Mmmm... toast.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Yesterday I made cinnamon toast for breakfast.  It was delicious.

I also cut each piece into 4 triangles just like my daddy used to do when I was little.

I admit, I was a little nostalgic.  I've always loved cinnamon toast, but I really loved it when my daddy would make it for us before school - and he always cut it into 4 triangles.

What is it that immediately take you back to your childhood?  The ice cream truck?  The pool? (Yes and yes.)

Happy Friday friends!

God alone.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yesterday I had a little meltdown.

I'm not sure why - well, strike that. I know exactly why.  Yesterday I read an article online about an officer involved shooting here in town.  The officer was an 11 week probationary officer and was forced to shoot (and inadvertently kill) a suspect because he felt his life was in danger.  The officer followed protocol and was not injured, but for some reason, this hit me like a ton of bricks.

Joey could (will) be that same officer in just over a week.  I know this - I've known this for over a year now - but instead of holding my thoughts captive to the promises of God, I let Satan take control of my mind.

See, I know in my heart that the path Joey is on is the one that God planned out for him before he was even born.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

When Joey first told me he wanted to be a cop (for real) all I could think about was "what if...".  Fortunately, it didn't take long for God to remind me that He is God and I am not.  I can not control what happens to Joey whether he is a cop or not.  God confirmed in my spirit that this is what He made Joey to do, and I was at peace.

And I've been at peace ever since that day.  I've been solid.  Strong.  Never-wavering.

But Satan knows my weaknesses and won't hesitate to use them to his advantage if I let him.  That's the key - I have to let him.  I have to make a choice to not believe that God is in control and to believe that there is something I can do to make my life turn out perfectly.  Sure, we can all make good choices, but ultimately, God is in charge.

So after I had my little meltdown, I printed off this passage and put it in a frame on my desk.

Psalm 121

 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
       where does my help come from?
 2 My help comes from the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth.
 3 He will not let your foot slip—
       he who watches over you will not slumber;
 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
       will neither slumber nor sleep.
 5 The LORD watches over you—
       the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
 6 the sun will not harm you by day,
       nor the moon by night.
 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
       he will watch over your life;
 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
       both now and forevermore.

God used another blogger (who was in the midst of dealing with a fairly serious medical situation with her husband) to share this passage with me.  She didn't know God was using her to speak to me when she posted this on her blog, but that's what happened.

God doesn't sleep.  He never leaves us.  Our problems are never too big for Him to handle.  And most importantly, I can't add one day to my life (or Joey's) by taking these concerns from God and trying to handle them on my own.

Thank you, God, for caring enough about me to watch over me and my family, day and night.  Thank you that You are God, and I am not.  Thank you that no matter what is going on around me, You are God alone.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One week from today, the fun begins.

Izzy arrives...

... and we'll be working out, shopping, and enjoying many, many graduation ceremonies and parties.  And hopefully she'll cook the same yummy dinner she cooked for us the last time she came to visit.

See how I am?  I make my guests work!

(And this picture almost solidifies the fact that I need to cut my bangs.)

weekend recap

Monday, April 26, 2010

We had such a great weekend! Lots of fun and a little bit of relaxing.

Yes, I was a tad jealous of all my blog buddies who met up at the Beth More event in Atlanta. It seems like (via Twitter) you all had such a great time!

Since we packed so much into the weekend, I think I must resort to the good 'ole standby: bullets.

