Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fiction Addiction Fix


I recently found out that a co-worker of mine writes historical Christian romance novels in her spare time! Kathy is unpublished as of yet, but while she's waiting, she and a friend have a blog dedicated to book reviews and giveaways. Sometimes I don't know what to read so I'm sure this will be a great source of inspiration. If you too could use a little inspiration (or just want to win a FREE book), hop on over to

create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

Their banner is so sparkly! :)
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review: The Girl in the Gatehouse

The Girl in the Gatehouse
Photo Source: Amazon

I never used to read romance novels because I thought they were all trashy. Lately however, I seem to be reading a ton of them, and not one is trashy. Quite the opposite, in fact. Guess you just have to know where to look, right?
The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen is a lovely Jane Austen-esque novel written in easy to understand English about a young woman who has many secrets, and a man trying to prove he has increased his social standing. Brought together by happenstance, they are intrigued with one another, and find that nothing is as it seems. Lessons in loyalty and not judging without all the facts abound in this charming story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Romance & all. :)

I received this book in exchange for my review from Bethany House. All opinions are 100% mine!  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween 2011

I would love to tell you that I have a a dozen beautiful pics of all my kiddos & their costumes, but there's only 3. Yup, just 3. It was freezing outside, the kids were so excited & just wanted to go trick or treating. As you can see, they barely held still for the ones I did get!

Here is Pinky Lee as "Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's" & Lil' C as the Queen of Hearts
 Believe it or not, I did not decide on or make these costumes early. On Thursday, I had convinced Lil' Coconut to reuse her pirate costume from last year, and Pinky Lee was going to wear an old cheerleading uniform. But I went to Hobby Lobby to get the stuff to make Bug & Boo Boo Bear's costumes & found myself staring at tulle, dreaming about the inspiration costumes I'd found on Pinterest. Suddenly not caring that I had less than 24 hours to complete all the costumes for Friday's Halloween parties/parade, I bought supplies & rushed home to get started. I had to make 2 additional trips to the store, but managed to bring them to the school just in time!
Personally, I think they turned out great, and my girls look fabulous in them (as always!). Not quite the same as the inspiration photos, but certainly cheaper and made with love from momma! :)
 Suprisingly, I actually had to explain what boys were dressed as to many people! On the other hand, these costumes got more compliments than the girls' did!
Bug as the Red Angry Bird & Boo Boo as an Evil Piggy.
Thanks to Pinterest (again) for the inspiration for my boys' costumes. Not quite as good as the originals, but I've never claimed to be good at drawing! Boo kept taking the darn thing off randomly & we'd tell him nobody would give him any candy if he wasn't wearing his costume. Occasionally he would put it back on and join the other trick or treaters. Bug on the other hand, thought it was the coolest costume ever & said all his classmates thought so too. Yea!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1st "Green" Smoothie

Not only did I have my first "green" smoothie yesterday, but I actually made it myself. I really liked it. My kids really liked it. And they asked for it again today!
What is a green smoothie, you ask? It's where you put leafy green veggies in with a fruit smoothie. In our case, it was spinach. It's a yummy way to add a little extra veggie serving to your day. There's enough natural sweetness to the fruit and juice to mask any spinach taste. Ours didn't turn out green though because I used a purple juice, so it was a nice purpley-pink color. None of the kids even knew there was spinach (or carrots) in it until they saw me making it today. They actually thought it was funny that there was "salad" in it! Yea!
So if you or your kids need a boost of fruits & veggies here is my recipe. And by recipe I mean an approximation of what I tossed into the blender without really measuring.

Green Smoothie 
Makes approx. 6 - 6oz. servings
2 handfuls fresh spinach
6-8 baby carrots
12-16 oz. plain non-fat yogurt
1 banana
1 lb. frozen fruit
(I used a tropical blend that contained mango, pineapple, strawberries & others 
because that's what was the cheapest at my store this week.) 
1/2 c. juice (I used the knock-off version of V-8 Fusion pomegranate & blueberry)
Water - enough to thin to desired consistency

Blend it all up! You'll probably need to stop & push everything down several times to get it well mixed. If your blender won't break up the carrots or frozen fruit, try putting those through a food processor first. If you try this, let me know how you like it. Or if you have your own green or power smoothies that your family enjoys let me know!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I have a new love...

It's name is Pinterest. Have you discovered it? Oh my. I have avoided it for quite some time, but finally gave in when I kept forgetting where I found all these really great tutorials. I wanted to be able to easily locate what I needed when the time came. So I caved. I have over 1,000 pins in just a few weeks! Even my husband looks at it & and we have Pinteresting conversations. LOL It's my new favorite friend. Do you Pinterest?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Bridges of Madison County are in Iowa???

  Really? Back in June we met Granny and Papa in Iowa so the kids could spend a month with them. (How awesome is that???) Anyway, as we were driving through Iowa I saw a sign that said Entering Madison County. Okay. Then a sign that said Covered Bridges Next Exit. WHAT? Really? Iowa? Now, I've never read the book or seen the movie, so that probably puts me at a disadvantage, but I really thought they were somewhere in New England. You know, someplace where you'd expect covered bridges.
  So after we parted ways with our children, my husband bravely set out on Iowa's back dirt roads to find covered bridges for his wife to see. Oh, so sweet! Our first stop, though was to see a Danish windmill in Elk Horn, Iowa. It's adorable. There was even a miniature-sized one too. I just found out that Elk Horn also has a "tiny church" that used to be in the running for the smallest church, and I'm bummed that we didn't get to see that! Oh well, they did have this railroad car and station in town that apparently used to be a flower shop. Cute.
  The windmill was easy to get to. The bridges not so much. We had a map, but you have to follow all these unmarked roads to get there. There was an occasional sign, but not at every turn, so we eventually got lost. That's always fun! Finally we arrived at the first bridge. It was not exactly what I was expecting. It was a big red box and you couldn't drive on it. It was cool though. I've never seen a covered bridge before except in pictures. Why do you think they covered them anyway??
  Although there are like 6 or 7 bridges there, we only saw 3. We were way behind on time. One of the bridges is located in the town of Winterset, which we discovered was the birthplace of John Wayne. The hubs was excited about that! His house had something like 4 rooms; it was tiny. The park where the second bridge was located was very pretty. It had this amazing stone bridge and an English hedge maze which was fun. The last bridge was on our way out and I about jumped out my seat when I saw that we could drive over it! That makes it way cooler! So we ended on high note and only about 3 or 4 hours behind schedule. :)


