Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just Another Manic Sunday

Ahh. The end of another crazy day. On Sundays, I work at our church during the first worship service. Typically I'm able to actually go to worship at the second (and last) service time, but today I volunteered to help out in Isaac's classroom because they needed an extra teacher. I was happy to do so! Isaac's going through an I-want-Mommy-with-me-every-second-of-the-day phase. Realizing that someday he'll be a teenager and want nothing at all to do with me, I'll take the attention while I can get it. :)

After church, Scott had a meeting from 1-4. He's going to be a camp counselor again this year (I think this is his third time to go), and they had some CPR training and other stuff. So while he stayed at church, I took the kids home for a quick lunch and nap time. I settled the kids into their chairs and put some food in front of them, and I had to leave the room for a minute. As soon as I left, Isaac started crying. I heard Caleb say in (his attempt at) a deep voice, "Attention, Isaac. Please stop crying. Attention, Isaac." Where does he get stuff like this? Oh, it was hysterical.

I hurried the kids through lunch, but it was still after 2 by the time they finished. I put Caleb in his bed, and then it took me about 15 minutes or so to get Isaac asleep and in his crib. Caleb didn't actually fall asleep--he just stayed in his room and talked to himself (as usual). At one point I heard a crash, and I went in to investigate. I opened the door and looked in Caleb's bed, but he wasn't there. I looked all around the room (it's not that big, folks), but I didn't see him. "Caleb?" I said. Then I saw a pair of feet start to inch out from under the bed. Caleb worked his way out and looked at me sheepishly. "My Mack fell down, Mommy." (He had been playing with his Mack truck toy in bed, and I guess it had fallen.)

Isaac woke up crying around 3:15, which was good and bad. Bad because he didn't get a very long nap, but good because we needed to get going anyway. I was due to be back at church again from 4-6 to help at a party honoring all of our youth workers. So I packed the kids up and headed back to church.

The party went great, and I think everyone had a lot of fun. Those youth help us so much by volunteering in children's ministries! I think it is so important for kids to learn how to serve at a young age. It's too easy for teenagers especially to think that the world revolves around them and their problems. Serving helps them realize that's just not true!

Scott stayed at the party with me until 6, then he took the kids home while I helped clean up a little bit. Caleb fell sound asleep on the way home! Scott carried him in and put him on the bottom of the stairs to take off his shoes, and Caleb just fell over sideways and went back to sleep. He stayed there the whole time Isaac ate dinner and didn't wake up at all when I got home--not even when I took pictures of him. :)

Does that look comfortable to you? (And yes, I think he's been wearing this shirt in almost every picture I've taken recently. No, it's not the only shirt he owns--it's probably just the one that's always at the top of his clean laundry pile!)

He stayed there until about 7, when I scooped him up, changed him, and put him in bed. He's dirty and sweaty and smells like a boy from playing outside at church 3 times today, but he was just too worn out to take a bath tonight. No dinner, either!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Last Day of Preschool

Caleb had his (sniff! sniff!) last day of school yesterday. We parents were invited to come up to join them in an end-of-year party.

Here is Caleb with his good friend and partner in crime, Wyatt. Don't they just look like they are ready to make some trouble?

The kids ate pizza for lunch. Even Caleb ate some! I am just thrilled that he is trying different foods these days. He can finally eat the same thing everyone else is eating! Even if he eats it upside down.

After lunch, the kids went out to the church's fenced-in courtyard for splashing fun. The teachers put out a few buckets of water, sponges, bubbles, squirt bottles, and other fun stuff. I put Caleb's ear plugs in and sent him out to play with the others.

At first, he was not so sure about the whole water thing. He didn't like it at all when his shorts got wet. He wanted to change! I think Caleb, in general, is just a rule follower. He's my little Pharisee. He doesn't like it when rules aren't obeyed (even if he himself doesn't obey). Often I see him trying to "help" his friends obey the rules. If his teacher tells everyone to line up, for example, Caleb doesn't line up. He starts trying to usher everyone else into a line. He only gets in line once he sees that all the others are properly lined up. Maybe he'll be a teacher. Or a dictator. ;)

So since he's been told all year to stay out of the water and don't get your clothes dirty, he had a hard time adjusting at first. But soon, he was in there getting wet with the rest of them.

He even found a ladybug and let it sit on his hand! That's another big deal for my big boy. He is usually more the "admire from afar" kind of kid when it comes to bugs. (This is in direct contrast to Isaac, who just today tried to squish a poor rolly-polly with his fingers!)

