Sunday, October 26, 2008

My review of Boo at the Zoo if you have considered going"

To sum it up: BOO-HOO!!!

So tonight we ventured with friends to the Atlanta Zoo. We had tickets for Boo at the Zoo. After the member's only night several weeks ago and having such a total blast that night we all decided that same night we would all go together to boo at the zoo. Well it was a big Boo-Hoo!
Now let me first say we always love being with our wonderful friends - we have fun no matter what together so I'm so very thankful to have spent the evening and night with great friends!
As far as Boo at the Zoo goes...if you are searching online for other's thoughts and opinipns on the matter to decide whether to go
My vote: not worth the money!

Now, I LOVE the zoo! I love the zoo...really I do!
But here's the thing - we bought tickets for the first time slot of tonight's event. Well first they never even looked at our time slot that we purchased and they were selling tickets like crazy at the gates even...I mean MADHOUSE just to get in even for members and those who had pre-purchsed and that was with 3 lines for them. Then you got totally caught in the madness trying just to get into the actual zoo as there were so many people they were having to close a gate on the inside even to limit how many could go in. I mean MADHOUSE!!

So then we go to the "Candy forest" now I don't know what we were expecting, but it didn't meet our expectations, but that was just fine, we were still fine as that was right when you walk into the pathway into the was more like a candy village (my kids had just envisioned trees with candy hanging on them I think when they said you "enter the candy forest". But just along the path were Little painted wooden kiosks (to look like houses) with windows all around where they were giving out candy...hmmmm 6-7 kiosks perhaps in all. But adults were not allowed any candy...hmmm....not that I want to take candy from little ones, but the entry-fee was the same no matter the age. You had to pay extra for ride tickets when you purchased your tickets online. My friend and I thought we purchased some sort of unlimited thing...but I was given 2 tickets...

okay no biggie right. Except all their extra activities...even to play bingo needed a $2 ticket. The kids got to do just what they wanted the rock climbing wall and that was it. One friend had paid to get an armband so he could do anything (somehow me and another friend got just the tickets when we ordered) - but poor thing. The waits for the carousel and train, and well...everything were over an hour long. REALLY! It was NUTS...plain ol nuts. So for our money each kid got about 7 pieces of candy, to climb the rock wall (extra fee on top of entry fee), and to see some dressed up characters...the good news...the zoo was making a killing so research, food, etc should have just gotten a good boost in their account, so we did our part to help the zoo even a little more tonight for sure. What else I am thankful for...that the entry fee for a family of 4 with memberships was only $5 a person...if you aren't a member it's $10 a person...$10 a person for a few pieces of candy for your children only....and that's it! That's what you get....because seriously as we arrived and were waiting for the gates inside to be open a visiting family asked about the animals to the man holding everyone back and he explained to them that most every animal was put up for the night, that this was just a night of animals except birds and kangaroos really he told them. Even the playground was closed...understandable as it wouldn't have been safe with the hundreds of children on it nor any way to regulate it..

My thoughts overall...
that is some very expensive candy for your children!! My kids were so bummed, I think is what got my bummed about it even more...I could go along with just about anything if they were having a great time. But the kids in our party were pretty disappointed and don't care to return in the future.

I went off and left my memory stick in the laptop - had the camera, but it was of course useless....MaryKyle made it to the top of the climbing wall twice though FYI...HOORAY MK!! The other kids decided it wasn't their thing so much!

So there you have review of Boo at the Zoo!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tea and Tortillas

This morning as I washed dishes and talked on the phone with my friend Maria I was handed one of these by John Mark with not a word spoken, just a smile: mine was blue, hubby's yellow. He was in the middle of a training design for a new nursing board game something....
We both wrapped things up and of course headed to the dining room
Where we found place cards directing us to our seats....not our exciting!!

on the menu: hummus and pita chips (our fave!), white cheddar cheese slices, apple slices, celery with peanut butter and pumpkin bread for a hint of sweet and of course a bit of Earl Grey...or Pear Green Tea whichever we chose. We both chose Earl Grey, no sugar, no cream

We used these teacups bought specially for us by Papa Gene and the teapot above brought from ReMaw's visit to China to see Aunt Temple and Uncle Reuben!