Friday, May 27, 2011

Where we've been

We have not disappeared, I didn't decide to quit blogging, and nothing (too) terribly bad has happened to any of us. Everyone in our family DID get sick, some of us more than once, one person for a whole month, and at one point all four children plus mommy were sick at the same time. Fun. I'm sure you've guessed that since nobody would let their child be sick for a whole month the long-term sickie was me. You know how it is: "Everybody else got better, I'll be better in a few days." or "I don't have time to go to the doctor." Yeah, I see your heads nodding! :) At any rate, I put those "can't get off the couch" days to good use by reading a ton of books, so I will be doing some more reviews shortly.
Sadly, when I finally did go to the doctor, she discovered that I have diabetes. What a bummer! I knew it was coming eventually due to family history and gestational diabetes w/ all my babies, but I still wasn't prepared. The medication she gave me has brought my blood sugars down to a safer (but still too high) number. I go back in next week, so hopefully it comes down even more.
Well, there is another huge thunderstorm rolling through & the lights have flickered a few times, so I better get off here. Bye! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review: Promises to Keep

I used to read a lot. Sometimes several books a week. Now I have four children and that has dwindled to several books a year, and most of them are non-fiction. Since I don't read a whole lot anymore, my children don't read a whole lot either and that is just sad. I really miss reading! I recently found a publisher that gives you copies of books in exchange for your review, so I jumped on it in an attempt to force myself into more reading! I'm not sure I've ever written a review before (just book reports way back in school), so I hope this goes well. Without further ado:

Promises to Keep
by Ann Tatlock
Product Details
Promises to Keep is the story about an 11-year-old girl named Roz in 1967-68 whose mother has taken her and her siblings away from their abusive father to a small town in another state to start a new life. Within a week of living in their new home, an old woman (Tillie) shows up on their porch claiming that it's her house and she intends to die there. Her older brother is turning into a person that Roz no longer recognizes as he obsesses about turning 18 and joining the war in Vietnam. Roz begins thinking she's seeing her daddy around town. During a time of racial unrest, Roz befriends a young black girl whose family life is just as interesting as hers, and together they make a pact that could change their lives forever.
This was a very enjoyable book. It challenges you to think about what (and who) a family really is. I could relate to Tillie because I've met a few women like her! Ann Tatlock's descriptive writing makes it easy to picture scenes and to feel familiar with each character.  Looking at the events through Roz's eyes gives you an innocent hopefulness that everything will turn out right. 
This was the first book I read by Ann Tatlock, but I will definitely read more. Her writing style is very personable and easy to read. I highly recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blog Redesign & March Financial Contribution

I was so busy working on my blog's redesign, that I forgot about posting! Oops! :) First of all, what do you think of the new look? I'm not totally in love with it and would love some opinions about it. Please be honest! Thanks!

I also wanted to tell you about how I contributed to the family financially last month. Saidah at A Proverbs Wife is SOO inspirational, and I got the idea of tracking my contributions from her. You can check out her financial contributions here. Way more than mine! :)

Savings
Groceries = $285.42
Online deals (Groupon, Mamapedia, etc.) = $286.05

Earnings
Surveys, Ebay, Swagbucks, Affiliates, etc. = $107.33

Total Impact to My Family
$678.80

This does not include some really awesome deals we got on brand new clothes at K-Mart's clearance sale. We picked up a bunch of winter clothes (because we didn't really have many) for $2.99-$3.99 each! I just forgot to write down the original prices before the tags got thrown away. Oh, well. I know it was a good deal, even if I have no written proof! LOL It makes me feel good to know that I'm helping a little to drag us out of debt.

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Recipe Challenge Week 8

Well, I managed to make it in on time for the final week of the New Recipe Challenge hosted by Feminine Farmgirl. Yay me! :)

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches & KFC Knock-off Coleslaw
It was a down home dinner and we went all out with the "fine" china! LOL


BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per 2 people (I used 4 for the 6 of us & there was plenty of leftovers)1/4 to 1/3 bottle of your fave bbq sauce

Use enough bbq sauce to coat your chicken breasts well and toss them in the slow cooker for about 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Unless of course you have a crockpot like mine where the low is more like keep warm and the high is boiling. If so, adjust accordingly. When the chicken is cooked through, remove and place on cutting board. Mine had quite a bit of cooking juice and some fat. I skimmed off as much fat as possible, then drained all but about 1-2 cups of liquid. Using two forks, shred the chicken, then add it back into the liquid in the crockpot. Add more bbq sauce to taste, and stir 'er up. Serve right away or leave on the warm setting until you're ready to eat, on your choice of bread. We used some kaiser rolls that were on sale this week.

Verdict: Oh, I hate to say it, but the trend continues. I really liked it. The hubs thought it was dry. Remember, he doesn't like chicken much, although it was a tad bit dry, I guess. The kids were either lukewarm about it or refused to eat. Again. Oh, well.


KFC Knock-off Coleslaw

There's really only one coleslaw that I really love, and that's KFC's. I don't eat it very often because I don't really like fried chicken, so.... Anyway, I bought this set of fun cookbooks a long time ago called Top Secret Recipes. I hardly ever use them, just like all the other cookbooks that I collect. Don't really know why. At any rate, here is the top secret recipe for KFC Coleslaw:

8 cups very finely chopped cabbage (1 head) (I used a bag of coleslaw mix, next time I will use 2 to accomodate the sauce)
1/4 cup shredded carrot ( 1 medium carrot) (mine was in the coleslaw mix)
2 tbsp. minced onion
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. buttermilk (I substituted 1/4 tbsp. lemon juice mixed with enough milk to make 1/4 c. then let it sit 5 min. before using)
1 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1. Be sure that the cabbage, carrots, and onion are chopped up into very fine pieces (about the size of rice kernels).
2. Combine the sugar, salt, pepper, milk, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar, and lemon juice, and beat until smooth.
3. Add the cabbage, carrots, and onion. Mix well.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Verdict: Absolutely tastes like KFC coleslaw, and I didn't really care if the fam liked it or not because then there was more for me! :)