Here is a picture of Caleb with his fabulous teachers and another friend from class.

He really had a great year. It's hard to believe that just a few months ago I was a nervous wreck dropping him off at his first day of preschool, wondering if I'd done the right thing in enrolling him. For him (and me), it was a good choice.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Wonderful Wednesday

Today was a pretty great day at the Taylor house. In the morning, Scott decided to work at home. That meant that at 6:00 when Isaac woke up, Scott was there (usually he has already left for work by then). Scott got up with Isaac and let me sleep in until 7:30. Bliss!

I decided that it was a great day to get outside. Meme and Papa (my parents) recently gave us a picnic table that they'd previously kept at their house for the kids. We put it outside on our porch, and today was the first time we used it. I'd picked up some little paint brushes at IKEA a few days ago, and we put them to use today.

Usually I am very hesitant about doing messy crafts, but that picnic table allows us the beauty of doing them outside--where messes belong!

When the kids got bored of painting, we moved over a few feet to our sand and water table. We bought it for Caleb last year, and it's fabulous. (And heck no, we didn't pay the price listed at the link above! It was WAY cheaper when we got it.) You are supposed to put sand in one half and water in the other half, but we didn't have any water in it. I just hadn't thought ahead enough at 8:30 in the morning to bring out some water to put in it. (One of the not-so-great things about our house is that there is no water facet in the backyard--you have to go out the gate to the side of the house to get to it. )

This was Isaac's first real play time in sand. He enjoyed it, but I was not enjoying it when I saw him pick up a handful of sand and shove it in his mouth. Yup, this is the same kid who eats the wood chips at the playground and loves to eat toilet paper. Sigh. I think he'll grow up to be able to eat all sorts of weird foods. Maybe he'll be like Anthony Bourdain.

He also liked to dump the sand out of the sand table, and he ended up with a nice pile of sand on the ground:

I captured a couple of funny Calebisms this morning. He was playing with the little blue boat, and I was playing with the red boat. At one point, my boat was chasing his around the sand. He said, "The red boat is coming! The red boat is coming!" I just about fell out of my chair laughing. :)

Later, he started calling the little shovel "Scoopy Do." And no, he's never seen Scooby Do, so I'm not sure where he picked that up!

After our outside time, I scooped the kids up and put them in the bathtub. After I'd given them baths and gotten a shower myself, we headed up to the library. Our library is so fabulous. You can check out as many books as you want at a time, and there are NO LATE FEES. I can't tell you how much money I would owe them if they charged late fees! The library also has wonderful story times for the kids, but there aren't any story times in May. Starting in June, we'll be at the library every week again.

Anyway, we had a great time at the library. We checked out as many books as my reusable bag could hold--about 20 or so, at least. I picked up a copy of Bringing up Boys by James Dobson. I've been meaning to read that for awhile. I finished The Shack by William P. Young a couple of days ago. It was interesting, even if the theology is a little skewed and the writing leaves something to be desired. In the book, the main character meets God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit face-to-face. It's fun to think about what it would be like to just sit and have dinner with God. What would YOU ask Him? I've been thinking about that for awhile, and honestly I can't think of anything really important that He left unanswered in His word. He gave us everything that we need to know for salvation, and while it would be fun to know how the earth was created, when exactly the dinosaurs lived, and how old the earth really is, it's not that important.

Okay, enough ramblings for now! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Deals on Simple Shoes

I know, I know. You guys see me post about Simple Shoes all the time. I love them! Well, they currently have a great sale on some of their winter shoes! Buy now and keep 'em in your closet until fall. I just bought these for Scott:

Last fall they sold for $120 or more. Now they are $19.90! You can't beat that price, folks, especially for shoes that use recycled materials and are made in an environmentally responsible way. Hurry, because the sale was only supposed to be through Memorial Day. I had no trouble buying them this morning, but who knows how long it will last! They also have several cute women's shoes on sale, too!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Caleb's First Baseball Game

Scott took Caleb to his first baseball game yesterday!

We had purchased tickets for Scott and Caleb to go to see our local Frisco RoughRiders play...who were they playing? Hmmm. Doesn't matter. Anyway, they went to watch the Riders. Scott was really worried that it would turn out similar to their awful trip to the movies, but Caleb was well-behaved and had a great time. Yea!

