It's that time of year again...football season is almost here!  If you live in the South (and I'm sure other areas of the country- ha!), you know this is a big deal.  Tailgating, football parties, and of course these will include lots of good food, especially dips.  These are a few of our favorites and for lots more head over to BooMama's for Diptacular '11


1 pound bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 tomato - peeled, seeded and diced

1.Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels.
2.In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise and sour cream. Crumble bacon into the sour cream and mayonnaise mixture. Mix in tomatoes just before serving.
3.If you want to add the "l" you can use belgian endive to dip with or fritos.

Pepper Dip
24 oz container sour cream 1 can rotel tomatoes, drained
1 container garlic and herb Alouette cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup each- finely chopped red, yellow, and green bell pepper
(If you are Tennessee fans like us you can use all orange peppers!)
1/2 finely chopped green onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill
2.  Serve with bagel chips
Crock Pot Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
A well known recipe but worth including because what is better than a dip in a crock pot?  Plus, it has special meaning to our family because when Anna Cate was barely 3 years old, we had a football party and she took a big bit of this and said ver loudly, "This tastes like s**t!"  Lovely.  Now she loves it.
1 cup shredded mozarella cheese
8 oz. cream cheese cubed
1/4 cup shredded parmesean cheese
1 clove of garlic, minced
 14 oz can  artichokes, drained and finely chopped
1 lb. fresh spinach, finely chopped or 1 10z pkg. frozen spinach, drained and chopped
1.  Combine the ingredients in a crockpot.
2.  Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until hot and bubbling.  Stir occasionally.
3.  Serve with tortilla chips



no appliance-repair man until 5 pm...
no pm nap for the littles due to errands and a super fun play date after school for the big kids=
One tired/ grateful Momma


Dear Mr. Appliance Repair Man,

When I told you on the phone today that it is vitally importnat that you fix my washing machine today, I meant it.  I thought that by sharing with you that I typically do 3 to 4 loads of wash per day, you would understand the importance of my problem.  Because you didn't show today, I am forced to close my eyes when I look at the kid's laundry baskets.  Maybe your phone battery is dead and that is why you didn't answer my marathon of calls this afternoon?  Please know that my eye is twitching at the idea of the amount of laundry I will be faced with if you don't show tomorrow and the eye twitch is never a good thing.

Sincerely yours,
A desperate-to-do-laundry-Mama


While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream.  God's angel spoke in the dream: "Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married.  Mary's pregnancy is Spirit-conceived."  Matthew 20 (The Message)

This was one of the verses presented to our class today in Sunday School with the question, "What does trust mean?"  Our Sunday School leader followed this up with, "Do you believe in angels?  How would you react if you had such a dream?"

I was immediately taken back to about 8 years ago.  Very unexpectedly we found out we were expecting a baby.... it wasn't in "the plan", but we were beyond excited.  We knew things were off to a rocky start, but because we were naive, we got through a very painful weekend.  I couldn't believe I was already showing (I was actually bleeding internally due to an eptopic pregnancy and ruptured tubes), nor could I believe people did this more than once given how awful I felt.....so naive.  Three days later I was rushed to surgery and told had I have waited 1 hour longer to come to the ER, I would have died.

Before I was taken back to surgery, I remember a nurse coming in the room and praying with me.  Todd had gone outside to call our parents and I was so upset, having just been told I would never be able to conceive a baby naturally.  I remember her placing her hands on my stomach and praying for my safety during the durgery and for the babies who would grow in me in the years to come.  Those words were just what I needed at that time, and in the months that followed. 
In the appointments that followed the surgery, I described and mentioned the  nurse to everyone, but no one knew who I was speaking of...I do believe she was my angel of hope at a time that we really needed it. I absolutely prayed on those words as we were told we would have to do IVF ( not something we even knew about).
While the idea of Mary and Joseph accepting their fate with such trust and acceptance is beyond anything I can understand, I do believe God places people in our path when He knows we need need help and I do believe that nurse was an angel.


It Ain't Easy

I had planned on us facing some issues during 1st grade...
I had even written them down with hopes of checking them off the list as we dealt with them
(because I do love checking things off a list)
But we are facing some issues I hadn't planned on or put on the list, and it is tough.
1st grade has me on my knees praying every night and praying in pick-up line every afternoon.
I need a how-to book for 1st grade.
I need guidelines for when to let them handle it themselves and when to be their advocate.
I need guidelines for when to let them fail and when to offer a helping hand.
I guess as much as I want my children to learn to stand on their own 2 feet, I still want to protect them even though I know they have to learn to bring home their homework agendas, deal with different personalities, and to understand the fine line between turning the other cheek and defending yourself.
1st grade is a whole new ballgame.


