Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Cards

Here are all the Christmas cards I made for us to send out this year. It took forever. But, I did enjoy it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Funny Commercial

The other night Scott and I found this show that was the funniest commercials in 2009. They weren't all originally shown in the US. This one was not their #1 pick, but it was definitely my favorite.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We Are Still Here

Hello everyone! I am sure that you are all wondering what is going on with us. Well, we've just been very busy lately. We've both been working a good bit and we have had lots of fun friend gatherings to go to, etc...

Also, I am hand-making all of our Christmas cards this year, so I have been very busy doing that. I have quite a few already made. I had bought a big pack of paper at Joann last year after Christmas and made a few here and there throughout the year, but now that Christmas is coming soon, I am working hard almost every night on cards. It's fun!

Scott's birthday is next Wednesday. I can't wait to give him his gift. He has probably guessed what it is, but I am still making him wait until his birthday. hehe.

We are planning to go to Scott's parents' house for Thanksgiving next Thursday. We are having my immediate family over for dinner on Friday since I won't get to see them the day of. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for this time of year?

I am thankful for God and the undeserved love and blessings that He showers on me daily. I am also thankful for my husband and the rest of my family, as well as my church family. I am thankful that we both have jobs in this time of uncertainty. I am also thankful that I enjoy my job.

Well, I hope you all are doing great! I am uploading a picture of Scott and I that was taken at a party went to at Dean and Judy's a little over a month ago when Josh, Shana, and Truett were home for fall break. It was a lot of fun and so nice to see so many of our friends that we love so much.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick Update

I just wanted to do a quick update. The dermabond has been off my chin for over a week now. I went the Thursday after I had the place removed to have my stitches removed. Everyone told me it was no big deal...and they lied. Why do people always down play things? I only had two stitches but I found it quite painful to have them removed. And I bled, a lot! I was quite surprised by this and by how my arm looked right after they took them out. Frankly, it looked like she might as well have ripped the stitches out instead of cutting them, with the way the holes were gaping open where the stitches had been removed. The PA got onto me for looking, but I didn't think I'd bleed! The put on steri-strips which finally came off yesterday (with a little help). I am not impressed with how my arm looks. It looks to me as if they had taken out the stitches too soon and they weren't careful enough when they put on the steri-strips and the skin came apart. Now, it has healed too much; there's no way I'm going back, but it doesn't look great. Thankfully it is just a small spot, so I'm not really worked up about it. Just disappointed. Why did I go through the stitches if they weren't even going to help? My chin is still really sore to the touch and hurts if I stretch the area too much. But, it is healing quite nicely. And itching. But, I really can't complain. I am extremely thankful I didn't have stitches now that I see how my arm has turned out.

Anywho, that's it. There's my update.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alton Brown Live

On August 29, Scott and I went to see Alton Brown Live, which was done in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of his Food Network show, Good Eats. It was really good! He didn't actually cook anything because he apparently wasn't allowed to at the Cobb Energy Center, but they had a "talk show" like set up for part of it. Then, he finally did something with a fire extinguisher (used the CO2 to freeze fruit and make smoothies) to make it a "multi-tasker." He always says that everything in his kitchen is a multi-tasker except the fire extinguisher. At the end, they made a huge birthday cake out of premade huge pancakes and glow in the dark icing. He had the band that plays the music for his show there, as well as several other people who are usually on the show. Including his "sister" Marsha whose name is not really Marsha and who isn't really his sister. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed it. We couldn't take pictures once Alton Brown came out, so we can't really show you any pictures. So, at the top is a picture of us. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What happened was...

This weekend has been quite a weekend...starting Thursday. A couple of months ago, I went to the dermatologist for a body scan to make sure my skin is all normal. I try to go every year but usually only end up there every other year. The PA noticed a small blue spot on my arm. I knew it was there, but I wasn't worried about it because it looked like a vein under my skin or something. There was no bumps, no change in the way my skin felt, etc... The PA, Tracy, said that I could have what she called a blue nevus. A blue nevus is usually benign but it could turn into a melanoma. (Let me just say that my blue spot looked NOTHING like these pictures on the link becuase if it did, I would have been in there much sooner.) She did a biopsy and it came back as just a sun spot according to the lab. I had to go back in on Thursday for a follow up and Tracy still said that she didn't like the look of it and she wanted to remove the whole thing. I told her that was fine as long as she took the whole thing, because I wasn't going to come back, I just can't handle that kind of stress. Now, just so you know, this is not a "no big deal" kind of thing for me. I have serious issues with needles and well, any type of medical thing. When they did the original biopsy, I did okay because they made me lay down, sit up slowly, gave me water, etc...then when I went out to pay, Scott, who had come for an appointment as well, came over to me and asked me what they did to me and I was telling him what they did and that I may have to come back for them to remove it and I almost passed out right there at the check out counter. So, I think it's more the thought of medical stuff and not really pain that I have issues with. I mean, I don't like pain, but I do much better with pain that just happens than with pain that is purposefully inflicted in a doctor's office.

