Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Move over Betty Crocker

My husband requested white chicken chili for dinner last night. Not a fan of that dish, I started looking for a new recipe for it that may be better than another I have had. Sweet success. Yes, it is summer but we sat on the deck and ate a bowl of this white chicken chili last night and it was fabulous to hear the birds chirping and the crickets singing and eating a traditionally winter food. You should try it :)

1 42 oz jar of great northern beans with juice
1 cup medium salsa
3 cups shredded chicken
8 oz block pepper jack cheese
2 t. Cumin
14oz can chicken broth

Dump in your crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours. Stir occasionally. 

Can't get any easier than that and this is what it looked like. 
Now here is the best part:  did you know that if you take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before eating beans there will be no gas?  Yep. Try it. 
Thanks so much for reading my blog. Have a fabulous day and enjoy some winter food on a summer day :)


Monday, June 24, 2013

YOMO-You Only Mud Once

I love fun races. And Saturday was one lof the most fun I have ever done. I did the Muddy Buddy race with one of my best buddies. It was the first urban Muddy Buddy which meant it was in the middle of downtown Nashville as opposed to being in a field somewhere which is where most mud races are held. I was intrigued as to how they would have a mud run in the middle of downtown but I was excited to participate! 

There was a costume contest so of course my buddy and I wanted to participate. We decided to dress up as a lifeguard and a swimmer. My goal was to look as ridiculous as I possibly could. My buddy was genius when she used duct tape to make a Red Cross on her white tank and shorts. Add some zinc oxide to her nose, a whistle and viola!  lifeguard!  I got a child's swim ring and squeezed myself into it, threw on some swim trunks, a flower necklace, a pair of goggles, a swim mask, and sunglasses and I looked about as ridiculous as I could imagine. Perfection achieved. 
The announcer called for all costume contest entrants to come to the stage. We were pumped feeling that we had a good chance. The judging commenced and based on crowd participation, the winner would be crowned. We were announced as the "swimmies" and my buddy and I busted the best moves we had on the stage as the announcer said "They have worked for weeks on this dance!"  Well the truth was that we were just strutting our respective stuff in all randomness but we totally looked put together :). The semi finalists were brought back to the stage for final judging. We did not make semifinals. We were crushed after thinking we looked amazing for a mud run. Ultimately,the  winners were two chicks dressed in pink dresses and they had sashes on that said Grime Queen. I will give them credit, the pink false eyelashes really did look amazing for a mud run. Congratulations Grime Queens :)

The first wave was about to start and we needed a drink of water. None to be found at the starting area so as we passed by a Gator type vehicle we spotted a cooler. What could possibly be in a cooler except something cold to drink??  Bingo!  Ice cold water!!  Thank you, anonymous donor of water to the Swimmies. 

Hydrated, we lined up to start the race. It was so exciting to get started!  Now my buddy totally rocked the obstacles!  Especially the rope obstacles. Having passed out stone cold at the top of one of the Warrior Dash obstacles I had already told myself that I was NOT going to be above walking around an obstacle. I stuck to my guns but was super proud of myself when I conquered an obstacle of rock climbing then rope on the other side. I was going to skip that one but changed my mind and conquered it. There was one obstacle that we tried but just couldn't do. It was a knotted rope you had to climb straight up then ring a bell. Ummm, chicks with little upper body strength here and children to raise :). I love to have fun but I have sense too. It's a total package ;)

I was super proud of my buddy when she scaled the obstacle that was similar to the one I passed out on at Warrior Dash. I skipped this one for mental more than physical reasons. She made it to the top and a spotter helped to pull her over but it was just too difficult so she had to go back down. I was so proud she gave it her all. Sometimes it isn't if we finish more as it is having the courage to start. 

