Sunday, May 31, 2009


Five Favorites of Summer:

1) Little children running naked through sprinklers in the front yard

2) Camp Greystone!

3) Time to relax with family and friends in NC, SC, Georgia, Dallas, Florida, Martha's Vineyard, etc!

4) Watching our children have fun in the ocean and the pool

5) Time away with my sweet husband!

I would tag, but they've already been tagged! What are YOUR favorites?
Pink, Green, and Southern
Biscuits are Never Boring

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Raleigh Times

If your mouth doesn't water reading this menu, I don't know what will sound good to you! The Raleigh Times on Hargett St. in Raleigh, NC is the BEST restaurant. The food is absolutely delicious and the price is right! The chopped salad with balsamic marinated grilled chicken is my FAVORITE.

Bar FoOd
The Raleigh Times Burger
grilled half-pound fresh house ground
with lettuce, tomato and pickle 7.95
Add provolone, cheddar, pepper-jack,
gruyere, bleu .95 Add bacon 1.50

Veggie Burger
lettuce, tomato and pickle 7.95
Add provolone, cheddar, pepper-jack,
gruyere, bleu .95 Add bacon 1.50

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
topped with melted Danish Bleu
cheese 8.95

Shrimp Burger
with lettuce, tomato and
cilantro tartar 7.95

“PIT” Smoked NC BBQ Pork
Ed Mitchell’s natural smoked hog
with house made slaw 7.50

Grilled Cheddar, Avocado
and Tomato
on toasted sourdough 7.50

Roasted pork loin, Black Oak ham,
pickles, tomatoes with garlic aioli &
mustard on pressed Cuban bread 8.95

Prime-Rib French Dip
house roasted prime rib with Balsamic
onions, melted provolone
and au jus 9.95

House-cured Corned Beef Reuben
with homemade kraut and Gruyere
on toasted rye and Thousand
Island dressing on the side 7.95

Chicken Salad Wrap
grilled chicken with balsamic-
marinated grapes and green leaf
lettuce in a tortilla wrap 7.50

with house made mayo on warm
toasted wheat 6.95
Add house cut potato
chips for 1.00

Add house cut fries or
side green salad for 2.50
Wilted Spinach Salad
with shrooms, cherry tomatoes, red
onions, crumbled egg and lightly wilted
with a hot bacon vinaigrette 7.50

Chop Salad
with Gorgonzola, shaved fennel, cherry
tomato, red onion, cucumber
and bacon 7.95

Country French Salad
mixed greens with pear, bleu cheese,
candied walnuts and roasted beets
served with Kriek-bier vinaigrette 8.95

Classic Greek Salad
romaine, red onion, feta, olives
sundried tomatoes and
house made Greek dressing 7.95

House Green Salad
mixed greens, tomato, cucumber and
choice of dressing 6.95

Dressings: hot bacon vinaigrette,
Kriek vinaigrette, roasted garlic ranch,
thousand island, creamy gorgonzola,
balsamic vinaigrette, Greek vinaigrette

Add balsamic-grilled
chicken to any salad 2.95

Add Avocado to any salad 1.50

Entrée your salad with grBBQ Pork Nachos
fresh jalapeño, Queso Fresco,
Pico de Gallo and sour cream 8.50
small order 4.95

Loaded Fries
house cut fries with cheddar, bacon
and scallions; served with
roasted garlic ranch 8.50
small order 4.95

Chicken Wings
allow ample cooking time
Spicy Chipotle or Thai Street Style 7.95

Fried Calamari
tossed with feta, tomatoes, garlic,
olives and lemon juice 7.95

Chicken Fried Pickles
with roasted garlic ranch 5.95

made to order and topped with Pico de
Gallo served with crispy tortillas 6.50

Fried Green Beans
with roasted garlic ranch 4.50
PBR Battered Fish & Chips
beer battered Tilapia served with
fries and cilantro tartar 9.50

Belgian Strong Marinated
Hanger Steak
allow ample cooking time
marinated and grilled hanger steak
drizzled with bier blanc and served
with fresh tomato salad and
fried green beans 10.95

Blacken Salmon
blackened seasoned salmon seared
served with pesto risotto, green
beans and topped with
dill crème fraiche 11.95

Chimichurri Pork Ribs
rubbed and beer-braised pork ribs
with chimichurri sauce and served

Friday, May 29, 2009


If you don't use your local library, you really should. Ours offers all kinds of wonderful things from storytime to DVDs that you can check out and use at home. I love it because I can choose a movie for DH and I to watch or check out some Cookie Monster movies for little H. It's wonderful! I even found LASSIE the other day. The children will love watching Lassie!