Okay, so all of that was back story to fill you in. Here's the real story. Thursday I went in and she said she wanted to take the whole thing off. I did okay but I did want to run screaming from the room when she started doing the stitches. My arm was numb, but only in the one area so I could feel the pressure and tugging and ew it was just disgusting. I drove myself home and was fine. They had put a "pressure dressing" on my arm which is a fat piece of gauze over the actual stitches and then this disposable ace bandage type thing that sticks to itself wrapped tightly around my arm. They told me to leave the pressure dressing on there until the next morning and to remove it, take a shower and wash it as usual and then just put vaseline and a band aid on it.

Here are the stitches. Ew.

SO, Friday morning, I get up at 5 am like normal. Scott was still asleep in bed, like normal. My arm had been hurting from the tightness of the pressure dressing but I figured that was normal and my fingers weren't blue so it wasn't "too tight". When I unwrapped it, it hurt even worse. I am assuming there was increased blood flow to that area too (which, doesn't that mean decreased blood flow from my head?). Then, there was blood on the gauze and it was more than just if you have had blook drawn or a shot. And, then I saw the stitches. Oh my goodness, they were two nice, neat little stitches with blue plastic-looking thread, but they were IN my skin. Ew. But, I had to look, right? I have to bathe myself and put band aids on it and stuff like that. So, I was like, I am a big girl, can handle this - don't be a baby. I turn on the shower, get in, and start washing my hair as normal. In the process of washing my hair, I start feeling the beginnings of passing out. What was I supposed to do? I mean, I couldn't just sit down, that's not sterile (so maybe that was not the most logical thinking, but I don't think it's normal to be logical when you are about to pass out). I couldn't just turn off the water and get out of the shower because I had shampoo in my hair, right? So, I rinsed my hair (well, mostly rinsed I think) and then turned off the shower planning to dry off and go sit on my towel in the floor. My towel was cleaner than the shower or bathroom floor in my opinion at the moment. This is when my plans went askew. The next thing I recall is waking up from dreaming (I always have very restful dreams in the seconds when I am passed out) to blood spattered all over the floor and I was obviously wet and slipping every time I tried to get up. Scott was over me trying to help me saying we needed to go to the hospital and I looked over and freaked out because I was dirty with some sort of yuckiness that tends to accumulate on the shower door. (We have one of those scrubbing bubbles sprayers to keep our shower cleaner for longer but it doesn't seem to clean the bottom of the shower door. I don't get too worked up over that because it's not like I'm ever going to have bodily contact with the shower door, right? (HA!)) So, I was a little hysterical (maybe that is like saying the Grand Canyon is a little dent in the earth's surface), extremely confused, slipping around in the floor in dirt, shower water, and my own blood. Scott ran for a roll of paper towels when he realized I was going to be okay and handed me a stack of folded up paper towels to hold onto my chin, which was the source of all the blood. He grabbed my towel, threw it on the bed, and made me lay down. He wiped all the shower door dirt off of me, wiped the blood off the floor, then came and looked at my chin. He was like, we need to go to the hospital. I really didn't want to go through the whole stitches experience again, so I needed to tell him I was fine. He helped me get up and look in the mirror. This of course brought on a whole fresh wave of hysterics (I don't know that I had really calmed down that much, even though Scott was trying to get me to calm down). Apparently (and of course there are no witnesses because Scott was asleep and I was unconscious) I passed out while still standing in the shower, fell, hit my chin on the handle of the shower door, which caused the door to open, depositing me on the bathroom floor. I guess the impact of the shower door and then I am sure my chin hit the floor, then the pressure from the paper towels, my skin was all stretched apart, so it looked like this big gaping wound. Poor Scott woke up to the sound of the thud when I hit the floor. Somehow, Scott dressed himself, dried me off, and got me completely dressed before driving me to the hospital. I did calm down enough to stop sobbing out loud, but I still felt very foolish for what happened. When we got to the ER, the waiting room was empty. They saw us very soon. The guy took my blood pressure and heart rate and they were a lot higher than normal. They put us in a room, gave me a tetanus shot, cleaned my wound, and then they glued my chin back together with this stuff called Dermabond. I was so glad they didn't do stitches. Scott had privately asked them if they could do anything besides stitches, since that's what started this whole thing. They checked and I didn't seem to have a concussion. I have no broken bones or broken teeth. I got my tetanus shot, which I was about 2 years overdue for, without having to worry about it before-hand. Did I say I have issues with needles? The tetanus shot makes your arm muscle really sore. I am still kind of sore, but I think that it didn't seem as bad to me because of all my other issues. At some point in time at the hospital, I calmed down enough to realize that my right knee was hurting. I pulled up my jeans leg and had this horrible bruise already forming on my knee. I have since discovered lots of other sore spots and bruises. I am sure I will still find more. I stayed home from work on Friday. Scott did too. He had already planned to take half a day to wait for the AT&T and Direct TV guys, but he decided that I really shouldn't be left alone. I had a headache all day. I still can't chew without it hurting, but I can tell I've healed a lot since Friday. When I brush my teeth my chin will start bleeding. Friday night when I was eating my baked potato, my chin started bleeding. Scott called the ER and talked to a doctor. He said that that was normal with chin injuries and that if I wanted to go back up there they'd look at it but that if it was pulling apart, they probably would want to put in stitches instead of more Dermabond. They also said that if I had to be admitted again we'd have to pay another $100 copay. Um, no thank you. He said that we could put a pressure dressing on it to keep it from bruising. I looked like an idiot. But, at least I wasn't dripping blood everywhere. Well, since my left arm was sore from the tetanus shot and my right arm was sore from stitches, I slept on my back all night. I had put ice on my knee several times on Friday, so it really doesn't look that bad. But, it still hurts. I feel like my knee must have broken my fall and kept me from breaking any teeth.

