Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Disney Holiday

Whew...let me catch my breath. Thanksgiving at my moms in St. Augustine and then 3 days at Disney. Thanksgiving this year was one for the books. We started off at my mom's in St. Augustine on Tuesday evening after Steven's Thanksgiving feast in his Kindergarten class on Tuesday. I was asked to bring in the turkey so thankfully (no pun intended) I found an 11 lb cooked smoked turkey that just needed heated. I had already asked Tuesday off with the intention of leaving that morning to my moms so it worked out perfectly where I could go to school and help out ALL day with the festivities, and Steve was able to heat up the turkey and bring to the school when the feast started (I have not uploaded those pictures yet but will). Steve showed up and carved the turkey and we all sat and listened to Steven's kindergarten class sing a few thanksgiving songs. We then had a hearty meal and took off to my mom's around 2:30. Thanksgiving was easy this year. We decided to order EVERYTHING from Publix (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and desert) so all it needed was heated. We then left for Orlando on Friday morning. 1st was Epcot. We hit "SOARIN" 1st and waited 130 min, but well worth it. By the time we got done with "SOARIN" it was raining and we had to buy poncho's. We hit a few more rides and then left for "Wilderness Lodge" (click on title of  blog to take you to Wilderness Lodge website). We were beat and ready for bed. The next morning we hit Disney, and hit it hard. We came back that afternoon for a snooze and went back for an evening visit. We had a blast. While on the race cars I was driving my own car and the steering wheel completely came out. My car was throwing me from side to side so much that I have a sore spot on my spine. They offered to put us in a new car and we were able to go around the track a 2nd time. Steven thought this was the coolest thing ever. We then watched the "Dance In the Streets" Disney parade where you get to actually get in the street and dance with the characters. As soon as the parade was over, they have the lighting ceremony at the castle for the holidays. It was beautiful. I don't think I will EVER get tired of Disney! It was a great time!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halloween 2010 (8 photos), by Adina Swan

I'd like to share my Walgreens Photo Center photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.

Islands of Adventure 10/2010 (42 photos), by Adina Swan

I'd like to share my Walgreens Photo Center photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.

Welcome Fall & Everything That Comes With It

I must say that when the new school year begins, it is almost like the gun going off at the start of a race to the finish line. That is what I feel like. I have not made it to the finish line yet, AND have not found a good place in the race to stop and catch my breath....can you relate? I honestly think that the finish line is not even visible to the naked eye until after the beginning of the New Year. That is 24 days out of 90 that I have (less than a month) to do anything extra that I don't have time to get done during the week. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE this time of is my favorite. Month after month there is a holiday to look forward to, decorating to get done (which I love), candy to eat, turkey's to cook, gifts to give, gator football to watch, family, friends, birthday parties, and so much more. These are all the things I LOVE. Then there is the sick child who decided to show up at our house Monday evening. Tuesday morning I took Steven to the Dr. and found that he had a double ear infection, a fever, and on top of that was throwing up mucus. Aaahhhh.....I just love the fall air, the crisp cool weather, and the smell of vomit on my sweater. So as I was sitting in the lobby of the pediatricians office with a sick, limp child on my lap, Steven decided to throw up on me. The lady that was sitting next to us just kinda smiled at me as I was getting up out of the chair with Steven to go to the bathroom with him. Getting up from a sitting position was somewhat difficult as I was trying to keep the vomit from falling off of me and onto the floor, or in this lady's lap for that matter. As stressful as this is, at the same time I almost can't help but laugh BECAUSE of how much is going on at the same time. I think that the urge to hold back from laughing happened once we went into the bathroom and Steven decided to lay on the floor in the vomit that he had just made an attempt to get into the toilet and missed. At that point I just said to myself "Oh..whatever...go ahead". He was now feeling better, and this gave me an opportunity to use the restroom and wash up. If he wanted to lay down on the bathroom floor in the Dr. Office in his own vomit that was fine by me if this was going to allow him to feel better. On the inside I was feeling like this was like the icing on the cake after the evening and morning I had with him and at the same time it was this moment that I knew would be a memorable one. One of those that need to be shared for years and years to come. I just let it happen and rolled with the punches literally with a smile on my face. Luckily I had packed two change of clothes just in case, one of them being PJ's. This is what Steven picked to put on after we were done at the Dr. We then left and went to get a prescription filled for his ear infection. I was thrilled beyond belief that this was one of the rare occasions that we ACTUALLY GOT A PRESCRIPTION WHEN WE LEFT! I know that getting a prescription is not necessarily a good thing, but at the same time I HATE leaving the Dr office when my son is sick and they send me back home with the over the counter stuff that IS NOT WORKING and say "That will be $15.00". Is it worth it, ABSOLUTELY! Is it stressful, ABSOLUTELY! Since becoming a mother I have learned that there are ALWAYS bigger fish to fry...there are always things that are sometimes out of my control, and of course CARPE DIEM!!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Steven's Online Birthday/Christmas Wish List

It is official! I have found a very nice website that you are able to view pictures of what Steven would like for his birthday/Christmas as well as reserve items for purchase. The item should at that point be removed from the list, that way everyone knows what has been purchased. "Wishpot" lets you add products from anywhere on the web  You can share items and lists with friends and family and they can reserve items for purchase.
Whenever you share a list with your friends they will be able to view the list even if they are not yet registered for Wishpot. Anyone you share a list with or list URL will be able to view and reserve items from off your list!

