Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Weeks

Two weeks from today, this will be my view when I get up.

No, I won't be camping on the beach. We'll be sleeping in the hotel atop the cliffs overlooking the beach. I CAN NOT WAIT!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Last Day of School..

I don't know who's more excited about today being the last day of school - Me or Hannah. LOL.

I'm so ready to be done with getting up, dressed, and out the door every morning by 7:30. I'm ready for a break. I'm ready for days filled with fun. I'm ready for days home...going absolutely no where.

What does make me a little melancholy today is that this will be the last day of school of only having one of my children in Elementary School! Next year, it'll be the last day of school for both Hannah and Rachel!! Unbelievable.

I am out the door a lot earlier than normal today so that I can get to the school and set up a table for selling cold water bottles during the 6th grade promotion ceremony. Because the entire school is on track at the same time now, all the 6th graders and their families don't all fit into the our tiny cafeteria, therefore they are having to set up outside on the lawn or maybe even the black top. And the PTA thought we'd raise funds by selling off all the leftover water from the softball game a week ago. A lot of the PTA Mom's are on vacation, therefore I volunteered to head up the sales...So I'm off to sell water on this the last day of school!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kickin Off Summer

I know a lot of people think Memorial Day kicks off the summer season, the calendar says June 21, but for us, it's when school is finally let out. And while school isn't officially out for us until tomorrow (Monday) at 2:15, this weekend was a great start to our 5 weeks of summer break!

On Saturday, Hannah had a birthday party, cause you know what weekend wouldn't be complete without a birthday party to attend to. LOL. And then late afternoon, my friend and two of her four kids came over for dinner. We had a great evening of fellowship and the kids, including my two nieces had a blast playing well into the evening!

We had so much fun, that we wanted to get together again this afternoon. We planned to go to a new park in the area, but when the temperature read 105, we opted for Plan B - BBQ at our house, and let the kids all have a water war in the backyard to keep cool.

This evening we had our friend over and this time all four of her kids came, and then we had another set of friends and their daughter joined us. We had a GREAT time of good food, good fellowship, and some really good laughs, you know the kind where you laughing so hard, your stomach hurts? Yea, that kind of good laughs. The kids had a blast and had a huge water war complete with squirt bottles, water balloons, and the good ole hose. I think some buckets of water were added to the mix as well.

At any rate, it was a great weekend and a great kick off of long evenings and good gatherings!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Recipes

This recipe was one I found in the last two weeks, it looked good, and on the menu it went. It was super easy and really yummy.

Chicken and Cheese Flautas
3/4 c. cooked chicken
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack Pepper Cheese
1/3 c. chunky salsa
4 tsp vegetable oil
6 flour tortillas

Combine the chicken, cheese, and salsa together. Spread mixture evenly over the 6 tortillas. Roll the tortilla tightly and secure with toothpicks. Brush each tortilla with vegetable oil and then cook the filled tortillas over medium head 4-6 minutes, turning occasionally until filling is hot and the tortillas are toasted. Remove the toothpicks and serve with guacamole or sour cream if desired.
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Cheesey Chicken Skillet

3 oz Wide Noodles
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10 oz frozen package of broccoli
1/2 cup of chicken broth
4oz cream cheese
3 TBSP mayo
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese


Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Boil the chicken and the noodles in a large pan. Add the frozen broccoli the last 2 minutes of boiling time. Drain. Pour into skillet (I use my electric skillet), add cream cheese, chicken broth, and mayo. Stir until melted. Add the shredded cheese and mix until melted.
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Dijon Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 TBSP melted butter or margarine
2 TBSP flour
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. half and half
2 TBSP Dijon Mustard

Cut chicken breasts into pieces and saute in butter over low heat, about 20 minutes or until tender.

Remove chicken to a warm platter.

Blend flour into pan dripping, cook over low heat, stirring constantly until bubbly.

Gradually stir in broth and half and half. Cook until smooth and thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in mustard. Add chicken, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or longer.

I usually serve over brown rice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Explaining Michael Jackson's Death

I'm sure I wasn't the only one to have the news continually running on Thursday afternoon and into the evening as the details surrounding Michael Jackson's death began to unfold, and fans from all over began to convene at the UCLA medical center, at The Apollo in New York, and along Hollywood Blvd.

