Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Chaotic Christmas Season

Once again I can not believe how fast the time goes. So very cliche of me I am sure, but "WOW": Christmas time already? Christmas here is a fun, crazy, busy, time of year. No sports to chase, but lots of fun things to do and see. Took us some time, but the house is finally decorated and now we are moving onto the baking.

I love this time of year because this is when I first started to get interested in baking and cooking. When I was young I would spend weekends in December at my Grandma Leora's house listening to Christmas carols and hymns making cookies and candies for our friends and family. We seriously would start the minute I got out of school on Friday and would not quit until it was time for church on Sunday. I remember how patient she was with me and she always listened to me if I brought a new recipe or idea to try. This was  the start of a life-long devotion to cooking and baking for my family. It was also the start of my recipe addiction, which is a topic for another time. I also love that it has become a tradition for my family of making those same recipes that GiGi shared with me so many years ago. It makes me feel so close to her even though she has been gone for a while now. And I love that my kids, who were very young when she passed say, "Are we making GiGi's Christmas cookies this year Mom?" I thought that I would share with you the first recipe that she taught me. Not sure where she got the recipe, but I will bet it came from one of those lovely women at St. Luke's:

 GiGi's Peanut Brittle

1 cup white sugar                        1 cup Karo
1/4 cup water                               1 tsp. butter
1 cup raw peanuts                       1 tsp. baking soda

Boil sugar, water, Karo, and butter at medium high heat, in a heavy bottomed (Is that not fitting or what?)pan to hard ball stage: 250 degrees. Add peanuts. Continue cooking until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add baking soda. Stir well. Pour onto a well buttered cookie sheet. Break into pieces.

Here is one of my favorite Christmas songs from my time with GiGi. We would sing this at the top of our voices while we were making a huge mess in her kitchen. I was even able to sing it at one of our Kaleidoscope Christmas dinners in high school.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The New Year Begins

The "Perfect" first day photo: Noah 5th Grade, Emma 1st Grade, Paige 10th Grade

Well, today is the day. First Day of School. The house is quiet for a brief period of time. We love the fresh eager faces as they wake up at 5:20 am and wonder why they can't leave right then for school, knowing that a month from now we are threatening to spray them with water if they don't get out of bed. It is the start of the year for us. Really all of us moms, and teachers, knew it all along anyway. No matter what the calendar says, the first day of school is really the start of the new year for us.

Today we begin the process of re-organizing our homes, lives, and children's bedrooms, You know you will do it to friends. What mom has not taken the opportunity of their children being gone, to clean out their toy box, closet, or under the bed? If only our children knew what joy we take in knowing that at least for a little while there shall be no science experiments fermenting, no mysterious smells emitting, no more lonely socks just hanging around. Today mom's are able to take a deep breath and and not wonder, "What the #$%! died in here?"

So today my fellow mom's, enjoy the peace and quiet. Make whatever you want for lunch, watch whatever you want on the TV, make all the lists you need to to get yourself organized, enjoy the full can of Diet Coke that you got to finish. I give you permission to stay in your jammies all day if you want. Please take this opportunity to re-charge your batteries and find things that might inspire you. There will come a day when all of the chaos of "First Days" are long but a memory and you will be wondering what to do with yourself.  You will be a much better mom for it, and will enjoy your kids more as well.

But remember, as soon as that door slams this afternoon :

The reality of Cotterman Chaos
the chaos shall return and your life shall be full of whatever treasures your kids have in store for you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Year...New Me?

Tis the season of New Year's resolutions. I know I am almost three weeks late on the resolution craze, but since we had to celebrate Christmas almost a week after the day, I figure I am allowed a break. I refuse to call them resolutions. I am calling mine goals. I think this will give me more leeway should I choose to give them up. I don't want to be one of the 50% that fail in their resolutions. So my goals for 2010 are the following: #1:Re-join Weight Watchers. I am making a plan to add one new "healthy weight" goal each month. For the month of January I will be attending a WW meeting every week. Need to get back on the healthy eating band wagon. I will journal and measure, and EAT HEALTHY!!! February's goal shall be to add in EXERCISE. Good Lord help us all. #2:I want to learn. Being a new board member means there is so much I don't know. It also means feelings fear, pride, and no longer fitting in. I don't want people to be afraid to talk to me, but I also don't want them to only talk to me about school stuff. #3:Take pictures. Hard to believe that I don't already take enough pictures. I know you have all seen me with my camera. I am the one that has 5000+ photos on their hard drive. But I want to document our life as it happens: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not just the special things. #4: PURGE!!!! Yes, I mean it. It is time to get rid of the things that do not bring me joy. and #5: organize what is left. Will all of this lead to the NEW ME?

