2011 Recap

You knew it was coming…a look back on the past year.  2011…where have you gone?  The good, the bad, the ugly, it’s all here.

The first thing that comes to mind is the world lost a great man during 2011.  Blake’s grandfather passed away in February.  Bob was one of the most God-fearing, honorable men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  He was a tough, gruff old farmer but had a heart of gold who loved his family and God more than anything.  His dry sarcastic sense of humor had me giggling inside my head many times when other people didn’t realize he was joking.  He would force you into seconds at family dinners and make the kids and dogs more hyper than anyone else.  I know without a doubt that Bob is in the presence of God causing all kinds of ruckus in heaven but he is still missed around here.

On a happier note, one of the most happy, emotional days of my life happened in March when my family headed to Colorado to welcome my brother home from Iraq.  All of the news stories about soldiers coming home have always made me tear up anyway, but I lost my marbles the minute my brother marched into that gymnasium.  I will always remember that first hug I got.  Man, I missed that big Nerdboy!

A girls’ trip to Texas to visit some of our childhood friends was definitely another hot spot of the year!

The kids and I flew to Ohio to visit my grandparents.  We had a great time with family and friends.

The kids grew…oh how they grew!  Parker turned into a little boy with opinions and ideas.  It’s not uncommon to find in on top of furniture now when I have no idea how he got there!  He has turned from a  baby to a kid.  Now if we could just kick those pesky diapers!

My baby girl, Paige, somehow became old enough to go to KINDERGARTEN!  Paige has really turned into quite the young lady!  I have seen her move from a preschooler who was shy and unsure of herself to a school girl who is so excited to learn to read.  Paige has also turned into a very kind, thoughtful young lady.  She told me the other day that her brain turned around and she decided to be nice.  I am very proud of the young girl she is becoming.

Personally, this has been a year of big changes for me.  I decided to quit trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be and just be happy with what God was giving me and roll with the punches.  I am one of the most blessed people I know.  I have a great family, great job, great friends, I have nothing to complain about.  I worked hard on removing drama from my life and not falling into the deception of having to be like the “cool kids”.  I knew these changes needed to happen but I had no idea how they would affect my life or attitudes.  I find myself having more compassion for people and giving of my time and resources much more easily.  As the transition of my mind continues, I am excited for what God has in store for me.

As the year 2011 ends, I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2012.  You can be anticipating a blog about the changes that need to happen in the new year.  Overall, we have had tears and laughs in this great year of our Lord and I am satisfied with how it has gone.

I pray the Lord blesses you and your loved ones in the new year.


A conversation with Paige

Just another random night at our house…

I noticed that our adopted cat keeps getting fatter and fatter but we haven’t been feeding him THAT much.  I posed the question, do we really know this cat is a boy?  I’m just saying that one time I named my cat Prissy and it turned out to be a boy…happens to the best of us.

Then I got scared that this cat who has come to love to lay around on MY stuff (I’m not a cat fan) would decide to have kittens on MY stuff!  That is not ok with me.

Paige takes off running to my bedroom.  She come back, “Mom, there aren’t any kittens in your bed.”

“Thanks, Paige.”

Paige then says, “Anyway Mom, Charlie would have to get married before he can have kittens.  And before he can get married he has to find LOVE.”  This is said with much emphasis on the love part which included googly eyes.

I think Paige is right.  Of course Charlie won’t have kittens.  He hasn’t found love or gotten married.  Why didn’t I think of that?

PS…after much googling and research (I’m a librarian you know) I am convinced the cat is a boy and is just storing food for the winter or something.  As long as he isn’t using my plants for his bathroom, I’m fine with that.

Just another night in our house…

Peanut Clusters

Several years ago, my mom and dad came across this great recipe for Peanut Clusters.  I think it was in their hometown paper…I don’t care where it came from it is the easiest thing to make and it tastes the best ever!

I have started bringing these peanut clusters to our food day at school and now they are requested every year and I never bring any home.  I think that’s a good sign.  Now I’m giving up my little secret!

Peanut Clusters


2 packages of white almond bark

1 package of baking German chocolate

1 package of chocolate chips

1 jar of salted peanuts

1 jar of unsalted peanuts

Dump the peanuts in your crock pot.  Cut up the almond bark and German chocolate and put that along with the chocolate chips in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 3 hours (it won’t look like it has melted but it did).  After 3 hours, stir super good, let it sit for 15 minutes and then scoop it out onto wax paper to cool.  I use my smallest ice cream scoop and I have learned the hard way that it is much easier to put a towel down under my wax paper, otherwise it tends to stick to my counter.

I hope you make these awesome peanut clusters for your family!  You will not be disappointed!



We have had a sick house this week.  It’s all my fault.  At the beginning of December I thought to myself how nice it was that I hadn’t had to take a sick day for my kids since September.  Paige hasn’t been to school since Wednesday but I think she is going to make a comeback tomorrow.  Come on it’s Pajama Day! She has to be better than that.

I tell you all this because my annual cookie baking has gotten a late start.  My favorite sous chef has been under the weather.  Her replacement although very cute, is more work than help and I just haven’t been up to the challenge.

Yesterday we got a jump start.  Parker helped me make an all-time favorite, peanut clusters.  These babies are so good, they deserve a post of their own.  Look for a future blog just dedicated to these little beauties.


I also made another tradition from my childhood, peanut butter blossoms.  Nothing is better than eating a peanut blossom while it’s still warm and the chocolate just melts in your mouth.

Today I felt that everyone was well enough to join me back in the kitchen.  While I worked on fudge, the kids worked on a project of their own.