When we got up Saturday morning, Scott hovered while I got ready to make sure we didn't have a repeat from Friday. He pulled off my band aid and when I got ready he put the vaseline and band aid back on my arm for me. He always makes me sit down to do this. Do you think he thinks I might pass out again? It is possible. It does kind of hurt when we pull off the band aid and I have this horrible fear that the pulling sensation of pulling off the band aid is going to pull my stitches or something. What a sweet husband I have.
So, that's my story. My left arm feels much better already from the tetanus shot soreness. The picture above was taken on Saturday evening. Hopefully it won't leave too big of a scar, but at least I didn't break my jaw bone or any teeth. God was truly protecting me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kicked Up Pimiento Cheese

On the 4th of July, I made this pimiento cheese. I had promised to post it on my blog so that everyone could have the recipe...then I got busy and forgot. Amy reminded me the other day, so here it is.

This recipe is an Emeril recipe that a man I used to work with at Pike made, but with some "tweaks" (which are in italics). He used 6-8 jalapenos with the seeds, but I only use 2 and I take the seeds out. You just buy a baguette from the grocery store and slice it up. Smear some of this on it and it is a yummy appetizer.
I found an old picture of the pimiento cheese spread on baguettes and decided to include it. It's Yum-O!

Kicked Up Pimiento Cheese

8 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 lb extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (if you can't find it, use orange)
1/2 lb extra sharp orange cheedar cheese, grated
8 oz. roasted red bell peppers, chopped
3/4 c mayonnaise
1 c. spicy ham - I used deli pepperoni
1/2 c. chopped green onions
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp Essence of Emeril (recipe follows)
salt & pepper (optional)

2-3 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped (I take the seeds out, but if you want more heat, leave them in there)
1/2 lb pepper jack cheese

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels and cool.

In a large bowl (very large), combine all ingredients.

I never feel like it gets mixed up enough when I just use a spoon to mix it up, so I put it in a food processor. Mine is kind of small, so it takes several batches.

Essence of Emeril

2 1/2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp dried leaf oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container. Yields about 2/3 c.

Still Saving and Losing

Today I went to Kroger and Publix (in the rain). At Kroger, I got $121.28 worth of stuff for $69.74. That's 43% savings! At Publix, I got $57.32 worth of stuff for $32.39. That's 43% savings as well! Wow, I can't believe it turned out that way.