And, the mud pit. There is a reason that people pay big bucks to have mud masks and go to mud spas. It is good for your skin plus it exfoliates and it is oh so much fun to just get crazy muddy. 
After we finished the race we want back to the mud pit to pose for pictures :)
The one above was taken by a Metro police officer :) Umm that's right. We rock like that. 
I personally liked this race better than warrior dash for several reasons. One is that the obstacles were not as technical as Warrior Dash. If you are looking for technical tough obstacles then Warrior Dash is a great choice!  I loved that the Muddy Buddy was a team race where there were obstacles that you had to work together with your partner. We had so much fun with that. Urban Muddy Buddy was more technical running and farther. We had to run up the ramps to the top of Titans stadium twice. It was tough but I liked it. Warrior Dash was 3 miles. Muddy Buddy was 4.3. 

After the race was over a sock vendor gave out stickers with numbers and we were supposed to find the person who had the matching number. We saw a couple of folks that found their match. We never did in spite of tireless effort to win free socks. We were convinced that some numbers did not have matches.

Another fabulous day, another wonderfully fun race!  Thanks so much for reading my blog. Subscribe in the box to the right and you will receive updates when I write a new post. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mother of the Year

Mother of the year is a status that can be surely achieved for serving donuts for dinner and lost in the next day when you forget you told your child you would have lunch with them. It is a hypothetical achievement of perfection that no one really ever succeeds in try as we might. The truth of the matter is that in our own kids eyes we are all mother of the year. We all think we have the best and that is the way it should be. God gives us the best mommy for us. 

I saw a sure shoe-in for mother of the year at Walmart yesterday. If she isn't mother of the year she should be for picking her battles. She had the best behaved little boy in Walmart. He was pushing the buggy, staying right with her, not begging for a thing, and was smiling and happy. I sort of kept running into them all through the store so I feel like I had a good sampling of his behavior throughout their trip. I figured out what their morning before they came to Walmart must have been. His mom decided that when he wanted to wear what he wore to Walmart that it was not worth the argument to have him put on proper clothes to shop. In exchange, she got a very happy, well behaved little fella to shop with. No, this outfit is not appropriate for Walmart in June. 
Or is it?  I assure you that this boy will not go to college wearing inappropriate clothing to Walmart. I give Mother of the year to this boys mom for deciding that she would rather have a peaceful shopping trip to Walmart than a boy that is dressed in clothing that the general public would consider acceptable. 

Each battle I ask myself, "Am I trying to be right or do I just want to be happy?"  

I choose happiness and so did this mom. I almost went up to her and told her how much I admired her for letting him come like that and how peaceful they were in the store. Mommy was happy and so was the little dragon boy. I love it. 

Don't fight to be right. Just be happy. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Have a terrific Tuesday!!


Monday, June 17, 2013

The Bachelor/Bachelorette

I like watching the Bachelor. Not because I believe they really can find love on the show but more because it is just plain hilarious to me. I think a lot of it is staged and written in a script of some sort. I could be wrong. I also have my children watch it with me. Hold your aghast faces and opinions and just hear my reasoning. I am giving my opinion today not to change your mind about how you feel but to give you something to think about. 

I use the Bachelor/Bachelorette as a dating teaching tool for my children. I have found it to be incredibly useful. Where else can you get a bunch of different personalities displayed in a venue were you can actually discuss what is good and bad about that persons's behavior?  I discuss morals with my children. We talk about who seems to have some and who doesn't and how can you tell. Then we apply this to real life. I tell my children that everyone has a bag of faults. When selecting a mate, you choose a bag of faults you can live with. Then we discuss who has a bag of faults that each of my children could live with from the Bachelor. Each of my children have a list of qualities that they could live with and a list of qualities that they can't handle. If they encounter a possible date in real life that has a quality that is on their "no" list then they move on. I have taught them that dating has a purpose. It's purpose is to help you figure out what qualities you can live with or not live with in a spouse. If I can guide them through the selection process in a hypothetical situation then I believe it to be a safer option than live dating. I am by no means saying my children shouldn't and don't date. What I am saying is when they have no emotions involved with a hypothetical situation on tv then they are more likely to make a good decision in a real person.  Plus it gives excellent chance to laugh and roll eyes together at some of the behaviors. 

