January 31, 2011

Comfort Food

It's a gloomy and rainy day here in the Deep South so what better day to cook some food that is good for the soul? I am making a hefty amount of chili in the crockpot and since it's such a huge success in the Beemer house I thought I would share it with you! 


2 pounds of ground beef
1/2 White Onion - chopped
1 can of Pinto Beans - drained
1 can of Red or Kidney Beans - drained
1 can of Chickpeas - drained
1 can of Rotel - mild or hot
2 cans of Tomato Sauce (small 8 oz cans)
1 can of Diced Tomatoes - drained
1 cup of Salsa (I use Medium/Chunky)
1/4 cup of Beef Broth (reserve remainder of can for later use)
4 tbsp of Chili Seasoning
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder & Red Pepper Flakes to suit your taste

Brown ground beef and stir in all ingredients to your crockpot. Set crockpot on low for at least 4 hours; I usually cook mine for 6 hours. If you want a spicier chili you can add chili powder and jalapenos to the mixture. I always reserve the remainder of the beef broth in case the chili thickens too much while cooking and I add a little at a time throughout the day. When it's time to serve top with shredded cheese, sour cream and crackers if you wish. 

I hope that you and your family enjoys this simple and as Brody would say, "YuumMeee"  recipe! 

January 30, 2011

Bittersweet Sunday

Today was bittersweet; I met an old friend from high school and I think know I lost a very important piece of jewelry. Let's start with the GREAT news first!

Several months ago a hometown friend, Susie, told me she *might* be moving to the "Deep South" and more importantly....to Albany! I mean, does it get any better?!? Sweet!! 

A week or so ago it was confirmed that Susie and her family would be moving my way in a matter of a month or so. I know for those of you that have never ventured far away from home can't really understand my excitement but it is a huge deal and a big relief. It makes living here a bit easier knowing I have a "piece of home" nearby. I will have someone here that can understand my excitement of hometown events such as the Concord/Kannapolis game, Concord Christmas parade, NASCAR races (that's for my husband) among other things. My husband isn't a Concord native so he can't really even understand or appreciate the whole "Spider Pride" thing *secretly doing my spirit fingers*.

Susie and her her husband came to Albany this past weekend to house hunt so we decided it would be great to have lunch together and catch up. I can't tell you how good it was to see her and know she will be here soon. We also discovered that we have a lot in common! We both love family trips to local festivals, enjoy hanging out at the pool, love dining out and love girl talk over Starbucks. Mike is happy that her husband enjoys football and beer. So it's a win/win situation! 

Now for the bitter part of  my day....as I was getting dressed this morning it occurred to me that my watch was missing. My watch sits in one of two places; my bedside table or my bathroom counter. It wasn't that big of a deal at first because anyone that has or has had a two year old knows that they are constantly hoarding things that don't belong to them. Like any parent I go straight to the "source" and ask where my watch is. Normally this works like a charm because Brody will either point out the location of the item or will bring me what I am looking for.....key word:NORMALLY. However, this time my heart sank when he couldn't even find it. This watch was extra special because it was an anniversary gift from Mike last year and even though the watch itself can be replaced it has sentimental value that can never be replaced. 

Mike, Victoria and I have searched every inch of this 3,000 square foot house including the trash outside in the cans and it's M.I.A. -- not good. The only thing left to do is go back 24 hours to Saturday night.

We ate at a local Mexican place with 8 adults and 7 children....I will say it again....7 kiddos. It was beyond chaotic and once we were seated we questioned our stupidity (at least I did)! What in the world hell were we thinking?!?!? I knew it was going to be bad when:

a.) The waitress didn't speak English or Southern Ringading as my husband calls it. 
b.) Three people ordered wine and they only had enough for 2 glasses.
c.) They forgot to bring Brody's water and instead he had Coca-Cola.

Brody was running around like a kid on crack and refused to sit in his highchair. I can't blame him entirely because I was the one who let him drink the Coke and the other kids were running around so he just wanted in on the fun. When our dinner came out it was time for him to calm down and eat but I must have been the one on crack because that wasn't going to happen. I tried wrestling him into his seat but he won and I think my watch lost. It must have slipped off of my wrist during Round 1 (or 2 or 3). 