I have a feeling that when I weight myself this evening, I am going to have gained a pound or two as a result of our crazy eating while on vacation. I am kind of dreading it. But, as of last week's weigh-in, I had lost 19.4% of my starting weight. I still have 3-5 pounds left to lose, depending on what it looks like tonight. I really need to do better about exercising, though.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trip to Louisville

Scott and I just got back from a trip to Louisville, KY to visit Josh, Shana, and Truett. We also got to spend time with Judy and Dean. So, it was a fun, Stringer-filled few days. While we were up there, we saw some of the sites of Louisville and the surrounding areas. Scott and I weren't the best eaters while we were gone. So, it's back on the bandwagon now.

It seems like the only picture Scott took of me with Truett I was not wearing make up. Great. But, here we both are holding him.

We visited the Louisville Slugger Museum the first day we were there, Saturday. We visited Josh and Shana's church, Crossings, on Sunday. Afterwards, we all ate at a burger place called Red Robin with Darrell and Jenny Estepp, some friends of ours that we used to go to church with. Monday, we went to the Creation Museum close to Cincinnati (in Petersburg, KY). The Creation Museum was really good. I would definitely recommend it. They have the museum part and then they also have a botanical gardens outside. We drove through Indiana and Ohio just to say we'd been there. We also tried Skyline Chili, since we'd seen it on Food Network. It was an interesting flavor. It is not normal chili. There's cinnamon in it or something like that. We were googling things to do in Louisville, and Scott found that we could take a tour of the Jim Beam distillery. Not that we like bourbon, but processes like that are always interesting. So, we drive the half hour or so out there and it turns out that they are renovating the distillery so that people can tour the distillery, but the current "tour" consists of visiting the Beam house on the property, looking around a gift shop and sampling some Jim Beam chocolates, watching a video about the history of Jim Beam, and a bourbon tasting. Yeah, disappointing. We also went to have lunch at Tony Boombozz, which is the pizza restaurant that Darrell is part owner of. It was really very good pizza. Luckily, Jenny does some marketing for them, so she just happened to swing by to do some marketing so we got to talk to both Darrell and Jenny! It was great. If you ever want good pizza in Louisville, let us know and we'll tell you where Tony Boombozz is. The whole time we were there, we were invited to dinners at Josh and Shana's, cooked by Judy. It was all very good. Last night we visited this place that Josh and Shana love called the Pie Kitchen. Oh, it was good. I almost made myself sick eating half of the piece of pie Scott and I shared because we had had Graeter's Icecream after lunch. Graeters is handmade icecream. There are several locations in Louisville. Man, was that stuff good.
So, that was our trip, lots of good times with the Stringers, lots of good, bad food, and several tourist-y outings.

We drove home today and since we were going to be driving through Nashville around lunchtime, we asked our friends Kari and Eric if they wanted to meet us for lunch. It was so good to get to sit and spend some time with them. We also got to see how big Evan has gotten and meet Grace for the first time. We rarely get to see them now that they are living in TN.

Over all, we had a good trip. It was fun to spend time with old friends and to meet Truett and get to hold him and watch him change every day and see all the cute faces he makes. It is fun to see how Shana has gone from zero to Mom in 60 seconds.

Tomorrow it's back to work for Scott. I took the rest of the week off. I am going to see how much of nothing I can do the next two days. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lauren's Baby Shower

A couple of Fridays ago, we had a baby shower for one of my closest girlfriends, Lauren. It was fun showering her with attention, gifts, and food. Lauren and Zach haven't found out whether they are having a boy or a girl. They got lots of good baby stuff. I think that the pictures say it all!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Delicious Treats

Lately I have found two treats that aren't really so bad for me that are really delicious.

The first is Laughing Cow Cheese. I get the Light Garlic and Herb flavor. One triangle of the cheese and 5 whole wheat Ritz Crackers is 2 points. Yum.

Next is something I discovered at Lauren's shower which we recently threw (which I still need to blog about). We had a parfait bar, just to have something different. We had all kinds of fruit, vanilla yogurt, and granola. It was delicious. So, I did some researching and I got strawberries, Activia Vanilla yogurt (the regular, not the light, which has artificial sweeteners in it), and Fiber One Honey Oat Clusters. The whole thing is only 2.5 points on WW. I use 1/2 c strawberries, a carton of yogurt, and about 1/4 c of the cereal. I have been having one for breakfast all but one day this week. Yum-O.

Just wanted to share.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Hair Cut and Laptop

Here's my new hair cut. (It is a little bouncier earlier in the morning. This is after being up for 12 hours on a hot, muggy day).

Here's a picture of my new laptop.