We are having a family reading challenge this summer. The big 4 have a summer reading list and just have to read 3 of the titles. We have already succeeded because I challenged the children to see who could read the most books for a prize. Now, I didn't even state WHAT the prize would be, because I have no idea. Well, it ignited a passion to win in our little angels!! They are reading all of the time!!! It is just wonderful. Yesterday they read over 10 books picture each and 1 child read an entire chapter book in one day. So... dangle a prize and you will have some fastidious readers too!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

Our sweet K had a really special relationship with her Papa P, whom we lost to cancer a year ago December, just days before Christmas. We all miss him. The children were asking questions that led to thoughts of Papa. K said, "When I go, I'm going to bring a wagon." "When you go where?", I asked. "When I go to Heaven I'm going to bring a wagon so Papa can push me around". D chimed in, "Yeah, Papa used to pull all of us in the wagon and one time we all fell out and got hurt." Of course I started to cry at the thought of little K pulling a wagon up to Heaven, so I said, "K, hopefully you'll be really, really old when you go to Heaven, and Papa might not be able to pull you". She just kept talking about her wagon and how it had to be a red one like Papa's. So sweet. I'm off to dry some more tears!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sun-San Sandals

We just LOVE Sun-San saltwater sandals on our girls!! They are precious on very young boys too. They retail for around $29.95 and they are the sandals I wore when I was little!! They have stood the test of time. Now they come in fun colors like champagne, hot pink, and lime green. In fact, we bought some today for our 2 youngest and they said they had to special order the lime and that they were made just for this store here in Florida because they weren't making the lime anymore. They are flying off the shelves here! You can look at them online at the Sun-San website here. It should show you where you can buy them locally. The best part is that these are SALTWATER sandals!! It does not ruin the leather for them to get wet in the ocean or a puddle!! Enjoy your new fun sandals for your littlest ones!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First Day of Summer

The day started with a snake killing. By ME. It turns out pools attract all kinds of creatures including snakes and frogs and toads!! At night, the toads go crazy and sit on the side of our pool and croak. Apparently the pool attracts snakes too. The children kept screaming at breakfast that there was a snake in the pool. I figured (hoped) it was a stick or a leaf. Unfortunately, they were right. I grabbed a shovel and the pool net, scooped up the snake and then killed it while it was in the net. I was shaking all over but the shovel worked!!! Never mind that it looked so tiny after it died!! The orange ring on its neck made me think it could be poisonous.

We were then late to horseback riding where the instructor fussed at the girls instead of me. "M'am, I am sorry we were late. I was killing a snake". Enough said.

All of this fun happened while I am trying to potty train a toddler. Why am I doing this to myself just before travel time? She is doing well except for when she is asleep, which is "no big whoop" as we used to say in high school.

I went to pick little H up from her nap, and she had torn one of her favorite books. I sweetly said, "Oh, sweetheart, what did you do to your book?" She dissolved into HUGE sobs and then we hugged and hugged and repaired the book together. Sweet baby.

Despite our previous snake sighting, we were back in the pool this afternoon!
I hope YOU had a great day!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Camp Tips

Summer is HERE for many of us and it's time to think about CAMP!!!! I attended the best camp in the WORLD, and our girls will be there next week!! It is always helpful to know what to pack and more importantly, HOW to pack for camp. For the sake of this post, I am going to say, "HER", but I can't wait for our son to go to camp too!

First of all, you do not want to send expensive jewelry or your absolute favorite children's dress to camp because they could get lost or ruined. We all love Lilly Pulitzer, but only send it if you're okay with it being damaged or ruined. For every session except for Junior Camp, your precious dahlin's clothes will be sent to the laundry, and the laundry DOES NOT SEPARATE colors and whites, to the best of my knowledge.

Your daughter will need some pre-addressed and stamped envelopes for writing letters. You should also type out a list of addresses for her, in case she wants to write extra letters. Be sure to ask her if she has some friends she'd like to write while she's at camp. Crane's Stationary and William Arthur are always precious, but the cute notecards at Target are fine too.

I always send my girls with some fun pens. It makes letter writing more fun!

Buy your daughter a disposable camera so that she can take her own pictures. You may not think the new foal is important, but she may. We have a whole slew of barn pictures from one of our girls!

If your daughter is older, send her with a digital camera. However, unless she is 16 or 17 and a photography major, I would not send her with your new Nikon D60!

Collect some family and friend photos for her so that she can hang them in her bunk area.

Pack a warm jacket or sweatshirt for cold nights. Most camps do not have heat or a/c. You will also want to pack a personal fan.

Pack a BPA-free water bottle. Be sure to put her name on it with a sharpie pen.

Use a black sharpie marker to label everything.... clothes, cameras, pillowcases, towels, fans, books, underwear, bathing suit, goggles, etc.