I made sure Scott took plenty of pictures for me. Here is Caleb holding his program outside of the ballpark. The Riders have a wonderful stadium.

At Kroger, you can get a $7 ticket for the grass seats which includes a free hat and a hot dog. Here's Caleb in his free hat. I'll let you guess whether Caleb actually ate his hot dog. :)

A view of the park from the grass seats:

The boys stayed at the park for a couple of hours, then Caleb got kind of restless. There is a playground at the ballpark (how cool is that!), but it was PACKED. There was a line to go up the slide! That's what they get for going on Memorial Day weekend, though.

So Scott and Caleb left, and Scott decided to take Caleb out for ice cream. I love that they got to go out and have a great daddy-son day.

And while they were gone, I was anticipating some quiet time of my own while Isaac took a nap. Isaac had other plans. His molars are coming in, and he had a particularly rough time yesterday. He ended up just screaming for about half an hour. So, it certainly wasn't quiet around here!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Night Time, Walgreens, and a Disgruntled Potato

On most days, all I want to do after I put the kids to bed is slip into my jammies, put my glasses on, pour myself a cup of coffee (the tenth one of the day or so--but at least it's 1/2 caff), and curl up on my bed with a blanket and my laptop. I want to write and share the adventures of my day.

A lot of times this plan comes crashing down. Isaac has been a real booger lately when it comes to sleeping in his own room at night. Either we can't get him down to sleep at all in his room (thankfully this doesn't happen too often), or he'll wake up after an hour or two screaming, and we're both too tired to deal with trying to get him back to sleep in his room (this happens a lot). So every night he spends at least a portion of his night in our bed.

But right now it's 8:35, and Isaac went to sleep successfully in his own room at 8:00, and I have high hopes that he'll stay there at least long enough for me to write a little and maybe finish a book. We'll see. ;)


There are two things I definitely wanted to share today. Neither is earth-shattering, folks, but it's news in my world.

The first is that Walgreens is finally really working for me. Two weeks ago, I went in and spent $5 out-of-pocket and got $9 in Register Rewards back. Today, I went in with those RRs and got a few things.

My plan was to just get stuff that gives RRs back. I knew it was a long shot, though--I had gone to the Walgreens by our church on Tuesday, and all the RR items were already gone. The sales start on Sunday, and I guess there are several couponers like me who read up and shop Walgreens strategically and had cleared the shelves of the freebie items. But I had these RRs burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided on a whim to stop by a different Walgreens on my way to Whole Foods today. Here's what I ended up getting:

If I'd gone in there with no coupons, my total would have been about $16. I spent $.26! And I got $6 in RR back!

I knew I wanted to get these items:
  • Dry Idea Clinical Strength deodorant ($5.99, get $5 RR back)
  • Skintimate shave gel ($1.99, get $1 RR back)
I had a $2 coupon for Dry Idea, and I had 2 RRs for $4.50 each. You can't get more items than you have coupons (RRs are counted as coupons), so I had to get at least 3 things. Then I saw in the ad that they have Mitchum deodorant on sale for $1.99 if you use the in-ad coupon, so I decided to get that (that's the kind of deodorant I usually use, for those who just need to know). But I still had more coupons than items--4 coupons and 3 items. So I went in search of a filler. I found that stainless steel ice cream scoop marked down on clearance for $.50. I figured I could use it for scooping cookie dough, so I got it. I went up to the register with those 4 items and my 4 coupons. The lady at the register (I always say "the lady who was checking me out" but Scott says I shouldn't say that) scanned my items, then she looked up at me and said some beautiful words: "Your coupons exceed your total. You have to get something else!" She reached for some kind of designer tea sitting next to her at a display. "You like tea?" I hastily looked around at the stuff at the front counter (there were 3 people behind me in line) and found that little bottle of Listerine for $.75. That would have to do! My new total was $.26, plus the $6 in RR back. Woo hoo!

Then I went to Whole Foods and spent $50. Hmph.

I was cooking dinner tonight (one of my favorite comfort foods--a scramble of potatoes, onions, eggs, and cheese cooked in the skillet), listening to the sounds of the kids playing with Scott in the living room and my radio talk show (the Scott Wilder Show) on in the kitchen. I reached over to grab a potato, and I noticed that it looked funny. I mean, it was an organic potato, and often organic produce looks a little different than conventional stuff. But this? You be the judge.

Mr. Potato Head didn't look very happy tonight.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trip to the Park

Here are a few pictures from our trip to the park last week.

