Saturday, January 31, 2009

Homework Assignment

This is from an email my mother in law sent me. I thought it was too funny and would pass it along.

Homework Assignment: Who do you want to be like when you grow up?



This is the note the teacher received the next day:

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.

I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Smith

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

I remember seeing this blog carnival somewhere but I can't remember or I would like you back to it. I am going to try to start making a habit of posting a tasty recipe each Tuesday.
I made this wonderful comfort dish last night. I am looking forward to the leftovers for lunch today! I took a recipe I had found, tweeked it for our taste and also tried to make it healthy. My husband said that it was better than Cracker Barrel's chicken and dumplings (which was a huge compliment to me!). Also, this is a very checkbook friendly recipe. You could easily serve 6-7 (Jay and I both had 2 bowls last night and there were enough for leftovers today) with this recipe and I only spent $8.50 on the ingredients. Let me know if you try it!

Chicken and Dumplings with Mushrooms
1 32oz Low Sodium, Fat Free Chicken Stock

1 small can of Low Sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup (If you don't like mushrooms, use cream of chicken soup)

1 Can of Pillsbury Flakey Layer Biscuits (10 count--I used the homestyle)

1/3 a cup of Flour

2 Cups of Water

2-3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Salt and Pepper to Taste
A dash of Garlic Powder


In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock and water until boiling. Once boiling, add the chicken in and let poach for about 5-6 minutes (until the chicken is white and firm--don't over cook!). Remove the chicken and bring the liquid back to a boil. Once boiling, wisk in the cream of mushroom soup. Let the liquid return to a boil, once boiling turn the heat down to medium.
Open your can of biscuits and seperate each biscuit into 2-3 layers. Tear each layer into 4 pieces. Dip the pieces in flour and then add them to the liquid. After all of the biscuits have been added, let it simmer for 10 minutes. Gently stir often. At this point, you can season the broth with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. While the liquid is simmering, chop the cooked chicken into bite sized pieces. Return the chicken to the liquid and turn the heat to low. Simmer on low for atleast 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

This was a very easy recipe and makes a lot of food. It would be great on a cold night!

In Prissy news, she got to go shopping for the first time last night. We took her to Petsmart and she loved it. She came away with a couple of new toys, a crate, and a soft bed. Maybe her name should be Princess instead of Prissy! She is such a sweet puppy!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meet Miss Priss

Today my parents picked up their new puppy Prissy. She is a 3 year old, long haired/broken coat Jack Russell Terrier. She is spunky, sweet, and oh so loveable. We were going to change her name but Prissy just fits her personality. I am in love with her already. She loves to ride in the car and LOVES to play fetch. Here are some pictures of our newest family member. She was moving so fast that it was hard to take good pictures and my camera battery was going dead so I didn't get many.
Miss Prissy



She LOVES to play.


video
Ok, this is my first attempt of using the video camera on my digital camera. It is not the best video but atleast you can get an idea about how much fun Miss Priss is. Sorry about the long back-end shot, I was trying to get the ball to throw for her.

I was filled with a mix of emotions when Mom called to let me know they were going to look at a puppy. I was excited at the prospect of a new companion but it made me miss Jack. When she called to let me know they were almost home with her, I got really emotional. I miss Jack and I know Prissy will never replace him, but I think she is going to find her own little place in our hearts. I'm attached to her already.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Here she is...Miss America

I'm such a girly girl. I love a good pageant. They remind me of my pageant days many moons ago. If I can find them, I will try to post some of my old pageant pictures. My very first I was first runner up as Junior Miss Montevallo. Then in 9th grade, I won Miss Congeniality in the Miss Montevallo High School pageant. I participated in Junior Miss and had a great time but did not place (everyone who placed was from the same school...coincidence?) Then my senior year I won Miss Montevallo High School. That was my last pageant but when I moved to Mobile I continued to work with pageants as the public relations intern for America's Junior Miss. I had a blast!!

