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The kids had "Duck Dynasty" dress up day at school for Spirit Week. They were happy, happy, happy.
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We recently ran out to grab dinner at a restaurant. When we do this, it's usually pretty chaotic. Crayons go flying, one or two kids crawl under the table, the other two go running around their chairs and there's ALWAYS someone who has to go to the bathroom.
This time, Adam and I looked across the restaurant at a perfect family. There was a mom and dad with their quiet son and daughter sitting in their seats. I shot Adam a look that was both depressed and defeated. Then our four year old spilled her drink.
Cleaning it up, I began to watch the family a little closer and I noticed something. They were all on electronics and they weren't paying attention to each other. The dad was on his cell, the mom had an ipad, the son was playing with a Nintendo DS and the daughter was texting. They brought these things into the restaurant...for dinner.
They didn't look at each other, talk to each other, or really even pay attention to what they were eating.
What was crazier though, was that they weren't alone. So many people were on their cell phones or electronics. As peaceful and quiet as their tables were, it was strange how totally zoned out they seemed to be from each other.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for checking texts or messages and I'm fine with having the kids play games. When the connection to electronics leaves us disconnected as human beings though, that's when there's a problem.
It made me come up with a little check list that I've been guilty of and/or that drives me crazy about other people.
1. When you're in your car at a light and it turns green but you don't realize it until the five cars behind you start honking...put it down.
2. When you're at the check-out line at the grocery store and you don't realize the cashier is waiting for you to pay...put it down.
3. When you're eating a meal with other people and you haven't participated in a conversation or made eye contact in the last ten minutes...put it down.
4. When you're walking, (trust me on this)...put it down.
5. When you're at the movies and you've missed the opening plot and have to ask the person beside you to bring you up to speed...put it down.
I could go on and it makes me wonder what the next generation will be like. I've literally seen people text each other when they're beside someone, instead of talking to them. It's funny but it's true.
So, as for now, our dinners will continue to be wild. Our kids will spill their milk and their little feet will kick under the table so much so that it will drive us nuts. I'm going to try harder to keep my cell phone out of my daily life a little more, because that dinner taught me something.
Even though it's easy to make the world around me disappear when I'm on my phone or online, it's the french fry flying, ketchup squirting mess that's the crazy stuff I'll want to remember.
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Growing up in the 1980's, I had big hair. I don't mean - your average, run of the mill, big hair. I mean, other than "The Great Wall of China", it may have been the only other man made object visibly seen from outer space.
It was huge. My hair is crazy curly and ridiculously thick on a good day. When you took that - and combined it with a can or two of hairspray (while rocking out to Bon Jovi), I was good to go. Then something happened.
Pin straight hair became the new trend and I had no idea what to do. I fought and fought to try and make it work, but it was useless...and frizzy.
I finally found someone who taught me how to work with my hair instead of against it. Her name was Kim and she was awesome.
Maybe it's just me, but you know how when you find that someone that you would trust to do anything with your hair? I could just say, "Whatever you want!" And I knew it would be amazing. She was the best.
When I moved away, I tried to find someone to fall in hair love with again, but it just hasn't happened...until now.
I made an appointment with a new person named Lindsay. She was nice and cute and I instantly liked her. I didn't pay much attention when she was cutting my hair, but when she was done - I loved her. Even after I told her that my hair was so insane that I actually had nightmares of all three of my boys coming out like Bobby Brady, she took on the challenge.
When I saw the finished product, it looked like this...
I wanted to hug her. I actually DID hug her. How she gave my wild hair such a good cut, I'll never know. What I do know though, is that I can't wait to see her again.
Thank You Lindsay! Thank you for taming the beast. Take that NASA.
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What a beautiful presentation from a book of the amazing author, Janette Oke.
Set in the 19th Century, socialite Elizabeth Thatcher is eager to begin her new career as a school teacher. When her first assignment is in a small prairie town in the dangerous western frontier however, she has a big decision to make. Will she stay in the comforts of her lavish home and lifestyle with her family, or venture off to the great unknown?
When Elizabeth finds a secret diary of her Aunt, she reads of her past as a teacher in the frontier. Elizabeth learns of her Aunt's journey and struggles, as well as of the (ridiculously) handsome man she encounters.
The Hallmark Channel Original Movie is a precursor to the next Hallmark Channel Original Primetime Series and features three-time Emmy® Award-winner Jean Smart (“Designing Women”), Lori Loughlin (“Full House,” “90210”), Maggie Grace (“Taken 2”)Stephen Amell (“Arrow”), Daniel Sharman (“Teen Wolf”) and newcomer Poppy Drayton.
