Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Both kids have homework this year. Preston has been working on writing his letters. Kaitlyn has been working on spelling words and lots of reading. They are both progressing well.

Last year, I made these homework boards from project boards I saw in Family Fun magazine (look up Homework Central). They each have their own little space to do their homework and it keeps them from distracting each other. Though you can decorate it however you'd like, theirs is just white with the basic school supplies.

Kaitlyn and Preston are at to work on their homework. When they get home from school, they may have a small snack, rest time, and then start on their homework.

Preston's board has clothespins stuck on foam squares to clip any papers he may need. A pencil case with a pencil, ruler, kids scissors, glue stick, and pencil sharpener hang from a plastic hook. I have a bunch of notepads from when I worked in family practitioner's office that I gave to the kids. We hung a pad on the board for them to use as scratch paper.

Here is Kaitlyn's board. They both have identical supplies. I also put velcro tabs on one side of the board to attach a calculator and container full of rubber bands and paper clips.

This seems to keep them organized with all the supplies close at hand. We also started an incentive chart. I printed off a monthly calendar for each of them. Each day they do their homework, they get to put a sticker on that day of the month. After 10 stickers, they can either get $1 prize from the store, a movie night, or a game night. So far, so good.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's Showtime, Folks!

I did my first show after a 4 yr hiatus. In fact, the last show I did, I was pregnant with Preston (so he kind of had a part in the show too). I auditioned with Regal Opera Co. since I know the Musical Director and Stage Director. I knew if I got a part, I would feel comfortable working with them.

We performed "Tales of Carmen and South Pacific". Act I had songs from the opera Carmen. Act II had songs from the musical South Pacific. There were some characters throughout the show that tied it all together. So, after two months of rehearsal, this weekend was performance weekend (Fri and Sun only). Both shows were great! I was cast in the chorus and had a minor solo and two short speaking lines. Just so you know, performers always count how many lines/words they have.

My parents came in town to see both performances. I also had a couple siblings, Craig and kids, and lots of great friends from church show their support as well by attending. Thank you all for coming!!!

Kaitlyn and my mom are waiting for the curtain to open. Kaitlyn enjoyed the entire show. Preston had a hard time staying still for the opera portion.

Act I-Carmen. I am to the right of the gentleman with the brown skirt. I had a dark curly hairpiece in my hair. I'm holding a prop cigarette since our characters were called "Cigarette Girls". There's some type of powder substance that made smoke come out when you blew on it. During the show, I never put it in my mouth.

I'm striking a "Spanish" pose during Habanera.

Act II-South Pacific. Craig tried his best to get pictures that weren't blurry. I was moving around during this whole song so it was hard. I'm in the center with the lime green shirt. We had towels around our neck since we were singing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair."

I'm singing my sassy solo and I swing the towel around my head (my direction was to be sexy).

Preston took a picture with me after the show. Craig and the kids brought me a bouquet of mixed flowers. My parents and brother brought me red tulips. They always give me flowers on opening night.

This is the cast in one of the dressing rooms (everyone was dressed) waiting for our cue to head backstage.

This is the beautiful Jillian that played one of the roles of "Carmen". We took a picture of each other taking a picture.

It was so much fun being on stage again and I'm so comfortable doing it. I'll probably do another show or two next year. As for now, it's time to stop pretending and get back to reality.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Here's another dessert recipe. This came from Nestle Toll House Best Ever Cookies recipe book. There are a lot of great recipes in this book. I actually bought my copy at a garage sale for $1. Great deal!

Here is what the bars look like fresh from the oven.

Let them cool, cut, and enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (I use creamy)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups (12 oz pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided (I actually used Kroger brand and they were just as good...and cheaper!)
Combine flour and baking soda in small bowl. Beat granulated sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 1/4 cup morsels. Press into ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining morsels; press down slightly.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Chill for a few minutes. Cut into bars.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Movie Night

Kelley Family Movie Night! We love it and look forward to it. Usually after a hectic week or when we just want to relax, we'll have a movie night on Friday nights. Majority of the time, Craig is having to work late, so it's something fun the kids and I can do.

After we pick up Kaitlyn from school we head to the video store down the street, Family Video. Their videos are cheap!!! Most kid movies are free. Other movies are either 2/$1 or $1 for 5 nights. New releases are $2.79 for 5 nights. Like I said, the movies are cheap! In the same shopping center is Subway. We'll get the $5 footlong sandwiches and bring them home with our movies. We stick the sandwiches in the refrigerator until dinnertime.

Usually, the kids are counting down until it's time to start our movie night. We usually start about 5:30 or 6 pm to allow them time to watch both of the movies. I'll move the coffee table out of the way and put an old blanket on the floor. Then the kids change into pajamas, grab their pillows, a blanket, and their plastic trays. I'll put their sandwich on a paper plate with some chips and set it on their tray. For movie nights they are allowed something special to drink such as a capri-sun (I usually only allow those for their school lunch), caffeine-free soda (like root beer, sprite, or orange), or lemonade. The kids have special cups that look like mugs with a built-in straw that they like to use. I'll pop in the first movie, squeeze in between them with my dinner, and movie night begins!

