February 28, 2009

Dad Is Retired From FORD

Dad cutting his cake

Grandpa Bob Sr., Dad and Great Uncle Tom

Dad with grandkids and my nieces and nephew, Chase Bowen, Kimber and Kara Wilson

Yesterday was a very important day for the Howe's.  We celebrated another retirement from the FORD plant.  My Grandpa (Bob Howe),  my Great Uncle (Tom Howe) and now my dad (Bob Howe Jr)..  My mom, Donna Howe, also worked there for 10 years.  Both my Aunt's, Pam Scott and Carolyn Howe worked there for 89 days (as  Carolyn told me yesterday), and my cousin, Nathan Henry worked there many years before he died in an accident several years ago.  

So, as you can see, the plant runs deep in the family.   Some of them have a love/hate relationship with the place.  Others just have a hate relationship.  Either way, it provided well for our family many years.  It gave us a home and food on the table.  For that reason, I am thankful.  

Dad started working at FORD in 1977.  Since I was born in 1975, I have no memory of him not being there.  For as long as I could remember, Dad has worked at FORD.  He held many positions during his employment.  Most I couldn't name.  He worked nights for many years.   I remember one year Dad got his profit sharing check.  Mom and Dad decided to let us kids go to Walmart and buy something.  I was so excited.  I remember Dad always getting a week off in July/August for model change and a week off in December.  

I am proud of him.  That is a long time to stay in one place.  Especially one as tough as there.  

So, I have a surprise to post tomorrow.  Can't wait to tell you!  
Check in.

February 27, 2009

Dad's Cake Cutting Ceremony

This is going to be an extremely short post.  I'm off to the city with my Grandpa and ma, Great Aunt Kay and Great Uncle Tom for Dad's cake cutting ceremony.   My Mom, sisters and their families are meeting us there.  I will take lots of pictures and post them tomorrow.


February 26, 2009


This is a random picture today.  Not sure why I haven't posted it before.  Rick, I and the kids were going home after seeing the flood waters last fall.  When we were passing over the Grand River, we noticed two gigantic bucks (it's hard to tell in this picture how big they are) swimming to find high ground.  It was amazing.  Luckily, I had my camera.  Unluckily, I had it set on lower megapixels for ebay-ing.  If it had been the full 12.2 megapixels, I could have blown this up and it would have been amazing.  I will probably never witness anything like this again.  They swam for at least a mile before they found ground.  

In my opinion...there are two types of people in this world.

 TYPE #1:  Those who vomit effortlessly.  It happens like a hiccup, burp, or sneeze.  Not a pleasant experience but something that just "happens" occasionally.

TYPE #2:  Those who have vial convulsions.  Wretching until they puke everything down to their toenails.  Often, horrible noises will accompany this action.  (sounds like screaming, shouting, or a car without a muffler)

I happen to be type #1.  My husbands happens to be type #2.  Enough said about that, huh?

So.  Cooked again in the church kitchen yesterday.  Fun, as always!!  I am supposed to mention Terri Willard on here.  She is so fun to tease.  I love you Mrs. Willard.  If Alicia is my kitchen mommy, you are my kitchen "sista".  My sista from another mother.  Oh.....that doesn't rhyme like brother, does it?  Anyway.  You guys make my Wednesday pleasurable.  I truly look forward to it.

Last night, Nancy and I took our small girls group to the Ash Wednesday service.  I was very moved and have made a promise to God because of it.  I vow to grow closer to God during this Lent.  I understand that I have an open invitation to Him.  However, I often don't have one for Him.  This has to change!!!!  I know better than to block Him out.   My promise is between Him and I.  I haven't even shared it with Rick.  So expect some huge spiritual growth in me soon!!!  

Well, I am feeling energized after a great night sleep.  I'm going to hit the floor running today.  It is 7:30 and I've already stripped the beds.  


P.S.  Still can't post Dad's card.  I had my days mixed up.  His cake cutting isn't until tomorrow.  Whoops, my bad.  So tomorrow, I promise!!!  Tomorrow evening.  

Later guys. 

February 24, 2009

This is how I woke up this morning......

Gracie:  "sigh, moooommmm, I want a flip pony-tail."  