Michael Jackson was a huge musical icon when I was growing up. I had a poster of him on the back of my door at one time, I loved his music, I was a fan.

Hannah came through the family room at one point and asked who died. I had to come up with a way to portray just how big this news was, and make it relate to her world.

So I told her that this person dying would be like if Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus had died..only ten times BIGGER! This singer was famous since he was Rachel's age and known and loved all over the world. Her eyes got big and she got the idea, and then went about her business...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer

While the calendars officially say it's 'Summer', school for our family doesn't get out until the 29th, but that's an entirely different story. A few weeks ago, I came across this fun survey like thing in regards to Summer and thought I'd fill it in with my own answers...

Things We're Looking Forward to:
* Uncle Robbie's band playing at the California Speedway on the 4th of July, at the Orange County Fair
* trips to Disneyland (DUH!)
* free movies
* family vacation to Pismo Beach
* a trip to the nearby beaches
* swimming with friends
* swimming at Uncle Robbie and Auntie's
* new Fantasmic show, summer fireworks, and Electrical Parade at Disneyland
* sleepovers

Things I DO NOT want this summer:
* Endless days of whining
* Days of excessive heat (one can wish, right?)
* Excessive crowds at Disneyland (still wishing here)
* Summer sicknesses
* The gas prices to continue going up

Things I Won't Miss This Summer:
* Driving the girls to school
* Getting up, dressed, and out the door by 7:35 every morning
* Homework!!!!

Things I Love About Summer:
* The fruits of the season - peaches, watermelons
* Long days
* Not having to stick to the routine as strictly as we would if in school

Things Different About This Summer:
* This is the last summer before both our girls will attend Elementary School!!!

Our summer break is rather short this year because of our attended school year. We have 5 weeks to squeeze summer fun into. It can be done! How about you, what does your summer calendar hold?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Some Recipes

A few days ago, I posted my summer meal ideas and a few recipes were requested for sharing. Here are a few that were requested, I'll add more in another day or two.

Taco Burgers
Here in Southern California, a fast food chain (Baker's) has something on their menu called a "Taco Burger". Hannah LOVES these and I've mastered making them at home and they are a dinner time hit!

This is the basic recipe, you can use your own measurements, and portions for how many you are making, etc.

ground beef
packet of Lawery's Taco Seasonings
finely shredded cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce
hamburger buns (the store generic cheap ones are the best)
hot sauce (optional)

Brown the ground beef, add the packet of Taco Seasoning while browning (I usually use 1lb of meat for 1 packet) more or less to your tasting. And then I lay out the buns on my counter like an assembly line - buns, spoonful of the meat mixture, covered by the cheese, and in my husbands case, this is where he adds a dash of Tapatio (hot sauce), shredded lettuce, and then the bun top.

The sides I serve with this dish with tater tots, french fries, spanish rice, and fruit.
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Coke Chicken
I know the ingredients are going to sound odd, but this is very yummy!

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
**12oz can of coke
1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. water
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

** If you buy the bottle of Coke located at a lot of the grocery check out stands, you must measure the Coke out to be 12 oz for this recipe. The coke bottles are 20oz and is way too much for this recipe. I made the mistake once of using the entire bottle and it really does make a difference.

Place chicken breasts in bottom of crockpot. Mix everything and pour over chicken breasts. Turn on LOW all day. Serve over rice, or shred the chicken breasts and serve as chicken tacos, etc.
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Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

This is a recipe I recently made up and the family loves it.

boneless, skinless chicken breasts
uncooked rice, we use brown rice
frozen green beans
Teriyaki sauce

I take a couple of chicken breasts and marinate them for a few hours in Yoshida's Teriyaki Marinade. And then I cut them into strips and bite size pieces and cook in my electric frying pan.

Meanwhile on the stove top, I'm making brown rice, not the quick cooking kind. Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, add the rice to the chicken in the frying pan.

