Saturday, March 31, 2007

Scrappin' Saturday

Our good friends took Steve and his BIL out for their birthdays to our favorite Lebanese restaurant. Afterwards we went back to their house for dessert, games, and laughs. The little thing on the bottom right is a card that was handstamped by our friend's husband - he made cards for the "boys" because he was afraid his wife would make a girly one. :^D He did a SUPER job! I mounted the card on the blue cardstock and will cut my page protector around it so you can open the card.

Joshua's Family Birthday Party. He received a welding helmet (?) as a gift and was very excited about it - so was everyone else - they all had to try it on for size and see how it worked.

Our homeschool group went to New Orleans to the Aquarium of the Americas in January for a field trip. It was the first time we had been back to the Aquarium since Hurricane Katrina. The Aquarium lost all the animals - so sad. But everything is back up to normal again and they are even building a new exhibit. We can't wait1 This layout was totally scrap-lifted from llrandolf on SplitCoastStampers. Thanks for sharing your great layout!

Today I went to our new library for a "scrapbook group" meeting. This is the first time I had ever been and I mainly wanted to see what it was about. It was just two other ladies there, so my friend Janet and I crashed their private party. :^D Actually, it was nice. The girls read and drew in the library and would come in and touch base with me frequently. We met from 11 until 4, then I went home and worked on another copy of the aquarium layout - one for Morgan's album. Here are the layouts I finished today (yes, only three - I'm a slow poky scrapper).

Pizza Night!

Tonight both girls had friends over to spend the night. It's easier that way. Otherwise I hear Morgan whine, "It's no fair. Zoe is my friend, too. Brooke won't let me play with them." So in this case, two friends are definitely better than one.

Brooke had planned this all week and determined she would make Chicken and Rosemary Pizza for dinner. She and Zoe cooked the chicken before we went to the barn and then put it in the fridge to keep it safe from scavengers (like cats, dogs, big brothers). Of course, she can't just cook the chicken - she had to marinate it in olive oil and season it with basil, oregano, lemon pepper seasoning, and Pampered Chef rosemary blend. While it was cooking, she squeezed fresh lemon juice over the chicken. Can you tell my girls enjoy watching the cooking channel?

The rest of the recipe is an old Pampered Chef one from their Season's Best Spring/Summer 2000, with our adaptations. I would typically make a homemade pizza dough, but I've been taking it easy this week, so we resorted to refrigerated dough. We also doubled the recipe and made two pizzas. Even kids who look at this and say "ewww - that's not regular pizza" like it once they taste it. And come back for seconds. :^D

Roasted Chicken, Onion, and Rosemary Pizza

Pizza dough (homemade, mix, or refrigerated)

2 cups cooked chicken, coarsely chopped

1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, snipped (can substitute dried - Steve happened to pick up fresh this week)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, but fresh is definitely best in this recipe) - and I mince the fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

one 8-oz package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Sprinkle your pizza stone (or pan) with cornmeal and roll out pizza dough to within 1/2" of edge of stone.

In a large bowl, mix chicken with all the other ingredients and 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese. Spread chicken mixture over pizza dough to within 1/2" of the edge.

Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting (we can never wait and cut it immediately with no untoward effects).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lazy Week

Some pictures of my flowers, before they die.
I've spent most of this week being quite lazy, recovering from my surgery. Today I got the wild idea that someone (read: ME) needed to mow the grass. We do have a riding lawn mower, but we have about five acres that need mowing. I was just endeavoring to do our front and back yards. It was a nice day and the girls and I brought some of our reading outdoors to the swing. I had to trek through almost knee-high weeds to get to the swing and was worried about snakes. Thus the sudden desire to mow. That and the knowledge that it is supposed to rain here again this weekend. I called Steve to see if it would be allowed. He said my only constraints were pain. I wasn't feeling any and he said to stop if I started. So I mowed just part and felt very tired. Perhaps Brooke can finish before we go to homeschool PE tomorrow.

