Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Snippet {Family Fun Fact Series}

Wesley is the middle of my three sons. He is 5 years old and started his first year of school this month. He is spirited, loud, sweet and loving. He has taught me so much about hope and being stronger than I thought I ever could be. He makes us laugh everyday and is a great blessing upon this family!

Photo credit to Kelli Trontell{photograhpy}

20 Fun Facts About Wesley

1. He can write his name, but makes his S backwards
2. He is eager to learn
3. He is the bravest kid I know
4. He has had three surgeries in his short little lifetime.
5. He didn't learn to walk until he was almost 2
6. He loves to play pretend (He has to get into character)
7. He loves to perform in front of the family
8. He once tried to flush our puppy, among other things, down the toilet
9. He loves to play Blues Clues
10. He has a weird habit of tucking his ear inside his ear (it's a stupid human trick) Seriously weird you would just have to see it.
11. He is a terrible sleeper
12. He is a Mommy's boy (I secretly love it)
13. He doesn't like to be away from home for long periods of time
14. His favorite foods are pancakes, bananas, string cheese, popcorn and chicken
15.He loves The Wiggles (Greg is his favorite wiggle and he dresses like him everyday. I have to sneak his Greg Wiggle shirt to wash it)
16. He is a very social child
17. Even when you think he is not listening...He is
18. He has severe allergies
19. He worries to much
20. He has a big agenda ( He informed me over lunch one day that he wanted to be a fire fighter, police officer, rock star, doctor, drummer, actor when he grows up. He is going to be one busy grown up. Hey at least he has a plan! =)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jazz New Orleans Style

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the Untied States. I love the atmosphere, the art, the food, the people, and the music. New Orleans is a city where music dwells in the streets, lingering on the ears of the people wandering by. This June my husband and I flew out to New Orleans to celebrate our anniversary. During our stay we took a stroll down historical French Quarter area and stumbled upon Royal Street. There we founded a talented group of street performer musicians singing for the crowd that was now lining the sidewalks, a crowd that was increasingly growing by the minute. The music filled the streets with it's own special personality, attracting people both young and old to stop and listen, and maybe even dance or at least tap their foot. The heart of this particular group of musicians was lead vocalist Sarah Peterson. Her voice was soulful, rich and timeless. This young woman didn't just sing the lyrics of these songs, but she felt them and allowed her voice to move with the rhythm and melodies like the songs where an outburst of her soul. Sarah and the very talented musicians that joined her in this time honoring tradition known as busking call themselves The Smoking Time Jazz Club. The band's chemistry is smooth and natural, bringing together upright bass, slide trombone, trumpet, saxophone, six string bass, washboard, and Sarah's vocal talent for a mix of perfection and down right Hot Jazz!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Snippet ( Family Fun Facts)

I thought it would be fun for the next five Sunday's to do a little series called Family Fun Facts on Sunday Snippet . So for the next five Sunday's I hope you enjoy getting to read silly little facts about the five people that make up my family. Today's feature family member is my oldest son Carter. Carter will be turning eight years old this September.

20 Fun Facts About Carter

1. He has an obession with The Beatles
2. He thinks he is a grown up. He has never played with toys or been interested in the small things of childhood.
3. He hates putting pen to paper
4. He has navigated a computer since he was 3 years old
5. His first word was dog.
6. His favorite foods are hot dogs, cheese, grapes and bacon
7. He is really smart, but majorly stubborn
8. He idolizes his Uncle Russ
9. He has learned to play his first cords on the Bass gutiar. He says it hurts his fingers.
10. He is picky about the way he looks
11. He had rather listen to music on his own or with his Dad than be soical with a group of kids.
12. He gets compliments on his red hair almost everyday
13. He would live in Livingston TN, with grandparents if I would let him.
14. He tries really hard in school.
15. His first name is actually Ethan. Carter is his middle name.
16. He fits the oldest child mold to a T
17. He loves to play cards and boardgames
18. He was born on one of my dear friend's Birthday
19. Flash is his favorite superhero. Only because he is super fast.
20. He cried tears of joy when he met his little brother Wesley for the first time, and to this day he looks out for both of his little brothers.

That is 20 fun facts about my oldest of three sons, Carter. I am so very blessed he is my son. He forever gave me the gift of motherhood. I am so proud of him. Come back next Sunday to read some fun facts about Mr. Wes the Mess.

photo credit to Mrs. Kelli Trontell

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Snippet

Today's Sunday Snippet one of all my all time favorite Quotes! I confess I have many more favorites. This is just one of many! I Heart Quotes!

