February 27, 2011

Up in Stitches

Several months ago I was making out my Christmas list and I added what I thought would be the *perfect* gift to it....a sewing machine! I hadn't used one since I took interior decorating/fashion in highschool but I figured it wouldn't be that hard to figure out. Mike was a little more hesitant about the gift because: 

A.) Good sewing machined aren't cheap  
B.) Would I really use it?

After voicing his concerns I promised him that I would use the machine and it would be a great addition to my craft room. There were a ton of little projects I could use the machine for and I am constantly paying for alterations so this would be a win/win situation. Probably against his better judgement (as usual) he bought my *perfect* gift and I was tickled pink. Christmas has come and gone and I am just NOW getting around to unpacking the box my machine came in and placing it in my craft room. I was so excited about setting it up until I started tacking things out of the box and was overwhelmed with manuals, parts and pieces. My thought was "What in the hell did I get myself into????". 

Being "typical Jamie", I didn't want one of the "Plain Jane" sewing machine models; I wanted the one that was computerized with all the bells and whistles. Someone should have blown a whistle when that thought crossed my mind because that type of thinking was a little unreasonable. I haven't sewed in years and when I did it wasn't something that I was really good at so the basic model probably would have been the best for the situation. In all seriousness, do I really need 60 stitches to choose from?!?

I probably should have paid more attention to my Granny's sewing projects while growing up because she was great at it. She could make anything and she made it look so easy and effortless. I got my craftiness and tackiness from her when it comes to my artistic side. She enjoyed sewing, ceramics, quilting and crocheting. I wish I could have expressed my love for that while she was alive because I think we would have had a great time doing arts & crafts together.

Now back to this machine aka computer...the Brother CS-6000i Computer. Sounds overwhelming enough. I think sewing classes may be in my future because after reading through the manual I have no idea what I am doing.  My dreams of making flowy summer dresses and other projects may be put on hold until I can get a grasp of this machine and how to operate it! I had imagined buying all of these cute little summer patterns and making them in a jiffy but obviously I was smoking something because I can't even figure out how to thread the machine! 

However, I am not a quitter and my husbands money will not be wasted because sooner than later I *am* going to learn to use this machine and I will produce some cute things from it. If not, I will NEVER EVER EVER hear the end of it. With that being said, I better get off this computer and start learning how to use the other one. 

Updates coming soon...I hope. 

Images from amazon.com & thisnext.com

February 25, 2011

Starbucks, Shoes and Southern Spirit

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the southern city of Albany, Georgia! My morning started off with a much needed coffee date at Starbucks! Susie and I met for some girl time and ended up spending almost 4 hours catching up on the past....hmmm, how many years??? I don't even want to count because it makes me feel old. Needless to say there was a lot to talk about and I enjoyed every.single.minute of it. Luckily for me (and hopefully her) we live about 10 minutes from one another and our little ones attend school within 5 minutes from Starbucks so it works out great! I can't tell you how uplifted and renewed I felt there yesterday; Susie is just a joy to be around and she makes you "excited" about life. It was like going to therapy and my soul has really needed it. It was so refreshing and it's like we picked up where we left off years ago. I think a lot of that has to do with Facebook (best thing ever) because we reconnected there first and by the grace of God, now in person here in Albany! Our kids love one another and our husbands could seriously have been best friends in another life...and then you have me and Susie who also share a lot of the same interests, values, expectations ---I could go on but you get the point. We click. 

While having our coffee date we also enjoyed people watching as all Southern females do. Now, you have to consider the town and the type of people that live here to truly comprehend what I am about to say. First and foremost, I am not condemning the girl for her sense of style because we all have one and we all deserve to have our own unique sense of fashion so don't go bashing my blog because of the next few lines.....Here goes.

Susie and I were talking a mile a minute and then to my dismay all I see is a pair of "KISS" type boots walking my way and I was speechless. I can't even really tell you what the girl looked like or what she was wearing other than skinny jeans because I couldn't get past the shoes/boots she had one. First, I was trying to figure out how in the hell she was able to walk in them and how they could be remotely comfortable. Secondly, I was wondering if I had entered the twilight zone because that is not what you normally see here in Albany. Our new city is a very reserved and laid back one where people are up on the latest trends of fashion; wearing designer or vintage labels, polos, khaki's, sundresses, large sunglasses, designer handbags and cute chic shoes. They would never dare to push the envelope as this young woman did because of the gasps and stares that would ensue (like Susie and I did -- wrong or right). She was also pushing extremely hard to wear that into the "coveted" Starbucks in our small town.  Our Starbucks is usually packed in the mornings and she didn't walk through the doors until almost noon so it wasn't very busy; had it been in the morning you probably could have heard a pin drop. I give her major points for having the nerve to walk into a place like that because she owned who she was and her unique sense of style -- I could have never done it. 

