Monday, December 31, 2012

What's On The Menu?

No "What's On The Menu?" this week. Will be returning Monday though with the weekly menu plan.  Last week Ava and I ended up with the flu and we are still working on feeling better this week.  Enjoy your last day of 2012.  May 2013 bring each of you many blessings and a lot of joy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

What's On The Menu?

Well today is the Eve of Christmas.  I hope all of you are ready for Christmas in less than 24 hours.  I finally got the Christmas tree up last Monday. It took some doing, but I finally found the motivation to do just that.  I finished up all my Christmas shopping as well.  And as of right now, I sit here with almost all of it wrapped.  Just a few presents left to do.  Ava and I will be going to visit my Mom today at the nursing home and then we will be going to the cemetery to do a balloon release with my family for our Step-Dad.  This is our first Christmas without him and we all miss him so.  After that, Ava and I will head home and enjoy a relaxed evening at home watching Christmas movies and playing a few games.  As for Tuesday, I will be up early and excited as if I were a little kid all over again for Ava to wake up and see what was left for her under the Christmas tree.  Then, off to my sisters for Christmas dinner and spending time with the family.  As for the rest of the week, not a whole lot planned but simply to enjoy this time with Ava.  No bedtimes. No routines.  I love that.  :)  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

  • Monday - Club Sandwiches and soup
  • Tuesday - Christmas dinner...need I say anymore.  :)
  • Wednesday - Leftovers from Christmas dinner
  • Thursday - Zesty Italian and Lemon Chicken, Potatoes, and Vegetable
  • Friday - Pizza and Salad
  • Saturday - Out to Eat
  • Sunday - Leftovers
I hope your menu this week is as easy as mine.  lol  Back to a more regular menu come next week.  Well ok, after the New Year!  :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

May We Never Forget...

 and may we make the changes necessary to keep our children safe. It's time to take action and any steps necessary to do whatever we can to keep our children and our schools a safe place.  A place without violence.  A place all children, teachers, and parents can feel is safe.  A place where our children should only be practicing fire and natural disaster drills.  It makes me so sad to see that our children need to have safety drills on what to do in case a monster decides to invade their schools with guns.  No one has the right to steal a child's innocence in any way. Ever!  

These actions did not happen because we have taken "God" out of our schools.  Many may disagree with me.  Many people believe this very act happened because "God has been taken out of the schools." As parents, if we raise our children with God in their lives and Jesus in their hearts, then no one can possibly take God out of our schools.  If we teach our children to pray, God will never be taken out of our schools. For those that think God would sacrifice our children to the hands of a monster, just to prove a point, well then you don't know the God that I know.  A God that is loving and kind.  That is the God I serve. God wouldn't sacrifice our children to spend their last few moments in unimaginable fear.  God wouldn't allow our children, HIS children, to see the face of a monster, to steer us as a Nation back onto the right path.  Not the God I serve.  

This morning, I sent Ava off to school.  I didn't want too.  What happened just a couple days ago is still fresh in the media and in my heart.  Two days definitely was not enough time to start to grieve and move on. To feel safe sending our children to school again.  I know thousands of parents felt this exact same way this morning.  Extra hugs were given.  Even more I love you's were said than usual.  I look at her, at only the age of 7, the same ages as a few of the children who lost their lives on Friday, just one grade older than those children who went to school on Friday, and I think I don't know how someone could hurt children her age.  The teachers who sacrificed their lives for their students. The bravery shown by the teachers in this school.  And the first responders who walked into that school and saw such unspeakable horrors.  Something no person should ever have to lay eyes on.  To Nancy Lanza my heart goes out to her family. I don't think any parent could ever think their own child is capable of something so horrific. I pray she was completely unaware of what was about to happen to her and her community in the final moment of her life.  My heart breaks for the entire Newtown community.  I'll never be able to wrap my mind around this tragedy.  I'll never be able to understand how a person can be filled with such evil. The devil wears many masks and possesses an evil, no child of God could ever understand.  

May we remember the children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary.  Do not let the lives of these precious children go in vain. Let us learn something and let us stop asking "well what can we do to stop this?" and instead let us start taking actions, real actions to prevent this from happening again. 

What's On The Menu?