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."
— Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Day

Today I had to keep whispering to myself that being brave doesn't mean your not afraid. It means your afraid and you do it anyways. I tell this often to my middle son Wesley during all the shots, surgeries, and doctor appointments he endures. Today I am telling it to myself. Because letting him go of to school alone without me is a little terrifying for me. Today I started a whole new journey of sending not one, but two of my children off to school. While I am excited about this new stage in our lives. I must admit I am a little afraid and even sad. The journey of letting go is filled me with a lot more emotion than I was anticipating. This day came rushing in faster than I was expecting. My children just aren't suppose to be growing up this fast. I am however after this morning filled with a level of comfort from the bond that is being formed between my two older children. While they may fuss, fight, and claim to dislike one another(this even happen this afternoon, even after all the sweetness this morning). The truth is I am confident they will look after each other. Carter showed a beautiful maturity today in helping prepare his younger brother for the school years ahead them both. I am proud of them both!!! Now if Mommy could take this new stage as well as the boys are we would be golden =)....Hey what can I say my babies are growing up, and it's bitter sweet, and I am aloud to cry right???

They are important to me, and to each other even if they don't fully grasp just how important yet.

"You may never have proof of your importance but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who."
— Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)

Wesley's First Day of Kindergarten 2010 ready to go and full of a beaming imagination.

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death."
— Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)

Bonds are being formed today. It brings me to tears.

Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Iron Skillet Pizza

I love pizza! I even love most frozen pizzas. Today I thought I would share my half homemade pizza recipe. Since that is what I made myself for lunch today. I say half homemade because I get the dough from a package. I know I am a lazy person. I can never get my dough I make from scratch to turn out. It just never has good crust taste so I cheat and go the easy route of using MarthaWhite Pizza Crust. Thanks Martha =)!

The Crust Ingredients
1 pkg MarthaWhite Pizza Crust
1/2 Cup Hot Water
Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Pinch of Italian Seasoning
Pinch of Garlic Salt (or just Garlic)
1/2 Cup of cheese (I like a blend of different cheeses)

Pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees

Mix crust according to the MarthaWhite packaging directions in medium mixing bowl. Add in Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and cheese and fold into dough. Spread out your dough in a lightly Pam sprayed iron skillet. Bake for 11-15 minutes or until golden brown.

The Topping Ingredients
Your favorite toppings (I used ham and peppers)
1 Cup of Mozzarella
1/4 Cup of Pizza Sauce

Remove from oven, and add desired toppings and cheese. Return to oven for another 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Presto your very own half-homemade personal Iron Skillet Pizza! YUM!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Introducing the release of my husband Stephen Garrett's new website. We hope that you will stop by frequently. Whether it's to taken in a few tunes or to stay informed on the next live shows. There is also a photos and twitter section to check out the latest happenings in the Stephen Garrett music world! Don't forget to sign up for the news letter! Click on the link below to directly take you to the new website. Let us know what you think.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Activate A Smile

10 Ways To Make Someone Smile

1. Say it with flowers: Everyone loves to be thought of and remembered. Sending flowers is a great way to show someone you care. I find that one or two hand picked flowers are just the right thing to brighten someone's day! Don't fret, big bouquets are nice too!

2. Babysit: do you know a mom that could use the day off or maybe even just an hour or two to herself. Plan a fun day for you and your favorite kiddos. It will not only make the Mother smile because you gave her the priceless gift of hard to find 'me time', but it could also strength your relationship with the children, which is sure to give you smiling faces all around!

3. Snail mail: This is one of my personal favorites. Sending someone a handwritten letter is sure to bring about smiles and maybe even a letter in return. So, go ahead take out your pen and paper.

4. Flattery: Give a sincere compliment. Tell a perfect stranger you like her shoes or her hair style. Admire your neighbor's gardening skills, tell a friend they look beautiful today. A little flattery is sure to make someone's day!

5. Pay Attention: Focus on a friend, listen carefully to what they have to say. Make an effort to not talk about yourself. Make your friend really feel heard. Quality time and really listening are priceless gifts to give.

6. Say please and thank you....Manners are not a lost art, and they bring about smiles when used.

7. Let someone know they are missed. Reconnect with a family member or an old friend. It will do you both good and perhaps leave you both smiling!

8. Over Tip: Make a waiters day by leaving a little extra than the normal wages for a tip, even if the service was just average. You're sure to make their day with a little extra cash and maybe even the next customer will enjoy a waiter with a smile.

9. A Smile is truly your best accessory, and it is proven to be contagious!

10. Say I love you!!! They may already know. You may have told them before, maybe even today, but say it again! It's important!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More Than A Matter of Style

About 20% of public schools have made the jump to some sort of school uniform, standardized attire or strict dress code. The debate has been somewhat of a hot subject for several years now. The debate on whether the uniform system has a direct impact on improving student behavior, or whether it actually does create a better environment for students and teachers is still on going. Both sides of this debate have some valid points.

