Tuesday, July 17, 2007

WFMW, restaurant savings

I got this tip off Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood, and it worked for me so quickly I had to pass it on...

Sign up for free email updates at your favorite restaurant and you can receive free or discounted meals. I just did this at a few restaurants, and I already recieved an email for half off one entree at Johnny Carino's, and a free meal at Red Robin (our five-year-old's favorite place to eat).

Some places have birthday or anniversary clubs, and it only takes a minute to sign up. I googled the names of our favorite restaurants, and then found the newsletter links on their websites.

One more thing, I used our juno email account, because I don't want misc. emails in our regular email that comes in through Outlook.

A no-hassle way to get free food: Works for me!

For more wfmw, click here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Family Wrestle Mania

The children and I were enjoying some quiet couch time this evening while Scott went for a walk. It was peaceful, and I enjoyed sitting with all three kids- even Josh, our little wiggler, was quietly sitting in my lap. We talked about their day, how much they enjoyed 'playing tennis' with Daddy earlier at the park, among other things.

After Scott got home, I took Sophie back to get her ready for bed and within 30 seconds heard what I would refer to as chaos coming from the living room. It took no time at all for the peace and quiet to disappear to be replaced with screaming, wrestling, and the sounds of general bedlam.

This is a normal occurrence with Scott and the boys. All three of them seem unable to resist such scenes when they are all together and I am not in the room. If it happens to start when I am still around, I make my exit as quickly as possible, due to the fact that my mothering insticnt does not take such scenes well.

It is almost like a magnetic force- as soon as they see each other, a sly smile will spread across one of their faces, soon to be followed by some sort of aggravating behavior- flicking, elbowing, or smacking and running. All this action is done to the background of a lot of screaming and very loud laughter.

It is true that these sessions often end with someone crying. Such is the cost of Family Wrestle Mania, and the cost is apparently not high enough to deter a new round at the next available opportunity.

Such is life with boys and their dad. I love it. And I also love that Sophie and I get to go back to her room to rock in the rocking chair and quietly sing good night songs.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My favorite iced tea

This is my first time participating in Favorite Ingredient Friday. Today is the healthy eating edition.

One of my favorite drinks is tea. Of course, since I live in the South, it goes without saying that when we say 'tea' we mean sweet and iced.

Now I know that heaping cup of sugar added to every pitcher may disqualify my tea from the "Healthy Eating" category, but the sugar does not cancel out all those antioxidants found in tea, right?? And you can always drink your tea unsweetened (although I have no idea who would ever want to do that).

When I was pregnant with my oldest son, I became enamored with iced tea with mint. I discovered this perfect drink at our favorite deli, where the standard iced tea came with mint. Needless to say, the deli became my favorite place to visit even if I wasn't hungry. Then I found out how easy it is make.

Next time you make a pitcher of regular iced tea, add one mint tea leaf bag to the other tea bags. Let the tea steep just like normal, and you will be blessed with one of the most refreshing, delightful drinks you have ever enjoyed. It's slap your mama good, I promise.

To read some of the health benefits of tea, click here.

For the health benefits of mint, click here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Drama queen

My daughter Sophie is clearly a drama queen. I could write pages and pages about her ups and downs, highs and lows- there is rarely a middle ground in her range of moods.

Today was a prime day for Sophie's dramatic expression. She was dressed in her 'princess dress'- a hand-me-down dance outift from a friend, complete with sequins and tulle skirt. She had on her candy jewel ring, which she kept handy in case she needed a sugar refill.

This morning, Sophie did not feel it adequate to talk in normal tones of voice. Instead, whatever she said, she did so in loud, sad, song-like voice. I'm sure all mothers can easily hear the voice I'm talking about.

Anyway, her sentences went something like this, "THE BOYS WON'T LET ME SIT ON THEM!!"; "I WANT MORE ORANGE JUICE!!!"; "CAN I GET DOWN??!!,"; "WHERE IS MY PLAY PHONE????!!!"; "YOU TOLD ME NO!!!"; "WILL YOU HOLD ME MOMMY????!!!"

Finally, I told her, "Sophie, stop the drama."

To which she replied, "MOMMY, YOU TOOK MY DRAMA!!!"

If only it were that simple.

Works for me Wednesday, making the bed

As soon as I pulled up the 'new post' box, my mind went completely blank. No helpful thoughts to be found. Could be a side effect of all the cable I've been watching.
It took me a few minutes of staring outside, but then it came back to me. Here is the life-changing tip that re-entered my mind:
When I am making a bed, especially our queen-size bed, I make up one entire side, including pillow shams and throw pillows, before I move to the other side. That way I am not going back and forth several times, and making the bed takes me less than a minute.
I heard Elisabeth Elliot give this idea several years ago, as help for homemakers, and I tried it immediately and have not gone back. It took a little practice, but makes making any bed much easier and faster.
I am much more likely to make a bed if I know it won't take me several minutes. Even if a bedroom is not picked up in other areas, a made bed makes the whole room look done. Works for me!
For more WFMW tips, click here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Another reason I love cable

I've been in a cooking slump for a few months. I usually love to cook and can't wait to get in the kitchen each afternoon to start dinner. This affection for cooking naturally spreads into grocery shopping, because a big part of cooking is having the right ingredients.

Anway, since we got cable back yesterday, I of course have been tuning into the Food Network (that is, of course, when not watching tv with my husband), and I think lack of cable may have been to blame in my whole cooking aversion.

I was blaming this phenomenon on being nauseous, then tired, due to being pregnant. But now I think I've found out the truth: I was lacking inspiration.

Now I am dreaming of making bread pudding with Rum sauce (thanks, Paula Deen), gnocci with gorgonzola sauce (thanks, Sandra Lee) and let's not forget farfalle pasta with mushroom-walnut sauce (thanks, Giada De Laurentiis).