Thanks again to Jenna from Feminine Farmgirl for hosting the New Recipe Challenge. I've enjoyed seeing what other people have made and plan on trying out a few in the future!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homemaking Binder

Organization is a word that I love and loathe all at the same time. I love organized spaces and things. It makes my heart happy! I even really enjoy organizing things. Other people's things mostly. That's where the loathing comes in. It's really hard to organize things that I have a personal attatchment to. Therefore, I always have too many things and nowhere to put them, thus always disorganized. *sigh*
Now, on to the good stuff! In addition to ordering my meal plans, I've been working on getting my homemaking binder back in working order.

photo courtesy of I heart Organizing

What's a homemaking binder, you may ask? Well, simply put, it's a place to keep your whole little world organized. At least that's the goal. I've had a homemaking binder, or a "flight plan" as we call it in our house thanks to daddy's aviation job, for at least 7 years back when I discovered FlyLady. I tried following her plan, but it didn't really work for me because it was HER plan, not mine. That and I really don't like housework! :) However, she has some really great info for homemaking binders, or control journals as she calls them. Whatever name works for you, I guess.
If I haven't already professed my love for A Proverbs Wife, let me do so now. This site is AWESOME for helping you to be a better Christian wife. Saidah lives her life by following the guidelines in Proverbs 31 and encourages others to do the same. She has a wealth of links and ideas for your binder, including this video tour of her binder.
This month over on I heart Organizing, Jen is focusing on homemaking binders. This woman is super organized, hence the blog title, and loves making super cute charts and lists. Be sure to go snag all the ones that you need while they're still free. I don't know if she will transfer these to her etsy shop or keep them free, so go now just in case. You can find them all on the sidebar.
Do you use a homemaking binder? What does yours look like? If not, what do you do to keep track of everything? Let me know what you do to make your life a bit more organized! As I get parts of mine done, I will post pictures. Happy Binder Making & Organizing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Recipe Challenge Weeks 5, 6 & 7

Week 5 - Ummm, I totally forgot about making a new recipe. Just totally forgot.

Week 6 - Thought about a new recipe. I really did. But it never made it past my thoughts. I probably forgot about it again after my stove caught on fire. Yup. Fire. Flames. Smoke. It was a good home economics lesson though, because my kids wanted to know why I used salt on our grease fire instead of water. Gotta love those spontaneous teaching moments....and the adorable little guy who decided to climb up and play in the leftover bacon grease!

Week 7 - Da-da-da-dum!!! I made a new recipe! Hooray! :) This is really only due to trying to get back on track with meal planning. Well, planning and organizing in general. I'm an organizational mess right now. I'll talk about what I'm doing to fix that in another post. Here's the quick version: I ended up on Make 5 Dinners in One Hour because she is sponsoring I heart Organizing this month & giving a discount for her meal planning service. Yay! Now, I've looked at many meal planning services. Even tried their free trials, but always ended up thinking I could just do better for cheaper. I don't think I'm going to do any better or cheaper than Make 5 dinners in One Hour. You get 5 meal plans each week with a complete grocery list & instructions for prepping ahead, so you only have to spend 1 hour each week preparing meals, and a few minutes each day finishing them up. It sounds fun, so I've joined! I haven't started it yet, but plan to after my next shopping trip. This week's recipe though, comes straight from her blog, where I spent a good deal of time just browsing around. (BTW, her ideas for prepping lunches is fantastic!) So, without further ado, I bring you:
Easy Spinach Quiche

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of Make 5 Dinners in One Hour
My notes are in (purple)

This is the "make ahead" version. Makes 2.
Get out your blender for this one...(seriously, get your blender out)

1/2 C. frozen chopped onion
6 eggs
1 C. milk
1/2 C. biscuit/pancake mix
salt & pepper
Blend first 4 ingredients in blender until well blended and add salt & pepper to taste.


1 C. frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry (add more if you like)
1 package real bacon bits (I used real bacon that we had leftover, about 8 slices)
1 C. shredded Swiss cheese
2 frozen pie crusts (regular not deep dish)

Add spinach and pulse to mix. Place blender pitcher in refrigerator until ready to use. Use within 2 days.


Pour equal amounts (eye ball it) of bacon bits and cheese into pie crusts. I would normally have alot more bacon bits but I forgot them at the store and I had a small package leftover from another recipe. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.
Place crusts on large cookie sheet to make transporting easier. Pour egg mixture equally into pie crusts over bacon and cheese. Yes, that is cheddar cheese you see there. I forgot the Swiss cheese too.
Most of these recipes are easily adaptable to what you have on hand. Just think of the possibilities. Bacon/cheddar, ham/cheese, broccoli/feta, mushroom/bacon/blue cheese.....
Bake in 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are set.



The Verdict: I love quiche. I love spinach. I love bacon. There was really no way I wasn't going to like this. It was delicious. Plus it made Sunday morning breakfast so easy. I served it with cinnamon raisin bread, so all I really had to do was butter the toast. I had time to get ready! :) My family on the other hand, wasn't as thrilled. (this seems to be a theme, doesn't it?) One child liked it, two thought it was okay, and one totally refused to eat. Kingbeaz liked it, but he's not crazy about spinach (unless it's my spinach dip). If your family likes spinach, go for it. Otherwise save it for a potluck or shower or something, because it is really good.

This post is linked to Feminine Farmgirl for the New Recipe Challenge. Come join us!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spelling City

Makes practicing for spelling tests fun

Have you heard of Spelling City? Do you use it? We've been using Spelling City for a few years now. It's totally free and a great way for the kids to practice their spelling words. They can play all sorts of fun spelling and vocabulary words, then take a test. When my kids were in public school I just entered the lists that they brought home. Now I use the lists from our current curriculums. When they can pass all the words on Spelling City, then they can go take their curriculum test. My kids LOVE it!
You can use other people's lists as well. So if you use Switched-On Schoolhouse Language Arts 300 or 400, I have most of lists that we've already accomplished. If you use Heart of Dakota's Bigger Hearts for His Glory, I have Units 1-7. If you want to use my lists, just search under "parent" for Jenny Beasley.
Please note that not all words and phrases are currently recognized by Spelling City. This hasn't been much of a problem for us though. Go check it out! If this has been useful to you, stop back by and let me know! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring is Coming!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Did you know that the first day of Spring is March 20th??? It's hard to imagine with snow piled up everywhere! Nonetheless, spring is coming so I might as well look forward to it. When we moved we didn't have room for our outdoor things, so they all got left behind. :(

Here we have a bunch of trees so look what I found at Pier 1 to hang off them!

