Monday, December 31, 2012

Catching Up Part 2 - Christmas Day

Christmas morning, we like to wake up at home with the pups and Nala.  Everyone has a stocking and we have a little fun de-stuffing them.  This year, we seemed to have a little Grateful Dead happening.  hmmm...Turns out Pigpen (the Grateful Dead bear - blue one - that Kevin found at a flea market) delivered all the presents this year.  He was worried Santa wouldn't make it. LOL!  So, mine was on top of the fireplace when I woke up.  What you can't see is that in Stella's stocking, she has a Grateful Dead collar (she's named after a Dead song, Stella Blue).  And, Kevin has a Grateful Dead head cover for his golf clubs.  I thought he would love his Phish tshirt and Big Bang Theory DVD set the best, but he freaked over the Dead head cover.  You just never know! :)

Kevin always wins at finding the best treasures for my stocking.  He got me a super sweet pair of Toms.  The very ones I had almost bought a few weeks before when shopping with my mom, but decided to wait until after Christmas.  And, what do you know?  Santa has the same taste! :)  He always finds me a cool Christian tshirt for my stocking and this year it has the verse "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" on it.  Love!  I want to start wearing crazy, unpredictable socks because they make me laugh, so I got two pair of those.  And, a hog necklace for Razorback season that is going to ROCK this year with our new coach!!!  And...a Razorback ipad cover, a Beth Moore devotional, and a boxer ornament. Now, that I type this, I realize he got me a lot more than I got him.  Hmmmm.....I must have been better this year! haha!

 Christmas morning after stockings, we have a big breakfast and let the dogs play with their new toys for a bit, then it's time to hit the road again to Mom's house. 
 The pups all got new toys (Bubba wanted the one that anyone else was playing with), new collars and new dog beds.  They were good babies this year.  Nala girl got cat treats, because, well, she's a cat and all she does is sleep and eat. :)
 My mom obviously snuck back to a store when we had been shopping and got me the Razorback PJ's I wanted!!  SCORE!!  Plus, we all got Christmas money.  I love getting Christmas money and gift cards!!  Makes for a fun week the next week spending it!! :)
 This year we took Bubba Bear with us, so he wouldn't be in his kennel too long and so he could see his brothers that would be there.  Sadly, due to bad weather moving in, our trip to mom's was cut short, but we made it there and back safely.  
Brothers:  Autumn with Harley, Mom with Leo, and Me with Bubba Bear.  They had a big time (after Bubba decided he liked Harley after all). 
 Kevin asked me on the way back what my favorite part of the day was and I said "when we had ALL the dogs in".  When we ate and opened presents, we had Bubba, Mom's two little dogs and my Bubby's little dog in.  After presents, Bubba's brothers, Leo and Harley got to come in.  We had as many dogs as we did people.  It was wild and fun!  We even threw a tennis ball into the mix!!
 We watched the weather since we had a drive back and headed out earlier than we planned, but we got home just in time.  As we pulled into town, it started sleeting BIG TIME.  This was Bubba Bear's first snow and it was a whooper!  We had 11 inches of snow!!!  He kept running outside and eating it and running back in. He loved it!!
 About 10:30 on Christmas night, we lost power.  We were lucky though, we only went 24 hours without, some people are STILL without power and most went for 4 or 5 days.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holiday Catch Up Time

Whew!  It's been a bit!  I can't believe it was only a week ago that I was at work.  It's been a whirlwind of travel and family and SNOW!!!  Friday was my last day at school with the kiddo's, and we made it a fun day.  Since our party was Thursday and school went so close to Christmas this year, several were out on Friday to travel to see family.  (which is exactly what we did the very next morning)  We hit the ground driving the first day of vacation.  It was Christmas at my Granny's in Piggott, and we stayed the night with Kevin's parents and got to see his Uncle Ricky and spend some time with the nephew, Austin.  I love that kid! 
We crammed a lot of family time into a short amount of time.  Granny always gets all the men in the family the same thing, and it's always really good.  This year they all got Razorback coolers!  Awesome!

