August 27, 2013

Recipe: Aunt Annie's Cubed Steak with peppers and onions

It's been almost 9 months since I blogged about a recipe so I thought what we were having for dinner would be a great post because it's deliciously good! Mike loves his Aunt Annie's cubed steak with peppers and onions so she was kind enough to email it to me and it's been a favorite of ours for the past 3 years. It is a little time consuming to prepare and cook so if you work during the day it may be a little hard to pull this one off so it may need to be saved for a weekend. However, this recipe is amazing so you need to try it at least once! I have never had this type of cubed steak before because my Mammaw made ours with a brown gravy but I must admit I prefer this recipe over hers *gasp*!


1.5 lb of Cubed Steak - I buy the packs at Wal-Mart that have 3 steaks
1 small white onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper (not necessary)
1 can of Diced Tomatoes with green chilies
2 cans of Beef Broth
Red Wine of any kind (not necessary)
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
Vegetable Oil
Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350°
Pound your cubed steak with lots of flour using a tenderizer; the more flour the better. Heat your oil and chopped garlic in a skillet large enough to fit your floured meat pieces. Brown your steaks on both sides; this should only take 1-2 minutes per side. Once the steak is browned transfer to a large covered casserole dish. Add your can of diced tomatoes (juice too), chopped onion, chopped green and red bell pepper. If you like your dishes spicy you can add jalapenos or other peppers to your liking. Add enough beef broth to cover the steak and pepper mixture completely; this may not take both cans but reserve the leftover in case you need it later. I also add red wine to this dish and I never measure it out but I would say it's somewhere between a 1/4 - 1/2 cup. It doesn't have to be fancy red wine either, the cheapest works fine and you can omit the wine completely if you prefer. Also, add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and cook the dish until tender. This dish needs to cook for at least 3 hours but I typically leave mine in the oven for 4 - 4.5 hours; stirring 2-3x before the dish is done. Add the reserved broth if you see it's needed but you do not want this dish too "runny" so be careful not to add to much.

I serve this with rice but mashed potatoes would be perfect too as the "broth" makes an excellent gravy.


August 26, 2013

Anniversary at ACTO!

I often hear people say that a person suffering from Alzheimer's is not the person they knew. I wonder to myself - Who are they then?  ~Bob DeMarco

