Friday, December 28, 2007

Back Home...Safe and Sound

Everyone in our family has made it home safely from Illinois. We had a great time and I have plenty of pictures I want to post here along with great stories. I'll be back to share those once I get my house under control. Whoo! Returning from a trip sure does require a lot of work!

We left there at 4 am our time (3 am their time) and drove and drove and drove. We got home around 11 pm and collapsed. When we left Illinois there was snow falling and covering everything and today I am sweating in my t-shirt. Other than a couple of molars trying to come through, Caleb is doing well adjusting back to his normal routine. Chris is working today to allow for a four day weekend and we are planning a quiet, lazy evening at home.

I have done a lot of brainstorming these past few days and I've got some great ideas for the New Year. I look forward to sharing them with you when I return.

See you soon!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just Checking In Because I Can

It is about 9:30 am and we have been on the road now for 5.5 hours. We have already stopped for gas, changed drivers, and eaten breakfast. We are in Tennessee and the mountains are beautiful. I take over driving at the next shift which will commence once we cross over into Illinois. Chris will then take us to our destination. Caleb is doing pretty well considering he is confined to his carseat for so long. I just keep tickling his feet and feeding him doughnut holes. ;-) I am able to write this post because of Chris' nifty Blackberry that is providing the internet access. Yeah, Honey! Well, I'll be back soon.

Enjoy your Thursday!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Signing Off...For Now

Just wanted everyone to know that I am frantically packing for our way-too-early departure tomorrow morning for Illinois. Yep! We will be driving from SE Georgia all the way up to Illinois. Whoo! Thankfully, there will be two other adults in the van to help out with Caleb. Chris will be bringing his laptop and maybe I'll be able to blog about all the goings on while we are there. I'm not promising anything, though. We will be surrounded by a very LARGE family that wants to dote on us the whole week. It will be great!

So, I am signing off for now.

Good Luck and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Time of Celebration

This past Thursday Chris, Caleb, and I headed to Wake Forest, NC to share in the festivities surrounding my brother's, Henry, Ph.D graduation from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. We are so proud of him!

We arrived at the hotel Thursday night around 10:30 pm or so and promptly checked in. I was pleased to find out that my Dad and Stepmom were just across the hallway. I knocked on their door and they came over to play with Caleb while Chris and I got settled. It is amazing how quickly a zonked out little boy can wake up to play. As soon as we were ready we got into bed because we had a 7 am breakfast in the hotel lobby. The night was rather fitful because we were in a strange place, hot, and Caleb was coughing more than usual.

We got up around 6:30 am on Friday and put on whatever we could find and headed downstairs for breakfast. It was good to see everyone before the ceremony. We then went back upstairs and got dressed for the ceremony and headed to the chapel. The weather was nice and Chris and I enjoyed hanging out until everyone else got there.

SEBTS chapel

We found some good seats and settled in until the ceremony began. Chris was so sweet in that he offered to referee Caleb during the entire ceremony so that I could sit with my family and watch Henry get his degree. We finally decided that it would work the best if he took Caleb upstairs in the balcony for the entire event. It was sweet hearing occassional noices coming from up there. In fact, at the end of a hymn we all heard little hands claaping and a loud, "YEAH!!" Everyone there laughed. I thought, "Yep! That's my boy!"

Caleb waiting for everything to get started.
Also, showing evidence of sickness.

The ceremony was very good even though I 've always had a hard time sitting through graduation ceremonies...even mine. Have I ever mentioned that I got my M.A. in Biblical Counseling from the same school? Henry was the second to the last person to walk across the stage. The only real bummer was that my camera wasn't working when Henry got his hood and diploma. Apparently, I had hit some button and that prevented the picture. It has since been fixed.

The President giving the graduation address.