I have a number of items on the list, ALL of which can be bought at either Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target! Also on the side of my blog is a wish list widget which shows you everything that is on Steven's list. Just click on the widget to take you to Steven's wish list.

Please let me know if you have any difficulties. It might be something on my end that I can fix.

Also, if you click on the title of this blog it will take you to Steven's list.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

UF vs. LSU in Skybox....WOW!

Never in all my years of attending Florida football did I ever imagine I would end up in a sky box at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to watch a game. Just the fact that my family has season tickets was something in itself that I felt lucky and privileged to have. I have always looked up towards those sky box seats and said to myself "I wonder what it feels like"? Or when it was REALLY COLD, REALLY HOT, or POURING RAIN, looking up at the sky box and saying "Man....would I love to be in a sky box right about now". But last night was a night to remember for the rest of my life. We watched the entire game from the second to last sky box on the end and loved every minute of it. We had high top tables, four rows of cushioned chairs, TWO 42in flat screen TV's, a kitchen, our own bathroom, and all you can eat food in the lobby for the entire game. There was a desert buffet, popcorn machine, and a dinner buffet which included a carving table, salad, cheese topped mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pasta salad, and terriaki chicken strips with dipping sauce. Plus a beverage table with tea, lemonade, and soft drinks. All of this at your disposal whenever you wanted. Plus there were people working there that were always asking if there was anything they could get you, or if you needed anything...opening doors for you...even someone on the elevator just to push the button for you. I guess you could say that this was the high roller version of the concession stand. Even if the gators lost to LSU, this was one of the best experiences of my life! 

Check out my "Gator Pics" on the right to see pictures of inside skybox!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Personal Finance & Budgeting Advice for Women

Mom's Budget Website

This is a wonderful website that I have stumbled upon. This website provides printable checklists for anything and everything that you can think of including Holiday and Christmas printable, meal planning and shopping printable, Freezer Cooking printable, Budgeting Printable, Household and Family Printable, Health Printable,  and Crafts and Hobbies Printable. It also has budgeting tips for the following:

1) Saving money on school supplies
2) Lunchbox snack ideas on a budget
3) Make your own swifter dusters
4) DIY Chocolate Bubble Bath
5) Freezer Cooking Cookbooks
6) DIY Fancy Flip Flops
7) Prioritize Household Bills for Better Budgeting
8) How to Tile Your Own Kitchen Backslash
9) Pumpkin Pie Hand soap recipe
10) Thanksgiving Dinner in a crock pot
11) Make Cookie Cutter gift tags
12) Save Money Buying Christmas Gifts After Christmas


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

This past weekend was a very eventful and fun weekend. Steven attended his 1st football game on Saturday  with Steve when UF played Univ of Miami in Ohio. He made it to the 2nd quarter of the game and told Steve he was ready to go home. Steve called me and I came and picked them both up. We then left after the game and went to St. Augustine until Monday. We spent a lot of time at the beach, and as you can see, Steven just had to take it upon himself to meet these two girls. Actually they were flying kites and walking the beach. One of the girls was flying a "Spiderman" kite and that was it. He saw them and asked me "Do those girwls like Spiderman"? I said "I don't know, why don't you go ask them". The next thing I know Steven is jumping off the back of Steve's truck and his is gone at mac speed. When he got back he said "Mom, when I aksed that girwl if she like Spiderman she said "totally". It was the most precious thing. My son had his eye on that "Spiderman" kite even when we were playing in the water. Steve grilled out both nights we were there, and it was just a nice relaxing weekend.   

Monday, August 23, 2010

1st Day of Kindergarten and a Dead Battery!

 Today was Steven's 1st day of Kindergarten and I was determined to have everything ready to go the night before. 1st day of school outfit...check! Lunch made...check! Requested school supplies from teacher...check! Steven's morning was going to run smoothly, as well as mine. I was already emotional about all the things that Steven was going to be expected to do on his own this year, so I was a little nervous too. Steve had left for work and I took Steven to the bus stop in front of the house this morning just to speak with the bus driver face to face letting her know that that Steven would be on the bus this afternoon and that he would be getting off the bus at Mimi's (babysitter). Steven was in the car in his pajama's, I was still not dressed, because..well...I had done everything the night before...We had time to spare...right....WRONG!!!!! As soon as I got back in the car from speaking with his bus driver, the only noise I heard was a continuous clicking coming from under the hood of my car. Steven gave me this look and then said to me "Well..I guess I will be going to Mimi's today". I picked him up (since he had no shoes on) locked my car with the sound of a dying alarm, and we walked back home. Inside I was pulling my hair out and saying to myself "WHAT THE F**K..WHY TODAY"....but I knew I could not freak out because then Steven would get upset and I did not want that. When I got back inside I called Steve and he was going to have one of his co-workers who was leaving the fire station come and rescue me, but his co-worker had just woke up and I did not know when he was going to make it. I decided at that point to call Steven's babysitter and see if they would be able to come and give me a "jump" and thank goodness they were. This was a blessing and I became very thankful. Even with all that I had just been through I felt lucky at the same time. I quickly got dressed, got Steven dressed, combed his hair, took his 1st day of school pictures, and we were off AND ON TIME! I walked Steven to his classroom, introduced him to his teacher and hung out for about 30 min until class was officially starting. When I got in the car I felt like it should have been 5:00p.m. and ready to be done for the day, but I was now on my way to work. Another blessing was that my co-workers were very supportive and were able to train this morning until I got there. I picked Steven up at his babysitters after school and found out that Steven fell asleep on the bus this afternoon he was so tired. In Steven's words his 1st day of Kindergarten was "AWESOME". Well...I am still here, breathing and looking forward to putting this baby to bed.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Gators & Kindergarten with some ketchup on the side please"