Friday, July 31, 2009


A friend of ours posted this link on his Facebook page the other day. I still can't get over it. I thought I would share this with all of you. Who would want this? I mean, even if I was a huge fan, why would you want a terra cotta bust of the president with tendrils of plants growing out of his head sitting around your house?!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This and That

I always think about things to blog about when I can't sit down and write a post. Then, when I have the chance: nothing.

Let's see, what have we been up to lately?

My Aunt Bobbie passed away on Friday evening. She had had cancer and lost the battle. She was a wonderful Christian woman who was always a joy to be around. I will really miss her. Please pray for her only son, Chris, and his wife, Lori, as they get ready to move on with their life after caring for her for the past few months.

This week is Restaurant Week in Downtown Atlanta. That means that there is a list of restaurants in the area that offer a very small selection of dishes for $25 a person. These are restaurants that usually end up being over $100 for two people. Last night, Scott and I went to Morton's to take advantage of this deal. It was very good. We both had the filet mignon and it was one of the best steaks I'd ever had. I got the Lyonnaise Potatoes and Scott got the grilled asparagus. The asparagus had this balsamic stuff on it and Scott wasn't a huge fan of that. I loved the potatoes and Scott liked them too. We both got caesar salads as well, but they had too much anchovie paste in the dressing, so I only ate about 3 bites of that. Yuck. The dessert was to die for. We both got the double chocolate mousse. It was rich and creamy. I had to hold myself back and only eat half. I had eaten my entire steak and about half of the potatoes. I still felt full when I got up this morning. I know that is not on my Weight Watchers plan, but I didn't want to miss out on the chance to go to such a nice restaurant for so cheap!

I must admit that this has been my worst week yet on WW. I decided last week that I absolutely had to have some hot wings and soon. We had tried to make them in a healthier fashion at home and it just did not quench my need. I like them super crunchy. So, Scott went to Buffalo's and got us some wings on Saturday night and I made fries in the oven. It was really good and hit the spot. I needed that. Of course, I didn't realize then how much I would be eating in the next few days. The church made a meal for us after Bobbie's funeral and I didn't know how many points were in all the food I had. I didn't eat a lot, but I had a little sliver of Chocolate cake (with homemade chocolate icing that my Aunt Noma, cousin Judy, and I were drooling for) and I wasn't sure how any of it had been prepared. However, since it was prepared by a bunch of Southern ladies, I can only guess. Plus, we'd eaten out several time over the weekend driving to and from Austell for the funeral home. At this point in time, I have blown through my extra 35 points for the week plus an additional 13.5. It would be 16.5, but I got some exercise on Saturday.

Since we took our house off the market, we are going to take our stuff out of storage so that we aren't paying for storage any more. Plus, we really do use or need most of that stuff and had only put it in storage so that the house would look more empty for the "staging". I will say this: it is one thing to have your home "staged" for selling for a couple of months; it is quite another to live that way for a year and a half. Needless to say, we were glad to go and get some of our bigger items on Saturday that we had been missing. We still have a bunch of boxes with all our extra linens, books, picture books, picture frames, and other items and a couple of large items to go and get. So, I am thinking 2-3 truck loads in my truck. Our sweet neighbors, Nan and John, came over and helped us rearrange our living room several times until all agreed we had the perfect set up. I should take some pictures and post them.

I went and got my hair cut for the first time in about six months on Saturday morning. I like it. I need to take a picture of that too.

Okay. Dilemma. When we packed up all of our stuff for storage, we threw away a big old bookshelf that was in danger of falling apart. So, now we need another book shelf or two for around the house and one small one for our bedroom. We went looking on Saturday and didn't find anything we liked. We'd like to not get something that looks cheap, but we don't want to spend a lot of money either. I have heard a couple of people suggest Ikea. Does anyone else have any suggestions of where to look?

We went a couple of weekends ago and saw the new Harry Potter movie. I liked it, but was a little disappointed in some parts. They changed some things completely, but not like in previous movies. They had some great opportunities to have some really exciting action scenes, and they passed those by. But, overall I enjoyed it. I purposefully did not read any of the books for a LONG time before the movie came out this time. In the past, I have always re-read the books right before the movies came out and it caused me to spend the entire movie analyzing the differences. So, now that I have seen the movie, I of course wanted to read the book again. Luckily, we have the book on MP3, so I listened to it on MP3. I finished it today.

