Thursday, March 30, 2017

Orlando

2016 was a good year for Mitch at Verizon. He killed it in sales and was awarded top 10 percent in his position in his region across 8 states! Verzion rewarded all the top 10 percenters with a trip to Orlando with their plus one. I am so proud of Mitch for working so hard. We had an amazing time on this special get away this past weekend, and I am so grateful that my parents were able to watch the kids for us.

Verizon did a good job recognizing their top employees. For starters, we were given a rental car for the weekend. Mitch was excited about having the option of a mustang, but as the weekend went on he joked that he was too old and fat for this little sports car. But it sure was fun!


We were put up in the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort. The hotel floor had a walk of fame where each top 10 %-er had their own name on a tile.



Rock star Jonathan (Mitch) Brevard!

Verizon held a Winner's Circle reception by the resort's pool, where we had an open bar, snacks, and a chance to check out a few fun gadgets like these virtual googles where I could pretend that I was sky diving. We were also given "swag bags" that was filled with candy, snacks, sunscreen, a few other knick knacks, and a $100 gift card to Nike!


From the reception we were shuttled off on buses to Universal, where Verizon had rented out a part of the theme park just for us. Again there was also an open bar, and several buffets for us to chose from. The dueling piano bar, Bob Marley Bar, Karaoke, and a few other bars were just for us! We were given free glow light necklaces and rings, and the rides Hulk, Spiderman, Dr. Doom Fear Fall, and the tea cup ride were all reserved just for us! We had the park from 7 pm until midnight, and we had a blast! I felt like a movie star walking around Universal with a waiter on every corner offering me a glass of wine off their tray.








Friday was spent at Universal, and Saturday was spent by the pool! We felt so pampered and spoiled! And it was so nice to just relax and enjoy time in the sun with just the two of us.



I have always been so proud of Mitch for being such a hard worker and an amazing provider for our family. I am thankful that Verizon recognized Mitch's hard work and that we were able to be treated for a fun weekend away in honor of my sweet hard working hubby.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie

One of Mitch's favorite meals is a chicken pot pie. Two Sundays ago my dad came over to help us with our fence, and Mitch suggested that I make my chicken pot pie as a farmer's lunch. Making this simple meal from scratch really makes me feel like a Susy homemaker. I get to break out my apron, my rolling pin, and there is flour everywhere before I'm done. Since I was planning on serving this pie for lunch after church, I went ahead and made the pie dough and pie filling the night before, along with the dough for our rolls.

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe:

Pie Crust:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
  • 6 tablespoons ice cold water

Pour a cup and a half of flour with salt on top of your butter chunks in the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer. With your paddle attachment, mix until no dry flour remains and dough just begins to collect in clumps. Sprinkle remaining flour (1 cup) and mix until dough is just barely broken up.

Sprinkle with water then use a rubber spatula to fold and press the dough until it comes together into a ball. Divide ball in half. flatten each half into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or over night) before rolling and baking.






Pot Pie Filling:

1 pound or less cooked chicken - cubed ( I usually use the leftover chicken from a roasted chicken that we would have had the day or 2 before )
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced carrots
1 can of peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken (or veggie) broth
2/3 cup milk
2 unbaked pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F 
In a saucepan boil carrots and celery water for 15 minutes or until the veggies soften. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper. Slowly stir in broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and and add the peas, the cooked carrots and celery, and the chicken (before adding the chicken, I'll dip a small portion out to make a veggie pot pie for my vegetarian daughter).
Grease a pie pan or a cast iron skillet for your pie shell.
Pour the pot pie mixture in bottom pie crust. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough (I use my excess dough for the mini veggie pot pie). Cut small slits into your pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and the filling is bubbly. 

















































I served this meal with deviled eggs (from my yard!), rolls (homemade!), and canned green beans.


Our fence project is taking much longer than expected. Back in December we were sure that we would have it up and completed by the end of January, but we wouldn't even get all the supplies until February, and our conflicting work and weekend schedules have put us far behind our original deadline. But I am so thankful for the help from my dad.