So begins a new week.  We are only a week away from Christmas.  Can you believe it?  Even having that extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, these last several weeks have flown by.  I am not even ready.  lol  Well, I have a week to pack it all in.  And today I am finally putting up my Christmas tree.  So sad that I am just now getting it up.  Oh spirit of Christmas where are you?  Thankfully, this week seems pretty laid back and not too busy overall.  My niece's 5th birthday is tomorrow, so we have her party tomorrow evening.  My brother and his wife also celebrate their 13th anniversary tomorrow.  Then, Friday is Ava's classroom Christmas party which I am volunteering for.  Tonight Ava won't be home for dinner, so I think I'll just pick something up instead of the hassle of cooking for just one.  Not a lot of stuff on the calendar this week and that is a much needed break for me.  Hoping to do some baking this week/weekend with Ava. :)
  • Monday - Dinner out
  • Tuesday - Breakfast for dinner (per Ava's request) - chocolate chip waffles, eggs, and bacon
  • Wednesday - BBQ Ribs,  Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes, and corn on the cob
  • Thursday - Chicken Alfredo, breadsticks, and greek salad with feta cheese
  • Friday - Pizza 
  • Saturday - Baked Oven Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes, and vegetable
  • Sunday - Leftovers
Enjoy your week ahead!  Time to get busy and get my Christmas tree up.  To hold myself accountable I will even try to post a picture of it in the next day or two.  lol   :) 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Do you ever see or hear something that just really bothers you?  Something that surprises you on one hand, but then again on the other hand it doesn't surprise you?  Yesterday, while at the courthouse, I was waiting right outside the security check in place and these three young men come out to that area, ranting and raving about how the charges against them just need to be dropped and they "ain't got enough evidence to convict them".  You can just tell by their words and actions, these three are trouble.  Well, I hear one of them ask the others if they saw that $20 on the ground over at the security check in.  Then he tells them he is going to go pick it up and take it.  Followed by several cuss words.  They are all giggling like little kids pulling a prank.  I am seriously standing there like is this even happening.  So, they all three walk back inside and sure enough that guy snatches up the money.  With a security guard/police officer maybe a foot away on the other side of the conveyor belt/scanner thing.  So, I am standing there thinking, this guy wouldn't brazenly steal that money with that officer so close and several other guards and officers right in that area. Sure enough, he pockets the money and they nonchalantly walk right on out without a care in the world.  Then, on the way out of the courthouse, they are laughing and talking about how they are going to go have lunch on this "fools money".  

First, I am thinking did I just see this.  I mean come on.  Is this an episode of What Would You Do?  You are in court because you allegedly committed some crime based on the things being said between you and your buddies before you stole that money on the ground.  Then, you steal money on the ground without a second thought about the person who even lost their money.  Second, I felt horrible for the person who dropped this money from their pocket.  You never know if that was someone's last bit of money.  Even if it wasn't though, someone else took something that didn't belong to them.  Third, I am thinking how do some people have such disregard for others.  Disregard for authority figures.  How does one steal mere inches from a security guards and police officers?  As I am standing there I am thinking to myself this is why our courts have so many trials taking place every single day.  The disregard and disrespect of others, towards others, is why our jails and courts are so overrun with cases.  If we would extend kindness to others, respect to not take what does not belong to us, take to heart the word of God to do unto others, as we'd have done unto us.  Treat others as we want to be treated are not hard words to live by.  To not offer at the very least the money to that security guard, so he can turn it into lost and found and hopefully himself do the right thing.  I don't care if it was a $1.00 or $5.00 that lay on the ground.  If it doesn't belong to you, do the right thing.  Make the choice that you would hope others would make if you were the one that lost that money on the ground.  I highly doubt you'd hope someone would pocket your money and not look back.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What's On The Menu?

Well this week is kind of up in the air.  I was summoned for jury duty starting today, so we will see what happens.  This is the first time I've been summoned for jury duty.  I have heard from various people that there are some pretty big cases coming up for trial around here, so should be interesting to see if I get selected or not.  The timing for me serving isn't all that great considering things with my Mom and her health, but who knows what will happen.  The only thing besides jury duty on my calendar this week is Ava's Girl Scouts on Thursday and hopefully to get my Christmas cards out in the mail.  I think I need to get bitten by the Christmas Spirit bug or something.  Anyway, I do think I'll plan for some crockpot meals this week in case I do get selected to be a juror.  Plus, the weather is turning a bit colder yet again here in the Midwest.  
  • Crockpot Chicken Casserole, mashed potatoes, and corn.
  • Bacon Cheeseburgers, tater tots, and vegetable
  • Baked Mesquite Pork Chops, pasta, and salad
  • Italian Beef Sandwiches, Hashbrown Casserole, and vegetable
  • Pizza and salad
  • Lemon Pepper Chicken, pasta, and vegetable
And that is what I think my menu will look like this week.  :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kind Of Like A Chicken Quesadilla, But Not...

it's also kind of like an enchilada, but again, not.  I made most of it in the crockpot though, so it gets a thumbs up from me.  It's a total of 8 ingredients from start to finish.
  • Chicken Breasts Skinless Boneless (4-6)
  • 1 Sm. Can - Cream of Chicken
  • Quesadilla Seasoning
  • Cream Cheese
  • 1 Can Rotel 
  • Onions - as much or as little as you'd like  (optional) minced onion would work as well
  • Shredded Cheese - Any kind you prefer
  • Tortilla Shells
Top with whatever you like, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Black Olives, Green Onion, Salsa, Tomatoes, etc.