And then I usually toss in a bag of green beans. I buy the Birds Eye Green Beans that steam in the microwave. Cook to directions and then toss into the rice and chicken. I usually add a little bit more of the Teriyaki sauce. Mix well and then serve into bowls, or onto plates. I use bowls, thus the name. :)

This is very filling and if using brown rice, it's pretty healthy too! :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Disneyland Today

For the last nine years, I've been able to go to Disneyland during the week.

When Hannah was a baby, there was not a single thing that needed to be worked around in making a mid-week jaunt to my Happy Place.

And when she started preschool, we just avoided going on the days she was in preschool, or went when she got out at noon.

Then Hannah started Kindergarten, and as my Mom reminded me this afternoon, we would sometimes go when she got out of school at 11:30 for the afternoon and evening.

Then she started 'real' school, whereas she went all day long until 2:30. But that was okay, it didn't take long before I realized me and Rachel could go to DIsneyland just the two of us and be back in time to pick Hannah up from school!!

Then two years ago, Rachel started preschool, we didn't go the days she was in school. But that's okay, we still were able to make our "just Mommy and Rachel' trips on non preschool days, the three other week day days.

That will all change come August 4th.

Rachel starts Kindergarten. Half day Kindergarten. Gone are the days that it'll just be me and Rachel going to Disneyland. Or just me and one kid while the other is in school trips. I'm hoping that since Kindergarten pick up is so easy, that I'll be able to convince my Mom to pick up Rachel from school from time to time so that I could go to my Happy Place for a few hours. LOL. I've already been told it's a possibility with the price being payable by 'caramel apple'. LOL.

So Rachel and I went to Disneyland today. Just the two of us. One last time. And once again, a new season has turned. And it's on to a new season.

Summer Meal Ideas

Last week, here in Southern California, after a few weeks of "June Gloom", we encountered a couple days of 'normal' California summer....hot days! Having a couple of hot days in a row and using the oven to cook dinner, prompted me to get on the ball to update my summer meal list.

My summer meal lists consists of dinners that can be made without turning on the oven in the heat of the afternoon thus heating up our family room/kitchen as it is always the warmest room in the house in the afternoons, especially in the hot summer days. I thought I'd share my list in case any one needs any Summer Meal Ideas!

Skillet / Stove Top
Tacos
Tostadas
Taco salad
Taco burgers
Sloppy joes
Dijon chicken
Stroganoff
Teriayaki Chicken Bowls
Chicken Flautas
Mexican Skillet
Cheesey Chicken Skillet
Chicken Fusilli
Breakfast Sandwiches
Burritos
Chicken soft tacos (fajitas)


Grill
Hamburgers
Hot dogs
Greek chicken
Kabobs
Chicken breasts


Crockpot
brown sugar chicken
coke chicken
meatballs
ribs
beef tips
meatball sandwiches


Every week, I'm trying a new recipe or two, so I'm sure over time, more things will be added to my list.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Saddened Heart

Next to Steven, my Mom is my best friend. She was always home for us kids growing up. Even to this day, at my age, I am so thankful that I still have a Stay At Home Mom. I absolutely could not imagine my life without her and it would be by God's Grace, and knowing that she was in a bette place, that I would be able to carry on, but it would be very, very difficult.

Which is what leads me to this post.

A few months ago, long story short, the Lord had the paths of my Mom and a woman at her church to cross. Her daughter in law, Kelly, was pregnant with their first baby who had just discovered on ultrasound their newborn son would be born with a cleft lip. That is how I came to know Kelly. I visited her in the hospital, and we've corresponded through email. I've tried to be a great encourager to her as I've walked the road she is just now starting out on. This last Tuesday, was her baby Gavin's lip repair. I know all too well the emotions and anxieties that come with having a baby who's had surgery and now is in the recovery phase. It's hard under normal circumstances.

On Wednesday, Kelly's normal circumstances all changed. Her mother was killed in a small plane crash, locally. Kelly's life as she knew it at the beginning of the week will never be the same.

I'm sad for Kelly. She was close to her Mom, just as I am close to my own mom. She talked with her Mom everyday. She got the normal new Mommy advice from her Mom. She got general everyday advice from her mom.

