Friday, June 27, 2008

MichiganCutie Paints

Hey everyone...Just wanted to let everyone know that I set up yet another blog...Many of you know I sometimes paint and I've been wanting for a while to have a way to display some of the paintings I've done.

I decided to just post them on a blog so I'll have a record of them. I wanted to tell you so maybe you could go check them out and give me feedback on what you think...

MichiganCutie Paints

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On the Menu...

Before I start the post I sat down to start...I just want to say that Blogger said this is my 100th post! Yeah!

Okay...I want to let you all know about two new recipes I put up on MichiganCutie Cooks today...One is a recipe I found online fora knock-off of McAlister's Chicken Tortilla Soup. I made it yesterday and Jon said our family now "loves" this recipe! It turned out very well and when he came home from work he said it smelled exactly right! It tasted so good that I wanted to share this recipe with you!

The other is a Beef or Chicken marinade that we have been using this summer when we grill. I also found this online, and it is VERY good! I really like the flavor, and it keeps the house cool b/c I fix the marinade in the morning and let it sit all day. Then Jon grills outside and...YUMMO!! :)

I also thought about giving just a few cooking/kitchen tips. I'm certainly not a professional cook or anything, but people do tend to like the things I make! :) I have recently learned that I have some friends who don't cook, don't cook well, or don't know how to make substitutions or alter recipes when needed. So here goes....maybe you can pick up something that might help you out...

**Most recipes can be doubled or tripled. This works out great for having company over hosting parties or just to make extra to put in the freezer for another time.

**It can often be very helpful to make extra and freeze it. Then, one day when you don't have time or the ingredients to make a recipe you can pull something out and thaw it in the oven or microwave. I have frozen BBQ meat, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, poppyseed chicken, chicken spaghetti...just about anything.

**If you don't want to make a whole extra recipe, you can save time by pre-preparing the meat. A lot of my casseroles call for cooked chicken. I usually boil or bake the chicken ahead of time with some seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper) then cool and tear it. If I'm gonna be cooking 4 for a recipe, I might as well cook the whole bag of 8 or 12 then separate it back out after torn. I would have enough to freeze portions for one or two more recipes! You can also do the same with ground beef...If you are going to brown 1 lb, why not brown 5? Then freeze it. Then, when you are ready to cook you don't have to thaw, then brown, then prepare. Quicker and cuts down on dishes!!!

**If you are making a soup (as I was yesterday) and it seems to be too thin (like mine was yesterday) you can thicken it up. If it's a cream or milk-based soup, put a couple tablespoons of flour in a small bowl. Then add just enough milk to make it pasty--like biscuit dough. If it's not cream based use whatver is in the soup....broth or water. Then you can stir it into the soup and it adds just a little 'thick' to the soup. DO NOT ever just sprinkle flour into the soup b/c it will get chunky and hold itself together in little balls that float on top of the soup. You need to add the liquid (milk or water) to the flour...not the flour to the liquid.

**Use leftover fried, baked or grilled chicken to make other can cut it up in cubes or tear it and make chicken salad for sandwiches. You can cut it into strips and put it over lettuce for salad. I recently used some leftover fried tenders to make poppyseed chicken, not knowing how it would turn out. IT WAS SO GOOD! Like the breading on the chicken gave it even more flavor! Plus, I didn't have to cook my chicken that day! Be creative.

**Use leftover roast to make beef stew the next day. You can buy a packet of beef stew thickener and seasoning on the spice aisle at WallyMart and what's left in your crock pot is basically what you need. Broth, meat, vegs. Just make sure you tear or cut the beef into bite-sized pieces.

**If you are making a recipe that calls for two boiled things, try to use the same water cuts down on time waiting for the water to boil, plus it makes the flavor richer. For instance, for our Chicken Spaghetti I have to boil the chicken. Then I'm supposed to boil the noodles. I just use a slotted spoon to get the chicken pieces out of the water after they're all done, then boil the noodles in the chicken water. Or...for the McAlister's soup...boil chicken, then use that water (measured out to 5 cups) and boil the bouillion cubes.