We got up the next morning and hit the road again back home so Kevin could do some Christmas Eve cooking for people.  And, next day, BACK on the road!!  This time to Kevin's sisters house for his family's Christmas Eve.  Whew!  And, that's not even the END of the whirlwind, but that's where we stop today.
At Kevin's sisters the past two years, we have made it family game day.  We play for gift card prizes.  This year we played Ants in Your Pants and BS.  BS is fun, but I'm NO good at it.  When I lie, you can see it all over my face! ha!

 Once we got home on Christmas Eve, we had about an hour or so, and then headed out AGAIN for a midnight service at the church.  I love that our church does that, so we don't lose focus of what Christmas is really about.  
After the service, Santa brought the pups new dog beds because they were so good this year!!  They immediately crashed! ha!  Stockings had to wait til morning. :)

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers


I have a friend who has told me to read this book for over two years.  Then, after talking to another friend who loves to read, she just gave me a copy.  Both women proclaimed it to be one of their all-time favorites that they have read multiple times.  All I can tell you is that honestly, I put it off because it was a Christian fiction book and I lean towards murder mysteries or science fiction these days.  I am NOT a romance reader for sure.  I wasn't expecting to love it, but I did!!  The characters are real and stay with you even when you aren't reading.  The story is frustrating and powerful.  This book will go into my all time top 10. 

From the Francine Rivers website:
California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.  Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go.  A life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas from all of us!

Friday, December 21, 2012


Bubba Bear graduated from Doggie Obedience last night!  Whoop!!  We now have 3 graduates in this house.  You'd think it would be easier to walk in the front door when you came over! ha!  But we are all currently working on "in your place" for just that reason! :)
And, yes, the table behind me has my favorite Christmas items on it and yes, they are all boxer items except for one that was a handmade snow globe from a former student.  :)

Congrats Bubba Bear!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So close...

Christmas vacation is so close I can taste it!!  1 more day and then no alarm clock for 2 weeks!  Whoop!!  Today was party day at school and super successful thanks to volunteers and pinterest! ha!  I have to remember the minute to win it games with the marshmallows.  HUGE hit!!  And, the kids LOVED their gifts!!  The boys immediately put on their hats and wore them all day.  Who am I to make them take them off? ha!  The girls took their shoes off right then and changed into their new socks.  They were pumped that I had matching socks on with them.  Boy, was I relieved!!  Success with the teacher gift. Whew! make it through tomorrow... :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Santa Claus is coming to School! :)

What to get?  What to get?  When you have 21 little boys and girls!!!!  And it still have some substance but not break the bank.  Here is my final product.  Snowman cups with fuzzy socks for the girls & black and white striped beanie hats for the boys.  Cups are filled from the bottom with hersey kisses, then add a super yummy cookies and cream hersey mini-bar, a marshmallow snowman and a jolly ranger candy cane.  I hope I have a winner!  Since I have an odd number of girls, I have a pair of socks too and will match them on Thursday! :)!
Total cost for all supplies at Wal-Mart:
socks = 1.50 each
hats = 1.50 each
cups = 0.25 each
marshmallow snowman = 1.00 for 6
bag of Hersey kisses = 8.98
bag of Hersey cookies and creme bars = 2.97
Total cost per kid = about $2.50  *If they like it, priceless and I breathe a sigh of relief.  If  they don't like it, I am at a loss on what to do next year! ha!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Howling Good Christmas Treats!

