Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to School Party

These are the pictures from our party at church for Back to School. We played a game called Musical Clothes that I came up with at the last minute. I bought $3 worth of clothes from the Coalition, and Stephen and Jan threw in some of their own clothes too. The kids loved it and actually wanted to play it again, but we had other plans.



TJ looks a little too comfortable in a mini-skirt...




As you can see, Stephen got into it as well. Isn't he pretty??

The rules were to put on your article of clothing. We never said you couldn't wear them on your head!!




Of course Dance Dance was a big hit, as usual:






This was the other big game we played. Drip, Drip, Pour. It's just like Duck, Duck, Goose but... more fun!!

video

In this video, I kept the camera on our Preacher Tony because I knew he was up to no good. It wasn't his turn but he's always looking for an opportunity to get someone wet!!

video

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ignorant Quote of the Day

So, we're watching America's Got Talent, and David Hasselhoff is one of the judges. You can pretty much count on 90% of what he says to make you shake your head. Here is what he said last night to one of the contestants:

"That's as American as... as the Olympics!"

Me and Stephen looked at each other, and then just busted out laughing. I said, "Weren't the Olympics started in Greece?" Stephen said, "Uh yeah, if you're going to say something is American, at least make sure it is American!"

We started naming off things that people think are "American" but really aren't.

It's as American as french fries!
It's as American as pizza!
It's as American as falafel!

Okay, just kidding. But it was pretty funny.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Picture Update

Our steel is going up!!



Very miscellaneous

I am posting just to get back into it, because as Renee said this morning, I haven't blogged in "SIX DAYS!!" I didn't realize. It has just gone by so quickly! And I have so many pictures I want to post.

I wore a sweater, yes a sweater, to work today because I was pretty freezing yesterday. Now I am burning up with no release. I now have kicked off my socks and shoes, which I'm pretty sure is totally against our dress code, but I'm also not walking anywhere. Yesterday I took my extra pair of sandals out of my car and put them in my closet. Of course. A few minutes ago I had to go out to the dumpster so I took off my sweater and walked around in my tank top, even though we are in the middle of a tornado warning? watch? and the school across the street has their alarms drilling for what I can only imagine must be a tornado drill. It is a bit cloudy but otherwise beautiful blue skies.

Last night, we were watching Intervention, which is a show about addicts and their journey to rehab. Really, the success rate is very high. Anyway, the director of this one rehab was talking about this guy who came in as an alcoholic. She said, "He just came in and really wanted to change everything. And he did, with relish." Stephen looked at me and said, "That must have been messy!" Haha! That tickled me.

Well, that's about it. Soon, really, I want to post pictures of the church building progress (our steel is up) and our back to school party at church (hilarious!). I'll get on that.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Laid Off

I hate that I haven't been blogging. If I had anything, anything at all, to blog about, I would. But nothing has happened lately! I'm probably going to get fired from blogging. Fortunately for me, that's not the way it works!!

Tonight is Rock the Plaza in Southern Pines. At least that will be something new and exciting for me! I have been craving a hot dog from Dog Nation ever since I found out they are going to be there tonight. Pik N Pig is also going to be there but I despise their food. I was smart enough to get some cash out so no one has to bail me out like last time (thanks Kate or Jenn! Now I can't remember who had to bail me out...)

Tomorrow night we have our back to school party at church. Stephen and I are in charge of the games. Thank goodness, because Stephen's been dying to play this one game forever. It's called Drip, Drip, Pour. You play it just like Duck, Duck, Goose, but with a cup of water. I'm sure you see where this is going. So we'll finally get to play that. We've got some other fun games saved up as well.

I guess that's really it. I cannot concentrate because I am thinking about Rock the Plaza now. Will the candles be buy one get one free again? Will the sales be good? Will the line be long for Dog Nation? What kind of military discounts are going on? Oh, the possibilities...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

#80 - Dye hair myself

Many months ago, I got the urge to dye my hair. That urge came frequently throughout high school and college, and I never paid anyone to do it. It was always me or a friend doing it. A few months ago, I got the idea that if I paid someone professional to do it, it would be better and last longer. The result? I ended up paying $45 for streaks that didn't show up as much as I'd like (probably my fault for not being bolder with the color) and washed out after a month. So I resolved not to pay anyone to do my hair again. Therefore, when I can get hair dye for free with my Rite Aid rebates, I do. I volunteered Jenn to help me last Friday night - I bribed her with cheesecake. And here's my new hair:

Before: mousy brown boring hair:

Midway: Crusty hair


We brake for cheesecake! (Cherry, Strawberry and Chocolate Cheesecake!!)


