<![CDATA[Peanut Butter Hair - Blog]]>Sat, 21 Apr 2018 17:17:32 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Living Through Your Children...and Fear of Public Speaking]]>Sat, 21 Apr 2018 10:13:31 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/living-through-your-children    "And the Lord Said,"...
​    Never in my middle school years had I been so proud at my church. 
​    Our minister reserved the coveted spot of reading the Bible in front of the entire congregation for the coolest high school kids - and for some unknown reason, that week he picked me.  ME.  A lowly, braces - curly haired, measly jr. high kid.
​     I must have been something, because never before had he picked someone younger than a high school student to attain the honor.  
     I. Was. Awesome.
​    Clearing my throat, it was time.  I had all the confidence a 12 year old could muster as I placed my finger on the initial word of the scripture.  "And the Lord said..."
​     For whatever reason, I looked up.  Lifting my eyes to see the entire congregation sitting and listening politely caused that one fraction of a second to become my own personal nightmare.         I froze. 
​     I had never taken public speaking or any other type of speech class at that point in my life, so nothing had prepared me for the feeling of what seemed like thousands of people sitting and gawking at how ridiculously stupid I must've suddenly seemed.
​      The words caught like cotton in my throat and my eyes teared, making it impossible to see the blurry words I was supposed to read next.  
​      Returning my finger to where I'd left off, I tried tracing the lines of fuzzy black spots.
​      "What were the first words?  Maybe try starting over..." My head spun as my stomach knotted and all I could hear was my pulse pounding through my ears.
​       "And the Lord said", I choked out the only four words I'd remembered as a tear plopped on the page.  Some punk kid began to giggle and as I lifted my eyes, some of the adults had already begun clinging their hands to their chest with that whole, "Bless her heart", expression across their faces.
​      I was blowing it.  Blowing it!  No matter what I tried, it only got worse and before I could recover a fraction of my dignity, I squeaked out one last unearthly sound before I finally gave up and ran off, flying through the sanctuary and out to our car.  Thank God I grew up in a small hometown because my parents didn't have to lock the doors, allowing me to hide out and ugly cry in the back seat for the remainder of the hour.
​      I'll never forget that day and since then, I've never been able to speak publicly for any reason.  
​      Fast forward past weddings, conferences or any type of ceremony in life and that brings us to our eighth grade son, Christian.  He's taken confirmation classes through our church for the entire past year and has enjoyed the experience.  We've loved watching him grow in his knowledge and faith and couldn't have been happier with his walk.  
​      This past week, however, Adam and I received an email stating that a handful of the eighth graders have been selected to lead the Confirmation Sunday service as their conclusion to the year.  
​      As you can imagine, my stomach began to crawl to my throat as I followed the list of names only to find...you guessed it...our son's.  
​       This is where a normal parent begins to beam with pride, but with one look, my husband knew my thoughts.
​       "What if it happens to him?  How can I keep him from the same experience?"
​       The obvious answer was to politely decline the invitation to participate and shield him from my memories of disaster.  That's what we do.  Those are the struggles we have as parents.  We use our past experiences - both good and bad - then make it almost impossible not to project them into living through our children whether we realize it or not.  School, friends, sports, looking like a moron in front of crowds of people...
     This is where God is good and provides wisdom over fear, however.
​      I am not my son and he doesn't have the heart stopping panic of public speaking like I do.  It's my job not to put that on him.  
​     We spoke to Christian about the opportunity, he said, "Cool." so I wrote an email back to the church thanking them for the offer and "gladly" accepted.
​     Tomorrow, he has two pages he has to read during the service and I don't know if I'll take a single breath through one spoken word.
​      He won't know that though.  With one hand, I'll cling to my husband with the death grip strength only a mother can have, while with the other, I'll sneak Christian a tiny thumbs up as he walks to the front, putting the biggest smile on my face as my heart and fears go with him...all the while hoping he has the best experience as he reads his part...and praying he'll be able to carry that feeling of accomplishment with him, all the days of his life.            ]]>
<![CDATA[Unicorn Birthday Party]]>Sun, 25 Mar 2018 19:11:52 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/unicorn-birthday-party     Nine years ago, our lives changed forever.  In a house filled with cars, trucks and fun boys...a pink, unicorn world sprinkled with glitter came along to change everything.  