The ingredients I started with.  Chicken, Cream Cheese, Quesadilla seasoning, Cream of Chicken, and Chopped Onions.  And yes, the chicken was straight out of the freezer, still frozen.  

Mix the cream of chicken, cream cheese, onions, and quesadilla seasoning all together until nice and smooth like this. You could mix in the Rotel here if you'd like.  I didn't simply because Ava doesn't like that. 

Add a little bit of the quesadilla mixture to the bottom of the crockpot.   Add chicken, then top with the rest of the mixture.  Let it cook on low in your crockpot for 6-8 hours. 

Once it's cooked, remove chicken from crockpot and shred with fork.  I also then added about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of the Quesadilla sauce to my mixture to make it a little creamy, but not too creamy.  I set some of this aside for Ava.

And this is where the magic of the Rotel came in for me, for my meal.  I drained the Rotel in a strainer. 

Then added it to my chicken mixture. Look at that yumminess!  ;)  Ava doesn't know what she's missing. 

Then mixed it up nice and good.  Mmmmm!

And then it's time to make these babies up.  I scooped up some of the chicken mixture and spread it across one half of the tortilla shell, sprinkled some shredded cheese on top of the mixture, folded over, and placed in the oven at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes.  Then turned on my broiler and then broiled them for about a minute and a half.  Less or more time might be required on how your broiler works.  I just kept checking on mine.  You can also make these on a griddle or in a skillet if you want to cook  your tortilla that way.  Super yum made on the stove too.  :)

Top with a bit of the quesadilla cheese sauce left in your crockpot and topped with sour cream.  Seriously the added cheese sauce topping your "quesadilla" makes it even more delicous!  Guacamole would have been awesome with this too and I would have used some if I had any on hand, but clearly I didn't.  It was a huge hit for dinner and I will definitely be making this again.  :)  

Don't you love those recipes that are super easy to make and take such little effort!  This is definitely one of them.  And when they turn out even better than expected, that pretty much makes my day!  :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

What's On The Menu?

Not too busy of a week around here.  Though I still haven't gotten our Christmas tree up and it is already December 4th.  I am having a hard time getting into the Christmas "Spirit" this year.  I am sure it is a combination of things and with the weather being pretty nice the last several days, it definitely doesn't feel like December.  Hopefully, I can get our tree up this week and the house decorated for the holidays. Keeping the menu pretty simple this week.   
  • Chicken sandwich, fries, and salad
  • Turkey Club sandwich and soup
  • Steak Kabobs, baked sweet potatoes, and salad
  • Chicken enchiladas and spanish rice
  • Pizza Bread and salad
  • Italian Chicken, pasta, and vegetable
Have a great week ahead!  :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 30

So, the month is coming to an end already.  At the beginning of this 30 days of thanks, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to come up with 30 things I am grateful for without having to be grateful for things like hand sanitizer, or fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, or my toothbrush.  Some of the things on my list of things I am grateful for are silly or materialistic, but they are things I enjoy or things that make my life just a bit easier and more organized and those are things to be grateful for too.  So, for my last day of the 30 days of thanks, I am simply grateful for my life.  Everything that makes my life mine, yes I am grateful.  For all the choices I've made in my life, it has lead me to this point.  Both good and bad.  The perfect moments in my life and the not so perfect moments in my life.  The struggles I've faced.  The joys I've been blessed with.  It all makes my life exactly what it is supposed to be and has me exactly where I am supposed to be at this very moment.  I wouldn't give up any of the bad, because I might never have received the good things in my life if I did.  My life is full of the really important things in life.  God. My Family. My Friends. Love. Faith. Hope. Happiness. Forgiveness. Second Chances.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 29

I am thankful for my daughter Ava.  I seriously have no idea why God chose me to be the Mom to the most incredible little girl.  I do know that because God chose me as her Mom, I am so very blessed.  She fills my heart with more joy and love than I ever thought possible.  Just when I think there is no way I could love her anymore than I already do, my heart fills with even more love and joy.  She filled a void in my life I never even knew was there.  She is truly a gift from God and I am so very lucky I am the one she calls Mom. 