Tonight I am enjoying the new and improved Miss America pageant. So far Miss Alabama has made the top 15! I hope she does well.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Movie Filled Weekend

Since Jay has begun working at Publix, we rarely get Saturday's off together. This Saturday we decided to make it "movie day". We began the day with lunch then a trip to the theaters to see "My Bloody Valentine 3D". Okay, go ahead and laugh, but it was actually kinda good. I will give my reviews in a few minutes. Then we grabbed a pizza for supper and headed to the movie store. I had a free rental so we rented "Tropic Thunder". On the way home, we stopped by Walmart to try out the Redbox machine and rented "Mamma Mia". At home we watched "Tropic Thunder", "Mamma Mia", and "Vantage Point". We had a lot of fun just sitting around watching movies (and ignoring the pile of laundry and dirty dishes).

"My Bloody Valentine 3D"
This is a remake of the '80s horror flick, My Bloody Valentine. I have never seen the original so I didn't know what to expect. Bloody, very bloody. I would say about 2 minutes into the movie begins the blood bath. This movie is shown in 2D and 3D, splurge and see it in 3D. You get a funny looking pair of modern day 3D glasses (no more red and blue lenses--they now look like sunglasses). The movie began with the first killing showing and eyeball coming "off screen". I jumped many times, there are some parts that I really could have done without seeing, and many parts were just so cheesy that you had to laugh. It does have a story line even thought it was kinda predictable. There were many gratuitous 3D shots (things coming "out of the screen at you") but that is what made it a lot of fun. I would not take a child to see this movie. Overall, 2 out of 5 stars.


"Tropic Thunder"
I love a good comedy but this one was a let down. There were a ton of big name actors in this movie but it never really came together for me. There were some really funny parts but a lot of just awkward parts. Jay enjoyed it more than I did. I give it 2 stars out of 5.

"Mamma Mia"
I LOVE a good musical. I have seen Mamma Mia on stage so I already knew the story line. Overall I like the movie despite some really cheesy performances by the extras. I thought Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried did an excellent job. I also really enjoyed Pierce Bronson, but I could have done without the performances of the extras. The movie follows the play the best that I can remember. I really enjoyed the last few minutes of the movie and thought Streep's performance during Winner Takes it All was really heartfelt. I give Mamma Mia 4 out of 5 stars.

This is the movie that I rented from the Redbox machine. I was really pleased with the service and you can't beat $1 for a movie rental.

"Vantage Point"
This was the last movie of the mix. Very fast paced and action packed. I had heard mixed reviews of it but decided to give it a try on HBO. It reminded me a lot of the tv show 24. The movie kept replaying the same scenes but from different characters vantage points. You find out that things are not how they seem. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Now that movie day/night has concluded, I guess I should tackle that pile of laundry and dishes. Thank goodness for one more day off.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Only You

Photobucket


Only You
David Crowder Band

Take my heart, I lay it down

At the feet of You who’s crowned
And take my life, I’m letting go
I lift it up, to You who’s throned

Chorus
And I will worship you, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You, Lord

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
Be all my delights, be my everything

And it’s just You and me here now
Only You and me here now

You should see the view
When it’s only You

To hear this beautiful song, scroll down to my playlist. It is the first one listed. As I looked through my pictures of Jack today, I found this picture of the cross at the chapel and thought of this song. As such a time as this, when I have had a day filled with sadness and longing, this song gives me strength.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cold Nose and a Warm Heart



