Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Happy Week

Because there is SO MUCH unhappiness in our news these days...(I even went inactive on FB for awhile)...I wanted to focus on the good.


My little friend, Mr. Hummingbird, finally returned!



A big brother's love.



Root beer floats in the summertime.  Yum!



A happy, (just turned 5 months old), baby!



(I also like her serious side.)



A tummy sleeper who finally sleeps on her back.  (The art of rolling over has woken me up at 1am, 3am, 5am...for the past two weeks :)




Someone who loves to play with her toes.



Yes, Clementine, I'm talking about you :)




Six Flags with four of my favorite people in the world :)


Six Flags has a great reading program for K-6.  Free tickets and a free teacher ticket.  (Just had to pay for Sally's.)  

The big bummer (at least down here in Texas) ...  they can only be used from mid-June to mid - August.... the hottest time of the year!

It was Hot!  Hot!  Hot!  The air temperature was around 103 ... now imagine how hot it was on all that black top.  Yowzer!

~Free ice water was given out - we drank a 12oz cup of water after each ride.  

~Plenty of shade, benches, and water misters to be found.  

~Paid $5 more to park in preferred parking, next to the entrance.  So totally worth it, especially at the end of  a 9 hour day in that heat!


Southern Butter Pecan coffee creamer.  Delicious!


Here's to you, hoping you are finding happiness in your week!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Charles Ingall's Nightgown

(From Little House on the Prairie)

That's what David calls it ...


Bella Baby brand uses THE softest cotton in their nightgowns, leave plenty of wiggle room, no shrinking, and they make them up to 12 months size!


I usually put a pair of baby booties on her at bedtime to keep her tootsies nice and warm since she kicks her blanket off at night.

Top if off with the smell of Dreft detergent....mmmm.....mmmm....we just cannot stop kissing her up :)

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Another FYI ~


A few weeks ago,  I had two children with wounds on the bottom of their feet.  (Two different accidents.)

Have you ever been able to keep a band-aid sticking to the bottom of your foot?  Almost impossible.  I went on the hunt and found these new products.

Expensive, but really, how often will you use the extra large tough strip?  The $3 (for 10 XL) was worth it.

I sprayed the new Neosporin wound cleanser on (no sting) and then applied one of the XL bandages to each wound.  Not only did the bandage stay on but it allowed the wound to heal quickly.

Highly recommend.

~  Patty  ~

Grandma's Peach French Toast

The title of this one caught my eye when it came through my email.  Peaches are in season down here in Texas, and my mouth started watering as soon as I read the ingredients :)


(Doesn't that just scream summer!)


Ingredients:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp water
1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained  *(or 8 fresh peaches, sliced)
12 slices of day-old French bread, cubed.
5 eggs 
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 pinch ground cinnamon, or to taste

Directions:

1.  In a saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, butter and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

2.  Pour the brown sugar mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish, spreading mixture to cover the entire bottom. Place peaches in a layer over the sugar coating, then top with cubed bread.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla.  Slowly pour over the bread to coat evenly.  

*I didn't think the egg covered enough and worried how it would turn out, but the end product came out delicious none the less.

3.  Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

4.  Remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking to come to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

5.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bread is golden brown.  Spoon out portions to serve.

Prep Time:  9 hours
Cook Time:  30 minutes
Servings: 6

Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Painting Projects

My summer painting frenzy.

Stage I was having our new floors placed and making a new bedroom for Stan back in May.


Stage II was painting the big girls' bedrooms and my garden bench - all  this past week.  

Sally's room color before::


Last summer, she purchased a new quilt for her bed from Home Goods.  This is the pattern::



She wanted to pull that icy-lilac color out more and so we painted her room with Olympic Paints (Lowe's)  Happenstance B47-2.  


Her new bedroom look ::





I just need to be on the lookout for some lilac-colored toss pillows.

Ester and Mabel's room before::


It was soooo cute!  Ester had the bedding for 8 years so I understood when they wanted a "bigger" girl look, something with a beach theme.

They picked out this quilt pattern::


Again, from Home Goods.

I matched that cornflower blue color and then went a hue lighter.  I used Olympic Paints (Lowe's) Twinberry Blossom B43-2

Their new bedroom look ::


For the life of me, I could not get a good picture but it really matches the cornflower blue in the quilt.  I also found these two cute lamps to go with their "beach" theme::


(This is Mabel's sea horse lamp - from Home Goods.)



(Ester's lamp which reminded me of sand dollars - Home Goods.)