Caleb loves the park, but watching Isaac there is a chore. All he wants to do is eat the wood chips that are on the ground! I can't wait until he outgrows that!

My Target Purchase, May 18

Raisin Bran--$.99 per box
(on sale at $1.99, plus $1 off from, no longer available)

Special K--$1.50 per box
(on sale at $2.50, plus $1 off from, no longer available)

Kix--$1.75 per box
(on sale at $2.50, plus $.75 off from, no longer available)

Huggies Wipes--$1.24 and $1.49 each
(on sale for $1.99, plus coupons from Huggies mailer)

Always 32 & 28 count--$4.99 each PLUS got a $5 gift card back!
(on sale at $8.99 each, plus $4 off coupon from paper, plus special Target promotion when you buy 2)

Kraft salad dressing--$.49 each
($1 off 2 printable, $1 off 1 printable)

Kashi TLC bars--$2.13 each
(on sale for $2.88, plus $1.50 off 2 printable--not sure if it's still available)

Quaker Fiber granola bars--$1.92 each
(on sale for $2.42, plus $1 off 2 printable--not sure if it's still available)

Hershey's Bliss candy bar--FREE
($.99, plus $1 off printable)
(not ate it already...)

And, okay, I bought a bunch of other stuff, too, but these are the best deals I got! For more on Target deals, go to Stretching a Buck's site. To print out a bunch of Target coupons, go to A Full Cup.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Surgery Day

Caleb had his surgery on Thursday (double myringotomy and adenoidectomy), and I think things went very well. Here's how our day went.

I got up around 5am, showered and dressed, then woke up Scott and Isaac around 5:30. Meme and Papa (my parents) got to our house at 6:00, right after we'd woken up Caleb. We headed out the door about 6:20. Isaac was happy and didn't cry a bit when we left. Thank you, Jesus!

We went to Baylor Medical Center Frisco for this procedure, and we'd never been there before. We were impressed--the lobby was huge, with lots of big comfy chairs, tasteful artwork, and a super-high ceiling. It didn't have a hospital feel at all, which was good. They even had free pastries and gourmet coffee, which we appreciated.

We checked in and they gave us one of those little buzzer things to page us with throughout the morning--you know, like the things you get in restaurants to let you know when your table is ready? Now that makes sense! Caleb sat in a chair and colored on the cool new toy that his friend Jackson had stopped by and given him the day before.

We'd also surprised him that morning with a gift of our own: little Thomas and Percy trains. He attached to them right away and has taken them with him everywhere since.

Caleb was in a great mood and laughed and giggled and played a lot in the waiting room. By 7:30, they called us back to a tiny room of our own to prep Caleb for surgery. We changed him into a little hospital gown (I must say, there is nothing like seeing your baby in a hospital gown to make it all very real) while he got to watch Handy Manny on a little TV in the corner of the room.

The nurses were all fabulous, but I was particularly happy to see that one of our friends from church, Lori, was on duty that day and stopped by to chat with us. It was reassuring to see a friendly face. :)

The anesthesiologist came and talked to us, and then the ENT, Dr. T, came and talked to us. Everyone was pleased with how calm and happy Caleb was. It sounds like many kids have to have a sedative called Versed before they go to surgery to calm them down, but Caleb did just fine without it. I just kept telling him what was going to happen in as much kid-friendly detail as I could. (Caleb is one of those kids who needs to know what will happen and when, and once he does, he's good to go.) He knew that soon he'd go with the doctor, and the doctor would put a mask on his face like a breathing treatment (which he has seen Isaac have a hundred times), and the medicine in it would make him sleepy and want to take a nap.

At 8:10, the nurse said it was time, and she asked Caleb if he wanted to take a ride in the bed or if he wanted to walk. He chose to walk. What a brave boy he was! I don't think I will ever forget the image of Caleb walking away from me down that hospital corridor, his gown half-open in the back and revealing the Pull-up we'd put him in that morning (just in case), hand-in-hand with the nurse he'd never seen before, trusting her and trusting us, clutching his Pooh bear and his trains, and turning his head back to look at me and give a half-smile as he rounded a corner. As I went back to the little room with Scott to gather our stuff and head for the lobby, my eyes were full of tears.

I decided that the best thing we could do was eat, since we missed breakfast that morning. We went to the little cafe in the hospital and grabbed a quick bite, then went back to the lobby with our pager to wait. It didn't take long. Around 8:50, our pager went off and we quickly went up to the front desk. We were led to a little consult room to wait for the ENT.

