Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our Home is Still the Gathering Place

 Even though our children are now all grown and have their own homes, they and their friends always seem to find their way back home to us to get together and have a great time. :)  Our oldest son, Jaysn, came out for lunch and to have his dad help him try to do some repairs on his car.  They got caught in a rain and hail storm and right at the tail end of it, our hanai sons, Ben and Lee, pulled up.  As soon as I saw my boys I made a bee line for the kitchen and got a family sized pan of brownies going for everyone to share.  Soon the living room was filled with laughter as my husband and the boys challenged each other to various pinball games on the Xbox.  These kids just crack me up.  Xbox is on, computer is on and texting on the cell phone all going on at the same time.  I really enjoy having our home filled with family, love and laughter and am so glad that everyone still wants to come "home".

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It All Started With a Dropped Raspberry

 Do you see those volunteer raspberry starts in the pictures above?  Well they all started with 1, count em, 1 raspberry from our other patch that a bird dropped about 5 years ago.  This is not where my husband wants a raspberry patch and has been fighting with them ever since.  I dug some starts out and sold them on a local facebook sales page but I still have more coming up.  Have you ever tried to eradicate an entire raspberry bed?  Those roots go deep and they spread like crazy!  We are forever trying to keep the other patch contained and out of the lawn and blueberry bed area of the garden.

 I got to thinking about how that dropped raspberry that started this whole patch can be an allegory for other areas in our life.  One accidentally misspoken word can start an avalanche.  Words are powerful and can either uplift or harm someone.  I see so many people in my daily life who are hurting due to a comment that was made to them that hurt them deeply.  Sometimes those comments were made in jest but they still cut the hurting person to the core.  I see kids who think they can't do something in school because someone made a comment to them telling them they are dumb.  I work with teens who have a poor body image because someone told them that those jeans made their butt look big or said "are you sure you want a second's fattening".  I see adults hurting because someone once told them, in a fit of anger, that they wish they had never been born.  Those misspoken words words caused so much harm to the recipient and the roots of self doubt started to go deep and spread out to many areas of the person's life.  My whole point here is to say...BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU SAY.  Make sure that your words are helpful and not harmful.  If you have hurt someone with your words, please apologize and ask for forgiveness.  Words are powerful....use them for good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Go and Spend the Day with Grammie and G-pa (Guest Post by Bradley)

G-pa and Grammie picked me up and took me home with them.

I slept through it all.

I think they are magic...I go to sleep in Mommy's car and wake up in Grammie's house.  This happens a lot!

Grammie says I have the cutest legs ever!

G-pa takes really good care of me and wipes those drools right off my face.

Here is G-pa feeding me lunch. Most comfy seat in the house!

After lunch I was wiped out.

Grammie was too so we took a nap together.

Grammie changed my diaper after my nap and I enjoyed some freedom from all those restrictive clothes.  I'm thinking I may move somewhere tropical when I grow up! ;)

Smiling for Grammie.

Giggling for Grammie!  I just started giggling a few days ago. :)

Hey Grammie how many pictures are you going to take of me?

This one is for Mommy!  Cheese!!!!

Watch out ladies...I'm cute, I know it and I'm not afraid to use it! ;)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Difficult People in Our Lives

I have a feeling that most people can relate to what I am about to share...having to deal with "difficult people" in our lives.  Some of those people take the form of bullies and even as adults continue to take great pleasure in hurting others.  Others take the form of passive aggressive people who make snide little comments or work "behind the scenes" causing turmoil all the while trying to appear "nice".  Then there are the "users"...these are the people that will be kind to you when they want something from you and then when they get it, they have no more use for you.  These 3 kinds of people (and I know there are many more kinds also that hurt others) destroy friendships, families and can also hurt you in the working environment. 

Having been raised in a family where we fought but settled things, forgave and moved on and always had the fiercest protective loyalty to one another even when we were not getting along, I find it hard to be involved in situations where people purposefully continue to try to hurt others, especially once they are adults.  I find it morally reprehensible when people lie and try to destroy others to make themselves look better.  Worst of all is when this happens within a family.  I find it so sad and maddening that someone would be willing to destroy their own family, just to make themselves feel "better" or "superior".  

After banging my head against a wall and trying to figure out "why" people act this way I have come to the conclusion that there really is no explanation for it...some people are just "not wired right" and can't see beyond themselves.  They live in a ME ME ME universe and don't understand that it is not all about them.  They want to "win" at any cost (and sometimes the collateral damage that they leave in their wake is devastating).  What they do not realize is that while they are busy reeking havoc on those around them, they are also destroying themselves.  The truth always has a way of coming out and all the "damage control" they try to do is not going to save them.  Eventually they will be exposed for who they really are and NO ONE is going to trust them.  They will lose the very people in their lives that mean the most to them because of their selfish behavior.  