Yep...that is what I would ketchup on the side please...because I don't think my plate can hold any more. It is the beginning of a new school year and my son is starting KINDERGARTEN! Can you believe it? No? Well...neither can I. Monday night Steve and I went to Steven's school for an "Open House" type of thing where you get to do a "meet and greet" with your child's new teacher. I walked into this with it all figured I thought. Steven has been going to Trenton Elementary since around April 2007. He had just turned 3 and was now starting Pre-K so he could get more intense one on one with his speech and fine motor skills. He then started off an entire new year beginning in August of 2007 (still in Pre-K) and stayed with the same teacher for the next two years. My son's teacher and I became close enough that she allowed me to send her "text" messages whenever I felt like it regarding Steven, who was picking up, and she would send me "text" messages as well if she ever had any questions...I mean come on....doesn't everyone have their child's teacher's cell phone number at hand to send them a text whenever they felt like it? I KNEW that this was a reality, however it was a gift that was given to us and I was blessed to have received it, along with many other's that Steven's teacher gave us in regards to Steven's individual needs being met. I never put these expectations on Steven's new teacher, but I did hit a comfort zone there for a while, and after last night that was no longer. It is a new year and my boy is growing up. Life itself is one huge roller coaster of comfort zones, however I am still finding myself hanging on to what I "Know" even though at the same time it is NOT what is best for Steven. With all that being said, Steve and I were able to get some one-on-one time after all the other parents left (because I refused to leave until I was comfortable enough to). At first it appeared that Steven's teacher was not genuinely interested in Steve and I, and who our child was, however "inside" I told myself..."Goodness Adina...she has tons of parents in here, all at the same time, asking her a ton of questions, and she has never met us before. Give her a chance". After we spoke a second time (this time in length) I felt much better and our conversation was much more purposeful. With all that being said, I still was holding back the tears when I found out how much more Steven would be expected to do on his own on a day to day basis. Yes...I am fully aware that this is called "growing up" however it does not make it easy on a mother to be "told" when to let go of the reins..that is how I felt..but I guess sometimes there are those that must be told to let go of those reins, otherwise we would just continuously direct the horse in the direction that we want them to go instead of allowing them to go out on their own.

This past Sunday, Steve and I went to "Gator Fan Day" at the O'Connell Center. We got lots of pictures of players, and had two posters signed by the players as well. These of course will be going in Steven's bedroom. Steven was having a blast with Grandma and Paw Paw in Monticello, swimming, and playing with his new Nintendo DS, that I am sure he was thanking me for not making him wait in line, stand over here, stand over there, and having to be told to stand to EVERY SINGLE PLAYER so I could get a picture.

In closing, I bought my first meditation workbook and CD and did a 20 minute breathing exercise when I got home from work. My head has never been so clear. My body has never been so relaxed, and I can't remember the last time I felt this calm. I am now addicted and can't wait to implement into my daily routine when I get home. Anyone have any ideas on "Meditation Rooms"? I'm thinking "Bye Bye Office....HELLO Meditation Room". What do you all think?

CLICK ON THE TITLE TO THIS BLOG! Once there click on "Meditation Room". There are a number of very short meditations with such titles as "Work Break", "Soothing Session", "Children's Meditation Series", and "Quick Getaway". Enjoy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Steven's 1st Scalloping Trip and Steinhatchee Falls

We knew we were going to spend the day outside...but what did we want to do? We decided to take a shot at getting some scallops out of "Hagan's Cove"
We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way and loaded up. We had a small inflatable boat for Steven and to hold our scallops if we found any. Steven was ready to go before we even got there. There were lots of jellyfish in the water and we did not want Steven to get stung so we had him stay in the boat for a little while, and then we let him jump in and have at it. He hung on to Steve's shoulder and they were swimming and giving each other "thumb's up" whenever they saw a fish..Steven was loving it. We hung out on the shoreline for a little while after and let Steven swim and use his snorkel. I wish I could say we came home with some scallops, but we didn't...not one...but we had a good time. We then left there and went to "Steinhatchee Falls"
Steve grabbed the tube that we had brought for scalloping, put Steven on his lap and went down the small rapid. It was a busy, but great weekend!

If you click on the title to this blog, you can watch the video of Steve and Steven going down the rapid at "Steinhatchee Falls"...very funny. I was laughing so hard that I was not making any noise until I had to take a breath at the end.