KitKat: She is our oldest cat, probably about 12 or 13. She is crippled on her front right leg and has been since she followed Joshua home. She always looks grouchy, but she is really a sweetheart. She never gets into trouble and is pretty low maintenance. When she decides she needs attention (maybe once a week or so), she will come up and head-butt you until you pet her. Five minutes is all she needs, then she's off for another nap. Here she's sleeping in Morgan's bed, head on the pillow and under the covers.

Libby takes this position every single morning when we leave to feed the horses. Her back end is on my Mama's cedar chest and her front legs are leaning on the window sill. She looks so cute. She adores Brooke and cannot stand when she is gone. When Brooke comes in the door from the barn, Libby jumps down from this vantage point and greets her at the door.

Stewart - our troublemaker. Here he is on Morgan's fish tank. Stewart is either knocking things on the floor, dipping his feet into the back of the fish tank trying to catch a snack, splashing water out of the dogs' water bowl, knocking over and digging in the trashcans, or starting something with one of the other cats. But he still tends to look sweet and innocent despite it all - and he is definitely Steve's favorite cat. Probably because they are usually BOTH getting into trouble. :^D

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tax Time!

Josh's first time to do a tax return. It only took about an hour and was made more bearable by obnoxious music through his headphones. :^D

Saturday, March 24, 2007

10 Requirements for Having Surgery

Abrial, waiting to answer the door.

1. Freshly groomed standard poodles. Standard Poodles are the Official Greeters For Recovery and must look the part.

    Delilah, wondering if Abrial will answer the door THIS time.

2. Fresh haircut and color for patient. Choose a color on the opposite end of the color wheel from green, in case this color appears around the gills. :^P (Picture pending because I can't figure out how to get it off my cell phone.)

3. Toothbrush and full tube of toothpaste. Use liberally when mouth is dry and yucky from pain medication, at least six times in a 12 hour period, causing Private Nurse/Husband to question whether surgery has caused a sudden swing to Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder. (It hadn't - it was the only thing that helped the dryness from the medication.)

4. Fabulous Floral Arrangements, real and not.

Nearest arrangement with gerbera daisies and irises, etc, is from my in-laws, Faye and Bill. The pink/lavender arrangement is from Aunt Louise and Georgia Lee. Aren't my flowers beautiful? They just made me feel so loved!
Tulips are my favorite flowers. These Flaming Parrot Tulips are exquisite! Thanks, Mrs. Faye!
    This adorable arrangement is hand-stamped/embossed, cut out, and embellished with beads and buttons and is from my friend, Kassiah. She is SO talented! Thanks, Kassiah. These flowers will never die!

5. Funny Cards to make you Laugh Out Loud, causing Extreme Pain in Incision Site, necessitating #6.

    This card is from my Aunt Caryl. It arrived right after my surgery. Aunt Caryl's comment: So fast? It wasn't supposed to be there until Monday when it didn't hurt so much to laugh! You can't see from the scan, but they've photoshopped in Queen Elizabeth. The inside reads "Hope You're Back on Your Feet Soon." The photo simply cracked me up!

6. Cushy pillows for behind head and over incision site. See #5.

    Sorry - not my bed - not my pillows. Lacking cat fur and broken mini blinds in the background.

7. Pile of Books and Magazines, for making visitors think you are keeping your mind alive and not watching television during your recovery.

8. Laptop Computer, for keeping up with Support4Homeschool doin's.

9. Movie for Laptop Computer, for use after the visitors who think you're reading go home. (I got Love Comes Softly.)

10. Cat Investigators, to sniff for explosives in flowers, check for poison in your pancakes, and to act as backup in event pressure pillow for incisions cannot be found.

Here's KitKat, practicing the pressure pillow technique on Steve. He is wet because Morgan squirted him with the hose while "helping" clean the ferret cage. It was also Steve who was first to receive the Pancake Inspection from Stewart - yes, all four paws in the syrup. Libby has made herself official flower sniffer, but every time I pick up the camera to catch her in action, she jumps. I guess it is a covert mission. :^D

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More Beautiful Weather

Another beautiful spring day - very warm at 85° - and we decided to ride horses later this afternoon and brought along Morgan's friend, Clayton. They've grown up together, Clayton's family moving just a few houses over when they were just a few months old.

