You Capture – Spring

Y’all.

We had a busy weekend up in here.

We kicked off the weekend at the ball field on Friday evening. Stevie’s team, The River Bandits had to quit at the end of the fourth inning due to a time restriction because there was a game immediately after ours, which stinks because we lost by ONE stinkin’ run.

And speaking of one run… that’s exactly what Stevie got on Friday evening.

And yes, before you ask, I screamed like a c-r-a-z-y person.

After the game, I spent several hours sitting with McDaddy’s sweet grandma at the hospital. While she rested, I tidied up the baseball book (I’m the bookkeeper for Stevie’s team and a messy baseball book drives me CRAZY!), caught up on some e-mails and just about jumped out of my skin when I thought I had been shot through the 5th floor hospital window.

Luckily, the “shots” I heard were just fireworks at the WV Power baseball field, which is within a block or so of the hospital.

Have I mentioned that I love baseball season?

Stevie’s game was cancelled on Saturday, but Alex’s team (HotRods) had just enough time to get their game in before the storm hit the ball field soaking us on the way to the car.

After the game, we stopped at the grocery store, ran home, threw on a pot of green beans, prepared some potato salad, changed clothes, and rushed out the door to attend Stevie’s cub-scout blue/gold banquet… where we learned that nothing puts a SPRING in a boy’s step like winning first place in the father/son bake-off.

And just as soon as the banquet was over, we rushed into town to see Matthew West and Casting Crowns in concert.

And what a concert it was.

Alex may have been a little young, but he seemed to enjoy the concert,

until he fell asleep on my lap.

Stevie enjoyed himself. It was evident as he sang and squealed and cheered and clapped. I was moved to tears when I looked over to see his eyes closed and his hand raised in worship. And all the excitement from the weekend must have worn him out because the next time I looked over at him he was asleep on McDaddy’s lap.

Spring is an especially tough time for this little fella and his temperamental respiratory system.

Both boys are tough on these SPRINGS as you can see.

Spring has sprung around here.

The pollen is high.

The jumps are high.

And my speed would be high too, if I were driving around in this sucker today!

 

 Have a great week, y’all!

This post is linked to You Capture where this week’s challenge is SPRING.

I Spy

My boys love to play Spy Games. In fact, they call themselves The Alpha Team.

They have no idea that sometimes I spy on them.

Crouched down on the back deck, I wait and I watch. And I listen.

They laugh.

They make plans.

They talk spy stuff.

They make fart noises.

They laugh.

They talk about how to be great at math problems.

They have jumping contests.

They tell jokes.

They laugh.

They share stories from their school day.

They burp.

They compare notes on ‘drifting’.

They are best friends, these two.

I want to remember this moment forever.

The voices.

The giggles.

The love.

The fun.

I close my eyes and try hard to engrave this moment on my brain for I know there will come a day when I will miss this.

American Idol – Top 6

I thought about coming here today and talking about the ingrown toe-nail on my left foot. Or the fact that McDaddy informed me this morning that I have an outbreak of zits (at thirty-eight years old, mind you!) on my face. Then, it dawned on me that my loyal blog readers might not be one bit interested in any of those things, so, maybe I should just live blog American Idol.

The only problem is that I happen to be watching American Idol on DVR, so I guess the whole live blogging thing is out, too. I have to do it that way, folks. I sometimes rewind these performances three and four times to be fair and impartial (especially if they stomp and kick and do the fist pump WEEK AFTER WEEK AFTER WEEK!).

Anyway, THIS! Is American Idol!

And as an added bonus, the contestants will be singing hits from Queen, along with a song of their choice.

What in the name of Pete is Jennifer Lopez wearing? Gold lame’? Gold tin-foil? I suspect she’ll regret that choice come morning. Tommy Hilfiger needs to get on the scene. And if he was on the scene and approved of that gold mess, he should be fired.