Last year when Brody started Pre-K it occurred to me that I wanted to do something with my free time during the day that would make a difference in my community. I had volunteered some at a local poverty stricken elementary school but the hours that they needed from volunteers had changed and I was unable to go back and honestly even though I felt good about helping with the school it didn't get me quiet the satisfaction that I was looking for. They say that God answers in His own timing and I believe that because as I was flipping through our church bulletin I noticed that there were several volunteer opportunities available; one being the school I had already helped out with and the other was for the local Alzheimer's Caregivers Time-Out (ACTO). This really grabbed my attention because I have had first hand experience with Alzheimer's as it runs in my family and my Pappaw had signs of dementia before passing away 2 years ago. I took a leap of faith and after sitting down with the Activities Director at ACTO it seemed their day program would be a good fit for me with the hours I had available to give during the day. I decided I would volunteer three days a week for 4 hours a day while Brody was in school directly next door (talk about everything coming together!).
ACTO was started in 1988 and it provides both in-home respite care and a day care program that allows caregivers a break so that they can take the time they need for themselves to rest, run errands, work or anything else they are unable to do while caring for their loved one with Alzheimer's. Many do not understand what it takes to care for a family member that has been dealt with this awful disease; it's a full-time job that leaves many caregivers worn down and stressed out. Once this disease has progressed most all of it's victims need a full time caregiver as they can't take care of themselves during the day. As you can imagine, this puts a huge burden on the family. Luckily, for the people of Albany/Leesburg there is an option and that is ACTO.
My first couple of days were a little overwhelming because with 20+ clients I was afraid I would never remember all of their names....but you eventually do! I spend my mornings greeting the clients as they are dropped off, pinning their name badges on and offering them a morning snack while they watch the television or talk amongst themselves. I help with mid-morning activities such as chair aerobics, balloon volleyball, puzzles, arts and crafts. There are special days of the week like their Ice Cream Social, Pet Therapy and Movie Day on Fridays. Holidays are a big deal at the center so those are always celebrated in style. I go with the staff to pick up their lunches at our local hospital and pass them out once we return to the center. Usually after lunch my day is done at ACTO and it's time for me to pick up Brody next door.
What was originally a three day a week thing has turned into a 5 day a week passion. I went in not thinking that I would get so attached to the clients but I guess it's inevitable. I don't even like to call them "clients" because they are like family to me....even the ones that are hard to get along with.
When you first walk into ACTO you might be overwhelmed if you have never dealt with Alzheimer's. This disease has good days and bad days so therefor it's victims do too. Some days are better than others. You start to see there is a human being in what is now almost a shell of what they were. You see this person for what they were before they became sick. You see past the fact that they are confused, need more help when it comes to getting to the rest room or even having accidents and their child-like ways. This person was someone's Mother, Father, Child, Grandparent....this person was somebody's world at one time. You can't discard them because they now aren't the caretaker, they need to be taken care of. They are fragile, they too, need to be loved and cared for.
Since volunteering, I have seen the many stages of Alzheimer's and honestly, it is a scary disease. It's a disease that I feel like nobody should ever have to deal with. It is a disease that WILL NEVER GET just progresses, it's terminal. It robs you of everything you have and leaves painful reminders everyday of what you once were. Some of the clients you would never assume had Alzheimer's until they start up a conversation. They look normal, dress nicely and are well groomed. They discuss topics such as the weather, the day, the time, a story from way back when and then the conversation starts repeating itself. Other clients you can tell immediately have Alzheimer's as they are very confused, stuck in time and need extra help with seemingly normal day-to-day tasks (like coaxing them out of their car).
I know you're probably thinking why would you want to volunteer somewhere that seems to only have a negative ending but there are so many positives that make it worthwhile. Every client has an amazing story and most are happy to share it with you (sometimes more times than you can take) because it's important to them. They like to engage in conversation and hear what you have to say. You may start off on a topic and 9 times out of 10 it will end up way out there but it's important for them to have their voice heard. Believe it or not many of these people are muted because family members don't know how to deal with this disease so they do not engage in conversations with them. It is exhausting and I can see how that happens because I only deal with them 4 hours a day and I am spent so I don't see how caregivers do it. It's also frustrating for the clients because in the early stages they know that they get confused and sometimes make no sense, sometimes people argue with them because what they are saying "isn't right". It's my job as a volunteer to listen to whatever they want to talk about, right or wrong and make them feel important. Yes, George Bush may no longer be President but if that's what you believe I am not going to argue with you.
Obviously, I can't name the clients names  for confidentiality reasons but you start to learn about their quirks, trigger points and overall personality and that is what makes this so rewarding. You do whatever it takes to make that person feel at ease and "okay" because many do have an extreme level of anxiety. There is one sweet man who at the top of his game was a contractor and almost every day he starts looking for his truck. This truck is his pride and joy but he walks the floors looking for it so to help ease his anxiety you just gently remind him that his wife has it and will be picking him up after lunch and usually he's good after you reassure him it's okay. Another sweet lady who speaks Spanish starts to worry about her daughter coming to pick her up so you just remind her that at 2:00 her daughter will be there, granted, you may tell her 100 times before then but she's coming to you because she trusts you have the right answer. One lady, who has now deceased was going blind and always complained that the center never had money to turn the lights on and she would get highly upset. You can't tell the client that she's going blind so you comfort her, letting her know you will work on the problem all the while trying to find something to comfort her. This particular lady was a business owner so it made her feel good to stuff envelopes and file papers; that's what we helped her do while she was there. She would stuff envelopes and eventually open them back up to stuff them again. It worked, she was happy and it got her mind off the lights "not working".
I could go on and on with stories because each and every client has their own but you can see a glimpse into my day. I choose to find humor and joy instead of sadness. Do I get emotional? Yes, I cry and get mad that life has dealt them this nasty blow but I have to choose to make my time at the center a happy one. I choose to smile and hug every single one of them each morning, engage with them and make them feel loved. I do love them and tell them because for some of them that is the only time they hear it. Will they remember my name the next day? Probably not. Will they remember my face the next day? Possibly. I am not worried about the next day, I am concerned about how they feel in that moment...they live their life in moments, not days.
So many good things have happened to me while volunteering at ACTO and I am so thankful that I was given this opportunity. I have met a wonderful person, named Becky who I consider my Best Friend. She knows me in and out and loves me anyway. Becky is the Activities Director and is such an asset to the center and she's just got a heart of gold. I seriously think she is one of the sweetest people I have ever met even if I do think she wears her rose colored glasses too often! I have been exposed to so many great people at ACTO and they all couldn't do what they do if they didn't love their job. Yes, for some it's just a "job" but most everyone there this is their passion. I have been able to conquer my fears of performing in front of people during my time at the center. ACTO does several charity/fundraiser events during the year to help raise money for the center since it costs just dollars (seriously) a day per client to attend the program. I was in a play called "Murder's in the Heir" which was put on by ACTO in February. I played "Nancy" the maid in this fun murder mystery where the guests chose who they thought killed the wealthy Mr. Starkweather.
I think the biggest thing for me has been how much I have grown in the past year. I have had to face my fear of dying and the loss of my grandparents; where I had the void of not having them around anymore has been filled with the clients at ACTO. Working with Alzheimer's has made me a more compassionate and patient human being. It has given me a purpose. I thought when I started volunteering that this would be just a thing I did to fill the free time up during my day but it has become so much more than's become something I am passionate about. I will volunteer as long as I am able to at ACTO; I firmly believe I need them more than they need me.
Here are some facts about Alzheimer's:
Today, there are no survivors of Alzheimer’s. If you do not die from it, you die with it.
One in every three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
In 2013, an estimated 450,000 people in the United States will die with Alzheimer’s, meaning they will die after developing the disease.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Today, an American develops Alzheimer's disease every 68 seconds. In 2050, an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds.
Visit for more information on Alzheimer's.....educate yourself on this terrible disease!