Thirteen years ago, after begging for a dog, Mom and Dad told us at Christmas that soon we would be getting a puppy. John and I were beyond excited and couldn't wait until we got the puppy we had been begging for. During that same time a sweet lady in Montevallo was getting ready to welcome into the world a litter of Jack Russell puppies. Jump ahead a few weeks later, our family ventured out to her farm to pick out which puppy would soon join our family. Right away, all four of us knew which one. The pudgy puppy with the black spots. We still had to wait a few weeks until he was ready to come home with us, but little did we know, this was our first glance at the puppy that would change our lives.
Now this puppy, had quite a beginning. The week that we were supposed to pick him up, we get a phone call from the sweet little lady. There had been a mix up, and our puppy was on his way to Arkansas. She asked if we still wanted that puppy or did we want to pick out a different one. Nope, we wanted that puppy with the black spots. A day later our puppy was back in Alabama and ready to come home. ***side note: The guy who brought him back from Arkansas told us about giving him a McDonald's cheeseburger on the drive back...I bet this was were he found his love for cheeseburgers.
I remember Mom and I picking him up and I being amazed at how little he was. We brought him home and we decided to name him Jack. What better name for a Jack Russell right?
From then on, that little bundle of energy had my family wrapped around his paw.
We survived the puppy stage where he chewed on anything and everything. Watched that ball of energy run until he couldn't run anymore and play just like a toddler. We learned that if we didn't leave him toys, that he would find all kinds of mischief to get into. We watched him as he would pull every toy out of his toy box to find exactly what toy he wanted. He thought he was as big as John and I and would often eat more than us! He had a love for green beans and wouldn't eat french fries unless they had ketchup on them. He could open Christmas presents as well as a toddler could and knew exactly which presents were his. He had the most expressive looks and noises that he would make that you could swear he was talking to you.
I can't remember a day at home that I didn't get a hug from Jack. He was the most loving dog that I have ever met. He would put one paw on each shoulder and then lay his head on your chest, or put his head on your shoulder. He loved to get hugs as much as give them. His cold nose would "snoot" you until you loved on him. We always said that his cold nose meant that he had a warm heart. During the time that I was dating, my parents would go to bed but Jack would stay up and wait for me to get home. Once I would get home, I would pet him and tell him goodnight and he would go to my parents room. In the mornings, he would always come to my door to make sure that I was there. Most mornings, after my parents had gotten up, he would come and get in bed with me.
He was the best snuggle buddy. He loved to be right up against you and he would keep you warm during the coldest times. He would also wrestle you for the covers. He had this way of starting on top of the covers at the end of the bed, and then sometime during the night, make his way to the top of the bed and get under the covers.
Even after John and I moved out, Jack still would get so happy when we would come by and visit. He would great us at the door with a wagging tail and couldn't wait to get in our laps to hug us. He would stay in our laps or close to us until we left. When we went to leave, Jack would let us know that he wasn't happy with us leaving.
Words cannot explain how much my family loves this dog.
We have known for a week now that he didn't have much time. I went by my parents house on Thursday to love on Jack. I could tell that it was only a matter of time. He could barely walk and barely ate his favorite foods. His breathing was labored and it took all he had to hug me. I cried as I held him in my lap and he placed his head on my shoulder.

This afternoon, Jack went to sleep for the last time. He went peacefully and wasn't in any pain. Mom said that she and Dad had just gotten home from running some errands. Jack got up from his doggie bed, walked to his water bowl and drank some water, went back to his doggie bed, and laid down. They thought he was asleep but then realized that he wasn't breathing. We feel as if he was waiting for them to get home. Mom called me and I immediately went over. I sat with him and loved on him while my parents prepared a space for him in the yard. Mom and I lovingly wrapped him in his favorite blankets and brought him outside to my Dad. Dad, Mom, and I buried him under the cedar tree in the yard. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do. Afterwards, I stayed at my parents house for a while. I kept hearing sounds in the kitchen that I would think was him. I kept waiting for him to come and sit with me on the couch.
I know he was a dog, but our family loved that dog. He was a brother to me and another child to my parents. When any of us was sick, Jack would take care of us. He lived the best life that he could have possibly asked for. We knew that this was inevitable, but it is still hard. As my dad pointed out, "realizing it was going to happen was easy, accepting that it has happened is hard."
Please keep my family in your prayers as we slowly accept this. Jack was my Dad's constant companion and the house is going to be very quiet without him. I miss him already. I have cried most of the afternoon. Please pray for peace for my family. I leave you with a few photographs of a dog well loved.
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Monday, January 5, 2009