Thank you for all the laughter.  I look forward to many more memories filled with smiles and laughs.

Thank you for giving me the ability to look at life from another point of view.

Thank you for reminding me that it's ok to cry.  And sometimes we have to face things that aren't always easy or fun in life.

Thank you for taking me on one of the most rewarding and at times the most stressful and scary rides of my life called motherhood. 

Thank you for reminding me that it's okay to throw your hands in the air and wave them around like ya just don't care!  ;)   

Thank you for opening my eyes to all that is beautiful and precious.  Only God could give me a gift this perfect.

Thank you for being so cool you gotta wear shades! ;)

 Thank you for allowing me to be a kid all over again by dying easter eggs even if it turns our hands green and the color won't wash completely off for several days.  lol

Thank you for always being my little sidekick and making me feel like I truly am a Super Hero Mom. 

Thank you for making my life feel like a fairy tale and for being my little princess.

And most of all thank you for opening my heart to a kind of love I never imagined possible. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 28

I am thankful for forgiveness and second chances in life.  As much as I try to lead a good life that is kind, giving, and respectful of those around me, I am only human.  I have flaws.  I have imperfections.  I am not always calm and rational.  I say things or do things sometimes  I wish I could undo.  However, I have been given more second chances than I probably ever should have been allowed.  I've been offered forgiveness, at times when I felt the most unworthy.  So, for all the forgiveness and second chances I've received in my life and have yet to receive, I am humbly grateful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 27

I am thankful for being given the gift of creativity.  I am no artist by any means, but I truly enjoy being able to scrapbook, make cards, do photography, make things with my daughter, nieces, and nephews.  It is fun.  It is something that brings me peace of mind.  Well you know, when everything comes to better like I envision.  Though sometimes I think really I just like to color more than maybe that isn't being super creative.  lol

See I told you, I just like to color.  lol   Below are some of my favorite projects/creations. 
What?!?! I Cheez-It box.  No I didn't design this box, but I did use this box for one of my projects.  Ava needed a box for her Valentine's at school so I thought I'd try to be a bit creative.

 And I came up with this to hold her valentines.  Who would have thought a Cheez-It box would come in handy for this.  :)

This was a topper for a package put together for Ava's teacher during "Teacher Appreciation" week at her school.

And the card for Ava's fabulous teacher.  The colors used in the card, match the school colors. 

This is one of Ava's journals.  It was one of those ugly composition notebooks and I just didn't like that, so I thought I'd see what I could come up with.  This was done like 3 years ago. 

A paper-pieced card.  I use a lot of flowers and ribbon.  Most of my cards are pretty girly! lol

One of my favorite digital stamps to use.  I just love this one.  

Another favorite stamp of mine.  

And another favorite.  This is one of Ava's favorite digital stamps I have.  I have made this in purple as well.  Girls seem to love this one.  

 The colored image before I made it into a card

With Christmas right around the corner, it seems fitting to end with this one.  :) 

What's On The Menu?

Last week I didn't post a weekly menu because of the holiday and it would be a short week of cooking and pretty much leftovers for several days after the holiday.  This week I am a little late getting my menu posted, but I do have one this week.  The last couple weeks have been super busy.  This week is looking to be the same.  I had a photo session this past Saturday so this week I will be editing photos from that.  Then, I have another photo session on Wednesday evening.  And perhaps even one over the weekend if all works out with that.  Ava has Girl Scouts on Thursday and we are also back into the full swing of a busy school week with Ava.  I have to get busy getting Ava's Christmas photos so I can put together our Christmas card and get on the ball with getting those out in the mail in the next week or two at the latest.  This week it is going to be some pretty easy meals overall.  :)

  • Monday - Dinner out with my sister.
  • Tuesday - Loaded Cheesy Fries
  • Wednesday - Chicken Quesadillas
  • Thursday - Mesquite Pork Chops, Oven Roasted Potatoes, & Corn on the Cob
  • Friday - Pizza & Salad
  • Saturday - Chicken Noodles, Mashed Potatoes, & Vegetable (Per Ava's request)
  • Sunday - Fend for yourself day or else dinner out somewhere.  

