. He suggested we file a vandalism report with the police, but I think for now, we'll hope and pray our egger goes away! We woke up 'egg free' this morning. Here's hoping we continue waking up to no eggs on the house.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fingerprints Needed...Again!

Last Fall, I was fingerprinted for the School District in order to continue volunteering. That was a pretty cool experience, having it done digitally.

I received a letter this past week from the State of California regarding my nursing license renewal that is due in November. Because I became licensed before 1998, I have been informed that as part of my license renewal, I must be fingerprinted.

I contacted the school district in regards to how I could obtain those records or direct the State to where they are. The school district returned my call and informed me that they don't share fingerprinting records. Grrr. Now I have to find a place that does the digital fingerprints and pay the processing fees for both the Department of Justice and the FBI, in addition to a fee that the facility charges. Right now I'm looking at paying about $70 to be fingerprinted when I was fingerprinted at the school district for free. I don't suppose they'd take my word that "I'm clean, have no felonies, convictions, etc". LOL. Oh well, it's a small price to pay to have such a profession to fall back on or even return to someday.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's a Small World

In January 2008, when It's A Small World closed to have it's Christmas displays taken down, the ride didn't open back up until November, when it was once again Christmas. During that time in which the ride was closed, a new flume and boats were installed. There were also some other minor changes done throughout the ride. Through the months the ride was closed, a large effort was taking place online to save the "classic" version of Small World, for it had become known that the Disney imagineers were working towards installing Disney characters throughout the ride. It was causing a huge uproar amongst people who wanted to see the ride left as is. Despite online petitions, etc, etc. The ride reopened the beginning of February with the new additions. Not only are there Disney characters placed strategically throughout the ride, but there is an entire new scene! I've seen a video of the new additions online. But have been wanting to check the ride out for myself and get my own impression and opinion of the new ride. Finally, after many attempts whereas the line was too long, Rachel and I got to ride It's A Small World last week, and you know, I LOVE IT! The new version isn't cheesy, like many thought it would be. It was rather fun looking for the new additions, a lot like looking for Hidden Mickeys! The characters were up to the same par as the rest of the animatronics and design. I think they make a great addition to a classic ride.Small World has always been a favorite of Rachel's, and she always wants to go on it. And for at least a few more times, it'll be fun to go on and look at all the additions we missed!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Weather for the Week

It's really no wonder that so many people are struggling with colds and sinus headaches and problems. Take a look at the forecasted temperatures for this next week. Just the difference between today and tomorrow is almost a 15 degree difference. When the temperatures are so sporadic, not only does it affect sinuses, but it also makes it extremely difficult to dress your kid for school. You can send them to school in long sleeves and a jacket, but by the end of the day there's no need for either.