Jessica Sanchez (Bohemian Rhapsody) – I don’t really understand the tennis shoes… Bohemian Rhapsody is my favorite Queen song of all time, so I hope she does it justice. I don’t claim to have a perfect ear for pitch, but the slow part of this song seems way to low for Jessica’s voice. Holy crap, all of a sudden Jessica busted out the rock card. I don’t think this is a great song for her, and it is definitely not her best performance. I love this song, but I didn’t like her performance of it.

Skylar Laine (The Show Must Go On) – I  haven’t always been a fan of Skylar’s, mostly because of the fist-pump and the stomp. Tonight, though? She is just standing there singing, and it is really good. She made a good song choice and sang it well. I typically wanna poke my eyeballs out with a fork when I watch Skylar perform, but I actually enjoyed this performance.

Joshua Ledet (Crazy Little Thing Called Love) – Oh look, its an old-timey microphone. That’s different. Ol boy is dancing and singing like he’s all hyped up on steroids or tonight. I think this might be one of his best performances! He brought the total package tonight and I liked it. A LOT.

What a great night of Idol. Well, except for Jennifer’s wardrobe choice. And Jessica’s tennis shoes.

“Tommy, come quickly!”

Elise Testone (I Want It All) – Elise is doing her thing up there tonight, too. A good song choice and a good performance. Elise wants it all!!!

Phillip Phillips (Fat Bottomed Girls) – Oh snap. This is not good. It is not good, because IT IS GREAT! My favorite performance so far this evening. This song fits Phillip likes a glove. It is my favorite performance of his to date and my favorite one so far tonight on the show. Wait, did I already say that? I am pulling for Phillip to pull this thing out. I want to see him in the finale.

In my humble opinion, Randy Jackson has lost his darn mind.

Hollie Cavanagh (Save Me) – Is there any irony in the fact that Hollie is singing a song called Save Me? Yes, I thought so. Love, love, love this performance. Hollie is the comeback kid, and I think this is a good song for her. (The judges do not agree with me.)

Jessica Sanchez – Dance With My Father (Luther Vandross) – Now this is more like it. Jessica can sing a ballad like nobody’s business, and I suspect she knows that. This performance was much better for me than the first one, but then again, I’m a military wife who’s lived through a deployment. This song tugs at my heart, and I feel bad for her. Good for her that she can make it through the song without doing the ugly cry because since deployment? I never hear The Star Spangled Banner without wiping tears… She is a talented kid who has a big future ahead of her. She just doesn’t happen to be my favorite singer in the competition.

Skylar Laine – Tattoos On This Town (Jason Aldean) – This is pretty much like every other country song Skylar has performed. I could take a pee break right now and not miss a thing because I’ve seen this same performance for the past ten weeks. It’s good. Not great, but good.

Joshua Ledet – Ready For Love (India Arie) – Well now. I certainly wasn’t expecting that. I don’t know this song, but I love the performance. Joshua just knocked it ‘out the park’. I was on the edge of my seat hanging on his every note. (Ok, so I wasn’t literally on the edge of my seat, but you know what I mean, right?) He sold it and I bought it.

I love the little “in between” interviews the contestants are giving.

Elise Testone – Bold As Love (Jimi Hendrix) – Ok. I think this is my favorite performance of hers even though I have never heard this song. It was a little bit jazz, a little bit rock, and a little bit funk. I was tapping my toe and boppin’ in my big, blue, bloggy couch. (Shew, that’s a mouthful.) I don’t even know which radio station Elise will be heard on if / when she makes it big. There’s a market out there for her I’m sure, I just don’t know which one it would be.

Phillip Phillips – The Stone Lyrics (Dave Matthews Band) – So. I love Dave Matthews Band. He sings some wonderful songs. But this isn’t one of ’em. Still, though? I think Phillip did his thang on it. Such a different song. But still a wonderful performance. For me, at least. (And I hope America agrees, because? Hello, he has mad talent!)