Lori Loughlin will continue her role in the series along with Erin Krakow (“Army Wives,” “Castle”) and Daniel Lissing (“Last Resort”) who round out the cast of the series set to premiere January 2014.
The Hallmark Channel does it again with this amazing movie that will take you on a journey to another time, while filling your heart with love.
Hallmark Channel Original Movie premiers "When Calls the Heart" Saturday, October 19 (9pm ET/PT/8C)
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A little while ago, my parents secretly arranged for our whole family to go on a cruise.
We had gone on a Disney cruise earlier this year and had more fun than we knew what to do with, so Dad booked another one as a surprise.
The sail date was for this Sunday...as in days from now...and everything was in place. Work, school and sports were all taken care of and we were ready to go...uuuuuuntil today.
My brother David called from Ohio saying, "I can't believe they cancelled."
"Who cancelled? What?"
"Disney! They CANCELLED!"
"They cancelled what? What are you talking about?!"
"Did you read your email? They cancelled the trip!"
My first thought was, "How is that possible?" My second thought was, "HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?" (There may have been a few choice words in between.)
After talking with my brother a few minutes more, we hung up so we could call Disney. I had a million questions, beginning with - "Are you reimbursing people?" and "WHY would you wait until DAYS before a trip to CANCEL?"
As luck would have it, before I could dial, the phone rang again. I looked down to see that my Mom was calling and I was anxious to hear her take.
"Don't worry. We just got off the phone with them and it will be fine."
Evidently, Disney has been renovating their ship because it was one of their older ones. Things took longer than they had originally planned, causing the cancellation of the trip. What she told me NEXT though, blew me away.
Disney was offering a full refund of the cost AND a free cruise for the whole family within the next seven months. FREE, as in, FREE.
In this day and age, especially with the economy, that was the last thing I had expected. I'm used to companies saying things like, "Well, you didn't have the travel insurance and these things happen you know. Sorry!"
A full refund would have been nice enough but a free cruise on top of it?
So, at the end of the day, what went from good to bad, most definitely became a crazy good.
I've always loved Disney but now I'm beyond impressed. It's not everyday that a company truly takes care of their people in such a way.
Thank You Disney. Thank you for caring more about your customers than in the bottom line. What a difference that makes.
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With the month of October being half over, an excitement is beginning to build in our house. Pumpkins and candy corn have been found from room to room and the kids ask daily how long until it's time to "Trick-or-Treat".
I'll have to admit, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to Halloween. I am ridiculously in love with the magic of it all and the costumes from year to year.
It began when Christian was a baby and it's pretty much taken off from there. We try to go with a theme and see where it takes us...
The first year was in 2003 with our little "Sweet Pea".
It's the stuff first date photo album nightmares are made of.
When our second son Ethan came along, we dressed the boys together.
Living in Texas at the time, a cowboy and a cow only seemed like the right thing to do. moooo
The next year soared to infinity and beyond...
When little brother Preston came along, "Lions and tigers and bears" roamed the streets.
Finally, when Lauren Elizabeth brought some girl power into the mix, we went with it...
Pixie dust was sprinkled a year later -
- and the yellow brick road came soon after.
Last year, the kids ran around with light sabers and "The Force" was with them.
That brings us to this year. It took awhile to figure out what to do, but we've finally got it. Our costumes are ready to go and I can't wait to post pictures.
Until then...have a happy October and a Happy Halloween!!!
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In the madness and the craziness of our days, it's quite often that I feel disconnected from what's most important in life. Take for instance, our mornings.
The chaos before work and school is pretty much consumed with nothing short of running around the house, screaming bursts of..."Did you brush your teeth? Is your backpack ready? Are you wearing underwear?"
Flying in the car on the way to school or football practice after school is usually filled with, "MOOOOOOM! Preston's touching me!"
"Preston, don't touch your brother."
"MOOOOOOM! Ethan's looking at me!"
"Ethan! Stop looking at your brother!"
"MOMMY! Lauren's breathing on me!"
"SERIOUSLY?! GUYS. NOBODY LOOK, TOUCH or BREATHE on ANYONE ELSE! GOT IT?!"
"I fourgot to weawr undurweawr."
This Saturday, after Preston's football game, I realized just how bad it was. I needed to run into the store on the way home so I stopped and we went in together. Just the two of us. I held his little six year old hand...not to keep him from running off with his siblings or to avert oncoming cars...but simply...to hold his hand.