I came to much of this philosophy after I recaptured my daughter from the hands of the devil himself from a toxic relationship. I began to realize there had to be a way to teach good and bad qualities in people without having emotion involved. When they date, you can't knock a lick of sense into them because they believe they are "in love". The Bachelor gives the opportunity to size up suitors without having the emotional involvement. That way, when Prince Charming comes riding in on his white horse, our kids can identify if the prince's horse has a broken leg or not. Son or daughter, it matters not. The Bachelor/Bachelorette is an excellent daring teaching tool for teen and Tweens. 

Now that is a point to ponder. 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please subscribe in the column at the right. You will receive email when I have a new post. Have a fabulous evening!!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Just Want to Drive a Bus

I spent a lot of my younger adult life teaching Bible class and not enjoying it, borderline despising it which is somewhat surprising since I am a teacher by profession. After years of guilt for not enjoying the experience I realized that there was more to do in the church for the womenfolk than just teaching Bible class. So I decided I wanted to drive the bus. I didn't know at the time the magnitude of what God had in mind for me in my "transportation ministry" but it sure has been exciting so far. Today I would like to tell the story of how my commercial drivers license actually came into being. 

The idea of driving the church bus seemed simple enough in theory and I was super excited to get started with achieving my goal. I went to the DMV to get my handy dandy booklet to study for the written test. Upon picking up the "booklet" I was aghast at the practically college textbook size of the manual. Oh well, a little study never hurt anyone. Took the manual home and got to work. My goal was to go take the test in two weeks. 

I cracked open the manual to pages and pages of diagrams of engines, semi trucks, hazardous chemical labels to memorize, and various other "junk" they expected me to know to drive the church bus. Did they realize I just want to drive the church bus?  In all reality I had never really checked under the hood of anything. Doesn't Jiffy Lube do that?  I guess I will learn if I want to drive the church bus...

I studied HARD for that two weeks. I had to read over and over the same stuff to open my head and pour in the knowledge. My head hurt the whole second week. Literally. Good thing I have enough determination to share with the free world or I would have thrown in the towel when I saw the manual. 

Went to the DMV to take the test. It was on the computer and multiple choice. I am convinced it is a conspiracy with the wording of the questions. I failed the test. 

Back to the drawing board. They won't let you take the test again for 2 weeks. So, in two weeks I was back to sit in line and take it again after another two weeks of learning about coupling devices and axels. Failed a second time. 

The third time I went to take the test I was just about mad. Don't these people realize that I am not going to drive a tractor trailer truck for BP hauling hazardous chemicals??  I JUST want to drive the church bus. Unfortunately you have to be able to know how to haul hazardous chemicals in order to drive a church bus...  Well, in the middle of my test, my phone rang and I saw on caller ID that it was the room mother for my youngest daughters class so I answered it. She needed me to bring cupcakes for the Halloween party. I got a tap on the shoulder and a not so nice voice said, "you are dismissed from the testing area for answering your phone.  That is cheating."  What?!  Do I even KNOW anyone who could answer your crazy computer questions??  I was in tears explaining the call was about cupcakes. Long story short, I couldn't come back for a month because I was cheating. 

You can't keep a good girl down so in a month I was back!  And I passed!!  Now I could move on to learning to drive!

I solicited the help of a gentleman at church who had experience with the bus. He showed me how to parallel park and how to dock park and alley load. Not that I would be doing any of that but I had to know for the driving test. Then I got out on the road and practiced a lot. When I went for the driving test I had to also do a pre-trip inspection of the bus including getting under the bus and checking certain points to make sure the bus is safe for driving. 

I had to have another CDL driver with me to take me to the testing site to take my drivers test. The same gentleman took me. The man who did my test was about what you would expect, rough and brash. He asked me to point out what I need to check before I drive. There were 75 points I had to verbally state with no help from a paper or checklist. I got all 75 without missing a beat.

Then the man asked me what I was going to do when I break down with a bus load of people. I said, "sir, I just want to drive the church bus so I am going to call the church and say, I've got a bus load of blue hairs and we are broke down on the side of the road so send someone to get us."  Then I politely preceded with what he wanted me to tell him which was how to fire a flare and where to place my triangle hazards. 

