Bless It

When you are from the South, you will use the phrase "bless your heart" more times than you realize. Occasionally, we say this and actually mean that we understand, we feel your pain, and/or we just get it. However the majority of the time, we are really saying,  "That fool is so screwed.", or "Yes, screw you very much too."

This is me and July. We have a complicated relationship. If you are in any kind of proximity to me in the month of July, I apologize. More often than not, I do a little happy dance when August 1st rolls around.

July has its fair share of good. We've got births. Both of my daughters were born in July. My friend, Cam, gave birth to a little girl in July. Another old friend had a son in July. Hell, the birth of our nation took place in July.

But we also have deaths.

Remember my friend, Cam? Her daughter, Brooklyn, also passed in July, the 23rd, her birthday. My grandmother passed on July 6th, 2007. One day (and a few years) away from my youngest's birthday of July 7th, 2011. My grandmother loved to go to the casino riverboats so when she passed on 7/6/07, we kind of joked that she almost got that jackpot. Then my youngest was born on 7/7/11 at 11:17am. I knew my grandmother was there. Both of my husband's grandmother's passed in July. One on the 10th, one on the 25th, which happens to be my oldest daughter's birthday too. Most recently, my niece, Kiana, took her own life. On July 23rd. The day my best friend gave birth to and lost her first daughter. Two days later, on my oldest daughter's birthday, my brother lost his childhood best friend to liver cancer.

My niece, Kiana.
I swear I can't make this shit up. And it doesn't get better...

This one time, my friend and her husband and son decided to pack up and move to the peachy state of Georgia. They were back in less than 24 hours because when they arrived at the new rental home, it was falling apart. To the point that there was no way they could stay even one night.

We went camping last year and squirrels ate a hole through our tent to get hot cocoa mix. There was squirrel shit everywhere. Not to mention, it was also 100F in the shade the entire week and we had severe storms. Every day!

Last week, my dad packed up a small bag and headed to Florida. It's about a 15 hour drive from our place to where my brothers live. He originally thought he would leave around 3 or 4 o'clock because it's easier to drive straight through at night. He was ready to go by 11am though so he left out around 11:30am. At almost 4pm, my phone rang. He was stuck. In Chattanooga. Still 10+ hours from his destination. So after my husband had been at work for 10 hours, he got home, did a quick clothing change, and we headed back out. We borrowed a trailer big enough to load up my dad's vehicle, but realized after looking for 30+ minutes and several phone calls, that the ramps my husband just made specifically for the work trailer last week... had been sold by the office manager. So we had to track down ramps before we could leave. We get to Chattanooga and the truck is running fine. He thinks getting caught in a many miles long traffic jam must have messed up some sensor... yada, yada. He follows us home because we failed to realize this trailer HAS NO LIGHTS.

Eight-ish hours later we roll back into Bowling Green. It's 2am. My dad is about to pass out. So we stop at Waffle House, Chris goes home. My dad and I have breakfast and coffee at 2am at a Waffle House that is surprisingly hoppin' for the hour. There were even a couple of guys playing guitars and banjos singing Johnny Cash songs.

Are you still here? Still following along? Bless you. No, seriously.

I hate to even talk about this because it may be embarrassing for her later, but... I had to take my youngest to the pediatrician on Monday because she had what is called a labial adhesion. I'm not going to explain it, but you can gather that the procedure was painful. Moments after leaving the doctor's office with a little girl that just want to go home, Mother Nature let loose a deluge of rain. Flash flooding amounts of rain. I had to stop several times on the way back home because I couldn't see even a foot in front of me. Now she is holding her pee in because it hurts to go to the bathroom and she cries in pain every time. *sigh*

Monsoon season...
My sister-in-law calls on Monday evening and tells my dad he's coming to Florida. She books him a round trip plane ticket. Outbound flight is on Wednesday. Now my two oldest kids are still doing band camp, 8am to 4pm everyday and my son is also doing soccer practices from 7pm to 9pm every night. Rowan has her 4 year vaccines scheduled for Wednesday morning so I call and reschedule those, which works out fine because the new appointment is in AUGUST. Now my friend Pam has an entrance interview type dealio at the school she is starting classes at soon at 8am on Wednesday morning so I tell her it's fine that her daughter stays with us Tuesday. This is ok too because Chris just goes to work an hour later than normal and drops all three kids at band camp. *shoo*

Meanwhile, my dad's flight is scheduled for 9:24am out of Evansville, IN. We get up at 5am. I get myself ready, coax the youngest to please use the bathroom before we leave, fix a cup of coffee, and we are on the road before 6am. Granted it was 5:59am. Still counts as before 6am.

