A broadcasting mom has decided to take her "show" to a blog and gear it toward the average mom who may or may not like country music. You'll get interviews, reviews, recipes, everyday life, and hopefully have some fun!
Tonight all of the festivities begin for me and my family. Tonight it's off to my parents house. Tomorrow everyone is coming to our house to celebrate Jonathan's 6th birthday and to have Christmas dinner. Then it's off to the in-laws for the weekend!
I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I have been waiting to get things checked off my to-do list so that I could set aside time for baking Christmas cookies with Jonathan. I wanted to have most things done so that we could really enjoy it, otherwise, I tend to get overwhelmed and then get "snappy."
Yesterday, I had all of the shopping and gift wrapping done, so I declared it baking day! I'm not going to kid anyone--I cannot make sugar cookies for the life of me--so I decided to buy premade cookie dough this year. I found a fancy Wilton pan that has the cutest Christmas shapes that I thought was perfect to use! My husband and even the baby got involved smashing the premade cookie dough into the fancy shapes and I carefully wiped off any access we might have left behind. We listened to Christmas music and laughed at how silly we were being.
We put our cookies in the oven and waited out the cook time by getting our frosting and sprinkles ready to decorate our gems when they came out of the oven.
Boy, were we in for a surprise! The cookie dough and managed to rise and the cookies were very dark in color. I was hoping that when I took them out of the oven that the dough would flatten, but it didn't. We ended up with what looked more like Christmas muffins, very dark Christmas muffins. Not exactly what we were going for!
Trying to be optimistic, I thought that as long as they tasted good, we could slap enough frosting on them to cover up the dark color. Nice plan, but they tasted horrible! Not only did they look like muffins, but they tasted like them too, and they had a nasty after taste.
That's when I decided they were unfit for consumption and threw the suckers in the trash. Jonathan was crushed, so I took what was left of the premade dough and made some extremely flat cookies. We slathered them with frosting and sprinkled the heck out of them! Jonathan pretended that we were in a cooking class and enjoyed having the sole responsibility of frosting the cookies. I had to chuckle, because I would never be allowed to teach a cooking class, but my little guy doesn't care...at least not yet, anyway.
Not exactly the "memory making" experience I had in mind, but a memory was made none-the-less. I know we will never forget making the worst Christmas cookies ever!
As a parent, I have been trying really hard to make sure that I make Christmas memorable and magical for my children. In my quest of making memories, I have been thinking about what Christmas memories stand out for me, so that I can recreate the magic. It's pretty interesting what has come to the surface.
As I dust off the cobwebs, the first first thing that comes to mind is a memory from when I couldn't have been older than 3, or maybe 4. It is vague, but I recall walking down the stairs of our tri-level home and finding "Dapper Dan" and "Dressy Bessy" dolls. They were not wrapped and were just sitting under the tree waiting for me. I loved those dolls and played with them for years--long after I was able to dress Bessy.
The next memory I have is not as pleasant. When I was 5, I was sick with the chicken pox on Christmas.
I remember being confined to the downstairs sofa in front of the TV with plenty of coloring books. I was miserable. My mother would use cotton balls to smother me with calamine lotion and I can still smell that nasty odor and how badly I itched. Although I was extremely itchy, I do remember watching excessive amounts of the Bernstein Bears, but every time my mom would turn her mixer on while she was baking cookies, the picture would go fuzzy. I did get plenty of "poor babies" which made my sisters' eyes roll, but I was loving all the extra attention. I didn't get to unwrap the majority of my presents that year, though. I was just too uncomfortable. Isn't it amazing that my children will never have to deal with the chicken pox because of a vaccine? Or the fact that they will never understand that we didn't have cable and that the TV actually went fuzzy went you turned on a mixer?
The next year, I recall a little incident in which I pretended to be sick at school because I wanted to be home when my mom was decorating our Christmas tree. I guess my mom just wanted to get things done that year and didn't want to be bothered by four children's idea of "help," so she opted to do it while were all in school. I very distinctly remember going to the school nurse and telling her that I needed to go home. When she asked if I was sick, I lied and said my tummy hurt. Instead of being able to go home and help with the decorations, however, I was forced to stay in my bed, because "after all I was sick." That was a hard lesson learned.
I have sporadic memories too, ones that I am not sure how old I was, or what year it might have been. Like baking peanut butter cookies with my grandma (although I guess I had to be very young, because she passed away when I was 5). I thought I was a big shot because I got to use a fork to smooch down the cookie dough.
I remember hanging red stockings, with my sister, Penny, on the railing entering our home; making Christmas wreath decorations out of cotton balls to hang on my Grandfather's tree; having my sister, Kelly, pull me through the snow on our old-fashioned sled; saving my morning milk money in order buy Christmas gifts for my family, being excited that my oldest sister, Gail, was coming home to spend the night on Christmas Eve, the tin-foil "reflectors" my mom made for the lights on our Christmas tree, The Oak Ridge Boys tickets we got as a gift for the whole family, singing Christmas carols at my grandmother's house, my Mom's cookies, and my Dad making breakfast.
So, I guess I don't need to stress anymore about making memories for my kids. They will have good ones and bad ones, just like I have. What matters is that they are surrounded by family, just like I was.
It's Christmas party time! Wondering what to wear? This is great post from Bramblewood Fashion! I love that all of the looks are cute and on a budget!