Of course, we called the restaurant and it was nowhere to be found. Mike even drove to the establishment and offered a reward. I know I will never see it again and that breaks my heart. I will get another watch eventually but it won't be the same nor will it be for the same meaning. 

Oh well, it is what it is. I don't even know if a lesson can be learned here because it was a freak accident and it's not like you look at your wrist every minute to make sure your watch is still there. I also didn't have one too many margarita's so I wasn't in a "happy hour" state of mind (maybe if I had been the dinner wouldn't have caused my OCD to be off the chain). 

With all of that being said a very important sliver of my heart is ticking away here in Albany but not in my home nor on my wrist. I hope wherever that sliver is that it's being worn with pride and it gives you as much joy as it gave me. 

Pretty, Isn't it?

January 29, 2011


Friday was a great day in the Beemer house because a dream that our daughter has had for the past 3 years finally became reality for her yesterday. So the story goes....

Victoria has been involved in recreational soccer for the past 3 years and her goal has been to move away from recreational soccer and play for her school. Last year was her first experience when it came to "trying out" for a school team. After a long week of drills and conditioning the big day came where all of her hopes and dreams were completely crushed because she failed to make the team. I will never forget that day because it brought me back to a place that was all too familiar and it's a feeling that I would never want my child to feel. 

My dream in middle school was to make the CMS cheerleading squad. I had cheered for the Boys and Girls Club years before I entered middle school so I thought I was prepared to wear that cute little black and gold cheer uniform I so coveted. I did everything I was supposed to do; I practiced hard in front of my bedroom mirror for hours on end, kept my hands/fists in the right formation, kept my toes pointed and  practiced on having a "winners attitude" so I could come out looking confident. And above all of that.....I had the SPIRIT FINGERS and "letS GO" down to a science. In my mind I was a walking, talking, cheering machine. I was relieved when cuts came and went and thanks to my "spirit fingers" I made it through the cuts to the final try-out on stage.

I HAD THIS!! Um, maybe not. Maybe I wasn't reading the list right? Maybe they forgot my number? I know, I know, they had me mixed up with the other Jamie....that *had* to be it. I was D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N.A.L and was completely heart broken. I cried for days and my self of esteem was broken into a zillion pieces. My Daddy tried to pick me up and put me back together by getting me my very own phone line and a cool phone that had a answering machine but that still didn't help ease the pain. (I know for you youngins you don't understand the whole answering machine thing but it was huge back in the day)

Okay, snap out of Jamie, back to the blog and 2011. As you can see that pain is still *fresh* in my mind and that was over 20 years ago! That pain I never want Victoria or Brody to feel or have to deal with so this year when she bounced in the house announcing she was trying out for the LCMS soccer team my heart sank and my worries started. However, I encouraged her to do her best and told her we supported her whether she made the team or not. I think the past 3 days have been some of the longest days of my life!! I was a hot mess worrying about Victoria making the team and how we would handle it if her dream was crushed again. 

Cuts came and went and thankfully she made it through to the finals but that didn't ease my mind; it actually made me worry more. I knew she was so close to making the team that she could taste it and if her number wasn't on that paper Friday she would break into a million pieces and I would have to be the one to put her back together. Thursday night had to be the worst nights sleep that I have had in some time. Lunesta couldn't even keep me asleep. 

Mike and I were expecting a call first thing on Friday morning but the phone never rang. I kept thinking to myself that it was probably a good indication that number 55 wasn't on that dreaded piece of paper. Finally, after several hours of a non-existent phone call I decided to take matters into my own hands.....I called the school. I felt like an idiot but Mike and I *had* to know if she made the team because we couldn't take it any longer. The school receptionist made me feel a little better when she said I wasn't the first parent to call (Thank God). She took my name and number and told me she would call me back if Victoria's number was on the list. I felt like I could throw up as the minutes slowly passed by and then a miracle happened.....the phone rang and the caller ID showed LCMS was on the line. Could this really be it? Could this be the call that would make or break my day? Could this be the call that I knew would make my husbands eyes misty? Could this be the call that would give me the title "Soccer Mom"? 