We don't take the shortest route because Google says the road is closed in one section. Google was wrong, but I'll get to that in a minute. Dad is nervous because he hasn't flown in a great many years. He's not sure what to expect anymore. I'm nervous because I don't normally do this kind of driving. The husband usually does all that. We arrived at the airport without incident an hour and a half before scheduled departure. A miracle all by itself. We say our goodbyes and I head back home.

Dad calls about 30 minutes later to let me know they have delayed the flight by an hour. I GOT UP AT 5AM, BUSTED ASS TO GET THERE EARLY AND THEY DELAYED THE FLIGHT. *breathe* I decided I wasn't going to take the long way home and got off the parkway at the next exit. Driving down a skinny, country road in Henderson County, Kentucky between two parkways, I get stopped at some construction where the backhoe is half on my side of the road. The workers help me slowly move between the ditch on one side and the backhoe on the other. Not 10 miles down the road, I run into a farming incident. The entire road is blocked by a "hi-boy" (vehicle with very tall, skinny tires, able to drive through crops without damaging them) that has accidentally fallen off the side of the road and can't get up. So another farm equipment vehicle is there trying to pull it out.

I just want to go home. And drink. At 10am.

Finally get through all of this, make my way to Owensboro, the parkway is not closed (just under constuction), and get myself home. I call my dad to let him know that I've made it safely. His flight doesn't take off until almost 11:30am, two hours after it was scheduled to take off, which means he will miss his connecting flight in Atlanta. They get him on another flight, on a bigger plane, and he is happy.

The roofers finally came, but did not repair the roof correctly (used the brown shingles instead of black ones and only patched areas) and they were supposed to return this week to redo it properly. Haven't seen them. My washing machine stopped working, had to wait a week for the repairman to come, who had to order parts and couldn't return to install them for two weeks. Due to be here tomorrow. Oh and one of our cats got run over.

July. Bless it. One more day.

Currently :: July 26th

Thinking: No more telling ourselves that we will go visit my family next vacation. We will actually do it next year.

Listening: Cicadas. I guess they are in one of their cycles, but they are everywhere in the evenings and LOUD!!!

Reading:  I am desperately trying to catch up on my reading. According to GoodReads, I am four books behind schedule on my reading challenge. Ack. I started and finished Fablehaven by Brandon Mull this week. It was a decent fantasy book, but the brother, Seth, is a punk. Last week I won a giveaway of a signed copy of the book What Lies in the Darkness by K. L. Cottrell. I've only just begun reading it.

Watching:  I'm doing a lot of sitting in my car watching my son at soccer practice. I tried to get out and sit on the bleachers. There are dive bombing red wasps and little gnats that BITE! I looked like some crazy person flailing my arms around every few minutes. Now I totally envy cows with swishy tails.

Eating: Dang it... I forgot to write a post about that chicken!

Weather: Pretty hot, humid. This hot then rainy then hot weather has really taken a toll on our tomatoes. They are splitting and rotting. We are able to salvage some as long as we pick them as soon as they begin to turn orange and then let them ripen on a window sill. I made a couple of pints of black bean salsa on Friday afternoon. I haven't tried it yet though.

Doing: Thursday afternoon we found out that one of my nieces committed suicide. I have never been close to any of my five half brothers. They all lived in Florida while I grew up here in Kentucky. I only met my niece, Kiana, once. We hadn't been down there since 2006. It doesn't seem like it has been nine years. My dad, who lived down there for many years before moving back to KY, is heartbroken. He left early Friday to drive straight down there. I've been doing a lot of crying then feeling guilty for being so sad and crying. I barely knew her. I'm crying because I never had the chance. I'm crying because I'm a mother. I'm crying because it still hurts. It is hard to find words.