I am planning to do all of my holiday baking this next week while the "boys" are out of school. Jonathan loves to help me in the kitchen, so these snowflake pretzels are the perfect thing for us to add to our baking list! Thanks Mom Endeavors!
Need some last minute and cheap gift ideas? Then, you need to check out thislist from Today's Fabulous Finds! There is nothing like 15 gift ideas under $2. I love we "whisk" you a Merry Christmas--and I need a new whisk!
This year, I am planning to make Christmas breakfast ahead of time and just pop in the oven while the presents are being unwrapped. This recipe from Get Cooking will be on our table this year!
Thanks to a high school classmate of mine, Jonathan was kept busy with this snowman activity on a recent snow day. I'm sure it will come in handy for Christmas break--especially because if you send him a picture of your artwork, he'll send you and upgrade link!
I was trying to think of some of my favorite country Christmas songs to blog about today and I must say, I have a long list! While the traditional Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" are on my favorite Christmas song list, I have so many country versions on the list too!
I love Ricochet's version of "Let It Snow," Dolly Parton's version of "Winter Wonderland," Lorrie Morgan's version of "Up on Santa Claus Mountain," Barbara Mandrell's "It Must Have Been The Mistletoe," and just about anything Martina McBride touches.
There is one song, however that can bring me to tears every time I hear it..."The Christmas Guest." While I do respect Grandpa Jones' version of the song he penned, I love Reba's version...she is just so expressive! So, grab your tissues and take a listen!
Okay, sorry for the pause in blogging...but this is a busy time of year!
Every year, I look forward to the kids holiday party at work. I am so glad that my employer continues this tradition. Radio has been hit so hard in the last few years with the state of our economy, that cut backs have been made every where. Unfortunately, holiday parties are easily placed on the chopping block. Which, by the way, it has for our "traditional" holiday office party, but the kids have kept theirs!
Every year, Santa makes an appearance and the kids get to sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas--and they get an early present for being so good! We snack on cookies and take home a goody bag filled with radio biz perks! We are talking gift certificates and show tickets!! The kids will be so excited to see Sesame Street LIVE in January!
I'm happy to report that Tyler's first visit with Santa went well--although he can't get over those two new teeth, so his tongue keeps running over them, but I think the picture is still cute!
This year, Santa's "elf" provided some extra entertainment. He made these amazing balloon hats for the kids. Jonathan had his heart set on a Rudolf hat, but when he got up to "Fitzwilly" he asked for a Christmas tree. Go figure!
When we left the party, we went to Fazoli's for dinner in order to redeem the free meal certificate Jonathan got for having perfect attendance the first 9 weeks of school. We then piled in the car with the snacks from our party goody bags and drove around looking at Christmas lights.
Tyler REALLY enjoyed his snacks! I had a fabulous time with my family and I am very thankful to work for a company who puts kids and families first! I'm very fortunate to have hit the Mommy jackpot when it comes to doing what I love for a living and yet still being able to spend the majority of my day at home. These little perks are the icing on the cake!
"Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart" was a made-for TV movie, which first aired in 1997 and starred a teenage LeAnn Rimes. When this movie first came out, I remember being so excited! I also remember being disappointed that Bernadette Peters had such a huge role...I would much rather see LeAnn more.
This past weekend, Lifetime aired the movie as part of their Fa La La La Lifetime promotion--which I love, by the way--so I sat down to watch it again. I was intrigued to see how I would react to the movie 13 years later.
I was no longer excited to see what LeAnn would be wearing, or if she could act, but I was excited to hear her sing. Let's face it, the girl has pipes! LeAnn has been going through a lot of harsh press lately because of her affair with Eddie Cibrian and she is pretty much non existent on Country radio. All of that was on my mind as I watched the young LeAnn in the movie, taking advice from the "seasoned" Bernadette Peters character. LeAnn's character was reminded not to let family take the backseat on the road to fame and fortune.
Despite her personal life, and her current CD, LeAnn will remain one of my favorite singers, and I am curious as to how her career will ride this storm. In the meantime, I love the song "Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart." And it wouldn't be Christmas in my home, without it!
I have learned so many new skills as a mother that I would have never developed had I never had children. Skills that I am in awe of on a daily basis. For instance, changing a 9-month-old baby's diaper. I think it should seriously be considered an Olympic sport. The art of cleaning a baby's bottom while, said baby, is twisting and turning in order to get away from you while screaming at the top of his/her lungs, getting the diaper back on straight without gaps around legs, or ripped, and without needing a bath afterwards is truly a skill someone without children will never understand.
I discovered a new skill recently. I like to call it toepickitupitis. It sounds like an illness, doesn't it. Well, it's not one. Let me give you, what we in the radio biz, call a pronoucer... (toe-pick-it-up-itis). The definition of topickitupitis is the ability to pick objects up with your toes. Man, have I gotten good at it!
Just this morning, I put my skills to the test as I was trying to get ready for work. You see, my 9-month-old is going through a little "mommy attachment" phase. In other words, if I am in eye sight, I must be holding him. Now, picture getting dressed while holding a twenty-some-pound baby and dropping your sock. I could lean over, breaking my back and forcing the baby to grab onto my hair in order to hold on, or I could put my toepickitupitis to work! All I have to do is simply lift one leg up to my opposite hand and we are all good to go!
This skill also comes in very handy when the baby is in the highchair during dinner, even though he is not eating, because he screams if he is not included in any activity, and he drops a toy. One could get up from the table, leaving their dinner plate...or one could enable their toepickitupitis skills.
