Friday, January 29, 2010

A Western Kind of Day

Today was Kindergarten 'Round Up' at Hope's school. She loves, loves, loves boots - of any kind. She has wanted her own cowboy boots for a while now. And since she had some money from Christmas she decided she might like to buy her own real cowboy boots. Which the girl did, last night. And they look just precious on her :) She is something else too - wore her Daddy's hat, a bandanna, her boots and she had to have her jeans packed in to her boots so everyone could really see 'em. And they are mighty fancy.

Our little cowgirl...although she corrected me several times. She is NOT a cowgirl - she is a CowBOY ;)
Is she too much or what? !

Here's the close up. Big Daddy even mink oiled 'em with the rain and all.

Well, there you have it. Hope doing "western" up right ;) She and I were talking this morning about being a cowboy when she grows up. First, she wants to be a doctor, then after that a police man -maybe one in the army, and then she wants to really be a cowboy. But, not a mom...that's boring. Ha!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Couple of Recipes...

7 Layer Mexican Dip and Easy Chicken Parmesan

I have had success with a dip that I generally bring to parties. I have seen it several different ways but these are my favorite ingredients. A few have asked for it since the New Year's Eve party so I thought I would just share it here.

*photo courtesy of johnstonevinblanc...mine is actually a prettier presentation :)

7 Layer Mexican Dip
I will tell you my portions but if you like your layers thinner you can adjust the amounts.

can of refried beans (lg can or two regular)
container of guacamole or avocado dip(around 12 oz.)
container of sour cream (around 12 oz.)
packet of taco seasoning(whole packet)
shredded cheese(about a standard package)
chopped tomatoes(about 3 medium)
black olives(a small can sliced or chopped)

  • You spread the refried beans in a 13X9 dish as the bottom layer.
  • Then you layer your guacamole/avocado dip.
  • Then your sour cream layer.
  • Next sprinkle your taco seasoning.
  • Then generously use your shredded cheese.
  • Followed by tomatoes
  • And then top with black olives.

Add some tortilla chips or Frito's...delicious! You can delete or add any number of ingredients here. I have seen lettuce, green onions, cheese sauce, and hot sauce all used in this recipe. It is all up to what your family or friends enjoy.

Now for this chicken Parmesan recipe. It was so good my entire family ate it all and said yes to a remake. For all 6 of us to be in agreement...well, that is a pretty big deal. This is super simple and so much cheaper than an Italian restaurant.

*photo courtesy of foodnetwork

Chicken Parmesan
Again, I will use my amounts but you can adjust any of these.

  • 4 large bl/sl chicken breast (butterfly-cut into two fillets-pound)
  • 1 2lb + spaghetti sauce (we prefer Ragu chunky tomato, garlic & onion)
  • milk
  • 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (takes me more when I change the oil in between)
  • shredded mozzarella (a standard package)

  • Combine the flour, bread crumbs, and Parmesan.
  • Dip the chicken breast into the dry mixture, then drag through milk quickly and redip into the dry mixture.
  • Fry the breast in olive oil for 2.5 minutes per side. I used a cookie cooling trey to let them drain over paper towels to remain crispy.
  • In a 9X13 pan spread a little bit of the spaghetti sauce.
  • Place chicken breast on top of layer, then pour the remainder of sauce over the top of breast.
  • I then took the shredded mozzarella and placed generously over each breast but didn't waste it in the empty spaces.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
I used 4 huge breast which made 8 nice sized pounded breast. It took me two 13X9 pans but after lunch the next day none was left :) If you like a less sweet spaghetti sauce use your favorite. I also changed my olive oil if the left over dry mixture started turning dark. I don't like that burnt taste that happens when the dry mixture left in the olive oil sticks to the fresh pieces.

Angie, any chances on you sharing your schnitzel recipe?
Better yet, if you have an easy recipe that doesn't cost a fortune how bout you share it, either in a comment here or leave a comment telling me you have posted it on your blog...Jan, Julie, Mom, Bambi...anyone???


With Love overcoming an illness we had to find interesting alternatives to exploring the outdoors for fun. So I asked her if she would like to go to "work". She of course thought it sounded like a big deal. I got her a desk (coffee table), a chair, her apple juice in a coffee cup, a pair of scissors and all my unwanted coupon sheets.