One thing that was sad about the ceremony was that Henry's Mentoring Professor was sick in the hospital that morning. He has been battling cancer for a few years and that landed him in the hospital. So, the President (above) walked Henry across the stage and gave him his hood and such. He then pulled Henry back to the pulpit and told everyone the circumstances and why Henry's professor wasn't there. He also told us how he was at the hospital that morning and that the professor woke up and said, "Did Henry get through?" Wow! How special is that?! Yes, Henry got through and is now a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology.

Here is Henry in his regalia

After the ceremony we spent a good amount of time taking family pictures and talking to old friends and professors we haven't seen in about 4 years. Chris and I ran into one of my Counseling professors who also did our premarital counseling. That was nice.

Caleb getting tired of the festivities and ready for a nap

Everyone then went back to the hotel to change into casual clothes (Thank Goodness!). Caleb fell asleep in the car on the way to the hotel and then we put him on the bed while Chris and I got dressed. Everyone gathered and we ate at a wonderful burger joint. Man! I wish we had one of those in our area. We went onto the mall to kill some time until the big event which was dinner at a Japanese Steak House. Caleb did a great job eating soup and rice.

As the day progressed, Chris and I were noticing that Caleb's cough was getting progressively worse. It all came to a head that night. He woke up screaming and with the worst croup I've ever heard him have. My Stepmom and I took turns sitting in the steamy bathroom with him and that helped a lot. My heart broke a little bit because Caleb didn't want to be cuddled by me. He wanted his Grammy. Whatever helped him sleep was okay with me. Chris made a late night trip to Target and bought a humidifier. I guess one good thing from all this is we have a nicer humidifier now. ;-)

The night was rough with Caleb waking occassionally either wanting to be held or just coughing. Not much sleep was to be had by anyone. Come morning I checked his temperature and it was over 102. I called the nurse and she said to go to an Urgent Care unit while still in Raleigh. UGH! My Dad and Stepmom were kind enough to stay in town while we did all this. Once Caleb was seen and given prescriptions they headed home.

Chris and I went back to the hotel, packed quickly, and headed to the pharmacy to pick Caleb's drugs. At this point we called our friends in Charlotte, NC and told them that our visit was a No-Go because of Caleb's illness. We started our journey home after Chris and I stopped by our favorite coffee shop. It was bittersweet because we don't know when we will be back to Raleigh. But, we needed to get our boy home and thus, we started our journey back to Georgia. Caleb slept the majority of the trip and that made my heart feel good. He sure needed it!

We got home, unpacked, bathed, and settled in. It was a very eventful weekend. There was celebration and sickness. But, above all it was a wonderful time with family and enjoying each other's love and fellowship. I can't wait till we can do that again! I think it might be this summer when we all gather together in the NC mountains. I am so ready for that trip.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gotta Love Those Lit Up Parks

Have you ever been camping in a state park? Are you a RV camper or a tent camper? Do you like to be snug as a bug in a bed or rustic in a sleeping bag on the ground? Whatever way you prefer camping out you know that it sure is fun to camp out in those beautiful state parks. One thing that I think is fun to look at is all the rope light that comes from the RV's. It looks festive and almost like Christmas-time even in the summertime or in October (my preferred time to camp).

Chris' parents have become RV campers and they have hit a few parks in our home state and even gone out of the state for Thanksgiving. They know that if they are going to fully adopt the RV lifestyle they have to have a good set of rope lights. Just last week I was looking online with my Mother-In-Law as she looked for a good set and I mentioned the benefits of LED lights. I have written here before about LED lights and how much I like them for Christmas tree lights or decorative house lights. I am glad to hear that you can decorate your RV with LED lights too. Did you know that LED rope lights only use about .47 watts per foot of energy while the older lights used 6 watts per foot? They will last more than 50,000 hours and they generate very little heat. That is my favorite part because of the drought we are in and how dry our parks can be. We don't want a horrible fire to start because of some lights on a RV.

For those of us who are slow to adopt the "Green" lifestyle, I think LED lights are a good start.