I have even found that this skill translates over to everyday life. Case in point: I was using the straight iron on my hair the other day and I dropped my hair brush. Why should I put the straight iron down in order to bend over and pick it up, when I posses the skill of toepickitupitis?
In the words of Anne Murray, "time don't run out on me!" It feels like my theme song these days! I cannot believe that tomorrow is already December 1st. I'm sorry to announce that the Advent calendar I wanted to make has not even been started. All of the things that I wanted to get done by the first of the month have gone undone and it looks like I'll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off again this holiday season.
I was talking with my sister over the phone this past Saturday when we were both taking a break from housecleaning and we laughed at the way we seem to turn into not-so-jolly people this time of year. It is down right stressful to get the house cleaned well enough to be worthy of the Christmas tree, get out all of the decorations, put all of the decorations up, make sure you try to have "magical" moments for the kids, shop, wrap, bake cookies, and still manage to do the everyday things that life requires, and it seems like the deadline moves up year after year. I mean after all, it technically isn't December yet and I'm already starting to stress out. Don't get me started on how to pull off a birthday party on Christmas day! Overzealous? Yep!
I heard a colleague say some wonderful words of wisdom this morning, however. All of these things on my "to do" list should not be looked at as "chores." Putting up the tree, baking cookies, and wrapping presents should be celebrations, not tasks! That was really powerful to me. All too often I find myself getting short with my son and griping to my husband around the holidays because of all the things I have to do. I certainly don't want to do that and I must break the cycle! I want my children to remember the joy and wonder of the holidays, not how crazed Mommy was from November 15th to January 5th!
So, today as I am running around trying to get the Advent calendar ready for tomorrow, I will do it with a smile and think about how exciting it will be for Jonathan to count down the days until Santa comes! I also promise myself not freak out if it isn't perfect or if I can't find enough trinkets to fill it with...after all, I do only have to have tomorrow's filled!
When I start to think about all of the things I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, I begin to tear up. It has been a sobering couple of weeks for me. You see, two weekends ago, I got a horrible phone call. One of those phone calls where your heart falls to the floor.
The weekend started innocently enough. I was looking forward to a trip out of town to meet up with a great friend that I met while working for a radio station out west. We had a great afternoon catching up with our families at lunch and laughed like nobody's business. We talked about old times and her daughter played a "who can guess the song first" game with us from songs she had loaded onto her ipod for the occasion.
My husband and I even did some shopping at the quaint local shops and even found some Christmas gifts. It was a great day. And a great evening. We went back to my husband's parents' house to spend the night. The kids had a blast with grandma and grandpa and I was enjoying conversation with adults. Little did I know that all this time, a nightmare was unfolding in my family.
My father was trying to get ahold of me the whole time to tell me that my sister had been in a horrific car accident and had to be flown by medical helicopter to the nearest trauma center after being cut out of her car. Unfortunately, my cell phone had gone dead and I was oblivious to it, and to the fact that my sister was badly injured.
What is left of the car.
I found out when another sister of mine had the idea to call my in-laws on the off chance that we were there. It had never occurred to me that I hadn't informed anyone in my family where I was going to be for the weekend. When I put my ear to phone, I already knew something was wrong by the look on my mother-in-law's face as she handed me the phone. My sister calmly told me that "she is alright, but Gail was in a bad accident and flown to Ft. Wayne yesterday." The words after that are little blurry. Somewhere in the conversation, however, I discovered the news that in the tests they performed to make sure my sister did not have bleeding on her brain, they found a very large brain tumor.
It is not cancerous, but it needs to be removed, as it is the size of her fist. The neurosurgeon seems confident that it will be fairly simply to reach, since it is in the back of her brain, right behind her ear.
While the news of my eldest sister being flown to the hospital after a car accident seemed traumatic, she really didn't suffer serious injuries and will make a full recovery. Just a nasty gash on the side of her head that needed five stitches, a horrible headache, and some nasty looking bruises are, really all the damage that was done. And quite possibly, this car accident could very well end up saving her life.
Not knowing that all of that was happening really shook me up. I don't even want to think about a different outcome...but I am so extremely grateful that my big sister survived this crash and will able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. The brain surgery has been put on hold until after the holidays, because there will be quite a lengthy recovery period. You can guarantee that every single member of my family will be hugging her, and everyone else, a little more tightly this year! And when it's time to go around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and tell what we are thankful for, you might need to muzzle me, because my list is very long!
And, by the way, a new cell phone is on my Christmas list!
Okay, I thought I'd give you an update on how my "I'm going to exercise everyday of November" idea was going. Short story? It didn't happen.
I think I was a bit ambitious. Although, I did that purposely. I knew if my goal was to simply, "exercise more," I would have never gotten off the couch! And since I didn't want to enter other holiday season were I eat myself into another 10 pound weight gain that I'll never get ride of, I knew I had to do something drastic! So, the idea of doing some type of exercise every day was born. However, I did not stick to it. I did exercise, just not everyday.
I did manage to attend my Zumba class every week, which I am proud of, because before this challenge to myself, I hadn't been working out at all. Having a work buddy attend the class with me has really helped motivate me to go, especially because the class is at a rather inconvenient time.