Flashback Friday

Originally posted | July 21st, 2014 | A Vacation Story: The Good
I am still in love with this house. I dream of one day building a home with a dog trot.

*Fair warning... long post with lots of awesomesauce photos!*

For me, the best part of this vacation was visiting the 1850's Homeplace located in the southern, Tennessee part, of Land Between the Lakes.  If there is anything you should know about me, it is this...  I was born in the wrong era.  I love to see and hear about all the history.  Though I am partial to phones and internet as well as electric and indoor plumbing, I would like nothing more than to buy some wooded acres, build a tiny house on it, throw up some solar panels, and call it home.  After visiting the Homeplace, I have new ideas banging around inside my head on what I want that tiny home to look like.  On to the photo tour!

First off, I forgot to take a photo of the actual entrance which is this sort of earthen mound.  You go inside the doors to the gift shop and museum type area that held artifacts and information.  Walk out the back doors and follow a little wooded path that opens upon this wonderful old farm!

This is the main house called a double pen.  It has this amazing breezeway, also called a dog trot.  While not exactly a "tiny" home, it's smaller than most modern homes.  The dog trot area is what immediately set my brain to thinking.  It was stupid hot and humid that day, but this home was cool and breezy.  All the windows were open.  The curtains were all gently blowing in the breeze.  This house was cooler than my own house is with the air conditioning on.  Why do we not build houses like this anymore?!?!

All of the buildings were picked up and moved to this location from the LBL area, with the exception of the main home which came from a nearby location in Tennessee.  I was just amazed that these homes/buildings were not reproduction, not made to look old, but actual original buildings.

This is the back porch area.  The open space in the wall to the right is the dog trot area that also includes the stairs leading to the upstairs open landing between two bedrooms.  To my right is the parlor and to my left is the kitchen.

Holy awesome kitchen Batman!  The crocks!  The iron skillets and pots!  THE STOVE!!  

 Looking out the front part of the open upstairs landing is a view of some of the crops from the era.  Tobacco and corn were growing in this field.

From the back view, you can see the kitchen and the smokehouse building.  As well as getting an upclose view of the shake roof.

Resident mouse catcher.  Do you see the width of these wooden floor boards?!

This was the large fenced-in garden.  What a great way to keep out unwanted critters.  Never occurred to me to fence the whole garden.  Nearby was the corn crib and garden tool shed.

 I fell in love with this sweet little single pen home.  It's much too small for our family of five, but was so cozy and efficient.

Plus it had this flower and herb garden right out back.  Who wouldn't love to just step out the back door for fresh flowers or to grab some parsley?

There were lots of animals (horses, oxen, chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs), a small blacksmith building, a huge tool barn, and lots of little outbuildings to house tools and food for the specific animals they were near. Absolutely worth a visit if you are near the area.

Next up on the tour of Good Things... the Woodlands Nature Station.  The Nature Station houses native animals that are unable to be released back into the wild.  I wanted to go to the Nature Station so I could see the red wolves.  There are fewer than 300 of them left in THE WORLD.  Recently (May) the wolves here had a cub!  Great news!  Bad news... we waited and waited and waited outside their pen, but no sighting of a single red wolf was had.  No sightings of their coyotes either.  Apparently they were all hiding out due to the rain that was moving in later.

We did see turkeys.  Much prettier on the table for Thanksgiving.  Very mean in person.  Several different types of owls, which were scary and fascinating.  Do you know how tiny a screech owl is?  A bobcat who gave no shits whatsoever that we were there, like any other cat.  A groundhog, a few deer, an opossum, a bald eagle, and lots of hummingbirds and other birds.

Inside the learning center, there were all types of skulls and butterflies plus pelts of various native animals.  A skunk is surprisingly soft.  They also had snakes which Rowan was fascinated with.  Next time we visit we will try to go earlier in the day when the animals may be more active.

