Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nicki Minaj Concert

My niece lives in Kentucky and I just love that girl!  She is 18 years old now...how can she be 18 already?!?!  Anyways, her and her friend wanted to go to the Nicki Minaj concert here in STL. Her Mom was awesome enough to buy tickets and drive them all the way here!  They asked Diana and I to take them.  Whether it be for protection, guidance, or just cuz we are sooo flippin' cool, we were excited!  I will admit, I was a bit worried about going downtown to see Nicki...she is very explicit and while, in my past,  she would have been my absolute HERO...I am a bit older now...enough said! lol! 
Isn't she the best?!?!?
The girls got to the house just a couple hours before the show...we headed for downtown and then hopped on the metro.  (which, b/c I am a total dork...we could've been beat up or at least, robbed a few times) Safely, we arrived at Union Station, ate at Hard Rock Cafe, and then walked to the Peabody for the concert....the entire time, we were cracking up laughing and having a blast...I love times like that!!  We got to the opera house, found our seats, let the girls go get t-shirts, and then witnessed "exactly what a concert should be like"...

First act was 2Chainz... hard core gangster-style rap is the only explanation I can come up with.  It was awesome and they put on a great show...honestly just watching everything going on around us was pure entertainment...totally took me back.

When Nicki finally made her grand appearance, it was a show just in itself!!!  She was an awesome rapper and performer too!  We all danced and jammed right along with them...this was the loudest most energy-filled concert I have ever been to!  I absolutely loved being there with those girls, it's a bit scary that we are so much alike, especially for her parents, the main difference b/t us is that she is a great girl, she just likes this rap music...I think she inherited it from me! lol!

Nicki reminded me of Little Kim, back in my day...naughty girl style rap, but I have to say....at the end of the concert, she made a huge point to tell all those young girls to "STAY IN SCHOOL...because knowledge is something that NOBODY can ever take from you".  She also told them to "NOT give up your bodies to every Tom, Dick, and Harry"  just those few words of wisdom, spoken to her crowd of admiring young girls that are absolutely obsessed with her, gained me tons of respect for her!  Somebody needs to tell them this stuff!

After the concert, walking back to the metro, we were talking...This night just really "took me back"...I have always loved rap and hip hop music...I love the city, the love the energy, I love the whole scene, however...I love the place in my life that I am at...Billy leads worship with the band at our church, and the most hard-core rap I've heard lately is from our youth at church...which is awesome...by the way! This night reminded me of "the me I used to be"...I loved getting to hang out with my sis and the girls.  This was an awesome night (even getting lost on the metro) that I will never forget...thank you Regina, Amanda, and Jesssica for letting us be part of it!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Camping at the Huzzah

It's Billy's Vacation week at home and the record-breaking heat has stopped us from doing several things that we had planned....but it WILL NOT keep us from camping!!!  We decided to brave the heat and disregard the storm chances to head for the Huzzah.  We have a favorite spot at Huzzah Valley that we love to go to, but since we were making this trip "on the fly", we were willing to settle for any site near the river with some privacy...but WE GOT OUR SPOT!  (At least for the first night)
all this riverfront was OURS and private...not another human in sight!!

We were especially brave this year, because we brought Sophie along.  This dog loves to be anywhere near us, on us, with us, so we knew she would be happy to just go along.  We arrived and immediately took her out into the river.  We found out that she "can" swim, if she has to!!  She tried to climb a bolder that was partially out of the water, rather than swim back to the shallow part.  She probably thought we were trying to drown her as we pulled on her leash to get her back to the side of the river...she made it and at least got nice and cooled off!  All I can say about bringing Sophie along is that she is a CITY DOG, not a country dog, like we are used to!! 
This is her, devastated that an ant was near her...her paws got sore from the
rock on the creek bank, and bugs buzzed around her occasionally just
to mess with her!
The kids spent the entire time in the river!  They were geared with goggles, nets and a creature keeper cage.  They captured tadpoles, little fish, crawdads, and snails.  Taylor was thrilled to watch them in her little tank, and a bit less thrilled to return them to the river. Both kids spent most of their time, face down, snorkeling up and down the river.  We love this particular spot because the river is super clear, cool and refreshing, and most importantly...starts out really shallow and goes down to about 5' deep...perfect for all of us to enjoy! 

Billy was in the river the whole time too...he brought along his fishing gear and actually caught fish the whole time!  He fished til almost dark and then was out fishing first thing the next morning...it is his favorite thing to do.

We set up camp, we are professionals now!  Billy and I have always loved to camp and float on the rivers, we are so happy that the kids love it as much as we do!

I spent much of my time, walking the river, hanging out at the site with this city dog, and organizing and preparing meals....I do alot of that, I guess because I am not used to having "nothing" to do...kinda creepy to just sit there...