Crazy thought isn't it? A new me? What could possibly be wrong with the old me? (I refuse to ask my kids as I am sure they could list more thing than this blog could hold.) I often wonder, "Do I really want a 'new' me?" Sure I could stand to lose a few (OK, more than a few) pounds, I certainly could become a better housekeeper, and possibly a better wife, mother, and friend. But would these changes really make me a new me, or just a different me? Honestly I would NOT change one thing that has happened in my life. All of my situations have made me what I am, good or bad. they have brought me to the place I am now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am learning to love the place where I am now. It doesn't necessarily have to be the greatest moment in my life, but who is to say that as I look back on it, it might just be a defining moment for me? I want to live and love each day that happens to me. I want to learn what God is trying to teach me at each moment. Take what I have learned and guide myself on this path. Will I make mistakes? Probably. Will I cry and hate the moment? Definitely. Will this cause me to stop trying to find the me that I know is buried? Absolutely not. Living in the moment doesn't mean that we wait for life to find us. It means recognize and take advantage of every door that is opened for us and walk through.

I know this was a bit long winded, and a bit "out-there" even for me. But I want to document my thoughts and feelings, not just what the kids are doing. I promise there will be less of this and more of the kids and pictures in the coming weeks. I leave you with the following question:

Does this boy need a hair cut?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Great Escape Meme

This is contest entry for those crazy folks at TodaysMama and Cricut. Be sure to check out Cricut's cool new cartridges and the chance at $30,000 in travel for you and your friends at the Great Gypsy Escape site! http://bit.ly/FWcud

Great Escape Meme
1. If you could escape to anywhere in the world where would it be?
Anywhere there are mountains and hiking!!
2. What song do you play when you are by yourself in the car?
Right now anything Darius Rucker is singing.
3. If you had a night to yourself, and money was no object, what would you do?
Probably not go anywhere. Stay at home and scrapbook my kids.
4. What is your guilty pleasure?
Blog reading.
5. What is the farthest place you have traveled away from your home?
6. Last book that you couldn't put down?
The Shack
7. When you want to escape into another time, what movie do you watch?
Dances with Wolves
8. What is your favorite local escape?
The Slippery Elm Trail. I love walking and getting back to my center.
9. How do you escape on a budget?
Stay at home with friends.
10. Best food you've ever had while on vacation.
Anything Mickey Mouse is cooking. His chefs are the best.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Up and Running Again

You know I keep thinking I want to start writing on the ole blog again, but life gets in the way. But today with a few extra minutes, and a fresh outlook here we go. Thought I would make it a simple post. Got the idea from one of my favorite people Ali Edwards (famous scrapbooker). I read (stalk) her blog everyday wishing I could do the things she does. And today I thought why not? So here goes.

June 23st, 2009

Outside my window... Sun is shining, weeds are growing, and pool is a cloudy shade of blue. Which is fine by me as last week it looked vaguely like a swamp.

I am thinking... about how I love my life right now. Just wish I could be home more to enjoy it. Also thinking I really need to get my walk in before it get too warm.

I am thankful for... children doing their chores without being asked. Noah must really want something.

From the kitchen... new Pampered Chef recipe. Healthy and yummy. Who could ask for anything more?

I am wearing... walking shoes and clothes. I will get outside soon I promise.

I am creating... my blog. And a very full life.

I am going... to walk, pull weeds, watch the kids swim, to Weight Watchers, then to Paige's game. Pizza after for both teams.

I am reading... The Life of Pi, with Nose Down Eyes Up next. Just finished the Twilight series.

I am hoping... that we can get through the summer without anything else breaking. Here is the list: Noah's finger, computer, dryer, microwave, TV, Blazer, and refrigerator.

I am hearing... Children yelling, Garrett sounding like a tractor and dogs barking.

Around the house... Tuesday is cleaning day. Started working on the piles that all over this house. Time to PARE DOWN!!!

One of my favorite things... Diet Coke

A few plans for the rest of the week... work, ball games, continue to work on room at a time on paring down. Need to start the next garage sale collection.

