Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday #33

Monday: homemade pizza

Tuesday: lasagna, salad, garlic bread

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: vegetable beef soup, cornbread

Friday: sandwiches

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday: sandwiches or leftovers

It's an easy week, but there sure is a lot of tomato sauce involved! I didn't have to work much on planning since most of these things have carried over from a week or so before. :o)

I'll try for a little more variety next week.

Friday, September 26, 2008

We're Finally Going!

After living here for 5 years, we're finally going to the Texas State Fair! (I wonder what the boys will think about Big Tex. He talks!)

I was curious about what all there will be to see and do, so I spent a while this evening browsing the state fair website. One thing the boys will love is the auto show, complete with classic cars, new releases, and concept cars. There's even a place where kids can drive their own kid-sized vehicles on a track. It's going to be hard to pull Caleb away from this!

Some other things I found were a giant sandbox - right up Jacob's alley; livestock exhibits, complete with milking demos; frisbee-catching dog demos; arts and crafts competitions; cooking contests; and free food to sample.

Then there's the food for purchase. There are some strange interesting foods on the list this year, including Country Fried Bacon, Fried Banana Splits, Deep-Fried Smores, etc. Is there some rule that says all fair fare must be fried? Thankfully the Baylor Cardiac Rehabilitation Center isn't too far from the fairgrounds. I wonder if they'll have a salad booth anywhere...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Handy Little Gadget

I've really enjoyed having my iPhone - playing games, having internet access, keeping a shopping list, updating my calendar, taking quick pictures, getting on Facebook, etc.

Yesterday afternoon the boys and I were at KidsQuest Park with some friends. Not long after we got there, the older boys (Caleb, Jacob, Noah, and Jonah) had found some nailed boards on the ground and were dragging it around. Chrissy and I both yelled for them to stop, and I went to get it from them and move it to a safer place. I recognized it as a part of the wall from the ship maze. There were several nails sticking out of it, and when I looked up, I saw where it had come from. About 6 inches above my head, there was a gap in the wall. Imagine if a kid fell from there!

I half-carried, half-dragged the heavy piece of wall to a safer place near a fence and a tree, then pulled out my iPhone and looked up the phone number for Mesquite Parks and Recreation. I reported to the lady on the other end where we were, what we had found, and how dangerous it was. She thanked me for notifying them and said they would send someone out to check on it. I had hoped someone would come immediately, at least to take the boards away and put caution tape along the gap, but when we left shortly after 5:00, no one had been by. Maybe someone will go by early this morning before the kids at the church school next door to the park go over for recess today.

I have a new appreciation for my iPhone now. If I hadn't been able to report the danger immediately, I might have forgotten about it until it was too late for someone else.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Neighborhood Drama

The 9-year-old boy across the street has severe special needs - ADHD, compulsive, manic depressive, etc. This morning Caleb and I heard a lot of yelling going on outside. Then I clearly heard, "Brandon*, get down here now!" (*Not his real name.)

Me: "Sounds like Brandon is getting in trouble."
Caleb, looking out the window: "Why is he on the roof?"


I went to the front door and peered through the blinds. There he was, standing on the roof in his pajamas, robe, and bare feet. His mom was continuing to frantically urge him to get down. As he strolled back toward the peak of the roof to go on the other side, I grabbed my phone and wondered if I should call 9-1-1. I didn't know, though, if that would agitate him. He seemed calm. Thankfully Caleb had gone back to the couch to read his book, so I didn't have to worry about him seeing anything traumatic, should Brandon lose his balance and fall. Or jump. (Knowing what I do about this kid, it wouldn't surprise me.)

When I looked back out the window, Brandon had gone to the other side of the roof and his mom had run back inside the house. I don't know if she was taking a shortcut to the back yard or if there was an open window upstairs that he may have been going back to.

Nothing more has happened, so I guess all is back to normal there. I wonder if he'll end up going to school or to the doctor today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

10 Simple Things that Make Me Happy

This week's Ten on Tuesday will be easy! And please note the key word simple.