Pack her goggles!

Write a stack of letters to her BEFORE camp. They can include the reasons you love her, Bible verses, or cute funny pictures that you draw. Leave these in the camp post office and have them marked with your daughter's name and the day of the week. This way, she will have mail each day!

Be sure to share your daughter's (or son's) camp address with friends and family so that she will receive some mail! Encourage everyone to send mail early! You never know if a letter will take 2 or 5 days to arrive.

Remind your daughter that CAMP is the GIFT and she will not be receiving a package while she is away.

I buy gallon-sized ziploc bags and use them to pack an outfit her day. In the bag, I place underwear, a t-shirt, shorts, and socks. If she doesn't use the socks, they can stay clean in the bag. This makes it easier for a young girl to decide what to wear!!

Do pack a fun princess dress or dress up clothes. Evening programs usually incorporate such fun things.

If your daughter has a lovie or favorite stuffed animal or pillow, let her bring it!

Send an extra blanket for cold nights, but don't bring an interior decorator to put things together in her cabin. This is CAMP, not the Royal Palace.

Be sure to tell your child how much you will miss her, but that she is missing NOTHING at home!!

Be early. Your daughter will want to be early on Opening Day to choose her bunk, and you will want to be early to pick her up.

Encourage your sweet girl to have fun!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thank you for your service!!!!

It is Memorial Day weekend. For many of us, this is simply a 3-day weekend. However, the reason we have a 3-day weekend is because there are men and women who risk their own lives to give us the freedoms we enjoy today. For that, I will be forever grateful.

Since our move to Florida, we have been blessed to meet many families who serve our country in the military. The wives may not be overseas in the war, but their battle on the home front is just as important. While their husbands are fearlessly protecting our country in lands far from here with flea collars around their beds to keep bugs away, their families are here without their husbands (or Daddy to the children) at home. I have not met any women who serve, so I am not trying to be sexist in saying that women don't serve overseas. I know that they do, and I am so thankful!! I am just going to speak about the wonderful women I have befriended here in Florida.

Friends here are staying home, paying bills, feeding their family, cleaning house, taking care of their children for MONTHS and even over a YEAR at a time without seeing their spouses. Even when they are not deployed, they work long hours for you and me. Days often pass where they don't even communicate with their spouses. They are not paid as well as they should be. They are moved frequently, sometimes without warning. All have been moved only to have their spouse deployed, leaving them home in a new city where they don't have old friends or family. The sacrifices they make for EVERY ONE OF US are GREAT. After meeting these special new friends, I now make a special effort to thank our service men and women whenever I see them in public. I walk over to them, and simply say, "Thank you for your service." I hope you'll take my challenge and find someone to thank today. If you know someone personally in the military, please take the time to write them a letter, make a phone call, or email them to say, "thank you". You'll be glad you did, for they secure our freedom for us!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's Summer!!!

We had a great first night of summer. We took the children to Algusto, a GREAT Mexican restaurant in Tampa, FL on Kennedy Avenue. They do not cook with lard but use olive oil instead. You could taste the difference. We had to splurge on the white cheese dip, and it was some of the best we've ever had!! DH & I love to share fajitas, so we did that. The children loved their burrito, quesadilla, and chicken soft taco. It was just what the doctor ordered!

Afterwards we stopped by the home of some dear friends here. Their 3 children are the ages of our 5, and the children have become fast friends. Our D was in tears that she would not see their E for a month because of opposite travel schedules. We stopped by in hopes of inviting E or E & her family for ice cream. The children enjoyed running through their grass, just as you should on a cool summer evening. Then we all met at Coldstone Creamery for ice cream. For just $1.69 the children each had their own kiddie scoop of ice cream and it proved to be more than enough!! We had a fun time watching the children giggle and drip ice cream everywhere, while J & I tried to sneak in a conversation. Our husbands enjoyed uninterrupted conversations:) while we tamed the crowd!!

We drove home for bath and bedtime, and everyone quickly fell asleep. We are thankful for the perfect kickoff to a great summer!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Miss Nancy Minds Their Manners

2009 Updated Preview Miss Nancy Minds Their Manners Documentary from Martha Daniel & Caroline Paxton on Vimeo.

This 8 minute preview of our upcoming Documentary, "Miss Nancy Minds Their Manners" shows some of the newer interviews and film clips as of May 2009.

We hope you will enjoy seeing some newer scenes. Currently we are in process of editing and trying to complete this film by fall 2009. This trailer is being used for promotional purposes as well as for sending out with our applications to businesses and foundations for further funding so that we can complete our film with the broadcast standards we believe it deserves.

This film is fiscally sponsored by the Southern Documentary Fund which allows us to receive tax deductible contributions.

