December 31, 2010

Today: Visitors, Sewing, Editing, Cooking & more

My Dad, Sonya & Whitney came in town yesterday for a quick visit. They brought my MeMaw (grandmother) with them. We figured out that in her 82 years she had never been to the Opryland Hotel. I was shocked! The woman has literally been all over the world yet has not been to the infamous Nashville hotel. So we took her. I kid you not, she said it was prettier than Paris! I've never been to Paris but those gabillion twinkling lights are kinda awesome.

Finding a place for everyone to sleep in our wee little home was kinda tricky but it worked out just fine. Everyone was warm and cozy and I'm pretty sure everyone slept soundly. Even my 6-7 am alarm clock (AKA the little girl) slept until 8.

We had breakfast at Waffle House before they made their departure back home.

Mike was off today so we had the pleasure of having him home. We all snuggled on the couch and watched Lady and the Tramp. ♥

The rest of my afternoon consisted of:
  • Tallying up our December and 2010 finances.
  • Coloring, painting, and markering (is this a word?) with the little girl.
  • Sewing up a hole in Mike's down sleeping bag.
  • Googling directions on how to clean said sleeping bag.
  • Washing and drying above sleeping bag.
  • Finishing my monthly update for family and friends.
  • Working on Skylar's 3-year-old picture slideshow.
  • Making Broccoli Cheese Soup (recipe below).
  • Tidying up the house, taking out trash, and doing the dishes because it's against the rules on New Year's Day (my superstition list is coming tomorrow).
Maybe just maybe we will stay up until midnight to ring in the new year. Nah, I doubt it! A nice kiss at 11:00 is just as good. ♥ Besides, our dear alarm clock will probably go off early tomorrow to make up for today. Stinker!

How was your day?

Broccoli Cheese Soup - Very easy. Very yummy! (Thank you Kelly)

1 lg. bunch broccoli, chopped or 1 (20 oz.) bag frozen, chopped broccoli
1/2 c. butter
1 med. onion, chopped
1/2 c. flour
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 c. milk
2 (13 3/4 oz.) cans chicken broth
1 1/2 c. grated Cheddar cheese

Cook broccoli, drain. Set aside. Saute onions in butter. Stir in flour. Cook 5 minutes. Add milk slowly, continually stirring. Stir in grated cheese, blend until smooth. Slowly blend in chicken broth. Add broccoli. Simmer at least 15 minutes, longer for thick soup.

If You Really Wanna Know

Am I really doing this? Am I really starting another blog? It appears so.

Why?

Mainly, I have been meaning to journal more and this gives me an excuse to do it. I journaled a lot during college and I always enjoy going back and reading through those books. I regret not journaling more during my newlywed stage, pregnancy, and the first few years of being a mom. I would sit down and write a monthly update to our family and friends but I never really wrote about the day-to-day stuff.

Sometimes its really tough being a Believer, and a wife, and a mom, and a daughter, and a friend. Sometimes I just have to freshen things up or change things around. Sometimes I just need things to help me prioritize or streamline the daily tasks. Sometimes I just need fun! Sometimes I just need to know that the things I am feeling are normal - maybe slightly crazy, but normal nonetheless - and writing helps me process whatever I'm dealing with.

I need an outlet. I want somewhere that I can write about the everyday things, good and bad. I want a place where I get to share tidbits of my daily life in hopes that it will spark ideas for someone else or encourage another woman to know that she is "normal" - or at least not as crazy as I am. :) Maybe this will become a place where others can share ideas with me too. Maybe it really does take a village sometimes. The brain of Staci Bishop is a busy place. Sometimes I just need to get my thoughts and ideas out of my head. I figure this is as good a place as any. Besides, I like sharing what works for me. You never know when it might help someone else.

And, finally, because my best friend told me that I am interesting and to Go. For. It! Everyone should have a friend like this! I'm so blessed to have found her on my little life journey. I'm not so sure that my life is super interesting but I'm eager to document it.

Secretly, I'd like to think that I am writing (er, typing) this stuff to save for all of prosperity and that one day my daughter or granddaughter(s?) will read it. You know, the whole legacy-leaving thing. It makes me think of the song You're Gonna Miss This. Basically, I'm writing because "these are some good times" and I'm "gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast." Heck, I already do!

So, here's to the new year, my new blog, this little life, and how I manage it.... If You Really Wanna Know.

December 30, 2010

A Recap of my 2010 Resolutions

Let's just take a look-see back at my 2010 resolutions.

1. Stop eating after 7 pm. I got off to a great start with this one and it probably lasted 3 or 4 months. I noticed that my weight was SLOWLY going down (but down nonetheless) with this simple change alone. Probably should stick with that one. I just got lazy along the way. It also doesn't help my willpower to see (and smell) Mike snacking right before bed.

2. Pay more attention to Easton. Again, I was doing great on this one at the beginning because I was making a conscious effort. I'm definitely doing better than I did in the first few years of Skylar's life when he was totally on the back burner (poor puppy). Luckily, Easton is super low maintenance but that's no excuse.