Me: " Hunny, I'm not sure that we have time."  You wouldn't get out of bed.....remember?"


Mom: "Okay"

Gracie: "gasp, I'm going to look soooo cute."

I took the kids to school this morning because I had a tanning appointment at 9:00.  I'm beginning to bake myself.  Slowly.  But boy is it relaxing.   So, I had a little time between dropping off the kids and the appt..  So, where do you go?  Wal-mart.  Of course.  Where else?

I bought several things that I probably could live without.  Cat litter, milk, soap, bread, canned tomatoes.  Aww, just kidding.  I might need the tomatoes. 

I came home.  Surfed the net.  Switched laundry.  Made Dad's retirement card.  (which I will show after tomorrow), made yummy chocolate chip muffins (that I cannot eat), vacuumed the house, and showered.         BORING!!!

Thanks for checking in.  Hopefully I will write something more substantial tomorrow.

February 23, 2009

This is a horse......of course.  Gracie's fav. animal. 

LEFT: Self-portrait of Gracie.  She even included her pink winter coat.  How clever!!

RIGHT: Mr. Snowman.  Bright and colorful!!!

doo ta doo......

I just downed a Slim-Fast optima in like, three minutes.  Maybe less, I didn't keep track.  I know that it was quick though.  It says on the can that it "controls hunger up to 4 HOURS".  We'll see, huh?  Weigh-in is tonight.  Scareeeeee!

So, what has happened since I last wrote.  

1. Rick worked in the er last weekend.  Although he was home at night.  That makes it better for me but I know the driving has to stink for him.

2. We finished bball.  Yessss!  Ian's team lost.  Ryan's team won one, lost one.  I tried to tape them all for Rick, but the battery died during the 3rd quarter of Ryan's first game.  Sorry Rick.

3. We watched the Oscars.  Man I wish that I could wear those dresses.  Simply gorgeous!!!  I didn't see many movies this year so I wasn't really pulling for any.  I did watch "The Dark Knight".  Loved it!!  So glad that Health Ledger won best supporting actor.

4. Cleaned the house yesterday.  

5. Hummmm, that about does it.

So I thought that I would upload a few of Gracie's school art-work.  I think they are so cute.  I wish that I could frame them all.

I am very frustrated about how it is saving my posts.  When I'm composing the post, it shows it one way.  Then when I save the post, it changes.  So, once again, the labels on Gracie's pictures are transposed.  Sorry.

February 19, 2009

Mandy's Top Fifteen List

  1. Of course, Jesus!!!  He's my main man.  My top squeeze, and the reason I'm tickin'.
  2. Breakfast!!  I'm not talkin' oatmeal or cereal.  I mean fried eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, a little hash browns on the side.  Umm, umm, umm, that's what I'm talkin' bout'.
  3. Hugs, kisses and I love you's from the kids.  
  4. American Idol, Martha Stewart Living, Rachel Ray, and Ace of Cakes.  (not necessarily in that order.)
  5. A clean house and a freshly mowed yard.  Ahhhh!
  6. The night before Christmas.  No one can sleep because we are too excited.  Santa Tracker, reindeer food, Santa's cookies, "The Night Before Christmas", & our nativity.  These are memories that I will never forget.  Even if I get lose my memory some day.
  7. Margarita on the rocks with salt.
  8. The first snow of winter, the first flower or robin of Spring, tanning in the summer, and the change of leaves in the fall.
  9. Creating things.  Cards, scrapbooks, and crafts.  
  10. Vacations with the family.  I love leaving all responsibility of the home, at home.  No cooking, no cleaning.  Absolute freedom!!  My favorite trips are the relaxing ones.  No place to be at a certain time.  Let's just wing-it!!!
  11. Fitting into my favorite jeans.  You know, the ones that you feel skinny in.  The ones that make your butt look good.  Those.
  12. Diving into a good book.  One that you don't want to put down.  The one that you will lose sleep over.  
  13. Fresh, clean, soft sheets.  
  14. A loud thunderstorm.  Tornado warnings add a little excitement.  I love listening to the weather on the radio.  I WILL see one someday.
  15. Sitting in church as a family.  Rick puts his arm around my shoulders.  Gracie is coloring.  Ian is making paper airplanes, Ryan is listening.