Even a few extra friends joined us

It was a simply lovely time

We even had games and prizes...and a spilled teapot...oh what jolly good fun was had by all! The conversation was enlightening and delightful!

our neighbor Caroline was even able to join us!! We always love her presence, as her smile and laugh are quite contagious...she enjoyed the pita chips the best but politely declined tea and chose water instead as she was afraid it would spoil the plans she had later that afternoon for a fabulous rest!

Tomorrow I will have to send a thank you note for the lovely time!

Oh how I hope I will be invited back soon !!!

(and maybe since the host and hostess live in the same house as me...just maybe I might actually get beyond writing the note and actually 'send' it!)

And then later today........
(which should be a separate post, but I'm just too stinkin lazy...sorry!)

My son and my father built me this wonderful tortilla press for my b'day this year. I've not used it yet and was in the mood today. I was so thrilled to get to use it! So tonights dinner was baleadas preparada and yuummmmmy was it GOOD!! I had to clear the table so John Mark and hubby would stop eating. have I ever mentioned what a fan of beans my son is? Oh boy is he...beans on a homemade tortilla with some cheese - his FAVORITE!!

if someone reading this has been to Honduras and thinks the plastic no stick 'liner' looks familiar you are right..the use of those infamous shopping bags carries over into the US...ha ha ha!! But nothing sticks to them they are GREAT so I always bring several home for kitchen use!!

this one isn't a pretty one to take a picture of it cooked about 5 secs too long...why it's picture was taken I do not know. But we all need to feel special even when we aren't looking our best right? So here's this not so pretty tortilla's moment in the spotlight then it was eaten and the looks didn't matter any more any way as it was just as delicious as the pretty ones.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

yummies and fun

Game night with Daddy! After John Mark and Daddy finished a game of Blokus, a fierce game of Scrabble broke out. Addition, multiplication, spelling, vocabulary....who knew that Scrabble incorporated such things?! They didn't figure that part out, but they sure had fun - and MaryKyle won with JohnMark only I think 2 points behind!! hooray!!

Oh yum...well that's what my family says and it sure does smell good! Since I can't eat popcorn thanks to Crohn's disease, I don't know except I did lick the spoon from the caramel pot! It's so fall looking too! My family has gone nuts on it...I found the recipe on a blog that now I can't find to link to..when I do I will pass it along!!

okay so here is my frustration for the day. I planned on making mini baseball cupcake pops for John Mark's game tonight. I did the cake last night, prepared the balls and was ready to do them today. I went on this morning and made some pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins and the caramel chocolate popcorn rush, I just need to dip them. So later in the afternoon I dipped them in white - that part looked great. Then I used my new Wilton edible markers I got just for this occassion. UGH!! I give these things TWO THUMBS DOWN!! They claim to write on frosting, cookies, etc....and others have used edible markers on candy melts. it's actually a great surface for them...but they would NOT work on mine. not sure if it's the Wilton ones or not...hubby thinks so (yes he was trying too). So at the last minute I melted yellow candy melts and dipped some in there and put chocolate smiley faces on...I know they don't look very good, but I only had minutes at this point...UGH...I had such plans for the baseballs with the Braves A on them and such for their team....UGH!!

But the FUNNY thing is....the cupcake is red when the boys bite into these smiley faces their heads will be 'blood red' oh UGH!! I didnt mean to give the boys some gorey snack...but it is stinkin funny. I can't wait to get a picture!!

Monday, October 20, 2008 pictures

today for our Civil War lesson we talked about what the soldiers on both sides ate. So we decided to try some of it out and made the hardtack that they ate daily...I wish I'd have gotten pictures....ICK! the kids couldn't believe how horrible it was nor that the soldiers lived on that and coffee the majority of the time. They then understood why they sang songs about longing for the day when they didn't eat it any more!! To be honest it just really makes you appreciate even more what our soldiers then and our soldiers now endure for us!

