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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Desert Dan

I'm sitting here waiting on Dan to call me.  It's about 8:30 am EST but he is 9 hours ahead in Dubai.  He typically calls me when he gets back to the hotel after work.

Yesterday he hadn't called so Peter and I decided to call him while we were eating donuts (him) and drinking coffee (me) while we were waiting on carpool.

Dan answered the phone and said he would call us back.  He then texted that the cab driver was lost and he (my husband!) was having to direct him back to the hotel.

When Dan finally called me back, he said the driver had no idea where he was going.  Dan noticed after a bit that they were near a place they had eaten lunch earlier in the week, a place that is in the exact opposite direction of the hotel.  So a trip that should have taken them 15 minutes ended up taking about 40.  Luckily Dan has a great sense of direction.  If it had been me in the cab we would still be wandering aimlessly through the city...

And speaking of Dan, I wanted to share a few pictures he sent me this weekend.  Even though they've been working every day, they decided to take off early one afternoon and take a desert tour.

They headed about 40 miles outside of the city where they toured the dessert, took a camel ride, and then had a desert banquet complete with a show.

Belly Dancer!
Whirling Dervish!
Fire Breather!
Traditional dinner complete with chicken and lamb.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Geez. It's Tuesday already.

It's another one of those weird weeks where it's only Tuesday and I'm already very confused as to what day it is.

Dan being gone does that to me.  He was supposed to be back this Wednesday.  But then he said it would be Friday.  And now it said it will be likely next Wednesday or Thursday.  So if that happens, his 13 day trip is going to turn into a 21 day trip.

Boo. Hiss.

And poor thing.  Not only has he worked every day since he's been gone - including weekends, HE IS GOING TO MISS THE SUPER BOWL. 

And to further add to my confusion about the day - we woke up to the slightest bit of snow on the ground so Sarah had a one hour delay and Peter had a 2 hour day.  However, as I am normally one to turn lemons into lemonade, I took Peter to Dunkin Donuts to kill 45 minutes between when I dropped Sarah off at school and when I had to have Peter back there for his carpool.

Peter got a vanilla truffle donut which he declared, "DELICIOUS" and I got a medium coffee with cream and Splenda which I also declared, "DELICIOUS".

After I dropped him off, I headed to the grocery store to stock up on frozen foods because when Daddy ain't home, Momma don't cook.  (Say that in your best redneck accent because that's how I said it.)

So let's backtrack  to Friday.  When I last left you, I was complaining of a head cold and stated that I was going to clean out my closet.

The head cold wasn't horrible but it left me with no desire to clean.  But I persevered and got half of it cleaned out.  I didn't have any motivation to finish it because I knew the kids were going to be gone all weekend thus leaving me home alone with nothing to do but clean out my closet.

When the kids got home from school, I took Sarah to work at another cookie booth to sell more Girl Scout cookies.  Then Peter packed his bag and I took him to Boy Scouts where he left for a snow tubing trip to WinterPlace, West Virginia.

When Sarah was done with her booth, I took her and Chey to get Mexican food for dinner.  The next afternoon, Sarah had to work in the cookie booth again so I spent the rest of the time making a delicious coconut cream pie and cleaning out my closet. It looks much, much better and I don't cringe every time I walk in there now.

I picked Peter back up from his trip around 9:00 pm on Saturday and then before I knew it, it was time for Mass.

Yesterday was the first day of Catholic Schools Week so I spent the morning at school putting together a balloon rosary. After we got done, some of my old PTO friends and I went to brunch/lunch and then headed back to school to pray the rosary with the kids and watch as the 8th grade released it.

Peter had Boy Scouts last night and now, it's Tuesday and you are all caught up.

And because what's a blog post without pictures?  Nothing! Here are a few from the weekend:

Sarah's GS Troop found one of those rocks that people paint and hide around for others to find.  One of the girls is going to take it and re-hide it somewhere else.

