Monday, February 26


I'm still here ... and sore! But more on that in a minute.

Sam had his surgery! He was an awesome little trooper, and is continuing to recover, but doing very well, all things considered. We're still having ups and downs, but there have been a lot more ups the last few days. Please continue to pray for him!

We have been so busy around here! Sam's surgery was Tuesday, and we got home Wednesday afternoon. Mom drove up Thursday and went home Saturday afternoon, and Sherry and Phyllis came to visit on Saturday, also. The weather has been so great that we've been working outside a LOT to get everything ready for planting! I'm hoping to get my spinach, garlic, onions, and herbs in this week. I planted my blueberry plants this afternoon, and have been transplanting peppermint for the last few days. We have extended the regular garden by about 60%, and I'm expanding the herb garden by about 3 times. That's why I'm so sore!!! I spent over 2 hours today tilling ... without a tiller. Oy!! So I plan on sleeping well tonight ... ahhhh!!

John and I watched The Departed last night, and it was absolutely amazing!! Over the last few years, I've becone much more conservative about what I watch, and I like, too. However, this movie was so well done. I think I may be developing a little crush on Leo ... but I digress. It deserved the Best Picture award, and I'm glad Scorsese won the Best Director.

Well, off to give Sam meds, then to bed!! More posts coming soon!!!

Monday, February 19

So busy!

Well, here we go! Sam's surgery is tomorrow, and I've been spending the last few days (and all of today) getting everything ready. We have to leave at 5:30 tomorrow, to get Evie dropped off at Rebecca's house and get to the hospital by 7:30. Ah, the joys of living in the middle of no where ...

We got to visit Candi on Friday, and we had such a lovely time!!! I love her and her cute, polite, wonderful children. :)

We had a hawk get into the house the other night, so that was fun. We have video of it and everything. I'm glad that we have it, because John was at work and didn't believe me when I told him about it ... he had to see the video. Silly man. :) The kids got a huge kick out of it, and were really helpful in the capture and release of that beautiful bird!!

I have a huge headache, and I need a nap. Hopefully, all the kids will go down without a problem for naptime, because I'm planning on passing out!! I haven't been getting enough sleep the last few nights (uh, cause I'm stoopid and just stay up too late!), and I have to be awake at 4:30 tomorrow morning. John is working the last day of his 9-day stretch, and is so happy! Most of his shifts have been opening (day) shifts, which is even harder, because it means more hours than a closeing (night) shift. And they are still having a huge problem with turnover, especially in the kitchen. It gets him so down sometimes!! My poor man. Please pray for him!!

And please pray for Sam. He knows what is going to happen, and is excited in some ways. This morning, he figured out that he can sign to us instead of talking, so he won't have to hurt his throat even more. The look on his face was priceless when he figured it out, all on his own. I didn't even suggest it to him! So we've been practicing signing all morning, especially the signs for more, no, yes, hurt (along with specific locations), mom, dad, evie, and nanno. I think he'll do very well, but please just pray for a speedy recovery!

I have a ton of stuff left to do. I've been working outside a lot the last few days, taking advantage of this amazing weather. We're almost done with the garden expansion, and I hope to get the potatoes, onions, and garlic in the ground next week. I made a designated bed for my mints, and have been getting all the other herb gardens ready. I plan on growing 10 or so herbs this year, and picking and drying them all throughout the summer. I love freshly dried herbs! They are so much better than the tasteless ones from the store.

So now I'm off to feed the baby, clean out and vacuume the car, pack all of our overnight bags, charge up the dvd player, clean my bathroom, iron some of John's work clothes ... and about a bazillion other things. And then this afternoon, I nap!! :)

Tuesday, February 13

You ate a WHAT??

As I was posting my recipe for cornbread muffins, Sam burst through the front door and came clomping up the stairs. I'm thinking he's just going to tattle on Evie, or whine about a stubbed toe (that's right, even in 40 degree weather, my kids rarely wear shoes outside!), so I didn't pay much attention when he started talking to me. A few seconds later, I realized he was still standing there. I turned around to look at him, and saw that he had a huge, triumphant grin on his face.

"Sam, what did you just tell me? I'm sorry, I wasn't listening ot you."

"Mom, I told you that I just ate a termite!!"

"Um .. Uh ... Huh? You what?"

"Mooooom! I ate a TERMITE!!"

"Huh. Really? How'd it taste?"

"It was good. And crunchy. I'm not sure if I ate the head or not."

"Well, sweetie, that's good. We wouldn't want you to eat a termite head."

"Well, no, Mom! Of course not."

Silly me. And just for the record, we do not have termites. We do, however, have plenty of other bugs, along with their larva, that live here. I'm sure he just ate a big carpenter ant or something like that.

I hope.

Simple Cornbread Muffins

Mmm ... a fav around here. We have this at least twice a week, especially with soup, beans, and bar-b-que. And since whole wheat flour is used, you can enjoy that second one guilt-free!!