3. Pay off $15,000 in debt. We didn't meet this one but we did pay off $11,000 in debt. Unfortunately, this year we were met by a pay cut at Mike's job. Considering that, I'm still pleased that we managed to pay off any debt at all. I am a-okay with this one considering that learning to live within our *new* means was (and still is) a feat in itself.

4. Reduce our grocery budget to $50 per week. I totally aced this one! My average for 2010 was $49.74 each week and I saved over $7000 for the year. Score!

5. Make a habit of reading the Bible with Skylar each morning. I started out great with this one too but then I ran out of Bible story books. I would love some suggestions for preschool bible study or devotionals.

6. Weight 140 pounds or less by 12/31/10. No dice here. I still weigh the exact same as last year. I'm not terribly upset by this one. I don't have major body image issues and I really could care less about a # on a scale. Actually, we don't even own a set of scales. I originally made this goal because I tend to gain a few pounds around the holidays and I was thinking I could get ahead of the game.

7. Start getting up by 6:30 a.m. every day. Mission accomplished. Mainly, this is due to Skylar starting school at Stanford. I have to be up in order to get us both ready and have her at school by 8:00. It makes a big difference when I get up and am ready before I have to get her up.

I can see a pattern here. It looks like I start off great for 3-4 months but then taper off. This is actually surprising to me because it supposedly only takes 21 days to form a habit. I'm guessing that I probably got out of whack with most of these when there was something to disrupt the daily routine. Looking back, my best guess is that I lost steam during Spring Break vacation (3 months in) or the start of Summer (5 months in). It was all downhill from there. Knowing that may help me to overcome those obstacles this year.

Stay tuned for my 2011 resolutions.

December 29, 2010

Why I Make New Year's Resolutions

Some people think New Year's Resolutions are silly. Not me. I think we can always strive to improve ourselves. The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to jot down some formal goals. There's just something about the new year and the idea of a fresh start that appeals to me. Well, that and the idea of making a list. Oh, I love me a list.

My New Year's Resolution making began back in high school. Me and my BFF, Jill (also a fellow list lover), would work hard on making our little list. It was often written on carefully picked, pretty paper. We would stay up until midnight (or later) to ring in the new year and then sign each other's paper as a "witness." I have very fond memories of our New Year's Resolution declaration ritual.

I still make resolutions each year and I always think of my dear friend. I don't necessarily stay up until midnight anymore and I don't write them on fancy paper but I do make them. Sometimes I jot them down on a random scrap of paper, sometimes I journal them, and sometimes I just keep them tucked away in my mind. Preferably, I like to actually write or type them. Those methods have a greater appeal to my type-A-ness. :)

Sometimes my resolutions are things I want to work towards, achieve, or even just aspire to do. Sometimes (a lot of times) I don't meet my goal. That's okay. I still worked toward something. If I never set a goal then I will NEVER achieve it. Sometimes it just takes me longer than 12 months to get that item accomplished. In the past, I have made resolutions that have ranged from personal goals to physical goals, marriage goals, parenting goals, spiritual goals, financial goals to career goals. You name a category and I have probably created a resolution for it on one January 1st or another.

This year, I will be sharing my 2011 resolutions with you. I also plan to share how well I did or didn't do on my 2010 resolutions. :X

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from me to you!

December 23, 2010

Reason #2 Not to Leave Children Alone in the Bathtub

Tonight was similar to any other. Around 7 o'clock I rounded up the little girl and headed for the upstairs bathroom. I ran her a tub of water, checked the temperature, helped her get undressed, and plopped her in the bath. Typically, we allow a few minutes of bathtub playtime so I walked over to my home office. It's right across the hall so I can hear her but I can't fully see her.

Lately, she has been all about doing things for herself and she's getting pretty good at it. This self-sufficiency is a much welcome change. So, I wasn't surprised at all to hear her call out that she was going to wash herself tonight. I replied with "Okay. Sounds good to me!" I assumed she was using the little bath puff to rub her arms and legs like we had been practicing.

A few minutes later she says, "Mom, I'm done. I used all the body wash. Come see!" She was so proud.

FYI: The bottle in question was a BRAND NEW bottle of body wash.

Yep. I learned my lesson on that one. ;)

Tangled - My Review

I met up with my sister-in-law and we took the kiddos to see Tangled today. Basically, it's the story of Rapunzel. You know, the one with the really long hair.

I'm having mixed feelings about this movie. Skylar loved it, naturally. After all, Disney is good at what they do! Here's my issues.

First of all, in this story of Rapunzel, the girl lands herself in the tall tower via infant abduction by the old woman. The idea of child abduction unnerves me to no end. It seriously makes me nauseous. It doesn't help that we saw this movie just days after I awoke from horrible dreams about an attempted abduction of my own child right before my eyes (one of those crazy, vivid nightmares - ugh!). Therefore, I was on the defensive from the very beginning.

Secondly, because Rapunzel is taken as a baby she grows up loving this woman as her own mother. Yeah, Stockholm Syndrome doesn't make me warm and fuzzy either.