My 34th Birthday at Cedar Key

This year as a birthday present, Steve took me to Cedar Key, Fl for my birthday on Friday, July 30th. My birthday was on a Wednesday this year and I was working so Steve decided to take me away the weekend after. Even with all that, Steve grilled me my favorite for my birthday...a big fat STEAK..bloody and right off the cow....ummmmmm....a little A-1 sauce and it was heaven for me. He also got a Reese's Cheesecake and he and Steven sang Happy Birthday. Little Steven had just finished summer school and had spent NO time at his babysitters (Mimi and Paw Paw) and they had really been missing him so Steven spent the weekend at "Mimi's" swimming, eating her delicious cooking, and playing a number of games on the "Wii",  and "PlayStation 2"....what a life huh :) Meanwhile, Steve and I went to Cedar Key for two days and two plans, no worries, just time to breathe and relax. We had a balcony with the Gulf directly underneath us (no oil), a pool, and a small variety of fresh seafood restaurants to choose from. We spent that Saturday going to all the little shops (in the small town on the water behind us in the picture), and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool. We had a full kitchen in our room, and a grill by the pool so Steve grilled out for dinner that night and while enjoying the beautiful view from our room, I cooked fresh okra, stewed tomatoes, and rice while watching "Notting Hill" with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. After a wonderful dinner (and desert too) we went to a local bar on the water that had an awesome one man show. His name is "Steve Champagne" with "A Shining Star Production". With an entire band set up (drums, guitar, keyboard, etc) he did it all alone. Steve and I sat there for hours listening to him. He was very animated...had his own props that he would incorporate into the performance, and was VERY engaging with the audience. There were actually people standing outside the restaurant on the street that had decided to stay and listen as well. I got his card with the hope that maybe sometime in the future we can have him at the house for a get together. His website is and he seems VERY reasonable. The next morning Steve had to get up early to be at work and I headed out to pick up my little Steven from mimi's.  The next week was going to be a tough one.

If you click on the title to this blog it will take you to the "Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce" where you can see lots of pictures of Cedar Key, lodging, restaurants, and history...very cool.

Also, there is a link on the right side of my post that will take you to view ALL of my pictures from this trip..enjoy!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trip to Penn

At Heinz Field
Well...after almost a year in planning, we just got back from our trip to Pennsylvania. We had a blast! We were originally planning on taking two days to get there, but after Steve's brother and his wife decided to get on the road at 1:30am, we decided...what the heck....lets just get there. It took about 16 hours from door to door, but we made it, and boy were we happy to have finally gotten there. On the way there Steven decided it was time to get a fever and anyone who knows my son knows that this is his M.O. (method of operation). Before ANY holiday or ANY vacation, my son gets sick...I don't know why, but he does. I was giving him Advil the entire way there and he HATES IT! It took over an hour at one point to get him to finish 1 1/2 tsp. The next morning he slept in until 9:30 and and his fever broke. He was fine the entire rest of the time we were there. On Saturday we went to "Big Bear Lake" in West Virginia ( where Steve's aunts and uncle's had their own property there. There is a water park there as well that we all went to and had a good time. I think Steven was still feeling a little under the weather and stayed with me most of the time. We then had a huge family gathering at our cabin on Sunday evening where ALL the family came and we got to visit. We stayed local as well while we were there and visited local waterfalls, rock slides, general stores, go-carts, etc. On Tuesday, we took a behind the scenes tour of  "Heinz Field" where the Pittsburgh Steelers play which was very cool. We then went to lunch at "Primanti Brothers" in the strip district. This is Steve's brother's favorite place to go when we go to Pitt. This in the third time I have been to Pitt and also the third time to "Primanti Brother's". We then rode the incline, did some local shopping, and then let the kids play in a fountain with water set to music. They loved it! Steve and the rest of his family are huge fans of a local restaurant called "Bud Murphy's" and they just could not wait to get there to have some of their pizza. All in all it was a wonderful trip and we had a great time with family. I am looking forward to going again...sooner than later (our last trip there was when Steven Jr. was 9 months old).

If you click on the title of this post it will take you to my "YouTube" page where I have a number of video's that I took while on this trip.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Frogs & Fireworks, July 4th, 2010

I must say...I love the title to this post...."Frogs & Fireworks"..It almost sounds like an annual event...come to think of it...I think it should be....Fireworks and Frog Gigging! Well...Steve Jr was so excited about seeing his cousins that he could not stay awake for the festivities. He was asleep by 9:00p.m. He and his cousins went swimming, we fished and then they played until dinner. After about 2 bites of dinner it was bath time, his nightly "night cap" of chocolate milk, and then he was asleep within 5 min.  After a wonderful dinner with Kay and Mike, we did fireworks and then went "Frog Gigging" in two good size ponds that surround the house. Steve had recently told me that he and his brother had seen some huge frogs there and had wanted to go "Frog Gigging" but did not have the proper tools to do so. On our way to Monticello, Fl yesterday morning we stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up a 5 prong "Frog Gigger". It looks like the top of a large fork. Steve cut down a small tree, and used that for the long handle of the "Gigger". We then took to the banks of both ponds and also got into a small boat and "gigged" from the water. I must say...we both had a blast and were able to come away with 11 large frogs. We watched a video on "YouTube" which showed us how to clean the frog legs (very easy) when we got home this morning. I let Steve do the cleaning and I assisted, but WOW..what a cool new experience. Thank you GOD for this gift of family, and this new experience that I was able to have and share with my n-laws and my husband.