The pups and I are making "Peamutt Butter Dog Treats" for our furry friends for Christmas presents.  Shhh!!  Don't tell!  But it's super easy!!  Above is all the supplies you will need.  A few simple ingredients = winner in our book! (full recipe at end of post)
 Knead into a firm dough and roll dough out (ideally with a rolling pin, but if you don't have one, improvise!)
 Take dog bone cookie cutter and cut treats out and place on cookie sheet. Easy!  Take the left over dough and ball it back up and roll out some more!
 You will have begging dogs in no time!!
Recipe for Peamutt Butter Dog Treats:
3 tbsp. corn oil
1 cup water
2 cups white flour
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine oil, peanut butter, and water.  Add flour, one cup at a time, then knead into firm dough.  Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutter.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Makes 2 1/2 dozen.
**I may add green and red food coloring to next batch.  I'll let ya know! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell


Well,  I did it!  I read 30 books in a year. My best year for reading since before my Master's degree!!  This is a book that is in a long series that I have read for many years, Kay Scarpetta is the main character and is a medical examiner.  Since this is about the 20th something book in this series, maybe all the background information reviewing was to entice new readers to the series - this book as a starting point if you wanted to pick up the series now.  However, I was severely disappointed in this one. It was all I could do to get through it.  I just kept thinking it would get better.  It may be time to let this series die. :(

Next on my list (over Christmas break) has been recommended to me by several people - Redeeming Love.  People that have read it, say they read it multiple times.  We'll see!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa came early!!!

 Santa came early and look what he brought!  A king size bed!!  Whoop!  I must have been good because I've been wanting one of these for a looonnng time, but Big Bear kept saying no.  I, however, need to sleep with more room than the edge of the bed.  Plus, now we have 3 dogs and we need more room for when it's family time!!! haha!  (Just to clarify the 3 beasts do not sleep in the bed all night, but they start out there until Big Bear comes to bed.)  We got the actual bed for a steal on Black Friday, but by the time you have to get a new mattress and box springs and sheets and bedding, it's not such a bargain.  And, of course, I threw in new nightstands, but I talked them down on those too!  I was on FIRE bargaining!!  Thanks Santa (aka after school tutoring money!)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Growth in Pictures...6 months of cuteness!

July 2012 - about a month old....SO cute!!

August 2012 - 7 weeks we brought him home

September 2012
October 2012

November 2012

December 2012...and the barricades come down as he is too big to fit through!!
They were all put out with me in the picture above because I made them go out in the drizzle of rain to take a picture!  (Note the cute matching Christmas collars!!)  I can't tell as big a difference between Bubba in the past two months, but I do know he is going to be a big boy!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend Report

It's another good one on the books! :)

Friday night was our Sunday School Christmas party.  Good food, Good fellowship, and Good laughs.  We played the "Not so Newlywed Game".  My husband volunteered us as one of the couples to participate.  There were questions like "What road sign best describes your wife?"  "Where is the most interesting place you've had whoopie?" "Your husband is the best _____ and the worst ______."  Then, we had a white elephant gift exchange.  Who said you can't have fun at church!?! LOL

Saturday I met my Mom in Searcy for some Christmas shopping.  I managed to get it all done with the exception of my classroom gifts for my kiddo's (any ideas???) and 3 awesome dog beds for a bargain!!  Other than that, I am done and need to get to wrapping!!!  

Today was church, buffet lunch, nap and grading papers.  It's all good! :)

Now, 10 more work days until CHRISTmas break!  whoop! Bubba Bear's monthy growth chart!! Oh yeah, you know you are waiting for it! ha

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tis the Season

Two Christmas parties this week - one for work (tonight) and one for Sunday School class.  Is it just me or does it feel too early for Christmas parties?  This crazy weather isn't helping it feel like Christmas either.  It is only 20 days away, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas yet.  But, I guess I'll keep "partying it up" until it does! ha!  Maybe after my shopping spree with my Mom this weekend, it will feel like it.  Just a few more gifts on the 'ole list.  Santa said everyone has been good this year, so the shopping must be done! :)

My Christmas wish is ONE snow day BEFORE we get out on the 21st.  Yep, I said it.  SNOW DAY!!!  Oh, how I love thee! :) 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Challenge

My church gave us a 12 day Christmas Challenge on Sunday. I thought I would share, because I am excited about doing a few of them myself! :)

1. Take a batch of Christmas cookies to a friend unexpectedly.
2. Go out to eat with the express purpose of tipping your server way more than usual.
3. Step onto the mission field by volunteering for a ministry outside the church walls.
4. Rake your neighbor's yard.
5. Write someone a handwritten note to show your appreciation.
6. Create a fundraising strategy with your family for the Lottie Moon offering.
7. Go Christmas caroling.
8. Write down your personal testimony and keep it in your car.  Then ask God to give you the opportunity to share it with someone.
9. Just help someone.
10. Share Jesus with a co-worker, family member or friend.
11. Ding-dong-ditch someone, only to leave a small gift on porch instead of just running off.
12. Invite a friend to church.