Then we got into the bus and went on with the actual driving part including the parallel parking and alley dock. I did all of that without a single mistake. The man was very complimentary of my skills. I resisted the urge to tell him all I had been through to get to this point. I kindly went inside and smiled for my picture and got my commercial drivers license.

I can finally drive the bus!!  Now if you want to ride my bus with a car battery in tow, I'm not letting you on because it is dangerous. I know this because I studied. And since I know there will be many who try to get on my bus with a car battery in their arms I am prepared to not let them on. I also know that I need to put a strap every 10 feet on my trailer if I am hauling uncovered items with my semi. These are other things that will be useful to me I just know it. I can also dismantle and assemble coupling devices to attach my trailer to my semi since I use that all the time too. 

The lesson in all of this is to be determined. Dream big and go for it!  Never be too old to learn something new. 

  Thanks so much for reading my blog. Please subscribe at the right so you receive updates when I write a new post!  Have a fabulous day!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fun Things to Do with Little or No Money with the Family

When you have three children that are each 4 years apart sometimes it is difficult to find things to do that will entertain all of them at their respective ages and attention levels.  Sure, there are many things to do if you want to pay enormous admission prices for a family of 5, but when you want to find fun things to do but not break the bank, it is best to start thinking outside the box.

The first thing I would recommend for all ages is strawberry picking.  We went just this past week and literally had the time of our lives.  There are two weeks left approximately of the good part of the season so if you want to do this, you need to get it together quickly.  We went to Cooper Creek Farms in Gallatin.  Family owned, on their property, the owners were beyond nice.  It was an educational experience for the children and we all thoroughly enjoyed picking the berries.  They have a picnic table there so pack a lunch and have a picnic and eat your fresh strawberries while you are there.  Cost is $2 per pound and I assure you that their berries are better than any you buy in the store.  So for the low cost of $6(we picked three pounds), we made memories and all ages loved the experience.  Here is the link to the place we went to.

If you sign up online, you can go and bowl two games EVERY DAY for FREE.  This is at Holder Family Fun Center.  They send you your week's worth of tickets every Sunday for the upcoming week.  Print them out and you get to bowl free every day.  Can't beat that with a stick.  If you don't live in Hendersonville, this is a nationwide program so go find your participating center from this link as well.  Here is the link to get signed up to bowl for free.

Take a day and take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese's with their report cards and to Krispy Kreme.  Chuck E. Cheese's gives free tokens for good grades.  The thing I love about this is they don't give free stuff just for A's.  They give free tokens for passing grades.  So if you are like me and have children who are not straight A students then they get praise and adoration from Chuck E. and all ages have games they can play there.  I get a seat and let my kids go have fun.  Sometimes I order a pizza and sometimes I don't.  The tokens are free.  Then when they finish their play time there, take them across the street to Krispy Kreme Donuts and get a free donut for EVERY good grade they have.  We usually get out of Krispy Kreme with over a dozen donuts with three kids :)  When you pull to the drive thru just tell them you have report cards for donuts.  They will handle you from there :)

The Discovery Center in Murfreesboro is a MUST GO for all ages.  Yes, quite a few of the activities inside the building are for children 12 and younger, there is something for everyone and the part that we all loved the best was the outdoors part.  They have an entire outside part that had a creek that comes from fresh spring water so that the water is clear as a bell.  Take your shoes off and wade in the creek.  We saw a live beaver building a dam not 6 feet from us.  The beaver acted like he was not bothered by us whatsoever.  We saw salamanders and caught them then put them back where we found them.  There was creek mud that my children loved sinking their toes into.  There are animals outside and a long trail to walk on almost like a free zoo.  Inside is also fun for all ages including a long super slide.  Here is a link to the Discovery Center.  It takes an hour to get there but it is worth the drive.  Admission is $6 or if you go on Tuesday it is $2!