  • Friday, Joey and I had a much needed date.  We had Mexican food and margaritas (again, much needed) and then went to see The Bounty Hunter.  I love Jennifer Aniston!  I spent the entire movie whispering to Joey, "I just want my hair to look like hers!  Is that so hard?"  (Well, as every girl knows - yes.  Yes it is.)  Joey was so sweet, and as we left the movie (and he was clearly tired of listening to me talk about Jennifer's hair), he said, "Your hair looks like Stephanie, and I love it that way!"  Yeah, I think I'll keep him.
  • Saturday morning, Ashton had volleyball at 8am (that should be illegal).  Even worse than that, she had pictures at 7:30am (jail-time illegal!).  Joey was the sweetest ever and offered to take her while Taylor and I slept in.  Again, I think I'll keep him.
  • Later that afternoon, Taylor had soccer.  I took Taylor to the game while Joey stayed home and wrote a million-and-one reports because one of the cadets in his class did something stupid and got them all in trouble.  Anyway, Taylor's game was awesome!  He played goalie again and since Joey wasn't there to coach him on, I joined Taylor near the goal to give him a little direction.  (Yeah, I'm that mom.  And I'm not ashamed to admit it.)  The highlight of the game?  Picture this: Taylor's the goalie and there's a one-on-one kick.  The little girl from the opposing team who was trying to kick it in was pretty good, but no match for my boy!  She kicked that ball and with just a little coaching from me, Taylor caught the ball right in his belly with both arms!  It was Olympic-style amazing!  The whole team cheered and I was so proud of my boy!!  He was pretty proud of himself, too.
  • After soccer we headed to church, then back home for dinner and family movie night.  Ashton had a friend spend the night, so it was only 3/4 of the family, but Joey, me, and Taylor piled in our bed and watched National Treasure (with Nicholas Cage).  I knew Taylor would love this movie!  Joey made us his famous milkshakes and we watched the movie until Taylor passed out.  Love that boy!
  • Sunday afternoon we loaded up the grill and took it to Memaw and Pepaw's house.  Pepaw's birthday was last Wednesday, but Memaw was back in the hospital so we had to postpone the celebration.  Joey grilled steaks and we all enjoyed a great lunch.  (Memaw is back home now.)
  • After lunch, Joey suggested we head to the pool for the first time this summer.  Have I mentioned that I love summer??  Well, I do.  We took the kids to my parents pool and stayed for 3 hours!  The water was freezing, but the kids didn't seem to mind.  Joey and I soaked up the sun (a little too much sun) and pretended we had a frozen beverage in our hands and were actually laying near the beach.  It was a great afternoon!
  • When we got home I did some laundry, Joey ironed his cadet uniforms for the last time (This is the last week that he has to wear them.  Next week he wears his "real" uniforms!), and then washed both our cars.

I'd say that was a pretty jam-packed weekend, wouldn't you?  But I loved every minute of it.

breakin' the law

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm usually not that controversial over here on the blog, but today I may step on some toes. I did this once before, but it's been awhile, so here goes...

Last night while watching the local news, they aired a story about potential legislation in Arizona that caused a walk-out by "legions" of high-school and college students.  This legislation (Senate Bill 1070) would make it a crime to be in the US illegally.

Ok, I'm gonna let you read that last sentence again, in case you didn't get it.

"... a crime to be in the country illegally."  Isn't that redundantly redundant?  Isn't anything that's illegal a crime?  I'm sorry, but I don't get the uproar.  Well, I take that back.  The linked article above states that it was "legions of Latinos" who staged this walk-out, so I get why the Latinos are upset.

But, really?  Why on earth should anyone be allowed to come to the US illegally with no penalty?  Why don't they just come legally and avoid the issue altogether?  Why should I, as a tax payer, be forced to pay for them while they pay nothing?  No taxes at all!!  How is that right?

Here's my thought: If you don't like the laws of this country, go somewhere else.  Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against any race, ethnicity, or person in general.  I just don't get why you come to the US illegally and then complain that you might get arrested.

It's ILLEGAL!!  That's why!!

ready or not

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two weeks from today, my husband will have a badge and gun. I'm so excited, but I feel like everything is in limbo. It's weird.

Yesterday was picture day at the academy so they dressed in their "real" uniforms (versus the cadet uniform), were issued their badges (which they later had to turn back in), and got to wear their actual guns (which, again, had to be turned back in). Joey sent pics from his phone and can I just say, "holy mother of hotness!" My husband is gonna be a cop!

Once he graduates, he'll spend the next 9 weeks rotating between the 3 different shifts with a Field Training Officer. Then he'll have a "final review" of sorts for 2 weeks (I believe) and then he'll be on his own.