Hollie Cavanagh – The Climb (Miley Cyrus) – “Hey Hollie, are you listening?” This song? Purr-fect for you! You are making The Climb slowly but surely. It was time, girl. It was time. Good for you!

—–

ROUND 1: Phillip

ROUND 2: Hollie

Going Home: Hoping for Elise or Skylar, but probably Hollie.

Talk amongst yourselves….

My Latest Culinary Endeavor

I know at least one person who’s happy about my sudden interest in Pinterest. It ‘d be the one who benefits from all the recipes I’ve tried since becoming hooked.

I’m always nervous when I ask McDaddy his opinion on my latest culinary endeavor.

Last week, I tried a new pork chop recipe. I typically use Shake & Bake (And I helped!) on pork chops, and since we all like it, you’d think that maybe I should just stick with what we all like. But then what kind of fun would that be?

For this recipe, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 4-6 Large Loin Pork Chops
  • 3 cups dry Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese (can use real or canned)
  • Envelope of Italian salad dressing
  • Ranch dressing in a bottle

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a metal pan with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray.

Mix bread crumbs, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and Italian salad dressing in a bowl. Pour into a large Ziploc bag.

Pour a layer of ranch dressing on a plate.

Coat a pork chop with the ranch dressing (shake off excess) and then drop it into the bag of powder ingredients. Shake until well coated on both sides. (Add more ranch dressing to the plate as needed.)

Place coated pork chops onto the tinfoil covered pan. Once all pork chops are coated, place the pan into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the thick part of the pork chops reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove the pork chops from the oven as soon as they are finished, and serve as soon as possible.

Enjoy!

This post is linked to works for me!

What I Learned This Week

I spent the day in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital sitting with a family friend who was hit head-on by a drunk driver on Friday morning at 8:30 AM.

AM people. As in just got out of bed AM.

Our friend was headed home after having breakfast with a friend when his life changed in an instant. He’s got a long road ahead of him, but thankfully, his life was spared.

As you might imagine, my nose worked overtime today as I did my best to be all up in everybody’s business. The problem is, the nurses in the ICU talk really softly. Here’s what I learned from my time in the ICU…

1. Grover Cleveland is on the $1,000 bill.

2. A level – the kind used by construction workers – hangs in every room of the ICU and is placed on the handrails of a level bed when inserting some sort of tube. 

3. The housekeeping crew has no concern for a sleeping patient.

4. If you act like you belong there, no one will question your presence in the ICU.

5. Sitting with an ICU patient is a great opportunity to get a good amount of work done.

6. There are no patient phones in ICU rooms. Instead, each patient is given a PIN number which must be accused to access the nursing station.

7. Two bright green stickers placed on the doors of an ICU room, will drive a nosy girl insane wondering what they say.

8. If there are two bright green stickers on the doors of a ICU room, and the nurses gown-down to go in the room, there is a good chance the patient has meningitis.

9. Bacterial meningitis is worse than viral meningitis.

10. I am able to sit quietly for MOST of the day.

11. When having lunch in the cafeteria, you should leave the LAYS lay. They are way to loud to be enjoyed in an ICU room.

12. The Spleen, is primarily a blood filter.

13. The spleen, in healthy adults, is approximately 11 centimeters in length, and weighs between 150 grams -200 grams. An easy way to remember the anatomy of the spleen is the 1x3x5x7x9x11 rule. The spleen is 1″ by 3″ by 5′, weighs approximately 7 ounces, and lies between the 9th and 11th ribs on the left hand side.

14. Some individuals are born with an accessory spleen. Others acquire an extra spleen after an injury to the original spleen.

15. It is possible to live without spleen.

 What did YOU learn this week?

Sunshine On My Shoulders

I love sunshine! Especially 80 degree sunshine with NO humidity.

In other words, I like sunshine in optimal conditions.

Remember, I am a princess.