DjjDid ,,  

Outdoor Swingasan Chair

Holy cow, doesn't that look fun?? I'd be fighting the kids for it all the time, and I'd have to let the hubs sit in it occasionally, but it would be worth it. Just swinging in the shade watchin' the kiddos play. *sigh*

How about this? It certainly says "welcome". And it's only $16.95! Wow!

Damask Print Doormat

And are these not the most adorable chip and dip platters ever?? Great for indoor or outdoor entertaining!

 Chip and Dip Platters

They have a ton of really cute indoor/outdoor stuff, but I had to stop myself from getting carried away! What are you spring must-haves from Pier 1?

While you are there, sign up for their Pier 1 Outdoor newsletter to get a special offer. Oh, and they have something called  Pier 1 Tweetups for those of you located in certain areas (Dallas March 22, Atlanta April 5, NYC April 20) to get together. 

Leave a comment to let me know what you found to get your house and yard ready for spring!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kellog's Coupons

Do you go through cereal like we do? 3-4 boxes a week? Please tell me you do! Okay, well even if you don't here are some Kellog's coupons for that occasional cereal fix. LOL

Easter Sewing Craft!

Ooooh! Look at these adorable bunny bean bags!



These are from a guest post on 2 little hooligans from Me Sew Crazy. I forsee these being in my kid's Easter baskets. I'm sure I've got some scraps that will work great for this. Now I just need to force myself to go into the dungeon (because I still haven't figured out to make it any better) and work!
Have seen any other great crafts lately?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Granny & Papa Visit: San Antonio Riverwalk

Granny & Papa came to visit us in September! Yay! They flew into San Antonio early in the day, so we had all day to check out sites around the city. They were both stationed at Ft. Sam Houston back in the day, so we drove by to check it out. Of course, none of us can get on base anymore, so we just drove around looking through the fence. We probably looked suspicious! LOL
Then we went down to the Riverwalk. Now, we lived in Texas for four years. We had been to the Riverwalk Mall twice, and explored the Riverwalk itself exactly ZERO times! Oh my. That was remedied by a delightful boat trip tour. It was really fascinating and I'm sad we didn't do it earlier! :(  Oh well, we had a great day!

Thankful Thursday: The Little Things


It's been a trying week and hard to find things to be thankful for. Everything I come up with is small and seems so inconsequential, but it's better than nothing. Here's the best: I spent about $60 at the grocery store last night & earned $1.40 per gallon off our next fill-up! Yay!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Mini Social Referral Program

I just found out about another deal site The Mini Social (like Groupon) & right now if you refer 5 friends you get a $20 credit! We don't even need to buy anything! Yay! You also get a $10 credit when they make their first purchase! Here's my link so I can get my 5 referrals then you can get your 5! Thanks! :)


Friday, March 4, 2011

New Recipe Challenge Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of the New Recipe Challenge hosted by Feminine Farmgirl! This week I went out on a limb by coming up with my own restaurant knock-off. In my hometown there was this place that offered an "Orient Express Burger" that I absolutely loved. Which is kind of a misnomer because it's not really a burger. It's chicken. Anyway, I haven't had it in years and years, but I had a coupon for some marinades last week and they had a teriyaki marinade which made me think of this sandwich. So here's my attempt at the

"Orient Express Burger"

Ingredients
Chicken Breasts (one per person)
Pineapple Rings (one per person)
Swiss Cheese (one slice per person)
Hamburger buns (one per person)
Teriyaki sauce or marinade

Directions
(What I recommend, not necessarily what I did!)
If chicken breasts are too thick, split them or pound them out to make them thinner. Marinate chicken in teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes or longer if desired. Use whatever method of cooking chicken you prefer (baking, browning, grilling). Top each chicken breast with one pineapple ring & one slice of swiss cheese. Cover with lid or foil to allow cheese to melt. Serve on hamburger buns with extra sauce for dipping.

How I actually did it: I wasn't thinking & fogot to marinate the chicken. I put them all on a baking sheet covered in foil & baked until they were done. Maybe a little too done. They were kind of dry. Next I browned them in a frying pan, then dumped the marinade on them and let them simmer. I also didn't think about thinning them out until I had them covered in marinade, so when I tried to slice them, they started falling apart. *eyes rolling* I served it with salad & sweet potato fries.
Verdict: I thought they were yummy! Not the same as the restaurant ones, but still tasty. Kingbeaz is not a fan of chicken (he claims to have been served it morning, noon and night while deployed). He said it was dry and only ate half. Bug ate some of his...he's a big pineapple fan, so that helped. Lil' C picked the cheese off but ate everything else! :) Pinky Lee caught whiff of a burned fry that had fallen on the bottom of the stove & declared it was "stinky" and she wasn't going to eat it. I don't think Boo Boo Bear was even hungry. He ate his tomatoes (he's a tomato THIEF!) then played with everything else. Lil' C and I ate leftovers for lunch today. Still yummy, despite what those picky people think! :)

Now, how to disguise the leftover chicken so EVERYONE will eat it!? Hmmm.... any suggestions??

