The The Baking Project: Butterfinger Cake and Pizza Bread!

I realize that I haven't posted much lately on my "Baking Project" and well...that's because I really haven't had much time to bake.  I have however, recently gotten back in the kitchen and have begun to make some of my home made breads.  In the past couple of weeks I have made my Cinnamon Raisin Bread, my mother's biscuits and also her home made cupcake/muffins (all of these recipes can be found on my sister blog:  Letters To My Daughter; just click on the butter on this blog to go there).  Today I am preparing a little birthday dinner for my mother's 84th birthday and my brother-in-law's birthday.  What's on the menu?  Pizza Bread and Butterfinger Cake!


Both of these recipes are SUPER EASY.  I have been making Pizza Bread for years.  I especially like to make it during the fall, when football season is in full swing.  Here's what you need to make it...

Some frozen bread dough.  Take however many loaves you want to prepare and let them sit, thaw out and rise.

                            On a well floured surface, roll the dough out (I made 3 loaves today).

     Before you begin to fill the bread, move the dough to the pan you will be baking it on.

                   The first thing I put on each piece of dough is shredded Mozzarella Cheese.

Then, the sky's the limit!  You can put whatever you like on your bread.  Today I made 3 different types...

Pepperoni...(notice, that I always add cheese again on top, after all of the ingredients have been added).

                                                                      Full House...

                                                                           Veggie...

Roll the prepared dough up into loaves and secure the seams with toothpicks (don't forget to take them out before serving!)

                                                        Now, simply slice it up to serve!


For dessert tonight, I am serving Butterfinger Cake (a recipe my sister-in-law gave me).  This is not only a yummy dessert that is sure to impress, but it is also SUPER EASY to make!

First, buy a boxed chocolate cake mix; I used one of those super moist, milk chocolate mixes.  Prepare it exactly as the box says to.  Once you take it out of the oven, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake.  In those holes, pour a can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Next, pour chocolate syrup into the holes.  Cover the cake and place in the refrigerator until cool (I let mine sit in there over night).  The next ingredient you will need to prepare is the whipped cream.  Use a small container of heavy whipping cream and 1 cup of sugar; beat together well.  On top of the cooled cake, spread the whipped cream.  On top of the whipped cream put crushed Butterfinger candy bars.










                     Of course, no party is complete without Ro-Tel Cheese Dip and chips!

So, now you are set for a GREAT party!  Serve these delicious foods up...I'm SURE they will be a HIT!









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Is It Possible For A Woman (Of 50-ish...) To Spontaneously Combust?!

OK...so, it had been one month since I had been off of all medications, with the exception of my vitamins.  No hormones and no thyroid medication.  Yea...imagine THAT!  Well, Monday I made my trek back to the doctor's office for that one month check-up on my thyroid tsh levels and this is what I discovered.

I had been off of the hormones since April with no problems at all, therefore, I knew that being off of my thyroid medication had been the culprit for all my woes (ugh!).  Since the thyroid not only controls one's metabolism but also the hormones, your body can go really wacky when it is out of sync.  The first thing that I noticed (and the most bothersome...) was having the sensation that I was about to SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST!

OK...so, shortly after I was taken off of my thyroid medication I began to have these BURSTS of HEAT!  I write this with an exclamation mark to emphasize how sudden and overwhelming these were.  Now, I have never had a hot flash that I can recall so I assume that is either what I was experiencing or I was about to BURST INTO FLAMES in the middle of my living room!  I soon realized that the Armour Thyroid medication had gotten out of my system and now my hormones were going MORE wacky (if that is even possible...) than usual (sigh...).  And so, I continued to have these bursts of heat for a couple of weeks.  Robby even informed me that one night I almost broke his nose when I THREW the covers off of me.  Now, this is all coming from him because I don't even remember talking to him in my sleep, although he said when asked what was wrong with me I said, "I'M BURNING UP!!!"

