Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

I first started blogging to document all the crazy that happens in my life. I also hoped that I might get to eventually host reviews and giveaways of really cool products. What I didn’t count on was the friends I would make along the way. When I first made the decision to author From Inmates To Playdates back in 2008, I contacted two bloggers about blog design and hosting. Since that time, I have become FB friends with Heather and Jo Lynne and quite honestly, I consider them friends even though I have never met either of them.

Earlier this year, I received an email from a friend asking if I’d be interested in attending an Extraordinary Women conference in Roanoke, Virginia. When I found out that Third Day would be performing and Missy Robertson would be speaking, I said, “Oh yes, Sister, sign me up!”

A few days before the conference I was talking to McDaddy and mentioned something about returning on Sunday. He was confused (it doesn’t take much when you’re dealing with me) and told me he thought that we’d be back on Saturday. When I looked up the conference online I wondered what the heck was happening to my mind. Not only was McDaddy correct about me returning on Saturday, BUT ALSO that the conference was in Roanoke AND HOLY CRAP THAT’S WHERE HEATHER LIVES!

I contacted Heather on Facebook and said:

So…. I will be in Roanoke for Extraordinary Women on October 4-5. Any chance you’ll be there, too?

She replied minutes later with

I’m working it – the Spirit FM booth – Need a place to crash? I have plenty of room! But yes! We MUST get together!

So.

In a matter of minutes, a perfect stranger who I had only talked to online had invited me and three of my girlfriends to spend the night in her home. She messaged me her phone number and asked if we’d want to meet her and some friends for coffee and doughnuts after the conference and/or dinner after the conference on Saturday night.

I was going to Roanoke with three girlfriends. I texted them to ask if they’d like to go for doughnuts after the conference on Friday or dinner on Saturday with a friend of mine. I might have neglected to mention that I had never met my “friend.” While we were at the hotel getting ready, I mentioned in casual conversation that although I had been “friends” with Heather since 2008, I had never actually met her.

There was some silence.

Some bugged out eyes.

A look of ARE YOU CRAZY?

And a look of WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU THINKING?”

And it dawned on me that this whole thing probably sounded crazy.

Still, I was excited to meet her!

Once we arrived at the arena (and waited in a ridiculously LONG line to get into the conference), I texted Heather to let her know I was there. She texted back to say she’d be there to meet me as soon as she could get away. As I waited for Heather on the concourse, I felt like I was on a blind date. The crowd in the arena was crazy and it was hotter than you-know-what in there. Within minutes, I was face to face with my friend and we hugged like sisters separated at birth. After five years, I was face to face with my blog designer, Heather.

I could tell immediately that we would be fast IN REAL LIFE friends.

Because she was actually volunteering at the conference, we weren’t able to talk long. We talked long enough for me to find out that her friend Cheryl – who was also at the conference – was a fan of my blog. It took me a second to process that. After writing this blog for five years, it is easy to forget that actual living, breathing people who I DO NOT KNOW stop in here day after day to read this mess, especially given my excessive comma usage and my flair for the dramatic. Only thing I can figure out is that my crazy makes your crazy seem less crazy. I told Heather that we’d love to meet her and her friend for doughnuts and coffee after the conference and we parted ways.

And then I giggled out loud thinking about the fact that I had a fan.

The conference was jam-packed. Unfortunately, so was the friggin’ parking lot. There were cars everywhere and not a one of them was moving. After the conference we sat on that stupid parking lot for 35 minutes, which might have been enough to put me over the edge because I hate to wait – especially at a stand still – but thankfully, when four women get together almost anything can make them laugh. Especially something like this:

It still cracks me the heck up thinking about the license plate and the whole “well-behaved women” thing. In fact, it was an on-going joke the entire weekend with my girlfriends.

And just for the record, there’s a pretty good chance I might make history someday.

Because it was midnight before we moved off of the arena parking lot, we decided that it was too late to go out for coffee and doughnuts, but agreed to go to dinner after the conference on Saturday.

Y’all.

Dinner was, um, an experience.

Heather told us about a nearby Mexican joint called El Rodeo. I was a little leery because let’s face it, Mexican restaurants can be a crap shoot, and when I order my ”Chicken Fajita Chimichanga without guacamole anywhere on the plate” I have high expectations. Heather and my fan her friend Cheryl were already at the table chowing on the chips and salsa when we arrived at the restaurant. The waiter showed up at the table almost instantly, and before I knew what had hit me I was blushing and speechless because our waiter was off the hook. If you know me IRL you know that it is difficult to embarrass me and that I am rarely ever speechless.