SCARY! (but exciting!) Words can not express how proud I am of him. He has worked so hard to accomplish this dream. I'm just so very proud to be his wife.

So why do I feel like everything is in limbo? Because I just have no idea where the cards will fall (what shift he'll get, what station, etc.). I'm struggling to arrange summer childcare because I don't want to pay for something if Joey will be home (i.e. if he's working nights). I usually have everything planned by now and it's a little scary knowing that it's not arranged. I know that everything will work out fine. I also know that I have the world's best mother-in-law (who helps watch the kids in the summer since she's a teacher and has the summer off, too) who will jump in and help, but I don't want to overload her. Know what I mean?

It's just such a major life change. One that we've been waiting for, but now that it's here, I'm not sure what to do. LOL.

Ah... change. Gotta love it.

stephanie cooks: three cheese & beef stuffed shells

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's been a while since I've written a "stephanie cooks" post. I'm not gonna lie. It's actually because I haven't cooked.

But last night, I made a recipe that I got from Mrs. Jetplane and it was a huge hit! The entire family loved it and said we should have it more often. Woo HOO!

Go ahead, give your family a little yum tonight.

Three Cheese and Beef Stuffed Shells

What you need:

  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 jar (26 oz.) pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 oz. chive and onion cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 egg

How you make it:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta shells as directed.  Drain.
  3. While pasta is cooking, cook ground beef.  Drain and cool slightly.
  4. In a bowl, mix pasta sauce and water.  Pour 1 cup sauce mixture in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, parmesan, egg, and beef.
  6. Scoop large spoonfuls of beef mixture into each shell and place in baking dish.
  7. Pour remaining sauce mixture over stuffed shells.
  8. Cover with foil.  Bake 45 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven, remove foil, and cover top with remaining mozzarella.  
  10. Continue baking for 10 minutes.

So yummy and so easy!

Getting to know you...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I saw this on MannLand5's blog.  I know I'm a bit late, but I don't blog on the weekend so I thought I'd just do it now.

All you do is copy the questions and post your answers.  Easy enough, right?

  1. Mens chests..hairy or hairless? Hairless, of course.  Well, not totally hairless, but trimmed, at least.  Lucky for me, my hubby agrees. :)
  2. How often do you run red lights? Not often.  In fact, I don't think I've ever intentionally run a red light, but I used to breeze through yellow lights.  Now that the hubby is a cop, I don't even do that.  LOL.
  3. If you could raid any celebrity's closet..whose would you raid?  Hmm... I'm really not that into celebrity fashion, but I do LOVE Kelly Ripa, so let's go with her.
  4. Would you rather have more followers/friends on Facebook, Twitter, or your Blog? Honestly, I don't really care.  I'm pretty choosy about who allow on FB and Twitter anyway.  And I blog more for me than anyone else.  Boring, I know.
  5. What makes you feel sexy? My husband.
  6. I get excited when...........? I think about our next house.  I had to literally stop myself from online house hunting because it started to consume me.
  7. Are you the "outdoorsy" type or more "indoorsy"? Definitely indoors-y. Unless it involves a beach in Playa.  Even then, I'm by the pool instead of the beach, but at least I'm outside. :)
  8. Would you rather have your dream home or a million dollars?  I'd have to take the million dollars.  I'm not the type to want a house that's more than a million dollars, so I'd just take the money and buy my house.  Then spend the rest.  LOL

child labor

Monday, April 19, 2010

Last Friday, Ashton got into boat-loads of trouble. Among her many punishments was helping her dad with Mimi's yard.

She actually cut Mimi's grass.

With the lawn mower.

By herself.

Then she went to the nursery with Joey to pick out some plants.

Then she planted them.

Joey told me that while she was mowing, she informed him, "Dad, I'm gonna faint!"

Hmm... I wonder if she'll remember that the next time she thinks about breaking the rules?
When I showed up after church on Sunday, she told me, "Dad's making me do illegal child labor!"