Since I was actually feeling better, I kept to my work-out routine; I was now working out 5 days a week for at least an hour a day.  With cardio, weight training and eating right, one would think that the weight would just fall off of you.  And with a "normal" person that is exactly what happens.  Someone who has hypothyroidism has a much more difficult time with weight loss.  I still had 10 pounds that I wanted to lose and as I would inch toward that goal suddenly I would wake up a couple of pound heavier (ugh!!!).  I appeared to just be hanging out in the same weight zone...FOREVER!  Still, I continued to get up every morning and keep to my routine; it was not only good for my body but my mind as well.

Monday came and it was time for my blood test.  Time to see where those tsh levels were after being off of my medication for a month.  Remember now, when I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism my tsh was about 9.8.  When I began having problems a month ago (while still on Armour Thyroid), it had dropped to .5.  When my doctor came in to give me the results, I was happy to find that he is the kind of guy who sits down and the first thing he asks is, "How are you feeling?"  The reason I really like that is because one can tell a lot about how their thyroid is functioning just by the way they are feeling (that's how I knew that there was something wrong with my medication before...).  And so I told him about the past month and how after being taken off of my medication my heart palpitations gradually began to disappear.  I also told him about those flashes of heat.  And then I told him that I suspected that my numbers had gone back up this final week.  He nodded and told me that indeed my tsh was back up to 8.4.  That was only slightly elevated, but not in the "normal" range.  He decided to place me on a very low dosage (25 mcg) of Synthroid for the next month.  After being on that new medication for a month, I will return for another blood test to see what my numbers show and then he will decide if I should stay on that dosage or if it should be changed.  The pharmacist told me that it will take about 1 week for the medication to adequately get into my system; today is only day 2.

I am very interested to see what the changes in my body will be on Synthroid.  My doctor (and pharmacist)  told me that I should not have any of the side effects that I experienced while taking the Armour Thyroid; I certainly hope not (sigh...).  He also told me that the medication should help with those hot flashes but that I was "at that age..."  OH NO HE DIDN'T!  And I said, "I KNOW THAT and it REALLY PISSES ME OFF!"  Oops!...Sorry, but that was the only word I could think of at the time that truly expressed how I felt about a slowing metabolism due to being 50!!!  Ya know what he said?  He said, "Me too!"  He explained how he felt about being 50-something and not having the same metabolism that he once did.  Hmmm...I was starting to kinda like this doc.  And that's saying a lot for me because I don't like going to the doctor at all!  He told me to just continue eating right and working out and actually gave me some fitness tips.  I also spoke to my sister that day and she gave me another outlook on those flashes too.  She said, "Aren't you supposed to be burning calories when your body heats up like that?"  I had never thought of that!  Maybe it was true...OK, I was gonna choose to BELIEVE it was true.  And so...here I am; starting all over again with hopefully the PERFECT treatment for my crappy thyroid.  BUT...I choose to be proactive and positive and keep on keeping on DAY BY DAY!
1

We Had A Pretty Good Day...We Only Whacked Outselves In The Head Once!

I know that you may not like the term "Terrible Twos", but there is obviously a REASON this period of time in a child's life is coined that.  When a normally calm and pleasant child suddenly falls out in fits for no apparent reason, what else can you call it?!

Parker Ann's (She refers to herself by both names now...)  second birthday is creeping upon her and everybody knows what THAT means...YEP!  The "Terrible Twos" are upon us.  It is very interesting how one day a child can be so laid back and easy going and the next going into fits.  I experienced this with my own children but had not really thought of my grandchild hitting that stage of life.  Well, she HAS hit it in full force and now I am once again trying to figure out how to cajole her out of these bouts of fit throwing (sigh...).

It is my opinion that the "Terrible Twos" are a form of a child becoming more independent in the world.  Their vocabulary has become larger at this point and one can notice the words, "My and Mine"  being interjected into most conversations with them.  Now, I'm truly not sure what causes the "fits", per se; perhaps they are brought on by frustration at not being able to clearly communicate what they want or then again, maybe it's just that they are learning that they can't get their way about everything.  The real challenge is, however, how to deal with one of these outbursts when they occur.

