This is a really short story but every time I try to tell it, it gets really long.  So I'm going to do my best to give you the cliff notes version.  The basic gist is that every Wednesday night I feed about 30 to 40 people because Aaron is the college minister at our church (his side gig) and it's what was done years before and it's what I do now.  Ladies from church volunteer to do desserts but I do the dinner part (except for 100 pounds of bbq that a sweet lady smoked for me to freeze and use through the semester).  This is my second year to cook, my budget is about $100-$125 per week, and so far this semester I have done delivery pizza (when Super-G had chicken pox), king ranch chicken, bacon cheeseburger meatloaf, a breakfast spread, poppyseed chicken, bbq nachos, and cheeseburger pie - all with sides and whatnot.    

    And I am running out of ideas people.

    So that's why I am telling you all of this.  Not because I think it will in any way positively or negatively effect your life, and not because it is in any way entertaining what-so-ever.  But because I need you.  Desperately.  I need y'all to shower me with recipes that are great for a crowd.  It is turning cooler, and it won't be long until I am doing lots of soups and chilies.  But these kids will get tired of taco soup and white chicken chili if I do them every week.  So help.  Anything I can mix or bake, plus I have a roaster oven and probably six crock pots that I love, love, love to use bc they are so easy.  Hit me!  Hit me now!  You got anything that you make when you need to feed a bunch?  You got a big family that you feed every time you're together?  Then I want your ideas.  Just remember it has to stay near budget and it has to be prepared mostly beforehand because I can't be frying stuff in a pan with Bible class going on in the same room.  Also, I know about the standards.  Frozen lasagna, hot dogs, spaghetti - those are all decent choices, but that's more of the kind of stuff these kids get sick of.  Plus part of me just really likes cooking a for-real homemade meal because several of these kids are away from home and get nothing but Hot Pockets and cereal mostly.  I guess I kind of pride myself on making sure they get something good to eat.

    But I'm starting to wander the aisles aimlessly, lost, with no idea what I'm going to do next.  (because let's not lie to ourselves and pretend like I am ever prepared.  I never know what I'm cooking until I've walked around Walmart a good 30 minutes first)  

    So please, pretty pretty please, if you love me at all - or feel sorry for me because I never take baths - or wish you were me because you secretely long to wear your husbands 2x sweatshirt all day everday and never put on makeup - or appreciate me for making you feel like a rockstar who has a great handle on your life when compared to me - then send me good recipes for a crowd.  It will make my life so much easier.

    And let's be honest - the children thank you. 
 
1. .......and I like to make lists.  Even ones that make no sense and have no theme.

2. So I had to call poison control today.  For the fourth time.  I'm just saying, this is no indication of my parenting, just my children's level of curiosity and apparent hunger.

3. Destruct-o-girl painted her feet, her hands, her arms, her clothes, my bathroom, my closet carpet, and her tongue with Sally Hanson Clear Hard-As-Nails Topcoat Polish today.  (please see status above)

4. Super G once ate deoderant.  And wallpaper stripper.  And roach spray.

5. Bless his precious little heart, Turnanator has never eaten any poison.  He is currently, at this second, my favorite child.

6. Over the past seven days there has been quite a large amount of fever and snot pass through this house.  I'm not sure why you need to know that but you do.

7. I decided tonight while fixing my kids' dinner plates, that peaches are one of the most revolting smells on this planet.  Seriously, I would rather smell the inside of Aaron's work shoes than smell a peach.  Gag-a-maggot.

8.  Do you remember the whole, "I bought a composter" phase of my life I went through?  Speaking of gag-a-maggot, apparently I am doing lots of stuff wrong.

9. Why will my hair not do all the cute, messy-bun things that are so popular right now?  Why am I hair inept?  Why won't it poof on top?  Why can't my bangs look like Carrie Underwoods?  Why do I seem to be the only person on earth who can't even properly install a bumpit to my crown?  Why do I own a bumpit?  And where exactly is my crown?

10.  Do any of you other stay-at-home mothers notice that on the rare occasions you get out without your kids, you cannot shut up?  It's like you need every word to make it to your next conversation with adults.  Let me just apologize in advance to any of you poor suckers that run into me on a Saturday in the Wal-mart.

11. Can I just say that I love my husband more than anything, but I find it amazing that he can run whole departments of a major vehicle manufacturing facility, dealing with budgets of millions and millions of dollars, and yet he cannot pick out matching clothes for our children.  It blows my mind every time.  However, I must confess that secretely down-deep, I kind-of like it that it's one more thing that only I can do. 