February 18, 2009

I am having a little difficulty with this post.  When I uploaded the pictures, it didn't do it properly.  Half of Ryan and Haley were cut off.  So I tried to edit it.  Now the description for the pictures and reversed.  So, please understand while reading this, that I'm not THAT big of an idiot!

These are the Easter cards that I made the other day.  I think that there were 20 of them.  I will give them to my girl's group and Rick and I's Sunday School class.  Cute and very simple cards.

This is a picture of Ryan and Haley Rucker.  Her parents, Marty and Susan, have been friends of ours for a long time.  The kids all play really well together.  We are at Gracie's basketball game.  I think that he is trying to entertain her.

Hullo, hullo.....

Anna....I promise, I will not share information on my whereabouts in this blog ANY MORE!!!  Or my husbands.  Deal?  Gotta love you, even if you are a worry wart.

So, I just walked in the door.  I've been slaving in the church kitchen.  I think that we made nearly 300 mini cheesecakes. (cupcake size)  Whew!  I was beginning to wonder if we would ever finish.  Our lunch was later than normal but we weren't going to miss out on Boji.  I would have went back to help but poor Gussy hadn't pottied since 9:00 this morning.  T.M.I.?  I was just really glad to be with the church ladies today.  I've been missing friends.  A little girl time is good for me now and then.  

I am glad that I have nearly finished the worst part of this week.  Thursday and Friday's are usually easier days.  We are going to the bank Friday to finish up an investment we finalized yesterday.  (again, Anna, I won't share.  hehe)  But if you call, I might tell ya.   I wish the investment was diamonds.  But unfortunately, it's not.  And gladly, it's not guns.  Which is what Rick says that they are.  So, I should get a diamond every time he gets a gun, right?  Humm, not the way it works.  Does this sound like something that irritates me?  Not really. 

I teach girls group tonight and I think that we are going to talk about "R" rated movies.  Ian's guitar teacher, Joyce Stark, always leaves Bible tracs out for the students to take home.  I picked this up yesterday.  It's very interesting.  It seems like our society has become more and more relaxed on what is acceptable.  I notice this even with myself.  So we will see how the conversation goes.  I'm anxious to see how they feel.  I'm really loving our little group.  I'm beginning to learn so much about them.  They are all so different.  I hope that what we teach them will "sink in".  They love just sitting around and talking about things.  Really deep and mature conversations.  

Well, I need to get ready for round today's round 2.  

Before I closed this, I wanted to include the recipe for the mini cheesecakes that we made today.  They are perfect for guests because the recipe makes lots of them.

You Will Need:
5 packages of full fat cream cheese
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 tsp. imitation vanilla
6 eggs
graham crackers
1/2 c. sugar
1 stick of butter (melted)

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.   Then pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, mix two packages of graham crackers, 1 stick of butter and 1/2 c. sugar.  Pulse until completely blended and crackers are very fine.

Press into the bottom of the cupcake liners.  Use your fingers to pack it in there.  Bake in oven 7 to 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, mix 5 packages cream cheese (softened), sugar, vanilla until creamy.  Scrape down the sides.  Then add eggs, one at a time.  Scrape sides again .

Scoop into cupcake liners until 1/2" shy of top.  They will rise some.  You will need a little space for the topping.

Bake until it just begins to brown.  Not all of them will.  Do not wait until they are completely brown.  Approx. 20 minutes.  I don't have exact times because we use large, commercial convection ovens.  The times will be different.  

We topped ours with cherry, strawberry and blueberry pie filling.

Some of them we added chocolate chips to the batter.

Some we added chopped snickers bars.

One batch we added melted chocolate to.  That one looked the best to me.  Use your imagination.  

Kuddos to Alicia Early.  My kitchen mommy and the best cook that I know.

February 17, 2009

Gus says hi!

We are all well at the Smith's house.  YEAHHH!!!!  No more ickies.  Only one carpet stain.  Red Gatorade.  (need I say more?)  Ian still looked pale yesterday, but said that he felt much better.  This morning when I woke him up for school, we were back to normal.  Hey, if you're going to be sick, the 24 hour bug is the way to go.  Do you agree?