Jack



I know I have asked for your prayers a lot lately (and thank you to everyone who has helped pray for those) but can you please add my sweet puppy Jack to your list? I know he is a dog, but he is so much more than that. He is a cuddle buddy, a true companion, a comforter, a second shadow. He would stay up and wait on me to get home at night, and would come to my bedroom door and check on me each morning. You can't eat anything in my parent's house without sharing a bite with Jack. He will hug your neck (no kidding) and make you feel completely loved. I should add that my cherished puppy will turn 13 on Saturday, but I am afraid he might not make it. Mom said that he is not doing well and had 4 seizures last night. (He has had seizures since he was a puppy, but I never remember him having 4 in one day) He has stopped eating and has laid around all day. His breathing is also getting very labored. I know he is old and has lived a good life, but I don't think anyone could quite understand the bond that dog has with my family. I worry about how my Dad and Mom will do without him. He is truly my Dad's best friend. Their bond is indescribable. Please pray for my family as we prepare for the inevitable and pray that Jack doesn't suffer.

PS--See the purple blanket in the pictures with Jack? At one time that was my blanket that my parents brought back from Cancun. Jack decided that it would be his blanket instead and would search it out to lay on it. I eventually turned it over to him and it could always be found on the couch or recliner for him to enjoy. He loves to be cuddled so much that when no one is around to cuddle with, he would "nest" himself in the blanket. I mean literally move the blanket around so that it resembled a nest before settling down in it.

Kevin Bacon Game

I really should be asleep. I probably shouldn't have drank Mt. Dew about an hour ago.

Have you ever heard of the Kevin Bacon game? You know, where you see how many degrees of separation any star is from Kevin Bacon. Did you know that I am only separated by only 4 degrees from Kevin Bacon?
Step 1
I have a sorority sister whose....
Step 2
brother was in the movie Vanilla Sky....
Step 3
with Tom Cruise, who...
Step 4
was in "A Few Good Men" with Kevin Bacon.

How cool is that? Which makes you only 5 degrees from Kevin Bacon. Ok, so you are probably wondering why in the world I am blogging about this. Blame it on the Mt. Dew.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Exciting News!!!

This fall, I heard about a grant opportunity and I figured, "Why not?!". So I wrote a grant for my dream field trip. Being that I never got a chance to go to the Space and Rocket Center as a child, I wrote a grant hoping to be able to take my students to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Did you know that they offer a program called the "Ultimate Field Trip" that includes a guided tour of the Space and Rocket Center, a hands on lab where you learn about Mars, an IMAX movie, and lunch? Well...did you know that Target offers grants for teachers to take their kids on field trips and the max amount they offer is $800 and the Ultimate Field Trip cost $750?
Like I said, I applied for this grant figuring that it was probably too extravagant but something that I would love to offer my kids. GUESS WHAT!!!!! I got a letter in the mail today letting me know that I had been selected for the grant!!! I received the top grant too!!! $800 to take my students on my dream field trip. I am so excited!!! There is a lot of planning to do and we will probably have to find some way to pay for a charter bus to Hunstville, but I am sooooooooooo excited about this! The space unit has always been one of my favorite units to teach but now I am going to be able to offer my students and even more in-depth opportunity!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