I know that paragraph above makes this area sound like a very fake and mean place to live but it's not. It has charm and everyone is very polite and will talk to you even if they don't know you. They open doors for you, carry bags for you and they still have grocery guys here that take the stuff to your cars. You are always greeted with "Yes, Ma'am" or told "No, Sir". If your children do not address others that way then you aren't considered raising your children right. It's a staple in this community and frowned upon if it's not done. The ladies here have a ton of class and there is a lot of "old money" so they have a lot of the luxurious and finer things in life but you wouldn't know it because they are genuine people. "Albanyians" are very down to earth and I would say many of them are very sincere when speaking to you even if they had just met you. They really care about what you think and want you to love their community as much as they do. The men are a "bunch of good 'ole boys" and the woman embrace their southern heritage and bring you housewarming gifts/home cooked meals when you move here (Sorry, Susie, I am still bringing you dinner one night-things got crazy!). 

I can really only sum Albany up as "Steel Magnolias", "Andy Griffith" and "Forrest Gump" all rolled into one. If small town living isn't something you love then you would be miserable here because we are about as small town as it gets. But I <heart> Albany and love calling it home. 

February 22, 2011

Really??? %$^&*!!!

Today was one of those days that I was faced with several of my pet peeves. The list below does have some exceptions so don't take it too personally. I am blaming these peeves on my OCD even though I know that isn't a real excuse....but I am sticking with that because it makes me feel normal :) These are not in any particular order! Here goes.....

Arrogant people really get under my skin; I honestly think it's a sign of major insecurity. They need to get over themselves.

People who take their TIME while walking in a cross walk. It really pisses me off when I actually stop to let you go and it takes 10 minutes for you to cross. I am not talking about people who have a legitimate reason; those people, I completely "get". 

Individuals who are not a "people person" but continue to work in the Customer Service field. Don't you know the "Customer is ALWAYS right". No.Matter.What!

Dishes being left in *my* (not anyone elses) sink when the dishwasher is available and willing to accept them! To me it's a sign of laziness. There is no way it takes you longer to put them in the dishwasher; if you want to place them in the sink then start washing them by hand. 

Okay, so this one may strike a nerve in a few readers but it's a major peeve of mine. I can.not.stand when someone has a handicapped sticker/plate and abuses it. Yes, I know you may have some sort of "illness" or disability that can't be seen by the naked eye but does it *really* qualify you to get a parking spot right up front when you are capable of walking? The worst is seeing someone who needs the space and can't use it because your ass is to lazy to walk.

This sign is self explanatory -- what is up with gas prices? Today it was $3.14 a gallon. I have a Suburban and let me tell you....it feels like a crime every time we fill it up. I could be a little more graphic but you get the point. 

Old drivers that are still allowed to get a license and roam the roads when they really do not need one. I am not referring to slow drivers (even though that gets on my nerves, too) but the drivers who honestly are a hazard to MY health and theirs behind the wheel. If you have to think twice about your elderly parent or grandparent driving then you should really consider taking their car keys. 

Ah, another driving peeve....Texting while driving! This is the most dangerous thing you could do behind the wheel besides driving drunk. I know we all have probably done it once or twice so I am not going to say I am innocent BUT....I do know it's wrong, very dangerous and deadly and I honestly try not to do it. The ones that make me see RED are the drivers who are texting, smoking and changing gears. Really??? 

This is another "home" type pet peeve (also gets me in a public restroom but that's more of an inconvenience) that drives me up the wall!!! I never.ever.ever run out of TP in our house and I keep rolls underneath every bathroom counter and there is always spare somewhere under our roof. If you use the last piece of toilet paper, please....please....please....replace the roll. Is it that hard? It also makes me wonder how well you wiped your privates which is a gross thought in itself. 

So, I guess I did save one of the BIGGEST for last....this peeve makes me want to ram my Suburban in the back of the vehicle waiting on that "perfect" spot. You have to know what I am talking about....the ones who wait for the closest spot when they may have already passed 1 or 2 good ones but are too lazy to walk the extra 5, 10, 15 feet?? I love it when I am behind that person, find a place to park and get inside the store while they are STILL waiting for *their* spot. And before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I understand somewhat if your elderly and have issues walking, you have a arm full of kids or it's raining like mad.