Starting with the pros of the uniform system. Some parents simply enjoy the guess work being removed from the pre-school shopping and even the their morning routines. A percentage of parents just agree that is makes their household run smoother in the morning rush. This seems to be particularly true in households with older children. The experts for the Pro side of the debate believe that uniforms within the school system help children to focus more on learning and less on who is wearing what. School standardized attire may also relieve the pressure students feel trying to fit in. Thus improving the social environment in the school atmosphere. School officials also say that uniform systems improve safety. For example students all dressed in similar clothing helps school officials and teachers recognize if someone comes on campus who doesn't belong. Experts also believe mandatory use of such a dress code reduces violence/bullying with the school.

Now lets move over to the other side of the debate, the cons. One of the largest arguments on the con side is self expression and individuality. Since self expression is an important part of a child's developmental process, some experts believe that forcing uniforms is detrimental to a child's development. The results of this system are often forcing students to find other, often less appropriate ways to express themselves. Experts also conclude the stripping children of individuality with the use of uniforms is another way to force all students into one mold, when they should be celebrating and embracing individuality. They believe that school uniforms does not truly prepare children for the real world in which they will continue to be judged by their appearances and the choices they make within their own lives.

Experts on the Con side also argue over the fact that they believe that the Pros are not really Pros. Advocates of school uniforms say that freeing a student of fashion pressures will allow them to focus on school studies, but there is little conclusive evidence to back up this argument. The experts on the con side of the debate argue that there are more influential factors than what a student wears like study habits, parental support, classroom material, and instructional quality. Cost of school uniform systems is actually argued on both sides. Pro side saying it saves families money since the school attire is sold at discounted prices and is much cheaper than fashionable name brand clothing. While the Con side says it cost families more because most families will buy two sets of clothing for their children one being the school attire and the other a more fashionable set of clothing that suit their children's personalities for nonschool hours.

It is true that both sides of this debate have great valid points with expert opinions. To which side of the school uniform debate do you and your family tend to lean?

Special note: This article was also published in the

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back to School!

Well parents, it's that time of year again. Let the homework battles and the PTO meetings begin. It's actually hard for me to imagine that summer break is coming to an end. This year I am sending my two oldest children off to school. I am both sad and excited to see what adventures lay ahead for my Kindergartner and 3rd grader this school year. Returning to school after summer break can be a bit demanding on the whole family as they bend themselves back into the school routine schedules. I thought I would share a few tips to help ease the transition and help devise a back to the school plan for your family.

#1 - Start talking with your children now about the general school rules. You know the ones: respecting your classmates and teachers, keep your hands to yourself, turn on your listening ears, and keep up with your own belongings. This will help lay out a foundation and help your children realize what is expected of them. This might also be a good time pick back up the school year bedtime routine, so it's not a shock to their little systems.

#2 - As soon as you know who your child's teacher is, get acquainted. Familiarize yourself with the teacher's classroom rules as well as their expectations for this year. Let the teacher know you are willing to help out. Even if you can't volunteer, most teachers will find a way for you to help out. It is also not a bad idea to send your child's teacher a little note at the beginning of the year including all your contact information, even your email address. Sure this information is on file, but you will be saving the teacher some time, opening the door to good communication, and also be letting them know you take an interest in your child's education.

#3 - At home, designate a quit place to do homework. Have all homework supplies close at hand and ready to use. Also discuss with your child what homework time looks like. Also, designate a place for backpacks for each child.

#4 - Freeze a few easy dinners. This will free up more time to allow you to be more hands on with homework and after school activities. It will also relieve some of that tension and free up time for the whole household. I have found that lasagnas freeze nicely!

#5 - Make a family calendar. This will just help the family keep up with activities, meetings, days off, and special school events. This will ensure that the whole family is aware and prepared.

It will not be long until we are sending our sweet little children off to fill their little heads with knowledge. I hope you enjoy the last of these days of summer vacation. Soak up these long warm days, and good luck preparing for the months ahead. May this year's summer to school transition be successful.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Snippet

This week's Sunday Snippet...Pictures of my three boys enjoying some summertime moments! They are the greatest gifts I have ever received. I just love their sweet little faces!!! They are such a huge part of my happiness!

"With each spring comes new life, energy and green growth. In summer comes the sun, warm, kind and enduring. Fall brings its canvas of color in careful, gentle change. Winter brews into faithful strength, beauty in pure white. And then comes you. You are all that Nature offers, a blessing, a gift.. You are the fifth season."
— Jason F. Wright