Miss Victoria and her lovely number 55 was on the roster for the 2011 Soccer Season at LCMS!!! I don't think I have ever been so relieved in my entire life. I wouldn't have to console a heart broken little girl when her bus dropped her off at the driveway.  I couldn't believe I was so emotional over something like this. I was over the moon that she made the team and that all of her hard work finally paid off but I was somewhat sad because our little girl was growing up. 

Now our days will be even busier than they already are; they will be filled with practices, games, late nights doing homework but I am okay with it because knowing she is happy and living her "dream" is all that matters. 

Way to go Sweetpea. We are proud of you! xoxo

January 27, 2011

Needed: Rainbow or Umbrella

"If you're feeling low, don't despair. The sun has a sinking spell every night, but it comes back up every morning. The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

I have been in a very foul mood today and when I get like this it ruins my entire day, I am not the type to let whatever it is bothering me roll off my shoulders. It usually annoys me even more that I am annoyed with myself for being annoyed. Did that make any sense??? 

Todays blog is just going to be a short and simple one because I don't want to spend anymore time even rehashing my day. Plain and simple. It sucked.

So my money is on the quote above and hoping I cash in and win a rainbow tomorrow because I have dealt with enough rain this week. 

January 26, 2011

Why does a Bird Sing?

Why do birds sing in the morning? It's the triumphant shout: "We got through another night!"
Enid Bagnold

Lately, I have been enjoying my bird feeder that sits outside of my kitchen window. I see all sorts of beautiful beings like Yellow Finches, Cardinals and Blue Birds. It's a reminder that even the smallest things are beautiful but often have it harder than humans. They don't live in a nice house that provides a fire to warm the home in the dead of winter. They don't have grocery stores & restaurants to go "pick something up" for dinner when they are too lazy to cook. The feathers are the only thing on their backs to keep them warm unlike our pricey jackets. They don't get to bathe themselves in a jacuzzi tub or shower. They don't have a private restroom to use when "mother nature" is calling. Their babies aren't delivered by a well certified team of nurses and Doctors. Their children aren't taught by the finest teachers, musicians & coaches around. But somehow, we never hear these precious creatures complain and we rarely stop to hear them sing.

However, I have stopped to listen and they have beautiful songs that they sing and more human like than one would think. They bicker among themselves, push and shove for the best spot at the feeder. The bigger and older birds always let the little ones take their turn first and then they fly in for their food. It's amazing to watch and you can honestly learn a lot from these teeny birds. 

And most importantly....Why do they sing in the morning while we are all bitching it was time to get up or we weren't feeling well? They are singing because they got through another night. 

Something to think about and maybe we should have their way of thinking. I know there are days I need to think like a bird and less like a human.

January 24, 2011

"The less routine the more life"

The quote "The less routine the more life" really hit home today when I was thinking about how happy I was that it was Monday and we are back to a "normal" routine. What? Back up....Did I just say that?!? I was happy that it's Monday and happy about a routine?!?!?

The older I get the more routine and order I need in my life to feel like things are getting done. I used to make fun of my Mammaw for always having her finicky routines but now I see why she had them (I will get to that later). It seems that when the weekend arrives everything goes to "hell in a hen basket" in the Beemer house. It's like two days of complete chaos and nothing gets accomplished except for a bigger mess to clean and more laundry to wash/dry/fold/put away. I get completely overwhelmed and stressed out on Sunday evenings just thinking about what all I have to get done on Tuesday (B's preschool day)! Thanks OCD & Mammaw!

My Mammaw had a routine for everything and when I say everything I mean E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!She had a day for laundry, a day for washing the porches, a day for cleaning the windows, a day for sweeping, mopping and vacuuming (that day we were thrown out of the house and you couldn't walk on the floors for at least an hour), a day to clean the kitchen and bathroom and a day to do yard work. On Sundays, she went to church and cooked the family a big lunch that started at approximately 1:00 and you were not to be a minute late (DAD!). I think I have all 7 days of chores listed but I may have forgotten or left off a few. All I do know is that 24/7 of my Mammaw's life was a routine it was never out of order until she was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Growing up, I detested my Mammaw's routines and thought she was crazy for having so much order in her life. I mean everything had order in her life right down to her undergarments which I swear, she pressed. Her ways were so finicky that it drove me and my parents completely batty so we would make fun of her and find ways to ruffle her feathers. She would spends at least 10 minutes on each chair at the kitchen and dining room table making sure they were perfectly aligned. She had the notorious fake fruit bowl as a center piece on the kitchen table that nobody was to touch....so what did we do?!?! We would rearrange the fruit and walk away giggling while she was in the kitchen putting the fruit back the way she had it as she was (cussing)mumbling under her breath. I swore I would never, ever, ever be like her...little did I know I would be a spitting image of her at 32 years old.