I hope this finds everyone well and happy. Let me know what is going on in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Catching up - Take 2

OK, so it has been so long since I have posted that I have almost totally forgotten how to do this, oh well, those of you that know me best, know that I will catch on eventually. What I really intended to chit chat about is how much fun I am having doing NOTHING so far this year, I mean nothing that I don't want to do. I have cleaned out almost every drawer, cupboard, and nook and cranny of this very large (but full) house to see what can be gotten rid of, and oh boy is there a lot. We are going to have one heck of a garage sale this Spring. My goal now is to not fill it back up, we'll see how that goes.

As you can see by the pictures in my last post, CJ went on a road trip to the BCS Bowl in New Orleans. In fact he also attended the GMAC bowl in Mobile. He had a pretty good time. It was tough to realize that he drove 2000 miles to see two of his favorite teams lose. But it was nice as he was in Mobile just after Katrina and was grateful to have some new memories. He also had a great time in New Orleans and loved Bourban Street. We are glad that he made it home safe.

OK, onto new year' s resolutions.....

1. We have already discussed the whole paring down idea, there is just too many people in the house to have this much stuff. Organizing what is left when I am done will be the next step.

2. Went back to Weight Watchers, dragging my family kicking and screaming with me. For everyone's sakes we really just need to do this. I am controlling what comes into the house from the grocery, I can only hope that everyone can control how much goes into their mouth at any given time. By the way, looking for some healthy chocolate recipes. E-mail me any suggestions.

3. Learning to be grateful. I have become pretty grumpy about many things recently and I am working on being grateful for all that I have been blessed with. Journaling everyday about this.

4. Taking time for myself. Oh boy is this the hard one. As a mother it is very easy to spend every waking moment on my family, forgetting who I am. Don't get me wrong, I love doing things for my family, I just need to do things for myself as well. Plan on spending more time with music, scrapbooking, reading, gardening, and anything else that comes to mind.

Need to mention that I am becoming addicted to blogs, not writing them obviously, but reading them. My new favorite is Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Check out the links to the right and see how addicting this can be.

Must go, there are a few chores that I need to do before the kids get home. Maybe some new blogs to read.......

Catching Up

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Lull in the Action

Do you hear that? It's quiet at Cotterman Chaos. OK, so not really, but there is a lull in the action. Both football and volleyball finished up this weekend. The Midget football team finally won a game this year. I am so proud of CJ and all of his hard work.

Paige's volleyball team got beat in their first game during their league tournament, , but Paige really had a great game with 5 aces and 3 saves. Probably her best game this year. I am so proud of all her hard work. She is now debating about whether to play basketball or not. We really would like her to, but she is not so sure. She has a week to figure it out. Noah is planning on wrestling this year. We are trying to find a basketball program for him around here, but so far no luck. CJ's cousin Bryan is the coach for the wrestling club here, so we will probably give in.

Emma was thrilled to take a friend to dance last week. She took her new best friend Kiah. Kiah actually dances at another studio, so she really caught on fast and seemed to have a great time. The night was topped off by a trip to McDonald's. She is trying to decide what to be for Halloween. Everyday there is a different choice. We are really going to have to narrow it down soon, or we aren't going to be anything abut a fussy three year old. Noah is going to be a skeleton.

The "player to be named later", now formally known as M&M, is really getting the hang of life here at Cotterman Chaos. Freddy and Frieda have learned the hard way that he has really sharp claws and Smokey is learning to tolerate him. Poor thing barely gets his feet on the floor most days as both Emma and Garrett carry him everywhere. He loves to sleep with just about everyone, and has become our alarm clock because he thinks it is time to play every morning at 5:30!!

Trying to get the kitchen done before the weekend. Takes a lot of time in between coats of paint on the cupboard doors. But I love the outcome!!! It is really looking so much more me! I know that sounds so weird, but I spend so much time in the kitchen, that I want it to reflect me. Next project will be the scrapbook room/toy room. We are going to have to move Emma's toys back downstairs, as her room is so small that a twin size bed and toys can't all fit at the same time. This is where the whole organizing thing comes in. We really need to pare down to those things that we really need and love. This will be a work in progress as we all have collected so many things it is hard to decide what is most special to us. I'm hoping to get my friend Jim, the very talented woodworker that made my cubbies, to make me some shelves to match, which should help considerably. To start, this weekend we will be on the lookout for a new computer desk, as ours is broken beyond repair.