12.  When redoing your children's rooms, turns out, the best type of bunk bed is almost always a free one.  Shout out to D.K. for being awesome and paying it forward.  The budget nazi thanks you.  Big time.

13. If you are not watching The Sing-Off, there is something fundamentally wrong with you ability to judge what is awesome.  

14. Take two graham cracker crusts.  Put a shallow layer of caramel in both of them (dip, topping, whatever).  Mix a tub of whipped cream cheese and a can of sweetend condensed milk until blended.  Stir in a tub of cool whip.  Pour the mix evenly into the two crusts.  Drizzle with more caramel.  Freeze.  Eat.  The whole pie.  In one sitting out of the pan with a fork with your husband.  Moan about how your pants don't fit.  Eat more pie tomorrow.  Thank me. 



 
    So tonight I was going to write about how both of my boys are sick with a non-streptacoccal but seemingly bacterial communicable disease.  (read: they don't have strep but are taking antibiotics and you will probably catch it if you come over here)  It started with, "I feel sleepy and my head hurts", and escalated to, "my throat feels weird", and is now at 102 degree temperatures.  Poor poor little angles.  Needless to say my day has been a little long, but actually quite relaxing because I spent like five hours sitting on the couch watching tv, snuggling with my babies.  And miraculously, even Destruct-o-girl seemed to understand what was going on and just chilled with us.  She was so good this afternoon that I was certain I had accidentally swapped her with another cute, wild-haired baby at Sam's Club this morning.  She even went to the boys room and brought Turnanator his build-a-bear all by herself.  That little angel-puffpuff.  (please remind me about all of this tomorrow when she eats rat poison and disassembles the toaster)

    And once Aaron got home tonight, he wanted to love on them (so we could both be sure to catch it too).  While he held and rocked and hugged them, I spent an embarrassingly long time on Pinterest.  Because it's what I do.  If you're on there, you get it.  If not - run.  Run for the life of your time and self control.   Anyways, tonight I created a new "board" on there for little quotes and whatnot that I either need or identify with, and as I was finally making myself stop searching on there I thought, "What am I doing?  If I need 'something inspirational' then what am I doing looking on Pinterest for it?"  

    So I went to the place where I read about my favorite and most inspirational lady, and then realized that there might be a few of y'all who need to be reminded about her too.  I'm just warning you - she sounds perfect.  Like....too perfect to be true and I will never be as good as her.  But also remember that she had servants.  And her kids didn't go to school and have homework and take art and piano and join cub scouts and play every sport available.  And she didn't get voted to the PTA and join Junior Auxillary and agree to help be a scout leader and tutor at school and try to exercise and teach Bible class and do the laundry and clean the house and pay the bills and bathe the kids and plan elaborate birthday parties and shop online, all while running a household and probably working full time.  She did a lot.  A.Lot.  But let's just remeber to keep her in perspective.  It's that extra part - the spiritual part - that we need to look to her for because she seems to make time for it still with all the other she does.  She seems to reach the unatainable balance.  I hope you enjoy reading about this lady as much as I do because as a goal for myself, she is really who I hope to be.
An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will lack no gain
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.  Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in double thickness.
She makes bed coverings for herself, her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tounge.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her,
"Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fear the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:10-31
    I mean seriously?  Are you not tired just from reading about her.  Whew!  I really want to be her one day.  But until then I will probably just do my best to stay afloat on busy days and continue to eat the bread of idleness on the internet in the middle of the night figuring out how to make a Christmas ball ornament and a coffee table out of old pallets.  And I will have a day soon when my house is a health hazard and my truck looks like a traveling dumpster and Mt. Saint Laundry will be back on my bed (um.....tomorrow) and hopefully I will go back and read about this lady again and get all pumped up *again* to get my act together.   Hope she does the same for you!
 