You don't have to do all 12. But challenge yourself to do a few or some and have fun with it. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Great Weekend!!

It was just one of those really good weekends.  No stress.  Nice weather!  Friday night was scrapbook night with my peeps...except we were all doing crafts, so maybe we need to rename it! :)  Saturday morning, Big Bear and I went to watch my students play basketball.  We were in no way prepared for how exciting an elementary school basketball game could be!  It was bittersweet for me because we were playing my old school which meant I had love for both sides.  But, my current kiddo's pulled off a win in the FINAL FOUR SECONDS!!  Big Bear could hardly talk the next day from all the yelling! ha!  We went and had a nice lunch after and then I decorated the house for Christmas...with shorts on and the windows up...crazy!
Sunday was a day for chores and proof we need to live in the country!!!! I got all the leaves burned.  I do love burning!!  Kevin knows to just leave me alone when I have a burn pile going!  And, Bubba Bear actually stayed out of the fire!!  Whew!  He did help me pull each bag of leaves from the side of the house to the pile though! ha

 I may have also finished up a project that involved a circular saw yesterday....but Santa can't reveal yet!! :)
Glad somebody got to NAP, because when I tried to take mine, all they wanted to do was wrestle. in the floor.  next to my bed. loudly.  URgh!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My name is Bubba...

And, I like to drink from the water hose and the bird bath.
I also like to chase the broom when Mommy is sweeping.
Chase the rake and bark when Mommy is raking leaves.
Chase the lawn mower and bark and try to bite the tires when Mommy is mowing.
Chase the vacuum and bark and bite at it when Mommy is vacuuming.
And, today while Mommy was using the circular saw, I wanted to bark and bite at it, but she yelled at me and locked me up.  I don't know why!!  I just try to protect her!!  
Mommy says it is a good thing I am so cute! And something about me being the death of her?  I don't know what that means, but I sure know how to melt her with my eyes when she gets fussy with me! ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

photo credit - Brittney Turner :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My family Turkey Day

This past Saturday was my family turkey day.  We had it again at my cousin, Peggy's house.  Love her place.  The setting is just gorgeous and it made a great back drop for some family photos.  Of course, we would've taken them without the beautiful backdrop because that is a tradition that we do every year!  This year we had about 42 people total at our feast.  Below is just my Granny's group: (all we are missing is one cousin and my Aunt's husband)
This day made me realize how much has happened and changed in a year.  Last year, I didn't want to go, and I didn't want to talk to anybody.  We were at the ending of our infertility battle and depression had set in on both of us.  Honestly, our faith and our marriage were at an all-time low.  It was just an all around bad time for us.  Fast forward a year through many battles with depression and hormones and mood swings and struggles...I felt waaayyy more like myself than last year for sure!  I think we are slowly getting back to normal.  Thank you for your support and prayers to those that stuck by us during a tough time. :)  Tomorrow marks one year since we found out we couldn't have children of our own.  We needed to grieve and we did.  Now, it's time to pick ourselves up and what life has in store next! 
John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday

I've been on computer too much tonight shopping on Cyber Monday, so tune in tomorrow.  Go shop!  Amazon and Shutterfly were my friends tonight!  Woohoo!  Santa Claus is coming to town!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

5 days off = happy, happy, happy!