Lastly, before going we decided that while we were there we would pick a place to eat out one night.  I looked over the restaurants in the area.  Considered visiting Patti's 1880's Settlement, but I decided I didn't want to visit the place that every one else visits when they go.  I wanted off the beaten path.  I found it at Belew's Dairy Bar.

It was the best decision I had on the whole trip.  Do you see these prices?!  I had no idea it was going to be such a great value.  Cheeseburger? $2.80.  Grilled cheese?  $1.85.  Most expensive item on the menu was the shrimp basket and it was only $6.20.  Oh and these prices included tax.  AND!  Do you see "curb service"?  That's exactly what we got.  They come right up to your car and you don't have to be parked right next to the building either.  When your food is ready, it gets put on a nice stainless steel tray that hooks right on your window.  We ended up talking to each of the three carhops.  They were the nicest, most friendly ladies.  Each had a smile and were very helpful.  The burger was a little flat, but tasted great and the milkshakes were amazing!  I can see why they have been in business since 1951!

I have been thinking about that Homeplace and how sweet the ladies at Belew's were and it's a good thing too because if I focused on the bad stuff, I'd have a stroke.  

Pretty Dresses

My brother, Jim, came to pick up our mom this weekend. She is going down to stay with him in Florida for a few weeks. A much needed vacation for her. Plus she'll get to spend time with that side of the family as well. It has been a few years since we'd seen each other. It was a quick trip, he was really only here on Saturday, but he and our mom came over to the house for most of the day.

Mom had a whole chicken that she didn't want to go bad while she was gone so I stuck that in the slow cooker. I used a recipe I will definitely be sharing on here soon, but of course I forgot to photograph the finished chicken. We were all so hungry that we dug right in and ate it all. Nothing but bones left. Poor chicken. Bonus, we got to eat tomatoes and corn straight from our garden.

You know what else I forgot to photograph? Me and my brother. They'll be back in a few weeks. Hopefully with a few more days to hang out and go exploring.

The older kids have started band camp this week. Soccer conditioning has also begun. I'm officially a soccer mom again. (Kaia used to play.) With Mom gone and lounging on a beach somewhere, I haven't a sitter for Rowan so I'm not able to volunteer as I'd like to do for camp. So I've donated bags of tomatoes instead.

Someone hasn't been taking her older siblings being gone very well. Last night it rained quite a bit and filled up her little pool. Today she just would not stay out of it. I kept telling her she would get her pretty dress all dirty.

I turned to see her like this. She said, "Look Mama! I can sit in my chair and play in the water without getting my pretty dress dirty!" I'm not sure if she is a genius or an expert smartass.

CURRENTLY :: July 19th

I love the Sunday Lately idea, but I noticed that I wouldn't always have prompts available for the next week. So I'm going to make a couple of changes and go back to doing Currently posts. I'm going to be using the same prompts every week. I think it will be easier. I like the idea of a post on Sundays to recap the week. I won't be hosting a link-up at this time, but I'd love to see others posts too so be sure to comment and leave your blog address!

The prompts I'll be using will be from the following:  doing, thinking, listening, reading, watching, eating, loving, weather, enjoying... I might not use every prompt every week and you don't have to either. Feel free to add new ones as well if they fit your week. I might just steal your prompts for my next week!

Doing:  Cleaning. I've been doing a lot of cleaning. Mostly it was that back room/laundry room. Completely cleaned out and empty now. I would like to pull our dining room table up from the basement and put it in there. Our actual dining room is a bed room now, but that's a whole different blog post.

Thinking:  I've been thinking about starting back up with my PostCrossing post card exchange. I haven't sent any cards out in almost a year. I didn't realize it had been so long and I'm kicking my own ass for being gone for so long. It's actually very fun.

Reading:  This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel. It is about a young Victor Frankenstein.

Watching:  The Whispers. It is crazy, but I can't stop watching. Also The Astronaut Wives Club. It's more about the clothes and decor and less about the astronauts. I usually avoid all things ABC because they seem to have a bad habit of cancelling shows that I really like, but these two are pretty good.

