Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trash or Treasure?

Lately, Travis has been interested in storage unit auctions. This is where the storage companies auction off the contents of their units that have gone into default. Recently we went one just to see how it worked and it was very interesting.


You get to see what's in the unit but you can't go through the contents, so you never know what you're going to get.



I think most of the people want to get the stuff for cheap and then resell it.


There was a pretty good crowd that showed up. I think this unit went for $450.00. It would be great if you could find a stash of money, a rare antique, or some valuable gold coins. But, I'm sure that doesn't happen too often.


Here the girls are hanging out playing with some rocks while we wait for the auction to start.


After the auction we happened to find a store called Marietta Close Outs that has lots of odds and ends and junk at really cheap prices. The girls had lots of fun going through stuff. It was quite a fun Saturday morning.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Senator Glenn Nye Intervenes on Behalf of Military Spouses

This is the latest update in the halting of the MyCAA program. There are so many upset military spouses voicing their opinions that it must be doing some good. Senator Glenn Nye of VA has written a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sharing his concerns about the halting of the program and asking for his attention to the matter.

Who knows how much good it will do in getting the program back up and running again. But, at least someone is listening.

http://nye.house.gov/uploads/022310_Nye_Gates_MyCAA.pdf


Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 General Conference Packets for Children

I got very excited when I saw this and can't wait to share it with my kiddos, especially Noah. This is a great way to keep your children busy and help keep Conference interesting for them. Check it out!

http://www.sugardoodle.info/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5851

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I like this!

Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make... you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going."- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General & 1912 Olympian

Friday, February 19, 2010

MyCAA Military Spouse Tuition Assistance Program Halted Without Notice!

I am taking on-line classes with the help of a tuition assistance program for military spouses called MyCAA. It is a program through the DOD and it allows military spouses up to $6000 toward their schooling. This is my second semester using the assistance and I was just approved for the latest class I want to take and sent the voucher to my school last week.

I was not notified by MyCAA, but found out about it on facebook. And, depending on the article you read about it, it's unclear whether or not already approved tuition will be honored. I sure hope so, at least for now anyway.

Having that money there to take my classes felt like such a blessing and to have it taken away like that is very disappointing. It puts a damper on my education plans.

hhttp://hamptonroads.com/2010/02/mycaa-program-suspended-no-notice-disrupts-milspouses-ability-go-school


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Potty training!

Katy has been interested in potty training lately and today were in it full swing. She wore panties all day except when we went to the gym and she wore a pull-up. She went to the potty at least 15 times that I recorded and pooped 2 of those times. She was very excited about the whole potty chart and reward system. I gave her a pink star for every time she went to the potty and she could get a sweet tart or a smartie for each star. I think I will get some M&M's tomorrow to make the reward better. I know I would much prefer M&M's over sweet tarts or smarties any day.

Lily wanted to be in on the rewards too, so I gave her a purple flower on the chart for every time she helped Katy wash her hands after she went to the potty. She liked that!

More adventures in potty training tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Homemade bread

I love homemade bread and I especially love the smell of it while it's baking. Hmmmm, there's nothing better! However, I have always been intimidated by bread making mainly because there are so many steps involved in the process, so I usually don't bother with it, I just like to talk about how much I would like to do it. So, for Valentines Day Travis bought me book to help me overcome my fear and I was eager to try it out. The book has breads from all over the world and can't wait to try each and every one of them. But, I can't get ahead of myself, I have to get good at a basic easy bread recipe first.


Even if you never made any bread, just looking at the awesome pictures in this book is fun.

I made 1 loaf of white bread and 3 loaves of wheat and they all turned out good. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but it did take several hours from start to finish. Katy took a nap while I was doing it and I'm sure that was one of the reasons why.

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
  2. Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
  3. Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not over bake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I ran the Reagan!

Yesterday was the Run the Reagan half marathon and I am so happy because I had a PR and took about 14 minutes off of the last half that I did in November! However, the race itself was not all that enjoyable for me, mainly because of the weather conditions. It was cold, windy, and downright miserable at times.