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Making Money: Synovate and other methods

You may already know this, but our cross country move has really dealt a blow to our finances. My husband took a better job with equal pay to his last one, with one giant exception. He's now salaried and sometimes works 12 hour days for 8 hour pay. No overtime $ here. :( This in itself would not be a problem, but we are in a major hole with our housing situation. We don't get enough rent money to cover our mortgage (and related expenses), plus we pay a ridiculous amount of money for our rental here because the housing market is all kinds of crazy. Long story short, we're losing about $1000 every month just in real estate! YIKES! Now our renters have decided not to send their payments because we didn't meet their ridiculous demands. Such a dilemma!
In addition, we left our 2nd van behind because we had a buyer going to make payments on it, then decided they couldn't afford it. What? So it's just sitting in Texas collecting dust. Let's hope those people aren't driving it! All the offers we've had on it are about 1/3 of our asking price (which is KBB value). I'd negotiate if anybody brought a reasonable offer. Pff.
I didn't tell you our sad money tale for sympathy, but to tell you how we're trying to fix it. We've lowered our expenses as much as we can for now. For example, we used to have a budget of $475 for groceries and household items. Not that we stuck to it very often, but that was the number on paper. That number has been reduced to $400. Feeding 6 people and keeping the toilet paper and pull-ups stocked for $100 a week is a challenge. I've found that using only cash to pay for these items helps. I don't have that visual, tactile reminder with a debit card.
I've also been trying to make extra money. You know my obsession with Swagbucks, so I won't go into details again, but know that there will be more Swag love to come! This is a referral, so when you earn so do I!
 I have listed & am going to list some items on ebay. My seller name is thebeazhive.
I have always had advertisements on my blog, but they were just random and not always relevent. Now I am trying to bring more relevant ads to you. Things I think are interesting & I hope you do too. When you click on them and/or complete their requirements (like joining a group or signing up for a newsletter) I get paid a few cents to a few dollars depending on the ad. Sometimes there are referrals. If you sign up for a program I earn a percentage of what you make. Please don't feel like you have to click on or sign up for anything. In the future, I may be writing articles for certain companies or products. I will be compensated for my opinions & I will state that at the bottom of the post. I'm only going to write about stuff that I feel is appropriate for this blog. Sometimes these things lead to giveaways for readers! Yay for giveaways!
There is a super secret big project that I've been working on fo-evah, that I hope will be a money maker as well. I just need to get past a few more hurdles (mainly myself), and then the secret can be revealed!
I've joined several survey panels that pay in cash or rewards. I only started about 2 weeks ago, so I haven't cashed out on anything yet. I plan to cash out at the end of each month & I will give you totals then. There are a few I have done very well with already. I will be telling you about them in different posts along the way. If you want to get started right away here is one that I have signed up for & is currently open to new members:

I don't think there is a referral for this company, but if you do sign up through the above link, I will get compensated.

I know that this is a change for what once was only a family blog but our family has changed, I've changed, and this is reflective of our family now. More reflective of me personally. There's no obligation for you to spend your money to help out our family. I just want to help out my own family, while still bringing you content that is important to you. I'm sure most people are interested in saving money and/or making extra money, so I bet you understand where I'm coming from. As always, feel free to just ignore whatever doesn't pertain to you & enjoy what does. :)

If you have comments or questions, please feel free to leave them! I love my readers!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Math-U-See Giveaway from TheHomeSchoolMom

The Home School Mom is a newsletter I subscribe to because they have good information for homeschoolers and mommies in general.  They are giving away the Math-U-See DVD, teacher's manual, and student worktext GAMMA level. They are used, but not written in (except for a name). I've looked in Math-U-See several times, but end up going with something else for various reasons. Lil' C might be in the Gamma level next year, but I'd need to have her take the placement test to know for sure.

If this is something you'd be interested in, go enter the giveaway right away. I'm not sure when it ends, so better hurry just in case! :)
While you're there, check out their sister site Menus4Moms. They have free & paid weekly dinner menus as well as ton of information on menu planning. The Busy Cooks Pyramid is very helpful. It tells you how to cook ahead and fill up your freezer without doing once a month cooking.

Tuesday's True Confession: Inconsistency is My Middle Name!


Okay, so Inconsistency isn't really my middle name. But it might as well be! I have a terrible time following through on anything. I'm really really good at planning, making lists & charts, and exploring all possible possibilities. Sometimes I embark with a full head of steam, with a bit of enthusiasm, or I don't embark at all. It just depends on the project. I'm an overly emotional person & I let my emotions determine my days most of the time. If I don't feel like washing dishes, I don't. This is a problem, obviously.
There are some projects with a lifespan of over a decade. No, not the dishes! I started my first afghan in college. Some friends taught me how to crochet & since they were all making afghans, I thought I would too. Not a good idea for a first project. A pot holder would probably have been more appropriate! LOL Anyway, that project had so many starts, stops, & do-overs that it took approximately 12 years to complete. What? 12 years? Why didn't I just give up completely? I'm not sure, but I'm glad I didn't because now that it's finished I'm rather proud of what it has become. (Pictures to come later).
So, any suggestions for someone whose thoughts and emotions can't focus on one thing long enough to see it through to completion most times??? Can you relate?

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Recipe Challenge Week 3

You may have noticed that there was no "New Recipe Challenge Week 2" post. Last week was rather chaotic and I neglected getting my coupons cut, shopping list and menus made, and even going to the grocery store. It's only because of my very small stockpile that we made it through the week. In contrast, I have already done 2 shopping trips this week. I still need to go to Rite-Aid for pull-ups and FREE Johnson & Johnson bath products (yes, I said FREE), and the grocery store again on Saturday to get "fresh" cottage cheese for my husband before the sale runs out. At any rate, here is my new recipe for this week:

Buffalo Chicken Dip
courtesy of Allrecipes.com (recipe by NUNPUNCH)
Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe
Ingredients

2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained 2
(8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot®)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


Directions

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.


Alterations I made:
I used leftover rotisserie chicken as well as a buffalo wing sauce instead of the Frank's because I didn't want it to be too hot for the kiddos. I ended up adding the Frank's to my portion. I served it with tortilla chips and several cracker varieties. I didn't use the crockpot because I was in a hurry and just cooked it on the stove then served it in bowls, but I recommended that you do because it begins to "tighten up" and separate as it cools down.