She was going to be my most official coupon cutter outer...fancy title, huh? :) She stayed pretty well occupied for almost 45 minutes. Working hard and brushing up on her scissor skills all the while. Her best benefit was her relaxed dress code...does anyone else have trouble keeping clothes on their kid?
Her shoes and socks generally come off with in seconds of getting in the car or house and she sheds the rest the minute she walks in the house. Thank goodness she likes wearing her big girl panties or we might have some issues.

How do you like that fancy application of make up? She was writing on her eraser board and decided it would be fun use it as make up. Thankfully I was sitting right there or we might have had a full blown green eyelid - ick! Now instead she has a lovely green "beauty mark". How 'bout that concentration?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Let's Talk About Ba-sket-ball!

Hope started her very first season of basketball recently. She has had such a blast playing. We figured basketball, like soccer; is right up her alley. You can still run up and down the court/field even if you are not actually in possession of the ball. Which works really well for our hyped up kiddo.

She had a bit of a slow start her first game, trying to figure it out. She missed her second one due to illness. Her third game...well, folks, things clicked :) She stole that ball, guarded her girls, and dribbled like a mad woman...she even scored her first basket in a game :) So proud! She gets just excited if she scores or her teammates with a big jump and both fists up in the air. Too cute ;)
This is the first team where everyone has an height advantage over her. She and one other girl are in Kindergarten, the rest of her team is in first grade. She still will try and rebound with the tallest of them. Unfortunately, most of the time, the tallest gets the ball first.
This here is some serious guarding, on both teams...and only in Kindergarten.

Uh-hum...yep, she totally just stole that ball :)
Not afraid to rebound...even if it is directly under the basket.
And, nope, this chick did not get that ball from her. This was Hope steal right before she....
totally drove it down and SCORED!!
Another steal for Hope...the referee had to inform her not to touch the opponents hand while stealing. This gave the poor little girl on the other team a chance too.
This league is unlike a lot of them. There is no score. Hope was totally checking that scoreboard each time to look for the points to change. At this age they just play for fun and to learn. With Upwards it is Christ she also has a devotional each practice and a scripture to memorize each week. It is a pretty awesome ministry that reaches all types of people who may or may not know about Jesus.
Cool story about the director. He was in college for sports medicine. He wanted to be a coach. Then the Lord called him into the ministry. Instead of dumping his two years invested in this direction...the Lord opened up a door for him to become a recreational pastor...really, how cool is that? God is just that good folks :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sick and Tired and Sick Some More...

What a week!

We sent Hope back to school Monday and she is still hacking today. Little Love has been just about the sickest I have ever seen her. Hope must have passed the torch because almost instantaneously Love took over - plus 200%. Bless her heart. I think we have begun to turn the corner but still it just stinks. Her eyes are just the saddest little things ever. Poor Baby. We have been through so many medicines that she will never look at the medicine cup or dropper the same. Why do they all have to taste so insanely foul? I mean like once they are available in generic they turn from extremely palatable to incredibly disgusting...

On the up side of things Love appears to be fully potty trained...yea! We thought we had this mastered about a year ago and after a big regression after moving here the pedi. told me to back off for a while. She has been in panties 24/7 ever since Sunday...and no accidents since then either :) Such a big girl...even sick as a dog.

Speaking of dogs...Blue had her "female" surgery on Friday and they fixed her umbilical hernia at the same time. She is plum miserable but she is the dog I always wanted. Calm, sweet, and loving...even though she has been high as a kite. I know it will all wear off soon enough but for now can I go on the record saying she'd be perfect if she were an addict? Is that wrong? Oh, it is isn't it?
Here is my Love day by day...poor sweet child.

Poor thing would ask for her bowl and fell asleep with it tightly gripped on several occasions :(
See the eyes...I told you
She could not breathe at all so she would walk around with her little dry mouth hanging open.
She was comforted by big sister...I love how Faith is holding her sweet little hand.

Sad little face.

Still the sweetest much as I have hated her being so sick and feeling so miserable I have truly loved having her snuggled up with me all most non stop for the past week. Last night was her first full night of sleep since Saturday. She and I were both due a good sleep. If only she'd eat she may regain her usual pep.