In his defense, the six of us were more than any one man should have to handle by himself. He rose to the challenge. When my friend Jessica – while looking at the menu, mind you – asked “So, what’s good?” ol boy didn’t miss a beat when he responded with, “Me!”

Y’all.

I about fell out of my seat.

I was just like, “Well, alright! This cat is crazy as we are!” and I kinda figured the El Rodeo hadn’t seen this much excitement in a very long time. Our waiter, who I learned, was named Dennis (which cracks me up, because how many Mexicans do you know named Dennis?) was great. The chips and salsa were some of the best I have ever had  and my chicken fajita chimichanga (which I have never seen on a menu) was yummy. I would suggest you skip the “cheese sauce” though, unless you like more mayonnaise than you do cheese or sauce.

As we were diggin’ through our purses for money to pay the bill, I remembered that I had a pile of pennies in my wallet. I couldn’t resist leaving our new Mexican friend, Dennis a message (and no this was not his only tip) on the table.

Don’t ask me why I left the word H-O-T. It could be because I only had 33 pennies and couldn’t think of anything better. Or it could be because Dennis kept using the word “caliente” and it only seemed appropriate. Whatever the reason, he seemed embarrassed when he went to our table to retrieve his tip.

That’s Dennis there on the right.

He probably thinks we are a bunch of crazy lunatics.

And he is half-right.

I had so much fun this past weekend. I REALLY enjoyed Third Day, Tim Hawkins and Missy Robertson. But more than that, I LOVED meeting my friend, Heather.

And my new Mexican friend, Dennis.

2012 Year In Review

2012 Recap Carnival with Musings of a HousewifeWhen I saw on Facebook today that Jo-Lynne was hosting her annual Blog Recap, I knew I wanted to participate. Oh how I love to look back on our year, and remember the fun times we’ve had as a family.

If I had any sense whatsoever, I would also print out a scrapbook just after I do this recap each year over at one of the photo book companies while it’s still fresh in my brain, but I keep telling myself that I am going to pick up my scrapbooking habit and start right back at 2008 where I left off.

TIME, I NEED SOME TIME!

Before I get started, I’d like to announce that honorable mention goes to: both boys playing spring and fall baseball, Stevie getting braces, both boys playing basketball, me being team mom for two more of Stevie’s baseball teams, and of course, lots and lots of summer travel with McDaddy on business … but let’s get down to the good stuff, shall we?

January

In early January, I shared some of my favorite photos from 2011. And now, here it is the end of 2012 already. Man, how time flies.

Y’all know I love a good story! I was thrilled to learn that RJ, a high-school classmate of mine and McDaddy’s would be competing in the second season of Faceoff. He made it all the way to the finale and got robbed of the grand prize. Our little town is so proud of him, and I enjoyed watching him claw his way to the top each week.

Later in the month, I take you hour-by-hour through a stress test on my heart after learning I have a bundle branch block on the left side of my heart, as a result of self-diagnosing myself with near-death after a Mirena IUD just about did me in.

February

With my 20th reunion just around the corner, I take a look back on the last 20 years of my life.

And also, I searched the mall over looking for a nice watch to buy for McDaddy for Valentine’s Day. I told the story of probably one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me, in a post titled Watch You Say?

March

In March, I spent the weekend with my girlfriends, and Anita Renfroe in Louisville, Kentucky.

March was a great time to remind McDaddy that I STILL wanted a Saturn Sky!!!!

After allowing a RODENT to live in our home only six month prior, our boys were so sad when we lost our sweet hamster, Lulu.

April

I was honored to have two tips featured in Kristen’s e-book That Works For Me! (Tip #596 was a Lego cleanup tip (Dear Lord, help me!) and tip #627 was a deployment tip our family used while McDaddy was deployed to Cuba.)

Also, in April, we welcomed two little dwarf hamsters – Duke and Apollo – into our home.

May

McDaddy and I celebrated 14 years of marriage, and I talk about living our Happily Every After every single day.

June

My favorite day of 2012 happened in June. After five years, countless conversations, much negotiation, months of research and searching, and lots of prayer, I, (and I still can’t believe it!)

GOT

MY

DREAM

CAR!