More information about this documentary can be found at
Thank you for your interest!

Our children were so blessed to have attended Miss Nancy's Summer House Party. Miss Nancy is in her mid-70s, and she and her husband, Mr. Peter, run a fantastic Manners Camp at their home in NC each summer. There are about 5 different weeks of camp that are just 4 nights each. Our triplets LOVED it and our son asked to go back again last summer! He would go again if I would let him. He loves it.

Martha Daniel and Caroline Paxton are creating a documentary on Miss Nancy and the dying art of etiquette. You will just love this documentary!! You can support it by donating to the Southern Documentary Fund at Duke University. They hope to complete the film by Fall of 2009. Enjoy this trailer... our triplets are in it!:)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Bug

Sweet Kappa Bug, when did you grow up? I am having a hard time letting you go to Kindergarten next year!! Our Bug has been home with me for 5 years. She finishes school at noon each day, and for the past 2 years, we have had a few hours alone each day while little sis sleeps and the trips are at school. She has been my little buddy. We have gone to lunch, read books, had playdates, played babies, played homeschool, taken naps, colored, etc. K has kept me company, made me laugh, and just been there. I am going to miss her sweet spirit so much. K has always been full of personality, and she keeps you on your toes!!!

K, you are beautiful, smart, kind, loving, giving, happy, and you love the Lord. You are our precious first surprise baby. You came to us after the triplets even though the doctors said we could only have babies through fertility treatments. You surprised us all and we have always been so grateful. You have grown into an amazing older sister. You have always shown such great support for the triplets. K, I am so proud of you and I can't wait to see you blossom even more next year. Let's have fun together this summer. I love you, Bug!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Have we gone overboard!!

When I was little, a birthday party was held in your home and your mama thought of a creative idea and planned the party herself. There were no party planners, gourmet cupcakes for $4 a piece, or fancy cookies. In my teens, the cookie company was invented, and sometimes people would serve a cookie cake at their birthday party. My grandmother made most of our cakes and they were absolutely fantastic. The year my brother requested a red cake, she made it. She sometimes bought sweet figurines to put on top, but sometimes it was just a homemade cake with candles. I had english muffin pizza parties, backward parties, and princess parties. Guests enjoyed sack races, putting on makeup at the princess party, and running in the yard. We were happy then!!

Now things are out of control. Birthday parties require expensive invitations, the cuter font the better, and we go ALL out. Now I love a birthday. I have lived long enough to know that there is no guarantee we'll have our next birthday, so I do like to celebrate and honor my children and husband. I take great joy in planning for their birthdays. I have jumped right in there and made CDs for favors for years. However, I am continually amazed at how great the favors are. A CD is one thing. It takes a lot of time to make it, and you have to buy cds and covers, but it is not an overly expensive favor. I have been to some birthday parties where the favor was nicer than the gift we brought!! We're talking fairy wands, ice cream gift cards, bubbles, bags, etc. We women have put ourselves in a bad position. We have gone completely overboard. There is nothing wrong with a birthday party with a theme. I go crazy for a theme. My favorite party that I have given for our children was the triplets Bugs and Butterflies party where I made bug food, had a bug parade, and made yellow jacket t-shirts and gave out butterfly wings. It was in our yard and so much fun. Having triplets, we've had some very nice parties because I can justify hiring a horse & carriage or having Roger Day come sing... three children share the party. But I continue to be amazed at the way we women are making ourselves compete and spend more and more.

The world has gone crazy. When I worked briefly at Quintessentials, a fine china, crystal, and gift store, I was amazed that a local hairdresser WAS REGISTERED so that his clients could buy him china for Christmas. What??? Are you kidding me? If I am paying high prices for haircuts, I can't afford to give you china!!! If my family is not given fine china, then I certainly can't give it to my hairdresser! I do believe in tips. People who serve deserve something for their service. I just think things are out of control. We treat our military terribly, we pay our teachers nothing, and yet we give someone who cuts our hair once a month some fine china for Christmas. What does this say about our integrity?

Teacher gifts are another example. When I taught school, my "gift" was a sweet note from my students. I didn't receive gift cards and massages!! School ends for us this week. Now I LOVE our teachers. I am so very thankful for them. For this reason, I try to give them small gifts throughout the year such as a surprise lunch or a Diet Coke or Starbucks gift card. We are giving our teacher a special book that I made on behalf of our class. It is a hardback coffee table book and I think she'll love it. I want to give my teachers all that I can. However, at some point, we need to calm down a little bit! We're going broke giving gifts to every person in the school. I'm not saying they don't deserve our appreciation because they do. Teacher Appreciation was a week and a half ago and all staff was honored. I think it's okay to give a teacher a baked good or a note from your child at the end of the year. Or, teachers can always use money, so a cash gift from the class is nice. I do think we should honor our teachers and give what we can. Nonetheless, when we are going broke giving gifts, we need to step back and re-evaluate. We can't keep up with the Joneses. It's okay to give the most that you can but not more than you can. What do you think?

