Thursday, April 30, 2009


It has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks! Tax Season is officially over and I am PUMPED about that! But, summer fun has started with full force. Even though it is technically not summer yet, the day and evening planner has filled up and the phone is ringing off the hook =0) There is so much to do and so many people to see and so many plans to make for PNG.

Caleb was out of town last week-end, too. He attended a Crisis Consultant International Conference in Charlotte and received a lot of new things to think about and study. You can check out our Travels and Musings blog- more info on that!!

Let's just say that I am happy that he is home. Ben was a wonderful little baby, but the extra hands help!

For the past two weeks, it feels as if we have hung out with one or all of the couples from our church! I feel so blessed to have so many friends and the fact that I am forming friendships again that I never thought would be so "real".

I HAVE to remember to get the camera charged and start taking more pictures. When the schedule fills up, some things have to go.....Here's to making updates a priority again!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

At least I'm getting to work on time, right???

I think I have set a new record for the year. I have clocked in EARLY this week for work instead of LATE for 4 days straight. I wish that I had a better reason for this lack of tardiness.....but here goes:

I have had to do the 30 second dash at Ben's daycare. Ben has hit the "clingy" stage with full force. One day he was happy playing in the morning and going to see the fish (pronounced "ish" and with every muscle in his body shaking with excitment when spouted off). The next day, he would not let go. Fingernails digging into my arm and back for dear life.

"Ben, do you want to see the fish?" He shakes his head No.
"Ben, do you want to go with Mama Joyce?" He shakes his head No.

That's when I have to place him in the loving arms of his teachers and RUN. All the while, I can hear my son screaming with all of his might for me NOT to go.

Thus....I have been early to work =0(

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Caleb's Mancation...

Last week-end, Caleb was out of town on his "Man-cation". If you can sense the sarcasm in my quotation marks, please do not misinterpret them. I am all for Caleb going on trips without me. That doesn't bother me one bit. BUT.....I was supposed to get a
WO-mancation before he got his second Annual Smoke on the Water, Fish on the Grill mancation.

Ladies?? anyone up for a trip without the little ones anytime soon??? I'm thinking New York, San Fransisco or Europe. Any takers??? hehe

Actually, instead of sulking, I am focusing my energy towards Loria's wedding in San Fransisco in August. I will get to go Ben-free and possibly husband-free. Caleb may still go....that hasn't been decided yet. AND...I am working on Caleb to take me to an off-broadway show for our anniversary. Jersey Boys is coming to Raleigh and I heard it's a good show. AND....let's not forget that we are going to Orlando in June! That should be a fun and inexpensive way to celebrate our 5 year anniversary!

I hope to get more pictures up here soon. I have been pretty slack about that. Now that the weather is warming up, hopefully the camera will be back out with a fury!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Poor Kirk....EDITED

He got bit or stung yesterday above his eye and now it is swollen shut....

***Kirk is MUCH better. We held off in taking him to the vet and by the time I got home from work on Monday, the swelling had subsided. WHEW!***

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Happy Dance!

This is how I feel right now because 1) Tax Day came and went and 2) it looks like I will be able to stay home with Ben!! We are still working out the details and the timing....but it is official that it is possible!! YAY! (I'm scared silly about this....but YAY!!)
More on the fear of being a stay-at-home mom later. That deserves a post all to itself!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Speaking of Hard Times...

As you know, I have become an initial fan of Dave Ramsey. He lays out “baby steps” for becoming financially free. I may not agree with his advice beyond the giving and getting out of debt sections…..but I like his advice so far!

That being said, I want to bring up some things that I have run across lately that might help you and your family:

Nationwide Town Hall Meetings-
April 23rd at 8 PM (7PM for my West Coast friends)

(It’s free! They are all over the country. We’re going…..if you want to go with us, let us know!)

e-mealz- Caleb surprised me with a subscription to e-mealz. It’s only $5 per month (use DAVE as the promo code and it’s only $12.50 for 3 months!) and you get:

e-mealz meal plans that
...are written and created by REAL moms with REAL families
...are balanced and family friendly
...are as easy as possible, but delicious and kid tested!
...consist of favorite recipes collected from hundreds of moms
...come with an organized, aisle by aisle grocery list
...are for 4 to 6 people (or 2 to 3)
...are based on the current week sales at your grocery
...are priced at approximately $75 per week
...Two person plans average $35 total per week

Angel Food Ministries- Anyone can buy these!! HOLLA!

"Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month's menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $60. Comparison shopping has been done across the country in various communities using a wide range of retail grocery stores and has resulted in the same food items costing from between $42 and $78.

Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is all the same high quality one could purchase at a grocery store. There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.

Also offered are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. Many participants in this bonus program appreciate the expanded choices. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can receive, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere. Angel Food Ministries also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.

It's both a Bargain and a Blessing!

There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications.

Everyone is encouraged to participate. Some churches even encourage participants to apply the money they saved to help someone else in need."

