Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Rex "Catfish" Murray
He was a good fish.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Happier At Home

I read about the book Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin from several different blogs that I read.  I certainly didn't feel like I was necessarily unhappy at home! However, the topic of home is always one that interests me.  So, I checked it out of the library. 

I really enjoyed reading about how she chose one home-related topic a month to focus on improving in order to improve happiness.  She had some good ideas.  A few of them don't really fit for our family, and there were a few we already had in place.  Overall, I found it to be a good little book! 
  Here is the (long) Amazon description:

In the spirit of her blockbuster #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin embarks on a new project to make home a happier place.  One Sunday afternoon, as she unloaded the dishwasher, Gretchen Rubin felt hit by a wave of homesickness. Homesick—why? She was standing right in her own kitchen. She felt homesick, she realized, with love for home itself. “Of all the elements of a happy life,” she thought, “my home is the most important.” In a flash, she decided to undertake a new happiness project, and this time, to focus on home. 

And what did she want from her home? A place that calmed her, and energized her. A place that, by making her feel safe, would free her to take risks. Also, while Rubin wanted to be happier at home, she wanted to appreciate how much happiness was there already.  So, starting in September (the new January), Rubin dedicated a school year—September through May—to making her home a place of greater simplicity, comfort, and love.

In The Happiness Project, she worked out general theories of happiness. Here she goes deeper on factors that matter for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, and parenthood. How can she control the cubicle in her pocket? How might she spotlight her family’s treasured possessions? And it really was time to replace that dud toaster.  Each month, Rubin tackles a different theme as she experiments with concrete, manageable resolutions—and this time, she coaxes her family to try some resolutions, as well.

With her signature blend of memoir, science, philosophy, and experimentation, Rubin’s passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire readers to find more happiness in their own lives.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Are You A Bobcat Believer?

Back around Christmas, my family went through a little bit of a crazy phase.  Actually, we live in a continual crazy phase.  This was just beyond crazy.

It all started when Andy made a comment about thinking he saw a bobcat in my mom's yard.  Oh, he was sure that, without a doubt, it was a bobcat.  Then Mom/Nana started saying that yes, indeed she had seen a bobcat at a different time. 

In an effort to convince the rest of the family, much insanity ensued. 

There was food left out to entice the bobcat to visit.

There was a camera installed.  I'm not kidding.
(I told you we are crazy.)

There were multiple gatherings at Mom/Nana's house.  Some of us were there to watch for a bobcat sighting.  Others of us (ahem) were there to eat and talk.

Here are a few pictures of one Bobcat Gathering:

The dogs were especially on the lookout.
  "One thing you don't want to be when a bobcat is around is a small dog." ~Charlie and Bear
See, some of us were just hanging out, eating, and talking.

Others were literally staring out the window at the alleged bobcat hideout.

There was musical entertainment.
(Probably a song about a bobcat.)
Max even made it to the party.  He thinks he sees a bobcat on the ceiling.

Wonder why you can't see anything in this picture?
That's because a bunch of crazies were sitting in total darkness staring out the sunroom window. 
Looking for a bobcat.
The whole thing went on for a couple of weeks.  Because the crazy runs deep.

There were pictures like this sent around to each other...
There were even persuasive videos made...

In the end, some still believe there was an actual bobcat visiting the premises.  Others have concluded a very large house cat may have been an impostor bobcat.  Others just think everybody is crazy. 

I'll let you guess which group in which I belong.

I love my crazy family!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Talkin' Bout My Girl

I just found this in my drafts folder.  It should have been posted OVER A YEAR AGO! I still want to document it for Claire's sake, so here you go...

Claire was Student of the Month in Kindergarten!!! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sparkly Green Earrings

I read Sparkly Green Earrings MONTHS AGO and forgot to write about it.  Melanie's blog is one of the first blogs I ever read.  I fell in love with her humor! This is her first book, and I really enjoyed reading it.  Some of the stories she tells in the book were familiar since she had also written about them on her blog.  There were also stories about her life and motherhood that were new to me.  She kept me laughing through the whole book and sometimes I may have shed a tear or two.  I recommend it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Light Between Oceans

I read this book a while back:
Click here for link!
AFTER FOUR HARROWING YEARS ON THE WESTERN Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
*** I really liked it.  It was sad.  So sad.  However, it made me think.  I still don't know how I wanted it to end.  I know that sounds crazy, but if you read it, you'll understand.  Trust me.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pioneer Food

It really all started with the rolls.  Then I just decided to make it a Pioneer Woman kind of night.

This was my first attempt at Pioneer Woman's au gratin potatoes.  There were ok, but we all felt like they needed a little more sauce mixed in with the potatoes.  If I make them again, I will definitely add more of the liquid mixture.
Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin

I've made Comfort Meatballs quite a few times.  We like them pretty well.
Comfort Meatballs
I've been wanting to make these rolls ever since we ate them last summer when we visited Ree's ranch.  They are so simple, but SO GOOD!

Rosemary Rolls
I've since made these again, and they had a little more time to rise.  They were just as yummy the second time.  That sad little roll without the rosemary was for Miss Picky (Claire).
If you try any of these recipes, let me know!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Break 2013

We had a fun trip to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Knoxville during Spring Break. 
On our first day, we walked all over Gatlinburg and ate at Five Guys.

 Parker absolutely loved Five Guys and declared it the "best hamburger of his life".  Claire, on the other hand, gave it two thumbs down.  She doesn't like hamburgers, so she ordered a grilled cheese.  I have no idea why she didn't like it either.  Oh well!
Parker LOVES all things scary.  He would never, ever go inside on of those haunted adventure places, but oh how they intrigue him so.

 I think he would have stood there forever.

 We made a stop at the Christmas store in Pigeon Forge.  I honestly can't remember going in there before.  How did I miss out all these years???
I loved it!
 Parker and Claire swam in the indoor pools two different nights. 
 Apple Barn ice cream!
 WonderWorks (again!)
On our last day, we went to Knoxville.  I LOVE West Town Mall, so my wonderful husband took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese to play while I shopped.  We also played at a park for a little while.



 Then a glorious stop by our favorite restaurant!

 In an effort to "live on the edge", I ordered manicotti instead of my usual lasagna.  It was really good, but not as good as my usual!

 We really had a fun time just hanging out with each other and enjoying Spring Break!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easter Lunch

The kids and I made these cute little nests as one of our Easter desserts.  We also made delicious Apple Dumplins! Yum!
 Our family

 Grandkids table
 Chad & Brian
 Lisa & Ron
 Lainie & Freddie
 We had a little Easter egg hunt inside since it was raining.

Happy Easter!