Alrighty, getting all of that off my chest made me feel better :)

Bugaboo Blues

Today was one of those days where my mind got to wondering too far in the future and starting getting sappy about motherhood. It started when I had an appointment with the "Lady Doctor". Normally, I am in and out of there and never think twice about motherhood but today was one of those days where I was surrounded by pregnant women and newborns. Not a good combination for someone who is already having a hard time dealing with their little one growing up. I have always gotten a little sad when I catch myself thinking about Brody spreading his wings and leaving my nest but lately it's been on my mind more than usual. I can't really pinpoint why other than it's time to enroll him in the 3 year-old preschool class and his 3rd Birthday is right around the corner. Wait....3rd Birthday?!?! Wasn't he just a teeny tiny peanut in my tummy? Where has the time gone?

My pregnancy wasn't an easy one while carrying Brody so the entire 6 months of carrying him was pretty stressful for everyone involved. And you didn't read it wrong, I found out I was pregnant after I was already 3 months along so I basically (in my mind) skipped the first trimester. So not only did I worry about all I had done BEFORE this little peanut made it's debut I had to worry about it the remainder of my pregnancy. I wasn't an angel before I got pregnant and I liked to have a good time which meant drinking, friends and late nights out was an every weekend thing. Needless to say I was an emotional wreck the day the Doctor told me I was 12 weeks along and proceeded to let us hear the heartbeat on the monitor. Since that day I have never stopped worrying and I am sure if your a Mom, you haven't either.

So fast forward 2.5 years and here I am sitting here wondering and worrying about what the future holds for my son. My heart breaks to think about him growing up and leaving me. He is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and I am blessed that he is a healthy, bright and vibrant child. He fills my days with rays of sunshine, smiles that hurt, nerves that are tested and giggles that make my stomach hurt. I wouldn't trade any of it for anything and I honestly wish I could bottle it all up and keep it on a shelf for the days when he is no longer marking on my walls with crayons, giving me kisses without hesitation, asking me hundreds of crazy little questions and telling me "No, Mommy, No". I know I will miss all of that so I really do try to take it all in and store it in my memory bank.

I am so fiercely protective of Brody that I feel sorry for the person that hurts his feelings, makes him cry, picks on him or breaks his little heart. I have already had my heart break for him last week and I hated that feeling. I think I read more into the situation than I should have but it really upset me. And to think I already feel this way when he is only 2.5; I pity the person when he is older. 

My biggest fear is that one day this little boy will be too big for his Momma and won't need me anymore. I have heard horror stories about how little boys grow up and never look back. My soul would shatter into a million pieces if that were to happen. I can't imagine a holiday without him sitting down at MY table (note: *MY* meaning not the in-laws). I know  that sounds very selfish, bitter and mean but that is how I feel and it's honest. My other worry is that my son will want to follow in his Daddy's footsteps and become a United States Marine. That would honestly make me physically ill because after living in a base town I have seen the worst that could happen. I don't want to be that Mom who opens her door to a set of Marines telling me my son has passed away. I know that is a horrible way of thinking but I can't help it.

I worry about my son and his health; watching Jerry's Kids or Make a Wish telathons are more  than this Momma can handle. I worry about what could happen the day he learns to ride a bike, drive a car, etc. It's completely insane what your mind will come up with once you are a Mom. I keep telling myself that this type of thinking doesn't make me nuts or crazy; it makes me a  Momma who loves her soon to infinity and back. Hopefully he will feel the same when he gets older and I am no longer "Momma"; I'm just "Mom". 

February 21, 2011

Hunting, BBQ & Martini's...

Mmmm, Sounds like one big oxymoron if you ask me but it worked for us this weekend. Well, maybe the martini numerous martini's part wasn't such a  good idea but the rest of it was great (the Martini's were great at the time, too). 

We started off our long holiday weekend by having a "double date" with our friends JB and Susie. It was  their first weekend in town as residents of Lee County so it was a night to celebrate! We started off at "Austin's BBQ & Oyster Bar" -- I know, I know, that sounds like an oxymoron too but their fried pickles and Pineapple Martini are to.die.for!!! You would never think this little hole in the wall would have fantastic service and food but they do. Not only are their appetizers and spirits good but their main dishes are too. I prefer the raw Oysters but my husband will debate that the BBQ is better. We had a great time listening to live entertainment and catching up. Mike was even serenaded twice by a hot chick with a not so hot voice but we were drinking so it all sounded good...um, maybe not. The pineapple martini's weren't *that* good to make you think you were really hearing an angelic voice. But hey, she tried and I give major kudos for that. We ended the night at "Harvest Moon" and that is where my inner 21 year old self thought I could hang but I need to face the facts; I am 32 years old, I can't drink men underneath the table anymore & hangovers last a HELL of a lot longer now. However, I enjoyed the evening and had a great time even though my head was fussing at me the next morning -- well, the entire next day. Ugh. It was a good reminder on why I don't, can't and shouldn't drink like I used to.

