30 January 2010

Yay!

Thanks to this carnival, hosted by Midday Escapades, I am welcoming many new readers/followers this morning!

I hope you like what you find here. And just as a note, I promise that over the next few days, if I don't currently follow you, I will.

Welcome to my little corner of the cyber-world!
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Back in October, our oldest, who is in the seventh grade, was selected for Honors Band. He was nominated by his director, submitted an application and was chosen as the eighth chair of the trumpet section out of twenty eight. Since then, he and several of his "band mates" have been working every school day at noon toward a concert.

That concert is today. I for one am really looking forward to hearing this music played by all the instruments, not just my trumpeteer. (Is that a word? Anyway....)

So that's where we'll be this afternoon. Maybe I can get a short piece of video to share with you next week.

Enjoy your Saturday!!

29 January 2010

Friday Follow! A Celebration of Followers





hosted by Midday Escapades, One 2 Try, and Hearts Make Families. It's a fun carnival to increase your blog followers and find new and interesting blogs to follow yourself! It's about sharing and having fun!

**Please note that the Hearts Make Families link is not functional today, due to issues with the site. I'm told she'll be back up and running soon!**

Here's how YOU can join the celebration:

•* Link up your blog name and URL using the MckLinky below. Only need to add to one blog linky.
•* Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots. We will follow you back.

•* Follow as many blogs as you like
•* Comment on the blogs telling them you're from Friday Follow
•* Follow back when you get a new follower through Friday Follow

Let the party begin!!




MckLinky Blog Hop

28 January 2010

26 January 2010

derailed

Such is life, I guess. But it's starting to make me a little crazy.

Today is the second day that Matthew has been home sick. With the sick teenager camped out on the couch, no workout DVD's for mom. I'll use the dreadmill, which I admit is something that I haven't done lately, but I was really looking forward to mixing it up with a DVD this morning.

God help me, he's got to go back to school tomorrow.

Then there's this whole matter of Jon being home constantly. His former boss called on Sunday to let him know that he wasn't going to be needed yesterday after all. That's fine, except Jon only got paid for one of the two days he did work last week. A hundred dollars is better than nothing at this point, but come on. Jon came home with a small box full of his stuff from the office having cleaned out his desk. Honestly, I'm not really sure where we go from here. Nothing else for him has turned up at this point.

He's considering going out on his own for computer repair and such, but I think that's gonna take more time to come together than we have.

Did I mention that because this boss forced Jon to take a 2 week layoff in 2006, he only has 26 weeks of UE available???

Yeah, I know that's still more than six months, but he was unemployed eight months last time and the economy was just fine then ('03-'04).

I'm trying to not let this stuff get to me. I think it isn't working as well as I'd hoped.

On the plus side, Caleb is doing better at school. Some days are better than others, but I think that even his teacher would say that overall, he's making progress. We only received one note of despair from her last week, if that means anything. haha.

We'll take whatever we can get at this point, let me tell ya.

25 January 2010

on the menu Monday- Pizza Rolls

Note: This recipe makes enough for our family and a few for leftover the next day (if they last that long). Feel free to divide (or multiply!) as you have need.

Pizza Rolls makes 16

2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
pizza toppings - we use pepperoni most often, but have also used Italian sausage and ham.
1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 t. garlic powder
2 T. butter, melted
marinara sauce or pizza sauce, heated; for dipping

Divide each loaf of thawed dough into 8 pieces. Roll out each of the pieces into a 5"-6" circle. That's Caleb's favorite job.

Simply stuff with your choice of pizza toppings and cheese, being sure to completely enclose filling as well as possible.



Bake seam side down at 375 degrees for 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and liberally brush with the garlic butter.



Serve with marinara on the side.

Yummy!

21 January 2010

just right write

Not much new to report on the home front.


Jon is still technically unemployed, although try telling his boss that. Seems that there isn't much of Jon's work that can be done without Jon's input; I'm surprised his work cell hasn't exploded by now from all the calls. Why he still has his work cell and the office keys is another story, I guess.


He's not here right now. You'll never guess where he went. That's right, to the office. And yes, you read that right, he's still unemployed, ahem, not getting paid. But apparently the boss feels as though he needs Jon to cover his absence brought on by a completely unnecessary trip out of town- till Monday.