Oh girl.  You have no idea.

Blog to book

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yesterday I was a tad bored and clicked on the first blog post I ever wrote and started reading.

It got me all sentimental and wanting to have my blog published into a book - since I don't scrapbook. Have any of you done this before? What company did you use? Any tips or tricks to get the best looking book?

Help a sista out!

my little athletes

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ashton and Taylor just started volleyball and soccer (respectively) and I LOVE to see them play.

Ashton played 3 seasons of volleyball last year, then we took a break when Joey started the Academy.  In those 3 seasons, she had really improved - I mean, she went from running from the ball, to running to the ball.  She had gotten really good and I was hoping that all of her training hadn't left her.

I must say, her training is still with her (thanks to her amazing coach!) and she is amazing!

That would be my girl, showing off her overhand serve. That would also be the ball, flying over the net.

I'm so thankful that she had the coach she did for her first 3 seasons.  She was a great coach and taught them to play correctly and didn't tell them they were good when they were doing something wrong.  I know they're kids, but if you always tell them "that's good!", whether it really is or not, how will they ever improve?

That's my question to her current coach.  No, I will never ask him that, I'll just scream from the sidelines, "stay on your feet!" and "control the ball!" and "get under the ball!"

I know, I'm the mom that everyone hates.  But I just can't watch my girl dominate the court without yelling.  I've decided that next season, maybe I should coach.  LOL.

Taylor is playing soccer this season.  He played once before about a year or so ago.  I use the word "played" loosely because the boys were all so young that is was mostly kicking the ball as hard as you could and it usually ended up out of bounds.

This year, though, they're much older and have a better concept of the game.  And they play with goalies.

See? That's my little goalie, right there.  And that's his dad who is always on the sidelines - obviously instructing Taylor to guard that goal with his life.  (Joey has a slight competitive streak.  Kind of like me.)

And he did a great job, too! He blocked 2 goals!! For only 2 practices before this game, I think that's great! I can't wait to see how he improves throughout the season. He LOVES soccer!

birthday recap

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saturday was Joey's birthday and Ashton had big plans to make daddy breakfast in bed. It's kind of a tradition.

Too bad we were out of eggs. And you need eggs to make any kind of breakfast.

So Joey opted for IHOP with the family. YUM!  (Please disregard the second pic, where Joey, Taylor, and I have nasty looks on our faces.  I only included it to prove I was there.)

Later that evening, Joey and I went on his birthday date.  He wanted sushi, so sushi it was.  I had never eaten sushi before, but was sure I wouldn't like it.  I'm still sure.  But look at Joey!  He was enjoying it, and that's all that mattered!

Sunday we went to Joey's moms' house for lunch and Joey cooked us ribs. :)  Yes, he cooked his own birthday lunch, but that's how he likes it. Look at that smile on his face!  (And the empty plate...)

Then of course there was a card from his mom (and you know what cards mean!) and cake.  Oh, and vanilla cupcakes since my crazy little boy doesn't like chocolate.

After lunch we went to see Joey's grandma and grandpa.  His grandma hasn't been doing well and they weren't able to make it for lunch, so we took lunch (and cake) to them!

It was a full weekend, but I think Joey had a great birthday.

to my wonderful husband...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tomorrow my wonderful husband of 11 years turns 31.

I can honestly say that I love him more today than I did yesterday and I'll love him more tomorrow than I do today.  I'm not sure how that's possible, but it just keeps happening.

Babe, I know I say this a lot, but I love you so much!  I'm so proud to be your wife.  And I'm so proud of what you've accomplished in this last year.  I've never seen you happier than you are now. I'm so, so incredibly proud of you for following your dreams and completely honored to be walking this road with you. 

Have a wonderful birthday, babe.  I love you more than you'll ever know.

who needs a neck?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I think I've mentioned on Twitter a few times that my neck has been killing me.

It all started on Monday when I woke up with what I thought was just a crick in my neck from sleeping funny. It didn't go away, so later that night I tried some Icy Hot. Nothing. I had trouble sleeping, but hoped it would better in the morning.