Verdict:
Yummy! This really isn't a main course, although it's the only thing I served for lunch today. *gasp* I would recommend it as a side or appetizer or a "game day" snack. Very tasty. :)

You can follow along with the New Recipe Challenge @ Feminine Farmgirl

UPDATE * I just went to post my new recipe over at the Feminine Farmgirl, when I read her latest heartbreaking post about a goat birth doesn't go right. It's very sad, but Jenna is such a faithful young woman who remembers to keep her eyes on God even in trials. Please read her story & pray for her and her family. Thank you.* 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Out Growing In


Have you heard of OutGrowingIn? It's a kids and maternity clothing swap. Apparently they will even send you boxes to ship your used clothing in. I haven't used it yet, but it seems like a good deal and I can't seem to find a Goodwill around here. Have you used it yet? If you have, please let us know. I'm at least going to go sign up, and if I end up using it I will let you know!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mega Swagbuck Friday!

Mega Swagbucks Friday

Have you started earning FREE stuff yet?? If not, click on the link above to get signed up!


P.S. By clicking on my link, you help me earn free stuff too! Thank You! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recipe Request!

Remember the New Recipe Challenge I'm participating in? Yes, well, I haven't even been grocery shopping for the week. It's been a crazy week and I'm very behind. I haven't even cut coupons in 2 weeks! :0
So, I'm asking for your help! I am specifically asking for recipes that utilize my slow cooker or my Vita-Mix, or frugal recipes. If you have some great recipes that fall into any of these categories, please share them!
Until then, I will be seeking out something for this week on my own. Perhaps I should look in one of my 50 or so cookbooks? Wish me luck!

Thank you for sharing your recipes! :)

Thankful Thursday: My Husband



I really am thankful for my husband! He works very hard to provide for our family, then comes home & helps wherever he's needed here at home. I could list all the reasons why I'm thankful for him, but then you'd all just be jealous!! LOL
To My KingBeaz: You are the cheese to my macaroni! I fluv you!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Recipe Challenge

An adorably charming blog I follow Feminine Farmgirl is hosting a meal challenge to try one new main dish recipe every week for 8 weeks. This challenge came at a very convenient time as I had just purchased 4 1/2 lbs. of pork spare ribs because the were on sale. I've never cooked pork spare ribs before, so I obviously need to find one. I've been visiting a Year of Slow Cooking occasionally ever since I saw her on Rachael Ray a few years ago, but never used one of her recipes. Recently, I've been looking even more because I would really like to use the slow cooker more often. Anyway, this is the recipe I found for my spare ribs:

The Ingredients.

serves 4-6 or 2 hungry moms

4 pounds pork spareribs (you can use beef, too)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon anise
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns (leave intact)
4 whole cloves (leave intact)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup orange juice

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place ribs into cooker. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar with all of the ground spices. Rub this mixture the best you can on all sides of the ribs. Throw in the whole peppercorns and cloves. Drizzle on the honey, and add orange juice.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until meat is super tender and separates from the bone.

*Please go read her post for all the extras!

I had to make some substitutions though because we didn't have some ingredients on hand. I used regular old table salt, omitted fennel seeds, ground mustard and anise, substituted ground pepper for peppercorns and ground cloves for whole cloves. I also didn't have any honey, so that was sadly left out. I may have thrown in a shake or two of Montreal steak seasoning. Just for yummies I sliced up a white onion and layered that on the bottom of the slow cooker first, which made for a tasty little topping when all was said and done. The house smelled SO good all day! These were fabulous ribs and so tender that they were literally falling off the bone as I tried to take them out of the cooker. There was a delicious sweetness to them that Kingbeaz & I both found very good. The kids might have enjoyed them more if they hadn't been so worried about the bones and fat. (I DID take all the bones out, but missed some of the fat...sheesh!)
Also, there are plenty of leftovers so tomorrow I plan on shredding them up, adding BBQ sauce & throwing them on some biscuits. From Greek to Southern. LOL
 
This was also a frugal meal. I added (frozen)curly fries & canned corn. Extremely healthy, I know. :)
 
Ribs = $8.64
Spices & OJ = $1.00 (I had them all on hand, but I'll just guestimate based on how much I used)
Onion = $0.30 (again, just guessing. It was part of 5lb. bag & I don't remember how much I paid)
Curly Fries = $1.69
2 cans corn = $.94
Total = $12.57
 
Tomorrow's BBQ sands will cost:
1/2 bottle BBQ sauce = $0.50
1 can Pillsbury biscuits = $0.67
Total = $1.17
 
Total for 2 meals = $13.74
 
Yummy & Frugal!
 
What new recipes have you tried lately??

Tuesday's True Confession: The Truth about Parenting


Sometimes I feel like I am the only parent on the planet who has to deal with certain issues. (Well, Kingbeaz too). Then I come across something like the blog post I read last night on The Crafty Classroom, and realize that some things are just universal parenting problems. Of course, they're MUCH funnier when they are happening to someone else. I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face & I could barely breathe. My poor husband came in from taking the trash out and thought something had happened to me. I had a hard time just telling him to read it for himself. By the time he got to Lesson 7 (my personal favorite), he too was laughing uncontrollably. I'm still giggling a bit as I sit here typing this. So if you're having one of those days, go read this post, laugh yourself silly & feel a little bit better knowing you aren't the only one!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

SuperBowl XLV Bingo


On Thanksgiving our family used these football bingo cards & had a great time. So when a friend asked for ideas for SuperBowl, I went looking for them. I also found these. However, I thought they needed more variety & wanted to make them game specific, so I created a new set. I tried coverting to pdf but they lost their formatting. Even when I uploaded to Scribd & Google Docs I lost formatting. If anyone out there can tell me how to do upload documents in their original format so you can download them from your computer, I would be willing to share more stuff in the future. Until then, if you are interested in the SuperBowl XLV Bingo cards just let me know & I will e-mail them to you. Enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Football & Cheerleading 2010 Part 9 - Cheer Competition

Hooray! We've finally reached the end of the 2010 Football & Cheerleading season with Lil' C's Cheerleading Competition! Our girlies worked all season on their routine & they really did know it. However, on the day of competition it didn't turn out so well. I think they were just nervous and for some reason the crowd was really loud during their performance even though they weren't during the other groups. It made it hard to hear the music. :(
The girls love competition, though. They always think they've won because they get a participation medal. (They're really just practicing at this point; no real competition until the next age level.) Plus, the mommies go all crazy like we did for homecoming and get them swag bags, flowers, etc. This year we also went to CiCi's Pizza for an end-of-season/birthday-party-for-the-coach celebration. It was fun and I'm glad we got to celebrate with our friends before we moved.
Here is my layout of the best pictures I have. I honestly don't know why they are so grainy and/or pixelated. It's really quite frustrating, but here ya go:


I also have this video taken on the same camera as I took the pictures with so, same effect. Again, sorry. This is the first time I have uploaded a video so I hope it works.

video

Thanks for following along through our 2010 football & cheerleading adventures! :)

Swagbucks


Do you use Swagbucks?? If not, you should! And here's why:

You can earn FREE stuff just for searching the internet!