1. gentle breezes
2. flying kites
3. blowing bubbles
4. listening to windchimes
5. reading (blogs, books, magazines, my Bible)
6. dark chocolate
7. bright blue skies
8. leisurely walks
9. soothing music
10. the laughter of my family
11. sunsets
12. ice cream
13. hot soup on a cold night
14. scented candles
15. kaleidoscope patterns
16. playing games
17. talking with friends
18. scented lotions
19. warm sun (not hot)
20. snowflakes (that don't stay for days)
21. hugs
22. purring cats

Oh, did I do too many? I told you this would be easy - and I could keep on going...

What are some simple things that make you happy? (I won't limit you to just 10.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Like a Steel Trap

Jacob can do really well in school when he wants to. He has totally amazed me lately with his ability to remember things. I knew Caleb has a great memory, but Jacob always plays around and seems not to listen. Surprise! He does hear!

Since Awana has started back up for the school year, we've incorporated it into our school studies again. First thing each morning, the boys sit at the table with their Awana books and look over their verses. Caleb reads well, so I don't have to be right on top of his work, but I do work with him on everything. Jacob is learning to read, so I have to read each story to him and go over each verse word for word.

Jacob learned his first verse (John 3:16) in two days. We practiced it all last week to be sure he wouldn't forget it when he had book time at church. As it turned out, the Sparks didn't work on verses much last week. I think they were getting into their groups for the year and learning what to do. When I asked him if he said his verse, he told me, "No, Crazy Kevin said we didn't have to say them." (Crazy Kevin is the Sparks director.) Instead of just working on the same verse all week, I decided we'd go ahead and start working through his book. He could recite his next verse (1 John 4:14) after I had read it to him only 2 times! When we went over both verses today, he could say them both with no help. So we went on to his next verse, Psalm 147:5. I figured he might need to hear it several time and practice saying it with me, but he went right on after just two readings and said it all word for word. We reviewed his other two verses, which he said without any help, then repeated the new verse again. No problems whatsoever! Wow! If he continues on at this rate, he'll finish the book in no time!

Caleb is doing really well with his verses, too. I gave him (well, both of them) a card file box and a stack of index cards. I'll write their new verses on the card, with the references on the backs, so they can recite them and check to see if they're right. They file the card away by book (J for Jeremiah, John, and 1 John, etc.). Later when it's time to review, they know right where to find them. In the past I would write Caleb's verses out on large index cards with different colored markers. Then I'd cut the verses into phrases of 3 or 4 words for him to put in order. After a day or so, I'd cut them into smaller sections, until by Friday they'd be down to individual words. By then he can put the whole verse together. He loves puzzles, so that method really works for him. I'm not sure if I'll need to do that with Jacob, though. He seems to get things quickly by just hearing them. Caleb is more of a visual/kinesthetic learner like I am.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday #32

The cooler weather this week is really putting me in the mood for some soup! I wanted to start soup nights last week, but didn't get around to it because I didn't have all my ingredients. This week I've got what I need for two different soups. Bring it on!

Monday: - grilled cheese sandwiches, chips
I have a meeting tonight, so soup will have to wait a day...)

Tuesday: - chicken & dumplings

Wednesday: - Chicken Ole (a foil packet dinner)

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: vegetable beef soup, cornbread

Saturday: sandwiches
We're going out to the drag races for the day, so I'm not going to feel like cooking, and I most likely won't want soup...

Sunday: leftovers
We need something quick since we're back on our Awana schedule.

For more menu plans, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Out of the Mouths...

Jacob can really come up with some funny stuff. Tonight as we were eating supper, Billy was flipping through the channels. He changed from TVLand to something else and Jacob shouted, "Go back! That's 'Cosmic Bill'!" He was referring to Bill Cosby... :o)

It's late and I can't think of anything else right now, so I'm headed to bed. Maybe tomorrow I can think of some more funny stuff he says.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All Mixed Up

Recently I've seen Dairy Queen commercials advertising paninis. With all the greasy country fried steak strips and chicken strips they fry up, I can't begin to imagine their paninis.

In today's sale flyers, I noticed where Domino's has added hot sub sandwiches to their delivery menu, and Pizza Hut is now serving quesadillas.

