Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chicken goes.........

This post is inspired by the post on my other blog about cooking chicken ahead. It made me think...and brought back a funny memory!

When Marissa was about 18 months old, she was learning her animal sounds. I guess all kids do this about that age. When we would drive my some cows she would kick her little feet in her carseat and yell out at the top of her lungs" MOO MOO COW!!!! MOO MOO COW!!!!!!!!!" It was cute...at least to us :)

One of her favorite past times was to go through her entire repetoir of animal noises to entertain herself. It really was very cute, at least the first 4,000 times.

Funny how we as adults don't link things together, BUT.....

One night we were at the dinner table and Marissa was slow about eating her dinner. I urged her to take a bite of chicken. Out of the blue she yelled "CHICKEN GO BOK BOK!!!!!!!!!" Then it clicked.....she looked at her plate.....looked at me...looked at her plate.....looked at me.....

And scrambled down out of her booster seat.

Dinner was done.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I love this place!

This blog is also posted on my I'm Not Cheap I'm Thrifty page, because of it's low price and good value. However, I would eat there even if it wasn't inexpensive, just probably not as often!

We are going out to eat tonight, probably at our traditional favorite little place, El Potro.

The restaurant is about 2 blocks from our house. We have gone there at least once a week for over 11 years. It is a very down to earth place, very basic, no frills. Just good food, good service, and lots of memories.

We usually get the buffet. It is offered Mon-Fri for lunch, Friday night, and Sunday lunch. Lunch is $6.35, dinner is $7.35. I love Mexican food, but usually it is very spicy. Not here. Of course they have spicy things on the menu, and will spice up anything you want, but the average choices are not spicy.

So why do I really, really love this place????
Let me list the reasons why.....

1. They have happy orange walls. Ok, maybe that is a stretch but the walls used to be a yucky aquamarine. The happy orange is much better.

2. The KNOW us there. As soon as our butts hit the cushion, our drinks are on the table. They remember, Diet Coke for me and my daughter, tea for the rest of the crew.

3.Also, since they know us, they know we do not like jalapenos in our cheese dip. Therefore, they make it for us. Fresh. No jalapenos. They are the only place in town that doesn't serve the canned queso. They make it fresh.

4. Since I don't eat red meat, they will make me 2 cheese enchiladas to go with the buffet at no charge.

5. The waiter (Gus) is tops. He is prompt, friendly, smiles a lot, always asks where someone is if one is missing from our party. He has also helped our daughter with Spanish homework.

6. They are fast. Food is muy rapido and mucho delicioso!!!!!

7. They like us. They really, really like us. They greet us as family, bring us samples of new stuff, and say they missed us if we don't go every week.

All this is to say, I love this place. It may not be the newest, shiniest, flashiest place but to us, it is home. There are at least 4 other Mexican places in our small town, but this is the only place for us.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


BIG NEWS! I am doing the happy dance and I am so glad no one is close enough to be subjected to that torture and retinal scaring.

My wonderful, smart, brave and handsome hubby finished his first class Friday with a final grade of.....

Drumroll please........

A 95!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOO HOO! clap clap clap clap whistle whistle cheer cheer BIG YAY!

Only one person scored higher in the whole class, and they only got a 96. I am so happy of my husband! Great job honey, I knew you could do it!

Now just 2 more classes to go before he leaves the great state of Maryland to return home. I just can't wait!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Layouts to share

I have been rather remiss in posting layouts lately, but it isn't because I didn't want to share them. It is simply because I haven't DONE any! I managed to do 2 one page layouts Saturday, and I realized I have not posted the last few that I did a couple of weeks back so I am posting them all today. Please pardon the crappy photography and crooked pages, they really look much better in person than my editing shows! Next time I will actually prop them up on their little easels or the clarinet stand so they look better, but for now, this is what ya get. Forgiven????
This first layout was of our most recent trip to Krispy Kreme. Since Jamie has my camera in Maryland, I snapped these on my phone which at times takes really, really poor photos. However, the memory was too sweet not to share.

This next layout cracks me up. In case you can't read the journaling, let me just tell you that our town has a long standing history of having issues with the lights on the tree in our park. Funny small town humor. :)

This is a layout about the beach house that belonged to some close family friends, that I called Granny and Grandpa. I went by the old place a week or so ago and snagged this pic of the house. I wanted to record some happy memories.

Somehow the next 2 page layout got uploaded in the wrong order, so you see the first page last. This was our New Year's Eve dinner at Tybee. YUMMMMMMMMMMY!

This layout was just about a direct copy of one I saw in CK a few months back. It documents how I miss Jamie when he is on the tugboat for a week at a time. :(

This pic is one of my faves, so I did a layout to show us, just the 3 of us, just being us.

