Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Memorable May! it already the end of May?!? It's really hard for me to believe that May is almost over...which has had a lot goin' on!

We "wrapped up" our school year this past week; so we are thoroughly enjoying this week without having many commitments. {Hence...time to catch up on my blog...woohoo!}

Of course, this past weekend was a holiday weekend, and we successfully squeezed out every memorable inch out of it! And now it's Wednesday, and we're already closing in on next weekend when Daddy doesn't have to go to work every day! So now I look back and wonder where the heck May went! I still can't account for every day, but there were some pretty memorable days in it!

At the beginning of this month, I began (once again) Weight Watchers, and I'm so thankful for the great group of gals that are in it with does make it more enjoyable! I think it's what works the best for me...I enjoy the monotony of writing things down (give me a checklist, and I'm all over it!), and the girls enjoy helping me track the calories, fiber and fat grams. I did really well on it after I had Cricket, so we'll see how I do on it this go-round! So after I attended my first WW meeting and took Cricket to soccer, we ran out to get last minute things for our cinco de mayo party...and stayed out way too late, for the next morning was the Belk Sale benefiting Bethany! And of course I didn't have time to sell as many tickets as I had planned on selling, sooo...I guess that meant I had to spend them, oh for charity!

For those that know me, they know that I am NOT a morning person...but tell me that there's a sale that will end at 10 AM, and somehow I can muster up the strength to become a morning person! Oh my year, I'm going to really push this sale! It's a great fundraiser! Bethany was able to sell tickets to Belk for $5, and Bethany was able to keep the profits! The tickets got one in the doors early at Belk and I'm telling you....everything was marked down drastically! It was like I was living a dream! You know...the dream where everything is marked down and you can grab what you can before the time runs out! The stores were so quiet (with the exception of cash registers' ringing and people hollering over sales!), and there were coffee stations with Krispy Kreme donuts (I did well, WW friends!) I'm telling you it was a dream! We bought a couple of little Ralph Lauren dresses for Cricket and Lovey (they're Lovey's favorite, and I'm pretty sure that they were only $10!), a RL shirt for AngelWings ($10), an MP4 player for $17, Ricci bought me some more Estee Lauder pleasures for Mother's Day (thank you, Ricci!), and I can't remember what other things we bought...I'm telling you...great sales all throughout the store; then they started to take the magic signs down when they opened up the doors to the public!

One thing that I've learned...being on the board of directors for Bethany means...fundraising! Previously, I didn't really know that 1/2 of Bethany's funds come from donations, and the other 1/2 comes from adoptions. There is no charge to the moms that come through and receive counseling and then choose to use another means of adoption. So this next year's sale, I'm going to come and get you gals to purchase these tickets and put on your shopping shoes...cause we're hitting the Belk stores early! In the name of charity!!!

Yes, I began WW just in time for our 4th annual cinco de mayo party...oh well! And for some reason, I didn't seem to get the camera out as often as I usually do, but here are a few pics of some of our closest loved ones that celebrated the special day with us.
As our tradition, I served the usual: Alals' chicken-spinach enchiladas, black beans with lime, Spanish rice (I ran out of time and fudged on this one with a semi-homemade version...if anyone has a good recipe for Spanish rice, I'd love it if you share it with me!), and for the first time I served a new appetizer, Black Bean Tartlets, that I thought was really yummy. Try it...I'm sure you'll love it too!

Black Bean Tartlets
Yields: 32 appetizers

Garnishes: sour cream, fresh cilantro

Ingredients for the tartlets:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons ice water

Combine first 8 ingredients in a food processor; pulse until blended. Add butter; pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add egg and ice water; process just until the mixture forms a ball.
Divide dough in half; shape each half of dough into 16 (1") balls. Press balls into lightly greased miniature (1 3/4") muffin pans, pressing evenly into bottom and up sides.
Bake tartlet shells at 450° for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove shells to wire racks, and cool completely.