So, not much is going on today.  Cleaning....laundry.  Same ole', same ole'.  I have stamp club tonight, which always gets me excited!  Wonder what we will make tonight?  hummmm.....  I like being with friends and making things.  It just doesn't get any better than that.  Of course, Gracie has gymnastics and Ian has guitar.  Normal weekly things.  

Wow, not much to share.  Gonna save some for tomorrow.  I feel like I'm digging.  

Later gator!!!  

February 15, 2009

It gives me a pit in my stomach when one of the kids wake us up in the middle of the night.    That is what happened last night.  Poor lil' Ian.  He started vomiting around 1:00 a.m..  He was upset because he vomited in his bed.  We told him to go to the spare room to sleep.  We planned on cleaning up in the morning.  Well that didn't last long.  A hour later, he vomited in the other bed.  We were forced to get up and wash sheets.  Rick started striping the beds while I cleaned carpets.  Gross, gross, beyond gross is all that I can say.  It took everything that I had not to lose it myself.  We were steam cleaning the carpets at 4:00 a.m..  I went to bed around 4:30 and just layed there.  The cat wouldn't quit purring.  I was too lazy to get up and kick him out.  So, needless to say at 6:00 a.m., when Ian started vomiting again, I hadn't been back to sleep.  Right now, I'm running on fumes.  

Rick and Ryan went to the city (something we were all supposed to do together), while Gracie, Ian and I stayed home.  I'm trying my hardest to keep Grace away from Ian.  I just don't want to be sick again like I was last month.   That was so miserable.  It's worse having the kids sick.  I just feel terrible for them.  Ian isn't vomiting any more, but he looks pale and weak.  He has only ate two pieces of sugar toast all day.  If you know Ian at all, you know that isn't much.

I kicked into full gear this morning with laundry.  Two beds to clean is no easy chore.  Plus I, like always, have mounds of laundry to do besides.  I put a big dent in it but I'm no where near done.

I did however, get some Easter cards made.  I'm ready to bring some Spring into my life.  I love the pastels.  I made nearly 20 of the same cards.  The only difference in them was the color of cardstock.  I may post them tomorrow.  Just don't have the energy to do it today.

Gracie is officially done with basketball.  They won every game, except the last one.  Gracie had no clue and I wasn't about to tell her.  She is so oblivious to things like that.  Like her mommy, she is non-competitive.  Ian's team played two games in Brookfield, MO.  They won their first one and lost their second.  Ryan's game.  OUCCHH!!  They lost, pretty badly.  It was an older team, who hustled.  Someday they will get them.

Our official Valentine's Day was uneventful because of basketball.  Like I mentioned in my last post, our Valentine's Day was Friday night.  Ryan went to the movies with a group of friends.  They watched Pink Panther 2.  This was the first time we let him do something like this.   If Ian is better tomorrow, I would love to take them to see Coraline.  

February 14, 2009

Mrs Gutshall's room was very festive this year.  Gracie brought little pink treasure chests loaded with candy.  The special part was that they all locked shut with a cute heart key.These are the red velvet cupcakes that I made.  I melted chocolate and put it in a ziploc bag.  Then created hearts.  I wanted to make our names to put on them, however, they broke when I tried to remove them.  Bummer
Ian's Valentine's box.  We named him Ducky because he was almost entirely wrapped in duct tape.
The head had see-thru holes.  We put hershey's kisses in them.
Little sacks that I made for special people in my life.  I stamped and embossed the fronts.  Scalloped the tops.  Then put lots of yummy candies in them.  
I LOOOOVVVVEEEE Valentine's Day.  I realize that it is super commercial.  But isn't it nice to tell those you love this they are the apple of your eye.  I guess that I am a romantic.   We had our special Valentines dinner last night.  We ate in the dining room (which only happens 3 or 4 times a year).  I decorated the table in pink and MORE PINK!!!  I made everyone's fav., shrimp pasta (only with chicken), cinnamon apples, brownies, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, dipped strawberries, and shirley temples.  Yummy!!!