My favorite thing to do on a bright sunshiny day is to bust this thing out of the garage and take its top off.

With an ice-cold Dr. Pepper in the cup holder, I crank up the stereo and hit the open road. (And sometimes I let out a war-hoop on the interstate just because I can.)

Sadly, it’s supposed to be cold and rainy this week. Which makes me so sad because when it’s cold and rainy, our baseball games get rained out.

WE NEED SUNSHINE!

And speaking of sunshine…

When the sun is shining, it’s difficult to see the baseball.

If you see the sunshine, could you send some our way?

We’ve got games to play.

And plays to make.

I’m hoping for lots of SUNSHINE this week!

This post is linked to YOU CAPTURE where this week’s challenge is sunshine.

American Idol – Top 7

So, it’s another Wednesday night around here at the McResidence, and of course that means, THIS! Is American Idol.

I was surprised when Jessica Sanchez ended up in the bottom three. I was shocked when she was voted off.

Tonight, the contestants will sing two songs. The first will be a number one song from 2000 until today, and the second a soul song “from back in the day”. Folks, I have high hopes for a great night of television.

Hollie Cavanagh – Rollin’ In The Deep (Adele) – Ah yeah. One of my favorite songs right now. I think this might very well be Hollie’s best performance. (And those guys on the kettle drums aren’t hurting either! Wow, so powerful.) What an awesome performance. She showed up tonight in a big way. Way. To. Go. Hollie! And it was just as good the second time around.

Colton Dixon – Bad Romance (Lady GagGag) – Awww. What the heck happened to sweet, soulful Colton who makes that piano sing alongside his smooth voice? This is not my most favorite performance, but, he sounds good singing that mess. Hopefully he’ll be back in round two with a big ballad.

Elise Testone – No One (Alicia Keys) – Oh, I love this one, too.  I love the orange dress. I love the song. I love the performance. It’s a good night on Idol yo!

Phillip Phillips – You Got It Bad (Usher) – I don’t know this song, but I love a good Usher song. Week after week, Phillip surprises me. He is killing this song with his raspy voice. I LOVE IT!

Jessica Sanchez – Fallen (Alicia Keys) – I suspect Jessica will knock this one out the park. (And I have no doubt the judges will be falling all over themselves with praise and adoration for Jessica.) Don’t get me wrong, girlie can sing. I just think their little show after she sang to save herself last week was a little much. They pretty much told the other contestants, y’all suck!

Skylar Laine – Born This Way (Lady GagGag) – Well, here we go with the stomp. And the fist pump. If you can get past all that, I guess its only fair to say that she is doing a good job on the song.

Josh Ledet – I Believe (Fantasia) – Josh is straight-up in his element. This is a great song for his voice.

Hollie Cavanagh – Son Of A Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield) – This arrangement sounds a little low for Hollie. It’s a sad shame she couldn’t have ended up on the Rollin’ In The Deep tune because I don’t think this one has nearly the impact that one had. Still, much better than what we’re used to from her.

Colton Dixon – September (Earth, Wind and Fire) – NOW THIS! Is the Colton Dixon I’m used to. I’m glad he showed back up, but I still don’t think this performance is doing a whole lot for him which is unfortunate, because hello? Remember what happened to Jessica last week?

Elise Teston (Let’s Get It On) – Marvin Gaye – There is a lot of up and down in this song. And I’m not sure the up outweighs the down. I am simply undecided about this performance.

Phillip Phillips – (Midnight Hour) – Ok. Phillip Phillips always puts a smile on my face. I love his versatility and unique style (I think I say that every week, but every week it’s true!) I would pay right this minute to see him in concert because he never EVER fails to entertain and perform his heart out and I love that he always puts his gut into every song. And yes, I watched this one again, too!

Kris Allen will be in the house tomorrow night. Woo Hoo!