Now I know why she did it and how it made her feel when others didn't understand the method to her madness. She suffered from OCD and at that time nobody really knew what it was. We just thought she liked order and was very particular about it. I am the exact.same.way. After my Mammaw passed away her ways somehow entered my body and I have now taken over her OCD habits. Neither one of us had "rituals" that we had/have to perform we just want(ed) order in every aspect of our life. My family does things that they know will ruffle my feathers and they get a kick out of it. They leave dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher. Cabinet doors are left wide open instead of being shut. They also leave table tops and counter spaces cluttered with papers instead of neatly stacked. My husband is notorious about squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle and not the bottom. They never replace the paper towel & toilet paper holders when empty. They fail to tighten the caps on anything and everything in the kitchen....yadda, yadda, yadda. They honestly aren't lazy nor mean-spirited, they just do it to get a good laugh & "rise" out of me.

My other "irritants" are that I can't stand being late and I get very annoyed when things are off schedule. I like the labels on all of my things facing out. All of my hangers have to be in a certain direction & I do not allow WIRE hangers in our closets (I am nicer than Mommy Dearest, I promise). I have a fruit bowl and every piece of fruit has it's place. My cans & boxes in the pantry have to be neatly aligned and organized by the labels.I can't stand streaks on my stainless steel appliances. My picture frames have to be positioned a certain way/angle. I will stop now before I go on and on and on about all of my crazy ways. I know you are thinking I am completely off my rocker; I know my husband and Victoria question my sanity at times, lol.

Now, I wish I could take back all of those times I messed Mammaw's fruit bowl up, left a dirty fingerprint on one of her mirrors, turned a book upside down in her bookcase and messed with her pillows on the bed. I know how those little things turned her entire world and routine upside down. It probably engulfed her with rage but she was such a sweet person that I would never see that side of her nor would anyone else. She would quietly fix whatever was messed up and go on about her routine for the day. 

So, when I ran across the quote "The Less Routine the more Life" it was like a light bulb went off. I need to stop with all of the extra nonsense and live life. I know I can't change overnight but I can take it day by day so.........

Maybe*just maybe* I will leave Brody's blocks, cars and scooter stay where they are (all over the living room floor) until tomorrow. 

January 22, 2011

Hush Little Baby...well, maybe not.

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep. 
 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I know that this is going to sound crazy but at times I really do miss my baby boy once he is asleep. However, there are times that I can't wait for him to lay his pretty head down and start catching some Zzzzz's!

My favorite thing to do lately is listen to him on the monitor while he settles down to sleep before his nap & bed time. 

He amuses himself (and me) with all of the little quirky things he does in his crib while fighting sleep. He sleeps with his "friends" (Micky, Baby and several Rawr Rawr's and his 2 binkies) and they always seem to play and come alive when it's time to settle down. Mickey Mouse is his favorite pal and the two visit McDonald's on a daily basis for french fries, nuggets and a Frappe....on a good day they visit twice!

I used to ignore the monitor as long as everything sounded okay and there wasn't a constant stream of screaming coming through the speaker but now I have stopped to listen to the "music". Sometimes I find myself getting a little sentimental when sitting on the couch with the TV muted so I can hear Brody chatting it up with Mickey. I know that there will be a time (sooner than later) when those little conversations will stop and they will be a thing of the past. The days seem to go by so quickly and I wish I could just bottle this age up and save it. Brody is so cute and animated now that he can put sentences together and his imagination is running wild. Just in the two short years he has been in this world he has learned so much and grown so fast! I also find myself worrying that I will forget all of the little things and sayings that come out of his little mouth...I read in a magazine to start a journal where you write down the date and the "one liner" that was shared that day and I thought it was a great idea! I have started that and I already have a list to chuckle at; I am sure 20 years from now I will enjoy looking at it and happy I took the time to write them down.