And that is what our menu is looking like this week.  We have a warmer weekend in the forecast, so I am hoping to get the car cleaned and vacuumed out and maybe even washed.  Then hopefully a trip to the park with a picnic lunch for Ava.  Need to take advantage of this slight warm up because those are often rare in the winter around here.  :)  I hope you enjoy your week. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 26

I am thankful for electricity.  Last night while in the middle of making dinner (of course), the power went out.  Everything was pitch black.  No street lights, no neighbors with lights on across the street, nothing.  Thankfully, by the light of my phone I could make my away around the house to gather the few candles I still keep on hand just in case of something like this happening to give off some light at least.  However, cooking dinner came to a screeching halt since I have an electric stove.  My niece Olivia was over, so both Ava and Olivia thought the world was coming to an end without any power.  What?!?!?  No TV! No Internet! No Nintendo Wii! No Nintendo DS since Ava let the battery run out on it and well I clearly need power to charge it!  Oh my gosh! How horrible.  How does anyone live and survive without electricity!  Olivia let me know several times that this was the worst day of her entire life and how incredibly bored she was.  Then, I told them to get out some paper and draw some pictures.

 I asked them to show me how they felt about the power being out and this is their expression.  So sad!!! I then explained to them that a long time ago they used to live by the light of day and candle light.  They couldn't just flip on a light switch and fill the room with light.  That to them seemed like the most crazy thing imaginable.  

I did get them to smile in a photo, but even still they were not happy to be drawing pictures by candlelight.  Thankfully we were only without power for about 2 hours.  And oh what a joy it was for the girls.  They let out cheers of excitement over having the power back on.  Life could finally resume to normal for them.  As for dinner, well it was a waste.  So we enjoyed some Culver's for dinner instead.  :) 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 25

I am thankful for the local Sunday newspaper.  Even though I do not shop on Black Friday, I do still like to shop and I love to look at the newest ads that come out in the Sunday paper.  I have a certain way I even read the newspaper.  First, I sort through the paper and remove all the ads and set them to the side.  Then, I look at the Hobby Lobby ad in the Life section of the newspaper.  Then, I scan the marriage/engagement section to see if I know anyone getting married or who just got married.  I even look to see who is has gotten a divorce in the Disillusions section.  Then, I read my horoscope which 99% of the time is super lame and really makes no sense at all or is so general it is ridiculous.  But that really is for pure entertainment.  I even check the obituaries and babies birth announcement section, because well you just never know who you might know in those sections too.  I browse the section of celebrity birthdays.  I test myself on the little Smarty Pants weekly trivia section.  Which surprises me sometimes that I do still know quite a bit and then sometimes I am like wow I just learned something new today.  lol  Then, it is onto the Sports section.  Lately, it is a big disappointment since the Illini have had such a poor session in football.  Though the basketball team seems to be fairing better.   Then the rest of the sections I just kind of flip through and if anything else interesting catches my attention in the headlines, I will read through that. Then I browse the comics pretty quickly.  I also love that the comics are in color in the Sunday newspaper.  Amazingly, Ava has no interest in the comics what-so-ever.  Strange since she loves to read.  Oh well.  

Now, onto the best part of the newspaper...the ads.  There are some that get quickly discarded, like True Value and anything like Farm and Fleet.  Unless I need some kind of tool or tires for my car, eh I can do without those ads.  :)  They are barely worth a real glance in my opinion, but that's just me and my interest.  Walgreens doesn't get much of a look either.  Just really isn't my thing. Then it's onto looking at Slumberland, Wal-Mart, Bergners, Sears, JcPenney, Kohl's, Best Buy, & Staples.  A quick browse through the weekly Parade insert, my favorite page is the first one where the people write in asking questions and then the little comics inside.  Then, at last it is time to look at the Target ad.  I save this ad every single time for the last.  It like the last bite of something delicious and my favorite ad to look at. It is the ad I might even browse through a second or third time even.  And now you know how I read my Sunday paper.  lol   :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 24

I am thankful for Hershey's White Chocolate Hot Chocolate. Especially after doing an hour long photo session in the freezing cold this afternoon.  Not to mention being grateful for the heated seats in my car to help warm me up after the session too.  :)  It's the little things in life to be thankful for.  :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 23

I am thankful for a day of relaxing after a busy week of errands and cooking and getting ready for Thanksgiving.  I don't do the Black Friday shopping. After working in retail for so many years and working on Black Friday, I sit this day out.  I always thought it would be fun to do when I used to work in retail, but after seeing all the craziness that goes on, I tend to chicken out every year.  lol  Plus I am not a fan of waiting in the forever long lines.  If I do venture out on Black Friday, it is usually in the late afternoon/early evening when all the madness has died down.  So today and every year I enjoy the peacefulness of being home.  :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 22