Go check them out and Happy Camping!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just Like Everyone Else

Well, folks, it looks like my brain is zapped of all blogging ideas due to the Holidays coming up. I am currently trying to get my house under control once again before we leave town for the first time (my brother's Ph.D. graduation) in the next two weeks. After that trip is our trip to Illinois for Christmas with Chris' family. In the meantime I'm just trying to keep a-float and my house at least semi-nice. I apologize in advance if I am absent until the New Year. I will do my best to come by sometimes but no promises. If I don't see you....have a WONDERFUL and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

As Caleb and I were at home Wednesday and Thursday this week while the cars were being worked on I decided to use the time to do a lot of baking. Wednesday we baked cookies for our MOPS cookie exchange and yesterday we made Homemade Cinnamon-Raisin Bread. I got the recipe from The Mom's Big Book of Baking by Lauren Chattman from my library and I adapted it so that I made the dough in the mixer instead of in the food processor.

Here's the recipe: (I doubled the recipe so we would have a loaf and I could take one to a Christmas party) This is for one 9 inch loaf

1 1/3 cups whole milk
1 envelope rapid rise yeast (or 2.5 teaspoons)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, more if necessary
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Nonstick cooking spray

1 1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, and cooled

1. Make the dough: Heat the milk over low heat in a small saucepan until just warm to the touch. Pour it into the mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes to give the yeast a chance to dissolve.

2. Once the yeast is dissolved add the sugar and salt and then the flour by cupfuls. Mix in the mixer (I used dough hooks) and keep adding the flour until a soft dough is formed.

3. Knead on a floured surface until a soft ball is formed.

4. Coat the inside of a large mixing bowl with cooking spray. Shape the dough into a rough ball and place in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough stand in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in size, 1-1.5 hours.

5. Make the Filling: Place the raisins in a small saucepan and cover them with water. Bring the liquid to a boil, remove pan from the heat, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Drain the raisins and pat them dry on a paper towel. Set aside. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl.

6. Coat the inside of a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently press it into a rectangle measuring about 1 inch thick and 9 inches long. Brush the dough with the 1 tablespoon cooled melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar. Sprinkle with the raisins.

Tightly roll the rectangle into a 9-inch long cylinder and place it in the prepared pan, seam side down. Press the dough into the pan so that it touches the sides and reaches into the corners. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size.

7. Preheat oven 350 degrees.

8.Remove plastic wrap from loaf pan and place pan into oven. Bake until golden brown and firm, 40-50 minutes. Remove pan from oven and turn out onto wire cooling wrack and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Can be wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to be frozen for up to 2 weeks.

Show and Tell Friday

Welcome into my Home! This is my first time participating in Show and Tell Friday over at Kelli's Blog, There Is No Place Like Home. I really like the idea of this carnival because it makes me look around my home for things that I find to be extra special. When I was thinking about participating I was looking around my home and things kept jumping out at me. I thought, "Wow! I really do have some special things here. What a wonderful home I have!"

For this first week I would like you to see my little Dicken's Village I set up for the first time this Christmas. A couple years ago I got my first Dicken's house. It is the Ebenezer Scrooge Counting House that is to the right of the lovely church. That was the only one I had for awhile and it often had a cozy place under the tree.

This year my little exploded into three more buildings and the trees. You see, my Mom loved collecting these houses each year and she always created a lovely display at Christmas. My Mom went to see Jesus in 2001 and the houses stayed at my Dad's house until this year. My Stepmom often displayed them with love but this year she told us kids (my sister, brother, and me) to please divide them up and take them to our own homes. So, we met around the table with all the boxes displayed and we talked, traded, and negotiated until we all got what we wanted.

