Friday, April 9, 2010

The Great Hunt

It was my little cherubs first Easter egg hunt and excitement was running high. We explained the general premise and then started walking down to the starting point. (It was in my aunt's neighborhood and she had been so kind as to invite us!)

We got there and my heart sank just a little. I was hoping for a little crowd so that all the kids, especially the little ones, could have a fighting chance to find a few eggs.

Now people....I am pretty laid back. I was raised by a southern woman and like to think that manners supersede my worldly emotions. I hate to bristle anyone unnecessarily. This is all fine and good....until it comes to my kids. You mess with my kids and the perfectly delightful young woman becomes a mama lion who will attack. Not very Christian. I assure you ....I know.

Anywho, I was a little worried that mama lion would have to show her furry face if some little kids (or parents) tried to run over my just newly 2 year old who knew not what she was doing.

We gathered at the lake and the person who was running the show explained the rules and divided the kids by age (Wise, wise man) and sent us to the proper location. My hubs took the older one, I took the younger one and we set off on the feverish hunt. I was able to half drag my toddler to the proper location with the brightest eggs and point to them. She would see them, get super excited, bend down to pick it up and then sit down and try to open the egg.

Good times.....

My son got the process and managed to get about nine or ten eggs. Giving a deep sigh of satisfaction that everyone behaved themselves, didn't push, shove or was rude, we headed back to the lake to open our eggs.

About mid way through the egg opening, we saw a little girl walking down the street holding her mama's hand. She had on a lovely spring dress and she was swinging her Easter basket side to side. They were only ten minutes late but the hunt had started promptly and the kids were quick. They walked to the crowd and it didn't take long for them to realize they had missed the whole thing.

My heart ached for that little girl and her mama. I knew the hurt that the missed fun was causing and the pain of the parent who hurt just as badly. At that moment huge tears started to roll down the little girls face.

I felt a little hand on mine and I bent down to see what my son had gotten in his eggs. He showed me about nine pieces of various candies and he just beamed. He must have noticed my attention being drawn to the little girl because he followed my gaze and asked.. "Mama, why is that girl cryin?"

I quickly whispered in his ear that she had gotten here late, missed the hunt and had no eggs or candy. And that made her sad. I started to search the crowd, looking for the organizer to see if there were any more eggs when my attention was drawn to my son.

I watched my boy. He was looking down in his basket and thinking hard. I could almost see the inner struggle of flesh and spirit battling. I then watched my firstborn reach his little hand in his basket and draw out three pieces of candy.

I felt hot tears start to form as I watched him go near the little girl and place the 3 pieces of candy behind some tall grass that encompassed a stop sign. He looked over at me, a wide grin showing his chipped front tooth. The mother comforting her child and watching all of this looked up at me with her own tears welling, mouthed "thank you" and said to her child. " Look I think I see some hidden candy over there." My son and I watched as the little girl started searching, found the candy and let out a squeal of delight. I fell to my knees and gave my son a hug he thought was overbearing. (Because he grunted and squirmed.) I was trying hard to keep it together.

The organizer by this time had been notified of the little girls situation and was coming around asking of anyone wanted to give any of their eggs to help the little girl have a Easter egg hunt. I wasn't about to make my son give up any more of his candy but once again he surprised me by giving the woman 3 more pieces.

By this time I was ready to lay on the side of the road and sob properly. That is when it hit me like a ton of bricks.

He is listening.

All the times I want to beat my head on the side of the house because I have repeated myself 105 times. When I have told my girlfriends numerous times that some days all I do is lecture or say "no". When I talk to him in the car about being kind and serving others instead of listening to a really good song on the radio. When I think I am talking to the bug that has landed on my windshield because he is not listening to a word I say.

He is listening........ He is getting it. And my heart leaped full of gratitude and praise.

Just the realization that my words are not in vain, recharged me. My prayers about shaping his character are being heard and that made me eternally grateful.

As I watched him walking home, swinging his basket with 3 little pieces of candy, happy as a lark, (Are larks happy?...hmmmm.) I thanked God for my special boy and for letting me know to keep up the hard, thankless work of being a mama.

Then I watched him push his sister and my tears promptly dried up.

After all, he is just a boy. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mama Knows Best : How to pick a really great watermelon

We as mamas have to be innovative and thrifty all in the same beat. Some how we find new ways of doing things that save us money, time and maybe if we are really blessed.... sanity!
My little man loves him some watermelon! I never knew what ones were really good ones, however. It was always hit or miss. Since we are starting to hit "watermelon season", I thought I would post what exactly to look for!

* The watermelon rind should be matte and NOT GLOSSY!

* The bottom should be cream, NOT WHITE!

*Growing your own? Look for the same signs above but also look for the green curly vine to start to yellow. (This means that the plant is no longer feeding the melon.)

Do you have a money/time/sanity tip to share? E-mail me at

Monday, April 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Break out the Grill!

We just enjoyed Easter and now I am getting ready for my little man's birthday party!! (Can you say tired mama ?!?! ) In honor of this very busy season, I have decided to make my menu plan all about the grill. I also am getting to use some of my leftover ham and make delicious soup beans...yum!

We are having grilled peppers this week. I just core and quarter my peppers and marinate them in Italian dressing for a couple of hours. Then just place them right on the grill. They are Delicious!

Monday: Leftover buffet - if its not can eat it.

Tuesday: Grilled Asian chicken, brown rice, Broccoli

Wednesday: Soup beans with ham hock and corn bread

Thursday: Marinated grilled shrimp (recipe follows), grilled asparagus, twice baked potatoes

Friday: Pizza Night, salad

Saturday: Birthday Monster truck party- Hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, cake

Sunday: Grilled lemon herb Pork chops, Grilled peppers, Butter noodles

Marinated Grilled shrimp

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.

Preheat grill for medium heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.

Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.