LOVE the ideas! Have not tried these yet…..I will let you know how it goes!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Hair Story:

I don't get out much. Actually, my day consists of practically the same thing. Don't get me wrong! I love my day....but I think I lead a little sheltered life.
Here's the story of my hair. You can see the picture below: I like my hair cut, but it is definitely NOT worth what I paid for it.
So, I share my story to warn others who may be "sheltered" like me!
I have had my hair cut by Mitchell's at Crabtree Valley mall for the past 4 cuts. I was happy with each cut. My hair has been trained for this cut, so I think it is pretty easy to trim. It has cost $28 each visit! Score!
Then, I had Melanie cut my hair. I liked it. I paid $28. To my stupidity, I requested her for this past hair cut and the cost went up to a flippin' $50. Don't get me wrong. A $50 hair cut is not unheard of if you are "going for a change" or "want a new look", etc. What I didn't realize is that when you request a stylist, suddenly you get their "Star" price. Anyway...pissed me off. She's good, but I was happy with my cut from everyone else, too. You think she would have told me that the price would be different. Maybe I should have known.....either way, I am very proud of myself because I plan to take my butt back into that salon and pay my normal $28 price. We'll see if Melanie notices that I will NO LONGER be requesting her.
Times are tough!

Happy Easter (Part 2)

We spent a majority of our Easter week-end with our friends from church! We had an Easter Egg hunt and it was a smashing success!
The little ones got to play on the playground while the rest of us hid the eggs!
Caleb takes much better pictures than me: Ben is really starting to "climb"!

Many "firsts" for little Brayden:
Then it was off!! Every kid for themselves!

Brayden soon got the hang of it:

John and Ben didn't fight over eggs!

It was so cute. John liked to take the eggs out of the basket and put them back on the ground. Ben liked this because it was more for him to pick up. Ben didn't care who's basket the eggs went into....he just liked playing the game!

Then it was family picture time:

Matt, Jennifer and Brayden

Caleb, Adrienne and Ben

Joe, John and Amy
Jennifer, Greg and Levi! (He is so good with kids! He even had a couple of eggs for himself!)

After church on Sunday, we all went to Mimi's Cafe for lunch! YUM!!
John has such a fun face when the camera comes out:

Good Times!!

(Front- Jennfier, Brayden, Ben, Me, Amy, John, Kerry, Jennifer

Back: Matt, Caleb, Joe, David, Greg)

Happy Easter! (Part 1)

What a beautiful day!

We dyed Easter Eggs last night so that they would be ready for us in the morning!

Ben had an Easter Egg trail waiting for him after breakfast. (Thank you to Baba Benke!! She sent Ben a special Easter card which allowed us to go shopping for Easter surpries!)

Ben had an Easter basket waiting for him at the end of the trail.

Complete with his very own White Bunny!! (Thanks again, Baba!)

Also, Ben was able to use his Build-a-Bear Gift card from Great Aunt Dian and Great Uncle David!! He got it for his Birthday and thought it would be a nice treat. He's at an age where he can really enjoy his. He loved picking out his soft bear. He loved watching it get "stuufed". But, he did NOT like giving the bear a bather (with air). He was afraid his bear was getting hurt and cried for it back! He even picked out the outfit:

BBPD (Build-a-Bear Police Dept)

I love the holidays through Ben's eyes!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yes! We are THOSE Parents!

Practice makes perfect, right?? Here is a video of last Wednesday night. I thought Ben needed some practice for his school Easter Egg Hunt. Clearly, the boy is a natural!

Playschool Easter Party and Easter Egg Hunt!

Ben's daycare threw a little Easter Party!

Here are pictures from the hunt. Let me just say that Ben LOVES finding eggs!!

Did you think that I learned my lesson with the Turkey Cookies??? Think again! I figure that if I keep practicing now when Ben doesn't care, eventually I will produce cute holiday treats that actually resemble the picture!!
Enter Easter Picture/Inspiration:
Adrienne's Wanna-Be's:

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Good Friday....

How could a day filled with so much betrayal, death and suffering be "good"? I love this song, "Beauty from Pain" and feel it is appropriate for today. I encourage you to watch it once without looking at the names of the movies....then again if you want to know where the clips come from!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

"Don't Hate Me Because I Became a Carolina Basketball Fan!"

If you had seen Ben this morning, you would have seen him wearing his Carolina Blue T-Shirt with his Basketball hoodie carrying a sign around his daycare which read:

"My Teacher's B-Ball Team can beat Your B-Ball Team any day of the week IN THEIR SLEEP! HOLLA! Go Carolina!"

(I'm just praying that he doesn't get beaten up!)

It is official, Ben is a Carolina Basketball fan. He has only been around for 2 March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournaments and BOTH years, he has picked Carolina to win! Well, this year, his bracket came in LAST in our Benke Family Competition, but he did manage to pick the NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. (If you could see him now, he has his hand on his nose is wiggling his fingers while sticking out his tongue- which he can do now- and is saying "Nan Nan Na Boo Boo!" to Grandad, Uncle Philip and Uncle Scott.)

Little bit of background- Upon moving to NC, it became VERY clear that it just didn't seem "right" to pick a team since we really had no allegiance to a particular school except Campbell (who seems to not even show up for games) and Seton Hall (who's games never seem to be on since NC has a ba-zillion teams that trump air time).

Now that Ben has picked Carolina TWICE in his bracket-picking career coupled with the fact that all his daycare Mama's said that it was OK for him to become a fan because he's part of "their" is now official.
Currently, I am a Carolina Basketball fan, too....because I want what makes my son happy! Whenever we have our next child, we will have to see which North Carolina school finds them! Until then....Go Heels!

(By the way, I made a point to type "Basketball" team. We are not automatically Carolina Football fans! Just so you case you were wondering!)