Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This was a weird Halloween for us.  It was the first Halloween that Torrey wasn't going door to door asking strangers for candy.  And, then coming home and hearing the lecture of never taking candy from strangers.  I guess it really is a weird tradition.  And, don't even get me started on the tooth fairy!

It was a quiet night for us.  We don't usually get trick or treaters ... living on a street with 5 houses will do that.  So will keeping your lights off.  Honesty is a good thing.

Dean was watching the football game.  I was in the kitchen messing around getting ready for school and Dalila (who keeps the house clean for us ... she is a necessity ...  trust me!) when there was a commotion going on behind the sofa.  I thought it was the dogs messing around.

Um, it was one dog messing around.

Sure ... he looks innocent enough.  But, if you have ever met Zack, you know that he is a dog who is full of himself.  It is a good thing he is cute ... because if he wasn't he would be back where he came from by now!  (It is also good for him that Dean looooves him ... he knows he can do whatever shananigan and he will be safe!)

Well, this is what he was really after ...

That's right.  Crazy dog loves him some candy corn.  And, that pumpkin has been moved all over the house and he still spots it.  And scratches and waits patiently for a candy corn ... or two ... or three.

And, just so you know ... if you ever give him a candy corn, throw it.  He about ate my finger tonight!

So, from our house to yours ... Happy Halloween!  Hope it is full of candy corns ... and dogs that make you smile!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I know God has a plan for everything He does.  I know.

I know that God's ways are best.  I know.

I know that God so desires to be glorified in every part of our lives.  I know.

I know that when we can't see His way we just have to trust.  I know.

But, then there are days like today.  I have a sweet friend in my class whose even sweeter mama is going through chemotherapy for breast cancer.  And, that alone I struggle with.  But, today he came to school wearing a heart monitor because there is possibly something going on with his heart.

And, even though "I know" ... I don't get it.  I absolutely don't get it.  Because this family doesn't need this right now.  They have enough.  Enough.

I don't get it.  But, I am going to watch.  And pray.  And pray.  And pray.  And I know that I am going to see God glorified.  In a big way.

Please pray for my little friend and his family.  Pray that the heart thing would be nothing.  Pray for complete healing for his mom.  Pray for my little friend as he watches him mom walk this journey ... it is not easy to be 5 and suddenly realize that this could not be good.  At all.  And, pray for his dad ... who is holding it all together.  And pray for me ... that I would be who my little friend and his family need me to be this year.

Monday, October 25, 2010

L.A. Baby

So, I have said it before, but I'll say it again, Torrey likes one Justin Bieber.  And, that one Justin Bieber is going to be in concert at Staples Center ... TONIGHT!  Well, Dean is an amazing Dad ... and just to prove it he wrangled himself some (free) tickets to the concert tonight.  (Working at Staples has MANY perks!)

Which is why our girl skipped school today and spent her day here ...

L.A baby!  (Insert theme music from "The Beverly Hillbillies" here.)  I was proud of them for stopping for a picture ... I'm sure they were sick of me texting "ARE YOU TAKING PICTURES?!"  But, just so you know ... Dean took the good camera with the telephoto lens to appease me.  More tomorrow ...

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Been a Monday ... All Day!

Well, Hello.  We are still alive.  That is for my mom.  Because she has been worried.  Things have been a bit hectic in the Townsend household.  But, then, when have they not?  Here is some of what is going on ...

*Parent/Teacher conference week is officially this week.  I'm not one to wait for the last minute for these things, so I am happy to announce I have completed ten ... which means I have seven to go.  Thursday afternoon will be VERY exciting ... because I have my last one at 1:50 CST.  And, just so you know ... they have all been very sweet.  I have great kids and great parents.  Thank you, Lord!

*We ordered new furniture on our anniversary.  That was June 27th.  It arrives (finally) on Thursday.  Our family room will have a whole new look and I can't wait.  I will share as quick as I can.  Hopefully we will be able to keep the dogs off the furniture.  That is probably wishful thinking.

*Speaking of the dogs ... little Zoey is going to have double knee surgery in a few weeks.  DOUBLE.  The doctor decided to do both together because it would be cheaper for us (thank you thank you thank you) and because it will force her to walk on her legs.  Clearly he is forgetting she is a princess.  Dean said she will come home on anti-biotics and pain medication.  Hopefully there will also be prescriptions for us ... because she is going to make our lives miserable.