I cannot even begin to imagine the emotions she is facing. And I pray, I won't have to anytime soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Thoughtful Act of Kindness

I worked at the Elementary School today, selling snacks on behalf of the PTA fat the traditional end of the year 6th grade softball game.

As I served student after student, I witnessed something on more than one transaction that touched my heart.

It was students buying snacks for their friends who had not come to school with money for snacks. They'd buy their friend a drink and a bag of popcorn and then off they'd go.

It was a simple act of kindness, and it did not go unseen...

Behind the "Magic"

Last week, when we were at Disneyland for the preview of the new fireworks, we camped out in our spot for about two hours. We're old pros at this and bring extra snacks for the occasion and this time I even through in a deck of cards. I enjoy just sitting and people watching, and what better place to people watch than at Disneyland. Oh my I've had some good chuckles over the years. So to me, I don't mind sitting for a few hours for fireworks or a parade for a good seat.

We were sitting just a few feet away from a roped off area that was saved for media, etc. It had center viewing of the castle and the fireworks that would soon be shooting off overhead. For you familiar with Disneyland, the blocked off area was that right behind the Partners Statue - you know the Walt and Mickey Mouse statue.

There was this group of young teens that we kept trying to figure out who in the world they were. We knew they were 'someone' but we went through a whole lineup of who they could be before we got them right. Hannah and the little girl next to us were having so much fun trying to figure out what Disney Channel people they were. Eventually we got them right with the confirmation of Daddy using his iPhone to look up their suspected names and confirming with a picture.

Turns out they were the cast of the new Disney Channel series, Zeke and Luther, which premiered on the Disney Channel Monday night.

They soon began pointing to the sky and expressing themselves as though they were watching the fireworks. We're assuming they were taping for some sort of promotional spot on the Disney Channel for the new Summer Promotion at Disneyland. But what the funniest thing is, there were no fireworks going on at this time. It was about 30 minutes prior to the show even starting. The lighting change on their faces and shirts simply was the producer changing out the color shade of the lighting. LOL. It was hilarious to watch, kinda disappointing to know the commercial we'll perhaps see is all fake. But here's a video I took, take a look for yourself. Best people watching I've had in a long, long time. LOL.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Call Me Martha, as In Martha Stewart...

See these little beauties?? It's homemade strawberry jam!! I learned how to can your own jam on Friday evening at a Girls' club that Hannah is involved in and I couldn't wait to try it for myself.

Sunday evening after the dinner mess was all cleaned up, I made a new mess in the kitchen. The mess of making strawberry jam. I busted open a jar yesterday and had some on toast and Boy Oh Boy was it yummy!!!

The peaches are just starting to turn color on our tree and when they do, I can't wait to make some peach jam and put away!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Free Summer Movies

One of my favorite summer time memories from my childhood was the weekly free movies that my Mom would take me and my brother to. Every summer, there was one particular theater that offered free movies and every summer, I remember movie day being worked into our summer routine of activities.

Surprisingly, local theaters still offer summer movies today. Although two of the three local theaters that do, charge $1.

With most of the local schools having gotten out last week for the summer, and the rest of the schools to follow this week, today kicks off the Summer Movie Schedule for one of the three theaters in our area.

A schedule hangs on our fridge with what's playing which week and what day. Between the three theaters we have our choice of Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00, Tuesdays at 10:30 and 12:00, or Wednesdays at 10:00. And while each of the theaters are playing almost the exact lineup of movies, we can pick what day and time works best for us.

So this morning, Rachel and I will be heading to the movies, but not without a stop off at the Dollar Tree or the .99 cent store for a box of candy and a bottle of soda!

To see if summer movies are offered in your area, check out these sites:

Free Family Festival at Regal
Summer Movie Camp at AMC

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Fun Party Favor

I stole this idea from my sister in law last year when she did this for the party favors for my nieces birthday celebration at preschool. It's such a fun idea, I couldn't help but copy it on several occasions!

This is the Take Home Treat that Rachel passed to all her friends on her last day of school. A silly straw taped to a package of Kool-Aid with a little tag taped on the back that said "Have a great Summer From your Preschool Friend, Rachel".