Thirdly, the "prince figure" states at the beginning of the movie, "This is the story of how I died." Great! Thanks for raining on my parade, buddy. Now I'm wondering how I'm going to explain this unfortunate event to my little one. Once the fairytale starts, you realize that this fella is actually a thief and the majority of the movie is spent chasing him down as he very conveniently escapes. Naturally, this tall, dark and handsome figure (and he was!) is who the dear princess falls in love with. Personally, I'd rather my daughter NOT see any romanticizing of the bad guy type.

On a happier note, there is a horse in the movie who provides tons of comic relief. Skylar said this character was her favorite and I'll admit, he does some pretty funny stuff. Other highlights on her list were Eugene (he was easy on the eyes), Rapunzel, her magic hair, & the lizard (R's animal friend).

It was indeed a happily ever after ending but I had some 'splaing to do after the movie. My 3 (almost 4)-year-old was so confused about why Rapunzel's "mother" was bad, which was a wee bit tricky for me to try to sort out so that she would understand.

Basically, I just left with an uneasy feeling but I'm pretty sure that is directly related to my fears and feelings regarding child abduction. Those dreams earlier in the week certainly didn't help matters.

Overall, it was a fun outing and I was pleased at how well my little one did in the theater. I probably would do it all over again just for the snuggling since she ended up in my lap about half way through. :)

Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it?

December 22, 2010

Chick-Fil-A, You ROCK!

Today me and my girl had some last-minute Christmas shopping to finish up. I promised my little llama that if she was good at the Shop-O-Rama then we would have a treat afterwards: Chick-Fil-A!

I love Chick-Fil-A! We don't go there a lot but when we do go, it is always a treat. I'm always impressed by their customer service. Every employee is always SUPER friendly and SUPER helpful! Today was no different.

So, here are the things that they did today that made our trip extra special.

1) My order was FREE! They let me use a ton of coupons. They took my expired calendar coupons with a smile. Literally! Matt told me that I could use as many coupons as I wanted. I didn't even have to pay tax. Apparently this is true at all Chick-Fil-A locations. Music to my ears! I've even heard that they will let you substitute coupons for other items, but I haven't tried that just yet.

2) Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake. Need I say more?!

3) The Chick-Fil-A cow was dressed as Santa. The little girl was smitten. She followed him around everywhere. When she wasn't physically following him, she was watching him with her eyes. She loves the cows! Personally, I love all their little quotes and cute misspellings. My favorite one this holiday is.... Burgerz: Nawtee / Chikin: Nice (LOL!)

4) Employees 'o plenty. They always have plenty of help, which makes service fast and efficient. Even though Chick-Fil-A is a counter-service restaurant they still have folks coming around to make sure you have everything you need and to bus your table. Best of all, they are honestly HAPPY to do so.

5) Balloons. Nothing makes my kid happier than a balloon. Plus, when she asked specifically for a "dark blue one", the lady said "A dark blue one? It's my pleasure!"

Thank you, Chick-Fil-A, for making our day extra special! You ROCK!

Grace-Based Parenting By: Tim Kimmel


I've started reading a new book.

I'm pretty sure this book recommendation came from Gentle Christian Mothers but, at this point, I'm not 100% positive. I requested it from the library a while back and it has just come in so there was obviously some demand for it.

I liked the book from the very 1st chapter because it made me laugh. It gives an example of someone trying to put a puzzle together

1) without the border pieces
2) with random pieces from another puzzle thrown in
3) without the box cover.

Welcome to the Parenting Puzzle!

Yes, yes, yes! This is exactly how I feel sometimes as a parent.

I'm looking forward to reading this book and I'll keep you posted on what I think when I'm finished with it.

Turns out that this book is available (in its entirety) from Google Books so there is no need to wait on it like I did.

Grace-Based Parenting By: Tim Kimmel

December 21, 2010

Portable North Pole

We just let Skylar watch her video from Santa via the Portable North Pole. The service is free and it allows you to customize it for your child with pictures and personal info. I customized hers with pictures from our beach vacation and Disney. I also had Santa remind her to be nice and to work harder at listening to her parents. ;)

She is big into Santa this year and this was icing on the cake for her. I love watching the amazement in her eyes. She was also super impressed that Santa knows she wants an Easy Bake Oven. Check! :)

Mike and I have talked a lot this year about the whole Santa thing. I do love the "magic" of it but I'm afraid that it takes away from the real meaning of Christmas. On multiple occasions, especially while gift wrapping or commercial watching, I have to remind Skylar that "It's not about you!" Then again, I kinda feel like the gimme, gimme is just natural at this age.

I think we are going to start to phase out Santa next year. In the meantime, I think Santa is a decent behavior modification tool, and timely too! During this time of year, I'll talk all the help I can get, fiction or not. The PNP video certainly has our little girl thinking. She told me several times that she is going to try harder and harder and HARDER to be nice and good. LOL! I think this was just the push she needed to bring us into the homestretch.

After the video, we crossed off another tree on our Christmas Countdown Calendar. Only 3 more sleeps...