Click on the title to this post for a "YouTube" video of one of the frogs that we caught...Enjoy

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Father's Day Weekend, June 2010

What a wonderful Father's Day weekend we had last weekend. I have just been so very busy with work lately that this is the first short moment that I have had to myself to actually sit down and do my blog. My brother, his wife, and daughter, Ella (she calls Steven Jr. TT...sooo cute when she does) came into town from Baltimore for a week long family trip...first stop was to my mom's in St. Augustine so of course we had to go as well so that we could visit and spend Father's Day weekend with them and my mother ("Grandma at the Beach" in Steven Jr words). It was a very nice weekend and we spent a lot of time at the beach. There is no way we could not. Steven had a blast. I was such a proud mom when I saw Steven Jr swimming underwater in the ocean. Lots of things to be thankful for that weekend and every day.

If you click on the title of this post you will be taken to "YouTube" to watch an awesome video of Steven Jr on Steve's shoulders in the ocean as Steve falls into the water. Then Steven Jr takes to the water like a fish and starts swimming underwater. I loved it and just had to share.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trenton, to Gainesville, to Trenton, to Gainesville, and finally home!

I spent my Sunday at the office reviewing a current open protective services case and Steven and my husband spent the day at the springs. I knew that Steven was excited and I was happy to be able to get this work done. Upon my arrival home Steven and daddy shared with me their day at the springs and how Steven swam like a fish. That night Steven could not stop rubbing his eyes. I thought for sure he was just exhausted from his long day of swimming. Steven woke up the next morning and picked up where he left off with his eye rubbing, but again I thought to myself "It is just a morning thing". Well, about two hours after arriving at work in downtown Gainesville, his summer school teacher in Trenton (an hour away) called and told me that Steven's eyes are bloodshot and swollen. At that point I knew something was going on. I called the Dr's office and made an appointment. I was positive that it was allergies, but I still wanted the Dr. to be the one to tell me that. So I drove back to Trenton and picked him up, and then drove back to Gainesville to take Steven to the Dr. is a good thing that I got him there because his eye rubbing was occurring due to a bacterial infection. Steven got put on eye drops 3 times a day and was not allowed any contact with the children in his summer school class for 24 hours. So needless to say, yesterday was a LONG day, but no more eye rubbing! car hit over the 100,000 mile mark as well....wooo hooo!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Camping and UF Women's Football Clinic

Whew...what a weekend.....camping, football, and lots of bug bites! As soon as Steve came home from work on Friday, June 4th we loaded up the truck and took off to Manatee Springs for a weekend of camping. We were ready. We set up camp, got the tent sprayed with "Rain Guard" and we went to the springs to cool off...ahhhhhh. Let me just say that we have a water bug. Little Steven is swimming like a fish. He was having so much fun...and dad...well...lets just say he is the best. He would put Steven on his back and swim all the way across the spring and back with him. Of course Steven did not want to stay on his back because he can do it himself, and dad would let him, but boy he was right there ready to bring him in close when he would get tired. We went back to camp and were surrounded the entire time by deer. It was awesome! They would come walking right up to our camp site. Saturday morning I woke up at 6am, took a shower, and was at Florida Field by 8:00am. I must say that doing this UF Football Women's Clinic was one of the most awesome things I have even done! All the UF coaches were there doing drills with us at 8 different stations. We then took a tour of the weight room, locker room, and and got to run out of the tunnel into the SWAMP! I then headed back to the springs to be with my family and to thank my husband over and over for allowing me this day...just another gift from God.

If you click on the title to this post you can view a video of me running out of the tunnel into the SWAMP on YouTube!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Plentiful Garden, A Happy Child, and an "Amish Friendship Cinnamon Loaf" recipe

Over the holiday weekend I went down to our garden and look at what I found. Seven beautiful yellow squash. We had it for dinner last night along with some cranberry chicken that I had prepared the night before. Steve grilled the chicken and the squash on the grill and I must say...the chicken was good but I have never had squash so flavorful before. Steve says it must be the chicken poop that he has been throwing on the garden when he cleans it...(this was of course after I had eaten about 2 squashes at this point)...but I gotta tell's working! Our tomatoes are bigger than ever, the cucumbers are in the dozens (not ready to pick yet), and the eggplant is just now beginning to show it's face along with the green peppers. We also will have a few rows of white acre peas (which Steve introduced me to and I LOVE them).

I took this picture tonight while Steven and I were having snuggle time watching some Disney Pixar "Short Films". At one point Steven was laughing so hard (one of those deep belly laughs) I just had to get a picture. What a difference after him being sick on Sunday and Monday throwing up. By Monday evening he was on his way to recovery, but I have to believe that all the activity at Wild Waters on Saturday played some part in this 24 hour bug, but all is well now. I found myself laughing at Steven's laugh tonight...those are the best!
The process of replacing my wallet contents after having it stolen is a slow one, but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will be getting my birth certificate tomorrow morning and then going to the courthouse to get a new driver's license. Because I did not have a licence to get my birth certificate ($15.00 for proof of my own birth...geez) which I needed to get a driver's licence I had to make lots of phone calls to find out what other forms of identification would do. I had my work type up a letter and notarize it for me stating that I am currently employed there, and then will show them my work ID as well as my Social Security card. I will then carry over an entirely different set of documents to the courthouse so I could get a new driver's license. Still waiting on my new debit card that I was told was in the process of being requested (a week ago) but just learned it had not been so it will be another 7 to 10 days before I will have that in my possession. I am grateful however that I did not have my checkbook in my wallet OR my social security card.