**Something I learned when I worked in daycare...Use scissors to cut food for kids. They used to send special 'food-only' scissors down for us to cut up spaghetti, pizza, chicken, etc into bite sizes. Ever since then, I hardly ever use a knife except for fruits and vegetables. I use my scissors to trim fat off raw meat. I use them to cut chicken into whatever shape my recipe calls for--strips, cubes, diced, torn. I use them for pizza. For pancakes. For pasta. So quick. So clean. I love my scissors!

Well...that's all I can think of right now...Hopefully something will be helpful to you! If not, maybe you can at least enjoy some new recipes! :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Great Deal Weekend!!!

I just want to preface this post by saying if you suffer from "Good Deal Envy" please bypsass this entry b/c even on Monday night I still cannot believe the new things gracing our household at almost NO cost!!!

Saturday morning I woke up late for the papers. So...instead of finishing the routes at 5:15, I was done at more like 5:45. I was wide awake and starving, so I decided to grab a biscuit at Hardee's and see what the garage sales had to offer...

In 3 garage sales, I found a complete set of Childcraft books, a Rival multi-pot, a football toybox, a Fisher Price gumball toy, a Curious George jack-in-the-box, 2 Baby Einstein videos, 3 books and a misc video--all for $23!!!

These Childcraft books are a COMPLETE set in like-new condition! I remember as a little girl going to my local library and checking out these easy-reading kids' level encyclopedia-like books over and over and over. I had always hoped to have the set for our personal library for when the kids get a little older. They are on a myriad of topics and I was so excited to make an offer of $10 for the WHOLE set and the guy accepted it!!! Later I found the set for $50 on Amazon!!

This crock-pot like appliance is not something I've always been longing for, but after reading through the manual that they still had I decided I would make an offer...It simmers and heats like a crock-pot, but it has a TEMPERATURE control, so it also fries and bakes!!! I thought, surely, I can use this someday--like to make extra soup or chili or cheese dip for a football game, or to bake potatoes or to make fries or whatever!!! Similar things I found online were $40-60, so I'm glad the guy accepted my offer of $5!!!
This toy box for Lawson's room was $3!
This Fisher Price gumball toy came with 7 clear balls-- seventy five cents, baby!!! :)
My kids LOVE Curious how could I pass up this Jack-in-the-box for only 75cents??
And finally....Brace yourselves...I can hardly believe it myself....
You will NEVER believe what was SITTING ON THE CURB as I was throwing papers at 4:30 this morning...
It is LIKE NEW!! Not scratched. Not faded. Not cracked. Not broken. WHY, pray tell, was it on the curb? I'm not sure, but I sure enough told Jon about it when I got home and asked him go get it in his truck for me!!!

Well...that's the summary of my EXCITING weekend of bargains.... What's the most exciting thing you've ever found at a garage sale or in the trash???

Friday, June 20, 2008

Week in Review...

It has been busy around here! Last week Jon graciously did the route THREE days in a row for me! I was able to sleep all night and feel rested during the daytime! Man, though, it sure was hard to go back to getting up!

Jordan came down with a fever last Tuesday morning and kept it until Thursday night. Thursday afternoon I took her to the Dr and he said she had a viral tonsillitis with puss and infection all over her throat. She was pitiful for a couple days... Thank goodness it wasn't long before she was full of energy and back to her old self! :)

I spent some time doing a painting for a friend last week, so Lawson started begging me to let him paint too. It's also the first time Jordan has really painted 'right' too...they made some beautiful works of art!

Father's Day was neat b/c the kids both took Jon a gift...They were very excited to give him their offerings and we all spent a nice day together.

Here's Jon and me...but I don't have my makeup on yet...I usually put it on in the car on the way to church!

Here's a picture of a picture I had printed for Jon's Father's Day. It was a snapshot from the photographer who did their team tee-ball pics. I called her and ordered it in 8x10 for his office. Pretty sure it may be copyrighted, so I will reference her...It's Candace Sanderson, a Huntsville photographer who is very sweet and got some great shots of the kids. If you are interested in calling her I have her card.