I will admit that Robby and I did believe in spanking our children.  HEY!  Don't judge us...if you lived with our three little boys and saw all of the things they did, you would believe in spanking too!  Anyway, I realize that most young couples today do not spank and that is their prerogative, however, often times a little swat gets the attention like nothing else will.  But, I am the grandmother and I really don't even LIKE  the responsibility of having to discipline my grand daughter ...thus, I have been struggling about how to handle these sudden outbursts( double sigh...).

I went into the week with a couple of goals in mind:  First, I was simply NOT going to let an almost two year old control ME.  Parker Ann is VERY verbal (and strong willed...); she has been making sentences for quite some time now.  She not only makes sentences but understands what you are telling her, answering OK, yes and no when you tell her to do something.  Goal number 1 would be to attempt to discipline my grand daughter by talking to and reasoning with her (a pretty foreign concept to me, I'll admit...) when she began to throw one of her conniption fits.  Goal number 2 would be to wean the child off of watching so much Dora the Explorer!  Seriously, I was going around town singing all of the silly songs associated with that program.  Too much Dora for anybody is not a good thing!  I knew that setting these two goals for the same week was being a little ambitious but I was gonna give it a try!

The first fit came early in the day, was surprisingly easy to resolve (whew!) and only happened once that day.  I was sitting on the floor simultaneously folding clothes and playing with Parker.  She was trying to open the door of a sorting toy with an attached key when suddenly I heard her say, "Hard!"  Before I could say anything, she threw the key down, whacked herself in the head and started to get wound up for a big ole fit!  I simply looked at her very calmly and said, "Now, we don't hit ourselves in the head and pitch fits.  I know it's hard to open and I will help you but you have to quit pitching a fit first."  She looked up at me, began wiping the tears from her little eyes and said, "OK".  WOW!  It worked...well, at least THIS time.  And I suspect that  was because there was no one else to turn to, to plead her case for continuing the fit to.  Whatever the reason, goal number one had been accomplished and I was feeling pretty good about that.  Sadly, however, I did not choose to tackle the Dora thing on the same day.  Moving too quickly surely couldn't be a good thing and I wanted to savor one simple victory for the day.  On her next visit, we would tackle Dora...no need to get too ambitious on Day 1 .  After all...I AM her Ya Ya; I want to have FUN with her!

                                                     Fun things like...Sidewalk chalking!














                                                            And feeding the birds...

                                                                       And the fish...

                                                        And catching fish with Poppi...

                                                            And playing in the sandbox!                                                   ALL of these things are SO much more FUN than the (unfortunately necessary ...) discipline part of being a Ya Ya!




0

Is It OK To Have Chips And A Martini For Dinner?!

OK...So, we've established the fact that I like to wake up slow...have my coffee and THEN tackle whatever it is the world has to throw at me.  Well, today was one of those days that I was just THRUST into before I had time to open my eyes.

Have you even been awakened and not remembered where you are or even what day of the week it is?  Well, today was sorta one of those days for me.  You see, I was awakened by a crying baby...followed by, "Hmmm...what is that noise?"...followed by, "Oh my gosh!  I forgot Parker Ann had spent the night" (sigh...).   I tried to focus my eyes and before my feet could barely hit the floor Robby was standing in the bedroom with a crying baby, handing her off to me as he immediately walked out of the door to head to work (double sigh...).  As I was trying to pull myself together, Caitlin walked into my room.  Yay!  I had forgotten she was here too.  We both tried to convince Parker to just climb up into bed with us and cuddle for a while (so I could grab that cup of much needed coffee...) but she was having none of that.