My current computer at home is about 7 years old. Scott has been talking about getting me a new computer for quite a while and I have been holding him back because we just didn't need to spend the money. Of course, we still just don't need to spend the money, but I just can't stand the slowness of the internet any more. He found a sweet deal on a HP laptop for me and is going to get it tomorrow to take advantage of the tax-free weekend! I can't wait! Now, I will feel like I really need to clean off my desk. Ugh. I hate doing that. I dread it, actually.

Well, I have rambled on for long enough. I am in the calm before the storm right now and don't have much to do at work.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Peanut Butter/Butterfinger Brownies

I have been thinking that this would be a good combination for quite a while, and had decided that I would make it for 4th of July. Then, our June Betty Crocker calendar had a very similar recipe, but did not have the Butterfinger. These were inspired by my mint brownies that I make.

1 brownie mix, prepared according to package directions for 9x13 size
Most of a container of peanut butter
1 12.5 oz bag of Fun Size Butterfinger Bars
1/2 pkg of chocolate chips
2 Tbsp butter or margarine

Let prepared brownies cool completely. Unwrap all Butterfinger bars and put them in a plastic bag. Using your meat tenderizer, crush all the Butterfingers. Pour Butterfingers into a bowl and then mix in peanut butter until you are happy with the consistency. I used up the remainder of a jar that we had opened and eaten maybe 2 PB&J sandwiches out of. It was a pretty thick consistency. Spread Butterfinger/Peanut butter mixture on top of brownies. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and butter together. Let it cool just a little and then spread over the top of the Butterfinger/Peanut butter layer. Cover and put in the fridge until the top layer is solid. I usually prepare these the day before. I removed them by sliding a butter knife around the edge of my pan, then, I turned them out on top of a sheet of aluminum foil then I covered my cutting board with aluminum foil and flipped them right side up. I cut them into squares by doing 6 x 8 squares.

Options: You can probably use a package or two of full size bars and save yourself some time. I didn't know how many I'd need, so that's why I got the small ones. I usually get a brownie mix that doesn't stay really soft and squishy because they are harder to cut.

These were a hit at our recent family event and have been requested to make an encore at our next event by Daddy. So, that's a definite plus.

Sorry, no pictures. I wasn't thinking, obvi.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

I have decided that I loved all the things I made for the 4th of July so much that I am going to post all of those recipes over the next couple of days. The first is the easiest, since it came from the Betty Crocker website. I followed the directions exactly with the type of brownie mix and the type of cookie mix. I used the triple fudge chocolate icing with chocolate chips because I already had it. But, I think you could probably use any brownie mix and any cookie dough mix you wanted.

1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray, or grease with shortening. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using oil, water and 2 eggs. Spread in pan.
2. Make cookie mix as directed on pouch, using butter and 1 egg. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Frost with frosting. For brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.

Oh man, these were SO good! Yum. Yum. Yum!

So, I right clicked on the text of this recipe to copy it and this came up: a link to print coupons for the stuff in the recipe!!! So, if you go to the link for this recipe any time soon, print these up!

Print these coupons...

$0.50 off Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Bowls
$0.75 off Betty Crocker® Box Supreme Brownie Mixes
$0.40 off Betty Crocker® Cookie Mix
Plus 19 more...

July 4th Weekend

We had quite a busy weekend for the 4th of July. Scott and I both had the day off on Friday. I spent the morning and early afternoon preparing food to take to Daddy and Stephanie's for a party they had on the 4th. Scott went and played disc golf with some friends and then did some work around the house for me. That evening, we went to a birthday party for our good friend Zach at Zach and Lauren's new house. It was a lot of fun and the food was really good.

The party at Daddy and Stephanie's was a lot of fun as well. They have a nice pool in their backyard. We ate and swam and visited. There were people from our family and from Stephanie's family there. I had made a decision to not count points on Saturday, so I made some things I wanted to have for the day. I made 2 different kinds of brownies and a big batch of kicked up pimiento cheese (there was so much of this actually that I took some of it with me to Zach's party). After we swam and ate and visited all day, we had about an hour before dark inside then we went out front and had some fun fireworks. We did fireworks for about an hour before we shot off the grand finale. We drove home tired, but happy. I'll include a slide show of pictures from the weekend.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Grandma's 90th Birthday Party