The other day Lawson was getting himself dressed and Jordan thought she should do the same. She already had her clothes on, so she reached onto the chair (where the MAJORITY of our clothing sits and waits to be folded) and grabbed a pair of my undies. She then tried to put it on herself and got frustrated when it was all tangled up. Tickled me! :)

The other night we spent some fun time outside after dinner. We played ball and tag, drew on the driveway then topped it off with catching lightning bugs. The kids loved this! Jon caught several for them and we even put some in a jar...

It looks like we had a playdate then a massive crime scene, I know...but fear's just MULTIPLE Lawsons and Jordans!! I drew them once, and it turned into their favorite thing! Now we're just waiting for it to rain so we can draw again!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dirty Dancing

Last month our family went to the Huntsville Stars game. I posted some pics of our night, but held out on this video of Jordan. Tonight we were talking to some friends about how Jordan just busted out in an, um, 'risque' dance when they started playing music between innings...They convinced me to post it...hopefully it will be of some entertainment value!

Please ignore my ridiculous giggles...She was cracking me up! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Ok everyone! I need advice. I know a lot of you who read may not be at the point of being able to help me yet, but let me ask anyways...

Jon's parents have graciously offered to buy the kids a playset for the back yard. I want to get a nice wooden one, but they are SOOO expensive! I have been looking and researching, and I think that I can piece one together then draw and design it for Jon. He's so good at building things that he'll be able to build whatever I ask for--we'll just buy the wood separate and uncut (which will save mone) and he'll assemble it (which will save money) and I think we'll be able to have a pretty nice one for cheaper than buying a pre-made set.

So...advice...if your family has a playset or swing set....which add-ons/toys do your kids play with most? Which are a waste of money/space? What would you recommend... I'm thinking slides, swings, see-saws, ropes, cargo nets, rock walls, etc...I want things that will be fun for now, but will also be fun and challenging as the kids get a little older...

Some of you have friends or family who have older kids...maybe you could ask them...Anyways...any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Can you hear them? It's the Hallelujah chorus singing for me!!

For the last 6-7 weeks I have hardly been able to walk. When I walk, it has been with much pain. My already lacking housework has dwindled to almost non-existent. Exercise or walking? Nope. Well, I finally went to the Dr 2 weeks ago. After sending me for x-rays, we determined I had a heel spur and tendonitis. Doc told me wear lace up shoes, get leather heel cups with a hole to relieve pressure on the sore spot, take FOUR Aleve a day...worked minimally and temporarily.

Well, yesterday I went back for a check-up/re-eval. We decided I needed an injection if I didn't want to go 4 more months just waiting to see if it would get better!!! FOUR MORE MONTHS! Doc! I can hardly walk! This doesn't fit with what I have to do! My feet only get about 6 hours of rest a day, and those aren't even in a row!

So a shot it was! I had made arrangements to take the kids to a friend's house, but Jordan woke up sick from her nap so I just decided to take them with me. This put even more pressure to not act like a wimpy baby when he was stabbing me with the icepick, er, needle! First a (so he said) little shot of anesthetic to make the big shot not hurt. As much. Holy CaShmoly! Man that sucker hurt! Pretty sure I wimpered a little.

Well, I just got back from my paper route. 5:45 am right here...I am headed up the stairs...but I needed to let the world wide web know that MY FOOT DOESN'T HURT!!!

Hallelujah!! Thank you Lord! (And thank you Doc!) :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Fun

We are loving summer so far!! We've been playing with friends, playing outside, eating lots of picnics and really having a lot of fun! Here are some recent pics....

The other day we went to Dublin Park. On the way, we saw this cloud with 'silver lining'. Isn't it pretty?
Both of my kids LOVE to swing! Here's Jordan being a big girl on the tire swing.

Jon taught Lawson how to do the fireman's pole. Daddy helped once, then Lawson could do it by himself over and over. I can't belive my little boy is big enough to do this!