    You know how when a baby gets older but still wears diapers, you get to carry around a diaper bag a lot less?  I mean, you still have to have it because you never know when you will need a diaper and somehow your kid is always sticky so you need wipes.  But you no longer have to lug the thing everywhere.  You just need less.  I leave it in the car most of the time, but the one place I always take it in is church.  Because lets just face it - it takes a lot of stuff to get my daughter through that long of a stretch without a meltdown, a bolt down the aisle to the front, or a screaming mimi fit.  I carry sippy cups, and passies, and toys, and snacks, and medicine, and old make-up brushes, and small books, and an epi pen.  Then as soon as church is over every Sunday, I shove it back in my vehicle and let it sit there until next Sunday comes along.  The problem is, I forget about all the extra stuff that gets stuck down in there every week when I'm trying to haul my 76 pounds of baggage and three kids out of the church building while Aaron is shaking hands and visiting.  So tonight as I cleaned the nasty thing out, I decided it was pitiful enough to turn into a blog post.  So here it is, "You just never know what you will find in the diaper bag".
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This is my dear husband's Bible that his father gave him and that he likes to use when he preaches.  It was at the bottom of the bag and is now covered in some type of unidentifiable sticky substance.  It has been considered "missing" for at least five weeks.

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This is a lone, striped rock.  Not sure why I have a lone, striped rock in my bag, but I have a feeling it has something to do with one of the boys that I went to the trouble of giving birth to.

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This is a pile of garbage because we are apparently too lazy to walk to the trash can in the foyer.  My truck looks just like this times 7,000,000. We are a disgusting people. 

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This is one, sad, lonely sock.  I'm sure at one point in it's life it had a mate, but alas, apparently the mate met some type of awful fate and this sock has been widowed.  It's possible the incident had something to do with the cheeto on this poor guy.  I mean seriously, who gets cheeto on their feet?

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This is apparently the reason why I can never find a passy.  They all find their way to the abyss that is the diaper bag - never to be seen again.......................

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This is a photo of three, week and a half old, getting mushy eggplants.  Why do I have old eggplants in my diaper bag you may ask?  Well that, my friends, is an excellent question to which I say....................I have no idea.

Don't be like me,
Cassie
 
1. is seriously cute
2. has crazy hair
3. dumped potatoe soup all over herself, my counter, and my upholstered chair while we got ready for a party
4. has started spitting every time she gets angry
5. is testing my patience in ways I never thought possible
6. spent the boys' entire soccer practice either standing in the middle of the team or screaming in my arms
7. dumped almost an entire, large, 32 oz. bag of cheese on the counter yesterday
8. pretends to be asleep any time she doesn't feel like talking to somebody
9. ate slimy carrots out of the basket of rotten produce going to the compost bin
10. apparently has no taste buds
11. grabs my face with both hands and gives me kisses
12. does and says absolutely nothing on command
13. loves her brothers
14. pitched a huge screaming fit while eating lunch with her brother today at school.  Like - we had to leave...
15. loves to wear her twinkle toes and stomp her feet to show people how they light up
16. makes me pine for bedtime by 4:00 in the afternoon every day
17. steals my heart again every.single.morning
18. got herself ready for church this Sunday while I was helping the boys
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Yep, that's my lipstick. Needless to say, she and I were late for Sunday school and my kitchen needed a little janitorial work.
 
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Pretty much all I could think about around the time of this picture is, "I cannot believe they let me bring this thing home.  I have no idea what to do with it or how to take care of it!"  But it turns out you need very little knowledge, just a little common sense, and if you play your cards right...................................

and pray a lot, and stay up a lot, and worry a lot, and cry a lot, and laugh a lot, and hug a lot, and pray a lot more.....................then you might just get lucky enough to end up with something like this..................
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Happy Birthday my wonderful child!!  We are so blessed to get to be your parents!  You fill our lives with joy, and noise, and sports equipment, and love. Thank you for every day with you that makes our lives better. 

                                           Love,
                                   your adoring mother

 
    I had a few things I was going to write about tonight, but I only have thirteen minutes to write this post and clean all the laundry off my bed and wash my face and go to sleep because I am trying something new in my life and vowing to go to bed by 10:00.  I've decided I am going to get up in the mornings with Aaron while it is still dark and work out and bathe all before it is time to wake my children up for school.  I might even get them up early enough to eat breakfast at the house and not a poptart in the car on the way.  I think it is a novel idea to wake up before the last second and actually get ready for my day, so I am giving it a try.  I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes.  My hopes are high but my expectations are realistic.  I'm just saying. 

    So instead of a long post about the stuff swirling in my mind, I decided to show y'all some more of the stuff that I have done lately to avoid housework.  By the way, I have to give a huge shout out to Audra Laney because I saw where she posted my burlap football on Pinterest and I literally squealed out loud with delight.  I made Pinterest!!  Yay me!!  Thanks Audra for making me feel like a big deal when I so, so, so am not!
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This is the witch's hat I made for my sister-in-law for her birthday and I think it turned out really cute, even if I did make it.  The burlap was already black and took a few coats for the paint to cover well, but it was easier than painting the whole thing.