Due to the growing popularity of the "Amish Friendship Cinnamon Loaf" that I have been making so much of lately (thank you Ruby) and I know how easy it is to loose the recipe I thought I would just post it online that way everyone would know where to go to get it if they needed it.

Amish Friendship Cinnamon Loaf

DO NOT use any type of metal bowls or spoons for mixing
DO NOT refrigerate
It is normal for the batter to rise, bubble and ferment. Burp as needed

Day 1: Do Nothing
Day 2: Mush the bag
Day 3: Mush the bag
Day 4: Mush the bag
Day 5: Mush the bag
Day 6: Add to bag 1 Cup self-rising flour, 1 Cup sugar and 1 Cup milk; mush the bag
Day 7: Mush the bag
Day 8: Mush the bag
Day 9: Mush the bag
Day 10: Follow the instructions:

1) Pour entire contents of bag into a NON-METAL bowl
2) Add 1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose flour, 1 1/2 Cups sugar, 1 1/2 Cup milk and stir
3) Measure 1 Cup batter into each of (4) 1 gallon size Ziploc bags and give to a friend along with a copy of this recipe.
4) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
5) Add to remaining batter:

3 eggs
1 Cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 LARGE box instant vanilla pudding
1 Cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Cup all purpose flour

6) Grease 2 large loaf pans
7) In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with 1/2 the mixture
8) Pour the batter evenly into the 2 loaf pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top.
9) Bake 1 hour and cool until it loosens easily from the sides of the pan (about 10 min)
10) Serve hot or cold.....Yummy!!!!

If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking every 10 days. The bread is very good and makes a great gift. Only the Amish know how to create a starter, so if you give them away, you'll have to wait until someone gives you one back.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Day At Wild Waters!

We arrived at the opening of the park...10:00a.m. which was perfect! Today was a special price day of $10.13 per/person admission because the radio station 101.3 was there today and if you mentioned them, you got the special price. Thank goodness I did because the lady taking our money was really paying attention to what I was saying. I guess if you don't say the right words you will be paying the regular $29.99 per person.....NO THANK YOU!  We had a blast today...please don't get me wrong...but we did not have a $29.99 parking was $7.00, plus to get a small locker you pay $13.00 and then get $5.00 of it back when you return your all in all the day came to $30.00 admission + $7.00 parking + $8.00 for locker + $15.00 in gas = $60.00 total for 5 hours at Wild Waters (We brought our lunch from home). That is for the discount price. WE HAD A GREAT TIME! However...I must keep things in perspective and adding up every penny and what was spent makes it REAL and plus I will know for next time. We were able to hit all the slides before the crowd arrived at noon. This was a huge bonus! With this being Steven's 1st time it gave us an opportunity to "test the waters" (ha pun intended..but it was good) Steven did awesome. And let me add that the life guards were everywhere in the park and ready to assist. Steven went down every slide (minus the "Gator" which you have to be 48 in...everything else is 42 in and he just makes it). Steven made us so very proud. He went down the the "Hurricane" which you sit on a tube by yourself and go town this 3-4 story wrap around type slide. He did great! He loved the "Kiddie" area because this gave him an opportunity to swim without assistance. There were three to four lifeguards in the kiddie area who were watching the kids like they were a bomb about to explode. If you wanted, you could request a life guard be ready for your little swimmer and they would be at the bottom of the slide ready to catch them. We were SO IMPRESSED with this. Because we had not been there for a while, we had a lot of questions and because there were SOOOO many lifeguards around the park it was easy to find one and ask. Steven loved the wave pool and did not want to leave. He was in a life jacket for this one, but continuously wanted to go in the deep end for the waves. Mom attempted this, but Steven did not understand that mom does not have legs that are 12 feet long so we quickly came in and hung out on "shore". Steven even went down the "Silver Bullet", but because our son is so light, he had to push himself ALL THE WAY DOWN (one of the fastest slides at Wild Waters). Steven got to the point where he stood up on the slide to get to the big drop and even when he did get to the drop, he still had to push himself in the pool at the end of the slide. I was dying laughing. The process of going down the slides was daddy 1st, then Steven, then me. This way Steve could either be ready to catch Steven, or he would be telling the lifeguard to "get ready" for Steven all at the same time I was at the top of the slide getting Steven ready and having him listen to the lifeguard tell him when it was his turn to go. THIS WAS AN AWESOME 1st visit. Is the park a little old...well yes...but we knew that going in...does it need a little TLC? Yep...but even with all that the slides were great, the lifeguards did an OUTSTANDING job...and we ALL had a great time...I would have to say that today was a great day....Thank you God!
P.S. If you click on the title to this post, it will take you to the "Wild Waters" homepage!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Night at the Landing!