And while some days I counted vacuuming and walking further in the parking lot of a store as exercise, other days I did DVD workouts and on most days I turned on some music and danced like nobody was watching! In doing so, my baby found his groove, and Jonathan had a blast dancing around with me. It has really become a bonding experience for us...just a time for us to let loose of our troubles and dance our fannies off! I love that Tyler learned to boogie during this activity!
As you can hear, we are fans of Eric Church! If you are wondering if I have lost any weight, the answer would be "a little." Three pounds to be exact. Not exactly earth shattering, but since I did not change my diet at all, I think that is pretty good. I do think that I have lost some inches, however. I didn't have the forethought to measure myself before this challenge, but a lot of people have been asking me if I have lost weight. Plus, all of my pants are quite a bit bigger than than used to be. In fact, I was able to go down a size when I was shopping for a new pair of jeans, and that's a size I haven't seen in years!
I know that November isn't over...so I'm off to Zumba!
Do you have a Taylor Swift fan on your Christmas list? Or, are you a huge Taylor fan? Then you must enter this sweepstakes! You could win airfare to see Taylor perform with meet and greet passes, a Sony camera, and an autographed guitar! The contest ends on December 15th.
Ever wonder when you shouldpurchase your concert tickets when a show is announced? After reading this post from Country Music News Blog, you might be surprised.
Every wish you could take your kiddo to work with you? I'll admit, that I had my first born at work with me until he was 6-months-old on a daily basis. This post is great from Work It Mom. I wish more companies were so open-minded!
Loretta Lynn is celebrating 50 years in country music this year, having recorded her first single back in 1960. A tribute album has been released in her honor to mark the milestone simply called, "Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn." Country stars like Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Reba, and even Alan Jackson are featured on the album. Of course the duet that Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow performed on the CMA awards is also included.
While I have always respected her status, I haven't always been a huge Loretta Lynn fan. I never thought she had the greatest voice and her songs seemed unrelateable to me. It has only been recently that I have started to relate to the songs, simply because I didn't have enough life experience to really "get" them when I was younger. I have since become enamored by her songwriting. When I think back to the time period that Loretta was spouting out these anthems, I admire her gumption, and am simply awe struck. Her lyrics are so true to life and there is no annoying noise making, like a lot of country songs in this day and age have. (Have I mentioned I don't like "Stuck Like Glue?") So, put me on the pill, leave my man alone, and don't you dare come home drinking! That's real...real country music!
The other day Jonathan came home from school and we looked through his book bag, got a snack and had a little fun goofing around. I helped him with his homework and was starting to get dinner ready, when my husband got home from work.
I was surprised when the first thing Jonathan said when my husband walked through the door was, "Daddy, I forgot to say it before I ate my lunch so I said it at recess."
I had no idea what he was talking about and thought that maybe he was talking about forgetting to say his prayer before eating. My husband simply said, "That's okay, buddy. I was a little late to lunch today, so we probably said it at the same time anyway!"
After Jonathan scampered back to his room to play, I questioned my husband on the exchange, since I was obviously in the dark on this one.
It seems that Jonathan was having a little trouble that morning leaving for school. He is still getting used to this whole school thing and every now and then gets a little emotional and just wants to cling to his parents a little. It is hard for a 5-year-old to suddenly be gone all day long from the routine he has been accustomed to his whole life.
So, instead of calling off work and letting Jonathan stay home from school, or instead of shrugging our son's emotions off, he came up with the sweetest idea. He told Jonathan that he has lunch at the same time as he does, so they can still eat lunch together! And, if before they start to eat they both said, "I love you" to themselves, then they would be telling each other at the same time. It calmed Jonathan down and got him out the door to school.
My husband amazes me. He simply does what needs to be done and never complains or says things like, "don't you realize what all I've done today?" I surely am guilty of saying that to him. No, he just amazingly does everything and manages to brilliantly parent our emotional son in the mist of it all.
This edition of Linky-Dinky-Doo is all about Thanksgiving! It is such an exciting time of year and the hustle and bustle has already begun. Before we get too carried away with getting into the "holiday" spirit, we need to remember a very important holiday--Turkey Day!
I have recently discovered the wonders of tofu, but not sure I have thought about a Tofurkeybefore! If you are looking for a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, you need to check out this menu from the Bed &Breakfast Network.
If you are trying to keep to a budget, this postfrom the Home Saver's Blog will help you. It was written when a lot of people were facing foreclosure a couple of years ago. It offers great tips on doing Thanksgiving on the cheap!
Trying to figure out what to wear on Thanksgiving? The Tall Snob might be able to help you out!
Fist of all...Happy Veteran's Day and thank you to all who have ever served our country!
Secondly, I was so impressed by Reba's performance of "If I Were a Boy" at last night's CMAs, I thought we'd revisit Reba's past. I love that Reba is managing to stay current and updated, but all the while maintaining her country roots and being true to herself and her music. I have always idolized her, but my admiration for her continues to grow!
What pipes! And I LOVE that Reba expresses emotion with every lyric and sometimes the slightest syllable! Rock on Reba!
I hear a lot of things through the baby monitor. The sweet sounds of cooing, the babbling of da-da, the grunting sounds of wanting picked up, the wails of being hungry, the thumping of the crib against the wall, the sound of a pacifier falling to the floor followed by a sweet "uh-oh," the neighbors putting their kids to bed. Wait a minute...the neighbors putting their kids to bed?!