 I am thankful for my family, both my immediate family and my extended family.  When I think of my family I have so many wonderful memories.  I have cousins that I am just as close to as if they were my brothers and sisters.  I have am even blessed with cousins who have married into our family and it feels like they have always been a part of our family.  My cousins have children of their own and they feel as if they are my own nieces and nephews.  How great of a feeling is that.  I have aunts that are like a second Mom to me.  I have been so blessed with an amazing family.  I have siblings I can share anything with and even if we disagree or tick each other off, we know at the end of the day we will always be there for one another.  As a family, we have been through a lot together and things we've faced that could have torn us apart, but we had amazing role models and we grew up knowing the importance of family, and that has given us a pretty solid foundation.  I, of course, am very very very thankful for my little girl.  I cannot imagine my life without her and my life before her seems like such along time ago. Today and every day I am so very thankful for my family and the love, respect, and commitment we share.  Happy Thanksgiving!  :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 21

I am thankful for my home.  To have a roof over my head and a place that keeps me warm in the winter and nice and cool in the summer.  A place I can come home to and relax and rest my head at the end of each day.  A place I can have family and friends over to celebrate holidays or just to enjoy the company of each other.  A place to gather and create fond memories. A place that is filled with a tremendous amount of love for family and friends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 20

Yes I am thankful for Netflix.  Even after they made their price increase last year.  I just stopped getting the DVD's and just went for the streaming package they offer.  I like having Netflix mostly for Ava. There are a lot of shows on there she likes and I like that there are not any commercials on there that are not really appropriate for a kid to see.  It works out well having Netflix too because there are movies and shows I watch and shows that interest my almost 15 year old nephew.  So a win-win all around.  :)  And at only $7.99 a month who can beat that. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 19

I am thankful for my Grandpa and the most incredible memories I have of him. 

My Grandpa was my world.  He was someone I could always count on.  From the time I was born until the day he passed away.  He was one of the most amazing people I've ever known in my life.  He had the kind of personality a person is just drawn too.  He never knew a stranger.  Everywhere he went he knew someone and if he didn't know someone he left there having made a friend.  If we brought someone to a family get together he never made them feel like any less than part of the family and like they had been a part of our family their entire life.  Oh my and when he laughed his cheeks got so rosy red and you couldn't help but smile.  And his hands.  I think they were the biggest and strongest hands that have ever held mine.  I loved his hands.  He was never afraid or to busy even to tell you that he loved you over and over again.  He would drive into town during the middle of storms and on icy roads to make sure we had what we needed, even though he had no business being out himself.  But he didn't care, he was going to make sure his family was safe and taken care of.  Plus, he wanted to see what was going on anyway so he could be the one to tell you just how bad it as out.  He loved to sit on his front porch and watch cars and people go by.  And if you ever got in the car with him to go grab a bite to eat, you didn't know if you would be back in an hour or if you would end up 3 hours away for some White Castle cheeseburgers.  lol  He loved sports.  He was a die hard St. Louis Cardinals fan.  He would tease my oldest brother and cousin because they are die hard Chicago Cub fans.  lol He was a Chicago Bears and Fighting Illini fan too.  He loved to play cards.  He also had this big jar of change and he and I would play this game where he would shake the change and I would call either heads or tails.  Then he would drop it onto the table and I would get all the change that was whatever I called.  We played this "betting" game all the time.  And even if I would lose, he would give me all the money anyway.  I have the best memories of him.  I rarely ever remember seeing him angry or yelling. Oh we could irritate him by keeping the refrigerator door open or running in and out of the house slamming the screen door, but he never stayed mad.  Never.  Oh how I miss him.  26 years with him just doesn't seem like quite enough.  I know my life was so richly blessed though to have had him for that long.  I will be forever thankful for having such a special person in my life.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 18

I am thankful for my Dad.  He isn't my birth father, but he has been my Dad since I was almost 2 1/2 years old.  He adopted my sister and me with a year or two after my Mom married him.  He stepped up to be our Dad when he never had too.  He took a chance on a single woman with two little girls.  Growing up, I never felt like I didn't have a Dad.  He raised us as his own.  Our relationship hasn't always been perfect, or without issues, probably more so into my adult years.  We have very different views on a lot of things but at the end of the day he is the one and only person I will always consider to be my Dad. I have good memories throughout my childhood though.  He is one of the hardest working people I know.  He is always on the go.  Even still.  He loves God. He is always fixing or building something.  He has a hard time saying no to helping someone out.  He loves westerns on TV and always has.  Even when we hated watching them on the weekends growing up.  When I was little we would sit down every time I would get the monthly scholastic reader from school and he would let me pick out several books all the time.  Even to this day my favorite thing Ava brings home each month is that scholastic reader order form.  It brings back wonderful childhood memories. :)  He was never one to really cuss when I was growing up.  My sister, brothers, and I knew we were in big trouble and he was at his limit when we could irritate him enough to say "damn".  That was the worst word he used and oh boy did we know we were in trouble then.  lol  Even to this day it is something we joke about. 