So, with that being said, my advice for the day is to stop and listen to the "Music" your little one is making. You will be glad you did and you will get an automatic smile on your face and in your heart. 

January 21, 2011

Breaking News: It's Date Night

Date Night?!? Once you are married?!? Yep. Call us crazy! 

I love "date nights" with my husband and I find them a MUST once a week! It's the one night we can get out of the house without a screaming toddler and a 14 year old that is annoyed with the screaming toddler. Those two are a match made in (pardon my French English...ear muffs kiddos) HELL. I loathe family dinners out because they always end up with everyone annoyed and ready to kill each other. I always said that I would not be one of *those* couples who brought their screaming kids to a restaurant so they could make others miserable....but I am guilty. We honestly try to pick "kid appropriate" places to eat when we have the two in tow but you still have those evil stares by kidless couples when the chaos starts. It never fails, Brody gets upset because he doesn't want to drink out of his "sippy cup" he wants (kicking and screaming) the "big boy" cup with a straw. That meltdown ensues Victoria's meltdown accompanied  with the eye rolling and the huffing/puffing under her breath. Mike then tries to calm Brody down which in return makes him scream louder and makes the huffing and puffing from Victoria louder. Meanwhile, I am sinking further and further underneath the table wishing someone had a gun so I could put myself out of my misery. (Not literally, folks, I would never harm myself or my children) All of that is on a good night, people. 

I think my blood pressure just went up by typing all of that hysteria but it's real and it's my world. I wouldn't have it any other way but as a reward, Mike and I dine out by ourselves at least once a week (And the Angels sing, "Hallelujah"). We call these "Date Nights". 

"Date Night" is a breath of fresh air (and some sanity) for me. I get to dress up nice, do my hair and make-up and feel "non-Mommyish" for a couple of hours. I know people that don't have kids can't relate to that feeling but the ones who do know what I am talking about. It's refreshing and reminds me of why I am with my husband...I still get the butterflies when I am getting ready and I get excited and there are times I even get a little nervous...crazy, huh? It's so easy to get caught up in your role as being a parent that you tend to lose sight of what brought you two together in the first place...it wasn't the kids, they came after the fact. It was your attraction to your significant other, their mind, their humor...you lose that focus when you have children and other distractions (bills, mortgages, careers). Sadly, when you lose that focus, some tend to lose their marriage in the process. It's easy to do because "life" totally can consume every waking minute leaving your partner and marriage in the dust.

So....we brush ourselves off once a week from life and concentrate on one another for a couple of hours without "life", kids and the chaos. Luckily, my husband thinks I am a good catch so he's taking me to "The Catch" for a nice romantic dinner tonight. 

January 20, 2011

Candy Hearts

I know, I know....Valentines Day is WEEKS away but I can't help myself! I love Valentine's Day and have ever since I was old enough to get Valentine's from that "special person". It all started in Elementary school where we made our own little boxes and received the cute little cards from our friends and if we were lucky maybe, just maybe, a lollipop came with it. As we entered Middle School we got Candygrams with the little tags attached and your friends and boyfriend could send all the sweets their allowance could afford. I remember I always liked the ones where the sender's name was blank because my "crush" wouldn't reveal his name and it kept me guessing for days, weeks and even now I still wonder who sent a couple of them. It was also a popularity contest because the girl that got the most Candygrams *had* to be the most popular girl in school (insert eye roll). Sadly, I wasn't that girl. Sigh.

When we entered High School that is when Valentine gifts got larger and more expensive. The front office would turn into a florist for the afternoon and we would all wait for the "call" on the intercom stating we needed to come to the office. That "call" would prove we were loved and admired...it also was a little jab at your ex-boyfriend, Mom or Best friend who hated your current fling. We no longer had the little shoe boxes where tiny greetings would be slipped in the top. No, that was too elementary now. We wanted Godiva chocolates, Roses delivered to school (it better have at least 12 stems), Jewelry and the Hallmark card (he better have had the gold seal on the back, too) or the "current" boyfriend would be a thing of the past. I know, shallow, some may say, admit it....when you are a teenage girl the word shallow should be your middle name.