Depending on how many you have to make, this is a very inexpensive party favor. Silly straws can be picked up from the Dollar Tree and Kool Aid packets are cheap!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Magical - The New Fireworks Show

The new summer promotion begins tonight at Disneyland. Sadly, we were unable to go this evening due to needing to be somewhere else. HOWEVER, last night there was a special preview of the new fireworks, Magical!! We rearranged where we were supposed to be last night and went to Disneyland.

It's kinda something we've done the past few new firework shows that Disneyland has premiered. We go the first night and sit for hours for a good spot. It's like our little tradition.

Steven's vacation hours are stacking up and he's at the point where if he doesn't start taking time off, he stops accruing any more. So he actually took yesterday off from work, used the morning to work on a church project, and then be available to go to Disneyland as soon as Hannah was out of school.It was such a nice afternoon. It's been a very long time since just the four of us has spent any time together at Disneyland and we had fun getting on some rides as a family. Our girls are both at heights where they can get on the good rides, but don't. Someday we'll have even more fun as a family going on rides. LOL. A little birdie had told me that my Aunt and Grandmother would be strolling about Disneyland as it was my Aunt's birthday. I had told both the girls to be on the lookout for Great Grandma. I never ever thought we'd actually run into them on this crowded June day, as large as Disneyland is. But we did! We hung out together for a while. And then we went to steak out our spot in front of the castle for the fireworks and they went walking to a portion of the park they'd not been yet. They met back up with us and enjoyed our awesome spot for the fireworks.On to the new fireworks show. Any fireworks show that Disneyland puts on is good. This one was no exception, it was good. But to be perfectly honest, I think the Remember fireworks show from the 50th anniversary were tons better. The theming and effects and colors and music of that show was simply amazing. This new fireworks show...it was okay, but nothing compared to that of Remember. The one thing that was extraordinary about this show and aside from seeing Tinkerbell once again fly over the castle, my favorite part was the premiere of Dumbo flying over the castle. THAT was awesome! If you won't be making a trip to The Happiest Place on Earth this summer, or can't wait to see the fireworks, here's a video. I didn't take it, so the annoying voices surrounding the camera don't belong to anyone in our party. LOL. ENJOY!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The End of a Season

Today, a season comes to an end in our home.

The Preschool season.

This morning is Rachel's last day of preschool, our family's last day of preschool.

It's hard to believe how quickly time has gone. It seems like a short time a go that I was putting newborn Rachel on the waiting list for the 2007-2008 school year, and here we are on the brink of saying goodbye to preschool, and Hello to Kindergarten.

The ending of a season is always bittersweet. There's things that will be missed, and there are things that won't be missed.

The monthly tuition and the busyness of driving back and forth on Tuesdays and Thursdays to two different schools won't be missed.

And what will will be missed is seeing my sister-in-law, Grace and my niece, Haylee, twice a week will be greatly missed. After today, the cousins will split and go to separate Elementary Schools at different ends of town. It's been nice the last two years seeing them a couple times a week and on occasions helping each other out with bringing one home for the afternoon, etc.

When one season ends, another begins. And soon, our season of having two children in Elementary School begins...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The "Uh Oh" Jar

Last week, I came across this idea on a friend's blog (thanks Letti), who had gotten the idea off another blog. The idea is so cute, I can't help but copy it!

The "Uh Oh" jar is a jar filled with pieces of paper. And on those pieces of paper are chores to do. How it works is if the girls weren't getting along, talking back, not doing what they were told, they pick a chore out of the jar. If there's any arguing or hesitation, they get to pick two!

Between my friends list, another friends' list of summer chores, and my own ideas, these are the chores I have thus far:

* wipe doors in hallway down
* wash the baseboards of one room
* wipe switch plates down
* pull weeds for 20 minutes
* sweep the front doorway
* vacuum along the baseboards of one room
* wipe door knobs
* clean out van
* dust dinning room chairs
* dust entertainment center
* crush water bottles
* clean kitchen nook table and chairs
* sweep kitchen floor
* pick up the orange balls (from palm tree) in the grass for 20 minutes
* wash Dad's car
* empty trash cans

I know most of the chores seemed geared toward my older child, Hannah. But Rachel can do just about all those jobs on this list, at her level of ability. Will it be as good as my nine year old? No. But the job will get done and a lesson will be learned in not doing things she's not supposed to be doing or there will be consequences.