What to do with 5 days off?  First off, I brought zero work home to ensure I took 5 days off, because I needed it! :)  I managed to read two books (see post below) and I got some chores done.  A few yard chores since the weather was gorgeous!  As you can see from above, Bubba Bear's barricades have been removed and he immediately wanted in the pond!  But, too big!  heehee!  I win!
We also had a lot of play time in the yard.  The backyard is one of my favorite places to be. And, we never would have thought it based on her personality, but Stella has turned out to be the best big sister and her and Bubba Bear are constant side kicks!  He grabs her where ever he can when she is fetching her ball and she just lets him. 
 We considered Stella most when trying to select our new family member, but we thought Rex would be the one that would be big buddies with him/her.  He plays in spurts, but mainly he leaves that to Stella and saves his Bubba time for napping. ha!
 I also started on the leaves out front.  I got them into 3 huge piles and bagged 3 bags before I realized the job was too big for me alone to tackle and Kevin was busy cooking turkeys, so I let it sit for two days waiting for help.  Then, on Friday, I hear screams and giggles and wrestling in the front yard.  I look out to see this (below).  I got the giggles watching them play and body slam each other into the big piles.  There is a child buried under there that you can't even see!!  I took this from the window.  They didn't even know I was watching!!  And, the best part is we convinced them to bag the leaves for $2 a bag!  I didn't even have to finish the job! ha!
In other big news, you HAVE to watch the 15 second video below to appreciate this one!!  We literally have had to warm up the tv for about a year now. It would flash like in the video for recently up to 2 hours.  It was time for a new tv.  I honestly can't believe we let it go so long except that I don't watch much tv, and Kevin got to where he just left it on 24 hours so it wouldn't have to warm up.  We'd just mute it at night! ha!  Seriously, watch!
So we filled up the entertainment to the Big Bear can watch football in style with his new 47 inch tv!  And he thought he couldn't have a big screen and me be able to keep my entertainment center!  We pulled it off with barely an inch to spare.  It was a good black Friday for the Benson's!
More tomorrow....

James Patterson

#28 & #29

I finished two of James Patterson's books over the Thanksgiving break.  The only series of his that I am continuing to read.  I read The 11th Hour in the Women's Murder Club series and Merry Christmas Alex Cross in the Alex Cross series.  Here are my thoughts...take them for what they are worth.  I have always been a huge James Patterson fan.  However, he pushes out so many books a year that I can't keep up in reading them.  So, how is he writing them???  My husband says he is a book factory.  Once I narrowed the books down by him that I would continue to read and I branched out to more genre's and author's, I have found his books less exciting.  THEN, once I read these two back to back, the Alex Cross was written by him alone and it was predictable and average.  The Women's Murder Club was co-authored by someone and had much more depth to it and kept me engaged.  Hmmmm....just curious how the co-author thing works?  How much of it did he actually write?  In comparison, the co-authored one blew the Alex Cross one away.  Just my opinion.  Of course, if you are like me and have put years into reading these series, you can't stop now!  I did get the feeling that Alex Cross might be wrapping up in the near future.  He left that door wide open.  
Ok...I met my goal I set with my class of reading two books over the break.  Now, I want to read at least one more before the end of the year and reach my all time high of 30 books in one year!  Yippee!!!  I.heart.reading!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful hearts...

Bubba Bear is grateful for his family, grass to roll in, and momma being home all day!
 Stella is grateful for tennis balls, a game of fetch, and her new brother!
 Rex is grateful for sunshine, dirt piles and naps!
Nala is grateful for her mommy and all things NOT boxer! ha!

Big Bear and I are grateful for all our friends and family who continue to support us!!  We were seriously contemplating closing the business, and Kevin trying to find work at something else.  But, we have both been praying about it for a few months and with the support of our church, family, and loyal customers, he is going to stay open, and we are going to give it one more year.  Next step is setting the concessions trailer somewhere and selling food daily.  THANK you to all those who have helped us try to make a dream of Kevin's come true!!  This economy doesn't make it an easy choice at times, but I think the sacrifices we make around here are worth it to be able to do what we both love to do.  That alone brings a peace to the day.  
Happy Thanksgiving!!!