Ingredients for the Black Bean Salsa:

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet yellow pepper
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, tossing well. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Spoon 1 tablespoon Black Bean Salsa into each tartlet shell; garnish, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

I found this recipe in the Christmas with Southern Living 2000

We served mango tea with fruit for the kids, sangria and a selection of Mexican beer for the mamas and the papas, and for dessert we once again served vanilla ice cream with your choice of toppings (toasted coconut, chocolate sauce, and Uncle Charles' roasted Spanish peanuts...thanks, Uncle Charles!) Of course, we were having such a great time that I didn't even start the waiting coffee...we were with such close friends and family that it was a very relaxed evening; it was wonderful!

Thankfully, God doesn't give us more than we can handle; the rest of that week I spent recovering from a ruptured ovarian cyst; Ricci took a day off of work to allow me to rest (there's not much more one can do but keep still and just rest...ahhh...that part's nice!), and he helped the girls with some of their schoolwork. There's nothing like knowing that you're in the home stretch...summer's awaiting around the corner!

Later that week, we celebrated 58th National Day of Prayer with our community. I have to say that I really appreciate this national holiday, and I also have to say that I struggle with knowing that others don't hold the same value of it as I do...why is it not more widely attended?

On the first Thursday in May, every community across the US is encouraged to hold an event at noon, and the theme for this year was “Prayer…America’s Hope” based on the verse from Psalm 33:22 which states, “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Oh! How we need His unfailing love to rest upon us, and oh...we need to be faithfully putting our hope in Him!

This is the second year that I've helped facilitate our location's event, and I love seeing who participates in it! It's such a sweet time of coming together (denominations set aside) as a body of believers that desire our God to hear us as one church. Our pastor Jeremy led us this year, and he did a fabulous job; he opened up the time with a reading of Psalm 33, and then we spent time in prayer for our government, our military, our media, our businesses, our churches, and our families! What a sweet time it is! I'm thankful that my girls have the opportunity to hopefully grow up remembering this experience as a special one in our community.

That afternoon, we spent some time playing outside with Savannah, Ben, Emmaline and Jonathan (the creek is so full from all of the rain, and it's just irresistible to children!), then we had a memorable late lunch at Piccadilly (I'll spare you the details!) with friends before a play date at our new favorite park...welp...almost our favorite...I had to call the girls back to get back in the car...we'd have to come back to the playground, but not today...the battery was flirting with death! So after "I" took care of the car (at the fixit shop, of course! "I" meaning...I ordered a new battery, watched it being installed and paid for it! Yes, Daddy'd be proud!), we were on the road again!!

That next Saturday Jenna graduated from UT-Martin! Woohoo! We're all sooo very proud of you, Jenna! We were supposed to go to her graduation, but after the car was acting up and we were all so exhausted from busi-ness, we decided to play hookie and stay at home...I hear they call that a "staycation"! LOVED~IT! (Sorry, Jenna!) Others thought we were out of town, and it felt sooo good to just stay at home....the girls played while Ricci and I spent the day binge-watching this season of LOST. Wow~it's really picking up the pace....but now we have to wait until 2010?!? What's up with that?!?

Mother's Day couldn't have been sweeter...every year is sweet, but this one tops them all! The girls took the opportunity to call it a Mother's day weekend...who am I to argue with them?!? They started giving me gifts on Friday and Saturday....they're like their mamma, who just can't keep a gift a secret! Ricci bought me two new Adirondack chairs....I love'em! Come over and sit a spell in 'em with me! And they all made me breakfast in bed while the girls made me special cards and gifts.

AngelWings made me these gorgeous earrings...including the beautifully, wrapped box! Thank you, MaeMae! And thank you, girls and Ricci, for loving me and thinking that I'm the mom you say I am! I love you the moon and back...and around and around....!

Speaking of Mother's Day, the end of this month has been a little discomforting (is that a word?) because our family will be getting together to 'lay to rest' our dear Alal, who has been so incredibly important in all of our lives. The flip side...we get an extra trip to see the rest of our family in Louisiana! That's good!