Yep. That is exactly what I heard this last Friday evening. You see, I had been doing some rearranging in the baby's room and had unplugged the baby monitor in order to move the bookcase it was sitting on and I had forgotten to plug it back in. When I went into my bedroom to put some laundry away, I heard voices coming out of the baby monitor--and it wasn't anyone in my family! It was the neighbors getting their kids ready for bed.
At first I was perplexed at how this tiny little device could pick up sounds from across the street. Then I became fascinated as I sat and listened to the neighbors, as if I were a spy on a secret mission. Not long after that, though I began to panic. If I can hear them, then that means they can hear me!
Now, first, let me tell you a little something about my neighbors. The parents are the same age as we are and have six children. The mother of the family stays home and home schools the kids. The father of the family is a pastor. Pretty much Mr. and Mrs. Perfect. Yep. The pastor and his wife, also have gentle ways of putting their children to bed, which does not compare to the chaos that ensues in my household every night. I realized that this God-loving family has quite possibly heard my yelling and screaming and who-knows what else all through the baby monitor! Are there any words to truly describe that feeling of realization?
I then started thinking back at the times I have "lost it." You know what I mean. Those moments when the baby is crying, has poop up his back, and is trying to wriggle off the changing table all while the 5-year-old is yelling from the bathroom that he too has pooped and is incapable of wiping himself, so he must throw a fit because you are already up to your eye balls in poo and can't come to his aid as his jealousy issues come into play, so you scream to release the stress? You know, those moments.
Let's just say, I had too many of those kind of moments to recall that my blood pressure began to rise. Then I began to reflect on the type of mother I am. All because of that ^*^&*^%^ baby monitor! As if I didn't have enough guilt and feelings of inadequacy! Want to know where the baby monitor is now? That sucker is is in the trash!
Pretty soon we'll all be head over heels in turkey, and if we are lucky, we'll have some left overs to whip up in to tasty new dishes! File this one for the day after Thanksgiving...it's one of my favorite turkey casserole recipes!
Broccoli Turkey Casserole
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup bell pepper
1/4 cup green onions
1 TB butter or margarine
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups chopped turkey
1 pk of frozen broccoli cuts
1 cup cooked wild or long grain rice (I used long grain)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup milk
In a large skillet, cook carrot, bell pepper, and green onions in hot margarine until a crispy-tender. Remove from heat and stir in soup, broccoli, turkey rice, mozzarella cheese, and milk. Transfer to a a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with extra mozzarella cheese.
Bake, covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then uncover the dish and bake for another 20 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
You could also use artichoke instead of broccoli to add a little more "sophistication" to this recipe. Yes I know, it is sad that I consider artichoke sophisticated. Hey, I'm a little hick with a family to feed, I'm lucky they eat broccoli! You could also use chicken instead of turkey...like a rotisserie chicken from the deli to give this recipe more mileage.
Okay, as a new blogger, I have been scanning the blogosphere on how to do this whole blog thing. I have been finding some great blogs, ideas, and even making some bloggy friends! So, I thought I'd start a new feature that shares some of the things I have found fascinating for one reason or another. Let the inspiration begin!
Who doesn't love the Oak Ridge Boys? The first concert I ever attended was an Oak Ridge Boys concert. It was the early 80s and Steve Wariner, an Indiana native, opened for them. The concert tickets were a Christmas gift for me and my sisters from our parents, and we were all ecstatic about going! I remember when they hit the stage, one of my sisters grabbed my father's leg so hard that he had to hold in a yelp. The Oaks continue to tour and I have been fortunate enough to see them in concert several more times and have had the privilege of meeting them as well. In fact, I bet a lot of people have met them! They are so gracious to their fans and make a point to greet them after every show! They are coming to South Bend for a Christmas show on December 20th, which I'm sure will be a great show! The Oak Ridge Boys are also avid Twitter users and Joe Bonsall is very good at tweeting back!
Here is a clip from when the Oak Ridge Boys appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1982...enjoy!
Okay. At first I thought this song was just a depressing song about a woman who lost a child. Since I really don't care for The Band Perry's sound, I have tried to ignore this song as much as possible. The thing about working in radio, however, is that I keep hearing the darn thing! It is wildly popular and continues to climb the chart, which I really don't understand. And I really don't understand what the heck the song is meant to tell me!
The Band Perry is a sibling trio and "If I Die Young" is somewhat of a narration from Kimberly Perry, although all of the band members had a hand in writing it. Kimberly has publicly stated that the lyrics are meant to reflect on what if everything they had going for them were to suddenly stop. And that they have accomplished a lot at their young ages.
Frankly, I don't buy that. I think the song has much deeper innuendos and has morbid lyrics. I almost wonder if Kimberly--or the narrator--was once suicidal, had an abortion, or has lost an infant at birth, because those are the thoughts that come out of my head as I listen to this song. And the more I listen to it, the more confused I become trying to figure it out. Maybe that's what The Band Perry had intended. Perhaps it was meant to be ambiguous so that it would appeal to more listeners?
This song is definitely about death, I'm just not sure who's death the narrator is talking about. But lyrics like "little cold finger," "the sharp knife of a short life," and "sink me in the river" creep me out!
Here are the rest of the lyrics. Maybe you can enlighten me.