Eating:  Pesto. The basil plants in my garden are producing more than I would have ever imagined when I first planted them. NOT eating the jalapenos that we've canned because... holy shit Batman, these suckers are HOT, HOT, HOT. And we are overrun with them. I just canned six more jars on Thursday!

Loving:  PlayDoh. Rowan has discovered the joy of PlayDoh. It is partly my fault that she hasn't played with it in the past. It's kind of messy. So I've always avoided letting her play with it, but I've let her have what we had on hand this week. It's been hours, HOURS, of her sitting, playing, creating, and loving her PlayDoh.

Weather:  The beginning of the week was a little scary. Severe storms, hot and humid, flooding. We were so lucky in our half of Kentucky as we missed the major storms. I'm trying not to complain about the heat too much because I'm still trying to get over all the freakin' snow we had this past Winter.

Enjoying:  The air conditioner. With the temperatures being so hot and the humidity being so high, walking into a nice cool house is definitely a blessing. However, I am dreading what next months electric bill is going to look like.

Do you know what I like about a Currently post? I can work on it throughout the week. Like when I won the book giveaway. I realized I could add that into this post. Yeah, I think I'm going to like it this way.

Flashback Friday

Originally posted | July 9th, 2012 | My Time with Abraham Lincoln
     It was a nice little trip. My kids seem so small for this to have only been three years ago.

Last week was a blur.  The husband was on vacation from work all week and we were busily doing things around the house.  I had a "Honey-Do" list a mile long.  With it being the week of July 4th and the holiday falling right smack in the middle of the week, we decided to kind of just hang around the house.  Of course the price of gas and the oppressive heat played a large role in that decision as well.  (It finally rained here last night and as I'm typing this... it's overcast without even the hint of a ray of sunshine!)

We woke up on Thursday and decided we'd had enough housework.  A mini road trip was planned.  A picnic lunch was packed.  A gas tank was filled.  Off we went!

There are a few things people from Kentucky are really proud of:
  • University of Kentucky basketball (EIGHT National Championships y'all!!),
  • bourbon,
  • horses,
  • and Abraham Lincoln.
Since it's not basketball season, we don't have any horses (or even know how to ride one), and this was a family road trip so no drinking, we opted for a trip to learn more about our 16th President in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Did you know that Lincoln was born in Kentucky?  He lived at Sinking Spring Farm until he was two when his family moved about 10 miles East to Knob Creek where he lived until he was seven.  

Our first stop was at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace.

Not really thrilled to have to sit in the hot Sun for a photo op.

The actual Lincoln family bible.  It was huge.

An old cabin typical of the area serves as a symbolic cabin of the Lincoln's in the spot where their cabin stood.  Did you know... Thomas Lincoln, Abraham's father, purchased 300 acres that was known as Sinking Spring Farm for $200 in 1808?

The marble and granite memorial building surrounds the old cabin.  The cornerstone was laid in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt.  It was dedicated in 1911 by President William Howard Taft.

The Sinking Spring.  It was at least 20 degrees cooler near the spring.  Abraham Lincoln drank from this spring y'all!

We traveled about 10 miles down the road to his boyhood home at Knob Creek

This cabin looks just like the first.  This cabin was constructed by the Howard family in 1931 using logs from a cabin that once belonged to the Gollaher family, friends and fellow farmers of the Lincoln's.

It's hard to imagine a family of four living in this small cabin.

There are hiking trails located at both places, but the temperature alone was over 100F.  The oldest daughter and I did venture just down one path to see Knob Creek (above).  We've gone so long with so little rain and too hot temperatures that the creek is dry.  I asked the Park Ranger how long the creek had been that way.  He told me that until two weeks ago there were a few places further down the hiking trail that still contained small pools of water, but that those too were now dry.

Next and last stop was back in Hodgenville at the Lincoln Museum.

For the most part it was a great way to spend time with the kids and just get out of the house.  We had a picnic lunch and a scenic drive.  I look forward to returning, possibly in the Fall, when the temps are cooler and we can check out the hiking trails.