I walked with a crying Parker to the kitchen where I quickly got a coffee cup out of the cabinet and impatiently waited for my cup of coffee to brew.  As I sat the now filled cup down on the counter, Parker Ann uttered her first words of the day, "Coffee?" and "Dora on".  Well, this was no time to work on our discipline of breaking her from the incessant Dora the Explorer watching and I happily walked over and put a DVD in my computer.  Ahhh...quiet at last; Parker Ann had her Dora, blueberry muffin and apple juice and I had my coffee.

I was only watching Parker for a little while while Sarah went to her physical therapy session; when she returned, I had to head to town to work in Robby's office and run my errands; it was going to be a long, busy day for me.  And as I drove to town later, I was singing that song..."DDDDD Dora, DDDDD Dora...Dora, Dora Dora, the explorer..."  And now, back to my original question:  "Is it OK to have chips and a martini for dinner?!"  I think perhaps so!  And if you are a woman out there reading this, you surely understand this concept of having something...shall we say, "unusual" for dinner.  Come on now...Don't tell me any of you haven't had a bag of popcorn or chocolate bar for dinner occasionally?!  Is that so different from chips and a cotton candy martini? 

            I must say that this was a delicious and satisfying dinner for this particular evening!

     And followed up by an equally delicious dessert!  HEY...If you're gonna do it, go all out!!!

                                 Followed by a relaxing boat ride down the river with Caitlin.

                                                            And, of course, my doxies!





                                                               Ahhh...Life is Good!









1

Christmas In July And MUCH MORE!!!

Saturday Caitlin flew in from Cleveland to spend a week here doing some computer training.  Of course,  I was SUPER EXCITED about this visit!  I hadn't seen her in person since our beach vacation.  Lucky for us, our lazy little town was bustling with things to do on Saturday.

Her plane was supposed to arrive at 10:30.  I say, "supposed to", because it was delayed and she arrived about 30 minutes late.  As I sat in my vehicle, anxiously awaiting her arrival, I checked off all of the things I wanted us to do that day.  A little group of area gift shops had dubbed today, "Christmas in July" and HEY!  I absolutely LOVE Christmas.  That alone got me in the mood for a wonderful Saturday.  It was going to be like Christmas in July for me in more than one way...My daughter was coming home for a week; THAT was a "Christmas in July" gift enough for me!  When her plane finally landed, our first stop was to be the nail shop.  I knew that Caitlin hadn't had the funds to get her nails done up there in Ohio, so we were going to pamper ourselves first...

            I impatiently waited for that plane to land so we could begin our Saturday adventures!

 OK...so we BOTH got these colors!  My idea and Caitlin decided to go along with it.  I'm not sure she's really glad she got that blue now but it sounded like a good idea at the time!


After our manis and pedis, we headed over to Copelands of New Orleans where we enjoyed a nice lunch and then it was off to check out some of those "Christmas in July" sales!  One of the best things about attending this event (other than getting to attend it with my daughter...) was the fact that we know most of the shop owners and LOTS of the shoppers.  Caitlin KNEW she was back in the south when she hit the doors of each shop because almost everyone gasped at seeing her and then with huge smiles on their faces ran around and gave her a HUGE hug.  Now THAT is the south!  Unfortunately, Caitlin has found what we all know to be true:  those people up in the north are just not as friendly as we are down here in the south.  Anyway, we did a fair amount of "window shopping" but did end up purchasing a few items too...

 This fringed scarf is one of the favorite things we BOTH purchased at "Her Closet";  this cream colored one is mine and Caitlin chose a pale turquoise one.


The rain had ceased after a week and it had really heated up so, naturally, we had to stop and grab some frozen yogurt on our way home.  It had been a wonderful day spent shopping with my daughter; I had missed her even more than I thought.  As we retired for the evening, I smiled, knowing that she was sleeping just down the hallway from me once again.

Sunday morning came and Caitlin would be joining Robby and me with our babies in Sunday School.  Before we left, she got her dad to snap a picture of us about to leave...