I told the girls that these bedroom make overs are the last until they are adults and can pay for them on their own :)

Make overs are a lot of work especially since these two bedrooms have 12' walls in them.

They are all tickled with their new looks :)

Finally, my bench!

This is the before picture ::


Again, I used Olympic products from Lowe's and had a custom stain made instead of painting it.  David said I would not have been happy with the finished look of paint.  


I picked out a paint chip color and then they mixed it for stain.  

He was so right!  Take a look at the after picture::


I   LOVE it!  

I just need to look for some cobalt blue colored cushions.  (Wish I knew how to sew!)

Stage III

That would be painting Clementine's future bedroom and the girls' bathroom upstairs.  Hoping to complete those two rooms in early July before school starts up.

Feeling as though I am on the home stretch now :)

Have a bright and cheery Sunday!

~  Patty ~

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gymnastics Gone Bad

After three years of begging me to sign her up for gymnastics, Mabel went for a "trial" two weeks ago.  Miss Summer was to be her teacher, and she was as sunny and sweet as her name.  Miss Summer introduced Mabel  to most of the apparatus and demonstrated runs, jumps, and twists, guiding the girls in the class, all the while putting a beaming grin on each of her classmates' faces.

Mabel LOVED it and I signed her up for the summer.  One night a week.

(Mabel in black on a balance beam.)


Then last week happened.

David took her to her class and Mabel came home a little upset.  She told me there was a substitute named Miss Allison.  According to Mabel, Miss Allison was mean and yelled a lot.  This young teacher appearantly didn't like to "teach" the girls how to perform any moves and had little patience for newbies.  All according to Mabel.

Where was David?

Well, the parents have to sit behind this glass wall and watch practice of 10 different levels going on at once with teachers and kids of all ages all over the place.  It is a huge facility.  He didn't know what was being said at the time.  No parents do.


Then this week happened.


Thursday afternoon Mabel mentioned she didn't really want to go to gymnastics class.  That was so unlike her that I told her I would go this week and talk to her teacher myself..  And besides, I had already paid for her classes so she wasn't going to skip.  So we went.

She was so nervous.  I tried to reassure her that everything would be okay because what teacher would yell at a child for not knowing a twist or turn if they've never been in gymnastics before.  Surely the teacher misunderstood and would be more agreeable.

I coached her on what to say if the scenario repeated itself.

We arrived to find no Miss Summer.  Another lady took over Mabel's class and Mabel gave me a thumbs up that meant, "This lady is NOT Miss Allison."  Phew.  I was relieved.

But then this teacher passed the group to yet another teacher.   And within 15 minutes I realized it was the dreaded Miss Allison and what I witnessed made me sick to my stomach.

Remember, I'm behind this huge glass wall and cannot hear anything.  Mabel's class was a good 10 yards away from where I sat, but I made sure I could keep an eye on my girl at all times.  The teacher lined the girls up to take turns performing a stunt and Mabel happened to fall first in line.

I could see a look of terror cross her face as the Miss Allison gave out some instruction.  Then the teacher looked at Mabel while Mabel looked terrified.  The seconds seemed like an eternity.  I could see Miss Allison's body language turn mean and cruel, saying something to Mabel while throwing her arms out to the side in disgust.

Mabel slowly shrugged her shoulders and did just what I had told her to do.  She told the teacher she was new and didn't understand what she wanted her to do.

And instantly I saw Miss Allison say "I don't care" as she folded her arms across her chest and just glared at Mabel.  Mabel just hung her head as the other 9 girls waited behind her.

I could just feel her burning with humiliation and with that I jumped up out of my seat.  As I walked to get the manager, I glanced over my shoulder to see what was happening on the floor and witnessed Miss Allison stand Mabel to the side as though she should be wearing a cone of shame draped around her neck.

And then I saw my girl crumble into tears from total humiliation.

All this in a matter of  seconds.

I demanded to speak with the manager and was informed that he was in his office having a business meeting. Miss secretary didn't even bother to get him even though she saw me upset.

I glanced back at Mabel and thought the hell with your parent policies, I flung open the door and walked out onto the floor and right up to Mabel.  I told her she did nothing wrong and that we were going home.

Walking away from the group,  I heard Miss Allison call out to me in which I replied, "Do not talk to me."

By this time, Mabel is so upset, crying like I've never heard.  Sobbing her eyes out.

Once inside the lobby area, where all the others parents were sitting and watching (you could have heard a pin drop), I told the secretary I wanted to see the manager immediately.  She balked so I waved in his window and motioned for him to come out.