Plum Paper Planner 2016

Last year, I thought I was in trouble. In 2013 I'd finally found a planner, Much Ado About You, that was so helpful in helping me keep up with the kids activities, bill, birthdays, etc., but then it was time to order a new one and the owners had decided to stop making them. Bummer.

Of course, I knew about Erin Condren. Those planners are awesome. They are also crazy expensive. Too expensive to be not as customizable as other planners. That's when I discovered the Plum Paper Designs planners. You can see my first semi-review here. The MAAY planner ran from September through August. One of the great things about the Plum Paper planner is that you can order it with any start month you'd like. My first one was 16 months so I could get back to a January to December calendar and I purchased the add-on stickers. This year I went with a 12 month with no add-ons.

The very first thing I noticed with the new planner was the quality of the cover. The new one is smoother with better color. I desperately wish they would do away with the frosted plastic covers and go with laminated ones instead. This is not a deal breaker for me though. I've been using my first Plum Paper planner since last September and the frosted covers are still intact and working fine. The picture above is without the frosted covers.

They changed up their monthly colors around May. I love the new colors. The monthly cover being color instead of white is nice as well.

The monthly at-a-glace, pocket folder, and basic layouts stayed the same. I have the MORNING-AFTERNOON-EVENING layout. I briefly considered going with a family planner, but for me the M-A-E works great. Another thing I love about the Plum Paper planners are their four different layout options.

Now here is something really awesome. I usually just pack my planner in my bag. Sometimes the pages get bent or things fall out. Or in. A couple of weeks ago, someone in a planner group on Facebook posted a photo of a cover that a friend of hers had found at Wal-Mart. I thought it was very cute. The problem was (and still is) everyone was having trouble finding them. They aren't listed online and many stores don't have a good book/magazine section.

It is a bible cover y'all. I would never in a million years have thought to see if a bible cover would fit my planner. But they do and it is wonderful. Plus... $9.95. I've looked at planner covers online and they are always out of my price range. With my old Much Ado About You planner, I made my own cover, but it doesn't fit the current planner. When I saw these I knew I'd have to check my local Wal-Mart for one. Luckily, I was able to find this one at the second one I checked.

There are only a couple of things I wish Plum Paper could/would change. Laminate their covers and get rid of those frosted things that take away from the brilliant colors of their covers. Label the backside of their monthly tabs. I can get past these issues though because the regular planner is only $31 plus shipping, which is $8.75. There are usually 10% off discount codes floating around too so you can always get 10% off that price!

I am definitely a Plum Paper planner user fo-eva!

Wringing Wet - A Reality

Some times I read blogs or Facebook posts and I wonder how every one can keep their life all together all the time.  I'd love to show off a super awesome house, but that is not the reality of my life. I've begun to realize that we love to share all the smiling happy moments, but never the struggles or disappointments.

The real deal is that we don't own our home. We make the payment, but it's my in-laws who actually own the house. And we have had a leaking roof for a while. It's become so bad that we use a pink plastic kiddie pool in the floor because I ran out of bowls. This isn't in our living room or anything, but in what we call the "back room". It is mainly used to our cats who are in a rotation of who is in "the mood", all of their do-dads, and our washer and dryer.

The room is a mess. We struggle to keep up with all the cat hair and random litter that accumulate around the room. And dryer lint... that stuff multiplies.

The point of me telling you this? Our washing machine is on the fritz. It just turned a year old. About a week before the year anniversary of purchase, we started to get the "uneven load" code. No matter what we wash, the load will not spin. I've tried every setting possible, but all that ever happens is the machine stops and beeps. I go and adjust the clothes and the cycle will start over from the rinse cycle. Over and over.

We purchased a three year warranty when we bought the machine, but I feel too embarrassed by the state of our back room to call a technician. So I have been washing clothes without a spin cycle. Which means I have to wring the clothes myself and hang them on the line because they are still too wet to go into the dryer. I don't mind hanging them outside, in fact, I prefer to do it that way. I'm not a big fan of wringing the water out though.