This past week, we've thoroughly enjoyed participating in some of the gardening lectures and workshops with Rock City's 1st annual Southern Blooms Festival! We've learned a lot and incorporated several of the lessons into the end-of-the-year schoolweek!

This past weekend, we did our usual Friday craziness and then had some friends over for an early Memorial day cookout. After we ate some yummy BBQ, we headed over to the Wilderness Theatre to see the movie, Night at the Museum 2, which was really good! There's nothing like sitting out under the stars with friends and watching a movie on the "world's largest movie screen"!

Here's a couple of pics...taken in the pitch-black; sorry for the blindness y'all experienced afterwards! You's important to make memories!

The three amigos! Marion & Indiana Jones!
Two peas in a pod!

George & Wendy and Co. (couldn't find the rest of them in the dark!)

Saturday morning, we all awoke a little later than we had planned...we had to get over to RC to make our hypertufas! (Don't worry...I had to look up the word as well!) "Hypertufa is a man made substitute for Tufa rock. Tufa is a spongy cellular rock found in limestone country and especially where water has been involved in the wearing and leaching out of the original materials to effect a porous spongy consistency. In many countries throughout the world this natural stone has for centuries been hollowed out and carved for tubs and planters." (quote taken from here)

We each made a garden container out of a mixture of Portland cement, sand, peat moss and perlite. Camera? Didn't even think of it as we ran out of the house! oops!

That evening, we ran up to Sewanee for dinner with Aunt Jan, Uncle Eddie & Erich. We made our traditional pizzas and ice-cream, and let the pups have a good time...mental time remember to bring an extra tennis ball!And the girls gave cousin Erich quite the workout! They had him running them all over the house..Macy was riding on his back for at least 30 minutes straight until we told her to get off...then he just took the fun outside on a wild chase all over the property with flashlights....what more fun could a girl have?!? Thanks, Erich, for all of the fun!It's so relaxing being up there...well, I'm not sure it is for Erich! The waterfall was huge after all of the rain that we've had this month; it was difficult to hear one another when on their deck overlooking the falls. Before we left, I had to snap these photos...I know it's poor lighting...I just had to get this photo before they all moved!

Unknowingly, Erich's moving in for the "my favorite cousin" title! Sorry, Will!

I just couldn't resist this photo! I could make a collage of all of the different pictures of the girls and Uncle Eddie still looking for Waldo! This is my Uncle Eddie that partook of teaparty after teaparty with me as a little girl! We love you, Uncle Eddie! is exciting that we've wrapped up our school year! Now, of course, I had planned way more than was reasonable, so we'll still be doing some readings together over the summer, but I find that enjoyable and not feeling like I'm behind the 8-ball! And the girls are participating in some summer-reading-programs, so they'll get to count their free-reading assignments as books that count toward these extra rewarding programs...woohoo! We're also enjoying soccer practice, swimming and will be enjoying tennis and music camps! Woohoo, Summer, bring on the F-U-N!


Nekey said...

It was so good to hear about your May! you have been busy!!! We are on the homestretch with our homeschool now. :)

gramma jones said...

Dear Steph, Jusgt finished reading your recent blogs and they were
wonderful. I do love keeping up with your family even tho" we are so
far apart. I especially liked reading aboout the treasure hunt. Does
Eric remember about the can of dog food? He takes after his grandpa
when it comes to th treasure hunts. Ours were always riddles and you
had to find each gift in able to find the riddle to the next one.
Anyway, just wanted to ask you to not stop blogging. I love every one.
Love to all of you, Gramma Jones

PS: Can't remember if I ever wrote you a thank you for the time that
Carolyn and I spent with you. If not, I apologize!!!!! It was a very
special time for me to be able to spend time with the you, Eric and the
girls. Thank you so much.

Life with the DixieChirps said...

Yes, it's been fun to have the time to get caught up on my blog! I hope the rest of your school year goes smoothly, Nekey! You always inspire me with all that you do with your girls!

Thanks, Gramma Jones, for your sweet comments! We loved having you here and hope that y'all will rest here again when the snowbirds fly south/north again!

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