There was no yelling, no herding and no stress. We walked and talked throughout the store. It was, amazing. He kept telling me how he liked getting "tickets" in school during lunch. Having no idea what this meant, I made a mental note to ask his teacher.
Driving home from the store, the car was quiet and peaceful. The two of us continued to talk and there were bunnies and birds waving as we passed by.
Last night when the kids were in bed, Adam and I began the monotonous routine of cleaning after dinner. I went to pull their lunchboxes out to get them ready for the morning.
When I unzipped Preston's lunchbox, a tiny piece of paper fell out with crumbs and his uneaten snack.
Lifting my hand to my mouth, I whispered, "The TICKET! This is what he was talking about!"
Looking over his shoulder, Adam nodded. "Oh, yeah. He's been getting those in his lunchbox. I don't know what they're from but I keep pulling them out."
Feeling my eyes begin to water, I shook my head. "He's been getting Love notes...from someone ELSE'S Mom, Adam! Some organized, put together, on top of everything, Mom!"
Turning back, Adam couldn't help but laugh. "Beatty. Just because you don't put notes in their lunchboxes, doesn't mean you're not organized."
"ADAM! Our kids don't wear UNDERWEAR!"
Yes. Maybe one day, our house will be harmonious. One day, breakfast will be warm and fill our home with the smell of cinnamon and love. My handsome husband and four neatly and beautifully put together children to scamper down the stairs to sit happily at the table and smile. Their lunches will have notes and they'll all have tidy hair, teeth and yes...they'll even be wearing their underwear.
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If you read our blog, you know about my AMAZING sense of direction. http://www.peanutbutterhair.com/1/post/2013/10/trust-your-instinctsunless-your-instincts-stink.html
What I forgot to mention though, was that the only thing better than my sense of direction...is my driving. Well, driving backwards I should say.
I've backed into garage doors, ripped off rearview mirrors, hit cars behind me, basketball hoops...you name it.
I've known of this gift from the very beginning. I'll never forget during my driver's test, seeing the whites of the eyes from the man clenching his clipboard in the passenger seat beside me. My parallel parking skills were pure genius.
That was many years ago and I'll have to say that my propensity to drive backwards in any situation, resembles somewhat of a Ninja. I'm that awesome.
Take yesterday for instance. Preston and Ethan both had football games at the same time. These are the days when my husband Adam and I have to divide and conquer. The last thing Adam said to me as we were getting into different cars was, "You HAVE to follow the GPS, okay?" Giving him my best, "I've got this" expression, we were off.
Five minutes turned into ten, ten into thirty...I was definitely lost. The GPS died (I'm not kidding) but we somehow managed to find the field...because it was big...and green.
The next problem I had to figure out was where to park. There were no parking spots. I kept driving back and forth past the field with nowhere to stop.
Finally pulling into a lot away from the field, I figured we would just go with it because Preston had to make his game. I'd worry about finding the car again later.
Aaaaaand...here's where the fun began.
The parking lot was full and the only empty spots said, "Reserved". I kept going and going until the point where the lot ended but then I couldn't turn around. It was too narrow and there were cars on both sides.
I sat at the end of the lot and tried to figure out what to do. In front of me, there were two yellow poles with a maintenance road that continued beyond them. Now, the smart person would see the poles and decide, "Hmmmm, those are probably there for a reason."
I knew that the road ahead was my only option though. I had to pull through the poles and go forward. There was NO way I could back out of an entire parking lot of cars. That would be the pit of snakes to my Indiana Jones.
Carefully driving through the narrow space, a rush of relief flowed through me as the open road welcomed me. The only problem was that the "road" suddenly turned into a sidewalk. Yes. A sidewalk. (Stupid yellow poles.)
There was nowhere to go but back. Taking a deep breath, I turned around and shot Preston a determined look. "Let's do this Buddy. You ready?"
"Ready, Mommy. Why are we driving on a sidewalk?"
"Don't worry about it little man. We're going back. Hang on."
Rolling the windows down to heighten my hawk like senses, I put my right hand on the headrest of the passenger seat and checked the rearview mirrors. Everything was all clear. I was going to back this car up like a rock star.
We pulled away from the sidewalk, made it to the "road"...and quickly approached the shiny, fancy cars...the first of which was a silver Mercedes. Focusing on that one, I made sure to keep it in my view.
For the women reading this, you're probably thinking, "don't hit the cars", for the men?...POLE.
BAM! We hit that thing so hard, Preston and I flew forward. I threw it into park, checked him out to make sure he was okay and then my mind began to race. "We hit a car. We hit a car." There was nothing in my mirrors or behind me but I knew we hit a car.