I am too embarrassed...... so I made my husband call Lowe's. Seems logical, right? The tech guy is scheduled to come on the 17th. In classic repairman fashion, they gave us a nine hour window between 8am and 5pm for arrival. Of course, Kaia has a dentist appointment smack dab in the middle of the damn day at 12:30pm.

That's my reality right now.

P.S. The roofer was supposed to be here three weeks ago to fix the roof. My in-laws haven't heard much from them, but last week some supplies were dropped off at their house (they are getting a new roof too) so we are hopeful. EDITED to add: Yesterday three strange guys (two of which did not even speak English) showed up on my front porch yesterday with a big ol' ladder. Asking if I'd called for repairs. However, they were NOT professional looking whatsoever. They asked for Jimmy (no one by that name here) and couldn't give a last name or address. Just that they were looking for a house next to the church. I sent them to my in-laws because I thought they might have been looking for their house (also next to the church), but they came back. My MIL called and told me they were going to measure the roof, but I watched them for about 15 minutes and they never did. They sat on the ground in the shade under one of our trees. Oy vey.

Two Birthdays

Rowan turn the big 0-4 last Tuesday. We hadn't really planned a big shindig like we have in the past. Mostly because her birthday kind of crept up on me. I blinked and suddenly it was the beginning of July and her birthday was upon us. Also her birthday was in the middle of the week and the holiday weekend kind of overshadowed everything.

We have been minimizing the amount and types of gifts the kids have gotten for birthdays and holidays for a couple of years. I wish I had done it sooner with the older kids, but alas I fell victim to the Go Big or Go Home mentality. Rowan though is pretty much happy with a cardboard box. This fits well with the fact that we only have one income and budgeting is a nightmare.

So on Tuesday we had a little party after Chris got home from work. We ate miniature sprinkled cupcakes and sang happy birthday. She was too excited about her little bowling set to actually eat the cupcake. She just gobbled down the icing part and declared she was done.

Then, very last minute, we decided to have another little party on Saturday so grandparents could visit and share in her birthday celebrations. I wasn't thinking of doing too much decorating, but ended up forgetting the crepe paper to make streamers. I was worried that she wouldn't be happy.

She didn't even notice. You know why? My dad bought her this super cute birthday crown.

She wore it all day long. Wouldn't take it off and tried to sleep in it too. Best $1 my dad ever spent on a birthday present. Thank you Dollar General.

Like a good Hobbit, she had to have secondsies on the birthday cake. Without knowing about the mini cupcakes, my mom purchased this nearly identical cake for the party!

We grilled, laughed, ran, played, changed outfits twice. No one bought a toy that made noise or requires batteries. It was a good day.

SUNDAY LATELY :: July 12th

The weekly Currently posts are becoming Sunday Lately posts. Randalin and Lindsey decided to "retire" so I'm going to begin a new journey with Katy, Nicole, and Meghan! Because sometimes I need to fill in the gaps in blog posts and I like having a little prompt.

this week's themes: Dwelling, Helping, Forgetting, Switching, Relying 

Oh I'm a dweller. I am always dwelling on something. It's a bad habit really. Constantly makes me bite my fingernails. Right now I'm dwelling on money matters. To be honest, I worry about that too much. It is what it is and at the moment I can't change the situation, but I still toss and turn most nights.

I am helping myself to a load of gingersnap cookies that my Mama made for me. She was totally awesome enough to make about 6 dozen cookies for the band fundraiser last weekend and somehow found the time to bake some cookies for me too! I'm trying to ration because she is leaving for a month to visit with my brother in Florida. I may have Mama cookie baking withdrawals.

I keep forgetting that my baby is just not a baby anymore. I had intentions of keeping her home as long as possible before sending her to school. I never planned to let her attend pre-school at all. Now that I have to admit she is old enough and READY for school, I'm still not ready to let her go. She is more than ready to begin making friends (she does this already with random stranger kids) and go to school like her older brother and sister. I just have to stop putting it off and get my ass to the board of education to get her signed up.

Um... yeah... so I guess if you've been around here for a minute you know that I am always switching the layout. Recently it changed twice in just a couple of days. I think I'm happy now. Maybe...