Not so much.

Went all day Tuesday barely turning my neck because It hurt so bad. I tried a heat pack later that night, but that did nothing, so I resorted to Advil PM and went to bed. Only I didn't sleep well at all.

Yesterday I woke up and it still hurt like heck. I went all day trying just not to think about it. I headed to the gym after work, did my weight training, then proceeded to the elliptical. I pushed through 20 minutes before I had to quite because my neck felt like it was just going to be ripped from my body.

What the heck?

By the time I got home I was in so much pain, all I could do was lay down and hope that a heating pad would help. Which it didn't. So I went to the bathroom to take shower, but ended up sitting there just bawling in pain. That's when Joey insisted he was taking me to the emergency clinic. I really didn't want to go because I just knew I was going to get there, wait forever, and then be told it was nothing.

But Joey insisted, so we went.

Once I saw the doc, he decided there needed to be x-rays, but first, he was going to have the nurse give me a shot of Toradol. Anyone ever had a shot of Toradol? They hurt like heck!! And I'm not even talking about the shot itself, I can take that. It's the medication. Dang that stuff is painful.

And it did nothing to relieve the pain in my neck that had since begun to transfer into my head giving me a massive headache!

BUT, the muscle relaxer that he prescribed (along with 2 other pain relievers - it's amazing I haven't fallen asleep yet) after determining I had a severe muscle spasm deep in my neck, did do the trick!  I slept like a baby and woke up with no neck pain.

Until now.  Bring on the Vicodin!  (Do you think my boss will notice if I just lay my head down for a bit?)

the search for a great tan

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Last year I (finally) said good-bye to the tanning bed.  I knew it was bad for me, but I wanted to be tan and let's face it, who really has the time to lay out in the sun enough to get that?  And, um, in case you didn't know, the sun is bad for you too.

I have tried several sunless tanning products in the past, but they either didn't actually work, turned me orange, or left hideous streaks. 

After a recommendation from Big Mama (via her blog), I decided to give this a try:

Let me tell you, this stuff WORKS!  It is amazing, seriously!  It doesn't turn me a color that's not natural, it doesn't streak, and it actually works!  And, it doesn't smell like sunless tanner either.

I can't find it at my local grocery store, but I was able to find it at Target.  The Neutrogena website shows this product as well, but I haven't seen it in stores.  

I'll be checking Target today; however, I have been using the non-face version on my face and haven't had any trouble.

Oh, and the best part?  It's only $8!!  

So, if you're in the search for the perfect tan, you should give this a try.  (And no, I wasn't paid by Neutrogena to say this, I just love the product.)

Financial advice from Taylor

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

After receiving a dollar for completing one (of 3) of his chores last week:

Taylor: YAY!  Now I have twenty dollars!  I only need five more dollars until I can buy my Star Wars toy!!  I'm so excited!

Me: That's great, Taylor!  I'm so proud of you for saving your money for something you really want instead of spending it on random stuff (like he usually does).

Taylor:  I know!  I'm so excited!!  And after I buy my Star Wars toy, I'm going to keep doing my chores and saving my money!

Me:  What are you gonna save for next?

Taylor: College.

Me: College?  (Trying not to laugh... where does he come up with these things??)  That's a great idea, Taylor!  Good thinking. (Completely shocked that he even knows what college is, really.  He's 6.)

Taylor:  Yeah, I'm going to need lots of money for college so I can get a job a make more money!!

Me: Excellent idea, buddy.

Weekend recap: easter version

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Monday, friends!

Our weekend was packed, as I'm sure all of yours was too, but unfortunately I don't have any pictures to prove it.  My excuse?  I'm a slacker.

Friday night I went on a date with the hubs.  We met some friends for dinner that we hadn't seen in quite a while.  It was great to catch up!  Then Joey and I went to see Hot Tub Time Machine.  My expectations were low, but clearly not low enough.  Can someone please explain to me what is supposed to be so funny about vulgar language?  I was done with this movie after the first 5 minutes.  UGH!  It was actually a funny movie, but I just could not get past the f-word every 5 seconds.  It would have been just as funny (funnier, to me) without the language.