They postponed the race start for 4 hours because of the weather. The day before we got 3 inches of snow and with below freezing temps, the roads were icy. We still just barely got there 20 minutes before it started and had to rush to get our packets and get to the starting line. At least the sun came out but it was still cold and very windy. The course was on the Ronald Reagan Parkway which was completely closed for the race, and it was pretty hilly and very boring.

They started the 10k and half folks at the same time so there was a pretty good crowd and things weren't too bad as I was getting into my groove. But, at the turnaround point for the 10k folks it instantly became quiet and lonely as I kept on going past. The only people I could see were so far in front of me they looked like little dots and there was no one behind me for what seemed like forever. Finally, I saw one person, then another, then another, and the dreaded feeling I had of being the last person out there went away. I estimate there were about 10 people behind me.

By the time I got to the finish line they were busy taking down the banner and I had to squeeze past them to get across it, then someone handed me a medal and said good job. I'm sure it was a long day for everyone who worked the race. The weather was so miserable and with the 4 hour late start I'm sure everyone was ready to go home. I know I was!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Once there was a snowman...or two!

When I picked Lily up from preschool this afternoon at 1:00 it started snowing and it didn't stop until around 7:30 pm.


It's hard to tell, but it's starting to snow.


Here we are a little later....


Wow!


Yay!


I'm standing at the front door holding it wide open calling Pepper to come outside with us, but she wouldn't move.


The girls were having a lot of fun, but could only last for a few minutes at a time because their hands would get so cold. Then, they would come inside and snuggle under a blanket for awhile and of course have some hot cocoa.


Pepper finally agreed to come outside for a few minutes.


After Noah got home from school they all went outside again to play for awhile and this time were able to build a snowman.


Lucas, our neighbor, came by and wanted to have a snowball fight. He said this is the most snow he had ever seen in his life.


Get him Lily!


Pepper decided to run off down the street and explore a little bit. She was really enjoying herself running around in circles as fast as she could. When she gets going really fast she kind of hops like a rabbit... it's the cutest thing.


Back to the building the snowman.


We used Lily's scarf, Hershey kisses for the eyes, and a carrot for the nose.


This just doesn't happen in GA very often.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

1985

I was a junior in high school when this was taken. It's crazy how time flies and before you know it 25 years have passed. It's also crazy how it seems like I have the same zit on the lower left side of my cheek right now. I guess there are some things never change.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Big Apple Circus is back in Atlanta!

This is so awesome!! I just received this information yesterday and am excited to pass it on...

Meredith's Musings readers can save up to 30% per ticket to see performances of Bello is Back! at the Big Apple Circus in Atlanta. Performances begin Friday, February 12th and run through Sunday, February 28th, under the Big Top at Stone Mountain Park. Atlanta is the third stop on the Big Apple Circus's 11–month, 7–city tour.

Time Magazine calls him, "America's Best Clown" and Bello is joined by a world of stellar circus stars:

*From Spain, Picaso Jr. returns with his sizzling style and extraordinary juggling act — puffing into the air up to five ping-pong balls simultaneously, and catching them — with his mouth!

*From Russia, the Aniskin Troupe amaze with their bravura, athletic trampoline act — then soar into the Big Top stratosphere with their spectacular flying trapeze act!

*The Big Apple Circus' own lovely and graceful Regina Dobrovitskaya performs a shimmering spectacle on aerial silk ribbons!

*Equestrians Christine Zerbini and Sultan Kumisbayev present an electrifying riding act — standing atop galloping chargers, Roman–style!

*Luciano Anastasini’s Pound Puppies (all rescued from animal shelters) return for a joyously jumping mélange of human and canine acrobatics!

Of course there’s more and for an extra measure of love and laughter, there’s the Big Apple Circus' very own clown -- Grandma.

You can learn more about the Big Apple Circus and the amazing community outreach programs they participate in at their website: http://bigapplecircus.org. And, make sure to check them out on Twitter http://twitter.com/bigapple_circus , and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/bigapplecircus for info on becoming a Big Apple Circus Member, the latest updates on Circus to Go! Appearances, and to share your Big Top experience with other fans!