I am relying the Universe to take it easy on me. She usually doesn't, but every so often I get a little nod in my direction. Last week I needed some guidance. Wouldn't you know the last card that I pulled out was spot on what I was asking about and actually gave me the boost of confidence that I needed.

Twenty Four Miles an Hour

I took my son driving yesterday evening. Actually he came in the living room with the car keys and said,

"Who's going with me driving?"

He turns sixteen in October. I can not fathom how he could possibly be this old already.

We live on a road that actually goes nowhere. It used to have a ferry, but something happened long before we became residents of this little rural community and it is no more. Now it is just a few miles of a snaking gravel road located in what everyone around here calls "The Bottoms". As in, the river bottoms. We are surrounded by the Green River here. It's wonderfully fertile farmland, but it does tend to flood often.

We've had quite a bit of rain lately so there were portions of the gravel road that were partially covered in water. I was less worried about the puddles and more worried about the river that was too close for this mama's comfort. He did pretty good though for someone who hasn't really done any driving. Other than a few rounds around the yard.

When we got back to the actual road, he stopped to let me drive. I let him continue because we live about 2 miles from where the gravel begins, but cautioned him to not drive faster than 30 mph.

He drove 28 mph all the way home.

Currently {July 9th}

I took a brief vacation from Currently posts for the month of June, but I'm back!

this weeks themes
craving, feeling, thinking, loving, reading

I have been craving some outdoor time. On Sunday, Chris decided he wanted to go fishing and asked if I wanted to go with him. Usually I let him go by himself because I get bored. This time though I grabbed my book and knitting and went.

I was recently elected secretary of the high school band boosters. I have no idea what I'm doing. This past weekend we had the monthly pork loin sale. The boosters set up a huge grill with fold out canopies and tables and sell grilled pork loin sandwich sack lunches. Parents donate canned drinks and homemade desserts and the whole shebang is only $5. This was my first experience working at a sale and the first time the new board members had a chance to work together. I have a feeling that this year of fundraising is going to be exciting.

I've been doing too much thinking. I'm just a worrier. Always stressed and freaked out. Usually it's about money. Or the lack of it really.

I am loving the garden. Twice I have been able to go out and pick fresh green beans before supper. Don't even get me started on the basil. It's growing amazingly well and I couldn't be happier. All the tomato plants are covered in tomatoes, but they are all still green. Some of them are the size of softballs.

I have been trying to get some reading in every night before I go to sleep. It's hard to find some peacefulness during the day to pay attention to what I'm reading. Currently, it's Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. It is the second book in the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series.

Currently link up that was previously hosted by Kale + Beans and OT & ET is being retired. *sad face* I love playing a little game of catch up with a Currently post every week so I'll be on the look out for new prompts to use from here on out.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

A Facebook friend shared a recipe for unstuffed cabbage rolls a few weeks back. I did a quick screenshot of the recipe on my phone and then forgot about it. We were running low on cash this week so I had a light bulb moment and remembered this recipe. I wanted to link to the original recipe poster, but even though I stalked my friend's page like a private investigator, I couldn't find her original post. A quick search on Pinterest reveals a plethora of unstuffed cabbage roll recipes as well. I even found one that can be canned and a special little place in my heart warmed.

Every one in the family actually loved it! Even the littlest member. I knew I'd have to share it. I look forward to next year when I can grow all the ingredients myself!

     1.5 to 2 pounds of lean ground beef or ground pork
     1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
     1 large onion, chopped
     1 green bell pepper, chopped
     1 clove of garlic, minced
     1 small cabbage, chopped
     (2) 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
     (1) 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
     1/2 cup of water
     1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
     1 teaspoon of sea salt

In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef (or pork), bell pepper, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink and the onions and peppers are tender.

Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, pepper, and salt. Bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Eat and enjoy!

That's it! The most work is chopping the veggies. I used two pounds of ground pork in ours because it was less expensive than the beef. I had to purchase the pork, onion, cabbage, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. My total was only $7.99. Guesstimating on the ingredients I already had, six people ate for less than $10. Plus I had leftovers.