Finished product:



Thank you Jenn! I realize now that I got ZERO pictures of Jenn doing anything! I promise she was there. We'll have to do it again sometime.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's Normal??

I just wanted to give you guys a little taste of what a normal Saturday is for me. When I first started working at Friend To Friend, I thought a normal Saturday was a quiet Saturday. WRONG!! As I've been here now for three months (wow, time flies), I am realizing that the normal days are the ones when the twelve hours goes by in a snap. And this is what I do for those twelve hours:

6:45am - arrive at the shelter, meet with the woman I am relieving to find out how many women (6) and children (5) are here. I find out that one woman was dismissed for multiple violations. One is gone to the beach for the day.

7:05am - I settle in with my coffee and hang out with the clients who are early risers. After our chat, they take off to the store and to walk around town.

7:52am - I call my manager, Anne, to talk about a new client we are supposed to be getting today. She has a 4-year old and is 8 months pregnant, so we have to move some people around to get her the best room for her situation.

9:18am - I take a call from a lady wanting to donate baby clothes and a crib. YES!!

10:22am - One of the clients (JR) calls to see if the new client has arrived yet. She is with a new girl friend and I think a bit anxious about it. We talk for a few minutes and I tell her to spend her day off relaxing.

11:57am - One of the clients, SS comes into my office drunk as a skunk. Unfortunately for her, our shelter has a zero tolerance policy for alcohol abuse. In other words, she should be immediately dismissed. I tell her I will have to alert the manager. She says she is going upstairs to take a nap, but instead sneaks out the door.

12:24pm - JR calls back. She wants to know if men and women can just be friends. We have a drawn-out discussion about that.

12:38pm - JR calls back. She has come across a grocery store where a local church is handing out free CDs and free books. I ask her what good it does me because I can't drive out there!? She snatches a couple for me.

1:03pm - Another staff member calls to tell me that SS was seen hitch-hiking but wouldn't get in her car. She turns around after a couple of minutes but SS is gone - must have been picked up by someone.

1:07pm - Anne (shelter manager) calls me back. We both agree that SS will be asked to leave immediately as soon as she returns.

1:24pm - The staff member that saw SS hitch-hiking earlier has spotted her again. She is headed back in the general direction of the shelter, but is obviously drunk and running through lanes of traffic. Awesome.

1:39pm - JR calls back. She wants to know if the new girl has arrived yet. She doesn't want the new girl to come because the new girl is moving into her room.

2:25pm - After talking with Anne, a decision was made that the police need to be called so they can transport SS elsewhere - jail or another shelter. SS was given the option earlier to find shelter somewhere else and she told me she'd rather walk the streets. The police talked to SS and gave her a breathalyzer, where she blew a .24. Yeah. We spend a long time in her room talking to her, giving her options, listening to her cry, and then finally the oldest officer tells her she just needs to lay down, be quiet, and sleep it off. And for pete's sake, quit smoking in the room. I learn that because our county doesn't have a halfway house, we have nowhere for this lady to go. She is too intoxicated for jail.

2:45pm - I conference with Anne and other staff about what police say our options are (zero.)

3:13pm - I sneak up to SS's room to get her cigarettes and lighter so she will PLEASE quit smoking in the room in a drunken stupor.

3:53pm - Anne calls me to let me know that the police think we should call 911 for SS. They may be able to take her to the hospital if something is medically wrong with her.

3:54pm - I call 911, for the second weekend in a row. They, and my now favorite officer come out to take a look at SS. She doesn't remember anything from earlier, of course, and acts extremely bored and pissed off the entire time they're talking to her. Fortunately for her, unfortunately for us, she medically checks out. In other words, she refuses medical treatment and she's ours again.

4:31pm - JR calls yet again to check in. She is babysitting and wants me to know she's having a good time.

4:37pm - Anne calls to conference about SS. A decision is made that she will be able to sleep until 8pm tonight, at which point we will move her closer to the bathroom so she has easy access to toilets. Her roommate has a 20-month old, so it's not fair to her for SS to stay in their room. We decide that SS will have until 12pm tomorrow to get her things and find a new place to stay.