Tuesday's Tip

Emma is a fabulous makeup artist and hair stylist in Raleigh, NC. She is truly talented and such a delight to be around! Emma used to do my hair before we moved. She will also do "pretty parties" and make up application lessons. Emma used to work directly for Bobby Brown and has also had her own makeup line. She possesses true talent. I hired Emma to help me with my makeup this past fall. During our session, I asked her what skin care she recommends. Honey, I was going to listen and even buy some $50 or $100 face cream if it would help prevent wrinkles. Her suggestion surprised me... good ole Oil of Olay. I went to Target and bought some Oil of Olay Regenerist. I started to notice results almost immediately. My skin was so much smoother, and people told me my skin looked nice. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but now I am a big fan.

You have to think that Oil of Olay has been around forever for a reason! The Regenerist line is my favorite, and I prefer the one with SPF 15. I wish I had cared about skin care earlier, but hopefully these products will help! There are many products, so try some and see which ones you like best!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mother's Day Tea

I am blessed to have wonderful children. Being a mother is the greatest job I will ever have! I'll never make money being a mama and I'll never know the taste of success that the world knows, but there is no greater delight than taking care of these precious little people that the Lord has entrusted to DH and me. They are such gifts.

Our triplets has quite a beginning! They arrived 10 weeks early and were very tiny. You can also read about it here.

It always brings me such joy to experience things with our miracles. We are sending the triplets to a wonderful Classical Christian school. They are learning amazing things!! On Friday we had our Mother's Day Tea. What a precious morning!! The children had worked so hard to honor all of their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and special friends. They had beautiful tables for us and then they recited poetry and sang to us. Each child had painted 2 paintings that were similar to Van Gogh's sunflowers and irises. They are gorgeous!!

A is our first born. He is an amazing little boy. He is all boy, and yet he wrote that he loves hugs and kisses from his mama. He is a great mathemetician and loves art. He can create anything out of paper! A taught himself over 30 Bible verses and earned a certificate. He had missed half of the year since we moved here in January and he still learned the verses! Golf is his favorite sport, and he is a terrific putter. A is very tender to his sisters and loves to swim and play legos. His teacher said he is always willing to give to others, whether it is a prized snack or his place in line, Ash will sacrifice for others. He is a precious boy and we all love him!

DH calls D "Girl number 1" because she was born first of our four girls. She has a very tender spirit and is the least extroverted of our children. D can be mischievous, yet she has a very quiet spirit. She is a natural in the classroom and learns easily. Her teacher says she uses this gift to help others. She loves to swim and ride horses. We believe she is also a natural at riding horses because she shows great poise and confidence when on a horse. D is a sweet girl and we are so thankful for our helpful daughter!

CP was the baby of the triplets. She loves to be held and does not like to be away from her family. CP is easily upset when she is away from us and loves nothing more than to be home. I believe she is our homebody! She has blue eyes that sparkle and truly light up the room when she is in it. CP can swim with ease and just glides across the pool. She can be very dramatic, so it is fun to hear her read. She & D are very helpful with our littlest monkey. She is a little mother. Her teacher says her joy and enthusiasm is contagious! What joy CP brings to our family!

Our 2 youngest girls are equally wonderful, and I will share about them in another post! I am thankful for our lovely tea!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jon & Kate plus 8 minus 1

First of all, I am going to speak in generalizations. Please do not take offense to what I am saying or think that I think I am perfect. I am so far from perfect, it's not even funny!!! Women like to analyze, so during our car ride today, I analyzed this poor family to death. These are my thoughts, randomly organized, and you may completely disagree, which is your right!! In this little post, I am not saying women shouldn't work or that husbands shouldn't stay home with the children. Every family must decide what is right for their personal family. Some of my best friends homeschool, and some have round the clock nannies and don't work. I am somewhere in the middle, but that doesn't mean either of them are wrong! I am just sad to see this couple struggle, especially for all the world to see. So let's get to it....

Jon & Kate plus 8 have been in the news lately because of Jon's supposed infidelity. No matter what, Jon, the father of 2 sets of multiples, should not have been out at clubs at 2am with another woman. As a fellow parent of multiples, I questioned what happened to this couple. So, I bought a People Magazine today. And we all know you can trust everything you read in People, right? (ha ha) Nonetheless, it included an interview with Kate and you hear part of her side.