Here is a picture of Steve and I at the Jacksonville Landing last night. We had a WONDERFUL time. While in Jacksonville for work Steve came and stayed with me for the night. We went and had some "Hooters" wings  at the Jacksonville Landing (click on title of this blog to go to Jacksonville Landing website) and then after came back to the hotel and visited with some co-workers in the hot tub. Of course I am quite tired today because I did not get to bed until around 12:45a.m. this morning, but WELL WORTH IT.  What a treat to have Steve with me for one of the evenings at the hotel. Being here for a week is a long time, and the fact that he took the time to come over, take me out to dinner, and spend the night was such a treat. Some of the ladies in the training got to meet him and he really hit it off with them. He is such a little social bug. I am also grateful for my mother giving me the money to still attend this training for work after my wallet was stolen on Saturday. Because she did this, I was able to still come and receive the training I need and also to have a night out with my husband. Thank you are a blessing...always there when I need you!  I would also like to say Thank you to my mother & father-n-law for taking care of my son for the past two days while Steve was at work and here with me for a night out. Every opportunity Steve and I have to spend out on the town together is such a gift and we really had a great time. Thank you Kay and Mike so very much! What a long list of things to be thankful for. I am so lucky! Thank you God!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oil and Smoking 2 yr Olds

On my lunch break I was on my "Twitter" page and saw a link to a video of a 2 year old boy who smokes up to 40 cigarettes a day. In so many ways this is wrong, and boggles my mind. I just had to attach a the link listed below. Let me know what you think. Also, while eating my lunch and "Twittering" I was listening to CNN regarding the oil spill and the status of doing the whole mud, cement, topkill thing.  They shared a very cool link where you can take the size of the oil spill and compare it to any city or town in the world. You can compare it to your own location to see how LARGE this oil spill really is. Check it out.
2 yr. old Smoking Boy
Oil spill size in your city or town

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Looking to Work From Home?

Looking to work from home? Just click on the title to this post (Looking to work from home) and it will take you to a list of 195 company's listed with the Direct Selling Association that you can sell such things as jewelry, aromatherapy, spa products, handbags, skincare, holiday decorations, candles, scrapbook's, food/gourmet items, etc. This list goes on and on. Just about any service or product can be purchased through direct selling, and you don't have to do it on your own...lots of these company's have the option of a website doing the work for you. Some of these companies include names like "AVON", "Amway", "Celebrating Home", "Creative Memories", "Initial Outfitters" and "Initial, Inc" among many others!  If I had the time, this is where I would begin my WAH journey. They have contact phone numbers listed for each company and direct links to each company's website to get yourself started. Pick one, pick ten...the opportunities are endless. Before you get started there are some questions that you should ask:

  1. What are the start up costs?
  2. Be sure to ask how much inventory (if any) you will be required to purchase and what the terms of return are if you decide to leave the business?
  3. Is the money you earn based on the sale of products or services?


Monday, May 24, 2010

A Nice Break!

The weekend started off great! My mother arrived in town on Friday, and my husband had a last minute date night planned. He sent me a text on Friday afternoon asking if I was up for going out and let grandma have an evening with little Steven. Yes! Yes! Yes! We had a wonderful time out on the town. The next morning my mother, Steven Jr and I left for a day of shopping. Our first stop "TJ Max". Though we did not find what we were looking for, someone found my wallet and refused to return it. wallet was stolen on Saturday.  This is a first for me. I only have one credit card and my debit card so going through the number of people you have to call was very easy, but the uneasiness was still what?  I was able to cancel my cards before my credit card or debit card was used...thank you mother was in town for support....thank you god, and my son was a well behaved trooper with all this going on....thank you god...I have learned that even with my wallet being stolen, there are things that can be done to fix the situation....thank you god....I have not lost a limb...or gotten into a horrendous accident...or lost a loved one....I am here, and it can be fixed....thank you god....what wonderful gifts...even in such a stressful situation...the tools are there to fix it and now I am in a beautiful hotel room, in a wonderful city, I have a great job, an awesome husband, a beautiful child, and a great mother...these are the gifts that god has given me and STILL provides me even with a stolen wallet he is still sending gifts my way...THANK YOU GOD!!!! 

Friday, May 21, 2010

2010 Gator Football Women's Clinic

Last year I was reading the Gainesville Sun the day after this occured and thought to myself "Man...If I would have known about this I would have been all over it". Well...Thanks to "Twitter" and following "" I saw yesterday that this was being announced and registration was open....Well...guess what...I did it...I registered for the UF Gator Football Women's Clinic ($90.00 later). I CAN'T WAIT!!! Myslef, along with all the other women will be running out of the tunnel onto Florida Field, participating in football drills, getting our pictures taken with Urban Myer (when they give us the okay...special source informs me that there will be designated times when this can happen) and of course getting my Free T-Shirt! 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happily Ever After!