My computer has been jacked up. I don't what I did or didn't do but I couldn't access anything. So soon I will have pics of Hope's basketball games. So much fun!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saving Money...Coupons/Sales/Matching

Ok, in an effort to save some dough on our new and unimproved income I have resolved to make a good attempt at couponing...again.

I am going to let you know how we do it and am interested in any helpful hints you have or how you manage to save money when it comes to meal planning or cleaning supplies.

I watch pretty closely for meat sales. For instance, this week at C!ty Market lean ground beef was on sale for .98/per pound. I bought 22 # and split it up into 1# portions and have it frozen in freezer baggies. I am set for at least 20 meals of ground beef. Which is totally a staple in our low budget. They also happen to have pork chops on sale for the same .98/pp. They are a tad thinner than our usual center cut but my family actually likes them thin, so I bought 10# of them. Then this weekend only A!bertsons had boneless/skinless chicken breast on for $1.69/pp. That is unusually low around here. So, I bought 20# of that as well. While I spent quite a bit of money on meat about $65, I have enough meat for at least 44 meals. So, I won't run out and spend the $3.69 for lean ground beef or the $3.19 for bl/sl ck breast or the $2.99 for pork chops. We don't use huge amounts of meat per meal. The littles and I do not require as much protein as the bigs but we still get our daily requirements. It really does save me a lot.

I am making every effort to really use these in the most efficient ways possible. I understand that you can use a store generated coupon stacked on top of a manufacturers coupon. Here is a deal that is going to save me this week: T*rget has a store coupon for pull-ups $2.00 off and then the paper had $2.00 from the manufacturer and so that will be $4.00 off and if they were on sale (which they are not) then you get even more savings on them.

Another thing I didn't know that maybe you don't either. Did you know if you do a buy one get one (BOGO) or a $ off 2 items you can use a coupon for both items even though the second one is free or covered in the first coupon? Well, you can. So if you get a coupon for Gogurt -$1 off 2 boxes Gogurt and and .80 coupon you can use both of them for the two items? Essentially you are allowed a coupon per item and you can use two coupons per item if you do the manufacturers and store generated ones. Cool, huh?

Now, where I think most people, including myself get sucked into this coupon mess is when we make choices that we would not regularly buy in order to save the .75. For example there is/was a good deal at CVS for oust air spray. Well, I don't use it or buy it or need it. So by saving the big amount of savings and getting the extra care bucks (an entirely different way to save) it still would not serve my family well to put out the front money to purchase it. The extra care bucks are cool if you really shop for things at CVS and don't end up paying for things you don't love to save money on the things you do love but could still purchase cheaper at W*lMart. Or at least for me personally. Some people have this mastered and do really well at it...I am just not there - at least for now.
There are sites that will do all the work for you though. Search your favorite store name and "coupon match ups" and the start date of the circular. Like, "CVS Coupon Matchups" 1/17/10 and you can go to many sites and read how they have matched coupons to sales and if you buy it already or have wanted to try it - great! The leg work, er, mind work is done!

And one last thing on couponing. I find that most of the time the generic brand is still cheaper than using the coupon on the brand name item. And if this is the case I will buy generic. I will at least try the generic. There are somethings we just do not like in generic but in most things we like generic just fine. I generally save the most money with the cheaper/generic brand.