100 Things...Part 2

So I promised the 2nd half of the list before Christmas, and didn't quite make that deadline. SORRY! So, here is the 2nd half of the list (better late than never!).
  1. I already mentioned my love of music, but I didn't mention that I took piano for almost 7 years and I played the flute while in middle and high school.
  2. I usually can memorize the words of a song by the 2nd or 3rd time I hear it.
  3. I love to dance and took dance lessons for 13 years. I quite in high school when I made the cheerleading squad and the schedules conflicted but I never lost my love of dancing. In college I participated in the sorority dance competitions every year and loved it. We won 1st place 2 years and 2nd place one year (I left South during my Junior year of college).
  4. I don't like to go into a dark room. If possible, I will always turn a light on before I completely enter a room. (Ok, so I am afraid of the dark--but I have a reason...)
  5. I hate to wash dishes and clothes.
  6. I used to have a "master list" of all of my friends birthdays and would send birthday cards (real snail mail!) on their birthdays. I hate that I have let this habit slack, I need to start doing it again.
  7. I have met Paula Deen twice and hope to one day cook with her. We had a quick but good conversation this fall about how I love teaching kids to cook. When I say quick, it lasted less than 2 minutes but I did get to talk to her about it!
  8. I have met Nicholas Sparks. I was so excited and so nervous that all I could say was, "I like your books." What a dork!
  9. I am a klutz.
  10. I remember peoples faces but I'm bad with names.
  11. I hate for my food to touch on my plate.
  12. I love to paint and at one point took formal painting classes.
  13. I hate to go shoe shopping. I tend to wear a pair of shoes until they fall apart.
  14. I love fresh flowers.
  15. Peachy pink roses that are not tightly closed are my favorite flowers. I also love lilies.
  16. I don't drink coffee but love hot chocolate and apple cider.
  17. Jay and I hope to one day open a restaurant. I hope to also do some catering along with the restaurant.
  18. I'm really starting to understand the meaning of "let go and let God."
  19. I love my family (all of them, the whole big extended family)
  20. I always get a knot in my stomach before someone tries something that I have made. I really hope they like it. For example, last night I made a new type of cheese ball. I have a recipe for homemade pimento cheese that everyone seems to love, so I made a batch, added a little extra cheese, and rolled the balls in pecans. The adults loved it but when it came to my little cousins trying it, I had the biggest knot in my stomach. Katie made my day though with her comment, "this is really good!" and she ate more than one cracker!
  21. I am an American Idol fan.
  22. I have been going to Camp Sumatanga since the 2nd grade. My first camp experience was a weekend for elementary campers and loved it so much that I begged to go back the next year. I went for one week every summer until I was 16. When I was 16, I had the opportunity to be a junior high counselor and was one for 2 years. Then I moved to Mobile and worked with Camp MASH (Make Arthritis Stop Hurting). When I moved back to Montevallo, I contacted a camp friend and volunteered to be a counselor. I ended up being a counselor 3 weeks that summer. The next two summers I was Team Coordinator for the Jr. High and Sr. High camps. For the past 2 summers I have been a junior high camp director. Funny enough, I used to always go to JH2 and that was the camp that I first was a counselor for. Now, I direct JH2.
  23. I am very conservative.
  24. I collected water globes.
  25. I have broken my arm twice and hyper-extended my foot (which I had to wear a cast for).
  26. I am a condiment queen.
  27. I am a Daddy's girl but my Mom is one of my best friends.
  28. In high school, I decided that I would be a "semi-vegetarian" on year. I only ate fish and chicken, no red meat or pork. I lost 10 pounds and drove my parents crazy.
  29. I got my first car when I was 16, a Saturn, as a gift from my parents. I have only ever driven Saturn cars. I bought my first car (all on my own) when I was 24 a Saturn Vue.
  30. I am fairly superstitious.
  31. I hate to write papers. I would much rather go through an interview/oral presentation than write a paper.
  32. I once entered 5 photographs into a photography competition the City of Montevallo was hosting. The winners were supposed to have their pictures printed in a Calendar the city was to produce. Much to my surprise I placed in both the professional and non professional categories. My pictures were on display with the award ribbons. I never received my awards and I don't think the calendar was ever made but it was exciting to see my photographs on display.