I bought that cute little maxi dress that Caitlin is wearing at "John Ward Interiors" during the Saturday sales.  Notice I chose to wear a dress with turquoise in it since it would obviously match my newly polished toe nails!


Caitlin was very excited about returning to her home church since, although she had visited three churches in her area, she has not been able to find the one for her yet.  After the service, we grabbed a quick lunch with her Mimi and Papa and then prepared to head out to my mother's house to visit for a couple of hours.  Mam-Maw and Caitlin usually talk about once a week and she was so happy that Caitlin would be coming out to see her.  While there, my sister walked up from her house.  She had just made a trip to her garden and came in with a big ole basket of fresh butter beans that needed to be shelled.  When I saw those butter beans, it immediately took me back to my childhood when we would visit my grandmother's house in the country.  We didn't watch television in the evenings or play video games; we sat on her front porch with a big bowl of either purple hull peas or butter beans and a brown paper bag to throw the empty shells in.  And with this nostalgic thought running around in my head, Caitlin and I joined my sister in the middle of the floor to begin the task of shelling those beans, while catching up...

When we returned home, Justin took Caitlin back to Natchitoches with him so she could begin her computer training bright and early on Monday morning.  Robby and I would be heading that way later in the day and planning to stay until the end of the week with her there. 

This week will fly by, I know that to be true.  However, I intend to cherish each and every moment I have with Caitlin this week.  I already have plans to visit her at least once a month throughout the fall but realize that there may be months that we don't get to see each other  in person.  Those months will be difficult.  But I choose to make the MOST of every moment I DO have to spend with her!  SO...Let's make some more wonderful family memories this week!


2

FREE And DISCOUNTED Books For Kindle Users!!!

My sister sent me an e-mail the other day with a link where one can get FREE and DISCOUNTED Kindle downloads!  Some of you may have already heard about it, but for those of you who haven't, I wanted to share it with you.

The link I am referring to is:  www.bookbub.com.  Just go to this site, where you will put in your e-mail address and then check off the reading genre you prefer.  After that, it is quite simple...each day, you will receive an e-mail from Book Bub where they will offer you the Deal of the Day.  They only send you a couple of selections and they are usually either FREE or tremendously discounted (.99-$2.99 usually...).  Needless to say, this little book worm has gone absolutely CRAZY over this new site.  If you are a Kindle reader, you should definitely check it out too!  I promise you, you won't be disappointed; after all, who doesn't like FREEBIES?!  Thanks, Sis!

                                                             HAPPY READING!!!
0

My Thyroid Journey...

About nine months ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  It was quite by accident that my thyroid problem was even found.  I had gone to a doctor for a wellness check-up.  Part of that check-up included doing extensive blood work which indicated that I had an elevated tsh level.  Now up until this point I didn't even know what the thyroid's role was in the body (it controls the hormones and metabolism...).  However, over the past nine months I have researched that little butterfly shaped thing extensively.

Like I said, I never even realized that I had a thyroid problem until I had those blood tests performed and had no idea what some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism were.  Sure, I felt cold a good bit and was often tired but those things never really bothered me per se.  A "normal" tsh level is still being debated by many physicians.  The old standards say that anything under 5 is OK; the new standards like for your tsh to be around 2.  My first blood test showed that my tsh was 9.8.  A second test, a month later, showed 9.1.  Although these numbers were not terribly high, they were not considered "normal", thus I was put on a medication to get that number into a normal range.  Little did I know how difficult that would be.