We exchanged cards and gifts.  The kids all bought me a card with their own money.  I about bawled reading each one.  They were so special to me.  Rick got me a card that did make me cry plus he bought me a gift.  I am so lucky to have such a great family.  They are my reason for breathin'.

I went to Gracie's party and it was so cute.  She said that "It was the best party ever".  I brought Francine's for snacks.  She made these cute rice crispy jumbo hershey's kiss'.  I didnt put a picture on here of them.  Basically she molded rice crispy's into a large funnel.  Wrapped them in foil.  Then put in the "token" paper tags.  Not necessarily in that order.

Ian's robot was a hit at our house.  But he was beat out by another classmate in the contest.  There is always next year.  As my husband and his man friends say, bigger, better, faster.  

February 12, 2009

This is the finished result.  Mr. Metal Mouth.  I kindof think you look cute Ry.

Once they began, it only took a little bit.  They polished the teeth, put a special type of dental glue on them, placed the brackets, positioned the appliance, threaded the wire, and then put on the bands.  Voila!!!  
Getting ready for the dentist.  They were extremely busy, so the wait seemed like forever.  Ryan was excited and nervous.  

Yesterday was a day that I will always remember.  I picked Ryan up from school at 10:30 so we could head to the dentist.  I am going to pay a man to torture my son for the next two years.  Before you call DFS, he got braces.  Of all the things that I passed on to my oldest son, why did it have to be my teeth?  I've always regretted having crooked bottom teeth.  I even considered getting braces as an adult.  In the back of my mind, I know that it won't happen.  Sooo..I am determined not to let my children have crooked teeth.  We have known for a long time that Ryan was going to get them.  We waited until he lost all of his baby teeth.  I personally think that is smarter than putting them on too young.  

Dr. Rolfe put an appliance on the roof of his mouth.  That sounds weird, I know.  To be honest, I think it is weird.  You cannot visibly see it unless he opens his mouth wide and shows you.  The ultimate goal of this is to expand his palate.  I put a small wrench in and turn it once every evening.  We are hoping to only have to do this for a couple months.   He woke up this morning VERY sore.  I gave him a couple Advil.  Hopefully this gets better.  I just feel so bad for him.

On a lighter note...I am getting pretty pumped up about tomorrows Valentine's dinner.  I hope that it is fun.  I love this tradition.  The kids have pretty much made out the menu.  I will take plenty of pictures and post them over the weekend.  

February 9, 2009

These are pictures that Gracie drew of Rick and I.   Awwwww.  Aren't they cute?

Yummo!!!  We celebrated Grandpa's 72nd birthday yesterday.  Grandma made lots of delish food.  Soups, smoked ham, veggie platter, dips, chicken salad (my fav.), and the Holy Crap cake as Feather called it.  It was a yummy  chocolate cake with caramel frosting and chocolate chips.  Too good is all I have to say.  So for the second Sunday in a row.....I bombed on my diet.  Weigh-in is tonight.  I'm prayin' hard!!!

It sure is gloomy today.  It started raining while I was in Gracie's classroom this morning.  I kindof like days like this when there isn't anything to do.  But of course....there is.  I have laundry crawling out of baskets.  

I am excited about our annual Valentine's dinner Friday night.  I've not planned out the meal, but I promise to make sure that the family will enjoy.  We always eat in the dining room.  I turn down the lights and bring out the candles.  I decorate the table with lots of hearts.  Sometimes I even play music in the background.  The kids always look forward to it.  I have to admit that I am too.

Ryan's basketball games were cancelled last Saturday.   They overbooked the court in Brookfield.  Not surprised, huh?  So Marty Rucker, Ryan's coach is talking about scheduling an extra game this week.  Hopefully in place of a practice.  Anyway.  Another week down, two more to go.  Cannot wait is not strong enough of a sentence.  I am truly hating basketball.  Rick gladly informed me this weekend that it will be three times worse next year.  He will play school ball then and will have many more games.  Awww gee, can't wait.  I hope that my hate of basketball changes.  I believe that I have lots and lots of it in my future.  

So...better get back to work.  Sitting down makes me sleepy.  I don't have time for sleepy today.  

February 6, 2009

Today....was a great day.  