Making me smile....

This juicer that belonged to Todd's grandmother.  He has great memories of helping her make orange juice in the mornings after spending the night at her house.  Our children love it and look for any opportunity to use it.  Since we were left with a lot of lemons that we used for the baby girl's birthday party, AC thought we should make lemon meringue pie

Unfortunately, the inside was a little watery and the meringue didn't do what it was supposed to, but it was still yummy!

These chubby hands and feet in red mary jane's...

don't worry...one foot was cut out of the photo.


Good Times

Love weekends like this one....
easy pace, fun family and friends in town, and we made it to Sunday School and church!

 Cousin AJ andhis girlfriend, Charlotte...

... plus cousin Rachel. 
We spent the day browing the shops downtown and having a great lunch followed by a stop for cupcakes and cookies.

 Lyla James and AJ sharing her first chocolate chip cookie.

 plus Aunt Carol

 Anna Cate was hooked to Charlotte's and Rachel's hips all day.  She cried herself to sleep when they were leaving.

This is how we've been finding Brian asleep lately...that football is a part of him!

A quick snap before Sunday School and Church this morning...no time for a do-over!


Back to School Traditions

Kelly's topic for this week's Show Us Your Life is back to school traditons.  Thanks to Pinterest, I  have seen so many good ideas.  Our only real tradton is the back to school fairy, whch I had never heard of until last year when a  sweet friend offered to put together bags for AC and B from the fairy since I was in the hosptal on bedrest.  The back to school fairy delivered the bags to the hosptal and AC and B loved it.  We continued the traditon this year, adding the stipulaton that you must be super excited about going back to school for her to come!

Ths year's goodies were an odd assortment as the back to school fairy forgot to buy anythng untl she was in Pier 1 the day before school started and had to make due!

We always do the frst day pictures....here is a look back over the years..
3 years old, preschool
Not the frst day, but the only one I could fnd.  Apparently I didn't do a first day picture...can you imagine?

4 years old, preschool

they look so tiny!

5 years old, pre-k

 6 years old, Kindergarten

I was still in the hosiptal, having had the baby girls a few days before, so I wasn't able to take them for thier first day.... Iwas so upset, but thanks to good friends, it all worked out great.

Anna Cate visting wth Lyla James and telling her all about her first day.

7years old, 1st grade



One afternoon back in June, after spending the morning at the fountain park and eating pizza in a restaurant with all 4 children by myself, I got everyone loaded in the car and took off.  I vaguely remember noticing a ticket stuck on my windshield, but then it blew away and I forgot all about it.
This morning Todd came into the kitchen with a written notice for the ticket.  At first, I didn't even remember.  After calling the city, they emailed me a picture of my mini parked in a no parking/ unloading zone....who knew they were so high-tech?  The lady seemed stunned that I hadn't noticed the ticket before I began driving...Ioffered to take her for a spin with the Sparkman's and maybe she would understand.
So much for denial and it looks like I'll be forking over $30. 


Random Acts of Kindness and 1 Year Well Visit

So far, things are going really well with AC and B being in the same classroom, but a funny thing has happened.  When I posted about this topic earlier, someone mentioned that the competition between them could be good and make them try harder.  I had never thought of it that way, but I think it might be true.  AC and B's teacher keeps a Random Acts of Kindness jar on her desk and if she sees you doing something kind, she writes your name on the paper and puts in a jar.  When it's full she pulls one name out and that person is given a special reward.  She also sends a note home praising the child. Well, on the first day of school AC came home bursting with pride that she had gotten her name in the jar for getting some friend's lunchboxes for them.  Brian overheard me talking with AC about it and wanted the details.  Every day since, they have each come home with Random Acts of Kindness notes and it is always for whatever act the other had done the day before.  Not even going to touch this as I'm just glad they showing kindness and not fighting!
Yesterday was the baby girl's 1 year well visit.  They had to get 4 shots and were not happy about it...the poor things!  Lyla James weighs 21.4 pounds and is 30 inches long.  Mary Connor weighs 19,5 pounds and is 26 3/4 inches long.  When they both started screaming after getting their shots, the nurse asked me what I do when they are both crying....run?


A Celebration...

of one year of life for our Lyla James and Mary Connor..

lots of family and friends...

Lyla James loved her cake....

and wanted to share with Nana..,

Mary Connor wasn't a fan and preferred to stay in the air-conditioned indoors.
We had the best time, despite the heat, and can't thank our friend J enough for these wonderful pictures and Lark Events for making the party so fun for me and Todd.