Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav Update

It has been a whirlwind of activity for us since Friday. We had already planned to go visit Carrie's grandparents in Huntsville, AL for the Labor Day weekend so we headed out of town on Friday morning. In hindsight, this was a good move as our Parish called for emergency evacuation at 7 am this morning. I have been tracking via the internet today and apparently the interstates are gridlocked out of N.O. We are here in Paducah keeping our fingers crossed. We live above lake Ponchartrain but that still puts us east of the eye which in general experiences some of the worst weather. Our main concern right now is the high winds given the number of trees in our yard. I don't think flooding will be a problem for us (hopefully), but we do have insurance. Please keep all of those in the N.O area in your prayers.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to School....Back to Budget!

Something that most people know about Earle and I is that we are always trying to work within our budget. I guess that is probably not a shock to anyone's system considering Earle is a Financial Anaylst! Sometimes it can be annoying and sometimes it can be empowering! We took Crown Ministries a couple of months after we got married, and then co-lead a few groups after that...but we are always re-assessing and re-defining our budget! Summer is always crazy because of unplanned weekend trips, extra eating out and gas money on those trips...etc....So, now that we are pretty much home and settled we have to come to grips with reality and get back on track with living responsibly within a family budget! For us that means, only one credit card, and sometimes using cash for everyday expenses. We usually eat out much less during, "Lock down Budget time" and don't go shopping as much for items that we don't need. Also, we have to plan for Holiday spending etc.
I recently saw these two posts on Yahoo, and if you did not get a chance to see them, I thought I would post the links.
This one is called: "How a Family Saves big by living on Cash Only"

This on is an ABC news clip "Tips: By America's Cheapest Family" (I think you have to listen to a quick advertisment first..sorry)

Anyway, I am needing to take some more pics of the I thought this might be a good tide me over post!! I found the clips really interesting! Hope you enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Family Favorite....

Okay, I have to share...there is a restaurant in Houston called "Chuys". They have this awesome dip called Jalapeno Ranch Dip that they serve with chips and the food. Earle and I used to absolutely love this dip! The other week when Rochelle was visiting, we were trying to find the recipe online to recreate it. The one that Earle and I tried was absolutely awesome!! I tweaked it a little to fit our liking and needs and we have had to have a constant bowl of it in the refrigerator ever since. It only takes about 5 minutes to make up and you can make it healthy so you don't feel a bit guilty about eating it. It is great with chips, sandwiches, or veggies! It is pretty hot, but I threw a little sweet in there to balance out the jalapenos!! Here it is:

1 Cup of Sour Cream(we use fat free)
1 cup of Mayo (we use fat free)
1 Packet of Dry Ranch Dressing mix
Garlic Powder to taste
2 Packets of Splenda or Sweet n Low
About a third of a Jar of Pickled Jalapeno Peppers(0r however much you like)!!
1/4 bunch of cilantro leaves(this is is good, but we prefer it without..totally up to you)

Throw all of the ingredients in the Food Processor for about 2 minutes until creamy and chunk less!! It gets a little hotter by the day, so you might go light on the Jalapenos, and then taste it and if you need to add more you can!! YUMMMM!!! Anyway!! Enjoy!! Have a good rest of the week!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This Week at our House...

We had a great time visiting with our niece, Summer, who came to visit us for the week. We spent some time in the French Quarter where we got to take her to Cafe Du Monde, Jackson Square, Bourbon St. and she got to see all of the the fun street performers...including a snake handler with snakes...which she got to hold and pet...Ben did not want too...that was fine with me! We also to the Hard Rock Cafe, went swimming, watched quite a bit of Olympic Gymnastics and swimming and Earle took Summer to the WWII museum where they spent Friday afternoon. It was a great visit. Now we are back into the swing of things...Here are a couple of pics from the week!!

Ben has become quite the little helper...he actually can do a decent job with the vacuum cleaner... and he has started feeding our dogs for me most days...what a big boy!! Yeah! I have been waiting for a helper!!


It is so sad, but Collin's hair is getting so long that I have to put this bandana like burpcloth or dish towel on his head so that he does not get food all through his hair every time he eats....I am still not ready to cut off his curls...but I know it needs to happen sometime in the more near future!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wisdom from a friend....