Now this one was a lot of fun. I wanted to document the steps we take to reduce, reuse and recycle. Since our town does not offer curbside recycling because the town leaders must live in the STONE AGE, we take our stuff to the closest recycling facility. Once again, the photos were uploaded in reverse order. OOPS!

This is probably one of the geekiest layouts I have ever done, at least in my daughters eyes, but it is one of the most meaningful to me. We went to the movie theatre and because the totally JACK YOU with candy prices, we sneak in candy in ziploc bags and just get hot popcorn and drinks there. While the movie was going on, Jamie twisted our buttery napkin and inserted it into the rolled up ziploc bag. On the way home he stuck it down in a empty Coke bottle and made me the sweetest flower bouquet I have ever gotten.

Last but not least, this layout documents our trip to Burt's Farm and the pumpkin patch. The pic of Riss was so great I had to blow it up to 8x10 to showcase it!

So, whadda ya think??????

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Update on school stuff for Jamie

Just when you thought you had been blessed beyond measure...God shows up in a big way again!

Jamie has done very well in school. He has made an 88 and a 92 on his tests so far. He is on a good team that works well together. Yesterday in the rowing rest in the lifeboat, it started SNOWING on them while they were out on the water. Then, Jamie said the snow felt kind of hard and it had begun to HAIL as well. Now, the mom/wife/obsessively protective type in me became outraged at this. I thought they should have stopped immediately and gone back inside until the weather cleared. Well, a quick slap in the head of reality told me that if I were on a ship and needed a lifeboat, I wouldn't want those in charge of it to say, "NO, it is cold and rainy. Let's wait until the weather clears." Chalk up yet another "DUH!!!" moment for me. All of the students completed their assessments safely and made it back to shore just fine. At least now we know that if can handle a lifeboat in that kind of weather, he could handle it in just about any situation. One week of this class down, one week to go.

He has made some friends there, and they are studying together. Today they went as a group into the nearest town and ate at a Chinese buffet and went to WalMart. I am glad he has made some pals to help the down time go by faster!

An update to our plan however.....

The second class he needs is offered the week after the week he is supposed to leave. (There would be a week in between with nothing for him to do.) So, they offered him to stay over and take the other class he needs, and they will put him in a computer class on the off week. The computer class is not mandatory, but he will earn a certificate and that will be good to have in his record. So, instead of being gone 2 weeks he will be gone 4. However, it will save him a trip back up there. Also, there is no guarantee that his boat here will be out of dry dock on time, (it hasn't ever been before) so this is another way he is making money when he might not have here at home

Our plan is to take the train up when he gets out of school April 3, which "happens" to be when Spring Break starts. Then we will all come back together and stay at the time share resort in North GA before heading home. It will be nice to have time together as a family!

Please continue to remember us in your prayers. Remember he is only getting half pay for this 4 weeks, but God will provide. This is the longest we have been apart since he got out of the Navy, and the longest that Marissa has ever been without him that she can remember. Remember to ask God for continued clarity of mind and good memory for Jamie on his tests, and safety while they are on the water.

Thanks so much for all of your support!

Can you find the miracles and blesings in this post as well??? (Hint they are in bold type :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let's Stir Up Some Fun!

I posted this picture on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it got quite an interesting response. This is me, made shortly after I moved to Hawaii in 1989. I know, hard to believe, but it really is me in that picture. I am bracing for the coming comments about big hair and/or acid washed jeans.....but I want to know....
What do you think is with me in this picture?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Miracles in our lives

Sometimes we chalk miracles up to "good luck". As a Christian, I know that good luck doesn't just happen. God has good things planned for us of course, His word promises us that in Jeremiah 29:11. ("For I know the plans I have for you" says the Lord. "Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future".) Therefore, I do not think that when good stuff happens we can just automatically call it good luck of good fortune or karma or whatever the word of the day is. I have found that if we look a little deeper, we can see the miracles God is working in our lives every day. There are also those miracles you don't see....like when you run late for something and don't realize that God had kept you from leaving on time to prevent you being in an accident, etc.

However, this past week has been has been miraculous in so many ways I just had to share it with you!

Last Thursday, Jamie called me from the boat. He was due to get off Friday morning at 8:00. He told me he had bad news; that one of the boats in his fleet was being pulled into dry dock to do an engine overhaul. This means that 2 crews would be displaced. Due to seniority, that meant he would be laid off. Of course, he would be placed on the relief list in the top position for call out work because the only other guy laid off senior to him had already been assigned a shift.

I began to pray as he was talking. You must understand here that call out work sometimes happens, sometimes doesn't, but he wouldn't be able to draw unemployment because he still had a job with the possibility of call out work. So, we would be flying by the seat of our pants so to speak, wondering if he would work during those 2 weeks or if we would be without income until the 5th of next month. Although this post is getting wordy, it is important for you to see the set up here. :)

Then he got an inspired idea, which I fully know that God placed in his heart. There are several school that he needs to attend to get his next license in the maritime industry. These school mean time off work, which equals no pay. That is why he hasn't gone to school before now!