I like to have choices just as much as the next person, but if I wanted a hot sub, I'd go to Quizno's, where that's their specialty. If I wanted a quesadilla, Pizza Hut wouldn't be my first - or second - choice. I don't go to Jack-in-the-Box for tacos, either.

Then there are the food items that just about everyone offers: burgers, chicken sandwiches, wraps. If I want a good burger, I'll get one at Whataburger, Sonic, or Wendy's. If I want a good chicken sandwich - or chicken anything - I'll go to Chick-Fil-A. I haven't tried the wraps everywhere yet, but that's what I get when I go to McDonald's; the honey mustard and the chipotle barbecue are both really good. Besides, their burgers aren't that great.

Before long, I'll probably be able to drive through the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo restaurant and get spaghetti or fried rice, with a banana split for dessert.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Several weeks ago - in fact, I think it was early June - a friend of mine emailed a group of us a notice about free tickets to the Texas State Fair for homeschoolers. The deadline was only 2 days away, so I got right on it and mailed off my request. I had completely forgotten about it and was talking with a friend of mine Monday about finding some tickets so we could go. (We've never been in the 5 years we've lived here, and I know the boys would love it.)

Another friend had emailed me about the Pizza Hut Book-It! program for kindergartners through sixth graders. I'll need to look over the program more closely, but participants can earn coupons for a free one-topping personal pan pizza for each of the next six months - October through March.

Last week I signed Caleb up for the Braum's Book Buddies program. For every 6 books he reads, he'll get a coupon for a free ice cream treat - a sundae, a single dip cone, or a frozen yogurt cone. He's participated in that the last two years and has really enjoyed it. Unfortunately it's only open to first- through sixth- graders, so Jacob has to wait another year.

Wednesday, after my workout, we ventured out to a nearby Dallas Rec Center in hopes of getting some free passes to the Dallas Arboretum. Score! They still had some, so I got four. Now we're just waiting for cooler weather...

Today's mail brought some nice surprises! Our state fair tickets and our pizza coupons arrived! I'll get the ice cream coupons later this month. Now I need to see what other freebies I can get my hands on!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Gustav has pushed a lot of clouds and wind into north Texas, creating the illusion that it's winter outside. Of course, that all disintegrates when you walk outside into the heat...

After my workout today, the boys and I went to Wendy's for lunch. As I pulled into the parking lot and was tricked again by the illusion of winter, I decided a hot baked potato would be perfect. (I was also wishing I had planned to make soup for supper...) I ordered a sour cream and chive potato - and it hit the spot!

I'm so ready for cooler weather. Soup nights. Flannel pants. Hot chocolate with a big dollop of whipped cream on top. Curling up under a blanket with a good book. Yes, I'm definitely ready.

I know it's coming. I've noticed the subtle changes in the daylight and the color of the sky. Still, the weather I'm waiting for will be slower in coming. I guess for the next month or so, I'll just look outside on cloudy days and pretend I'm a little chilled. Oh, and even though the flannel pants and hot chocolate and blankets have to wait a little while longer, I'm going to start soup nights next week. I just can't wait!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Menu Plan Monday #31

I know it's not Monday, but yesterday didn't really feel like Monday. Today is my Monday.

For the last two weeks I haven't had a menu plan and I've really missed it. The first week, the boys were out of town and Billy and I ate out a lot. Last week, I think we ended up eating sandwiches or just making do with whatever was on hand because I didn't have any idea what I was going to cook. It wasn't that the pantry or the freezer was empty. I just hadn't planned, and right before suppertime is not a good time to be figuring things out.

This week's menu:

Monday: grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and Earl Campbell hot links; chips & dip; Easy Apple Crisp topped with Dreyer's Vanilla Bean ice cream

Tuesday: leftovers (There's leftover spaghetti and garlic bread from Sunday night, too!)

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: homemade pizzas - Garden Veggie Pizza and whatever kind the boys want to make for themselves

Friday: BBQ pork tenderloin, corn-on-the-cob, salad

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday: sandwiches (AWANA Kick-off at church)

For more meal inspiration, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.