If I Die Young by The Band Perry
If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
oh oh oh oh
Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She'll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
ain't even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time
If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time
And I’ll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little cold finger
I’ve never known the lovin' of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
There’s a boy here in town says he’ll love me forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time
So put on your best boots and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done
A penny for my thoughts, oh no I’ll sell them for a dollar They're worth so much more after I’m a gonner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when you're dead how people start listenin’
If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
The ballad of a dove
Go with peace and love
Gather up your tears, keep ‘em in your pocket
Save them for a time when your really gonna need 'em oh
The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time
I must have lost my mind. I have decided to exercise every day during the month of November. You see, my birthday is fast approaching, Sunday in fact, and it has me wondering what has happened to me. I used to weigh nothing as a kid. My teenage years were the same, in fact, my nickname was Olive Oyl from Popeye. My thin frame continued into young adulthood, but it is long gone now! I know I'll never get my youth back, or the body I used to have before marriage and babies changed it, but I am tired of just wishing I was skinny again--it's time to get moving!
I have tried here and there to lose weight, but they have all been short lived. I have to admit, though, that we have been eating healthier as a family. It is the exercise, though, that has always kept me from losing more or from keeping off the few pounds I do manage to lose when I "diet." I just can't stand to exercise! So, the only way I thought I might actually do something is to challenge myself and then blog about it. Accountability, can be a huge motivator!
(From a Google search on exercise humor)
Now, I am not planning to knock myself out like a Hollywood starlet trying to keep her reality show gig, but rather trying to do something each day. For instance, yesterday I did a 10 minute Pilate's ab video from the "on demand" feature on my cable system. On Wednesday, however, I am taking a Zumba class with a co-worker. Again, accountability. I need someone to go with me or I'll just say I'm too tired to go and end up sitting on the couch with a bag of microwave popcorn. I figured that Zumba would be my main workout for the week, with brisk walks, yoga, Pilate's, and a little weight training thrown in on the other days.
I realize that the holidays are fast approaching, which is a horrible time to try and watch your weight, but that is exactly why I am doing this! I don't want to gain another 10 pounds during the holidays that I'll never get rid of! I am also aware that I might have to intensify my workouts if I want to actually lose, but for now, I'm starting slowly, so that I don't burn out. So, we'll see how it goes...wish me luck!
Okay. Some folks were wondering how the big shopping trip went yesterday, so I thought I'd give a quick update. Here it goes...we bought nothing. Yep. Apparently that's what happens when you go shopping with no list!
We did a TON of looking though. And to be honest, the time flew. In my mind I was thinking that we all day to shop, but in reality it was only a few hours. By the time I got off work and ate lunch, we only had time to hit a couple of stores before it was time to head home in order to get Jonathan off the bus. It just didn't seem like enough time to go hog wild like I wanted to.
It also didn't help that my husband and I were on different pages. I was ready to grab things and put them on layaway so that we would be forced to budget the extra spending. He, on the other hand, was in the mood to "shop for ideas." Is that a man's way of saying he doesn't want to spend a lot of money?
Anyway, Legos will definitely be under the Christmas tree this year. First, we have to decide which line we think our Kindergartner will dig. Star Wars? Harry Potter? Creator? City? There are so many stinking choices! And they are not cheap! I'm liking this house though. It turns into three different houses.
Since he likes doll houses, but not the dolls so much, I thought this would be a good idea. Daddy is leaning more towards this though:
A pillow pet will probably be purchased too. Since Jonathan's birthday is also on Christmas I always try to get him a special book, which I give to him right before he goes to bed Christmas night, so I know that is on the list too.
As for what we found for the baby?! I fell in love with this Little Tikes walk behind toy that turns into a ride on toy. I think it is so cute and we'll get more bang for our buck!
So that is how things went yesterday. By the time Christmas actually rolls around, however, the things my kids are unwrapping could be things I haven't thought of yet. And most definitely haven't PURCHASED yet!
The Watson porch is officially ready for trick or treaters! Remember me saying something about buying almost 20 pumpkins this year? Well, the family set up shop in the unfinished part of our basement last night, because it was too cold and windy to work outside, and finished carving them. We started a couple of days ago when it was still warm enough to work outside. Now, not all of them were carved, some were left alone and some of them now have a little flare. Here's what we came up with!
Any time Jonathan can get his hands on glitter, he is one happy camper. He had a ball doing this one!
We found this neat pumpkin carving set for the whopping price of $1 that had tools to perfectly shape triangles and circles. Jonathan came up with this idea.
My husband's mad-talented freestyle skills with a monogrammed pumpkin!
And again with this "cute" pumpkin recreated from a Halloween card Jonathan got from Great Grandma Lorraine.
This would be my idea from the stencils I found on Country Living's website.
This one is from Country Living as well. I just had to do this one! Too cool!
And my husband, Jon, came up with this creation. Again with the crazy freestyle skills!
My husband and I are going Christmas shopping tomorrow. He has the day off from work, so we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some of Jonathan's shopping done while he is still in school. The only problem is that I have no idea what to buy him. I heard that gasp! First of all, what kind of mother am I that I don't know what to get my own kid? Secondly, how could I go shopping, for Christmas gifts mind you, without any clue as to what to buy? I'm supposed to be an over-achieving-stay-at-home-work-part-time-mommy blogger who has all of her ducks in a row! Yeah, right.
Here's the problem...my son's age. I didn't realize that 5 (although he'll turn 6 on Christmas Day) would be such a difficult age. He's too big for the ride on toys and the playhouses that he still thinks are cool. He's also matured past a lot of toys that I would prefer to buy him, but can no longer get away with. I also think that he is too young for most of the toys that are marketed to his age group.