McDaddy made me the happiest girl in the world when he bought me a beautiful chili pepper red Saturn Sky!

And the same day we brought the car home, McDaddy and I attended our 20th reunion!

And did I mention we drove my dream car, the Saturn Sky?

Our family travelled quite a bit with McDaddy on business over the Summer. We enjoyed Christmas in July at Santa’s Village in New Hampshire.

August

On August 1st, Alex sliced his knee open on a banquet table in our basement resulting in a trip to Med-Express and five stitches.

September

In September, I wrote about a bad day to go topless.

McDaddy and I attended our first Jeep Jamboree in Farmington, Pennsylvania. And I’m quite sure it will not be our last.

October

October was the start of a stressful time for our family.

Nevertheless, I know that I hit the jackpot when I married McDaddy. He is… so many things to me.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I felt obligated to share on the blog that McDaddy was being activated for his second deployment in four years. If you remember, would you say a prayer for us in the months ahead?

November

Alex turned seven!

And six days later, McDaddy turned the big three nine.

And the day after that, I celebrated my four year bloggy anniversary!

December

A big gas-line explosion happened less than three miles from our house ON MY 39th birthday.

And the next day, my sweet Stevie hit Double Digits!

And we also celebrated Christmas!

And there’s really nothing I’d like more than to share pictures of our after-Christmas trip in Florida, but I’ve been busy enjoying this time with my fellas and my in-laws and haven’t had the chance to upload the pictures yet, so…. they will just have to wait. Tonight, we are going to Blue Man Group and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate New Year’s Eve than with a bunch of blue men.

2012 has been a year I will never forget. Our family shared some great memories and endured loss and pain that has changed us in ways I don’t even want to talk about. Through it all though, God’s grace has been sufficient and I have no idea where I’d be without that assurance. I am actually dreading 2013, and would love nothing more than to skip the year altogether. The deployment is weighing heavily on my mind, and my granny is facing a battle with cancer, but I know that no matter what, God’s mercies are new every morning and I am clinging to that. I am a blessed girl and I feel privileged to share my life with three wonderful fells. I am also thankful for this little blog and the joy and friendships it has brought to my life. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Happy New Year!!!!

All Kinds Of Happy

Remember when I first started this here blog and it looked like this?

Back then, I thought this blogging gig might last three months.

For the record, I wrote my first post in November, 2008.

Sometimes I surprise even myself.

—–

I’m headed out of town for a weekend getaway with the girls. I’ve got 317 things to do, yet here I sit looking at this computer barely able to hold my eyes open. I wanted to post something and thought I’d visit the Photobucket for inspiration.

I just finished making up the games that we will play on the bus (y’all know I’m a party waiting for a place to happen, right?) and gathered up all manner of prizes. Everything except my clothes and phone charger are packed. (Must NOT forget the phone charger!)

I am headed to Louisville, Kentucky to party with Angela Thomas, Kay Arthur, Anita Renfroe (love her!) and Chris Tomlin. It is sure to be a memorable weekend. Angela Thomas will teach her heart out as she brings the message, Chris Tomlin will no doubt lead us in some serious worship and my friend Anita Renfroe will make us laugh till we pee our pants cry.

 What? You thought I was kidding about the whole “my friend Anita Renfroe” thing?

Oh no ma’am. Not kidding. At all.

We’re practically BFFs.

Except that she doesn’t know it yet.

[Please pay no attention to the second and third chin shadow? in the picture. There was no one around to take the picture of Anita and I, so I did what anyone in my position would do. I snapped the picture myself (yes, I am THAT talented!) and with the exception of the three chins you see, I think I did a pretty good job.

Anyway, I’ll fill ya in on the details once we return. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of fun stories. Now, whether or not I’m able to share them or not will be a different story because sometimes we like to get wild and crazy.

Ha!

Oh, AND also, next week is Spring Break which means I won’t have to set an alarm for seven glorious nights!

That makes me all kinds of happy.

Have a great weekend y’all! I know I will!

I Am Blogger, Hear Me Roar!

I wrote my first blog post in 2007 over on mySpace. Some of you may remember it. After blogging there for about a year, I decided to take the plunge and build a new home on the world wide web, not knowing if it would last a month, or a year because I’ve been known to get a wild hair up my hind-end (yeah, I said it) a time or two, only to find out I hadn’t thought it through, and oh, it was fun while it lasted.