Did you know that W*lMart will match competitors ads? If you bring in the ad and show it to them it can be sodas, diapers, meat, produce, televisions - whatever it is they will override their price and enter in the price of the competitor. I once was fairly good at it, or so I thought. And I could easily knock off $30-$40 off by price matching at W*l Mart. That is until we realized we really did not like the taste of their meat. They do not have an in house butcher, I am not sure if having it sent in changes it but after tasting other meats from sales at local grocery stores - well, we don't care for it. This used to save me a lot until I stopped shopping for meat there and I don't put as much effort into now. I probably should.
Other things we are trying to save money
  1. We have gone to one meatless meal per week.
  2. We have eliminated all sodas. We are drinking quite a bit of tea, sweet tea, and water.
  3. We have drastically reduced the processed snacks around our house. It really doesn't save a ton of money here. I have found these snacks are very affordable and although completely nutrition deficient most teenagers appreciate the ease of grab and go junk food. On the up side our kids are now eating much better at our meal times. Plates are being cleaned again.
  4. Always search first before a purchase online. I was buying Big Daddy some new jeans online and searched here first and found an online coupon code for 15% plus another one for free shipping...yea! You just search the store or the item and all the deals are shared. They also have a daily deal page where they list what is on sale where and what code to use to get it.
  5. Have not done it yet but I heard you can get cleaning supplies/personal hygiene products really cheap at places like D*llar Tree and D*llar General. Hey, a toothbrush does not expire, nor does toilet cleaner. They are supposed to carry name brands so as long as we are comparing apples to apples it sounds promising :)
  6. Big Daddy and I totally went dumpster diving (well, not quite that extreme) in the recycle bins in our areas for coupons. We hit the jack pot. Most were in never read condition. And if they are going to be recycled no harm in using them first, right?

For your coupon 411 this seems to be a good place to start:

Money Saving Mom She even has a "start here" area in the right margin. She generally links up to the matchups and has her handle on coupons and much more. You will also find she will allow a link up for others to share their deals too and you might find another site you would like as well.

One more thing, I am very interested in freezer cooking. Essentially cooking a lot of meals ahead and having them mostly prepared and then popping them into the oven, crock pot or such and minimizing the work when we all come back together for the day. Or I have read where some will make a double batch and eat one/freeze one for later. Anyone into this?

So, there is my scoop. Any ideas, suggestions or planning that works well for your family? I'd love to hear them :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Control...or lack there of...

First of all, I am going to go ahead and tell you this is therapy in motion, thinking out loud if you will...

To set the stage, let's explore what the actual definition is of control:

Control (verb)- a : to exercise restraining or directing influence over : regulate b : to have power over : rule

Ok, now that is established we can move forward. I have heard it a million times...control your laundry, control your eating, control your temper, control your spending, control yourself...control your children. I am sure you have heard these and much more.

See the trick is all things I listed above - there is one BIG one that I can not actually control. Children. I can try to "exercise restraint or have power over them" all day but I can not force them do something. I can make it mighty enticing for them to do as I ask or pretty ugly if they don't (bye bye phone and friends). But as to having control...well, I don't. I can not control Faith or Hunter to choose like minded friends to hang out with at school anymore than I can control Love choosing to use the potty. If you do have control of your children...would you leave me a comment with your tips and telephone number...we need to talk :)

What I have learned is that our relationship with our children is much like our relationship with God. He can want me to do something, tell me to do something, write it all down for me to do, make it really enticing to do it and pretty ugly if I don't and still I can choose not to do it. Ya know what I'm saying? He gave me a free well as my children. So control actually lies in the individual's court as to what they are going to do or not to do...are you following?

I think the biggest A-Ha moment I have gotten this morning amid the beauty of toddlers and teenagers applying their free will is this:

It isn't controlling my children that is my job. No where does it say "Control a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it" says:

Train up a child in the way he should go;even when he is old he will not depart from it.
—Proverbs 22:6

Now, let's look at the word train:

Train (verb) -2 : to direct the growth of (a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying3 a : to form by instruction, discipline, or drill b : to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient4 : to make prepared (as by exercise) for a test of skill5 : to aim at an object or objective : direct

Now that sounds like something I can do. I can give instruction in order to teach so as to make fit or qualified, or proficient. I can direct the growth of a child by bending and pruning and tying...oh I am kidding about the tying :) I can teach them what things can bend - their interest, their friends, their decor, their taste in general. And I can teach them that which can not be bent - loving God and loving people, being respectful toward others and themselves, making choices and having attitudes that are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. And when things that do not produce fruit are born that is where the pruning comes in, right? The ending of a friendship, the redirection of an interest, a removal of certain music and such. Not by forcing their hand at home and have them want to pursue the choice anyway elsewhere. But, by discipling and disciplining...oh, now that is interesting - ever noticed how closely those two were spelled? Or, you could call it pruning. When the branch does not produce fruit or produces bad prune it. Speaking as one who continually needs works. It doesn't feel great at the time but it is effective. And you grow - a fresh new growth.

