Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sizzlin' Saturday

When it's 100 degrees all weekend long....this is what Allie does.

I feel so bad for her because she's a Boxer and she can't stay outside in this kind of heat.  I know she wants to go out and lay in the sun getting a suntan but it only damages her skin since she's a white Boxer.  And I don't think she likes to be doused in sunscreen. Ha!

Seriously, this heat is getting really hard to deal with during the day.  I took a walk this morning and had a definite glow going on when I returned home after just one time around the neighborhood. It's just too warm.  I even had a slight sunburn on my shoulders just from the 30 minutes spent on my walk. I know in the middle of January when I feel the winter blahs, I'll think of how awesome it was to feel the warm sun on my skin.  But, right now, it's stifling!

We're actually having a lazy weekend because the boys are with their Daddy this weekend.  I always feel like somethings wrong or somethings missing when the boys aren't around to make the house lively. Even after 8 years of being divorced, its the same empty feeling.

 I usually try to clean up their rooms and get rid of any old toys while they're gone.  Tomorrow I'm going through their clothes and taking inventory of what clothes fit for the new school year.  As of tomorrow, we only have 12 days left of summer.  I'm so glad I've been able to be at home with them.  We've had a good time, swimming and just hanging out. 

Next weekend is tax-free weekend in Oklahoma so that's the best time to hit the mall for all of the boys new t-shirts and jeans.  I might try to wait to buy my 11year olds jeans until right when he needs them. At 11, he's already 5 foot tall.  And, it doesn't get chilly here in NE Oklahoma until about the middle of October.  Usually around Halloween we have our first really chilly night.  But I do have to admit, I love new clothes shopping and I'm completely addicted to office and school supplies.  I know that makes me a complete nerd but I love pens, paper, markers, etc.  Just drop me off at an Office Depot and I'm in heaven! HA!  We've had our school supply shopping done since last week.  I couldn't wait!  Have you seen the new super cute notebooks they sell at Office Depot?  

                                    And the paper clips and paper clamps in zebra patterns??!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

River Monsters and a little boy

Sorry for the Christmas pic but it's a cute one of my little Small Fry the Fisherman
So, lately Small Fry and I have been watching River Monsters everytime it comes on TV. Small Fry loves to fish. He loves everything about fishing.
Small Fry's favorite show

He decided yesterday that he was going to write Jeremy Wade, the host of River Monsters on Animal Planet. He sat down and composed a super cute letter and drew him the most beautiful fish. He wanted Mr. Wade to know that I said it was ok for him to go fishing in the Amazon someday. Small Fry even included my phone number. I let him do it, hoping that somehow, someway, someone from Animal Planet would call him. Who knows - it just might happen!? You have to have faith!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Menu Planning Monday-July 26

This is our last couple of weeks before school starts.  I'm trying to use more food from the freezer and pantry rather than running to the grocery store and spending money.  We have back-to-school supplies and new school clothes to buy.  At eleven years old, Tater Tot has gotten slightly picky about what he wears.  He loves Abercrombie & Fitch and Holister, which gives me heartburn.  I just can't pay $40 for a t-shirt. 
Back-to-school shopping is fun but so stinkin' expensive!

Here's our week of meals:

Monday - Tuna noodle casserole with peas and carrots
Tuesday - Cheese quesadillas and salad
Wednesday - Grilled chicken, brown rice and stir-fried veggies
Thursday - Dirty rice with ground beef
Friday - Pork chops with rice, steamed broccoli with garlic, lemon butter glaze
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - Pork roast cooked in the crockpot

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Allie The White Boxer

Everyone needs to be friends with White Boxer Allie on Facebook

We recently bought a lifejacket for our princess Allie.  She would circle the pool wanting to get in with the boys so we tried it one day.   Well....needless to say, she loved it!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

This past weekend Mr. H and I traveled to Woodward, Oklahoma in far western Oklahoma for a York Rite meeting.  We live in Northeastern Oklahoma so I wasn't sure what to expect when we ventured out to western Oklahoma. Woodward is a four hour drive and I didn't want Mr. H to have to drive by himself the whole way.  I did remember that theres a town with my name, Gage, right near Woodward.  Mr. H and I decided that we had to go to Gage, looked it up and it was only 14 miles from where we were staying.  We decided we would find any and every sign with my name on it and take a picture.   Gage was a very small town but had some of the neatest signs.  I think the population must be 200 people.  It was actually one of the smallest towns I've ever been in besides Avant, Oklahoma.  And if you've been to Avant, it's a complete ghost town!