​     On our little girl's very first birthday, the Sweetest friend named, "Mimi the Clown" came to help celebrate our daughter's day...and we hoped of one day having her visit again when our daughter was older.   
     Almost a decade later, the day had arrived - bringing back Mimi the Clown along with the Dearest group of friends a unicorn rainbow sparkle party could dream of...
   ...and it all began with a surprise...
    Through screams and laughter, our daughter entered into a room of love and fun.  She's lucky to have the best of friends who have kept the party a secret, while I'm lucky enough to work with some of the most creative friends on earth, like Brittney and Mahalia who are party geniuses...with ideas like jumping in "Unicorn Rainbows with cotton ball clouds" and eating unicorn rainbow fruit with rainbow dip, unicorn bark, rainbow pasta salad... 
     ...and for knowing the most Beautiful Mamas like, Cristen, Jessica and Amy who came to help during the rainbowy chaos of glittery fun, bringing with them older siblings like Lily Kate and Finley to gather the troops and spray party goers with sparkles.
    My parents helped us prepare for the day, Mom making unicorn food with me and Dad filling unicorn goody bags - then the rest was up to some good old fashioned unicorn birthday party fun.

    It's nothing less than wonderful to see your children grow through the years, but days like these make the memories covered in magic and sweetness.  
​     Thank You to Friends and Family who helped make her party a surprise and success, and Love to the Adorable girls who helped in the celebration. 
​     A BIG Thank You to, Mimi!  You're Absolutely Amazing!  (Mimi's website is: www.themelodymaker.net )   
​      I don't know if Adam or I will be able to look at another ounce of "unicorns" for at least another year or so, but it sure was fun while it lasted.  
​     Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!  We Love You More than all the Glitter in the World!  XO
<![CDATA[What May Seem Like No Big Deal to You...]]>Sat, 24 Feb 2018 12:20:25 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/what-may-seem-like-no-big-deal-to-youPicture
One of our kids came home wanting to talk about a situation, but if you're like us, walking through the door is probably one of the most impossible times to sit down for a conversation.  Car keys flying, mail everywhere, refrigerator and cabinet doors pounding open and shut between ravenous boys...not the best time for a one on one. 
​    "Mom..."  
    I heard the voice, but didn't listen.  
​    "MOM."
​    I knew that one.  The different one.  The voice that says "I really need you and would you please stop and listen."
​     How often do we do it though?  How often do we respond with a, "Hey, okay - give me a minute and I'll be right there" while we shovel on with a thousand different things.  
​     I'll never forget a story a friend of mine from Texas told.  She went on about how it was a thousand degrees outside and her girls kept running in and out of the house.  It was driving her mad as she worked on getting dinner ready, until one of her daughters ran in behind her, pulling her shirt.  "Mommy", she repeated as her mom busied herself with ingredients.  "Mommy, look!"
​     Completely annoyed, her mom spun around snapping, "WHAT?" only to find a bewildered little girl standing alone with flowers she had picked for her in the yard. 
​      It's hard.  Sometimes impossible to juggle everyday life but I strongly believe if we not only hear, but try our best to listen...it makes a difference.
​      Even the smallest things that might seem insignificant to us, can be overwhelmingly difficult for a child.
​      Kind of like the buffalo and the butterfly.  A tiny pebble isn't noticed on the back of a buffalo.  He doesn't begin to feel it's there...but put that same pebble on the wing of a butterfly and the same does not apply.
​       In this hurriedly, overwhelmingly busy thing called life, it's important to make the time to stop and listen.  Pay attention and appreciate the ones you love.  You never know when there might be someone standing behind you, with a thought, a concern...or simply holding the flowers they've picked...just for you.     

<![CDATA[Super Bowl Recipes]]>Sun, 04 Feb 2018 09:09:00 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/super-bowl-recipes6355126     I worked my way through graduate school at an awesome restaurant back home called, Damon's.  I can still smell their ribs to this day.
​     At the time, I didn't know how to boil water - so I would study and find it fascinating to watch how fast (and how mouth wateringly) the cooks made everything look.  From potato skins to buffalo wings, it was hard not to drool as I delivered each plate.