August 25, 2013

Beauty & Home: Hits & Misses

A couple of posts back I said that I was going to start trying to blog about some tried and true beauty products so I thought it was time for another post since the month is almost over! I got inspired about doing these blog posts after watching beauty guru's on YouTube for the past year! One of my favorite "tags" they do is the monthly "Hit and Miss" video where they give you an overview of products they tried over the past month or so and tell you if they would repurchase the item or not. I love these types of videos because I do find them helpful when I am considering buying something they are talking about and sometimes it makes me actually go out and buy an item they are discussing. I would love to have my own YouTube channel to discuss this type of stuff but I am scared that I would completely suck at it and nobody would really even watch it. Maybe I will get around to doing one in the future when I get enough courage! is my list for August and some come from July because I seriously don't go through this many items in one particular month; I have just held on to some of these empties for a while because I had been planning on doing this post for a while. These aren't in any particular order so excuse the randomness :)

Equate Refreshing Cleaning Towelettes ($3.48, 40 pack) are the Wal-Mart equivalent to Garnier's Refreshing Remover Cleansing Towelettes. I talked about these in my last post because it was one of my favorites but I needed to do an update! I really liked these in the beginning because it removed all of my make-up without having to scrub at my face and wiped away my mascara without a problem. I loved the clean scent and the towelette wasn't soaking wet with cleanser like you sometimes encounter. It didn't dry out my skin or leave a residue on my skin afterwards so I was pretty happy with the product. However, the formula did start to irritate my eyes towards the end of the package. I am not sure if the last 20 towelettes or so had more cleanser on them due to being the last few in the package or if my eyes were just more sensitive at that time. I did repurchase another type of towelette from the Equate line to try this month but if you don't have sensitive eyes I think these would be perfect for you to try.