Brooke & Honeybee

Morgan & Punkin

Morgan, Clayton, & Punkin

A rare occurance - Brooke has allowed someone else the coveted position of riding Honeybee. :^D Amazing the things that happen in spring!

As "the ropers" were practicing in the arena, the kids rode in the side and back pastures. When they were finished riding, Morgan and Clayton went to sit on the little deck over the pond in the side pasture. I thought this was a sweet shot of them talking together. (Note the heavy covering of green pine pollen on the water - it's covering everything now and making all the allergy sufferers miserable.)

Spring is in the Air

I just love spring. Here's a beautiful picture of a flower tree (type unknown by me - anyone?) taken in front of a church going from one barn to the other. They have these all over and it looks like it is covered in snowballs! Not a dogwood. Not a pear. Those I can identify.
I will try to take some pictures of all the beautiful azaleas as well to post. I generally don't like azaleas - it's really a pretty ugly bush, IMO, but while they are blooming, they're really showy. My favorites are the less common deep maroon ones - but everyone around here seems to have the ordinary fuscia. I've seen advertisings for yellow ones, but I've never seen a yellow azalea. And all the bridal wreath is in bloom as well - really gorgeous!
The one thing I miss from New Jersey is the forsythia in spring. We don't have that down here.
Spring in Louisiana lasts such a short time - the beautiful flowers and mild weather quickly gives way to green, green, and more green, and heat and humidity. The weather should be unbearably hot by May and will last through October at least. So I'm going to enjoy spring while it lasts!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is my Mama's birthday. She would have been 78 today. I have been a bit sad tonight, missing her. I found a music video site that let you add them to your blog. Josh Groban's song Where You Are has always reminded me of Mama. So it is here now, in her honor. I will always love you, Mama.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pure Bliss

We've had a very unusual weekend. First, no horse shows. That makes three weekends in a row. Very unusual. Very unusual indeed.

Second, this weekend Morgan spent Friday night with her Aunt Connie, whose husband is out of state visiting his folks. They spent all Friday night scrapbooking. Like mother, like daughter! Then Saturday night, Brooke spent the night with Connie. Brooke, Morgan, and Connie scrapbooked again until about 11, then Morgan came home so Brooke and Connie could have their one-on-one night.

Third, this morning I went to church without anyone else in my family. That is really unusual. Both girls went to church with Aunt Connie and spent the day with her - scrapbooking again! Can you see it's a family trait? :^D

When Brooke came home this afternoon to feed the horses, we stopped first at the library. Brooke picked up her stack of books. Notice a definite "animal" theme here?

She's got some deep reading, there. let's look at Mama's selections....

Definite "light reading" mode, you think?

After feeding the horses, Brooke went back to Connie's. She and Morgan will spend the night together tonight, coming home early tomorrow because they have school to do and Connie has to go to work. So tonight we have NO KIDS! That's the most unusual thing of all!

So Steve called on his way home from work and said, "I need to stop at Walgreen's." I'm so glad he called! I am in a definite "need chocolate" mode. So I asked, "Could you bring me home some chocolate.....

....and this is what the man brings! Is there any wonder I married him? He's simply the best!

So, quiet night....chocolate.....books......what more does a girl need?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

My bestest friend

Tonight my very bestest friend got to come along with Brooke and I while we went to the barn to take care of the horses. Delilah looked so cute in her hat! She adores riding in the car. She was disappointed to learn that Brooke had called shotgun first, as she does prefer to ride in the front seat, but she decided to make the most of the trip.
I've had many dogs in my life, but only one Delilah. She is my heart. I don't know what I will do when she is not with me anymore. :^(

Scrapbooking with Buddies

I was supposed to go to a big scrapbooking crop with a bunch of friends, but it was cancelled. How disappointing. So two friends and I decided to get together at my house and crop all by ourselves. Here are Janet, myself, and Angie, hard at work.