​     Fast forward and it was probably the best job I ever could've had in learning how to quickly tend to a pack of ravenous wolves - all while keeping a thousand things going at once - and while carrying piping hot plates up my arm.
​     That being said, some of the best items off the menu - tie the cornucopia of heavenly appetizers into the Greatest Super Bowl party deliciousness on earth.  
                       Potato Skins
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour Cream
Wash and pierce potatoes, then bake in 400* oven for approximately one hour, or until tender inside.
Cool to handle
Fry bacon and crumble when cooled.
Slice potatoes in half, lengthwise, then scoop out inside of potatos, letting some remain. 
Heat oil in large pot or deep fryer, fry skins in batches.
On lined baking sheet, arrange skins, filling inside with shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon.
Set oven to broil, place inside oven for approximately 4-5 minutes.
Sprinkle salt, sour cream and chives to taste.

                      Buffalo Wings
5 pounds chicken wings
1 cup hot sauce (we like Frank's Red Hot)
2/3 cup melted butter
Heat oil in deep fryer or deep pot until approximately 375* (when the handle/back of a wooden spoon bubbles when you put it in, then it's ready)
Add batches of wings in hot oil for approximately 10-15 minutes then remove.  (Check the inside for pinkness)
Combine hot sauce and melted butter in large bowl, add wings to bowl.  Cover wings with sauce and serve with ranch or bleu cheese dressing and celery. 
​Editor's Note: You can bake wings at 400* for approximately 40-50 minutes instead of frying, then coat with buffalo sauce, BBQ, teriyaki, etc.  

                 Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
2 (16 ounce) blocks of Mozzarella cheese, cut into sticks
1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
Marinara Sauce

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and salt in bowl.  In another bowl, stir eggs.
Cut cheese into sticks, dip sticks into eggs, then coat with bread crumb mix.
Place breaded sticks on baking sheet, cover and freeze at least one hour.
Heat oil over medium heat.
Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown.
Serve with Marinara sauce.

​The next two items weren't at the restaurant, but are a Super Bowl favorite.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (canned)
1 (8 ounce package) cream cheese
1/2 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese or your favorite cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350*
Combine all ingredients and place in shallow 1 quart baking dish.
Bake 20 minutes and serve with Pita Chips.

Crock-Pot Meatballs

2 (12 ounce) bottles Chili Sauce
1 (32 ounce) jar grape jelly
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
3 to 5 pounds of frozen cocktail meatballs
Combine the first three ingredients and stir into Crock-Pot. Dump meatballs in crockpot, turning with spoon and coating with sauce. Cook on low 3-4 hours.     
<![CDATA[RIP Poor Cupcake]]>Wed, 31 Jan 2018 03:17:43 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/rip-poor-cupcake    In the history of all hamsters, I don't know if one has ever lived longer than "Cupcake".  When we got him, the man at the pet store said he would only live for around two years...which was about a hundred years ago.  
​    Cupcake was our daughter's birthday gift when she was little - and we naively assumed he would be a cute and cuddly pet. 
    We couldn't have been more wrong.  He was the meanest, angriest, rabid little thing that would bite your finger off when given the chance.  He spent his nights spinning in his maniacal little wheel, planning and plotting his very next move.
​     Our daughter would put gloves on to try and pet him, but he'd still bite right through, being that he was from Satan himself.
​     We lost Cupcake once, like, literally lost him for over a week and I knew the furry little thing would bite our faces off while we slept.  
​      Our daughter lovingly put pieces of fruit and hamster food out each night, hoping he would find his way back, while my husband and I knew he would never survive. 
​      Sure enough...he did.
​      That was years ago and for whatever reason, she loved him still.  She adored and cared for him even when we secretly hoped after family vacations he would be "taking a nap" by the time we came home.   
​     He was too mean to die and I honestly began to think we'd one day send him off to college with her, chewing his way through her textbooks.
​    Then, it happened.  Yesterday morning, I went to check on his food and water, but he wasn't glaring at me.  He looked, peaceful. 
​    Thinking something was wrong, I cautiously opened his cage to see what he'd do, but he didn't move to attack.  No biting, no jumping...he just sat.  His eyes were open and he looked at me, but he barely moved. 