After my body felt somewhat human again on Saturday we decided to take a road trip to Tallahassee, Florida. That's right....Florida! We are only an hour a way from the Sunshine State and Mike has been salivating for a week over the BBQ Festival the city was hosting this past weekend. As soon as we pulled up I knew that these people were all about some BBQ because they went all out for this festival. They had rows and rows of competitors entering their BBQ, ribs, chicken, brisket, goat meat and whatever else you can smoke or grill for trophies and money. It was insane to be honest but Mike was in HEAVEN. The event was definitely a "Man's Festival". After a final attempt to feel better (and a old remedy that *used* to work) I tried to drink a beer and eat a soggy, greasy BBQ sandwich but it didn't help and I do believe it made my hangover worse. After walking around eating heart attacks waiting to happen, purchasing things we didn't really need, getting the kids temporary tacky tattoos and riding the extremely loud and annoying choo-choo train for Brody we called it a day and headed home. I took a hot bath and went straight to bed to lay in a world of hurt until I fell asleep. I was praying to fall asleep fast just so I could be put out of my self-induced misery.

Thank God today was a new day and he listened to my woes because I slept pretty good and I woke up ready to start the day. We decided to skip our normal cleaning day and spend it "Geocaching". I know many people don't understand or "get" the whole activity but it's so much fun and very addicting. It's really hard to explain so just check out the site www.geocaching.com and read what it's all about. I promise if you try it then you will want to do it every weekend. This ridiculously fun hobby gets you out of the house, exploring new places and gets your mind working. It doesn't really cost you anything but  a GPS, gas (I know it's a fortune these days) and your time. Today we explored "Well #39", "The Moose is loose in the woods", "Devils Playground" and several others. It's a real mind tease when you have all of the clues and can't find the cache but it makes it all the more interesting. Your family starts off working together but then it's to each his own; who doesn't want to find the "prize" first?!? Playing with Mike and Victoria can get a little ruthless. We came home tired, with a few ticks and thorns as battle scars from our scavenger hunts but it was a good "Family Day".

Tomorrow will be the dreaded grocery shopping day....not looking forward to it because I let the pantry run dry and that means it drains the banking account, too. Not that we are broke but seeing a large number on receipt tape makes my husband go into "Gunny Beemer" mode and I don't particularly like that form of my husband. Guess that's what happens when you marry an analytical Marine who is great with numbers and knows where every single penny goes. I hate when I do let the pantry get a little bare because that means I have to buy EVERYTHING and then Mike freaks when he gets the mile long receipt. It's like coming home to your parents with a very bad report card; it's h.o.r.r.i.b.l.e!

So with that...I am signing off and maybe I will be alive after tomorrows shopping trip to tell you all about it. There is always something I need to vent about after a day of buying groceries from Wal-Mart. God help me. 

February 17, 2011

Be aggressive, B-E- aggressive!

Today was Victoria's first game for the LCMS girls soccer team and we were so proud of her. The "Lady Trojans" tied with their opponents but no sad faces here because at least it wasn't a loss. Victoria entered the second period and played well but she needs to get a tad more aggressive In-Your-Face type of player; these girls are ruthless. She will come around with time and I believe this will be a very victorious season for their team because they looked pretty darn good today! Go Red!!!

February 16, 2011


Life has been so busy the past few days that I can't even see straight -- it seems my day is a blur and then I am heading to bed to start the next day. I hate that feeling because it's like life is passing me by as I stay busy with chores, errands, appointments and other things. There was a time when I thought "old" people were nuts for saying time passed by so quickly because it seemed to be going 0 mph for me as a young adult but now it doesn't seem all  that crazy -- it's real and I don't really care for it.

I know that right now some of the chaos is situational and will end soon. We are in the middle of buying my dream home and the process has been very time consuming. I never knew what went into buying a home and now that I do, I am not sure I want to do it again any time soon. We have dealt with appraisers, inspectors, handymen, lawyers, bankers and the sellers. We have had the security system installed and reprogrammed and had the pool guy out here numerous times to get the pool up and running for the upcoming summer season. It's madness.

On top of all of that mess we have Victoria's soccer season that is in full swing and it's a Monday- Friday thing for the next several months. She practices 3-4 times a week and has 1-2 games a week. We are never home before 6:00 and then it's time for homework, dinner and baths for the kids. Before I know it the clock is stating it's 10:00 or so and I am just getting to the point where I can unwind. I am the type of person that HAS to unwind before bed and doing this mean I am up past 11:30 trying to calm myself down from a hectic day. It's fine if I don't have to be up early and Brody allows us to sleep in but doesn't work so well when we have to be up on school days around 8:00!