Okay, Janet was making a face. Here's a better one of her...

Janet's daughter, Mariah, came to keep Brooke company. Here she is with Delilah. I love her dimples.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Old Friends from Texas

Later tonight, we had some friends from Texas come visit. I went to school with Danny and we were best friends. He met his wife, Missy, the summer before our senior year and brought her over for me to "approve" before he'd start dating her. After we were all married, they bought a house right around the corner from ours and we were all four together much of the time. We'd eat dinner, play Uno until all hours of the night, and laugh. How we'd laugh! They had the first child and 10 months later, we had Joshua. Unfortunately by this time we were in New Jersey and we missed them terribly. When we moved back, their son Page and Joshua were inseparable friends until they moved to Texas when Page was six years old. We have visited back and forth, but I still miss them.

This is our crew back in 1998 - Steve, Morgan, Brooke, Desiree', Page, Joshua, Paul - Danny and Missy are in the back. I'm behind the lens, as usual.

I cannot believe our kids are so grown up now - Page is almost 20 and Josh is 19. And we still laugh when we all get together. When I speak with Joshua, he will be sad he missed their visit - he is in Miami on vacation before leaving for boot camp in two weeks.

Nonstop talking with this crew - and talking with your hands IS mandatory!

Ginger and Missy
We can't even stop laughing for a picture.

Steve and Danny, always in deep, philosophical discussions.

This handsome dude is their oldest, Page. He's the quiet one of the bunch. I hear he makes up for it chatting on the computer. :^)

What a beautiful young lady Desiree' has become.

And last, but not least, is Paul. He's the musician of the family - he plays five and is in a couple of different bands at school - marching, jazz, and I can't remember what else.

There is nothing like catching up with old friends. It was sad to when it was time for them to leave. Perhaps one day we'll buy land near them in Texas and we'll be together again - playing Uno and laughing the night away!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Silly Willies

Today I went to see the surgeon and my laparoscopic cholecystectomy is scheduled for next Friday, 3/23. Brooke sent Steve into the exam room to remind me that I had an all-day tea and scrapbooking event on the 24th. So I talked to the nurse about when I could reschedule, but then Steve wouldn't be off work. So we kept the date. I still am tentatively planning to have everyone over for scrapbooking, nixing the paninis for dinner and having everyone either bring their own suppers or they can get take-out. Backup plans are in the works to move scrapbooking just three doors down to my SIL's if I'm not feeling up to it. :^D Scrapbooking after surgery - a girl must have her priorities, right?

Here are some pictures of my silly girls. Morgan was going for the "Cirq de Soleil" look.

Brooke was trying for "pensive." Hmm.....

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Absentee Blogger

Well, it's been almost a week since I've posted - shame on me! We had quite a boring, yet relaxing weekend. Steve, the girls, and I all went to church together - that hasn't happened in quite a few weeks with horse shows and illnesses and such.

But Monday was quite a day. We did school and then in the late afternoon, I had an episode of chest pain that was quite intense. It lasted for about 20 minutes and then suddenly disappeared. Steve took Brooke to choir practice and then he and Morgan went to take care of the horses. They hadn't been gone long when the pain returned, even stronger than before. It took my breath.

I called Steve and gasped that the pain had returned and he said, "I'm coming home now" and hung up. I called a friend and asked her to pray for me. She stayed on the phone until Steve came home. The pain just kept getting worse. I thought I was going to die.

Steve, my loving nurse, came in and took one look at me (at this time writhing in pain on the bathroom floor) and said, "You're either having a heart attack or it's your gallbladder. YOU are going to the hospital." Since Steve works with the sickest of the sick, when he recommends going to the hospital, it always concerns me. So off we went....

Want to insure a very prolonged ER visit? Go in complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath! Although the ER was very full and I did have to sit and wait for about an hour. It doesn't do to know too much - I kept asking Steve what the window was for the administration of TNK in the event I WAS having a heart attack.