3rd Place Professional Photography











Honorable Mention Professional










2nd place Non-Professional











Honorable Mention Non-Professional









No award








33. If I wasn't a teacher, I would like to be a caterer or something in the medical field.
34. I am an Auburn fan. Before I decided to go to South Alabama, I was going to Auburn. I had plans to try out to be Aubie.
35. The strangest place I have ever visited was Eureka, Arkansas. It is a lot like Gatlinburg, TN but stranger. Don't get me wrong, it is a really neat place, just a little different.
36. I am scared of heights.
37. I am very self conscious of my birth mark.
38. I had Lasik surgery 3 years ago. It was one of the scariest things I have ever done and almost backed out. Did you know that you are completely awake for the surgery and it takes less than 5 minutes? I was on the table and the nurse asked me what time it was (there was a clock across the room). I was so scared and mumbled something about "I don't know". A few minutes later, she sat me up and asked again about the time. I amazingly could see across the room and told her that it was 3:15! 20 minutes later my mom was driving us back to the hotel room (she had the surgery right before me). 5 hours later (after a deep medically induced sleep) we woke up and both of us had perfect vision.
39. I only cut my hair 2-3 times a year. I always get really nervous before I cut my hair.
40. I play tennis and softball. I was on a softball team in elementary and middle school and on the tennis team my senior year of high school.
41. I love reading the al.com message boards.
42. I find astronomy fascinating. I want to get better at identifying constellations. I believe Pluto should still be considered a planet.
43. I like to take a recipe and put my own twist to it. I love making soups this way. One day, I will begin packaging my soups and selling them (maybe with homemade bread/pastries). Today, I made my take on black eyed pea soup. I call it New Year's soup. It had black eyed peas, turnip greens, bacon, onion, bell pepper, and various spices. Its a very hearty soup.
44. Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World is one of my favorite songs; such a classic!
45. I love a good challenge.
46. One of my favorite memories from this summer was our "underground church"/communion night. I had just come back to camp from a long day at AMSTI training and knew that I had to jump right into helping Jason (my wonderful co-director) set up for underground church. I was exhausted and didn't know how well this activity was going to work. The kids had fun with the activity but what really hit me was our wrap up discussion at air conditioner rock. The look on our campers faces as what Jason was saying really hit home with them. Then we sang Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone. It was my first time to hear that version of Amazing Grace but, oh my, was it beautiful. Just a guitar and 60 voices lifting up a song of prayer and praise to God in the middle of the woods on some of the most holy ground I have ever walked on. It was absolutely amazing hearing our voices sing as we sat still and watched God surround us with his love. He graced us with a cool afternoon after a long hot day and refreshed us for communion that night. After everyone returned to camp, we set up for communion. Instead of a traditional communion, we set it us as a feast with friends. We set tables up in a U shape and everyone sat on the floor. We lit a ton of candles and there were huge plates of grapes, apples, bread, and cheese set out. We had a great time conversing with friends and listening to the beautiful music being played by the band. Then two of our counselors began acting out the Last Supper. At first the kids didn't know what was going on, but when they realized what was happening, you could see it in their eyes. Communion is one of my favorite parts of any camp week. I can't put into words how special this communion was and when the campers wrote about it in their evaluations, I knew that it had been special to them too. This day is one that I will remember forever.
47. I hope to have 3 kids one day, Jay would like 1 so I think we will compromise with 2.
48. I hate feet. I don't mind my own feet but I will not touch another person's feet.
49. I always have my toe nails painted. I can't remember the last time they weren't painted. I don't like to paint my fingernails though.
50. I have visited 27 states: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York, Arizona, and the District of Columbia. I have also been out of the US to the Bahamas.

If you made it through all 100 things--way to go! I know it was a lot to read and now you know more about me. But guess what! I would like to know about you. Please leave a comment and let my know who you are. You can leave a comment even if you don't have a blogger account. Click on the Comment button. Type your comment in the comment box and then you can click on the Name/URL option. Type your name here (unless you are a blogger and you can leave you blog link). Please do not choose anonymous, I would like to know who you are.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful New Year!
Jay and I hope that your year if filled with laughter; you love those closest to you and yourself; and live life to the fullest.