I have a clear instruction from the Lord:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

Not only is it an instruction from Him to me but from Him to me to teach my children and them to teach their children, etc... Not to control my children into acting out these things, but teaching them to want to do them, to strive to give the Lord our best by living in the Spirit. I am not saying we are hard, firm handed parents that rule with a golden mallet. I think there is just as much lack of training by trying not to rock the boat. By letting the little battles go...more and more often as not to stir the pot. I have been deceived into thinking I am picking my battles but truth be told - I am losing the energy to fight the battles some nights at 10 o'clock with a sink full of dirty dishes and laundry that should have been done yesterday and noticing we have no milk for in the morning. That is when I have to remember my strength comes from the Lord. He never once says that I have the strength to do it all - or even a small part of it. He tells me to lean on Him for my strength...especially when I am weary.

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7

And just for the song would be a joyful noise. Y'all know I can't carry a tune in a bucket.

I don't know if this is a big flashing light to you but I think I just may have been more of a controlling type parent...ruling over and forcing them to try and see what is good and want to do it. I should have been teaching and preparing them instead. Mark down another big failure in the parenting department for me. The good news is isn't over. I still have the opportunity even beginning today to start a new and fresh. My past mistakes are just that- in the past and I can't change 'em. But I can turn around and go a new direction. All this time I have thought I was failing at raising these kiddos of mine by not having them completely under control when all I really needed was to understand I never will...but I can teach them.

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deut. 6:6-7

Did you know that the word impress is actually teach in KJV and NKJV of the Bible?

One last definition:

Teach (verb) -1 a : to cause to know something b : to cause to know how c : to accustom to some action or attitude d : to cause to know the disagreeable consequences of some action 2 : to guide the studies of3 : to impart the knowledge of 4 a : to instruct by precept, example, or experience b : to make known and accepted 5 : to conduct instruction regularly in

However, with the strength of the Lord and the proper new perspective...we may just have a new teacher in town...and her name is Momma ;)

One more thing...if this relationship with our kids is supposed to reflect the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father...I get it...or maybe just a glimpse into it. How He continues to love me even though I am a mess of a much I love my own kids through the good choices, the bad choices, the what-in-the-world were you thinking choices. And to know that He loves them and me even more that :) How great is our God?

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Morning of Dress Up...

Love's very most favorite thing to do is play dress up. She totally got the hook up from her MiMi this Christmas and she has on different outfits, jewelry or shoes everyday. We usually use her pretend Mermaid camera but today I thought I had better capture her little self before those clothes are destroyed...because you know how high quality dress up clothes can be. So, for your viewing pleasure...Love! *to truly appreciate them you can click on them to see them better :)
Where to begin...(I have a very similar photo of Faith at age 4 in this type of photo)
Serious thought goes into putting on a necklace Pretty proud of herself
This is totally her
One of her random poses
Trying to go sunlight...why do they always seem much lighter on blogger?

I love these sweet hands

I am not sure where her inspiration came from for this pose...Jeanie in a Bottle perhaps?
She is a shy one, huh?
I think one of my favorites of the morning :)
Love you are just too stinkin' much... :0)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2 Things...

Blue drives me NUTS!!!
I seriously think I am being punished by parenting this dog. Everyone keeps telling me she will grow out of it. I don't know if I have enough hair or nerves to last that long. She is only just under 5 months.
But this sweet Love here...keeps me sane.
I will take all kinds of punishment if I get her sweet little heart as a reward :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just Thinkin'...

Do you ever read a scripture or quote and it just strikes you? Like the kind of strike that you can't get it out of your head? I do...a lot. Here are some of my favorites:

~Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house...let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness. ~ Mother Teresa

~We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. ~ Mother Teresa

~I'm only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.~ Edward Everett Hale

~Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.~Richard Bach

~Anyway - The Paradoxical Commandments

*People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway.
*If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
*If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
*The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
*Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
*The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind. Think big anyway.
*People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
*What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
*People really need help but may attack if you help them. Help people anyway.
*Give the world the best you have and you might get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

~Kent M. Keith

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ~James 1:27 NIV

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~Phil 4:7-9

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.~Psalm 100:5

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.~1John3:1

Monday, January 4, 2010

What's Up?!