After playing at the park we went over to the soccer fields. Both kids love to run up and down the field, and Lawson is really good at kicking and running.'s good exercise and they were PLENTY tired that night!! :)

We got this fun sprinkler a couple weeks ago for the kids to play in in the front yard. Lawson LOVES it--Jordan, um, not so much!

This is what her face looks like when she's running up to me yelling NOOOOOOO after she gets splashed!

A couple Sundays ago our Sunday school class had a picnic at Monte Sano. We had a great time visiting then letting the kids play at the park. This toy reminds me of the park I played on in my childhood!

The kids loved the see-saws!! Jordan needed a little help getting Lawson lifted up into the air, but they both had fun!

Sweet girl...

I love this boy! :)

And our fun big news....we got a little pool for the yard, and it's not even that little! We have been outside splashing every day for a week now--how much fun is this??? Until last night Jordan wouldn't get in, she'd just walk up to the side and splash. She still got soaking wet...just wouldn't get in!

It's pretty big! At first I put it in our front yard b/c I like to sit on the porch and watch the kids play. However, for a few reasons I moved it to the back that night. One, I don't want the grass up front to die. Second, I don't want the neighborhood spying if I decide I want to put on my suit and get in too. Thirdly, and probably most important....Our neighbors just won the "Yard of the Month" sign last week. They are out there raking and watering and mowing and blowing every day. I'm PRETTY SURE that last Thursday morning when they woke up and saw the pool that I wasn't mistaking the loud "WHITE TRASH" that they tried to muffle under their fake coughs!!!!!! :)

Last week some of our friends came to play at our neighborhood park.

Swinging fun

Lawson and Will--both in yellow shirts and red cheeks!

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's just special for me....

Who knew it would be June 6, 2008? I have hoped and prayed for this day for years...I just never knew when it would come. To anyone else, it's an ordinary day by every measure. Even for me, it's pretty ordinary. The only thing that makes it special for me is one itty bitty landmark that will go unnoticed by everyone we see today, unless of course they read this!
Years ago, my freshman year in college to be exact, I didn't have a car at Harding University. On afternoons when I had no class or homework, I would venture out on walks into Searcy to see what I could see. One day I found a little thrift store. I browsed around all the sections, eventually getting to the children's clothes. I found a cute little OshKosh tank top-it was only 25 cents, I think. I thought about my future in that split second.
I had no boyfriend. I was a naive 19. I wondered. Would I ever meet someone who would take me as his own? Would I ever become a wife? And would I ever have babies? Be able to learn about the joy of being a mother? As a freshman in college there were so many dreams that didn't have answers yet.

But I bought that shirt. Just in case. Just in case those dreams of mine would someday become reality. And I packed that shirt away. Through five years of college. Through two degrees. Through moving into my first home with my husband. Through six moves since then.
And today is the day. The day that signifies so many of my answered prayers. God has been so good to me. I have a godly husband. I have a handsome son.
And today. Today my daughter wears the shirt I bought for her.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Anyone interested in FREE Christian music???

Most of you know I frequent the Rocks In My Dryer blog because sometimes I refer you to something great that Shannon has written. Well, today she has a CRAZY giveaway to enter...

Click here to read all about it...Let me just say that it's 17--that's right--seventeen CDs!!! It's a CD to represent each artist on the new WOW release. If you want to see what's included, you can go to or Rocks In My Dryer! Good Luck....well, not too much, b/c I want to win too! But Good Luck! :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Little did you know...

* I was on my high school's Quiz Bowl team.

Several of my friends were on the team. I had a few smart friends, and a few dummies. We all hung out together. I walked to/from school, and passed by their practices on the way out of the building. Eventually I just started hanging out, then they just asked me if I wanted to come along for the meets. We were terrible--I just went for the free snacks and fun times!

One of the only specifics I remember from a meet was at a tournament. We were actually doing okay, but every point was important to win. The question was "What is the state motto of Missouri?" My friend Frank buzzed in with (finger pointed very resolutely) "I know this one! It's 'The Do-Me State'! When I think about this, 12 years later, I still smile and often laugh outloud!

*When I was in 3rd grade my house burned down.

My mom, brother and I packed up and went to Tennessee to visit for a couple weeks. My dad had to stay behind and work. One afternoon we got a call...