Honestly, I can't wait to get some of these things done and have thought about putting the same job in there a couple times to ensure it gets done sooner or later!! LOL.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Morning Randomness

Why is that the weekends seem to just fly by and the days in between sometimes seem to go so slowly?

We had a good weekend. Friday night Steven and I were able to get away for dinner just the two of us. That was very much appreciated and much needed! We hadn't been out since our anniversary in March and it was nice to have a conversation that was uninterrupted and not having some sort of Hannah Montana reference made in the midst.

Saturday morning, we saw "UP" in 3D. Another great movie by Pixar! The remainder of Saturday was spent at home, catching up on laundry, the girls playing/fighting with one another. Things getting done. It was nice to be home.

Sunday morning was church. And then, being the ever so spontaneous family that we are, we went to Disneyland and met up with friends from church. At one point there were twenty five of us together! Yeah, it makes it kinda difficult to stay together, but you just kinda go with the flow and don't have expectations. We all saw the Aladdin show together and THAT was fun. We took us three rows of seats!! It's amazing how many people from church have annual passes now. A lot are getting ready to be blacked out for the summer and are making as many trips as possible before they are blocked out for the summer months.

There were people working on the house next door that has been empty for almost a year. They deemed themselves the 'clean up crew'. But they are potentially the new owners and were doing some fix up things to get the appraisal up or something. It's a young married couple, with a two year old little girl, a couple of dogs, and her parents just live around the corner a few blocks. They look promising as neighbors and we hope it all works out in their favor. It would be nice to have a young family move in next door.

This week has some busy days. But the biggest thing that is happening this week for our family, aside from the debut of the new fireworks at Disneyland and new products being announced from Apple (yeah, we're geeks!, LOL), is that our baby finishes up Preschool on Thursday. She's excited because she knows she's moving on to Kindergarten at Hannah's school. I'm a little sad because it means the end of a season in our lives. But excited for what the new season holds.

Time to face the music that it's once again Monday and get this day going...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Free Saturday!

Ahhhh, it's Saturday.

We woke up to the sun shinning. The birds chirping. And a kid bouncing into our bed wide eyed and raring to go shortly before 6:00am. Grrrr. Maybe come the Fall when Rachel is up and out the door everyday with a busy morning of Kindergarten she will sleep a little longer on the weekends? One can hope.

Today is the first Saturday in a very long time that we haven't had anything on our calendar. We originally did have something for tonight, but due to the lack of interest, the event was cancelled. That's okay. It'll be nice to have a day off with no where we HAVE to be. No where we HAVE to go.

I have a ton of laundry to catch up on. That's what happens when you let your laundry soap not stay stocked up. I don't mind the washing part, it's the folding and putting away that I dislike. LOL. Perhaps if I fold as the laundry is finished rather than wait for the basket to be overflowing will be better, then it won't be such a chore.

So I've become addicted to a game on Facebook, it's called Bejeweled. The idea is you have to get three jewels lined up and then they disappear, etc. Yeah, one of those games you really shouldn't play for an hour just prior to going bed, for when you wake up in the night, you're still strategizing moves.

Saturday mornings, I often try to make something special or different for breakfast. Steven takes care of breakfast during the week as I'm getting dressed, getting Hannah's lunch made, and other things necessary before school. Sometimes it's Tater Tot casserole. Sometimes it's breakfast burritos. Sometimes it's even homemade carmel rolls. But there's a few cans of biscuits in the fridge so I think today I shall make my Gramma's Monkey Bread. It's a nice cool morning and there won't any repercussions of having the oven on later this morning.

And with that....I shall go begin the laundry and start the Monkey Bread!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Taking a Load Off...

If you read my post about my hair back in February, you'd know I was letting my hair grow out so that I could donate it.

With the heat and the heaviness of my hair, I wasn't sure just how much longer I could hold out on letting my hair grow out. My hair is so thick and heavy that I sometimes think it contributes to my headaches, I especially know that is true for when my hair is all pulled up.