Jumping out, I ran behind to see the bent pole with our bumper around it. At the same time, I heard "OHHHHHHHH! Man, she HIT it!" Turning to my right, there was a bus full of boys from a track team. They were all getting ready to go to a meet when they witnessed my mad skills.
By this time, Preston jumped out of our car yelling, "We crashed the car! Mommy! We CRASHED it!"
The driver of the bus stepped out to come over. He was a tall six foot something, handsome young twenty-ish year old wearing a track suit. In a strong African accent, he flashed a perfect smile. "Lady. You do not drive good at all. I can help you if you want."
Picking Preston up, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I knew there was no way I could back out between the two poles, let alone through the whole lot.
Nodding my head, I motioned for him to go ahead. God love the boy, he jumped in, pulled forward, backed out and drove backwards with like, zero effort.
Walking down to the bottom of the parking lot, I carried Preston and we made it where the guy was waiting.
"You okay lady?" His smile was genuine and it felt as though he was a guardian angel. "I'm okay. Thank you so much."
"No problem. Be careful now."
He ran back up to the bus smiling and shaking his head. Preston and I got back in the car.
We made it to Preston's game just in time and he was excited that we had a real car crash just like in the movies.
I suddenly realized that I had to make the dreaded phone call. It was even more fun to do from one noisy football game to another.
"Adam. Yes! We're here! We made it. Everything's fine but I hit a pole with the car and a guy from Africa helped me!"
"WHAT?! You hit a WHAT and WHAT?!"
"I'll tell you when I'm home. If I can find home. The GPS is dead. Love you!"
Like a Ninja.
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One of my favorite things to do it is to snuggle under a soft blanket and watch a good movie. This Saturday, the Hallmark Channel will be premiering "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" which will entice you to do just that.
It's an endearing story that has a touch of mystery and intrigue, mixed with hope and romance.
The movie marks Executive Producer Martha Williamson's return to television since her long running series, "Touched by an Angel".
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” will be the pilot movie for an upcoming Hallmark original series that will prove to warm your heart.
The shows stars Eric Mabius (“Scandal,” “Ugly Betty”), Kristin Booth (“The Kennedys”) and Daphne Zuniga (“Melrose
A unique foursome works for the US Post Office in the "lost-mail" department, finding themselves changing lives through one misdirected letter at a time.
I loved the story throughout this film and the chemistry between the characters was outstanding. I look forward to the upcoming series and I'm sure you will too.
So, this Saturday, grab a blanket and snuggle up. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" premieres on the 'Hallmark Channel' October 12th at 9 p.m. ET/PT, 8C.
There's something so romantic about a good old fashioned letter and cozy evening with a movie.
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Ahhhh...comfort food. With the cool days of Autumn upon us, one of the best ways to warm your soul is with a home cooked meal.
An old favorite of ours is a lasagna recipe that's nothing less than AWESOME...
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Package of Fresh Mushrooms - optional (4 ounces)
1 Pound of Hamburger
1 Package of Sausage (16 ounces)
1 Large Can of Diced Tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 Small Can of Tomato Paste (6 ounces)
2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning (Spice Island)
1 Large Curd Cottage Cheese (24 ounces)
16 Ounces of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Box of Lasagna Noodles
Prepare lasagna noodles according to package.
Preheat oven to 350*
Sauté onion, mushrooms and garlic on medium/high heat.
Add hamburger and sausage until browned.
Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste - continue stirring.
Add Italian seasoning.
In a separate bowl, combine 1 egg with cottage cheese.
In casserole/lasagna dish, spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom so the noodles won't stick.
Place layer of lasagna noodles then meat sauce,
cottage cheese then mozzarella cheese.
Continue layering noodles, meat sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese until the top/final layer is mozzarella cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350* for 30 minutes, then uncover and CONTINUE to bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Editor's note: The meat sauce also acts as a Great sauce for spaghetti.
We hope that your family will enjoy this yummy dish as much as ours. Happy Fall and Love to You!
Oh and stay tuned! Growing up in Ohio, I had never tasted "Sweet Potato Pie" in my life, but when I moved to North Carolina, I quickly learned that down here, it was a staple.
I got a "Sweet Potato Pie" recipe from a Southern Grandma that's been passed down in her family from generation to generation. She smiled when she told me that it was Soooo good, it would make you wanna smack your Mama. (I've had it...and it is.)
I'll post the recipe soon!
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Adam and Bea live in North Carolina with their three boys and a girl, Christian 14, Ethan 13, Preston 10 and Lauren Elizabeth 9 years old.