I have an olive tone complexion so that tends to make dark circles under my eyes a little more obvious plus I am a Mom so I can tend to just look "tired". I have tried so many concealers that I have lost count. I decided to try the Physicians Formula Conceal Rx ($9.99)after seeing a YouTuber rave about it. I can honestly say this is the BEST concealer that I have used that really works well. A little of this product goes a long way! It is more on the creamy side so it covers well and it doesn't get cakey once it sets. I also find that it doesn't settle into my fine lines around my eyes like some of the other concealers do. I also have a few hyperpigmentation areas on my cheeks that I use this on and it completely conceals them!! The packaging states that the product covers blemishes, dark under eye circles, scars, birthmarks, age spots, bruises, rosacea and hyperpigmentation. I truly believe in this concealer and I think if you have any of the above then this should be a staple in your beauty regime.
I am always trying new mascara's so I decided to buy the widely publicized new item from Maybelline, "The Rocket" ($5.94)and I went with the waterproof formula. This product is supposed to give you clump-free explosive lashes that are 6x more in volume. It also has been Ophthalmologist tested and safe for contact lens wearers. I tried wearing this alone knowing my eyes are always my problem child and I was impressed with the new formula. It was clump free and went on smooth. It wasn't thick and it gave my lashes a fuller effect without looking like I had a ton of mascara on. eyes did not like the new formula so I had to go back to wearing my regular mascara from Physician's Formula. I have found that if I apply one coat of "The Rocket" on after applying my Physician's Formula mascara I don't seem to have a problem. Weird, I know. I still think if you want a fuller lash effect and you like Maybelline products you should go with their "Falsies Volum' Express" formula because that stuff is AMAZING.
This isn't a beauty item but I think it's worth mentioning because it will save you money and who isn't about saving money?!? My family is pretty particular about our laundry detergents and fabric softners so that means that we are strictly a "Tide" family but I can get away with buying the Great Value Blooming Lavender Fabric Softner Dryer Sheets from Wal-Mart ($3.98, 80 sheets). I use the Tide Plus with a touch of Downy in the Lavender scent for our washer and I put two dryer sheets of the Great Value softner in the dryer and our clothes come out smelling great and feel super soft. Tide isn't cheap so if I can save money on the fabric softner I will and I've found this is just as good as the pricier ones.
I think I am trying a new toothpaste every time I turn around because I can never find one that I like. They either don't leave my mouth feeling fresh and clean or the formula hurts my super sensitive teeth. I feel like the "sensitive" toothpastes never clean my teeth well and doesn't leave my mouth feeling like I even brushed anything. I decided to try Colgate's Total Zx Pro-Shield Plus Sensitivity, Mint Gel ($3.47, 5.8 oz)and I am so happy that I did! It says it is anti-cavity, anti-gingivitis, anti-sensitivity and lasts even after eating and drinking. I don't have a problem with it hurting my sensitive teeth and my mouth feels so clean after brushing. I think I finally found a toothpaste that does it all after what seems like a life-time of trying to find the right one!! So, if you are a Sensodyne user and feel like your mouth isn't as clean as it could be then I think you should try this because you will be pleased.

While browsing at CVS a while back I ran across a trial version of Salma Hayek's Nuance Anti-Aging AM/PM Super Cream ($5.99, .265 ounce) and decided to try it. The formula has Tepezcohuite, Borage Oil & Vitamins A and E, Parsley; it claims that 83% of women noticed an overall improvement in skin appearance, tone and texture after 30 days and 86% of women felt an immediate improvement in their skin's hydration. Tepezcohuite is supposed to help tone, condition and smooth your skin. Borage Oil protects skin against dryness. Vitamins A & E are supposed to visibly smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Parsley, an herb rich in vitamin C, helps nourish your skin. The cream is dermatologist tested, Not tested on animals, Non-irritating and Paraben Free. Okay, so there is all the for my review. I give this two thumbs DOWN!!! I hated it. I should have known it would be a bad experience when I couldn't even get the top off the jar! It has a twist and click lid which is very hard to get into; I didn't know you had to keep your kids out of a night cream jar!! Once I opened it I couldn't get over the smell of the product. It smelled like a mixture of bug spray and medicine so as you can imagine you don't want that on your face. The cream is almost like a watery type consistency and it seemed oily while I tried rubbing it in. I was not impressed at all and I felt like it didn't hydrate my face like I was expecting from a "Super Cream". I never used it again after the first night so I can't tell you if it helps with anti-aging or not. I would definitely never purchase the full size jar of this and I hate I even wasted the $5.99 on this jar!!  

I constantly have dry lips so I am always buying some type of lip balm or chapstick. As crazy as this sounds I find it very overwhelming to buy chapsticks because they all claim to do something different and you never know what you really need. I am also always misplacing my tubes of chapstick so I get to try a lot of them out, lol. I haven't gotten into the whole EOS lip balm thing because the packaging weirds me out, it's a ball, who the hell wants to carry that around in their pocket or purse? It's just odd. I was a strictly "Blistex" girl until I picked up a tube of Nivea's Milk & Honey Lip Care ($2.99)and now I am on my second tube! I can't get enough of this stuff!! It's hydrating and doesn't feel like I am just putting wax on my lips. It doesn't dry my lips out like I've found some chapsticks do and it lasts longer than most I've tried. It's also preservative-free so that is an added bonus. This is something that I will continue to repurchase because I really like it and it seems to work great for my dry lips!