First of all, we are a video game free household. That takes a whole lot of ideas off the table doesn't it? No Wii, DS, DSi, or Leapster will be purchased for our little guy. I'm not opposed to ever buying video games, but I am simply not ready to open that can of worms yet.
If we buy one more dinosaur I'm pretty sure we could open our own museum. We could possibly open a zoo as well, because Jonathan also cannot resist any type of animal. Stuffed, plastic, cardboard, or feathered, we've got em. We also have plenty of matchbox cars, puzzles, and games. Although the small stuff is not exactly what I am concerned about. I don't have the "IT" present idea. I usually know exactly what his "big" present is going to be by now and have usually already saved for it or have been scouting for the best price on the Internet.
So, tomorrow, the dearest husband and I plan to take on Toys R Us, Kmart, and Target with no list, no plan, and no ideas. In the meantime, I am certainly open to suggestions!
Your chance to bid on a guitar once owned and played by Keith Urban comes to an end today. It's part of Nash-2-O, an online auction aimed at helping Nashville flood victims. Guitars once played by Vince Gill and Brad Paisley are also up for bid. That would make one heck of a Christmas gift!
While you can bid on one of Keith Urban's guitars, it seems as if he has been doing some bidding of his own. Urban lost a large portion of the guitars he had in storage due to the floods this past May in Nashville so he has been restocking by bidding on eBay. During the bidding process, Urban has kept his identity a secret, but once he's made a purchase, he clues the owner in that it's him.
Keith told an ABC reporter that he knows that it is hard to put and item up for bid and that most artists are a little hestitant to let go of a guitar or amp and want to know where it winds up. That's why, he says, that he tells the seller when he's purchased a particular item. He says that way the orginal owner knows that it is going to someone who will use it properly and that it will be appreciated.
A lot of those newly purchased guitars were used to record Urban's new album, which is due in stores and online on November 16th. I can't wait!
Here are some of the items (and their owners) that are up for bid!
Some people love pumpkins so much that they fantasy about them. Others love pumpkins so much that they create their own Pumpkin Fantasyland! That is exactly what a local farming family has done smack dab in the heart of cornfield country in Ligonier, Indiana.
Jason Becker's grandfather founded Fashion Farms back in 1959. It started out as a cattle farm, but when a big storm destroyed the family business, the family decided to focus on building a greenhouse. Pumpkins, hayrides, corn mazes, and a restaurant were added and they found themselves with a modern day-old fashioned good time!
There is a theme to Pumpkin Fantasyland at Fashion Farms every year and this year the theme is "Memories Through Songs." For the low price of $2 per person, with the baby being free, my family and I toured the museum-like pumpkin palace--otherwise known as a barn.
I was in heaven the moment I stepped inside and saw this:
That's right. That's Dolly Parton made out of pumpkins! I knew I was in the right place! The artistry put into these displays was really quite fascinating. Jonathan loved seeing Bert and Ernie, Dora and Diego, and the cast of Wizard of Oz come to life in pumpkin form. We were all really impressed with the Madagascar cast. You have never seen a giraffe until you have seen one with its face painted on a gourd! It was so realistic!
Can you believe they even painted the faces of all our presidents on pumpkins? Amazing!
Ever wonder what the Beverly Hillbillies would look like as a pumpkin family? Wonder no more, my friends!
This was really a great and inexpensive time! The hayride was only $1.50 per person and all of the mazes were $1--done on the honor system of sticking your bill into a milk jug. We went late on Friday afternoon and were done in time to head over to the restaurant for dinner. We were impressed yet again. The hamburgers were so good! Jonathan enjoyed his smiley fries and I enjoyed my regular ones! Oh, and throw in some pumpkin cookies and you can call it good!
We also enjoyed our ride through the country! To me, there is nothing like fall and the country! We really did see some amazing pumpkins, but I think these were by far the cutest...
Last week we had such beautiful weather and I was really getting into the spirit of fall. Every day on my way home from work, I pass this barn on the highway that is surrounded by wonderfully vibrant leaves. I have been admiring it for the last couple of weeks. Although, I do tend to admire it without the leaves in place, because I am a sucker for barns. Something just feels good down in my soul when I see a field with a beautiful barn. I think it's because it reminds me of my grandfather. He was a farmer and I have so many great memories as a child going to visit him and playing on the farm.
Seeing this barn surrounded by such autumn splendor gave me the idea to take the kids on our own fall color tour. So, one day when Jonathan got home from school, we set out on our adventure into the country--not far from home actually. I took the camera along and decided to snap some photos so that we could later scrapbook about our trip.
First, I took a picture of the tree in our front yard to mark the starting point of our tour. Then we were off in search of more treetop changes and were on the lookout for any barns that caught our fancy.
The highlight of the tour was finding a farmer working in his field. Jonathan got a kick out of watching the big combine work its way through the cornfield and spit out the stalks on the other side. Tyler was even fascinated by the big machine that I am sure he had never seen before.
I even handed over the camera so that Jonathan could capture his own memories. He really likes it whenever I let him loose with the camera.
We had such a peaceful and calming time. Usually the kids are fussy in the car or wondering where and when we are going to get somewhere, but on this particular day we had no where to go or no specific destination. We simply rolled the windows down and let nature take hold of us.
My new friend, Jessica, has a beautiful blog about how she and her husband became the parents of two children within 287 days. Not only did they go from "0 to 2" but they also had to deal with the challenges of having a premature baby. She is doing a great giveaway to help other premature babies stay warm this Christmas.