The Fence is for our Skylar's horse Murray. As soon as the fence is up we'll be able to bring him home. In the meantime, he is staying with a friend of ours and is buddy buddy with her horse. We're hoping to bring Murray home soon!




Monday, March 20, 2017

No Stabilizers!


The Challenge group (grades 7th-12th, though our group only has 7th and 10th graders) from Classical Conversations took a field trip to the Fox Theater in Atlanta to see the Phantom of the Opera. The girls looked so beautiful and grown up! Skylar was in awe of her experience. She would go on and on talking for hours about the opera, the story, the music, and the chandelier. I'm so glad that she was able to have this opportunity to experience the opera with her friends.

March 2nd


Skylar, Somer, Maddie, and Presley

7th grade CC girls

While Skylar was away in Atlanta, we were surprised to find new visitors in our yard, 2 male peacocks! We had no idea where they came from. We checked in with a few neighbors and they didn't know either. I was delighted to have them. I had been begging Mitch for peacocks, but he told me they were too expensive of a pet for us just to admire in the yard. They stuck around for about 3 days before a neighbor would come looking for them. I'm glad he found them, because I knew that if I had bought and raised these peacocks as he did, that I would of course want to enjoy them for myself in my own yard. This was a good opportunity for us to get to know another neighbor whose family is around the same age as ours, with a son close to Maddox's age and another son close to Josiah's age. He collected his peacocks and left, but a few days later the peacocks returned and they haven't left yet. I still don't mind my visitors (as long as they don't poop on my porch!). I love watching them strut around the yard with their beautiful feathers. Our neighbor let us know that they're only 9 months old, and it turns out that peacocks don't mature and get their long train feathers until they're 2 or 3 years old. 





Big news this month! Mason has learned how to ride a bike without training wheels (or stabilizers as he likes to call them! lol). Mitch and I were enjoying a Sunday evening on the front porch, watching all 4 kids play and ride their bikes. I casually mentioned to Mitch that one day soon we would have to teach Mason how to ride without his training wheels. Mitch, still motivated to get things done after working in the yard all afternoon, said lets take off the training wheels now! Wait, what?!?! Just because I suggested it, didn't mean I was ready to teach him now. What if Mason wasn't ready? and even though Mitch was gung ho about taking off the stabilizers, I would be the one who had to train him once Mitch was away at work, I would be the one who would have to hold on to and help balance a frustrated 5 year old everyday while he tried to figure out how to ride his bike with only 2 wheels. But Mitch ignored my protest and took the wheels off anyways. Mason was bouncing with excitement, ready to ride his bike like a big boy, like his big brother Maddox with only 2 wheels, no stabilizers. I sat on the porch to watch Mitch give the first lesson. I figured that he could at least tackle the first day...I would have the days to follow. But Mason blew us all away when he took his bike from his dad and hopped on and took off like he already knew what he was doing! I squealed with excitement for him. Easiest lesson ever, I thought! He couldn't figure out how to stop without falling off, but he was too excited to get frustrated. After his first go, he would wobble and struggle to find his balance, so I would hold on to the back of his seat while he tried to figure out his foot placement on the peddle and then he would take off again. Within just a few short days he figured out how to stop himself without crashing and how to get on and off all by himself. It still blows me away to see him riding with just 2 wheels around the yard.

March 5th


March 11th

March 14th
Mason is still enjoying his piano lessons! and the opportunity to bang on some drums :)


February 2017

February, the month of Mason and Josiah. We celebrate Josiah's birthday in the beginning of the month, Mason's at the end of the month, and we have their combo birthday party in the middle!

Josiah's birthday fell on a Tuesday, which is our homeschool group day, so we started the morning early singing happy birthday and enjoying donuts for breakfast.


This week in art we're studying the great artist Degas, and his painting of ballerinas. Mason drew a beautiful picture of a ballerina with chalk. I cannot get over how impressed I am with his artwork!


On our Classical Conversations lunch break I took the kids to Chickfila and treated the kids to chicken nuggets and ice cream in celebration of Josiah's birthday.