During one of my grocery shopping trips they were out of my razor catridges so I decided to try Noxema's Super Smooth Triple Blade disposable Razors ($2.88, 4 count). The packaging claims it's supposed to reveal smooth, fresher skin. Navigating tricky areas with ease and the jojoba strips are supposed to help prevent nicks and cuts. I don't know if it's just me or I got a package of crappy razors but these were the WORST razors I have ever tried in my entire life!!! I thought being made by Noxema they would be pretty good quality, they were triple blade and they weren't the cheapest ones in the razor section. I didn't get a close shave with these and found myself going back multiple times over the same area to get a clean shave. I wouldn't dare try this my bikini area or underneath my arms because it was hard to shave just on my legs. I even opened a new razor mid-bath just to make sure I hadn't gotten a bad one in the package by was the exact same way. I was totally dissatisfied with these and would never ever repurchase these again. I think the cheapest razor you could find would do a better job than these. Do not waste your money on this product, you will be sorry that you did.

Now if you are wanting to try a good quality razor that you don't have to spend a fortune on refill catridges you should try the Wilkinson Sword Oasis Razor and Refill Catridges ($5.98, 4 catridges). I buy mine at Wal-Mart and I am not sure if any of the Drugstores carry this brand. The razor has three blades that does provide a very close shave. It does have the typical aloe/shea butter strip that most razors have these days. I find that as long as you use a new razor it's fine to use in the bikini zone. It does not leave my skin irritated and I can even use it under my arms without water or shaving cream. I ran across these by accident and I am so glad that I did because I was spending a fortune in Venus catridges. I found that I like this just as much (if not more) than my Venus razor. They do make a mans razor (Wilkinson, Tech 3) that my husband loves and the refills are about the same price, so it would be worth picking one up for the man in your life.

Like any female, I have tried a billion hair care products! I am constantly trying new shampoos and conditioners! I have tried high end products from the salon and I've tried the cheapest of the cheap aka "Suave". I have found products that I like in both but typically my hair care products come from Wal-Mart or the drugstore. I hate being so cheap when it comes to Shampoo/Conditioners because you literally wash it down the drain but I know your hair does need nourishment just like your body. I decided I would go the middle of the road and try Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner ($5.74 each, 13 fl.oz.) and I FELL IN LOVE with the stuff! Not only does the stuff smell amazing it makes my hair feel so soft and it looks healthy. The scent lasts forever too, I can have 2-3 day old hair and it still smells great. I have very dry hair from blow drying and using hot rollers so I don't wash my hair every single day. I also have to be careful with shampoos because some do dry my hair out even more causing it to look and feel brittle. The Coconut Milk line has coconut milk (duh) and whipped egg white proteins in it so it helps with elasticity and adds strength to your strands. The shampoo foams up nicely and rinses well, not leaving residue on your scalp. The conditioner is hydrating and it doesn't leave your hair feeling/looking weighted down. Some conditioners can actually make your hair look oily and this doesn't do that.

This isn't a beauty product either but it's another money saver! For all of you Listerine lovers, save some money and buy the Equate Antiseptic Mouthrinse ($2.98, 16.9 FL OZ)! I buy the Blue Mint flavor but they do have the original yellow looking stuff that tastes horrible. I stood in the aisle and compared these two bottles side by side and there is NOT a difference!! So, unless you are just a name brand person who loves wasting money, buy the Equate version. It's minty and does what it says (Kills plaque, gingivitis and bad breath)for $1 less. Also, in case you didn't know, this stuff works great for ant and mosquito bites!! If you or your child ever runs into an ant pile and gets bitten by those little suckers this helps dry the bites up. Brody stepped in a pile 3 years ago and they ate his little leg up, I applied this with a cotton ball to his bites and within minutes it took the sting out. If you apply it for several days afterwards you will see a noticeable difference; you can thank me later :)