1.  I was super-duper worried about our taxes.  That turned out well.  Yeah!!!  We get a refund!!!   

2.  I lost weight this morning.  I hadn't stepped on the scales in a few days because I was afraid that I gained.  Yippee!  I even wore a pair of pants that I haven't been able to in a while today.  Now I'm not dreading Weight Watchers so much Monday.

3.  I got to eat lunch with Rick today at Applebee's.

4.  I came home and made cards and scrapbooked.

5.  I took a nap.

6.  Gracie's grade card was perfect.  I mean that very literally.  There is nothing that she needs to improve on.  So proud of her.  Mrs. Gutshall said "Gracie is a super student!"

7.  I think that I'm going to watch a movie this evening.  Rick is in the E.R. .  Not much else that I need to do.

8.  AHHHHH!  I love days like these.

February 5, 2009

I've been in a foul mood today.  I woke up grumpy.  Now it's nearly bedtime and I'm still grumpy.  I hate feeling that way.  It really gets to me.  I think part of the reason is that we are never home as a family in the evenings anymore.  I'm going one way with one or two kids, Rick goes another.  It makes me feel lonely.  Soooo, I'm looking forward to basketball ending.   Not too much longer.  
I scoured the house today.  Even the basement and kids rooms.   Rick has to work AGAIN tomorrow night in the ER.  So my hope is to do something for myself.  Maybe scrapbook, make cards, read, or take a little siesta.  Just whatever I want.  That will feel so good and maybe it will perk me up.  

Rick is going to Brookfield tomorrow to get our taxes done.  I worked really hard at getting them organized throughout the year.  Rick complimented me and that made me happy.  I am always nervous that I'm going to mess up our money somehow.  I know that I should go with him, but I just can't.  Something about taxes makes me want to flip out.  My heart starts racing, my palms sweat, and I get light-headed.  I think I will let him handle it.  I will be anxious to hear to end numbers though.  I think?

I'm trying to grow some flowers and herbs from seeds.  Right after Christmas I grew an amarylis.  It has just begun to bloom and I am enjoying it so much.  I am anxious to see if I can produce anything out of this.  I plan on taking pictures of their growth.   Anywhoo...all this growing sure has gotten me in the mood for Spring.  I just hate Winter.  The older I get, the worse I hate it.  I used to like the cold until Christmas.  Then I immediately wanted it to be over.  Now I think that I live in the wrong state completely because I started cursing winter in November.   Bummer, I think that the groundhog saw his shadow the other day.  Six more weeks of winter.  I don't think I can handle it.  I may need to get some UV's at the tanning bed.  Hummm, that sounds wonderful.  

Reminder: buy tanning sessions tomorrow.  

February 4, 2009

Feb 4th, 2009 Part 2


I couldn't figure out how to post pictures of my furniture after I already saved the post.  So here they are.  

Feb. 4th, 2009

I am so stinkin' excited about the furniture that was delivered yesterday.  It made our house feel so much cozier.  I would say that the most dramatic part was moving the living room furniture into the great room.  LOVE IT!!  I also like the new living room furniture.  I'm going to have to get used to those chairs though.  The next project will be the dining room.  I have an idea in my head of what I want.  I know it's going to be expensive, so it will probably be a while before I get it done.  

So yesterday was a sad day.  I attended the grave-side service of Jule Smith.  I don't believe that I had ever met him.  However, his daughter Nancy Mitchell is one of our closest friends.  It was a military service.  I was proud to be an American when they fired the shots for him.  They also came and folded the flag and presented it to Nancy's mom, Marilyn.  The service was lead by Greg Hughes.  It was just as Jule requested, short and simple.  

I attended Weight Watchers on Monday and lost 3.4 pounds.  Not bad.  I really hoped to lose 4 pounds.  Gonna have to work harder this week.  I pigged out on Super Bowl Sunday.  How stupid to do that the night before weigh-in.  Grandma and Grandpa Howe came over and stayed until half time.  I made chilli and cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies, and cornbread.  It was de-lish.

Well I better get my rear in gear.  I need to be in the church kitchen in an hour.  Gonna feed Chillicothe.  haha