6:00pm - I do inspections, and begin to clean up for the next shift.

6:53pm - Next shift, Sharon, arrives.

7:38pm - I finish telling Sharon what happened and how to handle the situation from here.

7:39pm - She looks at me with begging eyes and I offer to stay a little longer.

8:03pm - We go wake up SS and tell her that per Anne, she needs to move out of her bedroom, closer to the bathroom. She immediately begins screaming and thrashing around, mainly repeating the fact that we are stupid, have mental issues, and need counseling. I explain to her that if she gets sick, she'll want to be near a trashcan or the toilet. She screams at me that she only had one beer and she's not going to get sick. She then proceeds to tell me that I'm lying about police and paramedics seeing her throughout the day. Finally, I tell her to do whatever she wants, and I go downstairs to call Anne.

8:16pm - Sharon is on the phone with Anne when SS comes bursting into the office screaming for her cigarettes. She claims that I stole them from her. I explain to her that Anne wanted me to get them because she kept smoking in her room while she was drinking. Of course, all that came out of her mouth were cuss words and "liar". She then proclaimed that she was going to sleep in the woods.

8:32pm - Sharon and I are searching the woods for SS. The dark woods. Filled with ticks and spider webs that you can't see.

8:53pm - We are instructed to call the police and let them know that a woman who is still slightly intoxicated is wandering around in the woods with no shoes and just a carton of cigarettes.

The next hour was spent talking to the clients who were just coming in from their various day trips and explaining what happened so that if they see SS they have instructions on what to do.

Okay, so it wasn't the most normal day ever. It was an experience, I'll say that!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Highs and Lows

Because it's been so long since I last did a real update, I am taking a shortcut and bringing back some old college memories by playing "High and Low". This game has recently been dug up by Jenn, who loves it and forces Matt to play against his will. Pretty much, you would play this game around the dinner table at the end of your day and tell the high point of your day and the low point of your day. I will not follow that pattern, but this is the easiest way for me to catch up on blogging.

High: Last Wednesday, we went bowling with about 30 other people from church. I bowled four games all over 110 and two games I bowled a 140. (We hadn't bowled in probably 6 months, so I thought that was pretty good!)
Low: I realized that bowling a 140 was on my next 101 in 1001 list (yes, I'm already creating that list!) so I had to change that number to something a little more out of reach.

High: Last Thursday, I finished my last paper for my last summer class!
Low: It made me realize that I only have a few days left to finish my final exam.

Low: On Saturday, one of the women, J.R. had to go to the hospital for stomach pains.
High: She was released three hours later after being given some pain medication.
Low: Two hours after that I had to call 911 due to the fact that she was having an allergic reaction to said pain medication.
High: By 10pm that night, she was home in bed feeling better.

High: After work on Saturday, I went straight to Steve's to watch UFC 87. Several of our friends were able to meet us there, so we pigged out on junk food and watched 3 hours of fighting. Good times! And no low!

High: Monday night was Ladies Night Out at Outback with some of the girls from church. The food was delicious, everyone gawked over the size of my burger, and the dessert that we surprised one lady with (for her anniversary that week) was brought out with 16 spoons so we could all have a taste. We ended up staying for 3 1/2 hours we had so much fun.
Low: Being exhausted when I got home and sat down.

Low: Finding out Tuesday night that my friend Sherri's husband is being transferred to Illinois.
High: Knowing that the military changes their plans so much, there's a shot it will fall through.

I can't wait for this weekend! That sounds bad because actually, Stephen will be gone this weekend to Georgia. I will be a bachelorette! That wasn't an excited exclamation point, I promise. But I do have some great plans. Friday night, Jenn is coming over. I think we may use some of my Buy One, Get One Free pizza coupons at Papa Johns. And I am going to woo her with cheesecake. Then I'm sure we will get into some hair salon stuff and maybe watch a 30 Days episode or something.

Saturday I have to work, but after work I plan on coming home, changing immediately into pajamas, and watching at least one movie on the DVR. Maybe two if I'm not thoroughly exhausted!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Studious

My first graduate class at Liberty ended on July 4. Since then I have emailed my professor and talked to my dean on numerous occasions about the fact that my final paper was never graded. I had a final grade in the class, but no grade on my paper.