Peter sent me these pictures while he was tubing:

Heading up to the top of the hill...

About to head down!

The delicious coconut cream pie I made!  It's one of my dad's favorites. You can see his big smile in the background!
And finally, here are a few shots from the rosary:

It's hard to tell, but all the middle school kids are seated around a balloon/bead of the rosary.  The principal, Sister Geri, went around to each one and held the microphone so they could lead the school in the prayer that corresponds with their bead.  This at the beginning.    

There's Sarah!

And here are some pictures from outside:

May my prayers rise like incense to the heavens...

Friday, January 26, 2018


I woke up this morning with a head cold.  Nothing major just some congestion and pressure in my head.  I just took something and am waiting for it to kick in.  Meanwhile, I am mainlining coffee and hoping that helps me wake up.

I have big plans for today.

"Oooooohhhhhh, do tell", you say?

I'm going to clean out the master closet.

Yep.  Preeeeettttttyy exciting, no?


However, at this point, I'm thinking a minor purge will be all I feel up to unless that coffee kicks in soon.  Because, let's be honest, I don't want to clean out this closet on a day where I'm feeling like I could concur the world.  So imagine how little I want to just jump in and get to work  on a day where I feel like I would really just like to sit in front of the tv with a tray of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Here is a picture of Dan taken earlier this week:

He is overseeing the team that is installing these seats into the airplanes.  These are business class seats which recline alllllllllll the way back. 

He said they went to the mall last night.  The Dubai Mall is the fifth largest mall in the world.  It has over 13 MILLION square feet and 1200 shops, one of the world's largest aquarium, 22 screen movie theatre, and a hockey ring just to name a few things.  He said that any store you could think of was there inside this mall. 

He said he felt like he saw every person in the world there.  The place was packed - it was their equivalent Friday night.

I hate to go to our mall here which is 1.5 million square feet.  And only 200 shops.  I can't even. 

He said the night before they went to dinner at a much smaller mall which was still twice the size of our mall and ate at Texas Roadhouse.  Yes, my husband is in Dubai and he had dinner at Texas Roadhouse.  Last night he had dinner at Johnny Rockets.  Like I said - they have any chain you could imagine in this city. 

All right.  Enough chit chat.  I'm heading into the master closet before I lose my nerve. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 4

It's Thankful Thursday!!! Here's a few of the things I've been thankful for this week.

1. The peaceful beauty and the quiet of the snow. While I don't like snow in general because it just messes everything up.  BUT - it is so beautiful and peaceful and just plain lovely that I just can't resist being thankful for it.

2. A house full of laughing teenagers.  The kids had a sleepover last weekend and I loved having a full house.  More than that, I loved hearing them laugh and joke and talk.  Teenagers do come with their own issues but I am really enjoying this phase of motherhood.

3. Colton and Cheyanne.  I am very thankful that Peter and Sarah have them as friends.  They met when Peter was 3 and Sarah was 1 1/2 so my kids don't ever remember a time when they weren't friends.  I love that my kid's best friends are my best friend's kids.  I pray that they remain close through the years no matter where life takes each one of them.

4.  Paper towels.  I know this is a weird thing to be thankful for but the other day I was going through a bunch of them and was very glad I had them!  I was reminded of a friend that told me right after she and her husband were married they were on a very strict budget and one of the things they stopped buying was paper towels.  They just used dish towels instead.  I remember thinking at the time I wasn't sure I could stop using paper towels.  so I'm very thankful that our budget always for conveniences like paper towels!

5. Travel mercies.  I am always thankful to God for travel mercies when Dan is gone.  Dubai is a long way from home.  I am thankful that Dan made it there safely and that he hasn't run into any issues while he's been gone.

6.  Smell of coffee.  It goes without saying that I am thankful for coffee but I am also thankful for the way the aroma fills the kitchen each morning when I make my first cup.

7.  My girls!  I finally had lunch with Jennifer this week and coffee with my care group this morning.  Nothing fills up an empty tank better than time spent with friends laughing and catching up.