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I made this pumpkin for my grandmother for her birthday, and I am not thrilled with it.  For starters, they are not Tennessee fans, but instead have a last name that starts with a "T".  But everyone that saw it thought I was doing it for Tennessee.  Fail.  But the fabric is cute.  Orange and green tweed that I happened to already have in my closet because I am a hoarder.  The problem was that the fabric was harder to paint on and I screwed it up in a few places.  But I didn't have anything else to show y'all so here it is anyway.

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This is an oreo bar.  This is a recipe I got off of pinterest.  This is delicious.  This is the last one because I had already eaten the whole rest of the pan before I took this picture.  This was what I had for dinner tonight.  This is basically the recipe for rice crispy treats except instead of puffed rice cereal, use a package of crushed oreo cookies.  This is one of the many reasons I will never be able to pull off skinny jeans.  And let the church say "amen".

I've got to go.  It's 10:08 already and I haven't even moved from this couch yet.

Love you like anything made with oreos,
Cassie

 
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photo taken from National Geographic website
    I was 20 years old, and a student at Mississippi State University.  I had a 9:00 class that Tuesday morning, Microbiology with Dr. Downs in Hand Biological Sciences building's large auditorium.  I hopped in my white Toyota Corrolla to leave for class and I couldn't turn the radio to a station that didn't have news.  It didn't take me but a second to realize that it was Peter Jennings' voice I was hearing, and obviously something very, very serious was going on.  As I got to campus I just sat in my car and listened until the last possible second before class, and when I got there everyone was abuzz.  Dr. Downs came in and said, "we're not going to be here but a few minutes today.  There's some fires going on upstairs that I've got to get back to".  (his office was up there and had a tv)  As soon as he let us go I skipped my next class and rushed home to park myself in front of the tv.  My roommate and I just sat there the rest of the day amazed and scared.  I remember bawling when they showed flags hanging all over New York and America, bawling when I heard the details, bawling when I heard about the last phone calls by the passengers of the plane in Pennsylvania.  Aaron called me and told me he loved me.  We were still basically kids with no idea how to processes that day.  

    Today they were playing nonstop footage from that day on a local radio station, and Super G asked me what was going on.  Strangely enough I couldn't even explain it to him without bawling again, 10 years later. 

    Isn't is amazing how much truth is in the statement "we'll never forget"?
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    What's going on?  What's the hippy hap?  What's new with you?  Nothing really new here.  Pretty much I've been a no-blogging bum for a week.   It's just that school has started back and there is lots of life moving forward around here, just like for you, and I haven't taken the time or have been to tired to stay up for blogging purposes.  So tonight because there are no scouts, ballgames, work dinners or piano lessons, I wanted to give my peeps a shout out.  Holla!  Here's a few of the things I'm thinking about lately.

    You know how I have mentioned before the fact that I have a small home remodel addiction issue?  Yeah, I'm feeling the itch again right now.  I've been for weeks and weeks now trying to figure out just how we are going to add on a big bonus/play/crapola room so I could just shove Destruct-o-girl in there and wish her a good time, but alas, it's a no go.  Pretty much there is no where to go out the back because there is a swimming pool right out my back door that takes up the whole yard, both sides have no available space, and adding on to the front would be a challenge for aesthetic reasons, plus the hassle of joining a new roof to the pitch of the existing roof.  There's all that plus the tiny small detail that additions aren't free and and I forgot to water the money tree so it has withered up and died.  Also dear, sweet, wonderful husband was seriously not hearing "build an addition" at this point in our lives.  He loves me and is good for me because he is the only person on earth who can look at me and say, "please get real. No.".  I even went so far as to try and convince him to build a pool house in the back that could be for guests.  But then I found out how much it would cost to run electricity and plumbing out there and returned to reality. So all that being said - I believe the latest project I am going to embark on is rearranging everyone's bedrooms.  I think because I am just here - in this house - every second of my ever-lovin' life I feel this uncontrollable urge for change so I can feel like something productive is going on.  (I don't count laundry as something productive.  I count laundry as something deathly and awful and torturous.)  As we speak there are piles in every corner of the current playroom because it is about to get emptied and turned into the extra/storage/craft/engraving room.  I just cannot deal with all the toys being upstairs any more.  Destruct-o-girl is bored all day and needs them now, and I'm terrified if I let her go up there  alone she is going to follow through on her plans to jump off the balcony.  She drives me crazy but I do like her best in her current, non-spattered condition.  Then my boys are going to be moved to the upstairs bedroom, she will be moved to what is currently the boys room (so she can have her own bathroom), and what is right now her bedroom will become her lair of destruction.  I'm going to pad the walls and lock her in there and enjoy blissfull days where no one eats poison or puts my phone in the toilet.  (Not really, people, but it's a thought.) The boys seem excited even though I am having issues about them going upstairs.  I know.  It's dumb. I'm overprotective.  Judge me if you want.  But that's all I keep thinking about is, "what if the house catches on fire?!  how will we get to them so far away?!".  Overthinking and obsessive worry are a lovely genetic trait that I inherited.  Thanks Daddy.  Anyway, I've decided to take on all this shifting around this week and bless his heart, all Aaron said was, "just how much is this going to cost me?".  I love that tall, handsome, budget nazi of a good man.