If you find yourself in this kind of situation my first word of advice is to set healthy boundaries.  You do not need to put up with this kind of behavior from anyone. Next, protect the kids.  If there are children involved, you need to do everything within your power to protect them, encourage them and be there for them.  Finally, be good to yourself and those around you.  Try to focus on the positive things in life, surround yourself with people that are there for you and love you, and return that love to them.  Life is too short to have to continually deal with difficult people so for those you can so and pray for them...they must be miserable inside to treat others they way they do.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Most Requested Pasta Salad

Our family loves a good pasta salad!  This one is so easy and very frugal because you can use all sorts of veggies in it to stretch it and make it more healthy. ;)  I am one of those cooks that doesn't really measure when making something like this.  I just chop and add what looks good. :)

Here is my "method" of making this salad:

Boil 1 package of whole wheat pasta (I like spirals, bowties and penne because they hold up well).  During the last 3 minutes of cooking time, throw in a head of broccoli that has been cut up into smaller bite sized pieces (you do not have to add the broccoli if you do not like it).  While this is all cooking away chop up peeled carrots, celery, peppers (the more colorful the better), Roma or cherry tomatoes and whatever else sounds good (avoid onions though).  We also like to add cubes of cheese (mozzarella, cheddar or even feta) and some pepperoni (I cut the slices in half).  If you have it on hand, add some fresh oregano leaves, cut up in small ribbons...this just boosts the flavor factor through the roof!  When the pasta is cooked, drain it and run it under some cold water to cool the pasta down...make sure it is well drained and then add it to the bowl that you have thrown everything else into.  Add about 6 grinds (or more to taste) of freshly cracked black pepper and a little salt.  Mix.  Then add about half a bottle of Italian salad dressing and mix again.  You can add more salad dressing if needed.  Eat this right away or it can sit in the fridge until needed.  If you do add the fresh oregano, eat it right away or wait to add it just before eating.  If the salad sits in the fridge it may need a bit more dressing before you serve it because the noodles do soak up some of the dressing. :)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chunky Monkey

Chunky Monkey meeting his Aunt Mollie for the first time...he looks pretty comfy!

Taking it all in with G-pa. :)

Bradley (in the hat) with his cousin Jake.  Jake is 6 weeks older than Bradley.  It is going to be so much fun for these cousins to grow up together!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother's Day Gift from the Best Hubby Ever!

My sweet hubby got me a GMC Envoy for my Mother's Day gift!  Yes he did!   We had been talking about getting a different vehicle that would be more practical and make it much easier to get our grandson and his car seat in and out of of the car.  Both our other vehicles were not practical and were a huge pain to load and unload Chunky Monkey.  We traded in his truck on this lovely fully loaded beauty!  It has heated leather seats for those cold months of the year, automatic 4WD, individual climate control, front and rear stereo controls, sun roof, and very important...the latch system for Bradley's car seat and great ratings in crash tests.  My hubby and I very rarely buy each other big ticket items so this means so much to me because he knew that this is the vehicle I wanted and he made it happen!

Love that man of mine...he is the best hubby ever!

Monday, May 7, 2012

They Say Time Heals All Wounds

There is an old saying that time heals all wounds...sometimes I wonder if whomever said this realizes that they were missing another important element that should have been included in this saying...LOVE.  Time alone does not heal old wounds of the heart.  In fact, time can make it worse if that wound is allowed to fester and turns into bitterness.  It is only the combination of time and love that can help heal or at least lessen old wounds.  Anyone that has ever been hurt emotionally knows that it is the love, support and caring over time of friends and family that get you through the rough spots in life.  Some of the wounds, like the loss of a loved one, never completely go away but they do get easier to handle and over time you find yourself being able to smile more and appreciate the gift that they were to you without as many tears flowing (but yes, there are still moments of tears).  I still, 29 years after my Grandmother's death, mourn her and miss her terribly.  Her death left an empty hole in my heart for so long.  She was an amazing lady and so special to me.  We had a very close relationship and her love for me was unconditional as was mine for her.  There are still moments of tears when I think of her but there are many more moments of smiles, stories, laughter and love now.  It has been time and lots of love (hers for me, mine for her and also the love of my wonderful family and friends) and support that have gotten me to this point.

Now that I am a grandmother myself, I have been thinking about my own grandmother more and more often.  I now understand her deep love for me in a whole new way.  There is something so special about the love of a grandparent for their grandchild.  I find myself wishing all over again that my grandmother had been able to meet my husband before she died, that she had been able to hold her great grandsons Chris, Jaysn and Josh the way that my mother was able to hold her great grandson Bradley and see the next generation of the family continue on.  I still find myself "talking" to my grandmother in my heart and telling her about all that is going on in my life and how much I miss her. 

So the old saying is partially true...but to not have the wound would mean that I never had the blessing of the experience of having such a wonderful person in my life.  I'll take the wound and the love and memories for it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rest in Peace our Beloved Sasha

Today we had to make the decision to put Sasha down.  Poor old girl woke up very ill and had to be rushed to the vet.  She was in shock by the time Jeff got her there.  Chris went down to be with his dad and say goodbye to Sasha also.  Thank you to our wonderful vet who was so kind and gentle with my dear Sasha and with my husband and son.  We will miss you Sasha, you were a wonderful, loyal and loving friend and fur baby.  Thank you for all the love, laughter and joy you brought to our lives.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chunky Monkey SKYPEing with Uncle Josh and Auntie Jess

Chunky Monkey (aka Bradley) was very intent watching and listening to his Uncle Josh and Auntie Jess in Germany via Skype. I love the look on Heather's face as she watches Bradley and how much Chris is enjoying himself also.