I LOVE having this little village displayed right by the tree. Every night when we are going to bed we say goodnight to our little villagers as we turn out their lights and every morning Caleb and I say good morning as it is brought back to life. Not only is it pretty but it is also a little bit of my Mom and her love in our home.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Life Through the Eyes of a 17-Month Old

Caleb turned 17 months old today and life sure is exciting at this age. What are the two most important things to him? Balls and Cookies! This boy wakes up saying "ball ball ball" or "gooky gooky." Y'all I don't give this boy that many cookies but he lives and breathes cookies and balls. And then, he goes to bed saying "ball ball" or "gooky gooky." I look forward to a wider vocabulary and other interests. In the meantime I will enjoy his simple pleasures in life. I have to admit that I like cookies too!


What the heck does WFMWTWDIFE mean, you ask?

Works For Me Wednesday: What Do I Fix Edition!!

Just the other day Chris and I were discussing dishes I've been cooking way slightly too often lately. One thing he insists I could NEVER cook too often is my Mom's Made-From-Scratch Macaroni and Cheese. I know this recipe isn't rocket science and is pretty basic but you would think that I had cooked a gourmet meal when Chris sees this in the oven. I surely feel loved when I see his smile.

I'm going to copy out exactly how my Mom wrote it out for me. ;-)

Cheddar Cheese (mild or medium (cut up))
Plain Flour
Skim milk (1 cup)
Salt and Pepper

Cook the macaroni until tender but not overcooked. Drain and add a little margarine. Make a white sauce with the margarine, flour, and milk. Season with the salt and pepper

White sauce: Melt 3 Tbs. margarine in a saucepan. Stir in 2 heaping Tbs. flour until smooth. Carefully stir in milk, being careful to avoid lumps. Simmer until this sauce is smooth and thickened. Then add the cut-up cheese and stir until it is meltd and the sauce is smooth.

Mix together the sauce and the macaroni, adding a bit of the macaroni at a time to the sauce until desired consistency is reached. Pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees until hot and bubbly.

Homemade Mac-And-Cheese Works For Me!!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What Do You Do When You Are Minus A Car?

Boy in Chef's Hat Baking Cookies

You bake, of course!!

Chris and I are doing the oil change dance the next two days. We dropped off my car tonight for it to be worked on tomorrow and then tomorrow night we will switch out the car and the van will be worked on Thursday. That means I'll be at home without a vehicle the next two days. I usually get a little antsy during these days but I am looking forward to it this time.

My MOPS group is having a cookie exchange at our Christmas party next week. For those who aren't familiar with what a cookie exchange is here are the basic rules. You bake however many cookies you want to bring. You make little baggies with 6 cookies each. Once you are at the exchange you can pick up the same number of cookies you brought. So, if you make 6 dozen cookies you can pick up 6 dozen cookies made by other people. YUM!! The other rule is that the cookies must be at least semi-homemade. Some dough must go into the oven, basically.

I am a cookie purist I guess and that means I have to make them from scratch. Tomorrow will be a cookie baking extravaganza. Yeah!!

Also, a good friend who had her baby about 6 weeks ago or so is coming over to hang out, keep me company, and to help bake. That will make the day even more special.

I can't wait!!

Graphic From

I Guess He Wants To Be Just Like His Big Sister

Monday, December 03, 2007

Contest over at

Y'all there is a really cool contest going on over at It is the All I want for Christmas Giveaway . They are launching it today, December 3rd, and I KNOW you will want to get in on this one because it is all about what YOU want for Christmas.

Here's what's going on. On each day of the contest you have the chance to win gifts you've chosen from valued up to $1,000. (Oh, how I would LOVE to win this!!) I know you love that, BUT you also get to invite 5 of your friends each day to sign up for the giveaway to win right along with you. What does that mean? It means that if you win a gift, so do all your friends! So, you are getting 5 chances to win a gift that is valued up to $1,000. There is more, though. You also have one chance to win a gift valued up to $5,000!! By signing up for this contest and registering a gift each and every day you are not only increasing your chances of winning some awesome stuff for yourself but you are also making a few of your friends extremely happy as well.

So, go pick out what you would really like for Christmas and invite your friends to do the same. You just might get it!!