​     Calling my husband, we gathered the kids and told them to spend some time with him because something seemed to be off.  They each did, but we all kept the sense everything would be okay.
     When school was over though, there he was.  Motionless and still.
​      The level of disdain I'd held for this ball of anger melted into pain.  He was so small and delicate and I couldn't believe he was gone.
​     Our daughter wept.  She cried so hard she almost made herself sick as my mind raced with what to do.  She'd never lost a pet and kept wanting to hold him, wishing he were alive. 
​     We had a funeral, said our good byes and wondered how she would be from then on.  
     It's hard to believe he's gone.  No squeaks of the hamster wheel spinning constantly throughout the night, no crunches of food while he eats his snacks at 3:00 in the morning.
​     We know our daughter will get better in time, but it's a learning process that'll never be easy.  
​      I never thought I'd miss that little fuzzball, but I actually do. One thing's for sure though, I feel better knowing he had a very long, looooong hamster life.
​      Rest in Peace, Cupcake.  We Love You. 
<![CDATA[A Bonafide North Carolina Snow Day]]>Wed, 17 Jan 2018 22:14:38 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/a-bonafide-north-carolina-snow-day   Waking up with our noses pressed to the windows, resulted in another hollow blow with not a snowflake in sight.  Growing up in Ohio, I often find myself wishing for snowy days for my kids like the ones I grew up with, but raising them in North Carolina typically doesn't lend itself to such luck.
​   School was called off last night with the potential of snow, (a huge perk of living in the south) but when we all rushed to see how much had fallen this morning, there. was. nothing.  Not even a speck.  
​   "At least we didn't have to go to school", one of the kids mumbled - but then - a few hours later, grumbles were replaced with an eight year old scream heard 'round the world.
​     "IT'S SNOWING!!!"
​    Rushing back to the windows, sure enough it was.  Little by little...then a lot by a lot...snow began to fall.  It's still coming down as I write and I don't know if we've ever seen this much since we've lived here.
​     I'm sure there are people in the south that hate the very thought of this day, but for an Ohio girl and everyone else in the house, it couldn't be better...even if it only lasts for a minute.
​                *+*HAPPY SNOW DAY!!!*+* 
<![CDATA[Dear Husband, You're my Velociraptor]]>Sat, 13 Jan 2018 22:33:32 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/dear-husband-you-are-my-velociraptor    I work with a student who's obsessed with dinosaurs.  Obsessed.  He tells me about one of his favorites being the Velociraptor with the fascination of a young mind in how he thinks a Velociraptor worked.  "He targets something, while another Velociraptor swings in to take care of business."
   It made me think - sometimes parents approach child rearing in a "good cop - bad cop" kind of way with one being passive while the other, more the authoritarian.  In our family however, my husband, well, my husband is my Velociraptor.  He swoops in from the side of things when I'm having the worst kind of day, then handles the situation quickly and effectively, before things get out of control.
​    Take last week.  It was his birthday and our eight and ten year olds were arguing over who would get to hold and carry his cake.  Fussing to light the candles, I informed them how neither would be carrying the sheet cake of flames and they could walk in with me while we all sang instead. My parents and the other kids were waiting in the dining room with Adam, while we three bickered over the bearer of the sugary torch.  
​    Upon carefully balancing the cake with one hand and trying to record with my phone in the other, I quickly realized it might actually be safer for one of the kids to hold the cake, rather than attempting to text and sing.
​     Our son was already in the dining room, so I apprehensively handed the now flaming ball of icing to our eight year old and hurried her along.  
​     She couldn't be happier.  Beaming from ear to ear, she was beyond excited to have the honor of carrying her first cake to her Daddy.  
​      Cue the singing, cue the angered ten year old brother who now sees his little sister rounding the corner with the cake...and cue the family dog our daughter didn't realize was lying across the floor while she ventured in from the kitchen.  
​     "Happy birthday to you" suddenly became a tumbling eight year old releasing a flying, flaming blaze of forty some years followed by a gasp from everyone in the room.  My mom yells about the dog, our son yells, "I KNEW IT!" furious after he'd already announced his little sister would drop the cake if she carried it by herself.  Before I could scream at the entire situation altogether, enter, my Velociraptor of a husband - swooping in from the side.  