I fully believe just about any man can be a father, but it takes someone really special to be a "Dad". Especially when a man steps up and wants to be the Dad of children who are not biologically their own.    

Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 17

I am thankful for Excedrin Migraine.  For anyone who gets migraines, they know how horrible they can be.  I ended up having one earlier today and so today I am super thankful for this. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 16

I am thankful for my iPhone.  It allows me to do so many things all on one little device.  I can call, text, check e-mail, check my Facebook, listen to music, play games, schedule whatever needs scheduled in life on my calendar, get directions, use the GPS, check football scores, take pictures, check the weather, write a note to myself, watch videos, and that is just to name only a few things.  It keeps Ava entertained when we are out and about or if we are stuck waiting in line or waiting somewhere for awhile.  Yes, I know I could live without it, I did for years, but I really wouldn't want to live without it now. It just makes life a bit easier and it fits in the palm of my hand wonderfully.  :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 15

I am thankful for nurses, nursing aids, and the nursing home staff that cares for those who are not able to care for themselves.  Especially the staff that cares for my Mom, now that my family and I are not able too.  Thank you for showing such compassion and grace to my Mom and our family.  I can only pray if anyone finds their family faced with the difficult decision of placing a loved one into a nursing home, they find one as wonderful as we have. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 days of Thanks - Day 14

I am thankful for a working furnace!  Especially this time of year and this week when the weather has definitely turned much colder here.  I am grateful that all I have to do is flip it on and turn the dial and my house is filled with warm air.  I don't have to shovel coal or chop wood and lug that inside to keep warm.  So yes, I am thankful for the modern convenience of a furnace!  :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 13

I am thankful for books and the ability to be able to read.  I love being able to get completely caught up in a book.  I love finding a book or an author that I just cannot put down.  To me, the measure of a truly great book, is one that you are sad to see end.  I love a book that can make me laugh or cry or makes me excited to turn the page to see what else is coming.  I have yet to upgrade to a Kindle or something like that.  I do read from my phone, but I just love the feel of turning pages and holding a book in my hand.  I love seeing my bookshelf overflowing with books that I've read, some many times over, and some waiting to be read for the very first time.  I am also blessed because I see Ava is becoming quite the avid reader herself.  She loves to read and for that I am also grateful.  :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

What's On The Menu?

Monday already?!?!?  Wow the weeks are just flying by and the weekends seem to pass in a blink of an eye.  I am kind of excited for this week, because I don't have a ton of things on my schedule so far.  I had a photo session on Saturday, so I have that to edit this week and I have to get started on my Christmas cards, but overall it is a very relaxed kind of week.  I am doing a major cleaning of Ava's bedroom this week.  Which means sorting through clothes she has outgrown, tossing, sorting, and donating toys and books she has either outgrown or throwing away the broken toys or toys that pieces have been lost too.  I need to plan my menu for Thanksgiving as well.  Can you believe Thanksgiving is just a week and a half away!  Craziness.  So here is what is on this weeks menu.

  • Meatloaf, cheddar and chives mashed potatoes, and vegetable
  • Orange chicken served over white rice, and fresh veggies
  • Chili topped with sour cream and shredded cheese
  • Chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, and vegetable
  • Pizza bread and salad
  • Bacon and Blue cheeseburgers, tater tots, and vegetable
  • Fend for yourself day or dinner out to eat!
and that's the menu for this week.  The weather went from low 70's this weekend all the way down into the 30's this week.  With lows in the 20's at night.  Brrrrr...too cold for my liking!  lol So if the weather stays like this, there will be more soups and stews on the menu in the coming weeks. 

30 Days of Thanks - Day 12

I am thankful for our military and the men and women who have proudly served our country and who continue to serve and fight for our freedoms.  For those men and women who have lost their lives, I am humbled by your sacrifice.  May God continue to bless our beautiful country. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 Day of Thanks - Day 11

I am thankful for photographs. My camera allows me to capture the big things and little things in life.  The photographs give me something to look back on with fond memories that evoke all kinds of emotions.  My daughter, nieces, and nephews, definitely have a well documented life.  I love looking at photographs of my childhood, my Mom's childhood, and family I've never even met.  Photographs are visual proof that we were here, we lived, we loved, we made memories to pass onto our future generations.  They help make up the story of who we are. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 10