To purchase your discounted tickets to the Big Apple Circus:

Online: http://bigapplecircus.org/atlpop.aspx and submit the code POP10 in the Promotional Codes box

By Phone: CALL 888-541-3750 and mention code POP10

In Person: Big Top Box Office 10AM–6PM daily. No service fee. Bring a copy of this blog post

*Offer good on select seat locations and performances. Must present this blog post to receive discount at the box office. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer is subject to availability; not valid on prior purchases; cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. This offer can be revoked at any time. Discount amount varies. Limit 8 tickets per order. No refunds or exchanges. Telephone and Internet orders are subject to standard service fees.

Tickets for performances at upcoming venues are currently on sale to Big Apple Circus members only. In addition to knowing your membership helps kids in need, benefits include discounted tickets, VIP seats, invitations to exclusive member-only events, and more! For full details, check out: http://bigapplecircus.org/support/membership.aspx

See's Candies is the BEST!

Travis ordered some See's Candies and I didn't know it until this big box arrived last week. There was 8 boxes of chocolate's and peanut brittle!!! He said since he had to pay shipping he might as well get his money's worth! With Valentines' coming up he thought it would be nice to give some to Nana, and Noah's teacher and piano teacher... and of course for us! :) We especially love See's peanut brittle... it is by far the best we've ever eaten.

Anyway, Travis opened a box of chocolates and peanut brittle and they didn't look quite right, some of the candies were stuck together and a little gray and the texture of the peanut brittle was off from what we have had in the past. It looked like maybe the chocolates got melted and then were frozen? Who knows.

So, Travis sent an email to See's explaining and asked if he should send them all back or just the two boxes he opened. They wrote back and told him no, that they would replace his entire order.

Now, that's customer service!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Half, half, and more half's...

Travis signed up for the Run the Reagan Half Marathon this weekend to use as a training run in preparing for the GA ING Marathon he is doing in March. He also wants to do the Scenic City Half Marathon in Chattanooga at the end of the month as another training run and I think that makes sense since he is running a marathon in 6 weeks.

What doesn't make sense is that I decided I wanted to do them too. I have been training to do the GA ING half in March, but I really haven't put the miles in yet according to my training schedule to be ready for a half. On the other hand, after my long run this weekend (9 miles) I feel pretty good and I think I can do it. So, I have taken on the challenge to push myself and see what I'm made of.

The calendar is getting full... 3 half's in 6 weeks. I hope I don't regret this!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Baking, baking, baking



Sunday after church I felt like baking and I had two of the best helpers! I put Lily in charge of mixing and Katy in charge of putting chocolate chips into a bowl. It looks like she got a little bit on her face!


Lily is the best mixer ever. I think I should look into getting the girls cute little aprons because they love to help in the kitchen.


The chocolate, chocolate chip muffins were a hit and tasted very good! The peanut butter chocolate chip muffins were not so good. They were made with whole wheat flour and only sweetened with maple syrup so they were not very sweet. Plus, I baked them a little too long and they were kind of dry.


Today, Travis decided to make monkey bread and it was sooooooo yummy! It made a huge mess though because butter and brown sugar started dripping over the sides of the pan and burned at the bottom of the oven. I put a cookie sheet under it, but it was too late because there was just enough to burn for what seemed like forever and fill the kitchen with smoke!


I thought it looked so beautiful when it was turned out onto the dish and planned to get a picture of it... but no one could keep their hands out of it! Pickers!! It really was that good though with all it's chewy and sticky deliciousness! I'm glad I ran 7 miles today because with this around, I may have broken even calorie wise.

No more baking for awhile!!

No, we did not buy this hat...

..but Katy sure looks cute in it! Travis put it on her while we were walking through Wal-mart the other day, and I couldn't resist taking a picture or two.




A day at the mall

Last Saturday was a dreary, cold, and rainy day so we decided to go to the mall to get the kids out of the house. My mom came with us and we all had a nice time people watching, having lunch, and shopping.


Thank goodness for this neat little play area with these cool climbing toys, and comfy leather couches to sit on while the kids play. Right next to this there was a pine wood derby car race going on, so Noah and Travis were checking that out.


They were having a great time just flipping and flopping around. And, of course Katy follows Lily around and does everything she does.


I love it how well my girls play together and love each other.


Noah and Mom getting off the escalator...


and going up again.


Ahhh, nap time!