The doctor I was using then (I have since changed doctors...) prescribed a drug called Armour Thyroid.  From what I understand, this is an older drug, made from dessicated pig thyroid.  He started me on a dose of 45 mg. which brought my numbers down.  Now, remember that I said there is some controversy about how low some doctors would like that tsh number to be.  Well, my doctor wanted it lower and tried to up my dosage to 65 mg.  OK...so, let me interject here that I have often times had trouble taking medications, so I read all the material about the medications that are prescribed for me.  And not only that...I also research them online.  I KNOW...the Internet is good and bad in that way but I feel like I need to be well informed about my health.  And that is exactly how I knew when I began having problems with that larger dosage that was prescribed for me.  I began feeling shaky, my heart was sort of skipping around; I felt like someone who had been drinking coffee all day long.  I told the doctor that I just could not stay on that dosage and he did another blood test that showed my numbers had dropped down to 1.  I told him that I just didn't feel well taking that large dosage so he reduced me back to the 45 mg.   I now knew how I felt when my tsh was too high AND too low.  But still this daily battle to conquer my thyroid continued.

I was having blood tests  done every month to keep up with those numbers and somewhere around April my blood work showed that my tsh was around 4.  That was sort of when I decided to change doctors.  He decided to put me back on the 60 mg. dosage, which immediately caused me to have all of the same side effects that I was having before, including mild chest pains now.  I knew that there was NO WAY I could get up and feel like that every day.  I called the doctor back and told him that he had to either reduce my dosage again or change me to another medication.  He agreed to lower the dosage again but told me that he wasn't going to do anything with my medication yet.  It seemed to me like I was just spinning my wheels.  I had talked to my sister who told me it had taken her doctor 2 years to get her thyroid medication adjusted just right...WOW!  That sounded terrible.  I needed to make some changes and quick.  The first thing I decided to do was to consult another doctor.

May was a very busy month for me.  I had three graduations to attend out of state, Caitlin's wedding and two surgeries.  I did not get my blood test done again in May but planned to have it done around the first part of June.  As things turned out we got to go on that beach trip and that's when things got worse for me.  I was still taking that lower dosage of my medication but I began to feel shaky and have heart palpitation and was feeling sort of weak.  I didn't want to complain too much but one morning I asked Robby if he would call this new doctor I was planning to see (he is a partner of his...) and make me an appointment for the Monday I got back in town.  I also told him that I noticed that I felt OK when I woke up in the morning but after I took my medication I began to feel worse.  I said, just ask him if I can quit taking this stuff.  He did ask and I was told not to quit taking my medication but that he would see me when I got back in town and he felt certain he could straighten things out with my thyroid.  Do you see now why I say I HATE my thyroid so much?!

The day we were packing up to leave the beach I woke up feeling pretty bad.  I not only felt shaky and weak but now I felt sick to my stomach.  We spent the night in New Orleans where I went to bed early and awoke the next morning feeling a little better.  I couldn't pin point exactly what was wrong,  I knew it had something to do with my medication.  Maybe the dosage needed to be increased.  I also felt like perhaps the Armour Thyroid wasn't the best medicine choice for me.  All I was really certain of was that SOMETHING had to be done!

That Monday morning Robby took me for my doctor's appointment.  I had a fasting blood test done again and then waited to see this new doctor of mine.  When he came into the room, he asked me how I had been feeling.  He also asked how I had felt when I had taken a higher dose of medication.  I answered all of these questions and then he told me what my tsh numbers were that morning (without taking my medication...)...My tsh was .5!  Now .3-.5 is still considered the very lowest end of a "normal" reading but that was crazy low for me.  If my tsh was that low and then I was taking my medication, it was dropping it even lower.  The doctor explained to me that it could definitely make me feel sick.  He decided to remove me from my medication for one month.  At that time he will be able to determine what the situation with my thyroid is; whether I need a small dosage or none at all.