I have been on a mission to find a good moisturizer so I have tried several the past 2 months. While I was at CVS (I promise, I don't live there) I noticed on a bottom shelf that they had a Physician's Formula skincare line that had been marked down for close out. I didn't even know that Physician's Formula made a skincare line but since I am a huge fan of their make-up I decided that it was totally worth trying. I picked up two different products from their line but I am only going to discuss one this month because I haven't made my mind up on the other. I have been using the Physicians Formula Deep Wrinkle Corrector Day & Night Cream, Formula Rx 121 ($9.99, 1.7 oz)for several weeks and I really like it. My main skin concern is aging and this is what this product targets. It states that it's supposed to enhance skin's cycle of repair, encouraging healthy cell renewal that reveals younger looking skin. Your wrinkle length and depth should improve with regular use. It also helps improve the moisture barrier, strengthen skin and protect collagen. It says it's clinical proven that you will see visible results. It also claims you will look 6 years younger in 4 weeks. This line has been Dermatologist approved, clinically tested and is hypoallergenic. It's also 100% Paraben free. The directions say you are to use this morning and night on your face and neck before you apply your make-up. It does not have sunscreen in it so you do need to apply that if it's not already in your foundation. I have been impressed with this product because I do feel like it's helped my skin look more youthful in the sense I have a glow back. My face is always so dry that it tends to look dull. This product contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid so it does help shed some of that dead skin. However, if you are sensitive to those types of ingredients then you may want to steer clear of this product. I love the consistency of the cream, it has a whipped like texture so it blends in well and doesn't leave an oily film on my face. I love the smell and it doesn't interfere with my other make-up products (mainly my foundation). I will say that the first couple of times I used this product I was skeptical because once I rubbed it in I would get all of this dead skin coming off my face. That just showed me how well it really was working and how much dead skin I actually had on my face! I only used it at night for the first week or so and then once all of that was off my face I started using it under my foundation without a problem. I am a firm believer in the Physician's Formula line, I have never had a problem with any of their products and I don't mind paying a little extra for them since I know they are great quality. I am not sure if you can find this at your local CVS or Walgreens but I noticed you can find it online or at Ulta. As far as wrinkles, I am my own worst critic so I can't tell you for sure if it's making me look any younger in that department but it does wonders for moisturizing my face and keeping a healthy glow. I will definitely repurchase this jar when I have used this one up!

Well, there you have it folks! That is my two cents for the products I have tried in July and August. I hope that you found this blog helpful and please let me know if you have tried any of these and what you thought! Also, let me know if you are on the fence about a product because I have tried a lot of them so I may be able to sway your decision.

August 11, 2013


I had been planning on coming to Concord to celebrate my Momma's 60th Birthday for weeks before my unplanned admittance to the Macon Hospital. After being discharged it was pretty apparent that I wouldn't be able to make the 8 hour trek home with my hand in a soft cast so as you can imagine I was completely d.e.v.a.s.t.a.t.e.d!! I knew that this trip home would be one of the last ones for a while since school was starting which meant weeks filled with Friday night lights. I try to be there for all of Vic's events at school so once August is upon us my travelling days are over until November. I knew not coming home meant that I probably wouldn't see my parents until Christmas and that was 4.5 months too long for my taste but my finger pretty much threw a wrench into my entire plan.

I was very upset but I finally came to terms (not really) with the fact that I wasn't coming home any time soon. I already had appointments set up with my Physical Therapist for my finger and I knew I couldn't miss them because my wounds had to be cleaned and re-bandaged. I went to my first appointment and was pleasantly surprised that they took my cast off and bandaged just the top portion of my pointer finger leaving my hand fully exposed and about 85% working to it's full potential. Maybe there was a tiny chance I could still make this planned trip home??!?

I went to my second appointment on Friday and they re-bandaged everything and basically said it would be okay for me to travel home as long as I kept up with the wound care and exercises on my own. Mike agreed that it was also okay for me to go ahead and go home so I didn't question it! I emailed my Dad on Friday and asked if it was okay because I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to ruin any plans he had made for her birthday and he said it was fine. I was super excited and told him not to tell Momma because I wanted to surprise her. I rushed home from my PT appointment, packed a quick bag and we were off to Concord!

Planning a road trip on a Friday isn't the best thing to do when you have to travel through major cities like Atlanta but luckily I hit it before traffic was too bad. I still had to hit some "traffic jails" as Brody calls them but it was worth it in my opinion. I think Brody asking me every hour if we were there yet was more stressful than the rain and traffic I encountered! He was so excited because he too, had no idea until the last minute that we were making this trip so he could barely contain himself.

We pulled into the drive and I just knew my Momma would see us drive up through the living room windows but she didn't....she was in the back of the house which made it even better!! Brody walked in and ran down the hallway into her bedroom and yelled "Surprise!!!!".