*Torrey got straight A's.  At a college-prep school.  Let me just say ... not easy.  She is a rock star.  And, determined to keep her "A" average.  Thank you, Lord.  We could use a college scholarship or two (or twenty-five!)

*Torrey ended her volleyball season.  Their last game was a nail biter.  They lost their first game.  Won their second.  You would have thought they won the Olympics.  And, not from the girl's reaction, but the parents!  We were out of control!  We ate some humble pie in the last game when they lost ... but, that one win was sweet.  Mostly because our wins were few.

*Shout out to Roy and Mavis and 49 years of marriage.  We met Roy and Mavis (or Mr. Roy and Miss Mavis as Torrey calls them ... we are so Southern!) when we went to Israel in March ... they work in the garden with my parents.  Fell in love with them.  So, Happy Anniversary, Roy and Mavis!  Crossing our fingers we'll see you again in 2012!

*Mikie and Jess shared their 3 littles with us on Sunday while they went to the Texan game.  Austin thought he saw them in the stands about 3,400 times ... he was convinced you were one of the cheerleaders Jess!  I tried to get him to say touchdown and not cuchdown ... sadly, tonight we saw a "cuchdown" and both Dean and I called it just that.  Sadly, I had to take a nap when they left.  And, they were really, really good.  I am obviously getting old.

*Christmas is right around the corner.  And, we are Florida bound.  Perhaps with the dogs.  My mom agreed that we could bring them ... I may have tricked her.  Depending on Zoey's recovery ... we may need a break from her.

And, that would be all I've got tonight.  Our week is full.  And, I dare say I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

They've Got the Fever!

Beiber Fever that is.

Torrey is a Justin Beiber fan.  I can't judge ... in my day I had Donny Osmond.  But, that is another post.  Or, another therapy session.

All that to say that yesterday Dean let the cat out of the bag.  He had scored Justin Beiber tickets at the Staples Center for October 25th.  That's right ... they will be flying to California for a concert.  I bowed out.  I'm sure it will be fun, however, I did the Jonas Brothers in March and I already know what a lot of screaming girls sounds like.  It is Dean's turn.

And, don't tell him I told you, but I suspect he is looking forward to the fun just a bit.  He just told me he rented a convertible for the trip.  And, he has already packed his ear plugs.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What's For Dinner?

There are some nights I hate that question.  Tonight was not that night.  I am attempting to link up with Lyndsie over at A Love Worth Waiting For ... she is hosting Monday's Meals.  If my pasta bake doesn't make your mouth water, go over there and find something that will.  And, if you haven't checked out her blog yet, go.  Go now.  You won't be sorry.

In the Spring I discovered this little gem.  Revolutionary.  My family actually got dinner again.  Don't judge.  I teach Kindergarten people!  (I am so making that into a shirt.)  Then I discovered that there was a sequel.  *Hallelujah!*  This recipe comes from the sequel.  Dean and Torrey love it ... and, trust me they are a tough crowd.

So, shall we cook?  And, to delight you, there are pictures.  Please don't get too excited ... I'm no Pioneer Woman.

Start with some bowtie pasta ... if you want to be fancy you can call it farfalle.  Cook to package directions.

Brown some meat ... and ignore the dog biscuits on the counter.

Add some spaghetti sauce.  I do not make my own sauce ... because Ragu can make it so much better.  My go to sauce is the Chunky Ragu with tomato, garlic and onion.

Melt some cream cheese and milk in the microwave.  Whisk it smooth when it is soft.

Add some parmesan cheese and sour cream.  The recipe also calls for bell pepper ... add if you want.  I do not add it because my family liking what I cook is my goal.

Pour the cream cheese, milk, parmesan cheese and sour cream mixture in the bottom of an 9x9 greased casserole dish.

Then pour the cooked bowtie pasta over the top.  Do not mix.

Then top with the spaghetti sauce and meat mixture.  I put mozzarella cheese on the top tonight.  You could also put just parmesan cheese.  You pick.