8.  Tulips.  Tulips are my favorite flower so I was excited to see this big bunch of them at Costco this week for only $9.99,

9.  Colorful sunrises.  Several days ago, I looked out while the kids were getting ready for school and the sunrise was absolutely gorgeous.  It looked like God had painted the sky with a pack of neon highlighters. Of course you can't tell it in my picture but it was breathtaking.  I am always thankful for a beautiful sunrise.

10.  My sweet dad who never "tires" of helping me.  I am very thankful to have my dad next door - especially when I have a tire with low air and he has a giant air compressor.

What are you all thankful for this week?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Smitten Kitten

Have I mentioned before how smitten we are with this kitten?

Probably.  Here are a list of a few of the things we call this cat:

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Butternut Squash
Squeege Bear
Sweetie Pie

And those are just the few I can name of the top of my head.  Peter likes to "take the cat for a ride".  This entails him picking up the cat, holding him out in front of his body, and running through the house with him.  The cat absolutely loves it and it makes me laugh every time he does it.  It's the funniest thing to see.

Here's a few pictures of our little orange obsession:

This is his new favorite place to be. When I'm writing blog posts, he likes to curl up on the paper holder. 

He loves to drink from any flowing tap.  He also loves to get his paws wet. (However he did not love it as much when Sarah gave him a bath.)

I spilled some heavy cream the other day and he licked as much up as he could before I swooped in to clean it.

He humors me when I take photos of him.

Different day - same favorite spot.

He's really screeching in this photo but Sarah thinks it looks like he's laughing! 

He likes a good Beth Moore devotional just like the rest of us.
Another favorite spot.

And a flashback to early November.  Look how little!!
Ok.  Enough about this crazy cat.  Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Monday report.

This weekend was a good one.  On Friday afternoon/evening Sarah worked her Girl Scout cookie booth and then Cheyanne came over to spend the night. While they were hawking cookies, I dropped Peter and Colton off at the movies.  They wanted to see 12 Strong but I didn't realize it was Rated R so they couldn't go in without me.  And I was going to run errands so they had to settle for Star Wars.  They aren't huge fans but the were good sports about it.   Colton spent the night too so I had a happy home full of teen-aged bodies and all the laughter and noise that brings. And pizza.  You've got to have pizza! 

Then bright and early on Saturday morning I dropped the girls off for more cookie selling. It takes a lot of cookies to run a busy Girl Scout Troop. Peter helped my brother shovel snow and clear the sidewalks at church and I made this delicious dessert for Sunday lunch:

 It's No-Bake Brownie Batter Cheesecake and it was just as delicious as it looks!

On Sunday we headed to Mass and then had lunch at my parent's house.  I watched the first 3 quarters of the Patriots game and then had to leave to take Sarah to Confirmation class and I had to stay for a parent/sponsor meeting so I missed the best part of the game.  Poor Dan is in Dubai so he missed it. He will be back in time for the Super Bowl though.

Thankfully the kids are back in school today and we are back to a regular schedule.  So hopefully I will have no problem remembering the correct day of the week.  Unfortunately they are calling for thunder tonight and it the old wives tale holds true - we will get snow in 7 to 10 days.  I'm saying a quiet prayer that this does not happen.  Join me, won't you?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Seven Quick Takes - What I'm Loving Lately

It's Friday so let's do some Quick Takes!

And let's do them a little differently this time.  I'm going to talk about seven products I'm loving lately.

Garnier Whole Blends Hair Mask.  Santa (or Santa's little helper Sarah) left this in my stocking and it is awesome!  The ends of my hair have been so dry these last few months.  In fact, part of the reason I chopped my hair off was that the ends, especially the ones that frame my face, were in really bad shape.  I was disappointed that even after I cut a lot of length off the part that frames my face still looked really bad - dry, damaged, frizzed out.  This product is a mask that you put on right after shampooing and leave on for three minutes.  I used it that way for the first week but then I got lazy and started using it as a conditioner.  I basically rub a big blog of it through the ends (the ends only!) of my hair and just finish my normal shower routing.  I've been so happy with this that I have even purchased the shampoo that goes along with it so that the rest of my hair (the top) can benefit as well.