I am no psychologist, but the breakdown of their marriage seems pretty clear to me. First of all, there is no mention of faith. Personally I believe your marriage should be based on a common belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. DH & I try to love the Lord more than we love each other, and He helps us through each day and allows us to love one another as we should. We certainly have our share of struggles and are not perfect. Secondly, millions of viewers have seen Kate belittle Jon on national TV. If she will berate him for not using a coupon in front of a tv audience, what happens behind closed doors? Kate lacks respect for Jon. Wives, we must ENCOURAGE and BUILD up our husbands. It is sinful to belittle them, talk badly about them behind their backs, and to put them down. The Bible says, "Wives, respect your husbands." Kate has little respect for Jon.

Jon is a Mr. Mom. His role in the family is to take care of the children while Kate travels and does speaking engagements and book signings. Personally, I think this can confuse things when roles are completely reversed. I am not saying men shouldn't stay home with their children. Every family is different. However, men were made to hunt and gather. Women are natural nurturers. Yes, there are many wonderful fathers. I am married to one of the very best. However, D will be the first to tell you that it is not a natural fit for him to spend day after day alone with the children. Yes, he can do it. Of course he loves them. Men just are not made to be the SOLE nurturer of the family. If they were, they would have breasts that produce milk and hips for holding babies! I am NOT saying that Kate can't have a career and that she should not do her book signings and speaking engagements. That is not my decision to make. I have many friends who balance work and motherhood so well. . In the article, she calls herself the breadwinner and continually says it is her job to make money to provide for the family. There are many examples of families where the woman makes more money than the man and it is not a struggle. However, in THIS family, it seems to be a struggle. Kate doesn't respect Jon, so therefore, Jon does nothing to earn her respect. He doesn't show love to Kate, so she does nothing to entice him to love her. It's a terrible cycle.

Jon wants to escape so he goes out at night. Who was keeping the children at 2am while Kate was away on one of her book signings? And guess what? A younger woman was there waiting to show Jon respect, build him up, and make him feel wanted and needed again. Voila! A possible affair begins.

I hope that Jon & Kate will get some professional help to restore their marriage. Perhaps it's time for the cameras to move out so that they can heal. It is not normal to have your whole life documented in front of a tv audience. Sadly, the very thing that brought them fame and fortune in the first place is now driving them apart!! What are your thoughts?

Friday, May 15, 2009

I WON!!!

Kappa Prep had a great giveaway of McKims sandals & I won!!! I am so excited. I have needed some gold sandals, and these will be perfect for our new life in Florida!!!! Thank you, Hopsy! If you haven't read her blog, you will love living vicariously through young, beautiful Hopsy. The girl knows how to shop!! She has a perfect figure, has the best wardrobe, loves to decorate, and takes fabulous trips!! I enjoy reading her blog and I know you will too.

LL Bean returns

Have you ever bought anything from LL Bean? They have a fabulous return policy. Our son's lunch box ripped on one side after we had it for over a year. In fact, it may have been 2 years old. I looked at their customer guarantee, and it said I could return the item. I called, and they immediately shipped a new lunch box. They briefly charged my credit card for the replacement cost, sent me a return envelope, and then credited me back the full price once they received the damaged lunch box. Now THAT is customer service!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can you IMAGINE?

As I have said before, our oldest girls are still quite naive. After all, they think babies come out of your actual leg!! So, it was so precious to hear this little story one day from D when they finished with their riding lesson.

D said to me, "Mama, I just saw Smokey's privates and it sticks out and has flies all over it!! Can you IMAGINE??" Her little face telling me that story was so funny. It may not be communicated well in writing, but it was hilarious! No, darling, I don't WANT to imagine having flies all over my privates!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Goo Cookies

In Raleigh, a great restaurant called Hereghty makes a Chocolate Gooey Cookie. People go there just for a little chocolate fix!

Here is a recipe that tastes almost like the one from Hereghty!

Goo Cookies... Makes 30

1/2 cup cake flour, plus 2 Tablespoons
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 Tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
8 1.4 ounce heath bars, chopped into 1/4 inch strips
2 cups hazelnuts, skin on or off

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Over a double broiler, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring with a spatula and being careful not to overheat. Cool to lukewarm.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk brown sugar and eggs on high speed for 5 minutes. Add vanilla and whisk 5 more minutes. Add chocolate chip mixture and whisk 5 minutes. Very important: keep the motor running on high speed for the 15 consecutive minutes it takes to do these 3 steps. No Stopping!

Turn the motor off and quickly add the sifted ingredients. Mix on low speed until just incorporated, then fold in heath bars and hazelnuts.

Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop, scoop and level dough, then place about 4 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Let cookies rest 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool completely before storing. These cookies are insanely good- but very gooey-- when they are hot. Store flat, in layers, with parchment papers in between.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday's Tip...Gift Wrap Solution

Gift wrap seems to have a mind of its own! It will unravel and become quite a mess very quickly. For this very reason, I bought a case that holds all of our gift wrap. Ours is from Lillian Vernon, as pictured above, but you can also buy them at The Container Store and other places. You will love having scissors, tape, a sharpie, pens, ribbons, and wrapping paper all in one place. Ours can even slide under our bed!

Monday, May 11, 2009

On Waiting

Some of us become mothers very easily. For some, too easily. Babies are born to teenagers or women who aren't ready to face the responsibility. For others, it is a painful process that becomes quite frustrating. I was in the latter category. I always knew I would have lots of children. I was a great babysitter, I ran summer camps for preschoolers, and then I became a teacher. My life always involved little people. Then I met the man of my dreams and we married. We couldn't wait to have children. I distinctly remember a conversation where we discussed how many children we hoped to have and we both said, "4". We were ready after being married about 2 years. Friends around us started having babies. The "baby itch" became stronger and stronger. We were ready.

Then the waiting began. We waited. And we waited. And we waited. No baby. No baby bump. No morning sickness. Nothing. My monthly visitor continued to rear her ugly head and each time, I was filled with disappointment which soon turned to sadness. Why? Why would the Lord allow this to happen to ME??? I LOVED children. I didn't understand. Why was it so easy for others and yet so difficult for us? I felt persecuted. I was sad. Anger entered the picture too. I had more than one pity party. I had a hard time at baby showers. It felt like every woman in America was 9 months pregnant and surrounding me. It was not a happy time.

But during this time, the Lord was with me. He was with my sweet husband. Though we despaired, He was with us. He carried us through those sad days. Our despair became HOPE. The Lord has a plan for each of us. He tells us so in Jeremiah 29:11. He wants the BEST for us. God's best is not always our personal best, but it is always THE BEST. Sometimes the the truth about why a situation was the best is revealed to us. Sometimes we must wait until Heaven for the Lord to reveal it to us. And some things we may never understand.

Yesterday was a happy day for many of us, but a day of sadness for just as many. Some people faced a day without their mama here to see and love. Some mamas faced the day without their husband. Still others faced a day with empty arms and an empty cradle. Others spent the day mourning the loss of their sweet baby or child. But the Lord is a Lord of HOPE and He alone can turn your mourning into dancing. My husband read a book with that title by Henri Nouwen and it really comforted him after his father died. If yesterday was a tough day for you, know that the Lord is with you. And He is GOOD. He is full of ETERNAL hope.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Mama!!!

I am so blessed to have a beautiful, loving, fun, Christian, giving, all-around wonderful Mama!! It has not been easy living so far from my Mama and Papa. In fact, we went FOUR months without seeing them!! A phone call is just not the same. My mother is one of the best bridge players in Raleigh, NC. She makes the best Sunday dinners in the whole world. Just like her Mama, she cooks dish after wonderful dish and we indulge ourselves happily when she does. She is very funny. How many mamas do you know that will shock a whole elite tour group in Miami by dressing in an all-white suit with a Donatella Versace long blonde wig? No one even knew who this stranger was when she entered the bus! Mama has such a great sense of humor. When we are together, we laugh and laugh and laugh. She has so many friends and has wonderful parties. She has always made me be a better person and sacrificed much for my behalf. Yet, she always communicated to me that all I had to do was my best, and if my best produced a C or D, that was okay. My competitive personality needed to hear that. I am very hard on myself and needed to know it's OKAY not to be perfect. Mama, I am thankful for you & I love you so much!! I feel blessed to be able to celebrate this day with you & hope we can celebrate together for many, many more years!!! I LOVE YOU.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stamps are going UP!!!!!

The price of stamps will rise to 44 cents per letter on Monday, May 11th! Currently a first-class stamp is $.42! Tomorrow (and possibly Saturday morning in some areas) is the last day you can buy Forever stamps for $.42 each These stamps are called Forever stamps because their face value will always be whatever the current price is for stamps. However, if you have stamps from 2 years ago, they only cost you $.40, yet work as a $.44 stamp starting on Monday! So, hurry and write those thank you notes, send a card to your mama, send birthday gifts, and write all of your friends before it costs more on Monday!

Rules by which a Southern Mother Lives

My sweet sister-in-law, A, gave me a great book when she visited! It is called, "Some Day You'll Thank Me for This... The Official Southern Ladies' Guide to Being a "Perfect" Mother". It is by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays & it is HILARIOUS! You can buy it here on!

I liked this part...
Rules by which a Southern Mother Lives:
1. Never sit on the commode seat in a filling station. Always hover. Hovering is great for the legs. By the way, we say commode, not toilet.