It's true! I've been using Swagbucks for quite awhile now, but have never redeemed any points...until today. I bought two $10 Amazon.com gift cards. I had been working towards the Target gift card, then realized it was probably only an on-line gift card, which it is (should have looked sooner...duh!). That's really not helpful. I was hoping to roll the gift card for more gift cards in store. That's okay though, because I found this great new site A Proverbs Wife who uses Amazon.com gift cards from Swagbucks to fund her entire Christmas!! How smart is that? She also gives you some advice for finding more swagcodes, such as reading the daily discussions on Facebook. You can also find more codes by clicking on the SC button of my Swagbucks widget at the bottom of this blog. Now that I know how to actually earn more I wanted to tell you about it. Today is MegaSwagBucks Friday which means you have the opportunity to earn bigger denominations! If you're ready to start earning FREE stuff (you'll get 30 swagbucks just for signing up!):

Sign up here!

P.S. If you sign up by clicking my link, I earn swagbucks when you do, so THANKS!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Snow

Yes, I know it's Friday. Yesterday was spent on the sofa with frequent trips to the restroom. YUCK! My stomach hated me all day yesterday. So today I am thankful for a happy(er) stomach! Yay!
What I was originally going to post about was SNOW! I'm sure that seems a little silly, but after living in warm climates where it never snows for 8 years, I am thrilled with the snow!

Winter postcard
Photo courtesy of redriverocks on Webshots
(I would be sharing my own photos but the camera is also dead & I haven't yet figured out how to get the pix off my phone and onto the computer)

The wonder and excitement on my children's faces when they saw snow for the first time this year was priceless. We had just pulled into a rest area in Ohio on our trip up here. That huge storm that hit the middle of the country, the one that caved in the Vikings roof, was just getting started. There were big, fluffy, perfect snowflakes. The kids tried catching them with their hands and tongues. It was a beautiful sight.

Super Savings

I am LOVIN' my new stores here in NY! (If I knew how to make those little heart icons, I would make one now.) I've shopped with coupons for quite some time now, but because of the limited number of grocery stores in south Texas (thanks alot, HEB!) I wasn't seeing very good savings from all my hard couponing. Walgreens was much better, but the cashiers were cranky upon seeing my coupons. From what I read, this is due to cashiers being uneducated on their own store's coupon policy.
Anyhooo, I now have multiple stores, some double coupons, some give gas rewards and they all have loyalty cards. I still didn't think I was going to do any better because most of the groceries are priced much higher here. However, just from the beginning of January until now, I have bought $237.31 worth of groceries & household items (including pull-ups) for only $104.94. That's a savings of 55.78%! This is better than I could ever get in Texas.
This is mostly thanks to Rite-Aid. I heart Rite-Aid. (Darn it! Must learn how to make adorable little hearts!)Remember those pull-ups? Amazingly enough, that was my best shopping trip so far!

I got $35.94 worth of products for $1.28, for a savings of 96.44%!!!
And, I have $13 in UP+ Rewards (Rite-Aid money) for my next shopping trip!
Did I mention I heart Rite-Aid? Um, yeah. We're like best friends now.

Please don't think I do all this by myself. No, no...there are many much more smarterer people out there in blog land that do all the heavy lifting. I simply have to visit their sites, decide which deals are best for me, locate all my coupons & go shopping! Here are some of my favorite sites:
There are about a bazillion more & I hope you find them helpful too! If you have a favorite money saving website, store, or idea, please share it. :) Thanks!

Happy Saving!!!

Store Locator

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's True Confession: Google Reader


Okay, I admit it. I just don't get how to use Google Reader. I have it and I have many blogs that I subscribe to, but don't understand it. I still have to jump to the blog or website to read the entire post. The same summary is available on my blog dashboard. It just makes more sense to me to visit the actual blog/website. Of course, I didn't get the whole idea of Facebook when one of my BFF's convinced me to sign up about 5 or 6 years ago. Now you can't keep me off of it!

Can somebody please tell me how to use Google Reader effectively???

Thank you!

 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Football & Cheerleading 2010 Part 8 - Homecoming

Homecoming is fun & funny all at the same time. We make & buy & do all this stuff to make our little kids look and feel like high school homecoming kings and queens. It epitomizes Texas football. Of course, the girls love it. The boys pretend not to. :)




Please excuse all the overexposed pictures. The sun was ridiculously bright that day. And hot. I believe most of our games took place on days where the temp was well above 95 degrees & felt much hotter because of the humidity.
Well, that just about wraps up the 2010 football/cheer season. The only thing I have left to post is the cheerleading competition. I know I'm way behind so that's why I posted a bunch today to catch up...please keep reading so you don't miss any!

Football & Cheerleading 2010 Part 7 - Western Week Parade

Sometimes the Western Week Parade falls on the same Saturday as the Pop Warner homecoming and some years it does not. This year, obviously, it did not so the kids got to participate.
Here are my little cutie pies riding on their float!
 Can you spot the BeazHive babies big kids?

Football & Cheerleading 2010 Part 6 - Lil' Trojans Night


Every year the high school football team has a Lil' Trojans Night when they invite all the young football players and cheerleaders to attend the game for free & get recognition at halftime.

Bug waiting to run through the tunnel!

This picture of Lil' C didn't turn out so well because they performed their cheer in a different place and time than we thought they were going to, so I had to hurry to get over there & this was the best shot I got. For some reason they didn't let the girls run through the tunnel this year, even though they had every other year, so this was disappointing. Nevertheless, they had a good time.