Cornbread Muffins
by Brea!

1 c cornmeal
1 c whole wheat flour
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 large egg
1 c milk
3 T oil
4 T honey

Preheat oven to 440. Generously grease muffin tin.

Mix first four ingredients together in a mixing bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, beat egg, milk, and honey together. Mix into dry mixture, until just combined, then add oil and mix in. Spoon into muffin tin, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges of muffins are brown. Remove from oven, let cool for 3-4 minutes, and turn out of tin. Top with butter or dip into soup, and enjoy!!

If you like corn muffins that are slightly sweeter, like I do, then you can add an extra tablespoon or two of honey. :)

Let's chat

Kids, we're going to talk about something very important today. It is something that most of us don't get enough of, but it's so simple!! Adding some to your day can make you feel so much better. It can help your skin, your blood pressure, your hair, your energy level, how often you get sick, mood swings, how 'regular' you are, it can even help with your weight. What, exactly, am I talking about?

WATER, of course!! Ladies, this is something that is so important to our bodies, and it couldn't be simpler to add to our days. Here's how I make sure I get a ton of water every day. (Keep in mind that I'm still nursing, so I need even more water.)

We're finally drinking coffee again, but only about a cup each morning for each of us. Since coffee actually dehydrates you, you need to compensate for this and drink extra. When I wake up, before I even rinse off my face or change clothes, I pour myself a glass of water. I make sure to down the whole thing before my coffee is ready, so I just carry my glass with me wherever I go. With breakfast, I usually have a cup of milk and a cup of juice, so those add to my liquid total. I have at least one more large glass before lunch, usually while we're doing school and I feed David. Then I have a glass with lunch. And a glass before, during, and after the kids' nap time. And a glass with supper. And a glass before bedtime.

Ok, that sounds like a lot. And it kind of is. But it doesn't feel like it to me, because I'm so used to it. One way you can make sure you're adding to your daily water is to always have a full glass of water beside you, and take a sip every time you think about it. Also, cut out the caffine!! Drink less coffee. Switch to decaf or half-caf. And remember that iced tea and soft drinks have a ton of caffine. If you get the decaf, it still has a ton of sugar and things that really aren't that good for you, so you should probably cut those out anyway. Or at least cut down.

Start drinking fruit and veggie juices. Not the kind that have anything added, not 'juice cocktails.' But the real stuff. It's one way to add to your servings of fruit and veggies, and to your liquid count. It can be as nice as a snack in the afternoon, or something sweet mid-morning.

In review? Drink more water!! It is a natural way to detox, helping your skin and every other part of your body. Enjoy!!

Sunday, February 11


Had a great time at the retreat. Camp Tejas still smells the same, lol!! The time there was wonderful, and I got to know a few people a little better, which is always nice. Yvonne Welch was our speaker, and she was so eloquent and touching and smart!! I may elaborate more later when my thoughts are better organized.

Now, we're using the Lord's Day to learn about Him and His nature and His glory. And getting ready for a wonderful week ahead. Hope everyone had a blessed day!

Friday, February 9

Off I go!

I'm leaving in a few hours for my Women's Retreat at Camp Tejas. Yvonne Welch is our speaker, and while I've personally not hear her speak, she has a reputation on our church for being wonderful. So I am just a tad excited!! David is coming with me, and Sam and Evie are staying here with my most wonderful husband. He is so sweet to me!!

We spent the whole day in Georgetown on Wednesday. Oh joy, oh joy. Oh, well. Then we left and came home and made a fire. That part was fun. :)

I was up before 6 this morning, so I could make Crepe Breakfast Quiche!! They turned out really well; it's a great 'company is here' breakfast. I just wish I had made the crepes ahead of time like I normally do. It takes about an hour and a half just for the crepes, because the batter has to rest in the fridge for an hour. But it never ceases to amaze me how easy crepes are!! I love it!! We finally ate a little after 8. And while slicing a star fruit (which we call Sea Star Fruit) I managed to gash my thumb!! It's a small cut, but really deep. And there wasn't even anyone awake that I could complain to, or show my blood to. If I'm going to be hurt, darn it, I want to whine about it!! :)

So now I'm off to shower and finish packing. Woohoo!!! I hope everyone has a wondefully blessed weekend!! :)

Tuesday, February 6

BBQ Shrimp

I got this recipe from my wonderful friend (and realtor!) Melanie. I don't eat shellfish as a rule, but this sounds so good!

BBQ Shrimp
by Melanie Fenelon

1 lb shrimp (in shells)
olive oil
cracked black pepper
lemon juice (2 lemons to 1 lb shrimp)
Worcestershire (1/4 bottle)
2 sticks butter

Heat oven on broil setting. Melt butter in 9x13 pan. add shrimp (in shells) to pan and drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle cracked black pepper over shrimp until thoroughly covered. Add lots of salt, then lemon juice, Tabasco, and Worcestershire. Broil uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Serve with French bread (for dipping in the sauce!) and iced tea or beer. So delicious!