The Gallatin Public Pool is another place that I take my kids several times during the summer.  They have a water slide there that is the old kind like what we all used to slide on when we were kids.  A lot of kids have not seen one like this one before and it proves to be more fun that all ages can stand on a hot day.  Sometimes I think we overdo stuff so much that something that is just simple fun is more fun that a day at Nashville Shores.  Now the slide they have here is small, but OH so fun.  All three of my children love to go to this pool.

Municipal Park Outdoor Pool 2013
The Outdoor Pool will open May 25th.
The pool hours are 10:00 am -- 5:00 pm daily.  Outdoor Pool Phone # is 230-0726.
Cost is $5.00 per person.
Pool may close due to inclement weather.
The Outdoor Pool can be rented. 
Rental is $300.
Rental time is from 6:00 - 10:00 pm. Pool rental time is strictly enforced.
                 **GRILLS ARE ALLOWED**
If interested, call the Civic Center at 451-5911 for more information.
Here is the link to the Gallatin Municipal Pool:

Another fun thing to do that is free is to take your children to tour Purity Dairies.  You get free ice cream at the end of the tour.  Educational and free.  Here is the link to that.

Also fun for all ages is a tour of Nissan's assembly line of car building.  It is simply fascinating and the tour is on a golf cart type thing.  This one is by appointment only, and again, totally FREE!

One thing that you may think is not for older kids is the sprinklers in Metro Downtown.  Not the sprinklers at the Bicentennial Mall, they are more for younger children.  And by the way, the Bicentennial Mall is also a great free educational place to take your children and don't forget to walk up the steps to the Capital building and roll all the way down the hill with your children.  I assure you it will not be a day they will forget.  Now back to the Metro Sprinklers.  Take a lunch and get a spot and it will be a whole days worth of fun for all ages even teenagers.  Their sprinklers are bigger and more powerful so the big kids think they are pretty awesome.  The Metro Sprinklers are located at Cumberland Park.  Here is the link to it.

Rolling down Capital Hill

I will have another post of fun things to do for little or no money very soon.  Get out and make memories with your children this summer!  Thank you so much for reading my blog.  Subscribe at the right so you will receive email updates when I have a new post! Have a fabulous day!!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More Crypt Flies, Tissue Vendors, and Funeral Home Follies

I was walking out of the hotel of the funeral director's convention and was met with a man who was a tissue vendor. Seemed appropriate to have a tissue vendor at a funeral convention but amusing still. Which leads me to today's topic. Let's go over some odd but true items that are available for purchase. You would have no way to know about said items if your trusty Barbara Walters was not reporting live from the funeral convention. I am glad to provide answers to questions you never asked :) or didn't realize they were there to BE asked. Lol

Even if you are not a wine drinker, this item is ALMOST worth becoming one just so you can own one of these:
Yes, it is indeed a little casket to hold your prized bottle of wine. And as if that is not enough, here is what it looks like with a little closed casket in case you don't want your wine to be viewed:
Folks, I don't have a piece of furniture in my home that looks as nice as this wine casket. 

When I was walking down the hallway of the hotel this is what it looked like:
See anything unusual here??  If you don't then let me help you by zooming in:
Yep, sitting right there in the hallway of the hotel with normal people staying here, not just funeral directors. If you brought your family for a vacation, what would you think if this was sitting in the hallway of the hotel as you pass to go to the pool??  

Next up we have a nice oil lamp:
Hmmm, nope!!  It is indeed an urn lamp so that you can display the ashes of Uncle Arthur on your end table illuminated with soft white light in the evening. 

Next we have a set of books:
Umm nope!  It is a nice mantle case for Grandma. 
Her remains can be stored in a Baggie then placed in a high quality felt bag then closed into a faux set of books and placed directly on your mantle. This option is more discreet than the urn lamp :)

Getting hungry?  Cook something on this mini antique oven:
Umm nope, guess again. Grandpa, who loved antiques,  can forever be stored in a replica oven urn in your kitchen. 