I would tell you Parker helped, but I think he ate more than he helped…

And then it was time to add our favorite ingredient!

The end product is great and oh so yummy!

While the kids were working on their project, it wasn’t without some drama…

I found a new favorite (easy) Christmas treat!

I don’t think I have ever tried to make fudge before but I fell in love with this handy dandy little box that has everything you need in it.  The fudge is still chilling but it sure looks awesome!

We still have quite a bit of baking to do around here but we have a good start.  We love to make Christmas cookies around here.  I hope that I am making memories for my kids that they will carry on some day.  I hope you are also making memories with your families!  Merry Christmas!

Am I burned out?

I was couponing before couponing was cool.  I’ve upgraded to my big notebook around a year ago and really went big time.

Some people will say, “Oh, you can’t really save money doing that.”  or “People on that show are crazy!”  Well I never went quite as extreme as the TV show but I have saved quite a bit of money and I do have quite the collection of Hamburger Helper and men’s deodorant.

I find myself not racing out to get the Wednesday ad for our local grocery store.  I’m not jumping at the bit to find out what Walgreen’s has on sale this week.


First of all, I have to drive around 20 miles to the nearest Walgreens and they have just burned me too many times.  I can’t tell you how many times I have driven over there (forgoing my Sunday nap) to find out that they are out of what I need or they do not have the same sales going on as the ad I got in my Sunday paper.

Don’t get me wrong, I have gotten some good deals and I will still go over there if a great deal comes up but it has just ended wrong one too many times.

I still look at the grocery store ad and match it to my coupons and I still get some good deals.  Take Saturday for instance, I had been on a mega-Walmart shopping trip with Paige and forgot the one main ingredient to our dinner.  If you are going to make ham rolls, you need to have ham!  So we ran in the grocery store real quick because I just couldn’t go back into Walmart.

While we were there, I noticed a cart of deodorant marked down.  And it happened to be my husband’s kind!  So we stocked up!

Second of all, I live in the middle of nowhere.  While we have a wonderful furniture store in our town, we just have the basic Walmart, grocery store and Dollar General.  If I lived in a real town with lots of main-line stores, I could save tons of money.

So you might not see me with my big notebook around town anymore but I am still getting my savings on a smaller scale.  And I’m going to spend my time that I used to spend on coupon planning on something else…not sure what that might be yet.  I guess I’m looking for suggestions.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12

My mom would argue that I am no longer young…I would argue that it depends on the company I keep.  In my career choice, I am sometimes still the young one.

Have you ever told someone something you know 100% to be true and they doubt you?  This drives me crazy!  I will admit that sometimes I don’t know what I’m talking about and I usually will say that it’s something I think or I heard it to be true.  When I really know what I’m talking about, I let you know it.

Sometimes you run in to people who think you don’t know what you are talking about just because you are younger than them.

Once upon a time I was attending a library meeting.  I was with the other librarians in my district and if you looked at the three of us, you would not guess that I had the most experience and am the department chair, but it is the truth.  (I’m not saying the other ladies look like the above picture but they are a few years older than me, I love them still.)  I asked a question that went along with what we were talking about at the meeting and the lady in charge, older than me, starting going off on me that because of my lack of experience I didn’t know better.  When the conversation was over, I actually had been asking a valid point and was not out of line.  She on the other hand is still the butt of our jokes when I get referred to as the “young one” or “I don’t know anything because I’m the young one” by my fellow librarians.

I don’t know a lot but I do know about middle school aged books and my library.  I love my job and take pride in it so when someone assumes I don’t do a good job or know what I’m doing, it tends to get my feathers ruffled.

My feathers have been ruffled this past week.  I must just look very youthful so people don’t realize that I have been in the library for over 10 years.  That will be the excuse to myself and I won’t think about the fact that the ruffling happened over email where someone can’t even see me  🙂

I hope as I get older and former students continue (yes, I already work with former students) to come to work at our school or people who are younger than me are in leadership roles in my profession, that I will remember that they can have good ideas and do a good job even if they haven’t been in their position for 30 years.

I won’t discriminate against you for being old, so don’t discriminate against me for being young (or middle-aged or whatever I am).


A hidden talent

I have two really great sister-in-laws.  They are fun, beautiful and I don’t get to see either one of them nearly enough.  Today I want to tell you about one of them.

My husband’s sister is always the life of the party and a lot of fun to be around.  My kids have a ball when they get to be with her and her husband.  What I didn’t know was that my SIL possesses a hidden talent that I have not really appreciated until recently.

I have noticed my SIL knitting a lot.  That’s great.  Everyone needs a hobby, right?  But I have noticed that she doesn’t just knit, she is a knitting rock star!  She can knit a sweater that looks like something I would buy at the store!

At Thanksgiving, she gave me a little fashion show of her scarves she has been knitting.  Now I personally am not really a scarf person, I always feel like I look like I’m drowning, but I know people who enjoy scarves and I immediately thought of them!  Needless to say, I got a little Christmas shopping done during her fashion show.

She has opened her own Etsy store.  I’m not super familiar with Etsy but I do know that it is a place you can go and buy handmade things.  If you don’t believe me when I tell you she has the cutest scarves I have ever seen, take a look for yourself….HERE..The really cool thing about her Etsy shop is that she has named it after her great grandma, Gladys.  The name of her shop is Gladys Modern Knits.

Now that you have fallen in love with scarves just as much as I did you need to know something else, she will do special orders!  And she has made some mittens that say GO on one hand and MU on the other or she can do other teams if you like someone other than Mizzou, although highly unlikely…:)