Our closest neighboring town with a grocery store is Fitzgerald. They're known for their wild chickens, and every year they have a wild chicken festival. These chickens are all over this town, you can hear them crowing outside the grocery store, and I can't tell you how many times I have seen a chicken cross the road. This chicken, photographed below, was just outside the bank.


This February we ordered another batch of cornish cross meat chickens. 52 arrived for us at the post office to pick up, and just in time too, since we're about out of chicken from our last batch.


Look at those cute little peeps

Once upon a time my chickens were free to roam my yard, and I truly enjoyed it for a time. But the warm and fuzzy feelings of seeing my chickens free range in my yard slowly wore off when I couldn't keep up with, or grew tired of all the poop on my porch. I was sweeping and scraping poop off my porch everyday, and I had had enough. So now my sweet little laying hens and their mean butt rooster now stay in a chicken run with their cozy little coop. Our meat chickens stay in a separate chicken tractor where they get to enjoy fresh grass everyday as we move their tractor. I like it better this way, my porch stays poop free! Our laying hens enjoy their chicken feed, and the kids and I will pick weeds from the yard to give to the chickens as a salad, we'll also give them scratch (or treats) from the feed store, and whatever leafy greens I have leftover in the kitchen.



laying hens

meat chickens





 Mid month the weather was warm enough to build and enjoy a fire in our backyard. Mitch grilled italian marinated chicken, asparagus, and we baked potatoes inside. We enjoyed our dinner outside, and for dessert we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores.

sexy

I know its early, but with this warm weather I'm getting the itch to start a garden. So I planted a few things, such as 3 knock out rose bushes, herbs, a tomato plant, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and lavender. We would later get a 4 day and night cold snap. My tomato plant may be done for, only time will tell, and a few weeks ago Josiah decided to dig up and shred my herbs to pieces, so they're all gone, but all can be replanted around Easter.


A friend of mine introduced me to the Back to Eden gardening method. I hope to start a large garden in my front yard this spring. We called our power company, and they were more than happy to drop off this load of wood chip mulch to us for free. We were told to call back whenever we want more.



For Valentine's Day night, after all the kids were fed and tucked in bed, Mitch and I prepared and cooked together a special dinner for two, rib-eye steak, lobster tail, broccoli, and a cheesy garlic bread. Even though we were at home, it felt like a romantic night on the town, only it was just the 2 of us and we were in the comfort of our own home.


For dessert we made a chocolate lava brownie, with ice cream and berries. 


A friend of mine (the same one who is sharing her gardening secrets) shared with me her homemade flax seed bread recipe, and I have been baking this bread weekly ever since. I love the way the house smells when I bake bread, and all these little fingers around asking for a slice with butter and honey.



For Mason and Josiah's birthday we celebrated with friends and family at the house. We rented a large bounce house and bounce slide, and did I seriously not take a picture of that thing??? The kids had a blast!



Eating carrots from a friend's garden

Mason's birthday fell on a Sunday this year. We would have made it into church, but I was convinced that Maddox broke his foot the night before carrying and then dropping a large fence post on his foot. Maddox was in a good bit of pain and his foot was swollen and bruised, so we didn't make it into church that Sunday. Maddox spent his Saturday night with his foot iced and elevated on pillows, with lots of babying and attention. Mitch and I would debate whether his foot was broken or not. I had my money on broke, and Mitch was convinced it was just bruised. Fortunately an X-ray from Monday showed that his foot was not broken. By Sunday afternoon, Maddox was hoping around on one foot and in good spirits so, broken foot or not, we celebrated Mason's 5th birthday with donuts and candles for breakfast, loaded nachos for lunch, all day play outside, and cupcakes for dessert that evening. Mason's birthday present from mommy and daddy was a toy chainsaw, weed-eater, goggles, and tools. (Do I seriously not have a picture of that either???)





Mason started piano this year! He has always loved music, and has loved singing, I swear he was singing songs way before he could form sentences! So when he showed interest in Skylar's piano, I knew it was time for lessons. He's doing great! With his very first lesson he could already show us where middle C is,  and play and tell the difference between a whole note, half note, and quarter note. We are so proud, and so impressed!





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