Today, almost 5 weeks after the class was over and grades had been turned in, I received the grade for my paper. I am happy to say that I got a 93 on it. YAY!! The class average was a 77 so I feel really good about my grade. Therefore, my final grade was a 96. Awesome man!

Normally I wouldn't blog about this kind of stuff, but I am really proud of myself. That was a really tough class, although it's probably one of the easiest I'll get to do. The class I'm in right now ends in two weeks and I will then begin my next class - Theories of Counseling. It will be my hardest yet, which isn't saying much as I'm still an amateur.

I'm excited about this venture, even if it does take me 7 years to get my degree.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Raspberry Chocolate Buttercreams

This is another recipe I made Tuesday night. A few people have asked me for the recipe, so I am posting it for you! With pictures!

You will need:

BASE
4 oz (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup flour
FILLING
1/2 cup seedless raspberry preservers (or any other flavor)
2 oz (2 squares) semi-sweet chocolate
1 oz (1 square) unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 cup butter
GLAZE
1 oz (1 square) unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp butter

Step one: Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate and 1/2 cup butter, stirring constantly; remove from heat. While it is melting, grease a 13x9-inch pan. Let the chocolate mixture cool.


Step twoish: In a large bowl, beat 2 cups sugar, salt, vanilla, and 4 eggs.

Stir in melted chocolate mixture until just blended.


Stir in flour just until blended.


Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until set. Let cool.

Step three? five? who's counting?: In small saucepan over low heat, melt 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate and 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, stirring constantly. Unless you like scalded chocolate. Remove from heat.


In another saucepan, bring 1/3 cup sugar and water to a boil; boil 1 minute.


In large bowl, beat 2 eggs until frothy. Gradually add sugar-water mixture and beat on highest speed for 5 minutes (or stir really fast like I did) or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add butter a small piece at a time, beating well after each addition.


Spread raspberry (or other) preserves over base.


Add melted chocolate to sugar-water-egg mixture and beat until smooth.



Spread this filling over the preserves.


In small saucepan over low heat, melt 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate and 1 Tbsp butter, stirring constantly. Drizzle over filling.


Step final: Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Cut into bars, or don't.



CHOW DOWN!!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Chocolate Truffle Pie (does that get your attention?)

We just finished the ribs I spoke of in my previous post. There are no words to describe the ribby goodness. Try that recipe. Now. And I'll even throw in dessert.

Granddaddy gave us some sweet corn, so we threw that on the grill too. Shucking and silking the corn reminded me of when I was younger!! That's comfort food.

This is the fantastic rib sauce. Thanks Applebee's!


You could tell Cassie wanted some BAD! Well, not in this picture. But really she did.


We ended up not doing all the ribs. I wish I could have eaten all of them! Mmmmm.




Don't worry, Cassie ended up getting plenty of bones!!



Now for dessert: Chocolate Truffle Pie


You will need:



1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted and chopped (optional)
One 6-oz ready-to-fill chocolate crumb crust

CARAMEL LAYER
3/4 cup individually wrapped caramels (17 squares)
1/4 cup canned evaporated milk

TRUFFLE LAYER
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp stick butter


Step one:
Sprinkle pecans on crust. Skip this step if you're like me and aren't fond of nuts.

Step two:
Heat caramels and evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring often until caramels melt and mixture is smooth. Pour over pecans, or into the empty crust.


Step three:
Heat chocolate chips, cream and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. If you're like me, this will be the same saucepan you melted the caramels in. If you're smarter than me, this bowl will be in the microwave. Heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Pour over caramel layer.




Step four:
Refrigerate minimum 4 hours until set.


Step five:
Wonder for the rest of the night what that chocolately goodness is going to taste like.

Applebee's Baby Back Ribs

This morning I was telling Kathee at work my plans for cooking tonight. We got ribs for a dirt cheap price at Food Lion the other day (two packs of ribs for around $3; about 2.5-3 lbs worth). I wanted to try a new recipe, of course, and I chose to do the Applebee's ribs sauce. Tim overheard and said, skeptically, that after fixing it I should add up how much it cost me to make it and then see how much it costs at Applebee's.

I took the challenge.