Jon told him that he wanted cash upfront. When he told the boss how much, boss's reply was "Why so much?" When Jon reminded the boss of his weekly base pay, he pointed out that this amount was a bargain. And the response was "How am I supposed to get that amount of cash right now?" See a pattern here? Ugh. Guess that out of the goodness of Jon's heart, he's working the next 3 days and then not taking any more calls until he gets paid.


For the record, I told him it was a bad idea to still agree to work without getting paid upfront.


This whole deal makes me angry and sick.


Still no luck getting through to file an initial claim with the UE office either. It plays an automated message that states that initial claims need to speak with a representative, that all reps are busy and the line goes dead.


Wonderful.


To keep myself busy and to try and keep my head out of the junk that Jon is stuck in, I've been working long and hard at getting retreat music together. That's been fun. I may even want to lead worship when the time comes. How's that for a switch?

Caleb needed a new winter coat this week. The zipper finally broke beyond repair on his other coat. I got the new coat for a decent price and he'll be able to get a couple winters out of it at least, but it was not in the already-too-tight budget. Yikes.

And the kitten is in heat. Jon is beyond overjoyed. She's better today than she has been for the last several, as long as no one talks to her. The boys think it's hilarious how she howls and it sounds like "Mama". I think that the plan is to have our local vet spay her when our federal tax refund arrives. She's way too young for us to just wait it out.

So that's about all from here. We're concerned about our immediate future, but we're not worried. Worry only keeps us up at night anyhow.

Thanks for your prayers.

16 January 2010

economic downturn

Seems that quite a few people in our neck of the woods are either wondering how long they'll keep their current job, or are actively looking for work due to layoff.

As of six o'clock on Friday evening, my husband joined the latter group.

We sorta saw it coming, as the company he was working for had a really tough year of 2009. Companies still needed IT guys to come in and work their magic, but not as often as before. Sales of new machines to individuals were pretty much non-existent for several months.

We saw it coming, but that doesn't make it sting any less.

I understand that the possibility exists for him to get called back to work, should business pick back up. He doesn't really see that as a viable option. He says he'll go, if he hasn't found something better before then, but his boss handled the whole "indefinite layoff" situation in a way that really makes having to go back hard to swallow.

We just ask for your prayers. Though it's been a few years, we've been down this road before. It's an anxious place, but not hopeless. We trust that God knows what we need; after all, His Word says that, doesn't it?

As we go about figuring out what to do next, I may not be here as often. I'll check in as often as I can and give you updates as we go along.

Thanks for understanding.

15 January 2010

Seven Quick Takes Friday!

1. It was apparently WayBack Week on Facebook. Who thinks of this stuff? That meant that to participate, you needed to post a picture of yourself when you were younger. Quite a few of my friends were participating, so I decided "what the heck!" Imagine my dismay when I discovered that I don't really have any pictures of myself. Not that there aren't any; there are, my mom just has them. Not even a senior picture, which was disappointing. But I was able to find an old camp picture and posted it yesterday. I'm unsure of the date, but I do know that it was taken anywhere from July of 1990- September of 1992. Yep, just by virtue of the fact that I'm wearing my hs boyfriend's sweatshirt. :)

2. I hate liars. But do you know what I hate more? When one of my kids looks me in the face and blatantly lies. Like I don't know what he's trying to pull. Makes me crazy. More on that later. Or maybe not.

3. I visited my friend Carrie late last week. She and her husband had a brand new baby boy just four days before Christmas. Baby J sure is a cutie and he is so sweet. I told Carrie that's how someone gets to thinking that "just one more wouldn't be so bad". And then the second born is hell on wheels! Haha. She's been around Caleb since he was around six months old, so she has first hand experience that it can happen!

4. I'm so proud of my Mom. I always knew that she was one tough cookie when I was a kid, but her battle with breast cancer in the last five years has made me want to be more like her. Not that I want to endure anything that she has been through; just that I could maybe come through something like that just as she has- with more grace, patience and strength than ever before. I love you, Mom!

5. Jon's marking time as an employee at his current job. It's just a matter of time really, before the boss realizes the awful position he's in and decides to call it quits. Lock the doors, we are no more, kind of quits. That's making me anxious, but Jon says that things are already in place for him to work doing almost the exact same thing for his current supervisor. Since I know that may be the case, it is almost better, in my opinion to be sooner rather than later. But for now, we hang on; what else can we do?