If you want to make hardtack here is the recipe we got from this site:

Union Hardtack Recipe
2 cups flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp of crisco
6 pinches of salt

Mix the ingredients togther into a stiff batter. Knead several times and spread out flat on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 min at 400 degrees. Remove from oven, cut dough into 3 inch squares and put 4 rows of holes into the dough. Turn dough over and return to oven. Bake another 30 min. Turn oven off and leave the door closed. Leave in the oven until cool. Remove and "enjoy"!

I was interested to learn that the Union soldiers fared better because the north already had a comissary system set up before the war, but the confederacy didn't so it took them several years to learn how to get, store and distribute rations to the troops. I was also interested in how little they knew back then about nutrition in general and thus the soldiers truly suffered on both sides not getting what fuel their bodies needed.
I am constandly amazed at what I get out of teaching my kids!! I might in a few years have enough knowledge to feel comfortable playing trivial pursuit......nah...doubt it!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

fall frenzy!

(IMPORTANT NOTE: on the way home from camping...Mommy and John Mark in recovery mode from icky virus...Daddy packed, Mommy suprised them by coming afterall in time for dinner the last's another good memory! I have the most amazing family! I AM BLESSED!)

I'll be back to blogging has yet to have calmed down. Visits from family, baseball, stomach bugs (3 down 1 to go), camping trips, trips to the zoo, old friends, new friends, visits to family, school, housework, work work....and more...are filllng our hours! And we are loving life (okay not the stomach bug so much but it did force a rest and that is good)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

whirlwind weekend

Making the popcorn and 'spider web' (cotton candy with spider rings!)
Hard at work...Chris, Emilee, and Pam (THANKS GUYS!!)

I've seen other bloggers comment on not being able to get their pictures in order, but never had that problem til let me move one and now won't let me move any so sorry for the chaos of the pictures...kind of fits with our weekend though.

I was up til the wee hours of the morning Saturday morning trying to get MK's halloween costume done. She comes up with some whoppers of ideas that challenge me each year. This year she wanted to be a "woodland fairy sitting on a toadstool" So hi ho hi ho off to work I went....Saturday morning we hit the ground running. Got ready and headed to their old school to enjoy their yearly fall festival. We joined up with friends from church and enjoyed the day with them and visiting with old friends, etc! It was nice to see all the familiar faces again! We left just in time to run in the house change into baseball clothes and head off to baseball practice....and then left there early to run home and make it a few minutes late for our annual neighborhood halloween party...which was great fun!
They had the annual costume parade led by Ooogie boogie and the Mayor of Halloween Town, had the costume contest, and enjoyed popcorn and cotton candy while watching the Nightmare before Christmas on the Big screen under the stars. It was a blast! If you didn't know...we love our neighborhood :-)

So here's the shots...but UGH...they are all over the place...

Janis cuddling with Kelly's Chloe...she so sweet and snuggly!!
Rob, Noah, Kelly (with Heidi's Ella bella) Joy (ready to deliver!!), Oogie Boogie (aka Robert)and the Mayor (aka Dave)

Thanks Oogie for scaring me to death....
Zoie and friends

the mess Friday night/Sat morning in my room when I was done with the costume

Sebastian takes his turn at the dunk tank!

john Mark, Owen, Brock and Zak watching the movie - notice the cotton candy and popcorn...yum!!
MK watching the movie

did a bit more after this picture and gave up for the night and decided I'd just get them done for Halloween, but after she won the costume contest I may just leave them as is....this wasn't the finished product, they got some bend and form from wire inside, got shortened, etc..but I thought I'd do some more even, but....well...not sure I'll get that motivated...but then not sure I can stand it either :-)
MaryKyle, Abbey, John Mark and Emily! We had a ball at fall festival!!'s Ms we love Ms Etherton!! This is my kids kindergarten teacher...I only got to see their 1st and 2nd grade teachers briefly in the hall or I would have taken their pictures too...we were blessed with 3 amazing teachers when my kids were in public school and we are so thankful for all 3 of them!! That's right, I don't homeschool because I had a bad teacher fact quite the opposite. If you are enrolled in Robert's elementary you can not go wrong with Ms Etherton, Mrs Stacy and Ms Spencer!!!!!!!!!!