This is what they called the Gage Beach and it wasn't any bigger than a large pond.  I guess people swim there.  It was a 100 degrees when we were there and it was empty. 

A wind farm near Gage.  Western Oklahoma is flat prairie land so it's a great place for wind farms.

Buttes in western Oklahoma.  Western Oklahoma is one of the places filled with oil so you see an oil well everywhere you look.

I actually just stayed in our hotel room while Mr. H went to his meeting. It was nice just being able to relax and watch TV.  I found the movie Marley & Me and watched it. One word of not watch Marley & Me when you are 4 hours from your beloved puppies.  I actually sobbed out loud at the ending. 

When we got home, the boys came home from their Dad's house with swimmer's ear.  We met their Dad and immediately took them to the Urgent Care.  Poor guys.  Their ears were killing them. Now we can't swim in the pool for another week.  And it's 100 degrees here! Arrggghhh!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The "Free" Swimming Pool

In May, the boys Grandma (my ex-mother-in-law who I get along with really well) asked us if we wanted the little swimming pool she had at her house.  She said it was super easy to put up so we agreed to take it.  When Mr. H said we'd take it, she told him to go ahead and come in a truck and bring someone with him.  I didn't understand how big it was at the time. 

Well, four weeks later and four times of doing this.......the pool didn't seem so fun anymore!
Draining the pool after putting it up

See how unlevel the pool is....this is not the right way to have your pool standing
Neighbors kept texting us to tell us that our backyard was flooding into the street.  We had to admit that we put our pool up on unlevel ground, again.
Mr. H and his Dad had to laugh about the four times putting it up.
Me with zero makeup on and sick of watching the pool drain AGAIN

It didn't help that it looked like this everyday for 3 weeks.  It made the yard nasty and muddy. 
It's now the middle of July and we finally have the pool up.  I actually spent an hour on my little raft sunbathing yesterday.  Awwwww!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This and That

This past week has been a stressful week, to say the least.  First of all; I had to quit my job last week.  I loved my job and thought it was the best job I'd ever had.  My bosses were nice to me, very thankful and very complimentary to me all the time.  We had no sick or vacation policy, which meant that they just let me off work whenever I needed to be with the kids. 

About a month ago, they started laying off people rapidly.  They laid almost everyone of importance off.  I started getting nervous, wondering what was going to happen to me.  I was only working there from 9 am to 4 pm and it was in the next little town from ours.  I wasn't having to drive into the big city everyday fighting rush hour traffic. That was huge to me. 

Last week, someone called and told me to "google" one of the owners of my company.  I wish I never had.  When I typed his name into google, he came up as a guy with a horrible history of criminal activity.  Criminal activity that seriously scared me.  I showed the information to my husband and we decided that night that I was quitting the next morning.  And, that's exactly what I did.  I quietly quit and let them tell the few remaining employees that I had a family emergency.

It was one of the most stressful decisions I've had to make but I have strong morals and I'm not compromising those morals, especially for part-time work.  I didn't make enough to have to work with a renowned criminal.  Now, I don't even know if I should put the job on my resume because I was only there six months and don't even know who to list as a reference. 

Mr. H and I decided I'll stay home with the boys this summer.  So far, I've had fun making them breakfast and lunch everyday, swimming, running errands with them and just getting to hang out.  That's something that I never really got to do while working. 

So far, we've tried a few new things:

We tried making homemade donuts.  All we needed was vegetable oil and some canned biscuits.

We took a bottle lid from a 20 oz. Coke and pressed the donut holes out of the biscuit.

We fried them until golden brown, then topped them with glaze.  The glaze was just 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and enough milk to make a slightly thick glaze.

The boys loved them!

We also made a dinner that I used to eat as a kid.  Shake and Bake chicken.  My boys had never had Shake and Bake.  We had some chicken drumsticks and I thought the kids would love it. 

They absolutely ate it up!  The Shake and Bake was a success!!! Guess that's why it's been around since I was a kid.