So maybe my family will be eating something other than frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizzas, chicken and yellow rice, and meatloaf. Nothing wrong with any of those, but only cooking those dishes has been sucking the energy out of me. (This has to be the source of my lack of energy- it couldn't be the third trimester of pregnancy or caring for my other three little people, right?)

Thanks again, sweetheart, for the cable. The whole family thanks you. I might even watch a little Steven Segal again with you tonight, while we eat our bread pudding.

And no, I have not yet exhausted my store of writing about cable.

Pregnancy update

I realized that I announced our pregnancy, took several months off from posting, and then started up again without mentioning how things are going in the whole new baby situation.

We still have until the end of August before our little girl will be here. We have named her but will probably wait until she is born to make an official announcement.

I am feeling much better. I was sick for about 18 weeks, then I hit a good spot and felt better in the nausea department as well as not too uncomfortable.

I am not sick very often right now, but I'm having a good bit of back pain which I think is my sciatic nerve. I have mildly strong contractions throughout the day.

The baby is growing well. I am very excited about her arrival. I guess I had thought that by the time #4 arrived, I would be used to having babies and would just be ready for life to continue. But I am as excited as I have ever been to meet our new little one. Scott mentioned the other day that he feels the same way, and is actually looking forward to my going into labor.

My older three are so sweet about our new baby. They all feel my tummy and Sophie loves to give the baby kisses through my shirt. Josh seldom prays without mentioning "Mommy and the new baby", and Carter has already told me that if we need him to, he'll let the baby sleep in his room and get up with her and give her a bottle.

The next several weeks will be spent resting, getting the room finished (we are hoping to do that this weekend, actually), and enjoying the rest of summer. Even though I am pregnant, I am thoroughly enjoying the warm weather. I really am a tried and true Florida girl, but I had to move to North Carolina to discover that!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A night of torture, I mean togetherness, I mean cable tv

We recently signed up for cable tv. We have considered this decision for a few months, beginning with the four months I spent in bed from exactly the time Scott got home from work until the next morning, otherwise known as The First Trimester of each of my pregnancies.

The in between time since then has been well spent reading in the evenings, talking, and watching network tv a couple of nights a week. Now that summer is here and the networks are full of horrible judging programs showcasing the best of the best in the worlds of dancing, singing, comedy, and making stuff no one wants or needs, our options have been limited.

Also factoring into our decision is the fact that I am becoming less and less productive and energetic, if that were at all possible (those of you who know me know exactly what I'm talking about). My couch time is on the increase, and is showing signs of a continual upward climb.

In other words, it's time to provide the pregnant lady with some wholesome quality entertainment, which includes watching men with mustaches cussing each other out while they make motorcycles, all eight (or 15) years of Law and Order, or the life cycles of pond-dwelling animals such as frogs and salamanders (had to spell check that one- see what too much tv does to your brain?).

So, in light of all this cable goodness, why would my husband subject me to watching Steven Segal do karate on bad-guy cowboys, on this our inaugural evening of the loveliness which is cable tv?

We could be discovering what kind of weather the fine folks in Lincoln, Nebraska will be enjoying tomorrow, or ordering new pots and pans designed by a celebrity chef, or finding out the answers to the important questions in life, like how are Jolly Ranchers made.

But instead it looks like I'll be enjoying watching an aging, pony-tailed man in a tight all-black outfit karate chopping in slow motion while dodging rattlesnakes. And let me tell you, it is riveting. Of course, it could be COPS reruns. And I could be by myself instead of relaxing with the man who is the love of my life and whose decision it was to get me cable in the first place.

I guess I'll suck it up and enjoy the show, or at least pretend to.

The Fourth, in a few words

BBQ Eating

Cake Baking

Steak Grilling

Salad Making

Sweet Tea Drinking

Dogs Panting

Kids Laughing

Water Splashing

Shade Sitting

Football Throwing

Sun Burning

Off Spraying

Family Hugging

Nap Taking

Flag Flying

Declaration Reading

History Remembering

Thanks Giving

Deep Sleeping

A great Fourth

Slip and Slide fun. Carter called his moves, "Slip and surf". Josh's momentum would leave him about 10 feet shy of the end of the slide. The big boys were able to annialiate the entire slide, ending up in the grass.

We spent the Fourth at my brother and sister-in-law's house. It was a day full of eating, playing, splashing, slip-and-sliding, and just relaxing. So much fun! We went to see fireworks the night before, so we just stayed at Tommy and Melannie's last night until after dark and lit sparklers and a few 'fireworks' Scott had bought for the kids.

No reason the dads couldn't cool off in the pool. 'Cool off' would be an understatement, though. The water was freezing!

Melannie, Bobby, and I spent most of the time watching all the action, which was immensely enjoyable. I highly recommend this method of celebrating.

The adults all had a big laugh as we discovered that every firework in the pack was exactly the same. The packaging was varied, but as soon as they were lit, the fireworks each revealed the same brightly dancing white-ish stars. So much for judging a firework by its cover...
Josh loves bugs, so the day did not disappoint him as we found this enormous, shiny beetle climbing up a tree. He quickly declared it 'a dinasour beetle.'

I'll be posting photos as soon as our camera makes its way back from Scott's office. We had three sleeping kiddos when we pulled into home late last night, so all of our belongings didn't make it into the house until this morning, and some apparently not even then. I was thankful to have made it home safely after such a long, full day.

Note: There is a little redhead missing from the photos, I sadly realized after I finished downloading them this afternoon. Sophie was napping through a good bit of the afternoon, although she did get in the pool with Daddy and Uncle Tommy after she woke up.