I asked to speak with him privately since I didn't want to make a scene in front of those other parents.  I had told him  how wonderful Miss Summer was, that Mabel was new to gymnastics, that the week prior Miss Allison had been "rough" with the girls (age 8 and under) and what had just transpired.

He didn't say a word.

I then demanded a full refund.

At that point, (he seemed a little discombobulated) he got the paperwork ready and when I received my refund, back in the  lobby, I stated loud and clear in front of those other parents that "I paid you to teach my child not to humiliate her."

At which point he nervously said, "Well, this is Miss Allison's last night."

I honestly don't know if it was her last night due to that incident or she found employment elsewhere.

I held my head high, kept my arms tightly around Mabel as we walked out to the parking lot.  She sobbed all the way home.  My stomach physically hurt.  I couldn't sleep last night it.

This is that moment that most of us have lived through, when we are completely and utterly humiliated in front of our class; a moment that will haunt us the rest of our lives.  This was Mabel's moment.

When we got home, it was late.  I fed her a little dinner and then David announced that she needed a Sonic shake to feel better :)  So we took her (and the baby) and toasted to better days ahead.  We told her we will try a different club for her to take lessons and that Miss Allison won't ever happen again.

Tucking her into bed last night, she said, "Mom, what if Miss Allison gets a job at the new club I'll be going to?"  I assured her that we will double check that no Miss Allison, early 20's, long dark hair, is employed as a gymnastics teacher/coach which ever club we end up at.

Today was a better day.  Tomorrow will be even better.  I am glad I was there for my child and that she saw I was her advocate.  The graces from receiving the Eucharist earlier in the day kept me from spinning totally out of control during that ordeal because the mama bear in me - whew! -  Let me just say, don't mess with a mama bear's cub.  Ever.

~  Patty  ~



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crock Pot Pepper Steak

My family LOVED this!


I found it on allrecipes.com along with this description::

"Succulent strips of sirloin seasoned with garlic powder, then slow cooked with onion, green pepper and stewed tomatoes."

It is a perfect description.

Ingredients:

2 - 3 lbs beef sirloin, cut into 2" strips  (*It calls for 2lbs but I added more.)
Garlic powder to taste
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cube beef bouillon
1/4 cup hot water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 chopped onion  (*I used onion powder)
2 lg green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt

Directions:

1.  Sprinkle strips of sirloin with garlic powder to taste.  In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil and brown the seasoned beef strips.  Transfer to a slow cooker.

2.  Mix bouillon cube with hot water until dissolved, then mix in cornstarch until dissolved.  Pour into the slow cooker with meat.  Stir in onion, green peppers, stewed tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar, and salt.

3.  Cover and cook on High for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low for 6 to 8 hours.

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  4 Hours 10 Minutes
Ready In:  4 Hours 30 Minutes
Servings:  8 (with the additional pound of meat added)

I have to add to the description above, this smelled divine the entire time it was cooking!

Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

My favorite moment of the day...


Sometimes, he cradles her and walks her around until her little eyelids grow heavy and her breathing becomes a gentle inhale...exhale...inhale...exhale...


And yes, of course I stalk them with my camera because I want to cherish these moments and the image of her little feet :)


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Our dinner was scrumptious!

I tried a new recipe.  Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs.  Delicious!



I put the recipe here.

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And finally, something I found in the church bulletin this morning...

What Makes A Dad
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it...Dad.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads that are here, or in Heaven waiting for us to come home!

~  Patty  ~

Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

Look what I made!


So we've lived in Texas for almost five years and I finally made BBQ Baby Back Ribs!

I've always been afraid to try them, but after coming across a video demonstrating the recipe, my fears were eased.

You can do this, too!

Ingredients:

4 pounds pork baby back ribs
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups ketchup
1 cup chili sauce (12 oz. jar)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot sauce

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  (200 degrees C)

2.  If in one piece, cut ribs into two sections.  Season both sides of ribs with salt and pepper.  Place in a shallow baking pan.  Brown in oven for 15 minutes.  Turn over and brown another 15 minutes; drain fat.

3.  In a medium bowl, mix together the ketchup, chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.  Place ribs in slow cooker.   Pour sauce over ribs, turn ribs to coat.

4.  Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or until ribs are tender.

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8

I served it with sweet corn bread, pork n' beans, and David's Cole Slaw recipe.

Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fresh Blueberry Yumminess!

A neighbor went blueberry picking almost two weeks ago....way over in Tyler, TX.   She was kind enough to share her pickins' with my family.