Sweet!! 2 out of 3 john Mark dunks Mr G!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

eh hem....I need my gift back please!

The day I was born I was given the most amazing gift. I treasure each and every day even still. It has brought me comfort when I faced challenges. It is so dear to my heart and helps me find confidence when I don't think I have any. It's a gift I hope to pass on to my children.

So many wonderful things have come my way thanks to it and the very best is it help me nab an incredible awesome wonderful amazing man all thanks to that baby gift. Seriously have I mentioned my amazing husband. I met him my freshman year of college. Where I went to college every freshman went several days before classes started and the upperclassman came for something called "Interface" it was just a casual time to acclimate to campus and make some friends.

My hubby was my Interface leader. I got to campus late that was minutes before all the festivities began. Each interface leader was supposed to go to the room of their freshman charges & introduce themselves and tell the freshman where to be next and when. So after my parents said their goodbyes off I went to meet my group who was under his charge.

His girlfriend broke up with him that week. and we flirted all that week....and went on our first date once he wasn't my Interface leader any the campus Luau. We skipped out early and on a next to nothing budget headed to the county fair. We rode the ferris wheel only and walked around talking about the quilts on display and log houses and lots of other ramblings about what we wanted in life. Only the money on the ferris wheel ride was spent and it was just an amazing time. We got into his truck to leave and BANG...we hit a pipe that was sticking up out of the ground in the fair's makeshift parking lot. And well...doing what I do best...I started giggling. Something bad happens, I laugh..something got it...laugh. He had just gotten this truck. he loved this old truck. and all he kept worrying about was how his Dad was going to put touch up paint on it and he hated touch up paint...ha ha ha ha...YEP I LAUGHED even harder!! :-) laughing now thinking about it in fact!! He wasn't laughing...he was just down right upset. I felt bad, but tried to get him laughing too...I mean what else are you going to do? I talked to my best friend from High school, Mollie, that night and in my 17 year old dramatic way...told her all about meeting this great guy and how he wanted all the same things I did in life and how I wondered if he could be 'the one'!

i got a note in campus mail the next day...that said simply "thank you for making me laugh, I had a great time last night" or something like that. Found out later (long time later) he told his roommate that night that I was who he wanted to marry.

We went on a few "church dates" that week and then he called from my dorm lobby and wanted to talk to was over. his girlfriend wanted to get back together. And that was it....

We hung out around the same people and stayed friends. I became good friends with his girlfriend who was great! And that was that....never thought another thing about him in that way. And then, I dropped out of college and moved home.

Until....3 years later...even longer story I'll skip over but by an odd turn of events we end up on a date. One I truly hadn't planned on or wanted to really be on but I ended up having another amazing time sharing and talking and ...& thanks to my treasured gift...3 weeks later we were engaged. And within 6 months we were married. All because when I was born my parents started praying. They prayed for the man I was going to marry. And when I became engaged to a virtual stranger to them my Mother's response was "well I prayed every day of your life that you would find a wonderful Christian man to marry I'm not arguing with how He does it" and that was that! What a gift...what an incredibly wonderful amazing lifelong gift. One I can never send a thank you note for that would ever come close to expressing the gratitude I feel! One that I truly hope I can pass on to my kiddos.

I am in love, wonderful love with this simply amazing man that I married and that my parents prayed for. he has been gone for 3 days and I can hardly stand it. I miss him. My daughter said the first night he was gone "Mommy the house just doesn't feel the same without Daddy" I have to agree.