Blake tried to comfort Sophie too
Taylor was so excited to get to sleep in the tent.  When it came time to actually go to sleep, she changed her mind and decided that maybe she couldn't sleep in a tent and that we should "just go home".  By the time we all crawled in (including Sophie) she was passed out snoring!  Me, on the other hand...didn't sleep at all.  I was up when the screech owls started sounding like young girls, screaming for their lives in the far away distance, I was awake when the coons came and raided our site.  They scraped and cried as they dug around in our, still hot, campfire.  Raccoons will burn their paws for a leftover crumb from a hot dog bun or marshmallow!  Poor things, anyways, this is normal for me, the only difference this time, was that as I jumped at the sounds in the night, Sophie was on the other side of the tent, with worry in her eye, jumping with me.  This poor dog was up all night too.  By morning, she had had enough....we opening our eyes and the first thing we saw was her looking at us with a look of disgust and anxiety...staring at us and although they say dogs can't talk human talk...she was asking if WE WERE CRAZY for camping!!  She was asking if WE WERE SERIOUSLY OKAY WITH ALL THESE BUGS!  She was whipping her head around to chase bugs that we didn't even see where there, the whipping was so fast and neurotic that her lips were making this slapping sounds with each swing!  She noticed the bugs that had clung to the top outer part of the tent and flipped her top!!  She was DONE and pretty much just waited by the truck to go HOME!  So...we won't be torturing her by bringing her along, ever again!

Before heading home, we checked out tons of other parks along the Huzzah and the Meremec Rivers and we still loved our site the best!  We will probably go back again after Labor Day and for sure, next summer!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Fun!

Taylor jumped in the pool for the 1st time, this summer! She is a true fishy now! We got to go to the movies, have playdates and a great summer!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fresh Pico De Gallo

One of my very favorite things to make is fresh pico de gallo! 

6 tomatoes
1-2 green bell peppers
1/2 large red onion (or more)
1-2 jalepeno peppers (leave the seeds/ribs if you like it hot)
juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic
cilantro to taste
optional: 1 Tbs Accent, fresh ground pepper, pinch sea salt, 1 Tbs olive oil, 2 Tbs. white vinegar - I add all of these to mine!

Sometimes I just dice everything up by hand to go for a thicker, more rustic salsa, and sometimes I put it all in my mini chopper and pulse to a finer salsa...either way...YUM !! Taylor literally eats it with a spoon!!! OR you can serve with baked whole grain tortilla chips OR I make my own chips by using whole wheat tortillas, lightly rub with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and broil in oven until blistered and crispy, break into pieces and dip !!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

VBS and the desert journey

Our friend, April, invited Blake and Taylor to go to Vacation Bible School with her two little ones.  It was so nice of her and the kids really loved it!  It was based around an Amazing Desert Journey.  Each morning everyone gathered to sing songs for opening and did the same at closing. They even gave us a CD to keep and play with the kids.  The songs were adorable and the sign language movements they incorporated, really brought the songs to life! 

I am STILL singing the songs in my head...so cute!

Taylor has been learning sooo much this week!  I mean, every other thought is something about vbs...Blake did something he wasn't supposed to and I hear Tay say, "oh, it's okay Bubby, God forgives us, so Mommy will too"...lol!  We will just be sitting there, having dinner or watching a show and Taylor belts out, "God loves us even when we are bad...and so does Jesus"...we look at eachother and smile!  She hasn't stopped talking about all that she learned...and we are still listening to all the cute songs in the truck! 

Gracie, Kanin, Blake, and Taylor

Tay and Gracie holding the group sign to welcome
their friends :)

This VBS was so detailed and had the kids do so many cool crafts.  Each one was themed for the day, and included a lesson from the bible!  The projects they brought home were adorable!

This was a fave...i wish i had a picture of ALL the
wonderful little masterpieces they made...they
are displayed all around our house!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The 4th of July

This was an awesome 4th of July!  We just hung out at the house with Aunt Sissy & Uncle Danny to swim, shoot off some fireworks and enjoy some family time!  My favorite kind of day!
we set up the sprinkler and spent most of the day hanging in the pool!!

I tried to NOT center the holiday around food, so I kept that simple as well.  We had "healthier" buffalo chicken dip with veggies for dipping but added on some extra calories with the banana pudding and bacon wrapped jalepenos! Yummy!
Sofa was in American Spirit too!
There was a drought and fire warning this year, so we couldn't shoot off our normal fireworks, but that didn't stop Aunt Sissy from taking the kiddos up to their favorite tent to buy a TON of cool ones!! 