​      Grabbing the cake (that somehow landed upright), he quickly high fived our daughter telling her "nice save", gave a smile as we confusingly began singing again - while the family dog remained undaunted and unmoved.
​       How were there no injuries to child or dog, no explosions of trajectory cake and icing for days, not to mention zero instantaneous combustions of flaming curtains?  One may never know.  
​       What I do know is, my husband is my Velociraptor.  The one I can count on to unexpectedly come in and attack the everyday crazy situations in this jungle we call life.  Every single cake flying, fire flaming, dog tripping impossible adventure.
​      We Love You, Adam.  Happy Birthday!  XO
<![CDATA[A Christmas Kitten]]>Mon, 25 Dec 2017 18:33:31 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/a-christmas-kitten      We live in a zoo with our four kids, dog, rabbit, hamster (that was only supposed to live two years but has somehow managed to surpass the Guinness Book of World Records for hamster life) so it only seemed natural to add, yes, a kitten.
​      "You've lost your mind" were my husband's words, sprinkled in with a few more colorful thoughts, as he tends to live his life primarily with reason.  I on the other hand, am the emotional one.  The thought of our oldest son being in the eighth grade reminds me he only has four more years until he'll miss knowing the comfort of a ball of fur curled around his shoulders while he studies on the couch. Our middle boys play with our dog constantly, but don't know the snuggly wake up call from a pounce on their chest. 
​     Then there's our daughter.  Our eight year old little girl has begged - no - pleaded for a cat for years, much to my husband's dismay.  He's stiff-armed the feline frenzy for as long as I can remember, but the time has finally come.
​     This morning, when the presents were opened with toys and electronics in full swing, there was one more box yet to be found.  Shaking his head, my husband gave me the look with a half smile, then held the box for the kids to peek inside.  Squeals were abundant as each of them held the little one, making it impossible to determine who was in more disbelief.
​     The kitten is tiny, soft and beyond adorable.  He's playful and fuzzy with the cutest little nose.  His tiny paws haven't touched the ground as the kids take turns holding him - and yes - even my husband has warmed up just a little.
​     It's a Christmas to remember with a new addition to the wildness of our home, but well worth the years of waiting.              We hope your Christmas wishes came true today, and pray you'll have the Happiest New Year of all.                
<![CDATA[A Williamsburg Christmas]]>Fri, 22 Dec 2017 02:14:52 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/a-williamsburg-christmas     In this day and age it can take quite a lot to find the time to get into the Christmas spirit.  Work, relentless schedules and the madness of everyday life can make it nearly impossible to stop and enjoy the holidays altogether.
​    One may wonder if the same held true hundreds of years ago. 
​    We love going to Williamsburg, Virginia for the opportunity to question just that...while gaining the cherished time to slow down long enough to enjoy this holiday season (even if it means locking up the kids to make it happen). 
    After a cool night of history, Busch Gardens was beautifully decorated for Christmas as well.  
    The simplicity of fun and togetherness without chaos and demands brings the kid out in all of us, no matter what the year or even century. 
​     May your days slow to enjoy this time, if only for a minute...and may your Christmas and holidays hold endless laughter and love.    
<![CDATA[Unofficial Roblox Books and YouTube]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 04:00:11 GMThttp://peanutbutterhair.com/blog/unofficial-roblox-books-and-youtube   It's a Christmas Miracle.  The house is quiet, no electronics are on and our 10 year old son is
​    Not because we made him or because of school, but because he wants to.  Did you feel the earth shake a little bit on that last sentence?  Yes, he wants to read two books he discovered written by a brother and sister team, Ben and Joy.  The brother, Ben even has his own Awesome YouTube channel with thousands of followers.  
​    What's it all about you might ask?  If you've ever heard of a game called, Roblox, that's what Ben works/plays with, having tons of fun along the way.  You can catch his channel:
​  and read Ben's book: http://amzn.to/2yNLRws 
  and Joy's book: 
   I'm beyond impressed that a brother and sister team so young, are able to accomplish so much, while doing it in a clean, fun level I can feel comfortable allowing my kids to watch and read.
​   The books make an excellent Christmas gift and you can get them for your son or daughter who "love" to read as much as ours. 
​   Trust me, it's Amazing.  (Thank You, Ben and Joy!) :)