Earlier that morning our across-the-street neighbor called my Grandpa to see if he could get in touch with my dad at work. (Before cell phones, if anyone even remembers this time!) He told him that he thought he saw flames coming out of our house. Sure enough, right after my dad had left for work some wiring faulted and sparked. Thank goodness he didn't sleep through his alarm!

Lots of things my mom had been saving were lost--her wedding dress she had made herself, our baby clothes, lots of schoolwork and projects. Luckily she had JUST moved all the pictures to a heavy wooden chest in the least-burned area of the house. They were all smoke stained (to this day they smell like smoke) but saved. I am very grateful for this.

My family lived in a hotel room for a period of time. My parents took my brother and me to Toys R Us and let us pick any toy we wanted. I chose a red-headed Cornsilk Cabbage Patch Doll. If anyone comes to my house these days, it's the one Jordan plays with now. After some time in a hotel, we lived with my grandparents until our new house was built on the same lot the old one used to be on.

*I spent the most of the summers of most of my growing up life visiting my grandparents in Tennessee.

My dad's parents retired to Tennessee, and we would drive down every summer. Sometimes we would all go as a family the whole way, and sometimes we would drive half-way and my Memmy and Granddaddy and Aunt Theresa would meet us and 'swap us out'.

Our summers were spent outside because according to my grandparents that's where kids belong in the summer! I have lots of summer memories..some of my favorites...

  • One day my brother was out riding his bike and found a smooshed dead snake in the road. Being the sweet boy he was, he picked it up, brought it home and put it on the top step of the porch. Being the lucky girl I was, I was the first one who walked outside and let out a nearly-heart-attack-induced scream!!! I bet he would have felt bad if he had given Memmy a heart attack!
  • My brother and I often went to spend the afternoon with our childhood friend Jonathan. Jonathan was a year older than me, and he would take us for rides in the fields on his four-wheeler. I begged and begged him to teach me how to drive it, and one day he decided to. The problem is that he stopped it with the back wheels in a ditch. I was very naive, so he told me to get on and I did. Then he told me to give it gas, and out of the ditch I went, and the four-wheeler tipped up on the back two wheels then rested on the roll bar. My brother and Jonathan laughed and laughed and laughed at me--before helping me out of my predicament!
  • Some of my favorite times were when we got to go anywhere! My Granddaddy had had a stroke and was paralyzed on one side. My Memmy didn't get her driver's license until she was like 70. So...we got to go somewhere whenever someone else would come take us... We would go down to the river and fish. We would go to church. We would go to our cousins' house. We would go to town for grocery shopping. Side note--Memmy didn't like to take us kids into Kroger, so she would leave us in the car with Granddaddy the WHOLE time she did grocery shopping. Granddaddy would always be smoking his SwisherSweets cigarillos, and with the car off and the windows down so it would be equal opportunity for the humidity in and, Memories! :)
*In elementary school I was THE fastest merry-go-round pusher in the school.

It was fifth grade. I was the tallest. (This is the truth! About 7th-8th grade all the other girls got their growth spurt but not me!) Kids would line up and wait their turn. I kid you not--every recess I was "on duty" at the M-G-R to do some pushin'.

*I have never seen E.T., Goonies, or most of the StarWars movies. I really have no desire to ever sit down and watch them, either.

There's really not that much to elaborate on these. I never saw them, and don't want to. Jon gives me a hard enough time, so no one else needs to! :) I think in 3rd grade my mom took my brother and me to see Return of the Jedi at the theatre. I technically must say I've been to it, but I honestly slept through the whole thing. The summer after my sophomore year in college, I spent 6 weeks in Venezuela. That was the summer Episode One came out, and the group I was with really wanted to go see Episodio Uno. I was outvoted. Had to watch it-but at least it was in English and they had to read the Spanish subtitles!

My favorite movies as a child were Flight of the Navigator, Airport 1975, Homeward Bound, Grizzly Adams. We didn't have cable and I don't even remember a VCR until I was older so we watched whatever was on TV.