(for the record I fell asleep last night in the middle of the previous paragraph with the laptop in my lap and decided to wait until today to finish.  words get a little cookey when writting by an unconscious person.)

    On a totally unrelated note, I have decided that being too fluffy to wear any of my clothes is a bummer, and yet exercising is way worse.  I totally fell off the wagon this summer with all three kids home, Aaron working all the time, no schedule, my love of cupcakes, etc., and all my pants are now sitting in my closet, unworn and lonely to prove it.  So my girl Molly and I are back at it.  Working out.  I die.  No for reals people - we ran last night and I literally thougt my boys were going to have to call 911 because my foot hurt so bad when I stood on it this morning.  Is that normal?  (Does that sound like a fat girl complaining?  Because that is basically what it is, but whew!  That joker hurt!)  As the day has gone on, though, it's better so just a minute ago we did the Cardio X workout from P90X.  While I was too out of shape and  too gelatinous to do all that without stopping, it was encouraging to think that maybe one day I will look like that red-headed girl on the video who never has to put her foot down between kicks.  NOT.  

    On another unrelated note, it's possible that Pinterest is the most awesome thing I have ever seen and yet the worse thing that could have ever happened to me.  It is yet another social networking site except that it is basically a virtual "pin board" where you can save every good idea, picture, recipe, outfit, book or whatever that you find on the internet onto your "boards".  Then you follow other people to see their stuff and they can follow you to see yours.  It is a creative person's heroine.  Just talking about it has got me jonesing for more.  But it is also a massive time waster.  I'm talking 3:30 a.m. surfing that junk.  And the whole time you are thinking, "I could totally make that!"  "I want to do that!" "I love that!".  But you know what?  You don't have time to do any of that because you just spent the last 17 free hours of your life searching Pinterest for cute ideas.  It's the age old question "the chicken or the egg" except it's "do you find cute ideas or do you actually just do something but with less ideas to work with?".  Right now I can't stop searching, looking, longing, thinking "I could do that!".  I'm going to have to treat myself like I do my kids with their DS's.  "No more pinterest for the rest of the week."  I would totally cry just like they do.  It's a problem.

    And on my last, totally and completely unrelated note, this past Labor Day weekend my family unit went to my parents' house for a visit.  It was my grandmother's 80th birthday and we partied it up hard-core.  There was cake for days, and lots of family came in from all over.  Even the cousins from Arkansas - SHOUT OUT!!!  And my mother (who is awesome about stuff like this) rented a water slide.  A big, humongeous, blow-up waterslide that has a bouncy house attached on the side with the ladder.  On Saturday the actual children played on it and Super G fell off the top, bashing his head on the ground and emotionally scarring him for a good seven minutes.  Then not two seconds later, Turnanator slid face first into his 12 year-old cousin's knee seriously loosening his two cute little front teeth.  Nice.  Luckily I guess they are still baby teeth.  And if that wasn't enough for a good time, the um...... big kids (my two brothers, my sister-in-law, Aaron, and I) decided to give it a try on Sunday afternoon in the torential pouring down rain. (p.s. - it was also not warm out).  It really was fun and that slide is a total hoss because if you put all five of us together, we would exceed the weight limit of a small commuter plane.  (two were skinny but three of us, not so much)  But please let me just say this, if you have had three C-sections in your recent past, you have no business jumping in the air and sliding down a gigantic water slide at the same time as your 6'6", 250 lb. husband.  You just don't.  Things get pulled.  And possibly herniated.  That is my piece of advice for today.