I am thankful for my aunts.  My Mom's sisters.  Through all my sister, brother, and me have had to go through with my Mom and then the passing this summer of my Step-Dad, they have been there for us.  Throughout my childhood, they have always been a constant presence in my life.  My life and Ava's life is so blessed to have them. Through good and bad, happy and sad times, they are always there and I know I can always count on them.  There love and dedication to my Mom is endless.  It is bittersweet to watch them with my Mom even now.  Their love for her is not just in words, but in the way the touch her face, hold her hands, care for her, and look at her.  I am amazed by their kindness, gentleness, and sincerity. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 9

I am thankful for challenges. Perhaps that may sound like a strange thing to be thankful for, but if I never faced any challenges in life, and if everything came easy, I'd never fully know my true depth and character.  I'd never really know what it means to be tested and to make it through to the "other side" so to speak.  I'd never know just how strong mentally, emotionally, and physically I am.  I'd never know just how strong my faith in God really is.  I'd never know the feeling of letting go, and letting God take over to carry me through the most difficult things I've faced in my life time. Challenges can bring you to your knees, but they can also lift you up and give you a sense of being proud of the things you've faced in life.  Challenges can allow you to achieve the things in life, you thought might be out of reach or things that seemed virtually impossible.  They can also make you think outside the box to achieve the things you want most in life.  They can shake you to your core.  Challenges, be them good or bad, build character.  They also build faith.  So for all the challenges I've faced, and for all the coming challenges I will face in the future, I am thankful. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 8


I am thankful for music. I listen to a little bit of everything.  Really.  I do.  Pop. Classic Rock. Rap. Hip Hop. Christian. Opera. Dance. Country. Alternative. R&B which is hands down my favorite.  I own well over 800 CD's.  Not that I buy CD's anymore now that the digital age as arrived and I can have music downloaded in mere seconds.  I cannot imagine how many more cd's I'd have if I didn't go digital several years ago.  I love the convenience of digital music.   

Music makes me happy.  It can make a bad mood turn into a good one.  There is a song for just about every life situation it seems.  Songs that can move my soul and bring me to tears to songs that can make me want to get up and dance.  Songs that bring back great memories of my teen years with my friends to songs that I sang with my Mom as a child.  Lyrics that speak to my heart.  The love of music is something I am happy that I've passed onto Ava.  She loves it almost as much as I do.  She is always singing.  Always.  She knows music too.  She can listen to just the beginning of a song and know the name and the artist in mere seconds.  Her playlist on her mp3 player is well over 400 songs and she is only 7. She listens to all kinds of music too.  From the latest billboard hits (non-explicit of course) to music from the Beatles, Queen,  Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Elton John and so many more. Music oh how you soothe my soul!  :) 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 Days of Thanks - Day 7

  (Ava with her 1st Grade teacher)

I am thankful for education and the ability to continue to learn for myself and to also understand and be able to help Ava with her homework when she comes home from school.  I am thankful for my Ava's wonderful school and for the 4 years of amazing teachers she has had so far since Pre-K.  Each year we have been so blessed with incredible teachers.  I am amazed at all the different things Ava has learned in these last 4 years.  I am thankful for a daughter who loves school, not only so she can see her friends, but she fully enjoys the educational part of it as well.  I am thankful that each night we sit down to do homework it is not a battle and is really quite an enjoyable experience.  I am thankful that God has blessed me with a child who has a passion for learning about so many different things.  I am thankful to that I live in a country that allows us the freedom to receive an education and that has expectations for us to excel beyond even just high school now.  Education is something we often take for granted where it is denied to girls especially in several countries or else if they are allowed to go to school, it is not the same as for the boys or they are not allowed to go beyond a certain point.  We are so blessed to live where we live.  Even with Ava being just in second grade I see such huge differences from even when I was a kid.  I love so many of the changes the schools have made.  They make it so much more fun.  Yes, their expectations are quite a bit higher than when I was growing up, and yes the class requirements are harder and more advanced than when I was her age, but if you make it fun and rewarding I fully believe that helps so many children want to learn. 

One thing I learned last year, when I thought Ava's class was quite a bit more advanced than I thought necessary for a first grader, was never to put limits on your child.  Never underestimate what they are able to learn. Never assume that because you were not doing those things at that age in school, they are not capable of doing the things asked of them.  Thankfully, I never voiced my opinion or gave her the excuse of things being way to hard or way to advanced.  Instead, I sat back and watched her reach levels and learn so many things, I never would have imagined possible at her age.  Never underestimate the power of an incredible teacher and a child who is willing to learn with no excuses. I know I most definitely learned my lesson.  :)