Saturday morning Joey and I hit the gym.  For those of you taking notes (ok, admittedly, that would be only me - and maybe Izzy), that is 5 times this week for me!  I don't think I've ever been to the gym 5 times in one week.  LOL.

Anyway, then we picked up the kids from Joey's moms house and went home where I proceeded to do tons of laundry (yippee!) and Joey went to get his off-duty weapon.  (Side note: Hello!  He graduates in less than 5 weeks!  Where did the time go??)  Saturday evening we went to church then came home and grilled out.  I love the smell of grilling in the Spring.  Then we tried to watch a movie on HBO (Duplicity) but it was horrible and Joey fell asleep.

Sunday we had Easter lunch with Joey's mom and grandparents.  The kids had an egg hunt, which they really enjoyed, and got WAY too much candy.  But hey, it's Easter, right?  That afternoon we had planned to take the kids to the park where Joey was going to play volleyball with Ashton while I played soccer with Taylor.  This lasted all of 30 minutes until the kids were complaining that it was too hot.  So we went home. 

Good times.

Sunday evening I made dinner (since Joey has been cooking all week) and then Joey went to the shooting range with his dad to break in his new gun.

Now that you're all board-to-tears with my absolutely uneventful weekend (and lack of pictures), I'll sign off.

Have a great week!

MHR Friday

Friday, April 2, 2010

Note: Today is "stress day" for Joey at the Academy. AKA the day that they pretty much get their butts kicked by SWAT. Any prayers you can offer up are greatly appreciated.

I've been absent for a while from MHR Friday's (My Husband Rocks), again, though, not because he doesn't rock, I promise!

This week, he has been exceptional.  It all started on Sunday when I went to a concert with my mom.  I was gone for longer than I expected, and Sunday is when I usually go to the store and finish the laundry.  Well, by the time I got home at 8 o'clock, he had been to the store and completely finished all the laundry.  He's so amazing.

Also, I started back to the gym this week which means I don't get home until 6:45.  Every night this week he has picked the kids up from school and cooked dinner so I could get my workout in after work.

What did I do to deserve him?

Honestly, this is not really out of the ordinary for him.  He's always doing things like this for me.  I'm extremely blessed!

game night

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Last night I thought it would be fun to have game night with the kids.

First, we tried this game:

That one didn't quite work because it's meant for ages 12 and up and the kids are 10 and under.  Ashton loves the game, but she failed to tell me that she plays the Jr. version.  Game 1: FAIL.

Next we tried this one:

This one may have worked, but I turned off the sound when we first started playing because it was annoying as heck, so it turned into all of us just staring at everyone while one player choose their cases.  Not fun.  Game 2: FAIL.

We finally ended up with a good 'ole standby:

This one worked well until one of the kids decided to make fun of the other kid and got sent to bed.  Game 3: semi-fail.

Overall, it didn't turn out that great, as you can tell.  But I'm determined to give it another try.  Any suggestions for great family games that are fun and age appropriate?  Taylor can read, so that's not an issue.  I'm thinking about getting Apples to Apples Jr. since Ashton loves it so much.  Hopefully that one will be a hit.

let's get acquainted

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THE Stephanie
I’m Stephanie - wife to one extremely handsome cop; mother to two extremely silly kids. The hubs and I have been married since February ’99. I love him more each day and simply can’t get enough of him. My daughter, Ashton, is 12 going on 17. She’s beautiful, creative, smart, and oh, so sassy. Taylor, our son, is 8 and is so much like his daddy it’s scary. He makes me laugh all the time with the silly things he says and does. He won’t remember what you told him 5 minutes from now, just like his daddy. I love to laugh and spend time with friends and family. I’ve also recently discovered a love for cooking and enjoy sharing recipes. I love finding new blog friends, so be sure to leave a comment so I can do the same!
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