Football & Cheerleading 2010 Part 5 - Regular Season Games

Here are some of the fabulous things that we take pictures of at football games. Like Bug getting to be one of the captains for the coin toss, or Lil' C turned around or with pom-poms in her face, or Pinky Lee screaming at Lil' C because she didn't share the ring pop, or Boo trying to eat discarded peanut shells from the bleachers! I've spared you the pictures of clouds and people's feet. You're welcome!





Shiny New Pretties

I have finally arrived to the party. I'm a little late. Okay, a lot late. What party you ask? Why, the smartphone party of course! Check out this cute little phone I got last night:

CITRUS
The Motorola Citrus (it's powered by Android)

I've sort of resisted the whole smartphone thing because I really just wanted a phone that made phone calls and maybe a few texts to the hubs. Last time I got a phone I got the Samsung Alias (now called the Zeal, for whatever reason) which had this ultra cool keypad that rotated...but not on a touchscreen. I really liked it. Then the day after we arrived here in New York it fell out of my pocket & I ran it over with the car. Suprisingly, that caused little damage. A few days after that Boo put it in a glass of water. That caused quite a bit of damage. My really cool keypad no longer had images and the phone turned itself on and off randomly. I had to try to dial from memory, and we all know how great my memory is! Then, sadly, the battery died in the middle of the night a couple weeks ago & I never could get it to turn back on. :(
So I've been cell phoneless for awhile. It hasn't been all that bad. I was holding out until my upgrade came available which luckily was just a few days ago, so we went phone shopping last night. I was also really considering waiting for the iPhone. Guess what the best part of this new phone is? Guess, guess! I bet you'll never guess!

It cost $0.00 for 2 phones!!!

I know, right? Oh, so exciting! That totally beats the $299 iPhone! (I had no idea the iPhone was going to cost that much until I got there last night). Only problem is they just added the new plan to my old plan instead of replacing it, so we need to get that fixed.

So for all you smartypants smartphone users out there: How do you access your applications (i.e. games) on Facebook??? :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Other People's Craftiness - Valentines

In lieu of my own craftiness :(  I would like to share a fabulous blog that I just found that is a plethora of awesomeness all in one place! Today's Top 20 shares all the cool stuff from blog land in one place. I am particularly smitten with these adorable valentines from Style Crush. "You are the cheese to my macaroni" had me laughing hysterically for several minutes. I just found out that's a quote from the movie Juno, but since I've never seen that movie, I didn't know. I find it terribly funny, though.
Peptogirl Valentines

Speaking of Valentines, I'm a sucker for cute and original. No more store bought cartoon characters for us. Not that we give out a whole lot of Valentines anymore, but hey. Check out these awesome iPhone Valentines from Living Locurto:
They are actually covers for candy heart boxes! So clever! She has lots of cool designs on her site.

Hopefully soon, I will have my own craftiness to share. Until then, enjoy these other talented people!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday's True Confession: I Forget...

Thanks to shrinkingjeans.net for the graphic.

I confess, sometimes I forget...my kids names!!! What? It's true. More often than not, it's not the actual name I can't remember, it's who the name belongs to. It's really not uncommon for me to go through all four names at least once before I either get it right or just point and say "you!" This usually happens when I'm stressed, looking at one child but speaking to another, or they are all running around and making noise...in other words, pretty much every day!
This really shouldn't happen though, because we went to great lengths to ensure that each of our children had special and unique names that were perfect for them. I'm not talking about the special and unique names you find in professional sports, like the NFL, either. Alge? D'Brickashaw? Plaxico? Although, maybe I could remember better then?
No, with my kids, each of their names has a special story. Wanna hear? Of course you do! With Bug we probably started searching for names from the time we learned I was pregnant. I wore that baby name book out. I knew that if he was a boy his middle name had to be my grandfather's name, so we had to find a first name that went well with the middle name. A little backwards, but hey. In the end, DH was ready to give in to just about anything, but then we found the perfect name. We'd never really heard of it, but knew it was perfect. Then the night before Bug was born we went to the movies and ran into a friend who told us that some guy we had gone to school with had just named their baby that! Oh my! Now, it is a very popular name, although nobody else spells theirs the same. I don't think.
Oh, Lil' Coconut. What can I say about this one? Well, the name she has now is not the name she was given upon her birth. We were having debates about what to name her right up until she was born. When she announced her arrival at the top of her lungs, DH and I agreed that she looked like a "Lola Grace", and that was the name we gave her. Apparently, I was the only one smitten with this name. The hubs was a big fan, but had some ideas about it conflicting with future baby names(imagine my rolling me eyes here). However, it was the screaming voice through the phone that I could hear from several feet away, indicating that Lola sounded like a hooker's name, that really hurt. Everyone else was more gentle, but obviously weren't fans. I was heartbroken. The hospital wouldn't let me leave until I filled out all the paperwork including her name. It took two tear filled hours to finally write down the name she has now. I still called her Lola for days. DH felt really bad & said we could change it. After only 3 days, they said it would have to go to court!?! So, I was stuck. It annoyed me to no end that I hadn't followed my heart, but over the years its grown on me. Lil' C has named her pillow pet Lola Grace and that helps. LOL
Pinky Lee was born in Hawai'i, so her name is Hawai'ian. I thought maybe we should name her Liliokalani after the queen, but got out voted there too. Actually for her, we made a (short) list of all the names we liked and then let everyone vote. We even had a poll online. I don't remember what the online poll said, but we went with the one that Bug & Lil' C liked the most. It fits her perfectly. It's beautiful and feminine & totally complements her boyish middle name. :)
Boo Boo Bear's name has the shortest & funniest story. We were a lot less serious & just kicked around a few names here and there. There was one name I really loved, but DH didn't want it as the first name, so we were back to having a middle name and needing a first name to go with it. Sound familiar? A few days before he was born we were watching a movie and one of the characters had this cute name, so we added it to the list. On the way to the hospital we decided that should be his name, and that's how our youngest son was named after a fictional character!
Good stories, no? So how could I possibly not call them the right names? I don't know. I do come by it honestly, though. I was an only child, yet people were forever calling me by someone else's name. Go figure. Thankfully, my children are not usually upset by this. They even try to help me out sometimes. Isn't that sweet? :)

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