I was excited when I discovered that Pantene Beautiful Lengths excepts hair donations at 8 inches! That would be just enough to donate and still leave me with some length!

Last night, I got my hair cut! The donation directions are to send in clean, dry hair (DUH!). So I washed my hair and blew it dry yesterday and I did not put hot rollers in it like I normally do to get out the kinks and frizzies. So in this before picture, my hair looks all kinky and frizzy. The length of my hair came just below my bra in the back.I had just a little over ten inches taken off. There was 9 inches for donating and then a little bit more for the trimming it up nicely along with some layers. As my friend cut it, I literally could feel the weight easing a bit on my head, LOL. My hair is that heavy! My hair shrinks a lot once it's dried, so it's a little shorter than I originally wanted it to be left, but you know, it's just hair. It'll grow. It's amazing how my hair looked a lot longer on my head than in my hands.And today, I shall put it in a padded envelope and take it to the Post Office and send it to Pantene.

I send it to Pantene on behalf of my friend Diana Garcia, whom was diagnosed with Lung Cancer last summer.

On behalf of Stacey Biorkman Rouse, whom I've never met in person, but is the twin sister of a friend, diagnosed with Breast Cancer last Fall.

And on behalf of Janice Shepherd, the sister-in-law of another friend, who I have met once or twice, also diagnosed with Breast Cancer earlier this year.

All three women have lost their hair due to their cancer treatment and all three women have had a need for a wig.

And my hope is that perhaps by donating just a fraction of all the hair the Lord has blessed me with, will bless another!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Morning Home

We've been given a morning of thunder and lightening storms this morning with some bouts of pretty hard rain off and on.

It's been awesome.

This morning I was supposed to go to my book study that I normally attend every other Wednesday. But it's been a busy few days/weeks/month that I really felt like staying home and just taking it easy. Hannah has a dentist appointment this afternoon to get her spacer put in and I have a hair cut this evening after dinner, and I just wanted a morning home. So I'll be running this afternoon a bit. But this morning, I am so glad I opted to stay home.

Just about every window in the house is open and the coolness of the June morning is filtering in. Rachel and I are listening for thunder and are amazed at how hard the rain comes down at times. It's fun to listen to it fall on our aluminum patio cover. Everything has been given a good rinsing off of the dust and dirt that's been collected for months. This is the first rain we've had in I don't know how long....February? Maybe March?

Thank You Lord for the rain and for the coolness of the morning and for giving everything a good rinsing, we much needed it.

My Tea Cup

I promise one of these days I'll stop talking about the wonderful tea, but there was just so much good stuff, so much that that Lord tied together, I can't help but share it.

The invitation for the tea said to bring with you your favorite tea cup. Being the tea cup collector that I am, I have close to thirty tea cups that I proudly display in our front living room in various spots of the room.

I wasn't sure which one to bring. I thought about bringing my Disneyland tea cup with Tinkerbell on it, that would for sure be a unique one and would represent my love for tea cups as well as my love for Disneyland. But ultimately, I decided upon my "Joy" teacup. I carefully washed it and off to the tea we went. I had no idea how the choosing of my tea cup would tie into the message that I would later hear that morning.
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The night Rachel was born, I told my Mom that we had quite the journey ahead of us, in terms of her birth defect. Two weeks later, at the end of the day following our 'Welcome Rachel" party, I discovered a gift on my pillow. It was from my Mom. With the gift was a card with a beautiful hand written note talking about the long journey that we had lay ahead of us with Rachel and how I needed to have "Joy in the Journey". So my 'theme' when it has always come to Rachel was that I would be an example of HIM through having joy on this journey with her. The gift that accompanied that card was this tea cup, my JOY teacup. And for many, many months, it sat on my bedside table as a reminder to have Joy.
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During the message, in the second point whereas my Mom was talking about the Reflections of Beauty In Our World, she talked about how the woman who could pull herself up and go on perhaps after her husband up and left her, was a reflection of His beauty. That the family who could pull themselves up after a home foreclosure and carry on was a reflection of His beauty. That the woman who gave birth to a child with a birth defect and pulled herself up and brought comfort and compassion and encouragement to another mother, was a reflection of His beauty.