So when I used to work as a Protective Service worker, I was working with families who had their children removed by the state due to abuse and neglect. Part of my job was to assist these families with the reunification of their children back into their home. In this job it is so common to have, and have heard more sad stories than happy. Yes, I have my few really happy stories, but today I had an e-mail forwarded to me by my old supervisor from a grandmother who I had placed some children with about three years ago. I had removed these children from their mother who had a serious methamphetamine addiction and placed them in the care of their maternal grandmother. Shortly after this had occurred I accepted a position as a trainer for the protective supervision agency that I work for now. The e-mail that was forwarded to me today stated that the children that I had placed in the grandmother's care had just received "Student Of The Month" awards on top of being very active in ballet and football. The oldest child was about to turn 15 and have her braces removed. On top of that, this child had also won a scholarship for college and is making A's and B's at school. The life that these children were living before was with a mother who was addicted to methamphetamine, and living in a methamphetamine lab. Though the mother tried, and tried, she just could not learn how to acknowledge her addiction. When I read this e-mail today I wanted to cry. I was so ecstatic at how well these children were doing and it only remedied me why I do what I do. Now as a trainer, I am no longer in the field able to work directly with these families, and have absolutely no idea how any of the children that I removed as an Investigator with the Florida Department of Children and Families, or as a protective service worker, are doing. I thank my old supervisor for taking the time to share this with me, and I also applaud this grandmother for doing everything she has done for these children. This e-mail was a blessing and a beautiful gift that I received today. I am so thankful and appreciative that I was able to receive it. These children wake up every morning and survive. It is such an amazing strength that they have that I have had the privilege of watching happen in front of my eyes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Deceptively Delicious Night!

Okay, so I was visiting my brother and sister-n-law in Feb and somehow we got on the topic of little picky eaters. My son has ALWAYS been the type of child where he will decide that he is no longer hungry if there is any "black" on his chicken from the grill. My sister-n-law introduced me to Jerry Seinfeld's wife's (Jessica Seinfeld) book titled "Deceptively Delicious".  This is the BEST cookbook for picky eaters! One of my most current recipes that I have done from the book is "Pita Pizza's" with spinach. My son loves these pita pizza's. I have made about 12 of them and then put them in the freezer for quick dinner's for when my husband is at work. I don't want to cook for just myself and for a child that does not eat a lot, so I prepare these meals ahead of time and then freeze. They work beautifully!

I took frozen spinach (it's cheaper than fresh), thawed and then pureed in the food processor. I spread the pureed spinach on the whole wheat pita and then covered the pureed spinach with caned tomato sauce (cheaper in the can than the jar). This is the key to ALL of these recipes (very deceptive). Make sure to cover the spinach with the sauce so they don't see the healthy stuff.

I then placed a slice of mozzarella cheese over each pita and baked in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese has melted.

Viola....they turned out great and even smelled the cook, I just had to have one myself. I must say, these are some good pita pizzas. I then wrapped in wax paper and placed in the freezer. I now have two weeks worth of dinner's.

Let's just say the proof is in the pudding! My son is eating spinach! I could not believe my eyes and I knew that I just had to take a picture while he was enjoying it and before he noticed there was "green" stuff on that pizza.

In addition to the "Pitta Pizza's" with spinach, I have also made Chocolate Chip pancakes with sweet potatoes, and tonight we ate "Mac-N-Cheese" with cauliflower. He finished the entire bowl. All of these meals are made in abundance and then frozen. I then heat everything up in the oven at 350 degrees (time varies depending on what I am heating). I love this book and would recommend it to anyone who has picky eaters (or not...they can only be good for your child because all recipes are made with vegetables).

So, even these have nothing to do with my Deceptively Delicious Night, I figured I would post the most recent pictures of my little man. The first is of Steven ready for bed drinking his night cap of chocolate milk. The second is his T-Ball trading card, and the third is his most recent school picture. I love my bubby!

Have a Deceptively Delicious Day!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Watermellon Festival and T-Ball (All in One Day)

What a busy weekend! From the moment we woke up Saturday morning I knew it was going to be a day filled with Wii today Steven...we are spending it outside. Our first stop...Newberry Watermelon Festival Parade! I think my son got more candy at the parade than he did at Halloween. He had just learned how to chew gum and we got plenty of it at the parade. After the parade was over it was off to T-Ball. This was Steven's last T-Ball game. Don't get me wrong, I think sports are great for kids. I participated in sports all my life as a child up until I graduated college for that matter, I was always active in something. But as a wife to a fireman who works 24 to 48 hours at a time, and a working full time mom, I gotta tell ya...I was happy that I no longer had to get off work at 2:00pm to make it home by 3:00pm, to get Steven off the bus at 3:50, leave at 5:00pm to make it to practice twice a week at 5:30pm which lasted until 6:30, and then we did not get home until 7:00pm which meant we were having a late dinner. By this point in my day I was exhausted. Please don't get me wrong, there are SO MANY positives to Steven playing in organized sports, but boy I tell ya....there is a lot of energy used to keep things in a positive perspective especially when you are so very tired. However, Steven is thrilled beyond belief that he has not one, but two trophy's now! They are placed next to his bed to see every night before he goes to sleep. He has come such a long way from last year in T-Ball. Last year there was a lot of playing in the sand and throwing grass in the air, which was actually quite funny to watch as the ball rolled by him during a game or at practice. Steven started out as catcher this year and before every game he would tell me that he was going to let his coach know that he was going to be catcher. By the end of the season he was wearing his catchers uniform and sitting on the ground behind home plate. I would walk over to him and ask "Whatcha doing big guy"? His responce would be "I'm tired". He was still a good sport though. Even with not wanting to do it anymore, he would still go up to home plate and try to hit the ball off the "T" slow motion at that. Let's just say that even with as hectic as it is, I got lots of pleasure out of watching him play.