Pampered Chef Scraper Set - I bought my first set of these scrapers at a PC party almost 10 years ago.  These things work wonders at getting stuck-on, baked-on food off of pots and pans.  My husband even loves these and when he's helping was dishes the first thing he grabs is one of these.  (Sad testament to the state of my cooking but it's true.)  Over the years though, we were down to only one and it got caught in the disposal and we have been without one for several weeks.  I just ordered a new set and am very ready for them to get here.  A pack of three is only $3.75 and it is very worth that small price!  It is honestly shocking how easily gunk can be removed from pots, pans, and even your slow cooker!

Black Nikes - 2 years ago I decided I needed a cute pair of sneakers to wear with casual outfits.  So I purchased a pair of white Converse Chucks.  Y'all! What a huge mistake.  Those things were cute BUT they were so uncomfortable.  They were narrow and flat - zero arch support.  And to make matters worse - the white picked up everything.  After uncomfortably wearing them for a couple of months they were no longer a cute white sneaker but more of a dirty gray torture chamber for my feet.  So this past fall, I purchased a pair of black Nikes.  This was the best decision ever. They are black so  I wear them with everything from jeans, to joggers, to leggings and they are very comfortable.  Also since they are black they don't show dirt.  And whenever the white part starts to show dirt I whip out my trusty Magic Eraser and they are clean in seconds. And speaking of Magic Eraser...


Magic Eraser -  I imagine you all share my love of these little beauties but I had to put them on this list in case one of you isn't aware of their magic powers.  From cleaning scummy shower doors, to soles of shoes, to removing Sharpie from counter tops, to removing dirt from painted walls, to removing general grossness from the bathtub, to cleaning your razor, to scrubbing your heals when they get a little funky in the summer - these things really are magic!  And because I'm cheap I always buy the generic ones from Walmart and they work exactly the same. 


Goo Gone Grout and Tile Cleaner - I picked this up on a whim at Marshall's the other day.  It was $4.97 there.   The grout between the ceramic tiles on our bathroom floors were getting really gross and I've been putting off doing anything about it because I am very, very lazy.  But I saw this at Marshall's and grabbed it.  The next day I sprayed some on the grout and let it sit for a few minutes and then grabbed my handy Magic Eraser and gently scrubbed the grout.  All the gunk came off so quickly and easily.  I was shocked.  And it smells so good!  I highly recommend this stuff if you've got some dingy grout and let's be honest - we've all probably got some dingy grout.  (Please tell me it's not just me!)

ChapStick Total Hydration in Merlot - My lips have been very dry this winter and when they are dry and chapped lipstick doesn't look very good on them.  But my lips are very pale and they need color.  Enter - ChapStick Total Hydration.  This stuff feels and works like regular ChapStick but it is tinted so my lips still have some color and don't disappear on my face.  I use the Merlot - there are quite a few other colors to choose from but this color was recommended on another blog and I love it.  I have also tried Hello Bordeaux but it was too dark.


NYX Pore Filler - I have large pores on my nose and cheeks so when I put on my liquid make-up it always settles in my pores.  Very annoying!  So I've been trying to find a good filler for the last couple of years.  I have purchased pricey ones and cheap ones and have finally settled on this one.  It is pretty cheap and works just as well as the more expensive ones.  I have yet to find one that works perfectly and makes my skin totally smooth looking but I like the price of this one and I like how well it works. 

And that's it for my Quick Takes What I'm Loving Lately.  Are there any products you guys are loving lately?  Do tell!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Snow day recap and Thankful Thursday - Edition 3

Guess what?  I have remembered that today is Thursday!  And that means Thankful Thursday! 