I am so blessed. Blessed to have praying parents and blessed to experience and be growing old with their answered prayer!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A good day

We worked on halloween costumes (more on that later), explored the Marietta square and played some there, ran into an old friend there. And just was a better day....I'm still trying to put down the laptop more, tomorrow I will pick it up even less...progress! But today I didn't feel like a bad that can do better....and one who is trying to do better. I even set my alarm and got up and was going to cook b'fast until my sweet son begged to. He made a bread pudding! Then he insisted on making dinner too (wow he'll make a good husband some day - like his Daddy!) - he made us b'fast burritos!!

n be

Thursday, October 9, 2008

apology accepted

I went into my kids rooms after they fell asleep tonight and whispered I loves yous (as I do most nights)...I also whispered an apology for being a lazy Mommy today.
MK woke up just a bit at that and said "it's okay Mommy, it's our fault we watched too much TV" we talked a bit more about it all and how tomorrow we were going to have a fun filled day laughing together....after, I told her what an amazinging angel she is and loved on her she gave me a big hug and whispered "thank you for being a wonderful Mommy" She forgives me!

I did the same for John Mark. he was sacked out in about 2 seconds after hitting the pillow tonight and he never opened his eyes, but when I whispered "I'm sorry I was a lazy Mommy today" he groggily mumbled "I love you Mommy, it's okay...mumble mumble..." not sure of the last of he was saying something as he drifted back off. He forgives me.

I will never come close to deserving their unconditional love or compliments. It's amazing how our children don't see our warts or that they do and love us anyway! but tomorrow I am going to try to do better than today, perhaps start the day with a little music & dancing with our oatmeal. and just perhaps a little couch jumping!

off with the hair!

My son....decided he wanted to shave his head about a week or so ago. Ack!! His hair was butchered recently and we joked about it then, was a joke. however ever since, he's kept mentioning it. So the other day hubby decided he would do it if John Mark wanted him to. it didn't go so well at first as whatever we happening with the clippers was hurting him. but then they did a temporary mohawk and then off it went. FORTUNATELY for Mommy not totally bald. But still....aaahhh!! I truly almost cried. Funny I thought it odd when hubby had a reaction at all when MaryKyle first donated her hair shen she was 4 or 5, but I really was doing all I could to not freak out. It's not so bad, but he has such great hair. And here I was hoping for him to grow it out. he likes it short and he deserves to have a say.

But it just looks cold to me. we'll see when it starts getting really cold how he feels about it :-) hee hee!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I hate 'new normals'

John Mark's daily prayers (1 time daily minimum): "....and God please help Aaliyah to come back and live with us forever" same words each day...sometimes he makes us tack it on to the end of our prayers if he thinks about it and it's on his heart at that moment particularly and he looks at us like " FORGOT to say...."

MaryKyle while walking through Target with me the other day: "you will never guess what I saw in the Halloween store Mommy!....An Abby Cadabby costume!!!! Won't Aaliyah just LOVE it Mommy!? Can we get it for her PLEASE?!"

What John Mark doesn't know: I get a piercing feeling in my heart each and every time those words come out of his mouth.

What MaryKyle doesn't know: I saw the same costume and cried right there standing in the aisle of the store.

I HATE new normals!! I HATE when I'm asked how many children I have!! I hate Fulton County DFCS!! I hate that there can not be better laws to protect foster children!! I hate I do not know what to do to make it better for other children. I want to. How do these people TV movies are made of get anywhere? where do they start? how do they have the energy to fight 'the system?'

But most importantly...have you ever seen a cuter little girl? She had a ball playing in flour that day. I gave it to her to occupy her so MaryKyle could finger paint. And it worked and she had a ball!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Homemade granola bars!

today started out with homemade chocolate chip granola bars. We all really enjoyed them and the kids decided they are a must for our upcoming camping trip! Only problem...they are hard to stop eating! I am going to try some other things in them next week to see what other yummy healthy treats we can come up with! like raisin or craisin!! yummy!!

So here is the recipe we used:

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup raw honey (I'll probably add a bit more next time for more moisture and sweetness)
1-2 Tbsp organic peanut butter (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (can use more or less or vegan chips if desired)

1. Combine all ingredients, but chocolate chips. Stir well. Stir in Chocolate chips (I chopped mine up a bit as I didn't want huge chocolate chips and instead just mini like)

2. Lightly press mixture into lightly greased pan (hint: a ziplock bag lightly coated in cooking spray works well as a 'glove' for pressing)

3. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes. Let cool about 8 min, cut into bars (I did some larger and some smaller). Let bars cool completely in pan before removing.