I have really needed to blog the past couple of days just to vent but I haven't even had a chance to do it. I start to log on and then I get caught up with something else. My mind seems to be going a gazillion times a minute. I have so much that I want (keyword: want) to get done but I just can't find the time. Here is my list so far:

- Go home to Concord for a few days or fly Mom down here for a few days
- Paint my Bedroom
- Organize my new craft room
- USE my craft room
- Actually turn my sewing machine on for the first time (it was a Christmas gift from Mike)
- Sew some curtains for Vic's room 
- Buy a cricut so I can make various projects I have had my eye on
- Organize the bonus/teen room
- Paint the bonus room - it's an awful orange color -ugh!
- Go through Brody's toys and throw out the crap
- Go through Brody's clothes and take out all of the small stuff
- Paint Brody's room - waiting to confirm his love of choo-choo trains before doing so
- Make my sweatshirt/hoodie for Vic's soccer game
- Make our own geocache location
- Use the convection oven that Mike's Mom sent me for Christmas
- Save all of my current pictures on our external hard drive
- Update Brody's photo albums with current pictures
- Take a new family photo of ourselves

That is some of it and there is probably a ton more in my head that I have forgotten about. I just get caught up in every day life that I don't have time for anything else or "extra". I try to make time for our friends and now that Susie and her family are finally here I know we will be spending a lot of time together. The kids all seem to really enjoy each other and what's not to love about Susie and John?!? They are great people that are fun to be around. They are "family" people as well as "date night" people so it will be exciting to have them here for the 18 months or so.

Well, it's 11:15 and I need to get some sleep -- Brody has school tomorrow so we have to be up early and it's taken me forever to get him dressed and ready to go in the mornings. He wants to pick out his own clothes and if you don't let him he gets mad and won't cooperate. I have to force clothes on his body while he's sitting Indian style, arms crossed, head hunkered down on his chest in the middle of the living room floor. Try changing a diaper in that nonsense....it's not easy but I manage.

However, I love this life and wouldn't trade it for anything. It wouldn't be my life if it wasn't chaotic. 

February 12, 2011


My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet.  ~Edith Wharton
I never knew that I could love an animal as much as I do until my little Alex entered my life almost 6 years ago. 

I adopted Alex from the Humane Society after I went through a divorce and started living by myself. I wanted companionship and I missed my dogs dearly (my ex-husband kept them) so I figured I would save a little life while I was putting mine back together. We both needed someone to love and we both needed a new road to travel down together...obviously the paths we both had chosen before didn't work out too well for either one of us. 

I will never be able to fully express what this little dog has done for my soul and I will never be able to repay him for all of the happiness he has brought into my life. He is like my own personal ray of sunshine. I could be having a horrible day or just plain sick and curling up with him in bed can make me feel 10x better. If I am upset or sad this little furball knows it and tries to comfort me. I truly believe there are days that the only person that gets me is Alex. He is even my "security blanket" because he sleeps curled up next to me and if he's not there then I can't sleep. 

Alex was 6 when I adopted him so he's about 12 years old now. His once golden yellow fur is turning white; most of his face is now white. He has arthritis and doesn't do well when we have cold and rainy weather. He stays balled up next to me most days to keep warm. He has had several teeth pulled because they were bad and recently has had a few more that could use pulling. However, he is still spunky and full of energy when he wants to be.

Lately I have thought a lot about the fact that he is getting older and he won't always be by my side. It upsets me to even think about it but I do know it's part of life....we live and we die. I just wish that term didn't apply to Alex, if I could, I would keep him with me forever. 

Who knew the day I adopted him that I was really helping myself more than I was helping him.....I am one lucky girl and he's one lucky dog!

February 11, 2011


Valentines Day gift bags for Brody's Preschool class
One of my FAVORITE holidays is right around the corner and I am counting down days! I am such a romantic and love anything and everything to do with Valentine's Day. 

I have been busy putting together the gift bags for Brody's class party next week. Luckily, for him, his Momma loves to do arts and crafts so he always has unique personalized bags to share with his class (and eventually his girlfriends).  I try to make all of his gift bags something that is unique to the holiday and personalized for the kids. I typically always use a brown paper lunch bag because they are a blank canvas that you can do practically anything to and their economical! This time around I decided to use the Candy Hearts as flowers; I cut grass out of construction paper and painted it with glitter paint. I used a green sharpie to draw the stems of the "flowers" and I added ladybug stickers to the  "flower garden". Brody and I made the clay hearts last month when we were on our clay crafting kick. I painted those with purple glitter glue and wrote their names on them with a black Sharpie. I really liked the way they turned out because it was exactly how I pictured them in my head! That always feels great!!!

Too Cute & Yummy!
I also got into the baking spirit and baked 90 mini Valentine themed cupcakes last night!! Cupcakes are so much fun because you can make them for almost any occasion and the possibilities are ENDLESS when it comes to decorating them. I took several of these cute little cupcakes over to my friends house this morning for our coffee/play date and they were beyond YUMMY! I'm sure they won't last very long in our house if Victoria, Brody and Mike have anything to do with it.