And so I went home, happy that someone at least was listening to me about how I felt and going to try to do something to help me feel better.  It took about four days before my heart settled back down to normal.  I actually began to feel better than I had felt in a long time.  So while things were looking up for me, I decided to get back out in the gym and begin working out.  That first day was hard but I stayed with it, doing only cardio.  I did cardio two more days that week and considered myself a success.  Week two, I added some weights to the cardio three days; once again, I survived.  This week is week three.  I worked out five days this week and although I have been a bit sore, it is not unbearable;  I actually have enough energy and strength to get out there and work out and feel pretty good.  I still have a couple of weeks to go before I have to go back for my blood test.  I am looking forward to seeing what it shows.  Trying to get a thyroid "normalized" is more difficult that I could ever imagine.  It has been a daily battle for me but I think things are looking up and I am beginning to feel positive about it.  I have found that the worst thing one can do when feeling down is to just sit around and do nothing and get consumed with the problem at hand.  My advice?  Listen to your body.  It speaks to you and tells you when you need to get help.  Be proactive...Get that help (even if it means changing doctors...)...Get up and get out of the house and get a positive attitude!  All of those things will go a long way on your road to recovery.  My thyroid is still a work in progress but I am NOT going to let it beat me down!


2

I Would Rather Be In My Closet During A Thunderstorm!

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate "thunderstorms"?  Those of you who know me,  know this without the reminder.  It's not the rain that I mind but everything that can (and usually...) does come with the rain; wind, thunder and lightening...oh, and let's not forget the often times loss of electricity.

I'm a southern girl so I'm used to uncertain weather conditions; have grown up with them.  I have made it through our hot summer temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, flash flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes, but this does not mean that I LIKE any of it.  When the skies begin to turn dark and the wind begins to blow, one can find me quickly clicking on the Weather Channel to see what is headed my way.  I know people (including my very own sister...) who absolutely love storms and could most likely be a "storm chaser"; this is something that I will never understand.  A storm generally finds my doxies chasing me to my closet, where I tend to hide until it blows over.

Friday, I had decided to make a day trip into town from the lake house to run a few errands when I suddenly noticed that the sky was beginning to turn a shade of gray that I knew meant a possible rainstorm.  As I quickly finished everything I had to do, I continued to watch those clouds and the few large drops of rain that had begun to fall.  I didn't want it to not rain; we desperately needed it.  What I didn't want, however, was for it to start thundering and lightening while I was out on the road...I needed to get back to the lake FAST!

With merely a few miles left to my exit, the skies opened up and it began to flood; I could barely see the road before my eyes.  This still didn't bother me UNTIL...I could see "vertical lightening" (YES!  I classify lightening...with "vertical" being the worst kind) in the distance.  With each loud boom of thunder and flash of lightening, I began to get more and more anxious, but as I hit my exit and headed home, the rain had already begun to subside.  WHEW!  I had made it.  Getting caught in a thunderstorm while driving was pretty nerve wracking.  Little did I know that the next day would be a WHOLE LOT WORSE!





Saturday afternoon, Robby decided he wanted to try out the weight board.  That thing had not been used in years and I really wasn't sure why he wanted to do such a thing.  Not only did I think he could possibly hurt himself, attempting to do this, I had also just seen an alligator floating around out there a few days prior.  YEA...me plus lake water...NOT HAPPENING!  However, I agreed to put my swimsuit on to get a little Vitamin D,  and along with Ryan and Allison, we jumped in the boat for an "adventure"...


Ryan tried to explain to Robby that getting up on the weight board behind a bass boat would be no easy task.  Nothing doing, though, he was going to give it a try.  And after a few unsuccessful attempts, we all decided to just go for a boat ride to the very end of the river, where the dam was.  We were quite enjoying the ride and also the fact that there were not many boaters on that end of the river, when the sun suddenly disappeared behind the clouds...dark clouds, I noticed.  Oh well, now it would be a nice, much cooler boat ride, I thought.  Little did I know what was soon to be in store for us.