Even though I knew in my head that this was a minor procedure and the chances of something going wrong were very slim, I was still nervous. The wait for the doctor was only a few minutes, but it felt soooo long. Finally, Dr. T came in and said the words we wanted to hear most: "Everything went fine." He said that there was still fluid in the ears when he put the tubes in (and Caleb had just finished another antibiotic for his last ear infection a few days ago), and the adenoid pad was what he called "mushy" for lack of a better term. He said that when the adenoid is repeatedly infected, it loses its firmer texture, and that's what happened in Caleb.

Then he said that Caleb was already awake, and so we should follow him quickly so we could be with him. I was on my feet in a flash. GET ME TO MY CHILD!! Sure enough, we went through some double doors and I could hear Caleb yelling hoarsly, "Mommy! Mommy!" I high-tailed it over to his recovery area, scooped him up, and held him in the rocking chair they'd put right by the bed. He whimpered and cried, but he quieted some as I rocked him.

If you've never had anesthesia or seen someone else waking up from it, it can be brutal. You feel disoriented and nauseated. You feel so sick and confused at the same time, it's just miserable. It doesn't usually last long, but it's a hard few minutes. We had been told that a lot of kids come out of anesthesia kicking and fighting, but Caleb didn't do that. He just whined. :)

The nurse told us that Caleb could be discharged as soon as he would drink something and hold it down, so we tried to encourage him to drink. He wouldn't have anything to do with that apple juice we offered him, though. After about 15 minutes, the nurse decided to transfer us to another area so they could have the space in the recovery room back, so I carried him as she led us to another room. I was so pleased to see that our friend Lori was the nurse for the area we arrived in! She took great care of Caleb (and us), and let me just sit and rock with Caleb for awhile.

Lori gave Caleb some Tylenol, and after I told him that he'd get to see Meme and Papa if he drank something, he had some juice. :)

By the time we got home, Caleb was still groggy but not whining anymore. He just wanted me to hold him and rock him for an hour or so. When it was time for lunch, he had a big enough appetite to eat and was feeling well enough to sit at the table. As soon as he was done eating, though, he said that he was tired and was ready for a nap.

I was so pleased and surprised at how quickly he rebounded from the surgery. I thought that with his adenoid removed, he'd complain more of a sore throat or be in pain. Nope! We gave him one more dose of Tylenol later in the day, but he really did just fine. He was sleepier than usual for a couple of days, but otherwise was back in the full swing of things. Kids really are resilient!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Menu Plan: Week of 5/11

Monday: Leftover chicken spaghetti (that we took from Mom's house--thanks, Mom!) and salad (with Anne's salad dressing recipe!)

Tuesday: Banana pecan waffles

Wednesday: Chicken/black bean tacos (using extra stuff I have in the freezer--Scott has a meeting that night so I'll be short on time)

Thursday: Quiche with chicken sausage from Sprouts

Friday: Homemade pizza (I know, we end up eating pizza most Friday nights!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

$50 in Kraft Coupons

If you haven't signed up for the Kraft Community, go here to learn more. As of today, they are giving away $50 in coupons to those signed up. I just printed mine--coupons for stuff like cheese, mayo, mustard, salad dressing, Ritz, Wheat Thins, etc. Combine these coupons with sales, and you'll be able to get a bunch of free stuff!

Do this quickly before the coupons are all claimed!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bunnies; Isaac at 15 Months; Surgery Update

You can tell it's spring time in Frisco when you see the bunnies in your yard. We've had a great time with the bunnies that come to visit us! I know they are pests to those with gardens and flowers, but we actually welcome them since they help (ahem!) eat our weeds. ;)

The boys and I will put out carrots and lettuce for the bunnies, too (organic, of course!). Caleb in particular loves to see the bunnies eating "our" food. (Now if only Caleb would eat carrots and lettuce...)

The first thing Isaac does in the morning is run to our back window to see if the
re are bunnies outside. He'll yell, "Bunny!" and turn to me and grin.

They are the closest thing we'll get to pets around here!


Isaac had his 15-month well-visit appointment the other day. As usual, he was not really all well for his visit, but he wasn't too bad. He's been wheezing again, which his doc and I attribute to the rain and humidity. I think mold and mildew may be a trigger for him. His pediatrician listened to his lungs and said that he sounds like a squeaky toy. He'll stay on breathing treatments for the time being (pulmicort 1-2 times per day, albuterol as needed).