My Strange Addiction
During this whole Valentines day preparation that I have had going on I've came to the conclusion that I have an addiction.......to Hershey Kisses. I am not kidding; it's a full blown addiction to the wonderful little tin foil wrapped pieces of love. I have been eating a bag a day -- DEAD serious. No joke. I don't know how I have become addicted to something that I used to hate. I was never a chocolate eater; never even ate sweets growing up. Now I can't keep this chocolate candy in stock in our pantry. If they are depleted before I can get a new bag I seriously go into bitch mode and start feeling like a walking talking anxiety attack waiting to happen. It's insanity. My husband doesn't care for it too much either; not because I am gaining weight (that's a good thing) but these candies are $5 a bag and I am buying a bag every other day! Add it up people and you will see his concern. I might have to have an intervention soon because this is getting out.of.control! Maybe I need to be on the show "My Strange Addiction"; I am sure I would fit in just fine because that show has some crazy people with some very strange addictions. Why not add an episode with a Hershey Kiss addict?!?!? 

NOTE TO OLD CLASSMATES: If you see me at any future reunions and I am overweight; don't ask, just know it was the damn Hershey kisses that caught up with my once skinny ass. 

This will be Brody's first year exchanging Valentine's so I am really excited for him. I may be more excited than he is but once he sees all of that candy he will be on cloud nine. 

3 days and counting....

February 8, 2011

02.08.11 - Recipe of the week - Chicken Taco Soup w/ Tortilla chips

I have had many inquiries of recipes that I have made or make so I thought why not post a recipe each week that our family enjoys! These are Beemer tested and family approved for your dining enjoyment! 

This recipe is a rendition of one that my friend Kristen made for us when we first moved to Albany. I took her recipe and changed it a little and it's still great. Very fast and easy! 

Chicken Taco Soup with Fried Tortilla chips

1 onion, chopped
2 (10 oz)cans of Rotele, undrained
1 (15 oz)can of Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1 (15 oz)can of Chili Beans or Red Kidney Beans
1 (8 oz) can of Tomato Sauce
1 (15 oz)can of Chicken Broth
1 (1.25 oz) packet of Taco Seasoning
2 Large Cans of Chicken Breast, drained and shredded
Add Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Garlic & Chili Powder to suit your taste

Add all ingredients together in a crockpot and set on High for 5 hours. Can cook longer but I would suggest putting it on low if you are cooking this all day. You can top this soup with Sour Cream and Shredded Cheese if you want. 

For the "homemade" tortilla chips you will need to buy a bag of corn tortillas. I use half the bag for our family but it's up to you how many you want to fry. Using a pizza cutter cut the tortilla into 4-6 slices (as you would a pizza) and place in hot oil. Fry until brown on both sides. It will not take long once the oil is hot; depending on your stove 3-5 minutes max per batch. Sprinkle salt on the tortillas as you put them on a plate. These can be put in a ziplock bag and saved for several days if you have leftovers.  


Crappy Carts

When I was childless going to the grocery store was NO problem. I got a cart, went on my merry little way and filled it up to the rim. I never thought twice about what cart I was going to get and honestly, it never crossed my mind....EVER.

However, I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy two years ago and my shopping trips have never been the same. Never, in a million years would I have thought that a shopping trip could turn very, very, very bad before we ever went through the sliding glass doors! 

Whoever made the lovely "kid friendly" shopping carts to the right needs to be fired shot immediately. This person has made every single shopping experience a living hell for me as a parent. I can't even begin to express how much I H-A-T-E these stupid little racecar carts. Plain and simple; they suck! Obviously they thought it was a *BRILLIANT* idea but the moron must have never went shopping with a kid. These type of things are a parents worst nightmare and they are rapidly catching on to almost every.single.store that I shop at!!! I can't get away from them no matter how hard I try.

I know you are probably thinking why can't I just put my child in a normal cart but that's not an option once my little guy has laid eyes on the prize. I mean, seriously, if you saw this at his age would you want to ride in anything different? Probably not. He is too smart for his own good because he can scope these hot rods out before I have a chance to maneuver my way around them. I try to avoid these at all costs but lately I think they are giving them away for free because the stores I frequent have a ton available for his riding pleasure. Brody will have a complete meltdown if he sees one of these and he's not in one. I have tried bribing him when it comes to this issue and it does not work. There isn't a piece of chocolate, drink, snack or toy that is better than a ride in the racecar cart. 