On June 20th, we had a 90th birthday party for Scott's Grandma at our church. 90 years is a lot of living! Scott pretty much grew up without his mom's parents as they lived in California until about 2.5 year ago when his Grandpa passed away and Grandma came to GA to live with Scott's parents. She is always smiling and very cheerful. It is these qualities about her that draw people near to her. In the short time that she has been in GA, she has touched enough people that about 100 people came to wish her happy birthday! She volunteers at church in a program for elderly people called Happy Hearts and she helps out with the Youth Group on Wednesday nights, loud music and all. It was really very touching to see all the people that came and the different ways in which she had touched their hearts. Scott's mom set up a slide show of pictures of Grandma throughout the years and it was going through her laptop to a little flat screen tv. At the end of the slide show the words "We hope you like your new TV!" came across the screen! Grandma was watching the slide show on her birthday present and didn't even realize it! The look on her face was really priceless! I am including a slide show of the pictures that Scott took at the party.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Critters and Our Stories About Them

We have had some new visitors this year. We put out a squirrel feeder in the fall in the back yard on our fence post. There were never any "patrons" and we never actually saw any squirrels back there. Sometimes we would see a chipmunk, but not often. So, after I potted up all my container gardens, I kept noticing dirt on the ground around them. I investigated to find that there were little holes in the dirt! There were apparently squirrels and chipmunks digging in them! This was happening in the front and the back. I wasn't sure how to handle this, so of course I googled. The websites all said that they are either looking to eat your bulbs (there weren't any in these pots) or they are looking for moisture. SO, I figured we were kind of inviting them in with all of our bird feeders. They said that the best way to deter them from digging in the pots and garden beds is to sprinkle red pepper flakes, like you see at the pizza places, on and around the pots. They say that you have to re-do this every few weeks because the smell wears off. So, we bought a huge thing of red pepper flakes and it has been working. But, I can always tell when they have worn off, those little stinkers. The website also suggested that you could provide them with a source of water. We also moved our squirrel feeder from the back to the front and attached it to our tree (see the picture of the feeder). Of course, the first Saturday after we moved the thing, we got up and went into the living room to see 2 squirrels sitting in our bird feeders out back! I wish I had gotten a picture before we scared them off. So, we made a home-made squirrel feeder for out back that consists of a piece of wood with a screw through it and a big hunk of nut suet stuck on there and bought a baffle for that shepherd's hook. It does look like it has been gnawed on, but not much. I even put a big hand ful of out good bird seed on there to attract them. The bird seed was all gone today without much missing from the suet thing. Oh well. The front squirrel feeder gets emptied every other day. I also put bowls of water out for them all, one out back and one under the tree out front. Of course our front porch looks crazy with red pepper flakes everywhere, but oh well. I am sure you have wondered what all the red dots were in all my plants.

One day last week, Scott was in the living room and heard a scratching at the back door. There was a squirrel scratching as if he wanted in. Both cats were sitting there watching him like they weren't sure what to think. Then, he ran over and got in the chair closer to our potted vegetables like he was thinking about climbing in, and decided not to. Finally, he tried to climb the shepherd's hook and ended up inside the baffle and wasn't sure what was going on. He kept climbing down and back up. Very strange. I wished I had seen it first hand, but Scott got pictures of him on the shepherd's hook.

We have a couple of beautiful sunflowers growing in our garden that were lovingly planted by a chipmunk or a squirrel. We always have them growing out from under the bird feeders, but I pull those up. These weren't in a bad place, so I let them grow. Here is a picture of the one that was blooming as of yesterday. You can see that there is a taller one behind it. It was starting to open up today. So pretty.

The other day, a chipmunk kept scary me while I was working in the garden putting out pine straw. Apparently, he travels from one side of the garden to the other in the drainage pipe that runs across the back of the garden. I heard him running through there once then suddenly it was quiet, so I just tried to ignore it. After I had just had enough time to forget about the noise, I hear it again and suddenly a chipmunk comes running out of the end of the pipe closest to me and runs across the walkway into the other side of the garden. I screamed out loud...then felt silly.

Okay, last critter story:

So, when we put the squirrel feeder under the tree, we noticed that the squirrels seem to like sunflower seeds and peanuts much better than the corn, which ended up on the ground under the tree. Scott asked me if the corn would grow, and I was like, nah!

Yesterday, I went out to pull weeds, dead head things, and water the pots. I walked up to the tree to check on the caladiums to realize that there were lots of things growing that weren't supposed to be.

I recognized the sunflowers trying to pop up from the squirrel food, but there was a new weed that was coming up that I didn't recognize.

This is what it looked like.

So, I pulled it up and this is what was attached to the end...a piece of corn! Great! There's corn trying to grow under our tree!