Jessica Sanchez – (Try A Little Tenderness) Otis Redding – So Jessica is doing her thang. We’ll see what America thinks about it, but to me? She is spot on.

Skylar Laine – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Marvin Gaye) – Same dance. Different song. Not impressed.

Joshua Ledet – A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke) – Now that’s what I talkin’ about. Oh boy does not deserve to be in the bottom three. Yes indeed. What a way to end the show.

Best Performance of the Night: Hollie – Rollin’ In The Deep & Phillip – Midnight Hour

Going Home: Probably Hollie, but Lord knows I was wrong last week.

What say you?

My Favorite Season is Baseball Season

A year or so ago, I would have promptly deleted any e-mail asking if I was interested in reviewing a book about baseball players.

Now though?

I am that mother on the baseball field. You know the one… The loud one who hollers like a crazy person when my boys are playing baseball. (In fact, I spent the evening at the ball field, hollering like a crazy person!)

Stevie has been a baseball fan ever since we spent time [watching the Yankees] in New Hampshire with McDaddy’s sister and her family back in 2009.  They eat, live and breathe New York Yankees and after watching several games with his Uncle Mike, Stevie is a huge fan, too.

Sports Illustrated Kids recently released a new book geared toward young baseball fans. Pro Files: Baseball: Intel on Today’s Biggest Stars and Tips on How to Play Like Them includes information on fifteen of the best players in Major League Baseball, with stats through the 2011 season. Filled with beautiful color photography, statistical facts, trivia, tips, and lots of personal information about each player (LA Angels 1st baseman Albert Pujols’ favorite cartoon character is Batman, Texas Rangers Left fielder Josh Hamilton wears a size 19! shoe, Seattle Mariners Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki’s favorite video game is Super Mario Brothers, and Seattle Mariners Pitcher Felix Hernandez’s favorite food is beans and spaghetti), this book is sure to appeal to baseball fans of all ages.

Pro Files: Baseball offers statistics and bios of the best players in Major League Baseball, along with in-depth analysis from stars and coaches. The 96-page hardcover book, with 100 action-packed colorful photos, profiles 15 of the big leagues’ hottest players and features signature content that includes: great writing, amazing statistics, and dynamic photography. Pro Files: Baseball also delves deeper, providing insider secrets on how to hit, pitch and field just like the stars in the book. Experts break down skills and present drills so that young players can learn to play like the pros. In Pro Files: Baseball, fans will not only read all about Joe Mauer and his accomplishments, but they’ll also learn how to throw out a base runner like the Minnesota Twins star.

Stevie looks at the book frequently, no doubt because it is chock full of statistical information (he loves that kind of stuff) and he has enjoyed reading through the bios of some great players! My boy loves to read and he loves baseball. That makes this book a home run!

[In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with a complimentary copy of Pro Files: Baseball to facilitate this review. As always, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.]

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday!

What I Learned This Week

What I learned this week….

1. If I stay on top of it, I can do seven loads of laundry in five hours.

2. It takes me an average of 2.3 days to put seven loads of laundry away.

3. My favorite season is baseball season.

4. When cooking spaghetti, it is never a good idea to wear a new shirt. UGH.

5. Dwarf hamsters are more active than regular hamsters. They are also faster.

6. Snails can still crawl with a sticker on their back.

7. Adele is a phenomenal singer. Her song One And Only is off the hook. I like it best when the volume is cranked way up.

8. Kindergarteners enjoy watching snails and earthworms crawl on a piece of paper.

Now, what did YOU learn?

That Works For Me!

My mother-in-law, Jean has been a loyal blog fan from the very beginning of this blogging gig. She often reads several posts at a time and comments on every. single. one. Aside from McDaddy, Jean may be my MOST loyal blog fan. On more than one occasion (several, actually), she has suggested that I write a book.

The idea that I write a book cracks me up because, well, because what in the heck could I possibly say that would compel people to BUY a book? Plus, if you spend any amount of time around here, you know that I overuse the comma and write way too many run-on sentences to be taken seriously. If I did write a book though, you can bet the farm that it would be chock full of crazy.