Brody doesn't have a problem with the cart because he doesn't have to push it around the store. My son gets to "make believe" that he's driving so in his little world it all good...in my world, not so much. Pushing one of these things around is torture and that is BEFORE it's filled up with several weeks worth of groceries. Pushing it is like trying to park a large SUV in a compact car parking spot or trying to parallel park with a limousine. NOT TOO GOOD. It's horrendous. Unlike cars, these carts do not turn on a dime and you don't have brakes. It's a major "cart accident" waiting to happen. Once my cart is filled up it's nearly impossible to push or turn it; I look like an idiot trying to. You KNOW it's bad when people ask you if you need help with your cart...could it get any more humiliating?!?

So, to whomever the responsible party is for coming up with these glorious buggies I would like to give you a BIG shout out....


February 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Daddy!


Today is my Daddy's birthday and each year I think they mean more to me because it reminds me how lucky I am to have him as a father. He has been there to mend my scrapes and bruises, toughen my skin when it needed to be thickened, made me feel pretty when no one else could, yelled at me when I was misbehaving, picked me up when I have fallen, supported me even when I shouldn't have been, believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, proud of me when it was most needed and most of all.... 
has loved me unconditionally for 32 years. He will always be the first man that I loved and I will always continue to strive to be a better person because of him. 
Happy Birthday from Daddy's little girl. I love you! 

February 6, 2011


There is something about the ocean and salty air that calms and soothes the soul. I have never figured out why I always have felt more at ease and peace while vacationing at the beach and even the short time I lived in Jacksonville, NC....it's something I wish I could bottle up and put on a shelf for later use.

Two years ago my husband retired from the Marine Corps and we were relocated to Jacksonville, NC for his new job at Camp Lejeune. Moving to the beach had always been a dream of mine (and my parents) so it wasn't too bad of a move for us. The beach on base was only 10 minutes from the house and we were only 30 minutes away from beaches in both directions. Also the drive back to Concord was only a little over 4 hours so it wasn't too shabby of a deal.

While we were in Jacksonville we tried to take advantage of the beach as much as we could. Having a toddler makes the beach trips a little harder because they can only stand the sand and sun for so long and you have to carry around a ton of stuff just for a 2 hour stay. We really didn't use the beach as much as we should have. Looking back I wish we had. 

I always felt a lot happier and more at peace when we came home from a beach trip. Sure, I had to give Brody a bath after we got home. Everything had to be rinsed off out in the yard before bringing it inside. Sand was always a constant fixture in our house (no matter how hard you cleaned) and vehicles. Extra loads of laundry were present because of those nasty towels and bathing suits couldn't be washed with other stuff. However, with all of that "extra" stress there seemed to be less stress in my mind.

Honestly, it was the ocean that brought me peace. You could sit in your beach chair, toes in the sand and the sound of children, waves and seagulls in the air could put your soul at ease. All of your fears, worries, problems were washed away with each and every wave. It's like your soul was cleaned in that 2 hour trip and you were able to clear your mind for the coming work week. 

If you could bottle whatever that is and sell it you would be a bazillionaire (if there was one) because who doesn't want that feeling? I don't know anyone that doesn't feel better after a trip to the beach. If we could get that feeling daily this world would be a much better place.

So, to all of my friends who still live within minutes from the beach....don't take Gods beautiful landscape for granted. Once you move away from it you will sincerely miss that inner peace you had while living near the ocean. Trust Me. 

February 5, 2011


If you would have asked me about 10 years ago if moving away from "home" (Concord, NC) would have bothered me I would have probably looked at you like you were stupid. Yeah Right! Moving away from Concord sounded like a fun new adventure and I was ready to get out of the small town that I was born and raised in. 

Now if you asked me that...I would probably burst into tears, well, alligator tears. I miss living only a few miles away from my parents and Pappaw. I miss being able to visit my Mammaw's grave and place flowers on it every month or so. I miss walking into Wal-Mart or the local grocery store and seeing someone I know. Heck, I miss everyone knowing my business!! Basically, I miss E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G about my hometown. You don't even know what I would do to have a meal from Mr. C's, K&W, What-a-Burger, Troutman's BBQ, Rosario's and Sogo's/Tsunami....oh, there are entirely too many eating establishments that I miss! I could probably gain 100 pounds in 2 weeks if I were to stay that long because I would try to eat at every single place several times a day for that entire 2 weeks!!!! 