This is the face I made before I got down on my hands and knees and pulled up as many of them as I could find (both the corn and the sunflower seeds).

Needless to say, we are going to buy some in-the-shell peanuts and mix them with sunflower seeds and that is what the squirrels will be getting in the future.

Short Update

We have decided to take our house off the market. We are tired of always having to keep our house spotless, and honestly we weren't doing that great of a job. Not that we don't intend to keep our house clean, but not so perfect that it doesn't look like anyone lives there. That's too much stress for this long. Plus, I am tired of disappointment. We don't feel like God is ready for us to move after all.

The thing about having really smart friends is that they say things that are so logical sometimes that you wish you'd thought of it. That's what happens when your husband is a Georgia Tech graduate. Our friend Eric had a good point on my last post where I talked about my WW progress. He said that if you are going to compare your weight loss to someone else's, you should base it on the percentage of your original weight instead of how many pounds you have actually lost. If I look at it that way, I have lost 1-2% more than Scott. That makes me feel better.

Please be praying for my Aunt Bobbie. She had cancer many years ago that has been in remission. I month or so ago, they found that the cancer has returned in her spine and her liver. She has been at home after for a few weeks, but she is now back in the hospital. Bobbie is the sibling closest in age to my dad, who is the youngest of 5.

Gardening update

Tonight, we moved the shepherd's hook that is in our front garden holding the bird feeders and the hanging baskets. You couldn't really see them from the street because of the gladiolus that are growing so tall. I had considered doing away with those at the end of this season because of that, but I have gotten so many compliments on them from my neighbors in the last few days, I don't think I will. We still needed something for the clematis to climb and it didn't seem to like trying to climb the shepherd's hook anyway. So, we got a trellis-type thingy to put there. We moved the hanging baskets over to the side of the garden to add color to that side. It looks good. I'll take pictures soon. It's too dark right now. We are rewarding ourselves with popsicles as I type. It makes it more difficult to type, actually. I have added a picture of the gladiolus as of yesterday. For reference, there is also a picture of me standing behind them. I am 5'1.5" and some of them are taller than me.

We still don't have ripe tomatoes on our tomato plants, but the green tomatoes are pretty big. Does anyone have ripe tomatoes yet? Our green bell peppers are getting pretty big. We already picked 3 jalapenos and have a bunch of blooms on them now. Yay. This is a picture from a couple of weeks ago. I don't know why I haven't taken a more recent picture. All the plants have just about doubled in size. I have been trying to go the "organic route" and I bought this organic fertilizer. I think it is freeze dried poo because p-u! Seriously.

Last Thursday, we took the day off work because we were just exhausted from everything that happened last week with Meme. We slept until we woke up with no alarm. Then, we both went and did things we like to do: Scott went to play disc golf and I went to the Growers Outlet. I couldn't help myself. Last Saturday we went to get a couple of plants to fill in the big pot where a couple of things had died. The lady that runs the place told us that the next Saturday was their last day to be open for two months. I started to feel all nervous like I might be missing out on something that I need. I mean, some of the things I planted weren't doing great, what if I decide to replace them? Plus, I knew things would be super cheap. So, I had to go. I am sure you understand. Anyway, sale is an understatement. I did not pull up anything that was still alive. I am going to let the plants in front of the gladiolus work on growing for the rest of the summer. However, I had planted some calla lilies over on the garden on the other side of the walkway to our front door and they died. I think I should have watered them more. So, I bought 15 new guinea impatiens to put there, then I really wanted something to grow under our tree, but it provides a lot of shade, so I ended up getting 12 caladiums. Plus, I figured I might as well get something to go in front of the canna lilies. I really wanted some daylilies, but they didn't have any. I got 11 dragon wing begonias. I hope that they all do well. So, that is a total of 38 plants. And, these are the "6-packs" you can buy for cheap at the big box stores, these are 2-3 inch pots. My grand total was $15.52! I ended up with too many new guinea impatiens, so I had to create some more container gardens with them. They say that the first step is admitting you have a problems: Hi, my name is Marcy and I am addicted to container gardens! Ha! On the back porch, I now have 10 pots of flowers and 4 potted vegetables. In the front, I have 2 hanging baskets and two potted plants. Um, that's a lot.

Here are the canna lilies and you can see the little dragon wing begonias surrounding them. They are supposed to get pretty big. I really hope they do.

Here's a close up of the begonias.

Here are the caladiums under the tree.

Here are the new guinea impatiens. They are supposed to really fill out too.