6. Dad's doing pretty well too. He dumped the doctor who thought that the only treatment for the Crohn's was the most extreme and is now seeing a new doctor. He's been placed on a new medication that while it is going to take about three months to build up in his system, if it works, that'll be the treatment. End of story. He sounded so good when I talked to him yesterday after Mom got out of surgery. And that was a relief to me since, believe it or not, I've had three nightmares since Christmas that he died. Not cool.

7. I'm on a mission for this year. To get to a healthy weight and stay there. So far, since New Year's Eve, I've lost four and a half pounds. I'm using the treadmill five to six times a week. That's it. While it's not Biggest Loser speed, it's a speed I can live with now. And more importantly, live with after I get to where I'm going. "Slow and steady wins the race", as my mother inlaw likes to say!

14 January 2010

the nerve

Did I tell you? I've been entrusted with a task this year for the district's annual Ladies Retreat. Our pastor's wife, who was in charge of the music for several years, is in charge of the whole sha-bang this year due to a changing of the guard, as it were.

SO guess who she decides needs to be in charge of music? That's right, lil ole me. Yikes.

You know my background, I'm sure. I'm the firstborn and my Dad was called into full-time pastoral ministry when I was nine. And he was a youth pastor before that.

So, I grew up in the church. I know all (well, almost all) of the classic Nazarene hymns. In my defense, there was a new hymnal published back in '93, which was when I graduated high school. There are a few hymns that are included in the new hymnal that I don't know. But for the most part, I know them.

And all the choruses too. This is the Day.....He Is Lord....the list goes on and on. My friend, Stephanie, who happens to be Matthew's godmother, used to tease me everytime she saw me crack open a hymnal.

"Like you need that!", she'd hiss from down the pew.
"Sometimes I just forget the order of the verses!", I'd shoot back in reply.

But can I tell you, with as many solos as I have done in church and other places in my day; the enormity of the task at hand terrifies me.

Not only do I choose most of the music for the general sessions, I have to lead too.

And that doesn't mean that I just get to stand on the platform and sing the words on the screen in front of me. Oh no. It means that I have to speak in front of all these ladies; some who know me, most who don't.

Gulp

Transition from one thing to another in worship, maybe leading prayer, knowing that I can'tlose my place for one single second while the whole room is looking at me.

I'm close to hyperventilating right now just thinking about it.

Fortunately, I have a great support system for learning as I go. Our pianist for retreat is wonderful and between her and our music leader at my local church who is a wealth of musical knowledge and has the patience of a saint, I should know what I'm doing by the time retreat rolls around.

For the sake of all these ladies who are paying for retreat.

12 January 2010

On the menu Monday Tasty Tuesday

Ritz Chicken Casserole

6 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
1 tube Ritz crackers
1 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
1 stick butter, melted

Cook chicken until tender and cut into small pieces. Spread in greased casserole dish. Mix the soup and sour cream; spread over chicken, Crush the crackers, mix with celery seed (if using) and spread over soup; pour butter over casserole evenly.

40 minutes at 350 degrees.

***the great thing about this recipe is that you can use chicken breasts, but whole rotisserie chicken works, as does leftover turkey. As a matter of fact, I have had it quite a few times with leftover turkey and that's the best way.***

Enjoy!

11 January 2010

watch what I can do!

On Saturday, Caleb and I took advantage of the very nice weather we were having and decided to take in some sledding.



He was adamant that the place for sledding was where the snow plows have already begun to deposit snow at the park by the old elementary school. I did let him climb two rather large snow hills that looked more like jagged snow-covered rocks to me. When he discovered that his coveted spot was not a good place for sledding, I convinced him to try the bit of the slope that starts up by the swings.



Turns out, it was a hit!








I even went down the hill a couple of times myself. It really was fun! Of course, when we were finished, we had to come home and have hot cocoa.



We already have plans to go again!



just so ya know.....

08 January 2010

Flashback Friday- five christmases

***2005***


***2006***


***2007***


***2008***


***2009***

07 January 2010

do over

For the record, my husband and I don't seem to be on the same page about this subject at all. He just didn't see this side of the issue to be an issue. So much so that I almost decided to not publish this, but have decided that in order not to fake what's going on, publish I must. We'll work it out, I'm sure.