I know I need to put my "big girl panties" on, suck it up and wipe away the tears but it's easier said than done. I am 32 years old and I should be able to move over 8 hours away from home but it's really much harder than some think. I had a great relationship with my family and consider them my best friends. There wasn't and still isn't a day that I don't go without talking to both my parents via email or telephone. I am the only child and I do carry a lot of responsibility with that title. I am all they have and they are all I have other than my husband and children. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Albany. It has grown on me and the people here are super nice. Everywhere you go people smile, say "Hello" and ask you how your doing. It's just how the locals were raised and that is why it reminds me so much of home and why I know I will be okay here. I have made some good friends and I have an old classmate (Susie) who will be moving here soon. I know that will make the world of difference because it's a piece of home and someone who knows how good a "real" Cherry Lemon Sundrop tastes or how those smaller tater wedges are the best at Mr. C's....she can appreciate where we came from and that will be nice. 

But for now....I am homesick and it stinks! Tomorrow is a new day so I am hoping I wake up feeling better in all aspects. I think being "homesick" has made me sick because I am battling a head cold or something so that is only making matters worse today. 

February 4, 2011

Snazzy Duds for a Washout!

Tonight is my favorite night of the week....Date Night!!! Well, in this case, Mike's Banquet for work night...ugh. I would much rather spend my "date time" with him, a cocktail (or two) and a inviting atmosphere with good music but his job has other plans for us. Don't get me wrong I am glad he has a banquet for work because that obviously means he has a J.O.B that in return puts money in the bank, allows us to live in an awesome home, pay the bills, enables me to spend money at my favorite places (Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, Goodwill, Starbucks, anywhere that sells shoes & pocketbooks, etc.) and most importantly pays for Brody's daycare two days a week so I can have some sanity. 

I guess I really shouldn't complain but I really do hate (such a strong word) dislike with every ounce of my being, hanging around a bunch of people who "play a part" for a couple of hours. Let's be honest REAL HONEST...are most of you really the same person you are at work!?!? Heck No! Thank God my husband isn't the same man at work as he is at home because I would have never became Mrs. Beemer! 

I was informed that this event was "dressy business casual"....do what? really?? What's dressy business casual? I know what casual, business casual and dressy means but the three together makes no sense to me? So "dressy" being cocktail attire or what? My "dressy business casual" could be completely opposite than another persons idea of "dressy business casual". What to do?

Yesterday I went shopping for this "dressy business casual" affair and I think I needed a shot of patron before entering the store! I was completely overwhelmed and I was still sitting in my parked car in the parking lot. We have already came to the conclusion that it's hard enough finding "normal" clothes for me to wear so now throwing  the whole "dressy business casual" thing on me is taking it (and my anxiety) to another level. After a few deep breaths and a hail Mary I went into Kohhls with my gameface on ready to conquer this assignment.   

As soon as I walked through the glass doors I saw "The Dress"! I couldn't believe it but I was also not getting myself all worked up because I was still 10 feet away and had no idea if they had my size...however, the price tag was clearly visible $59.00 and I really didn't want to spend that but as usual that's the price I pay for my taste. I inched closer and closer and I honestly felt my heart beat through my clothes --- my eyes met with the almighty size zero. Now, I know not to get too giddy because even if it's the size you need it may not fit like the size you need. All the ladies have to know what I am talking about. We are all made different and our busts, waists and hips aren't the same size. We really do have it harder than a man; they buy pieces we buy a "piece". 

I grabbed "the dress" like it was nobodies business and stuffed it in my cart but I vowed to look for other cheaper options. I looked around and around and around. Sure, I found some other options like skirts but I would have to find a blouse to go with it so I was going to end up paying the same if not more than the wonderful garment that I had in my shopping cart. Now it comes all to the final fitting of the garment in the dressing room. Before I even tried it on I called Mike to see if he would mind me spending $60 on a dress because the worst is bringing something home that cost more than he thought it would. I got his approval as long as I didn't have to go out and buy a $50 pair of heels to go with it -- I could do that because I seriously have over 100 pairs of shoes and most of them are heels. I know, I know, I need a shoe intervention. That's another blog post.

I headed to the dressing room with my dream dress and was hopeful it would fit in all the right places. I slipped it on and so far so good, zipped it up and I was intoxicated by joy....the dress was a perfect fit! O.M.G! Now you know the little happy dance you do in the dressing room when something you really love fits, it's okay, you don't have to admit it but I know you do it. I did my happy dance and Brody looked at me and said "Pee Pee in the potty, Momma?". I could have smothered him with kisses because I was on cloud nine and he just says the cutest darn things at the right moments. I love that kid. 

I got myself back to reality and off of cloud nine so I could get dressed and pay for this golden egg I found. If finding the perfect dress wasn't enough it was on S.A.L.E!!!! Does it get any better? The little devil on my shoulder really wanted to go to the shoe department and buy these super hot Candies heels that I saw earlier but I remembered that I made a promise not to buy anything other than the dress and I wanted to prove to Mike that I could do it. I am usually proving him otherwise so this time I wanted to be good for a change :)

This will be dressy enough once I add some sophisticated black heels to it!