Bake it.  I throw some frozen garlic bread in near the end.  Our favorite these days is ciabatta garlic cheese bread.  

And there you have it ... somewhere in that terrible lighting is a delicious dinner.  Add a salad and it is as easy as pie ... that is if you buy your pie from the farm stand like I do!  Enjoy!

Beef Pasta Bake
(Don't Panic More Dinner's in the Freezer)

2 C. bowtie pasta, uncooked
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 t. garlic salt
3 C. spaghetti sauce
6 oz. cream cheese, cubed
2/3 C. milk
1/2 C. sour cream
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 C. grated parmesan cheese, divided

*I crossed through all the things I omit.  I am all for easy. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook bowtie pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.  Brown beef, onion, and garlic until beef is no longer pink; drain.  Add spaghetti sauce and garlic salt; simmer for 10 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and milk.  Microwave 1-2 minutes stirring once.  Stir with whisk until blended.  Stir in sour cream, green pepper, and 1/2 C. parmesan cheese.  Place cream cheese mixture in lined 9x9 casserole dish.  Spread cooked pasta on top of cream cheese mixture.  Top with beef mixture and remaining 1/4 C. parmesan cheese.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, covered.  Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes more, until bubbly.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Let me start by saying that Torrey has been working extremely hard in school this year.  She always does her best, but, this year she has especially shown us what she is made of.  Little girl has volleyball until 5:30 (or later on game days) every day and then comes home to a mountain of homework.  Church, school, volleyball, homework.  There hasn't been time for anything else.

And, she doesn't complain.  Which, along with the fact that she wouldn't touch chocolate until she was about 10, really makes me question if she was switched at birth.  Because, trust me, I would be complaining.  But, that is another post.

Remember when we talked about her going to Rush Week in July?  (Rush Week for a refresher is our church's mission trip/camp for teens.)  Remember how they drove home with more than 30% of the kids sick?  Remember how Torrey was one of those sick kids?  Remember how the sickness would. not. go. away?

Well, the day after they got home was Sunday.  And, on that Sunday you could pre-register for the next year.  Torrey reminded us several times to sign her up for the next year.  From her death sick bed.  She was. not. going. to. miss. it.  Even if it meant a repeat of the Rush Week sickness.

They took all the kids who pre-registered before September 1st and put them in a drawing for a really cool prize.  Guess who won?  Guess what she won?

Our tech-loving girl won herself an iPad.  She was beaming when she came to see us in church ... which caused us to beam for her, too!  

We were excited for her.  OK ... and, a little excited for ourselves because we have been wondering what the hype is all about.  But, mostly for her.  She has been working so hard, striving to please Christ, wanting so much to please us and we love this sweet little blessing for her.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We Have a Bit of a Frog Problem

Or, perhaps I should say a dog problem.  Or, better yet a dog AND frog problem.  The dogs love, love, love it when they discover a frog in the yard.  Zackie is notorious for swiping his paw across the poor critter's head to make it jump.  And, when it jumps?  Zoey pounces.  Which causes the frog to stop.  And Zackie to swipe.  See the pattern?

I think they are disgusting.  I about had a nervous breakdown the other night when I opened the door to let the dogs out and a frog hopped in.  In the house.  Shudder.  

But, fortunately, Dean comes to my rescue.  Every time.  Except for the time he was in Baton Rouge and I had to catch a frog and carry it through the house to throw it in the front yard.  Yes, through the house.  Again, shudder.  And, sadly, I will admit I begged that frog not to jump out his entire journey through the house.  Our story has a happy ending because he listened.

Anywhooo, I tell you all that to tell you this.  Or rather, show you this.  The other night I let Zoey out and she made a bee-line for a known frog hangout in the back yard.  (If you must know ... the french drains are great for not only keeping our back yard non-soggy, but also for breeding frogs.  Who knew?)  She was messing around and I knew there was something so I went to see.  Then went inside for a flashlight.  And, this is what I saw ...

... go ahead and click on it to enlarge it.  I'll wait.  You really don't have to imagine my panicked screams to Dean.  And, then I made him wait to rescue the little bugger while I got my camera.  You are welcome.

Poor little guy was quite wedged.  Hopefully his frog friends all learned a lesson and began their move to our neighbor's back yards.