Well, we have had a fun-packed week with Rochelle and her kiddos coming to visit! Although it was really hot, and we spent a lot of the time indoors, the kids managed to stay somewhat entertained. I was going to blog about our week with pics and everything, but I think Rochelle is going to post, so check out the pics on her site!! Instead, I thought I would post about some great ideas she gave me while she was here. It is not a secret that Ben is a really picky eater and it is next to impossible to get him to eat fruits and veggies!! With all of the travelling we have done this summer, I have really slacked off on trying to get him to eat those things. One thing Rochelle is really good at is getting complete nutrition in her kids meals. So, she actually brought some banana bread to our house from the Jessica Seinfeld book, "Deceptively Delicious". The banana bread had some vegetable puree in it was sneaky, but it tasted pretty good! Collin loved it! You cannot taste the vegetable puree in it. He was getting some fruit and some vegetable in it so that was even better! Ben loves carbs and I think if I start trying to sneak some things by him, I may be successful! Many of the recipes in this book sneaks veggie purees into baked goods. Ben is always begging for "desserts" so I thought...hmm. ...maybe desserts could be part of our actual daily allowance of fruits and veggies. There is brownie recipe I am going to try this week!

When I went to the grocery store today, I tried to be a little more mindful. There are some egg rolls in the deli section of Wal-mart that Ben will eat, and they are loaded with veggies and chicken, but are a great tasting finger food. Also, for the past few weeks, I have been buying these little Banquet Pot Pies for Collin. They have meat and veggies in them and are only 42 cents a piece in the freezer section. When I went to buy some pasta, I got some with Ricotta and Spinach stuffed inside!! So anyway, it is a start! I wanted to share with some of you what we like especially with our "picky eater!" Thank you Rochelle, for encouraging me to do better and setting such a great example! We try to eat healthy...but we are not always balanced like we should be! If any of you have any other great tips, please share!!!

Update: Okay, tonight I made the Choc. Chip cookies from Deceptively Delicious...the secret ingredient is Chick put them in whole, not smashed....I was skeptical...but the result was that they really tasted good! The chick peas tasted really nutty, not at all like chick peas and Ben ate 5!! He loved them and kept asking for more. I told Earle to hide his excitement and quit telling Ben, "good Job" after every cookie or he would catch on to the trick!!!

Rochelle's Blog

Monday, August 4, 2008

Update on Earle's mom

Last week, Earle's mom had a lumpectomy and they found more strange looking tissue around the area of her lymph more of her breast tissue had to be removed and that tissue had to be tested to see if there was cancer in it or not. We got the results today, and she does not have to proceed with the mastectomy! The tissue was not cancerous and it had not spread into her lymph nodes! So that is a huge answered prayer! She may still go ahead with radiation treatments as well as the chemo treatments. She will find that out later this week when she meets with an oncologist. Thank you all so much for your prayers and your concerns! For now it is good news and a huge sigh of relief!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lunch at Earle's Office

This past Friday, I had planned for the boys and I to go up and have lunch with Earle at One Shell Square. I had wanted to do this before Ben started back to school, since Fridays are a good day to go because it is really slow in Earle's office. I was excited to go because I had really never seen inside of where he had worked. All week, Ben had been running a low grade temperature off and on. Ben told me that nothing hurt and he felt fine. By the time Friday came he was temperature free so I decided to go ahead and take them. We brought our lunch, and ate with Earle on the 11th floor where he always eats with his co-workers. Then we went up to the 23rd floor where Earle's office was and the boys got to sit at his desk and play with his office supplies. It was fun. Earle spent most of his time chasing Collin, who did not want to sit in his stroller at all! It is a good thing that most people were not in office this Friday, because we were a wild and woolly bunch! It was really good to be able to visualize where Earle works and what he is doing everyday!

When we got home, we unloaded the car and I decided that I thought Ben felt a little warm, so Earle took his temperature and it was about 102.6... It was already 4:30p.m. on Friday afternoon, but I tried calling his pediatrician anyway to see if we could quickly get him in. Of course, they had just closed! So I again started drilling Ben asking if his tummy hurt or his ears or his throat...he said no, he was fine. So finally I said, come here and open your mouth really big for me.... and to my horrification this is what I saw!! Please don't scroll down if you are faint is a little gross!

I am not Dr. but that looked like a classic case of strep throat to me! You can see the big white pockets of fluid on both sides! Yuck! Needless to say we took him straight to the Redi-care and got him some antibiotics for yes, strep throat! How could I have not known or looked in his throat earlier in the week? He still ate chicken nuggets for lunch every day, never complaining of a sore throat!! Kids are often a mystery!! Hope everyone is having a good weekend!!