After making it to the dam, we turned the boat around to head home.  As we were doing so, Ryan said that he had seen lightening  out in the distance.  Now THAT got my attention quickly.  I'm pretty sure that I got a panicked look on my face as I urged him to "drive as fast as he could" to get us back before we got in the middle of a big thunderstorm on the river.  As we began to attempt just that, I felt the first drops of rain begin to fall.  Robby (knowing my extreme fear of thunderstorms...) said, "Oh...a little rain won't hurt you.  You're in your bathing suit, after all."  I thought about that for a minute and he was right; the rain wouldn't hurt me...it was that potential for "vertical lightening" while being out on the water that had me beside myself.  As Ryan continued to speed down the river, the rain came down harder and harder.  Allison and I were both sitting on the floor now trying to keep from getting pelted by the now "heavy" rainstorm we were caught in.  Robby and Ryan were both getting hit pretty hard and Robby kept asking Ryan if we were getting close to the next bridge, where we could take shelter...



It took us a little while, but we made it to the bridge...









There was another boat under there too and we sat and watched as the sky literally opened up and POURED rain.  And like I said, it isn't the rain that bothers me...it was the thunder and lightening that joined in shortly that had me curled up into a ball underneath the steering wheel!  I cannot begin to tell you how frightening it is to be out on the water with lightening flashing all around you.  At one point, we saw it skitter across the water and hit the gate at the landing.  I recovered enough to grab my phone and call Justin.  We were still about 6 miles from home and there was NO WAY I was getting back out in that storm.  I told Justin to go get the boat trailer and come pick us up at the landing.  By the time he got there, the lightening and thunder had subsided and it was only sprinkling.  We were soaked to the bone and quite chilly, but thankfully we had not been hurt out there.

Nothing has changed.  I still do not like thunderstorms.  Probably never will.  It has decided to rain again here in the south today, but so far that rain has not been accompanied by any strong winds, thunder or lightening.  However, if it does, you can find me in my closet...That is where I would MUCH rather be during a storm.








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Celebrating The 4th With My Family...

Our huge 4th of July celebration would be scaled down this year.  Caitlin was off in Cleveland and David was working in New Orleans.  I have resigned myself that getting all of us together for most events any more is quite unlikely and I consider it a gift when it does happen.  So, although, everyone would not be in attendance this year, we decided to go ahead with a 4th of July celebration, albeit a smaller one.

Robby's sister, Cindy, and her husband decided to come in for a few days this summer; they decided it would be the week of the 4th.  And so, my in-laws loaded up too and we all headed to our lake house.  Cindy and Clint's children are around the same ages as our children.  They have two daughters (one married with a little boy...) and a son who is also married.  Their son, Josh, and his wife Lana joined us for the holiday too.

As I said, it was a much quieter 4th than we usually have, but I found quiet to be nice.  It was SUPER HOT here so, needless to say, we didn't stay outdoors for very long periods of time.  The house was filled with the wonderful smells of bar-be-que, potato salad and baked beans and our appetites were one thing that the heat sure didn't deter...

                            Aren't these cool paper plates and napkins I purchased for the 4th?

                We started the day with a BIG, OLE SOUTHERN BREAKFAST ( notice the grits!)

Parker Ann showed up sporting her red, white and blue AND carrying her Bitty Baby in a carrier!



After lunch, people could be found keeping cool by napping, visiting or watching the Olympic Trials...

























After a relaxing afternoon, two things were decided:  First, someone needed to make a dessert and Second, we would be taking the pontoon boat down the river, into town for the annual 4th of July fireworks show!  Now, I'm good at making suggestions (better at that than cooking...), so since Cindy and Clint had stopped off and bought a huge box of fresh peaches, I decided that we needed to make some sort of dessert out of them.  Robby and Cindy set to work to make a delicious fresh peach and blueberry cobbler...













By the time we headed to town on the boat to watch the firework show, it had cooled down enough to be enjoyable outside.  Well, at least while the boat was traveling down the river.  Once we stopped again, the humidity was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  Parker announced that she wanted us to turn the "air on"! 


































The 4th of July this year may have been a quieter one with fewer people in attendance but it was a good one.  One filled with wonderful new memories made with friends and family.  I am so thankful that we, as Americans, have this holiday to celebrate the freedom that so many have fought to defend.  GOD BLESS AMERICA!










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