------------------------
Most of my childhood, I grew up in a parsonage. That meant that sometimes we packed everything we owned into a yellow Ryder truck and drove across the miles to a new town, a new home, new schools, new friends.

When I was a kid, I had a love/hate relationship with moving. I loved the excitement of getting to meet new people and discover a new town, but I hated having to leave places I knew and friends I loved.

I remember being most unhappy with our move from Nebraska to Illinois the summer after I finished seventh grade. Do you remember seventh grade? I loved it. My best friend, Rebecca and I spent every second together that we could- before school, in the hallways between classes, after school on the phone or at one another's houses.

Leaving her was devastating to me. I figured that it was for sure that I wouldn't be able to breathe without her by my side. Thankfully, I discovered that wasn't true. But our move to Illinois was not without struggle for me. I remember sitting at the dining room table in the tiny parsonage on 5th street just crying because I didn't want to have to make new friends again. Didn't want to have to start over. Didn't really like the notoriety of being the "new kid".

The only thing that kept me from losing my young mind at the prospect of starting over again was a promise that my parents made to me. And it was big. Huge.

They promised that until I packed up and went to college, it was the last time that I'd have to be the new kid. That I could put down roots and get comfy and plan to graduate as a Panther. So that's just what I did. And can I tell you that I look back at that move now as one of the best things that happened to me as a kid. Really.

When we took the boys from their former school last winter, we promised Matthew (who was in 6th grade at that time) that come hell or high water, we were going to do our best to see that the next time he moves, he's packing boxes to go live in a dorm. I feel strongly about this, and so does my husband; especially since he had a much, much worse experience with a move late in high school.

There's relief and excitement on Matthew's face. Knowing that we're doing everything we can to say that this is it for him. We did move three times already since the summer before he started Kindergarten. He's got the memory of an elephant; unless he's been asked to clean his room. Seventh grade. Oy.

And when we get to the point of graduation as a C-ville Trucker for Matthew, Caleb will be right there on the threshhold of not wanting to make a move. So, the plan right now is to do all we can to stay put through spring of 2020.

It'll come quicker than we know.

But you know what the hard part is for me? No one knows us in the public school system. Not a soul. We can be surrounded by two hundred people at a band concert and feel as though we are the only ones in that entire room.

Outsiders.

At least when we moved when I was a kid, we were going so that Dad could serve churches. With congregations of people who were for the most part, warm and loving. Who helped both Mom and Dad in the sometimes lonely quest to get to know people.

We don't have that.

Maybe attending a church in "our" neighboring town is the answer. But that can be hard too, if not next to impossible; depending on the friendliness of staff and members. But at the same time, we've attended a church in Green Bay for over five years. Connections have been made, but even seeing our church family only once a week is tough. All I know is that if it weren't for the promise made to our oldest son, I'd be headed back to the city. Where I had a job that I loved, and people I knew. Neighbors to say "hey, come on over" and they'd come.

I miss my measly little job as a lunch and recess supervisor for the boys' school. This move has even made it so that I live now and hour and a half from my best friend; I've seen her all of twice since December of 2008. That's been hard since before the move and a job change for her, we'd get together every couple of weeks.

I hate this.

05 January 2010

first, this....


and this....


and then this....




and this...

04 January 2010

On the Menu Monday

Happy Monday to you! Woohoo! I'm feeling extra cheery this morning because Christmas break is OVER!

I thought I'd share a recipe with you this week that I'd forgotten about. It's one my Mom used to make when we were kids, but since I never got the recipe from her, my own kids had never eaten it. That is until Mom made it for us on Christmas Eve.
"Monkey Bread? Is it made of monkeys, grandma?" She told him no, monkeys eat it.

Let me warn you to beware of imitators. This is the best recipe for Monkey Bread on the planet. Trust me. The internet is full of copy cat attempts, and we've tried (and didn't like) most of them. But you'll love this one, I promise!


Monkey Bread



4 tubes (7.5 oz each) biscuits

1- 3/4 cup sugar, divided

2-1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon, divided

3/4 c. (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter


Cut all biscuits into quarters and coat with 3/4 c. of the sugar mixed with 1 T. cinnamon.

Place in greased tube pan.

Boil together the butter and remaining sugar/ cinnamon mixture and pour over biscuits.


Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.


Amazing!