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

On the bright side

The sun is out!! This is the second absolutely amazing day in a row that we've had!! And can I just say that I am having an awesome hair day?!?!?

Evie and I went to the scrapbook store this morning, and then up to HEB for groceries. Yay! to having food in the house again. I've been having a hard few days with her, and this was just what we needed. All three boys stayed at home, and John said they had a nice time. But Evie and I had a blast during our Girl Time.

Does anyone else have laundry issues? There's only 4 1/4 people in this house, and yet somehow, there always seems to be a ton of laundry! I literally have 4 loads of (clean, unfolded) laundry on my couch right now, and my hamper is still full. Maybe if I just get bigger hampers ... :)

I talked to my wonderful Sarah last night!! She is doing much better after having her tonsils out over a week ago. She also gave me some wonderful ideas about making cards and such. I'm excited to get started soon! Thanks, Sarah!! I love living where I do, our place is so wonderful, but I miss being close to some of the people I love a lot.

So all in all, this has been a very encouraging day, which I really needed. I think God lets us have hard days to teach us and help us grow, but He is also a God of great mercy, and blesses us with some truly great days, and truly wonderful people, too.

Monday, February 5

English Toffee

This is another one from my great-grandmother. I make this several times in the winter, because it's great for parties, and it travels really well. And everyone eats it like it's ... well, candy!! One of the few recipes I have where no modifications have been made by me. Why mess with perfection??

English Toffee
by Evelyn Turk

1 c salted butter
1 c sugar
1/4 c water
1 1/4 c chocolate chips
1 1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts

Spread pecans on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Combine butter, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Cook, stirring, until mix reaches 300F on a candy thermometer. Pour immediately over pecans. Wait 2-3 miutes, then evenly spread chocolate chips over the hot mix. As chips melt, spread with the back of a spoon or small spatula. Allow to cool competely, and break or cut into small pieces. Store in an airtight container.

It is best to make this toffee (as with all candies) on days that aren't horribly humid. Sorry, Houston people!! :)

Back to work ...

Ah, things are returning back to normal. All company has gone home. We had a wonderful time with everyone. Sherry's friend Phyllis is super cool!! Then Dad andWes came out, and we just LOVE our new smoker. We've missed church for the last 3 Sundays, and I am so ready to get back!! I don't have Bible study this week, because Wednesday is Valentine's Day. Yay!! Of course, John is working, but that's ok. We'll have our Valentine's the next day. :)

We spent a large amount of time today working outside and planning for the spring. We are expanding the garden so it will be about twice as large, and we'll be building a chicken coop in a few weeks. We are still clearing a lot of the front half of our land, and of course there's always the everyday upkeep, too. So we've been, and will continue to be, very busy! Hopefully, I'll be able to get some pics up soon of David, Evie, and Sam, and of the things we're working on.

Please pray for me. I need wisdom, patience, and discipline with the kids and with my house. I have good days, and then sometimes, everything just seems to fall apart. I may post more about this later. But for now, please just pray for me!! :)

Off to do yet amother load of laundry .. I love that the sun is out, and I can use my clothesline again!!! Yay!!!

Saturday, February 3

Busy Day

We've got a lot to do today! This morning, we've got to give everyone (me included, lol!) baths, and get the place looking nice, because John's mom and a friend of hers are coming over. :) Yay!! I have been so blessed to have a MIL like I have. Then my dad and wonderful Wes are coming over this afternoon or evening and staying the night. Luckily, I did a lot around the house yesterday, so I don't have to completely bust my butt to get the place clean.

The kids have discovered the show Man vs Wild, largely thanks to Ryan Cecil, who introduced it to me when I was staying at their place. I must confess, I completely love this show. The host's name is Bear. How can you not love someone named Bear? And if you rearrange the letters in 'bear,' it spells 'Brea.' Hmmm .... fascinating!! :)

So now, I need to convince my kids to stop talking about Bear for 10 minutes, so I can bathe them. What trouble-makers I have, and how much I really do love them!!!!

Thursday, February 1

Flee, quickly!

Ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed??? I'm totally there today. I don't know why, but I feel like I'm in the worst mood. Grrr. I had a great evening yesterday, a relaxing night, I actually went to bed instead of falling asleep on the couch waiting for John to get home, and I got good sleep. David woke me up at 7:45, so I got to sleep in, and I've already had my breakfast and the coffee is steeping. What is my malfunction?!?!?!?!?

I think I'm becoming sun-deprived. I miss the sunshine. I think I know a way to snap myself out of this, but I'll let you know later how it goes.

On the upside, I just got a new mop, which I'm going to try out in a little while, and I'm excited about that. So, housekeeping, here I come!

After school, and that all-important cup of coffee, of course ...