Another thing the boys and I have talking about is the oil spill.  Gulf Shores, Alabama is my favorite place on earth and it makes me so sad that the beaches and water are being destroyed by the oil.  I think everyone needs to vacation down there now that all of the resident businesses are hurting.  They need our support now more than ever. 

Mr. H had a friend from work, Greg, visit Gulf Shores for vacation last week.  When he got back yesterday, he brought us a souvenir.  It's a tar ball with some small seashells and sand.  Greg even labeled it with "BP Deep Horizon oil spill" and the date, July 5, 2010.  I opened the jar and it actually smelled like oil.  I don't know what I expected it to smell like but I was actually surprised.

This past weekend my brother-in-law brought his new puppies over for the boys to see. 

They are beyond adorable!!!

But this is the favorite Boxer of our family

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our One Year Wedding Anniversary!!!

One year ago, I married my best friend and soulmate!!!

I'm so glad I found someone as goofy as myself!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finger Lickin' Good!

When I worked in the Big City, the most exciting thing about having a job in which I had to drive 40 minutes to work everyday was the fact that I had a group of lunch buddies and we would always try to pick a really good place to eat lunch. One of our favorites was good ol' Cracker Barrel. It seemed as if we were always on a diet so we would forgo the pancakes and try to eat a little healthier. One of our favorite picks for lunch was the Grilled Chicken Tenderloins. They are simply one of the best pieces of grilled chicken you will ever eat!

One day, on a whim, I asked the waitress what they used on the chicken to make it so good. To my surprise, she told me exactly what they did to make it so tender and delicious! Here's the marinade:

Grilled Chicken Tenderloins - Just Like Cracker Barrel4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 cup Italian dressing
2 tsp lime juice
3 tsp honey

Place chicken in gallon ziplock bag. Combine all other ingredients and pour over. Seal and marinate for at least an hour.

Pour all ingredients into a large skillet and cook over medium heat until liquid evaporates and remaining marinade becomes thick and caramelized.  It's called grilled but you really don't even have to grill it.  The skillet will do just fine!

Another Great Marinade - Dale's Seasoning

I've been using this marinade called Dale's Steak Seasoning for as long as I can remember. It's a black liquid that makes steak, fish, chicken or pork taste so good, you'll hardly ever want to use anything else!  And, I have to love it because it's made in Birmingham, Alabama, where my Momma was born and raised.

It's salty and rich tasting, sort of like an A-1 sauce but so much better! I typically just pour about a 1/2 cup of Dale's in a ziploc bag and let my meat marinade in the bag for about an hour. You won't regret trying this - its so tasty!

Speaking of Alabama, I have to say that in my heart of hearts, I hope this oil spill situation gets straightened out soon.  I love Gulf Shores, Alabama more than any other place on earth.  I've spent a week there every year of my life practically.  It's where I feel calmest, most secure, and happiest.  I think it's the fact that my Momma is one of 12 children and all of them live in the state of Alabama except her.  She's the only one that left to go to Oklahoma.  When we go back to Alabama and stay on the beach, a ton of relatives come down to visit.  We always rent a huge house with a big loft upstairs and all the cousins would stay in the big loft.  It always felt so cozy and exciting with all the cousins, Aunts and Uncles in the house.  My Daddy and Uncle Sandy would always play Gin (a card game) and my Aunts would cook the best food you've ever tasted.  Those ladies could cook up a storm.  Those are some of the best memories I have.  Can you imagine having 6 or 7 women that acted just like your Momma all in one house?  It was so fun and always made me feel so happy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Soccer camp

The boys went to soccer camp at the local university recently and loved it.  They talked about it all week long.  They even practiced every night when they got home.  So cute!
Tater Tot and his friend Pickle.  Everyone calls him that on our soccer team, cause his name's Dylan. Get it... Dill....Pickle. HA!

Some of the TU football players working out before the soccer kids came onto the field.  I had the pleasure of watching one of them puke his brains out right in front of me when they got to my end of the football field.  Yuck!

You can see Small Fry with his back to me.  I couldn't get close enough to him to get a good shot.

Trying to look cool

They were lucky enough to get to watch the World Cup on the Jumbotron during the camp.  They thought that was pretty cool.

With their buddy Sammy - the soccer team kids