Even to this day as we grow older we still want that "call" from the receptionist stating "You have something up front". The poor men in our life have been dealing with this crap for years. I kind of feel sorry for them because they have had these high expectations from girls since they were young enough to slip those little cards in our dolled up shoeboxes. 

Last night it hit me while I was working on the Valentines Day goody bags for Brody's class that I really miss the days of decorating my shoebox for Valentines Day. It was so much fun and so simple! Funny how something so insignificant could make you feel like a princess for the day. I think we need to get back to those simple days where love and admiration could come from a little card stuffed in a makeshift mailbox made from  a used shoebox.  Just sayin'.

January 19, 2011


Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband, Mike. 

I love you forever & always....

Special kuddos go to:
Nadean Bruehlman @ Gene Ho Photography 

Crafts, Crafts and more "Craps"

My Sidekick (Brody) and I love, love, love doing "craps" together. This is the one time where we can make a mess and Momma (Me) doesn't short circuit. I know all kids need an artistic outlet and most are messy so I have to work on finding "OCD Friendly Craps" we can do :) I hate messes but my 2.5 year old thrives in them! So we compromise.....for now. Our favorite craft right now is painting figures made out of Baker's Clay. This is a bit time consuming but it's so much fun and you can use so many different types of Cookie Cutters to make interesting shapes for your little one to paint and decorate with paint pens, glitter, ribbon, sequins....whatever you want! Recipe is below (Thanks to "The Toddler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner"):


4 cups of Flour
1 cup of Salt
1 teaspoon alum or cream of tartar
Food coloring (optional)
Large mixing bowl
Cookie Cutter (any shape or size)
Baking Sheet
Fine Sandpaper (optional)
Rolling Pin (optional)

Mix flour, salt, alum and water in bowl. If dough is too dry, knead in a tablespoon of water. Dough can be colored by dividing it into several parts and kneading a few drop of food coloring into each part. Once you get the color you desire roll the dough about 1/8 - 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut the dough with the cookie cutters dipped in flour. You will have enough dough to roll out and cut several times. If you are hanging the shapes make sure you make a hole before you bake. You can do this buy taking a straw and pressing into dough and removing the clay dot. Bake ornaments on an ungreased baking sheet for 30 minutes at 250 degrees. Turn and bake another 90 minutes until hard and dry. Remove from oven when cool. You can smooth the ornaments and sides with fine sandpaper if you wish but this is not necessary. Now you can decorate with Acrylic paint, glitter, markers, etc. I usually spray them afterwards with an Acrylic spray paint. 

Fresh out of the oven!

Try this kid friendly recipe because it's a lot of fun and it will make PLENTY of ornaments to stash away for a rainy day project. Let me know if you have any questions! You can use these as gift tags, necklaces, tokens, bookmarks, etc.....use your imagination! Let me know if you come up with a cute idea for these :) I believe I will be using little clay hearts for the Valentine's Day goody bags for B's preschool classmates!

Happy Crafting!

January 18, 2011

The Dreaded Word: Paint!

When we first moved into this beautiful home in Albany, Georgia I knew I would *finally* have the space for a much needed craft room that I had been fantasizing about for over a year. Like a excited little girl I ran upstairs and picked the room that would be my special slice of heaven. I was SO excited until I opened the door and was immediately suffocated by the 

Pepto Bismol Pink 

that consumed all 4 walls of my now shattered dream! My spirit and excitement were crushed right there in that moment....my husband hates painting! I knew this room would sit and sit and sit and sit. The only thing that would be crafting in there would be a spider making it's web!

Several weeks ago I decided to forgo the type of presents we normally exchange to celebrate our anniversary for more of a non-materialistic item. I wanted my craft room painted; I mean, I have patiently been waiting for this since October. I also figured a gallon of paint and a few hours of his time would be better for him in the end...its far cheaper than that bracelet I have been admiring in the window at Kay Jewelers! 

One coat up and one to go.....anyone want to take bets when that will happen?!?