Until I write that book though, I’ll continue to dish out a daily dose of crazy here on the blog and I’ll attempt to put cohesive, grammatically correct sentences together for your reading pleasure.

And, it is my pleasure to make an announcement here on the blog today. A few months back, I received an e-mail from Kristen over at We Are THAT Family.

Congratulations! One or more of your tips from posts you submitted to a Works For Me Wednesday blog carnival (hosted at www.wearethatfamily.com) has been selected for a new e-book, called That Works for Me: 1001 Greatest Tips, which will release in Spring of 2012.

Oh Snap! (Did you hear read that, Jean?)

Who would have ever thought in all these weeks (years, even) of participating in Works For Me Wednesday, that it would result in one of my tips being chosen to be featured in an e-book of 800 great useful tips.

Here’s what the writers say about That Works For Me!

For more than five years, the blog carnival, Works For Me Wednesday has been a hub of helpful tips for every area of a busy woman’s life. Hundreds of bloggers link up every week and thousands of tips have been shared over the past years.

This e-book offers a categorized, organized place for more than 800 practical, “aha!” tips to make your life run smoother. That Works For Me! is a celebration of the WFMW community, with tips from hundreds of different blogs.

It won’t organize your linen closets or remove stains, but this e-book will offer you a good place to start. We’ve searched and compiled and created an organized e-book with 24 popular categories, featuring the best of tips in each group.

Upon receiving my copy of the book, I clicked through several of the posts right away. Y’all. There are some really great tips included in the book. It will take me quite some time to get through each post, but I plan to stay on it until I do. I was excited and honored to be featured not once, but TWO TIMES in the new e-book, This Works For Me! which is also available on the Kindle.

The first tip featured (#596 in the book) from my blog falls under Organization (My OCD is smiling!). You might remember my tip for making Lego cleanup quick and easy by using a fitted sheet. (And if you remember the tip, you probably also remember the sub par photography included in the post.) That sheet has more miles on it than my van. (Well, maybe not THAT many!)

The second tip featured from my blog (tip number 627 in the book) suggests a great way to count down days of deployment. In our case, we used M&Ms. We made a bowl for Stevie, a bowl for Alex, and a bowl for daddy, and they ate one single M&M everyday to signify one day down, another day closer. That was the most difficult time in my life. I’m so glad that something good, that other people can use, has come out of it after all this time.

And now, for the fun part.

As a contributor, I get to give away a copy of the e-book. Simply leave a comment on this post, telling me your BEST TIP. Or, if you absolutely have to have the book TODAY, you can go here to purchase That Works For Me! for $8.00. And just for being a loyal FROM INMATES TO PLAYDATES reader, you can use the code: SAVE1 to save $1.00 on the book. 

[In the interest of full disclosure: THAT link (the one just above in blue) is an affiliate link, which means I will earn money if you click there and buy there.]

For you social media junkies, you have lots of options. [Liking, Joining, Following or submitting any / all of the That Works For Me! pages will also earn you an extra entry in the giveaway, just be sure to leave a separate comment telling me which ones you joined, liked, followed, etc.]

For starters, the That Works For Me! e-Book has its very own, brand spankin’ new website.

To kick off the release of the book, the writers are running a contest on the website thru the month of April for a gift card for house cleaning ($150 value). All you have to do to enter is submit a tip that works for you! (And since we’re talking about things that WORK FOR US! I can tell you a gift card for house cleaning would work out well for me!)

You can follow That Works For Me on Twitter and Pinterest.

And, on Facebook at the That Works For Me! Tried and True Tips from WFMW.

Lastly, a portion of the profit from your purchase, will benefit The Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya, Africa started by TWFM author and We Are THAT Family blogger, Kristen Welch.

Phew. I think that’s it.