But first, I wanted to review my day yesterday.  They kids were out of school due to the 0-3 inches of snow which actually turned into a lot more. I would say we got maybe 5.  People around were posting 7 or 8 or more but the snow was blowing all day so I feel like those were drifts.  Regardless, we got a lot more than they were expecting.  It snowed until 3, stopped for an hour and then snowed for another hour and a half.

Here's a picture of my tree around noon:

Like a winter wonderland, eh?  Beautiful but I'm ready for it to be gone!  Bah humbug!

The kids enjoyed their day off.  Sarah worked on her science expo research and made snow cream.  Peter took a long hike through the woods and spent hours practicing his electric guitar.  I cleaned the grout in the tile in the master bathroom and started a new book.  And Dan went to work.

So, now that I've recapped our lovely day, here's my Thankful Thursday list for this past week:

1. Family time - As the kids get older and I can almost see them pulling out of the driveway for the last time (sob), I really appreciate the time we spend together as a family.  Whether it's going to visit the Pisgah Covered Bridge, or lingering around the dinner table, or watching Jeopardy or America's Funniest Home Videos, I'm happy for the time we get to spend together as a unit of 4.  Because as Sarah said to me the other day, "Mom!  Do you realize in 4 1/2 years, I'll be going to college?!?!"  My sad response, "I think about it every day."

2.  Peter's driving is improving - Peter is getting better with each drive we take in the car.  I, however, am still a hot mess.  At first he would go very slow.  Then he started to go too fast.  But now he seems to be able to moderate himself and go a more appropriate speed. He's perfectly fine driving home from school and to church.  These are the routes he's driven the most. We did some driving in Winston this past weekend and his "city" driving is improving but it still freaks me out.

3. My husband - I know everyone is thankful for their husband and I'm no different!  I am thankful that he's willing to work hard for our family.  I am thankful that he doesn't mind helping me with the dishes every  night.  I am thankful that he makes the bed every single morning and that he always puts his clothes in the laundry basket.  And I am thankful that God sent him to me!

4.  Morning quite time - I get up before everyone else and use that time before the chaos of the day to ready the bible and pray. I can't seem to start my day any other way and I am also thankful that I'm a morning person.

5. My "Jesus Music" - That's what the kids call it anyway.  I love to listen to KLOVE and WBFJ (the local Christian radio station) when I'm in the car alone. And as St. Augustine is credited with saying, "He who sings, prays twice."  So this gives me even more reason to crank it up and sing along!  The kids and Dan don't appreciate my Jesus music but I'm in the car a lot without them so I can sing until my heart's content!

6. Time with friends - I was supposed to have lunch with Jennifer yesterday and coffee with my MOMS group this morning but thanks to the lovely snow, both of those got rescheduled.  I love catching up with these ladies and spending time with them and am so very thankful for them. Hopefully there will be no snow next week so I can see them all!

7.  Long, hot showers - Nothing beats a long, hot shower on a cold snowy morning!  

8. Warm weather on the horizon - I've very thankful that it's supposed to be in the upper 50s tomorrow so all of this beautiful snow will melt!  It's pretty to look at for a day or two but then it's nice when it all melts quickly!

9. A clean kitchen in the morning - It always makes me very happy to come downstairs at the crack of dawn and be greeted with a clean kitchen.  I'm thankful for all the evenings when I have the time and energy to clean everything up.  On evenings we don't get the kitchen back in order after dinner, I always regret it the next day!

And that's a wrap for this week! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Still not sure....

Well, it Tuesday morning.  Scratch that.  It's Wednesday morning.  I guess I'm just going to be confused all week. 

Yesterday, the weather forecasts continued to call for snow and the accumulations were getting bigger - it had increased from 0 - 3 inches to 2 - 4 inches.  So both kid's schools were cancelled by dinner time last night even though the snow wasn't predicted to start until early this morning. 