So here is what happened next, in order of the pending problem and the resulting miracle.

First problem: Was there even a class that he needed during the time he was laid off?
First miracle: A quick call found that yes indeed, a school was available.

Second problem: The classes fill up quickly, was there by chance a space for him?
Second miracle: Yes indeed, a spot was open.

Third problem: Due to being out of work with the broken wrist for 14 months, his union dues are slightly behind. Since this was a union school, would that be an issue?
Third miracle: Union dues need to be caught up, but have nothing to do with eligibility for school.

Fourth problem: School requires letters of verification of time served on board each vessel. Jamie's new boss has never written such letters, nor knows exactly what is needed. No time to make mistakes, no time for trial and error.
Fourth miracle: Another phone call to records dept. to explain issues reveals that a quick check on his SSN shows that his time served is recorded in the online log and is completely up to date, including his Navy time. No need for letters for him.

Fifth problem: Application must be submitted and mailed in with copies of medical card showing fit for duty (which you may remember is why we had to go to Jax last month)and union card.
Fifth miracle: Application was onhand at his job, medical card and union card were also in the aforementioned online file. No need to fax them.

Sixth problem: School is in Piney Point Maryland. Nearest airport? 2 1/2 hours away, so trying to get a buddy pass from our friend for travel was useless. Decided driving would be best, but no gas money.
Sixth miracle: Friday morning there was to be a safety meeting at work, where he would get his annual safety bonus. Presto! Gas money.

Seventh problem: Money for lodging and food for 2 weeks.
Seventh miracle: Along with the school paid for by the union, so is lodging in a nice hotel on campus and 3 full buffet meals prepared by cruise ship chefs in training at the same school campus. All free.

Eighth problem: A quick check on the car shows a big bubble in the front tire, not safe for a 10 hour drive. Truck has small radiator leak, also not fit for long trips.
Eighth miracle: Mechanic Father in law drove car to work Friday to see about finding a used tire deemed safe for travel. Drives home with 4 brand new tires as a gift.

Ninth and final problem: Cell phone service may be sketchy at the school. Not sure how we can keep in touch. Wish we had a laptop.....
Ninth but certainly not final miracle: A quick call to a computer repair guru pal who had been keeping an eye out for a fixable laptop for us on the cheap revealed that he had just gotten a laptop for us. He tweaked a few minor problems and dropped it by to us Friday night. No charge for the laptop or for the repairs.

I say that was not the final miracle because so many more have happened that are seen and unseen. Jamie has suffered from insomnia since his mom died, and he was able to get a good nights sleep Saturday night before leaving at 5:30am Sunday. Time change did not affect his sleep. He was granted safe travel, an easy drive, never got sleepy on the way, and is getting an incredible 25.3 mpg in our 15 year old grannymobile. He is settled in, everyone is very nice, has a private room, and orientation starts today.

And did I mention that in addition to having his school paid for, he also received his pay from his company? Half on his regular check, the other half when his license from the Coast Guard arrives. Not bad for what looked like 2 weeks with no pay!!!!

Now...pray for me to have the grace and peace to survive until he gets home in 2 weeks!!!!

(photo of Jamie about Tug Bulldog by J. Tirpak 2007)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Computer problems....

I'm not sure what is happening. A couple of weeks ago, the mouse for Marissa's computer stopped working. It was a sudden thing, and very strange. Grasp mouse firmly, wigggle wiggle, no response. We got another mouse and it is working fine, but I think since then we have figured out what happened to the first mouse.
How it met it's untimely demise...

Julio ATE it! LOL!
Actually my sweet but not so superbly bright kitty just loves the warmth a monitor provides. And he looks so cute nestled between her Happy Meal animals and her Valentine Snoopy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring Break

It is that time of year again.....and I need your help! We need ideas for things to do on Spring Break. It's around the first of April, and it needs to be EXTREMELY budget friendly. We have done St Augustine and Jacksonville.....many times....gone to Charleston....several times.....We thought of Washington DC or St Louis because of so many FREE things to do there but because of layoffs with the airline that Jamie worked for part time, we no longer enjoy free travel privileges. Therefore it will have to be someplace in driving distance.

Any thoughts? Any suggestions? HELP PUH--LEEEEEEEZE!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Oh my goodness...I can't feel my feet! It is unseasonably cold here right now. Our mild coastal winter has gone away and been replaced with a blanket of arctic air! I was on the beach two days ago and tonight I have my outdoor plants covered up and my faucets dripping! And my poor husband...out there on the river on the tug boat. BRRRR! Hurry home honey! This is snuggle weather!