2. Always wear a piece of good jewelry when going to the airport- that way people will know you are from a nice family. (Why do we care? We jes' do. We secretly believe people might treat us nicer if they believe our rich daddy will horsewhip them if they don't.)

3. Speak to all chaperones. (If you don't, Mother will know because in the Delta there are no secrets.)

4. Don't tell me. I don't want to know.

5. Tell me everything. I am your mother. (We will reveal some of Mother's tricks for pumping the truth out of unsuspecting daughters in subsequent chapters.)

6. Always be nice to the other girls-- they'll help you get to the boys.

7. Always wear your nice underwear-- you may be killed in a car wreck, and you don't want the EMS workers to take one look at your poor dead little body and say, "Well, she certainly wasn't a lady." That would be a fate worse than death!

8. You can date him, but you don't have to marry him.

9. It is as easy to feed a good dog as a bad dog.

10. Never reply to a formal invitation in blue ink.

And the Southern mother's all-time favorite rule of life:

11. Serve left, retrieve right.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Little Professor Calculator

Do you remember this fun calculator? I DO!! That is why I searched for it on ebay for Christmas. I remember playing with my calculator for hours!! Now our children enjoy playing it too. I love it because unlike so many handheld games, this one reinforces what they are learning at school! You can never be drilled on Math facts too often. You can find one like it on ebay. I checked out a listing here. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A sweet day

What a sweet day! K told her Daddy she was building a HABITAT for her bugs... of course we both thought that was just brilliant. A decided ON HIS OWN to practice for their Bible verse competition next week. He sat singing his little heart out & practiced all of the verses. There are PAGES of them. CP sat down to do her Math. They are being taught Singapore Math, and it is more difficult at first, but they say that these students will be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide BIG numbers later. CP hasn't understood completely the little tricks for this math. Tonight, it CLICKED after A showed her how to do it. I had tried, but it took her triplet brother showing her for it to click. I loved it. DJ came home and handed me the sweetest note telling me that I am a wonderful mother, so of course that made me day! She has such a giving heart. After dinner, we let the children swim. At bath time, CP told H to sit on the potty. They both sat on the potty (AH has a little potty) and H FINALLY went to the potty in the potty!!!! I had given up trying because whenever we talk about it, she says, "No!" Well, it clicked tonight & then she sat back down and went #2! The entire family cheered and we gave her 3 MMs and she jumped up & down & danced and we all continued to yell. It was so sweet! THank you, Lord, for another great day!!

Germ fighter

I have heard that pouring hydrogen peroxide over your toothbrush kills germs. So, in light of the current health alerts, try it! I have been dousing our children's toothbrushes in it daily in order to kill any germs. Who knows if it works, but it's worth a try! Make sure you use 3% hydrogen peroxide & do not let anyone drink it!

Tuesday's Tip: Save those shower caps!

I traveled recently and thought of a great way to use plastic hotel shower caps! Now that we all have to take off our shoes and coats before going through security, I worry about my feet walking across the nasty airport floor. I never seem to be wearing socks, and even when I pack a pair simply for going through security, I then have a dirty pair of socks in my carry-on luggage or pocketbook, and that is just gross. In Tampa, they offer paper flip flops, but it is very difficult to put them on quickly and to keep them on your foot. At another airport, they offered something that looked like a shower cap and you could quickly slip it on your foot and the elastic kept it on your foot. They are disposable, so you don't have to carry around dirty socks! So.... start packing 2 shower caps in your carry-on, and you'll never have to worry about dirty feet at the airport!

Do you have a Tuesday's Tip? If so, please comment and share your ideas that might make someone else's life a little easier or a little better!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Funny but graphic story

I don't want to make anyone sick or upset, so please don't read if you're think you will be! One of my daughters walked in on me in the bathroom at an inopportune time of the month. She is our most naive child, and she did not stay or stare, but quietly left the room. With 5 children, they've all walked in on me at some point or another since they began walking. I called after her and said, "If you want me to explain it to you, I will". She quickly replied, "Maybe when I'm ten!" I loved her ability to show me that she is not ready to learn more about the real world, and that it is wonderful for her to just be a little 8 year old girl!! I laughed out loud and told her that sounded like a great idea:).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ann Taylor Loft ruffled cardigan

My friend, M, has the cutest clothes. She has a ruffled sweater from Ann Taylor Loft that was just too cute for words! I don't think this picture does it justice, but it is great for every wardrobe. It is very lightweight and gives you just enough coverage on a cool evening, while traveling, or when it's a little chilly in the morning but will warm up in the afternoon. After seeing hers, I bought a pretty green one. You can buy it online here, but they are on sale for $29.50 in the store!