We made blueberry pancakes  -  Yum  -  and I have the second of two Creamy Blueberry Pies in the oven as I type - double yum!



I've blogged about this pie on two other occasions because it is that delicious and easy!  Click here for the recipe (and you can find it on my recipe page at the top :)

Since today we are celebrating the feast of The Immaculate Heart of Mary, eating something blue (her color) seems rather appropriate!

Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strike A Pose!






Two words ::  Free Bowling

Check out www.kidsbowlfree.com for more info in your area.  (Kids can bowl up to 2 free games each week day during summer months.  Does not include shoe rental.)

It's so much fun to go with a group of friends.



(6 out of 24 of our families made a trip to the bowling alley on Wednesday morning.)

Movie Night - round 2 & 3!

Tuesday night we hosted 13 tweens & teens (all girls) to watch Dolphin Tale and noshed on ice cream sandwiches.

Thursday night we hosted (14) 6-8 year old little boys to watch Star Wars IV - A New Hope.  They had a treat of Wookie Cookies and Vador Veggies, (Mom Suzanne's brilliant ideas!)


I must confess that I did manage to slip in a pedicure and took some of my kids to Mass before our guests showed up.  I made sure I had sanity and grace covered for the big night :)

It was fun.  Loud and now, but fun.

After everything that we've done the past two weeks, I can honestly say that I am tired...pooped...wiped out...stick-a-fork-in-me I'm done...with the kids' social activities for awhile.  But it's all good!

And tomorrow I rest.

Nighty night!

~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gift Cards and Money

David and I had received gift cards (and money) from so many generous friends and family members when Clementine was born.  I've been spending  slowly and wisely.

I wanted them spent on something that would last (unlike diapers or formula).

*Bottles, bowls and spoons



*Girly-girl bath towels and wash rags



*A Bumbo baby seat and that Baby Einstein music/sounds machine in her crib


The other day I was trying to get dressed and then make our bed but little Clementine was not cooperating.  So I put her Bumbo seat in her crib.  I think she liked it :)


Plus, she was able to keep an eye on me!  (Isn't that a cute picture?)

* Guardian Angel framed print - I had returned a duplicate baptismal gift and paid the difference for the Guardian Angel print hanging above her crib.

* Play mat


* And one total splurge :)

I saw this cute, baby beach wrap in Pottery Barn Baby and had her name monogrammed on it!


It has a hood and fits up through 3T.  She'll be able to wear it for a few years.  (Nope, I haven't had her in the sun yet.)


* My mom lent me her old baby saucer that the other grandchildren had used.  Clementine LOVES it.  Thank you, Grammy!   BTW, I cannot believe how much the saucers/baby seats cost these days.  Ridiculous!   

* I had given away our old baby monitors.  That person still had them and sent them back to us :)

So we are doing pretty good keeping things simple and practical; so very appreciative of the generosity.

I still cannot get over how quickly time is passing!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Kids' Activities

During the school year, I'm pretty strict  firm  when it comes to staying on task because when the school work doesn't get finished it inevitably means longer work days for me.

So, during the school year I try to keep priorities in this particular order ::

1. Faith formation
2. Education
3. Extra Curricular Activities  (Limited throughout the year.)

Summer break means more time to do the things we normally do not get to do.

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Horse camp.

Last week, Emma was in horse camp.

Horse camp ended with their traditional Friday afternoon horse show that showcases skills the students have learned or further developed  throughout the week.

My girl LOVES this week!



Her confidence level has done some serious growing since last year's camp.  


She had a friend join her this year which made it even more exciting!

What really makes us so very, very proud of Ester is that she had to raise half the money for camp.  She did by dog-sitting throughout the year.  And let me tell you, she treats a dog like royalty when she sits it.

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Swim team.  (This is our only year-round activitiy.)

Our young lady switched swim teams this spring, and I think we hit the jack pot.  The cost  is more but the expertise in coaching is like day and night.

My young swimmer being silly with friends :)


(All three girls are home schooled.  The one in the middle is in our home school group.)

This past weekend, Sally participated in her first swim meet -  ever.  Talk about butterflies!  And not just for Sally but for her mama as well!!!

Here is a 56 second video of her 50 meter Free.  She is in the top lane.





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Big Girl - eating baby rice cereal for the first time.

Some people may consider this a sport depending on which side of the spoon you are on.





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With David's surgery out of the way, this week promises to bring more excitement in our household.

Hope you all have a wonderful week enjoying your own summer bucket lists!

P.S.  Thanks for all those prayers!

~  Patty  ~

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