They finally put me in a cardiac room (the lady who took my information put it on a "medicine" sheet when she should have put it on a chest pain sheet - a nurse was reviewing the sheets, saw my symptoms, and called me back as soon as she saw that), hooked me to heart monitors, and did an EKG and chest x-ray. And drew blood. Lots of blood.

The good news - my cardiac workup was negative. But my blood work showed elevated liver enzymes and they sent me for an ultrasound. I have gallstones. I'm too young for gallstones! Actually, I guess I'm not. And it does run in my family. They did a few more blood tests and called the surgeon and he said to send me home to follow up with him in his office on Thursday.

So now I have a surgery consult tomorrow. I don't want to have surgery! The only surgery I've ever had was oral surgery for an impacted tooth. I'm afraid it'll be downhill from now on. So I'm researching alternatives on the internet. If anyone has had gallbladder stones and used a non-surgical remedy, PLEASE let me know! I'd be very interested.

Okay, since I haven't taken any pictures, I'll have to post some taken by Brooke. She gave the ferret a bath and we laughed at him rubbing around on the sofa to fluff himself up. The cats, of course, were very interested in his grooming process.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Scrapbook Club Night

I have spent yesterday and today frantically cleaning my house in preparation for my scrap club tonight. Having the stomach flu for six days really did a number on my house. It's messy on a good day. Not only did I get the house clean, but I also managed to go through and organize my scrap desk. Not that any scrapbooking actually occurs on the desktop - it's way too small. But now my "piles" are organized and there is method to my madness.

Here is a picture of the layout we did at the class. We used metallic pencils and in real life, the flowers shimmer and are very pretty.

Class was fun and ended fairly early. Early enough for me to finish the layouts for Brooke and Joshua. I have books for me and Steve, and separate books for each of the three children. When I do a layout for my book, I duplicate it for the kids' books - or at least the kids who are in those particular pictures.

And - ta da - the dirt is finished. And the grand total is......174 loads of dirt. Steve cannot believe it was so much. It must have given him a headache because he didn't say much after that and went to bed. Now to have a compaction test by the parish and we can call the plumbers. I feel like a start has been made.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Warm Fuzzies

This picture is in response to my homeschooling group's blog challenge. We were supposed to take a picture of our socks. :^D Most of my socks are boring white, but this pair reveals one of my deep secrets - I love Snoopy! I receive a daily Peanuts comic strip and have so far collected three of the Complete Peanuts compilations. I also have one coveted pair of Snoopy PJs and I know I'll be sad when I've worn them completely out. When I saw Snoopy socks at Walmart this past Christmas, I was in heaven! They had six different pair and my plan was to buy three one paycheck and three the next. Alas, when I went back for the final three, they were sold out! Next time I'll just blow the budget and get all six pair at once. (Just kidding, Steve!) This love of Snoopy goes back to my childhood and I even had books of the original strips when the kids were very young (and Lucy and Linus weren't even born yet)!

I chose this particular pair because the wish for snow is one of every young person (and many old) in Louisiana. Perhaps every ten years or so, we will be blessed with a light dusting of the white stuff. People literally will wake their children from their beds if it happens in the middle of the night. So while the rest of the US is digging out of snow, here in Louisiana, with buds on the trees and temperatures in the 70's, I'm still wishing for snow.

So now you know my deep, dark secrets!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

That's Deep, Man!

Dirt. We have lots and lots of dirt. I guess I should say loads and loads - more than 100. Tomorrow should finish the dirt deliveries. You can see how high it is compared to our neighbor's fence.

I'm actually standing on a small mound of topsoil that they pushed out of the way to bring in clay. When I'm standing on the ground, the dirt comes higher than my waist. Yes, I'm a little less than 5'2", but 36.5" is still DEEP DIRT!

Okay, now that's not dirt. :^D That's the longhorn mama and baby on the road to our barn. Brooke has wanted to take a picture of the calf for me to post since I started the blog. So, here ya go, Brookie-girl!