As I am prone to do, I took pictures of us with my camera to entertain him while we were waiting for the doctor to come in. (Yes, those are his Bobux shoes next to him.)

Isaac weighed in at 25 pounds, 10 ounces and measured at 32" long. Pretty average--about 50th to 75th percentile. Which is kind of funny, since Caleb is always at the top of the charts or off the charts. He's just a really tall kid for his age. (The pedi estimated that Caleb will be 6'2" when he reaches his full height--did you know they can project that when a kid is 2 year old?)

The pedi was very impressed when I told her that Isaac knows how to say at least 50 words. He even puts words together, which evidently kids don't normally do until about age 2. He says phrases like "Here you go" and "I did it." Sometimes he'll even say things like "Bye-bye, Daddy." I think he's a genius. ;) But I did have some thunder taken from me when Scott said that a 12 month old in the church nursery can say all her ABC's and count from 1 to 15. What?!? (See, parents, this is why you never compare children. :) )


In other news, I've decided to move Caleb's surgery up to this Thursday, May 14. I'm trying to gently prepare him, but it's hard to prepare a 3-year-old. He actually got to visit a friend of his, Jackson, when he went to the hospital a few weeks ago. Caleb got to see Jackson having a good time at the hospital, so he isn't scared of it now. So far I've just told him that he's going to go to the hospital to see the doctor, that he'll take a nap there, and while he's sleeping the doctor will fix his ears. I've explained that he won't feel anything. Caleb is taking it all in stride.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Recipes: Chicken Tenders, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Cookies

Last night was a go-to dinner for me. We had chicken tenders, mashed sweet potatoes, and salad. In case you're interested, here's what I do:

Baked Chicken Tenders
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Place chicken tenders in a bowl or Ziploc bag.
  3. Cover the chicken with about 1/2 cup of ranch dressing (I use fat free). Make sure the chicken gets evenly coated with the dressing. (The chicken will absorb more flavor if you let it marinate for an hour or so, but I never do.)
  4. Dip the chicken in panko bread crumbs (or whatever you have on hand--last night I was out of panko and used crushed up wheat Ritz crackers--YUM!).
  5. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with a little Pam.
  6. Place chicken on the baking sheet, then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1. Cook sweet potatoes either in the oven or the microwave:
  • For cooking in the oven, poke the sweet potatoes with a fork a few times, lightly rub them with olive oil, and place them in a baking dish. Bake at 375 for about an hour or until you can stick a fork all the way through.
  • For cooking in the microwave, poke the sweet potatoes with a fork a few times, then place them on a plate in the microwave. For 3 sweet potatoes, cook for about 10-12 minutes, then let them stand for about 5 minutes.
2. After the sweet potatoes have cooled a bit, scoop the flesh into a medium bowl and mash
3. Add a splash of orange juice, some chopped pecans, a spoonful of brown sugar, and/or a pat of butter to taste. Enjoy!

Ok, and here is my absolute favorite cookie recipe. I made some of these yesterday, too, for an after-dinner treat. The original recipe is here and is called Iowa City Oatmeal Cookies. I've made just a couple of changes to cut down on the fat and boost nutrition.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/3 cup butter (I use Smart Balance 50/50 blend)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 semisweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup Grape Nuts cereal (I've used granola, too, but the Grape Nuts do give a great crunch!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Sift together the flour and baking soda; stir into the creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in the oatmeal, chocolate, nuts and cereal.
  6. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. To me, and you'll have to pardon the comparison, this is a lot like Earth Day. I mean, I don't need a special Earth Day to remind me to recycle or consume less. It's important to me, so I do that stuff every day of the year.

And I certainly don't need a National Day of Prayer to remember to pray. It's like breathing to me. It's part of who I am. I can't imagine going a day without praying. I personally couldn't get through the day without talking to God, and I have no idea how people who are not believers can find any real satisfaction in their lives without Him. He brings me a joy and inner peace that is simply not found anywhere else.

So, here's to making every day a day of prayer!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thank You Luncheon

Yesterday was a fun day. My fellow Awana commanders and I hosted a luncheon to thank our children's ministry staff. Each year we try to get them some sort of thank you present, but this year we decided to do something for them instead of buy something for them.

We asked our children's pastor, Gary, to set up a "meeting" at lunch time yesterday. When they got there, we had this table set up and waiting for them. Surprise!