Somewhere, McDaddy is sitting behind his laptop thinking, ‘ain’t that the truth!’

It’s how we ended up with a hamster.

What can I say except that I get bored easily.

Before I knew what was happening, at least eight people were showing up to read my daily dose of crazy. And now, three years later, the blog is still going strong! I guess its safe to say this little blog isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, which cracks me up because my kind of crazy is unmatched in most parts, and it’s still hard to believe that there are people (complete strangers even) out there who I now call LBF’s – loyal blog fans whom I have never met.

Y’all know who you are.

As I was sitting at the dining room table eating breakfast a big truck drove out our road and knocked down a cable line. When I looked out the window just minutes later, I saw my neighbor on a ladder on the truck with a big stick holding the line up so the truck could get by. My first instinct was to take a picture because I knew it would make for some good blog fodder.

Later in the day as I was going about my domestic business, I snapped pictures of a sink full of dishes, stacks of clean folded laundry, and a growing mound of dirty laundry, all for the sake of the blog.

It got me to thinking, you know you’re a blogger when….

- You stay up way past your bedtime just to hammer out your latest post.

- You add your blog site to e-mails, and utility bills. (I’m kidding, people.)

- Normal daily activities suddenly become tomorrow’s Thursday 13 list.

- You feel compelled to e-mail companies (*coughSaturncough*) for free stuff to give away on your blog while secretly hoping they’ll give you a car.

- You find yourself thinking what inanimate objects would think if they had a brain and then you blog about it.

-Your husband has ever preceded a conversation with, “I’d rather you not blog about this.”

- You edit a post 7 times, even though it was published three days ago.

- You have contacted family members and friends asking permission to publish their pictures on your blog.

- You carry a camera because you just never know when you might need photographic proof of a good story. (Unless you have an iPhone of course.)

- Heavy traffic doesn’t bother you in the least.

- You visit the Google Thesaurus while writing  a post because you don’t want to be viewed as a goof-ball when you use a word improperly. (It happens more often than you think.)

- Your post has been finished for thirty minutes, but you’re still trying to come up with a catchy title.

- When you’re telling a story to an aquaintance and they say, “I read that on your blog.”

- You know just enough html code to be dangerous. (Oops!)

Thanks to each and every one of you who show up here day after day. I appreciate you!

Here’s What’s Cookin’

Today is a rare day here at From Inmates To Playdates.

Believe it or not, I cooked a from-scratch dinner without burning anything or ordering a pizza because I botched something.

Knorr, a food company widely known for their selection of side dishes and gravies, is having a recipe contest, hosted by BlogHer to promote their new Knorr Homestyle Stock – “an authentic tasting stock in a new concentrated format – a breakthrough innovation within the broth catergory.”

I was among the first group of  bloggers to receive a sample of Knorr Homestyle Stock, and I was asked to use it to create an original recipe. A panel of judges (hopefully ones who love a good enchilada dish) will decide the finalists based on creativity of recipe, use of Knorr stock and appeal of recipe. Knorr will then send eight finalists to BlogHer 2011 for a cook-off and live selection of the final Knorr Four.

Listen. I might as well go ahead and let you in on a little secret.

Martha Stewart, I am not.

So, if you’ve come here looking for some fancy recipe garnished with green stuff, you are in the wrong place. But, if you’re here in search of a tasty recipe you’re entire family will enjoy, believe me when I say this. is. your. dish.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (I love saying that)
  • 1/2 container of Knorr homestyle chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 10 6-inch tortillas

In a large saucepan, cook onion and green pepper in two tablespoons butter or margarine till tender. Combine onion mixture in a bowl with chopped chicken.

Set aside.

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a rolling boil. Stir in 1/2 container of Knorr homestyle chicken stock until fully mixed.

For sauce, in the same (onion/pepper) saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine. Stir in flour and coriander. Add Knorr chicken stock mixture immediately and stir until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for two minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Stir about 1/2 cup of the sauce into the chicken mixture.

Dip each tortilla into remaining sauce to soften.

Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of chicken mixture and place rolled tortilla in dish.

Arrange rolls in a 13×9 inch baking dish.

Pour remaining sauce over the filled rolls.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

I realize this picture is blurry, but, sadly, by the time I realized that fact, 3/4 of the dish was gone.

Cool.

Enjoy.

Clean up mess.

——

Total Cook Time: About an hour

Serves: 6