We sprinkled the back yard and let them do smokebombs

and blackcat snakes

Some wii....vintage Super Mario Bros competition!

finished the day with a nap

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dad, Lad, and some Storms

Billy and Blake took off for the annual Dad & Lad cub scout camp the Saturday right after the week long day camp.  Blake was exhausted, but was no less excited! It was the perfect thing to do on Father's Day weekend. I helped them pack up and off they went.  They just pulled into Beaumont, when I discovered the most important backpack in the bedroom...it was the one with all their clothes and essentials...needless to say, I picked up Aunt Susie to go for a ride and delivered it to them.  There were storms in the forecast, but that wouldn't stop them, storms seem to follow us when we camp...we should be used to it. 

They set up their own tent and did some of the camp activities like archery and swimming.  We stayed in touch the best we could...it seemed like they were having fun, but the thunderstorm warnings that were being broadcasted kept making me nervous.  Right about dark, I started texting the weather warnings to Billy...what did he do...decide to stay and make it through their camping trip.  They had a great time together and both, Billy and Blake learned alot. I was going to put the happenings of the night in my own words, but decided to steal them straight from Billy's blog...

"The two other dads decided to leave before the storm hit, and that left Blake and I as the lone campers in our camp. We decided to get our stuff picked up and get in our tent and wait for the storm to hit, the latest update from our weather center, Mom, still had us in the sight of the storm with 2 inches of rain and 50 mile per hour winds. We got in our tent, checked all the windows, and situated our tent. The winds hit about ten minutes after we got settled in to bed. Blake said his night time prayers which are the traditional " Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, while angels watch me through the night, and keep me in their blessed sight". He usually lets me add things that we are thankful for and any additional prayers, but tonight he added "God I know it is going to storm please don't let it be too bad." As a father that was a very proud moment for me, my son was displaying something that many of us still don't understand, that our Heavenly Father is real and we can speak to him and know that he will protect us.

What happened next has changed my life forever. It was what some call, one of those "aha moments when the Word comes to life." I decided to read some scripture as we were waiting for the storm, I read from Psalms 91, the protection Psalms. When I got to verse 10 "no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.", we both looked at each other with a look of amazement and peace as I read the word tent, then I read over it several more times. Believe it or not he went immediately to sleep without another concern of care. We slept through the night and even though it rained and stormed, our tent was calm and dry.

When we woke up the next morning we both had been changed, and I came away with the best father's day gift imaginable, God confirming to my son how he is there for us, and will never leave us."

Buds with matching mugs!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cub Scout Day Camp

We got to do the scout day camp this year, and it was great!  It lasted all day for 5 days... it was long and packed full of really cool activities.  It was held at Fort Zumwalt Park, which is huge and equipped with hiking trails, a lake, and lots of space to set up all the different activities.

The first day got rained out.  We got there, signed in, and the storms hit...Blake was a bit mad a me for it. (cuz, you know...Moms can cause torrential rains just to ruin their kids fun day!lol!) The next day made up for it though.  I was the volunteer for the day and I loved it!

 They had camp for the "pee wees" aka...Taylor tot!  I was really worried about leaving her at the playground camp from 8:30-4:00, I even asked one of the den chiefs to go check on her at lunch time.  They said she was chatty and playing so well, I let her have her fun and stayed with the pack. 
The pee wee camp was set up for the little ones to play at the playground, do activites, snacks/lunch, arts and crafts...they made it a special time for them too! 

We started out by heading to the shooting range...the boys loved it!  It's always one of the favorites. 

Next, they headed to an area that taught them about geology.  Billy and Blake both love finding arrowheads and cool rocks, so this was perfect. 

The O'Fallon police department was there, doing bike helmet fittings and safety lessons.  Then they played "catch the tail" with some of the interns.  Blake was proud to make it to the finals!  There was also... hikes, obstable courses, fishing, and lots of games.
heading in for a hike

The archery and paintball wrist rockets were another big hit.  Blake is a really good shooter!  He immediately came home and told his Dad that he wanted to start practicing his target shooting...that made Billy happy!

Even the crafts they did were awesome!  They made little robotic solar powered jumping grasshoppers, leather bookmarks, tinfoil punched designs, painted animals, kerchief holders, and several other animal projects.

all the boys during the robotics section
  The final activity was the water bottle rockets!  They had an automated system set up to pump them full of air and let them blast off!

As a grand finale...the world bird sanctuary came to show off some awesome animals and teach the kids about them!  I can't wait to visit the sanctuary this summer.

I can't forget to mention the Pee Wee Camp!!!  Taylor got to go to her own camp while I volunteered...it was so cool...all the neat things they did with her, considering it was an all day event...it amazed me that she was still happy and had played so hard and done so much!

these are a few of the projects that she got to do..she
love it!!!

This camp was so packed full of stuff to do...we will definitely do it again next year!