I wish I had thought to record it because it was awesome. Her face was glowing and she was smiling ear to ear. I definitely think it was the best present I could have given her!

Playing Catch Up....Ready, Set, Go!

I promised that I was going to be better about blogging but it seems my life never slows down or some unforeseen circumstance (emergency) pops up and I am unable to! Life has been super crazy lately and I am praying it slows down soon so I can stop and smell the roses....scratch the roses, just so I can stop and breathe!!! So, where do I begin???

Victoria finally settled down and did what it took in order to get her license; just 4 months shy of her 17th birthday!! Yes, you read that correctly. For some reason her along with several friends drug their feet when it came to even getting their permit so they were a bit behind in the driving department. It floored me because I remember the day I turned fifteen I was ready to drive and you better believe the day I turned sixteen I was at the DMV that morning! Shoot, she had a car before her 16th birthday so I am not sure what the hold up was! However, Mike wasn't too concerned because he wanted her to wait as long as possible so he wouldn't have to worry about her on the roads of Lee County. I, on the other hand, was ready for her to be able to take herself to/from all her extra curricular activities at school! Hopefully she will abide by all the laws of the road and the state of Georgia and be the safe driver we are all hoping (and praying) for!

Another Beemer kid celebrated a big milestone and that's the smallest Beemer! Brody turned a WHOLE hand on July 24th! We kept telling him that he was going to be a "big boy" on his birthday so when he woke up that morning he was disappointed and told me "I thought I was going to be bigger when I woke up!"...poor little guy. Regardless of weight and height, he is our big boy and we are so proud of him. For his birthday he wanted a Sponge Bob pool party so we invited 3 close families and my parents to make his pool party dream a reality. It was literally the easiest and least stressful party I have put on for the kid! I do feel bad that he has a summer birthday because it makes it hard to invite all of his friends from school. I should have gotten a list of all of the children and their mailing addresses from the teacher before school dismissed for the summer but I forgot to. Regardless of the amount of kids, he had a blast and received entirely too many toys for one child but it was his day and he made the most of it. Mother Nature wasn't on our side but we did manage to swim, grill out, open presents, have cake, Daddy had a fireworks show and we wrapped up with a Pinata! It was a great birthday!

Three days after his party I found myself in the hospital with a very painful staph infection. I had taken Brody to see his GI specialist in Macon for an appointment because Brody had been sick on/off for a week but I too, was sick! I had torn a hangnail off of my right pointer finger on Sunday afternoon and while it hurt a little I didn't think much of it until the wee hours of Monday when I woke up with my finger on fire. I thought maybe it was just inflammed a little from where the skin had been torn away but it was more painful than any hangnail I had ever experienced. I nursed it all day Monday and by Tuesday it was swollen with a nasty blister on the side but I had to drive to Macon regardless of my pain. By the time I got to Macon Tuesday morning I had red streaks down my finger, hand and forearm. I was in tears by the time Brody's specialist walked into the waiting room and he took one look at my finger and said I needed to go to the ER. I asked him if I should wait the 2 hours it would take me to get home to Albany and he said absolutely not. He didn't even want me to take Brody to the x-rays he was needing that day for his stomach because the streaking was getting so bad that I needed to to be seen immediately. Brody and I hurried on over to the ER where they took one look at my finger and said I had a staph infection and that I would need to be admitted for antibiotics and a hand surgeon would need to look at it. I was SCARED TO DEATH! I had a finger that looked horrible, pain that was unbearable, red streaks all the way to my arm pit and swollen lymph nodes. Mike came to Macon and dealt with Brody's ailments and x-rays while I was being admitted to the hospital and all I could think about was losing my finger. How could biting my nails lead to this?!?! I mean, Mike always told me it would happen but I thought he was crazy. I ended up having surgery on my finger and losing my finger nail! I was in the the hospital for 3 freaking days for a HANGNAIL!!!! Really?!?!? PSA: DO NOT BITE YOUR NAILS OR YOU WILL GET A NASTY INFECTION ONE DAY!!!!! I have downsized to a smaller dressing on my hand that has to be changed every day and I go to PT three times a week for now. It's a complete pain in the ass but I am doing whatever it takes to keep my finger clean and healthy!

So, there you have it, in a nutshell what my life has been like since my last post! It was literally something every single week!!! I promise to be better at posting because I really do enjoy it. I am hoping now that school is starting my life will get a little more structured and back on can hope anyway!