We Vickey and Anne had lovingly prepared a meal of salad, bread, chicken parmesan, cavatini, cheesecake, and chocolate-covered strawberries--all made from scratch. Vickey had even monogrammed napkins with their initials on them.

I think everyone had a good time. It was nice to serve them for a change. Vickey, Anne, and I all dressed up in black and waited on them, trying to give them a fine dining experience (hoping they'd forget that they were really just in a Sunday School classroom).

Here is a picture of the three of us:

This is Karen threatening Melissa with a fork. Typical Karen. :)

The rest of the shots I got tended to have people with their mouths full or otherwise in silly positions, so I'll save the guests some embarrassment and not post them here. :)

While we were serving the VIPs, Anne's daughter Hannah helped with Isaac. She even brought a little dog stuffed animal for him, which he attached to right away.

Isaac even learned to say "Hannah" yesterday, although he calls her "Manna", which I think it adorable. Very biblical, you know.

Here are Hannah and Isaac in front of the second floor window, overlooking the construction of the new preschool building at our church.

We had a wonderful time yesterday. I feel so blessed to be able to work with such wonderful people. I truly love my church and these fabulous people! Thank you, Gary, Kristi, Karen, Vickie, Melissa, Connie, and all of those who have helped "behind the scenes" at Awana this year!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Little Boy will have Surgery

Well, folks, as many of you have seen from my Facebook posts, we went to the ENT on Friday morning and he did recommend placing tubes in both of Caleb's ears (myringotomy) and also removing his adenoid pad (adenoidectomy). Dr. T. (not to be confused with Mr. T.) actually said, "Oooh, wow" when he looked in Caleb's right ear. I'm thinking that wasn't a good sign.

Caleb had fluid in both of his ears, and Dr. T. said that he was unable to tell at this point if it was a viral or bacterial infection. He asked me about Caleb's ear history (which I shared here in my post Thursday), and from there we started talking about possibly getting the tubes in and the adenoids removed. He wanted Caleb to take a hearing test and a tympanometry. He led Caleb down the hall to a sound-proof room (which I believe every mother should have in their house! Bliss!). In the room, I held him in my lap while a lady put some headphones on his ears and explained that we'd play some hearing games. She was outside the booth, and she said words into a microphone, which Caleb could hear in his headphones. He had to repeat each word she said. He did great, but he did miss a couple. Then she came in the room and did the tympanometry--a test where they put a device in his ear for a few seconds and basically see how his ear drum responds to different amounts of air pressure. (Sounds weird, but it's painless. He's had it done before at the doctor's office.) He failed this test pretty miserably. From what I understand, Caleb is hearing things right now kind of like he was underwater--noises sound a bit garbled.

So we talked to Dr. T. for another minute, during which he confirmed that Caleb should have the tubes in and the adenoid removed. We went to check out and schedule his surgery. Here, we dealt with a lady on the office staff who was rude and treated me like I was stupid, but I won't even get into that here.

We scheduled his surgery for Thursday, 5/21 at one of our hospitals here in town. It's an outpatient procedure, so if things go normally he'll be home that afternoon.

We got home from the doctor and Caleb mostly just laid around and watched TV. I put him on my bed with his pillow and his nap mat from school.

I thought he'd take a nap in the morning, but he ended up staying awake until his normal rest time after lunch. I let him sleep from 2:00 until 4:30, then I went in to see if I could wake him up. He was absolutely burning up. I scooped him up and took him to the living room and rocked with him for a few minutes. I got out 2 different thermometers and took his temperature. 104.2!!! And keep in mind that this is underarm temperature, which is about half to one degree lower than an oral temperature. AND Caleb's normal temperature is a degree below the average normal temperature (just like me--our norm is 97.6 instead of 98.6). So this was like having about 106 in the average person. I got a bit worried.

Dr. T. hadn't given us any prescriptions for Caleb's ear infections. I assumed that it was because he thought it might be viral, and he didn't want to prescribe an antibiotic for a viral infection. But I called our normal pediatrician (at 5:00 on a Friday!) and she was worried like I was about his high fever. She immediately prescribed some Augmentin for Caleb.

That brings us to today, Saturday. I sit here typing at 8:08 in the morning and Caleb is still asleep. He slept all through the night for the first time since Tuesday. Hopefully he's on the mend and will be back to his normal self soon.

Isaac, on the other hand, kept me up during the night, tossing and turning, coughing and sniffling...