I have a bit to say so I am going bullet style. Get ready :)
  • Well, we were able to go to our 'home' church yesterday. And they totally did the unimaginable...a prayer meeting...for church...all Sunday service...gasp! Can you imagine? I haven't been to church there in probably 6 months. And I can tell you more about the men, women and children in that church that we were with for a few hours than I can tell you about the people of my last two churches. Is that their fault, nope. There is just something about asking for prayer and praying for someone that, well...leaves one quite translucent. No fog or smoked mirrors...just real, hurting, struggling, growing, praising, yearning for more people. Just like the rest of us. I can tell you that the hand of God is on that church. In fact, I think it just may be held tightly in His bosom. That community of believers ~ it will bring tears to your eyes and joy to heart to be a witness. Because they do stand believing that all asked according to His will, will be. Now, that my friends is faith. LTC how I love thee :0)
  • Speaking of prayer, our family could use some. Our son to be specific. He is in a really uncomfortable place. I won't disclose the details because they aren't mine to give but if you will just lift him up. I can tell you not a single prayer will be wasted.
  • I will be doing some of this. (click for details), and yes, I know it isn't Spring. But it is a New Year...
  • I am also participating in this. (click for details). I haven't gotten my specific goals but I am really close. I'll post more then.
  • And lastly, on the public record, purely for accountability. We are back in the debt boat. And we want out. Last time we 'met' with Dave we were doing really well. Somewhere we lost our oars, and our boat sprang a leak...So we will be spending a lot of time talking to and about this fellow.
  • Because of the above mentioned statement, these are some of my new favorite blogs:
  • MoneySavingMom
  • Being
  • Gather Little by Little
  • Simple Mom

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve Par-Tay

Hope and I decided we should host a New Year's Eve Party at the last minute. Hope had already declared the day as pj day for her and Love. She then suggested we ALL wear our pjs to the party. And, well, this family is just cool like pull off a pj party on New Year's Eve. Ha! I was really surprised how many of 'em showed up in their jammies.

We had quite the spread, there wasn't enough room for all of the snacks, sweets, and savories. We went through 8 pounds of deer chili. Nobody accused us of being lightweights when it comes to food.

We played a game called was pretty interesting. I think we may know each other on a entirely different level. We also did a few reflection questions at the beginning and read them at the New Year. Our questions were:
1. Use 3 words to describe your 2009.
2. Your biggest unexpected obstacle in 2009.
3. Your best thing that happened in 2009.

The answers varied some really sweet, some really silly and some just plain will break your heart.

I could not imagine a better way to ring in the New Year than being surrounded by family. Family. We stand together, one dysfunctional arm in another... for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in joys and in sorrows, in surgery and in seizures, in studio and in strike...we have been perfectly placed together into this crazy wonderful family.
My little hostess and me
The little ones in their super cozy pjs...just too much cuteness at one party
Mi Mi in her crown ...who totally sold Faith and I out during the game
Little Love
These two...well, that is a post all its own...let's just say Matt spoke to Faith in
a way only he is capable of doing on the love seat.
3 of my sweet monkeys
How sweet is this? Matt and our little girls
MaMa "showing her teeth"...for the record totally made it til midnight.
At least her eyes were open...
Hope and Baby J
Big Daddy sharing the most delicious non alcoholic pina coloda ever
~props to Matt the secret is in the Blue Bell
Uncle Greg looking mighty festive :)
Uncle Kevin and Grumpy...apparently a lot was going on at Eb*y last night
Just fyi...Grumpy had not been drinking...this is his happy face :0)
Bambi and Aunt Julie
Another sweet pic
Hunter and the Backyardigan Austin (according to Bella)
Group Photo take after thought is to move the paper towels
Another shot where Dad and I switched
Matt and Heather working it
Aunt Jan and Uncle Greg
Ninnie and Baby J
Paw Paw and Bambi...nice TCU pjs
Grumpy and MiMi
First photo of this little family of mine
Happy New Year!

So, for the year 2010 my vision is gonna be:
He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30
Oh, and..."Act your wage."
~Dave Ramsey