Please check out her blog and read about this great organzation that helped her family as well as so many others. You might even win something for yourself too!
My son attends a wonderful magnet school that has a program called "Three for Me." It is a pledge from parents to give three hours of time to the school each school year and it is mandatory for enrollment. It encourages parents to chaperon field trips, attend PTO meetings, and to volunteer in the classroom. I love this idea and have quickly started to rack up the hours. I have already chaperoned two field trips and have become a member of the PTO. Earlier this week, it was time for me to put on my "room mom hat" and head to Kindergarten.
The aid that was working in Jonathan's class has been reassigned to the after school program, so I thought his teacher could use a little extra help until a replacement has been found. Now, since I have a background in education, I thought I was a pretty good candidate to help out in the classroom. When I showed up for duty, however, I was assigned "busy work."
At first I thought, "but I can do so much more than sort papers." Then I realized that is exactly what Jonathan's teacher needed help with. She doesn't have time to sort papers into each child's folder to be taken home at the end of the day with all the Campbell's soup label reminders and picture retake information. She also doesn't have time to stand on a chair (which those of you who know me well, know that is not my favorite thing to do) and hang cute little pumpkin art projects...she is busy teaching.
It was also in the those moments buried in paperwork that I was able to witness that teaching. It was amazing to see the way his teacher was able to easily transition the students from one activity to another, praise those who were doing well, encourage those who needed it, and to watch all the students engage. I remember smiling while the teacher read a story about bats and how the kids "oohed" and "aahed" at the information being shared. My little scientist was particularly interested and didn't blink during circle time.
It was also an incredible feeling to see my son's face light up at the sight of me and to know that he truly liked it that I was there sharing part of his day with him. In fact, he liked it a little too much and became a little emotional when it was time for me to leave. Of course, that made me emotional as well, so I decided to stick around a few more minutes and join him for lunch. That's when I realized that this whole starting school and spending all day away from me was a big adjustment for him. He hides things so well, but is really quite sensitive--kind of like his mom. I was so glad that I took the time to do this! I think it was more rewarding for me than it was help to Jonathan's teacher, the school, or the other children in the class. And I know that me and my son shared a connection because of it. He knows that I think education is important because I took the time to show that it was important. He also knows I think the world of him!
One of my favorite things about fall is the decorating that ensues. Every year my family and I head to the U-pick pumpkin patch and go hog wild on picking pumpkins. The fact that the more you buy, the cheaper they become, really just creates an opportunity for me to go insane on the amount of pumpkins we load into the car every year. Last year we brought home 15, this year it was more like 20. Throw in some hay bales, stalks of corn, and as many gourds as you can shake a stick at and the Watsons are ready to decorate!
After last year's pumpkin picking frenzy, my son and I decided to decorate some of our gourds and turn them into ghosts. I just used some acrylic paint that I had left over from another project and they worked out just fine. We first painted our gourds a white base coat. I like to use foam brushes because they are inexpenisve and I don't have to worry about cleaning them--I can just toss them whenever we are done.
After letting that coat dry, we decided they needed another coat to cover up all of the green.
Did you know that if you use your tongue to help you paint, you get great coverage and a wonderful finish?
Once it was dry, we dabbed on some eyes with the black paint and allowed it to dry. That's when I sprayed them with a varnish so that the white paint wouldn't turn yellow.
This was really easy and a great way to spend an afternoon making memories with my little guy!
Okay, there are Christmas decorations everywhere already. I haven't even bought a Halloween costume for the baby yet! It seems as if the "holidays" are pushed earlier and earlier every year. While I do love the holidays and could probably decorate with Christmas decorations year round, it just seems as Thanksgiving just gets brushed over. I mean, come on! It's a holiday where we do nothing but eat food! Why would we want to over look that?!
It was also announced yesterday that a new country Christmas TV special will be airing this year and a lot of huge country stars are participating. I L-O-V-E it when country stars do Christmas specials! It reminds me of all those great specials Bob Hope used to do and it fills me with nostalgia. "CMA Country Christmas" will air on ABC and feature performances from: Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, Marina McBride, Little Big Town, LeAnn Rimes and Sheryl Crow...not sure why she is being thrown in, but I'll take it.
The artists families are also going to take part in the special and will be taped in front of a live audience. The special will be filmed at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday November 11th, but no details yet on how to get tickets. The CMA Awards are being held the night before in the same venue and will also be aired on ABC. The Christmas special will not air until November 29th.
I can't wait to see the costumes they'll wear on the special---I'm thinking great Santa dresses like those worn in "White Christmas." Hey! Maybe THAT could be the baby's Halloween costume! A cute little Santa suit! If I hand him a turkey to carry, we'll cover all of our bases!
My sweet little baby is growing so fast! I snapped this photo of him yesterday and I just had to share it. He loves crawling over to the door to look outside. Lately he has been fascinated by all of the leaves falling from the trees and making such a ruckus. It doesn't matter how many times I tell him no and move him away, he ends up right back here.
It was 1997 when my love affair started. Really, it was the year I married my husband. It was also the year I heard about a band called "The Ranch" with a really cute lead singer named Keith Urban. What do you say we take a little walk in the country?
I continue to play this song off the CD that was sent to the radio station I was working at the time this song was released. It has the words "YES!" written all over it in Sharpie. Sometimes us radio folks do know a thing or two! I love it!