Uncle Jaysn joined in too!  It was so good to see all my kids being able to enjoy visiting with each other.  I love modern technology!

Doesn't get any cuter than this! :)

I'm sure he is thinking that Uncle Josh looks just like Daddy (it's a twin thing!).

Chunky Monkey has grown so much since his Uncle and Auntie were here for their wedding.

No, he is not shooting lasers out of his eyes, Grammie just forgot to fix this picture after blinding him with the flash on the camera.  I do love this picture of Chris and his son sweet!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Very Long but Frugal Day

My day started out early, like a few minutes after midnight early.  I had just gotten some chicken drumsticks put in the crockpot to cook over night to make food and broth for the dog when I stumbled upon a great deal at Safeway on their Lucerne products.  They would deduct $2 for every $10 you spent on Lucerne products (except for milk). I called to make sure I would not have to split my order into 2 separate transactions in order to take advantage of the deal.  I also had coupons loaded on my Safeway card for .99 Lucerne cream cheese (limit of 4) and had three  $1 off 2lbs of any brand cheese( bricks or shredded) which could make this a fantastic deal since the 2 lb bags and blocks of Lucerne cheese were on sale for $4.99 each.  I headed off to bed after I organized my coupons into the various piles for each store that I was going to shop at.  I looked up at the clock and it was 1 a.m..  At 2 a.m. I was rudely awakened by Sasha dog who needed to go outside since she had eaten some grass and it messed with her system.  Back to bed I went and finally fell asleep again after laying there for what seemed like forever.  5 a.m. on the dot, Molly cat decides that she needs to throw up.  Oh joy...what a lovely sound to wake up to.... :p  After that she would not let me go back to sleep so I just went ahead and got up and got all the fur babies fed and the coffee started.

I deboned the chicken legs that had been cooking all night and separated the meat into 3 bags and put that into the freezer for future meals for the dog and put the chicken broth that was left in the crockpot into a container and stuck that out on the back porch to cool off before I put it in the fridge.  I then got a loaf of bread going in the breadmaker and loaded the dishwasher.  Jeff got home from work and we Skyped with Josh for a bit and then I got myself ready to head out to do the shopping while Jeff went to bed for the day (he works all night). 

I headed out to the stores and did the following deals and even got a wonderful surprise when I ran into Chris at Walgreen's (he tracked me down). :)

Safeway: 3 bags of salad mix, 3 -2 lb  bags of shredded cheese, 4 blocks of cream cheese, 2 6 packs of yogurt, 1 Starbucks Refresher, 2 -2liter bottles of Pepsi Next, 2 jars of grape jelly, 2 bags of pistachios.  Total before savings and coupons: I paid $24.87 out of pocket and saved $45.64 after store savings and coupons...that's a 67% savings!

Walgreens: Charmin Basic and another Starbucks Refresher .  There should also be a ZONE nutritional bar in the picture but I had not eaten breakfast or lunch so I ate it while I was running around to all the other stores.  I paid $2.34 out of pocket and saved $5.78 after sales and coupons.

Winco:  2 large cans of canned pumpkin and a bag of sugar from the bulk section.  No sales and coupons used here.  Paid $4.92 out of pocket.

Walmart:  2 large family sized bottles of Suave hair conditioner, 1 Best Life butter spray (going to try this on pop corn), 1 Secret deodorant, 1 cat food, 2 Reach dental flosses, 4 Butterfinger candy bars, and 1 container of strawberries. Paid $6.70 out of pocket after price matching and coupons.  Coupon savings alone $6.08

Rite Aid:  They were clearancing out all their Easter candy at 75% off so I scored 5 of these for .74 each for a total of $3.92!  That is a savings of $11.25!!!

Dollar Tree:  3 boxes of Peanut Butter cookies and 4 packages of 30 count foam plates (will use these for Josh and Jessica's reception BBQ).  The cookies were only .25 each!  Paid $5.04 out of pocket.

I came home to smell something "funky" and found that one of the cats had hacked up a hairball (and guess what I stepped on first thing...yuck!) and Sasha dog had gotten into the big cat food bucket and eaten her fill and was now "off gassing"How my hubby slept through all of that I will never know.

I got busy getting the refrigerator cleaned out, put the groceries away and then started a load of laundry and loaded the dishwasher (yes again) and got that running.  Now I am relaxing for a bit, returning emails and going to head to bed early.  Since the dog got into the cat food (and it does not agree with her system at all, thus me cooking chicken and rice for her), I have a feeling I will be up multiple times tonight and I have to teach music all day tomorrow.  I need all the sleep I can get to be ready for those wonderful kiddos! :)