But the weather forecasters got it right this time and when I woke up there was already some snow on the ground and it is still snowing.  If we actually get 2 or more inches of snow then I am predicting we will also be out tomorrow and most likely Friday as well.   Thankfully it's supposed to be in the 50s on Friday afternoon so anything we get should be gone by then! 

Yesterday I did the grocery shopping, helped out at Teacher Lunch Out at Sarah's school, killed some time at Marshall's, and then it was time to get both the kids.  It was a pretty basic day. 

I tried a new recipe last night that I was hoping to share today  but it wasn't that great.  It was Dijon Bacon Chicken and the pictures on Pinterest looked so yummy and I had such high hopes.  But there were a lot of steps and not a lot of flavor and  if I'm going to be "chopping this" and "placing that in the pan" and "removing this from the pan" and then"chopping that" and then "placing this back in the pan" and then "covering this in the sauce" and then you get the idea...If I'm doing all of that that then it better deliver on the flavor.

But Beth, isn't cooking all of what you described above every time? 

No, dear reader, it is not.  I guess I've gotten pretty lazy with my sheet pan cooking so every time I have to actually do some real cooking I am confused and bothered by all the steps. If I'm going to be cooking in multiple steps, the end product better be really, really good. And it wasn't so I was annoyed.

Speaking of annoying - Peter has informed me that he doesn't like balsamic vinegar!  Y'all - I love balsamic vinegar and many of the recipes I make have that in them so I've been on the hunt for some new recipes.  He also informed me that he doesn't like the sausage and potato sheet pan recipe that the rest of us love and several other things to add to the growing list of Things I Cook That Peter Does Not Like. 

Why so picky, Peter? 

With that, I will leave you with this photo I just snapped of my favorite back yard tree.  The picture shows up lighter than it really is outside right now (7:00 am) but you can see the little bit of snow we have right now and it's still falling.  Unfortunately it's of a wet snow so not really good for playing or building a snow man or even making snow cream.  The kids won't care - they are just happy they don't have to go to school.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What day is it??

It's Tuesday but it feels like Monday.  Not sure yet whether that's a good thing or not.

I've got several things planned this week that might have to be adjusted based on the impending threat of snow.  The powers-that-be are calling from 0 to 3 inches starting tonight.  If we get three inches things will be closed for days.  If we get 0 inches, I bet one or both of the kids will still go in late. 

I don't get it either.  But it's the south and we can't handle the snow.  Although, I was in the grocery store this morning getting my regular groceries and both Aldi and Walmart were empty.  No one was purchasing the normal bread, milk, toilet paper combo prior to the threat of snow.  So either everyone stocked up prior to the last "snow event" that ended up not happening last week or perhaps everyone is blowing it off because of the last "snow event" that ended up not happening last week.But I bet if they are still calling for snow by the end of business today, the stores will be crazy.

We had a nice weekend.  On Friday night, we took Peter to the high school basketball game.  The guys lost but it was an awesome game.  And they were having middle school night (theyinvite all the Catholic middle schools to come) so the place was packed.  There was a lot of energy in that gym!

On Saturday we ran errands and went to lunch and then on Saturday night we stayed in to watch the Patriots game.  We watched all the football games this past weekend because Dan is heading to Dubai this week and will miss all the games this weekend.  It might have been his last chance to watch the Patriots until August.

Yesterday we headed out near Ashboro to see the Pisgah Covered Bridge.  It is one of only two original remaining covered bridges in North Carolina.  It was a beautiful day for a drive (cold but clear) and the scenery was gorgeous.  Lots of farm land and not a lot of people or homes.

And the covered bridge was cute as a button!  In an attempt to keep people from using markers or spray paint, the parks service had chalk inside the covered bridge for people to use to write their names so there was a lot of pastel graffiti inside. 

Here are some pictures of me and my people:

Have a great rest of your week and keep your fingers crossed that it does not snow tonight!!