Did you know that you can purchase a nice wooden casket to be cremated in?  Not me, just put me on a pizza pan and light me up. I would't spend the money on this: 
If you are going to be cremated but still want to be viewed, you can also rent a casket for the viewing. Much more cost effective option in my opinion. 

Sadly, the 110th annual Funeral Directors Convention is over. So this concludes my educational infomercial for fun funeral facts and follies. Thanks so much for reading my blog. Please subscribe at the right to receive email updates when I write a new blog!  Have a fabulous day!


Monday, June 3, 2013

Crypt Flies, Tissue Vendors, and Funeral Home Follies

When your husband works in the funeral industry people are just dying to know the ins and outs of such a job. Luckily, I am here to educate you on these things. Tonight you will be able to sleep well because some of your strangest questions will now have an answer. 

I am always excited to be invited to my husband's events. I would be able to attend more of them if we didn't have children at home that want to be fed. I thought I fed them yesterday but they are wanting to eat again. Anyway, yesterday I was able to go to the Funeral Directors Convention as arm candy for my husband. I try to play my role well and clean up real nice. Last night was no exception. However, for a middle aged woman who is expected to play the role of the "life of the party", a late night event will be full of yawns and wonderings of just when I will get to bed. To remedy this  I decided to take an evening nap so I would be fresh for the gathering. I dozed off around 5:30 and woke up right at 8:30 which was the time I was told to meet my husband at the party. I jumped up, freshened up my makeup, zipped my little black dress then noticed I had sheet marks on my arms. Apparently I had a really nice nap. As luck would have it,  I had thrown a black sweater in my truck so was able to wear that to cover the sheet marks on my arms. Ready, set, GO!  I am off to play the role of arm candy which I LOVE to play. I got downstairs to the lobby of the hotel where the convention is being held and took my position on the arm of the most handsome man I know and begin to socialize with the Funeral Directors. 10 minutes into the social hour, my husband leans over to me and says, "You have sheet marks on your face."  I reply with, " I had a really good nap apparently.  I will keep my head turned this way until the sheet marks subside."

Contrary to what you might think, being around funeral directors is very fun and entertaining. I love it actually. They are a jovial bunch. The persona you see when you are at need in their facility is a 360 compared to how they are in real life. I guess they are around so much sadness at work that they really ham it up around each other in social settings. One musing  I heard was a group laughing about a horrible incident where a body kept leaking through the mouth and they had to keep wiping the body's mouth hoping the family would not notice. Another was a director talking about a mouth not being stitched tight enough and it came open during the night and the subsequent scrambling to get the mouth sewn back shut before the family arrived and saw the situation.

 Being a funeral director and embalmer is actually artistry.  They take their work seriously and want to please the family to have a good remembrance of their loved one. However, as with any job, there are times when things just happen. Like crypt flies. Did you know there was such a thing as crypt flies?  They only breed in dead bodies. They resemble knats. Funeral homes can buy a "crypt fly bug zapper" which resembles an air conditioner. So the next time you are at a funeral home look around for an air conditioner type thing. It may not really be an air conditioner but a crypt fly zapper that keeps the pesky pests under control. 

Also available for purchase is a computer program that will prevent you from accidentally digging up another body while making a spot for a new arrival. It's a pricy piece of software but I can see the need there. I would hate to disturb Aunt Edna while making room for Uncle George. This piece of equipment is extremely useful when you own an older cemetery where some markers may be so old and unreadable and possibly dislodged. This piece will get you back in line without dislodging a decayed relative. 

My favorite quote of the night was from a funeral home owner talking amongst the group we were sitting with. He said, "I have GOT to get my sales up."  I just scratched my head thinking how he could do that aside from going out and murdering a few or digging a hole and leading a herd of folks out on a senior citizens event where they accidentally fall into the hole. Seriously, how would he increase his sales?!  He also stated that he doesn't sell many markers since he is 80% cremation. These are all normal conversations amongst funeral directors. 

I will leave you today with a photo. I knew I was in the right place when I parked next to this:
Have a fabulous day and be sure not to travel by a funeral home who needs to increase their sales. It may not be safe. 

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