Don't know if he meant it as a challenge, but I'm taking it anyway. So, here are the ingredients, and beside them is about what I paid for them. I had to think REALLY hard on some of these, but if anything, I will estimate a higher price.

3 racks of baby-back pork ribs, each rack cut in half (about one pound each) (We have close to 3 lbs, paid $3 for them)
1 cup ketchup (bought the ketchup for $1.00 with triple coupons. 1 cup is 1/3 of the 24 oz bottle we have. That comes out to about $0.33)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (paid $1.49, using 1/4 cup of it would cost at most $0.25)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (Free. Do I really have to say this? I acquired this from Mary. I'm not as ashamed as I should be.)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (bought for $0.89 with triple coupons. Considering that our jar is 10 oz., I think 3 tablespoons would be very inexpensive. There are 59 tablespoons in the jar, so probably less than $0.05).
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (We bought this in Charleston, so I have no clue how much it was. If I bought it right now it would cost $1.69, and the 1 teaspoon would cost maybe around $0.10. And that's pushing it.)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I'm definitely not counting salt. Free.)

That comes out to this recipe costing me $3.73. Let's just go overboard and say $5.00. Now let's look at Applebee's choices for ribs. The cheapest option is their half rack of ribs. For $12.49. Now, I don't know how many pounds are in a half rack of ribs, but I know that's usually between 7-8 ribs and we have 6. I have a feeling we came out on top. Woot! We win the non-existent challenge!

Oh, and the recipe is yours for free.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rebate Time!

Most people know my obsession (thanks, mom) with Rite Aid Rebates. Of course, she is also the probable cause of my obsession with thrift stores, coupons, buy one get one free, and any other cheap frugal deal you can find. After triple coupons a couple of weeks ago, we were comparing notes, and we both stated that we'd like to take notes, if you will, on how much we really save during those trips. So for my rebates this month, I decided to do that. Keep in mind this is only my first trip this month. Some rebates are only good through certain dates that come at the end of the month. But I'd have to say I did pretty darn good.

Infusion 23 shampoo
Original price: $7.69
Sale price: $5.99
Rebate amount: $1.99
Coupon: $3.00
I pay: $1.00

Cutter Insect Repellent
Original price: $5.59
Sale price: $3.99
Rebate amount: $2.00
I pay: $1.99

Old Spice razors (3)
Original price: $4.99
Sale price: $3.99
Rebate amount: $3.99
I pay: FREE

Clairol Nice 'N' Easy Hair Dye (this will help with #80 on my 101 list)
Original price: $7.99
Sale price: $7.49
Rebate amount: $3.99
Coupon amount: $2.00
I pay: $1.50

Charles Worthington shampoo
Original price: $5.99
Sale price: $4.99
Rebate amount: $4.99
I pay: FREE

Gillette shampoo
Original price: $5.49
Sale price: $4.49
Rebate amount: $3.49
Coupon amount: $1.00
I pay: FREE

Revlon nail polish
Original price: $4.79
Sale price: $2.99
Rebate amount: $2.99
I pay: FREE

If I had paid full price for everything, it would have cost me around $45. After I get my rebates back, I will have spent well under $10. See, it's worth it!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Try to keep up

I wanted to post the pictures from church the other day. We had our official groundbreaking ceremony last Sunday:





And when we got to church on Wednesday night, this was all covered in red clay. I forgot to take any pictures though. Maybe more will be done this week. That is all very exciting!

Next, I wanted to post some pictures from work. I think these will just prove what a
slavedriver I work for.

Jessie set out to dress me like the princess I really am:



She was very proud of all her hard work. She wanted to do it this morning but to be honest, I just couldn't walk around with all that jewelry all day long. She made sure yesterday to tell me not to cover up my "bling". Whose child is that!? She did give me a purple disco necklace to wear today - it's stunning. I know we will appreciate these pictures in a few years!!

And my last piece of news - I know I'm all over the place this morning -

Congratulations to my awesome hard-working husband for getting a promotion this morning!!!! Wooooo! He is now a 25-year old Tech Sergeant!


He added his stripe this morning at roll call. It was sort of a surprise. We knew he was going to be up for promotion soon but I don't think we expected it so soon! 25 is very young to be a Tech Sergeant, and I am so proud of him. He has worked so hard for this! To congratulate him tonight, I will let him grill me some steaks! Aren't I sweet?