Yeah. See the connection there? I lost it. I have never been so intensely moved to tears as I was with that statement. I breifly feared that I would not be able to stop crying, but thankfully the Lord knew I'd been touched and he caused the tears to stop.

Over the last four and a half years, I have met several women via in the internet, and have even met two mothers locally, Joy and Kelly, who've all experienced having a baby born with a cleft of some sort. Never have I thought as my encouraging these other mothers as a REFLECTION OF HIS BEAUTY.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

The Lord knew what my Mom's message held. He knew. It was Him that prompted me to bring the tea cup I did and with that, it's just another example of how His hand was on every detail, big and small, of that garden tea.

isn't God good?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's June

It's June.

Where has the first five months of 2009 gone?

It really doesn't feel as though Christmas was over 5 months ago. Before we know it, the holidays will be upon us and another year will be behind us. Like I've said before, time sure is flying.

We are currently in our last two weeks of preschool. Today was the year end class picnic and I hosted it in our backyard. Yeah, call me crazy. LOL. But when we put on our patio, it really was my desire to entertain more, I just haven't gotten to doing it yet. So this afternoon, our backyard was filled with about ten little Sunny Sunflowers and some siblings and of course their Mommies. Everyone packed their own lunches and I provided the drinks and the dessert. I made an adorable sunflower cake and chocolate brownies. Rachel LOVED having all of her school friends over to play and of course was sad to see them all leave when the time came. Since today is over, she only has three preschool days left, and then the days of preschool will forever be behind our family. Pretty sad if I think about it. Next Thursday will bring some tears I'm sure as it's hard to see our baby is growing up.

Hannah's performance today was adorable! Pictures and more details on her blog. :)

The rest of this week is looking pretty calm...at the moment. But the next two weeks are pretty crazy, weekends too. Hopefully, we'll be able to go on our vacation in July as planned, cause I could really go for a vacation!

Today

* Drop Hannah off at school
* Drop Rachel off at preschool at the other end of town at early drop off
* Back to Hannah's school for Magnet Open House and performance
* Home for a spell for last minute preparations for picnic
* Pick up Rachel from preschool
* Host the end of the year class picnic for Rachel's class in our backyard

All this, with lots of little details in between, all before 1:00 today.
Ready. Set. Goooooooooo!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Reflections of Beauty

The theme for the tea I went to over the weekend was "Reflections of Beauty".

Everything tied together so nicely - the opening words from the house hostess, the short devotional reading in between worship, as well as the words in the message that was given.

I already shared about the beautiful surroundings of the yard, the house, and the tables in my previous post. Today, I'd like to share from the notes I took from the message.

The message was titled "Refections of Beauty". And there were three points that were made and dwelled on.

The first point was The Reflection of Beauty in our Hearts. What was stressed in this point was that having a heart for the Lord is more than just a devotional time, it should be intimate. The relationship that we should desire with the Lord should be that like a bride and her bridegroom, intimate, close. We reflect who we hang out with. If we're 'hanging out' and spending good quality time with the Lord, that is who we will most likely reflect.

The second point was The Reflection of Beauty in Our World. It's no secret, we are living in tough times - socially, economically, and spiritually. It is in these times that the world (the people around us, whom we encounter) need to see the joy of the Lord in us. We also need to know that when we comfort and show compassion to those around us, we reflect the love of God. We cannot let crooked patterns and lifestyles be our example for the world to see. We must live the Godly lifestyle and let Christ shine through us.

And finally, the third point was Reflections of Beauty in You. There is a freedom in being who God created you to be, rather than striving to be what others think you should be. Many times the Enemy will taunt us to compare ourselves with one another and that's not what the Lord would have. He created you, be yourself.

As women, it's easy to cover up the flaws on the outside with make up. But covering up the flaws on the inside take work and it's the intimacy that can be found with God that will bring about change in our lives, in our hearts, and in our world. And ultimately making us true 'Reflections of Beauty.'

"As in water face reflects face, so the heart of woman reflects woman."
Proverbs 27:19