For this movie night, they picked Franklin (Preston's pick) and Olive, The Other Reindeer (Kaitlyn's pick).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ft. Worth Stockyards

We headed to the Ft. Worth Stockyards today. They had a free family event called Animals Alive. We have never actually been to the Stockyards since we moved here in 2001. So, we thought this would be something fun for all of us.

The train depot is actually lined with lots of shops filled with western wear, rustic memorabilia, and anything Texas. It departed shortly after I took this picture.

There are actual stagecoaches that you can ride around the Stockyards. The drivers are dressed in western costumes.

Preston and Craig got to pet an armadillo after we watched the Armadillo Races.

Kaitlyn and Preston rode the ponies.

We actually saw a camel, calf, and goat by the pony rides.

Craig and Preston posed in the Clown Barrels.

Preston actually wanted to pose next to this cowboy statue.

We posed next to a miniature stagecoach. If you're noticing my purse, it's from Sam Moon.

And then there's the famous Cattle Drive. Cattle Drives happen twice a day every day at the Stockyards. Several cowboys parade the cattle out of their pens, down the main street, and back to their pens again.

It was a fun time. The Ft. Worth Stockyards is certainly a place everyone must visit. You'll really feel like you're in Texas.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dear Heavenly Father

Dear Heavenly Father,

One of your children is leaving behind their family today. He must go where he is needed right now. He will become a hero to strangers like he's already a hero to us.

When he is all alone, please help him feel your presence. When he is scared, give him courage. When is he hurting, give him comfort. If he ever may be in trouble, give him protection.

He will come across others that he's never met. Let them feel compassion from him. Let them feel safe. Let them see YOUR love coming through him.

Please guide his steps. Give him a spirit of discernment when speaking. Give him the knowledge he will need for each situation he is in.

Bring him home safely. Bring us back the youngest Kelley boy. Bring us back your beloved child. Safely. So, we may wrap our arms around him again.

In Your Loving Name,

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Music Classroom

I am the music teacher for the Mother's Day Out Program at my church. This will be my third year teaching for them. Ages are from 6 months through Kindergarten so my schedule is full. I love being able to see every kid every Tues/Thurs, even for just a little bit.

Usually, my music class is in the preschool chapel, but I have to set up every Tuesday and tear down every Thursday for Sunday services. This year, I actually get my own room!!!! I don't have to worry about any setting up or tearing down.

After searching the internet for ideas on how to decorate a music classroom, I found some ideas. Since all the classes are named after animals (giraffes, elephants, etc.), I decided to nickname my room the Music Zoo and used that as my theme.

Here is the door as you walk in.

This "bulletin" board is on the back wall. The charts talk about note values, dynamics, staff lines, etc. My students learn how to read music starting in Pre-K.

I've received so many comments on this bulletin board with the Zoo Pal Plates as a border. We talked about colors this week in class, so it actually worked very well as a visual aid also.

This is another Zoo Pal idea I found online.

This is the instrument area. I have lots of instruments for the kids to use this year. I will actually be playing some songs on the keyboard during class too. We've already practiced rhythm patterns in Kindergarten.

I absolutely love my classroom and the kids really enjoy it too! I'm so thankful for the little things!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of Pre-K

Well, today was Preston's first day of Pre-K. It's so hard to believe that a year from now, he will be going to public school. Where did the time go?

Preston attends the Mother's Day Out Program at the church we attend. I also work there as the Music Teacher. So, I get to see Preston throughout the day and he comes to my class for 40 minutes.

Preston got some new gear for school. He picked out a Toy Story backpack that we got a great deal on at He had also been asking for a Toy Story lunchbox since his birthday in June. Well, when Toy Story 3 came out in theaters (which happened to be on Preston's b-day), Kroger had a huge display on Toy Story items. As the hype died down, the items went on sale for 75% off. Immediately, Craig bought a lunchbox from his store and we saved it all summer just for this special day.

Here's the handsome boy with his backpack and new clothes.

Preston has been attending this program since he was 1 yrs old. He is so used to the routine by now that he went right into his class and sat down to color. He knows how to spell and write his name already.

Craig prepared a special after school snack for Preston's first day: sugar cookies (with the help of Betty Crocker) and lemonade.

Once again, we let Preston decided what meal he wanted for this special day. Surprisingly, he chose hot sub sandwiches*, yogurt, and Gatorade.

He had a great first day of Pre-K and I can't wait to see how much he learns this year.

*Here is my recipe for hot sub sandwiches. Place split sub rolls or bolillo rolls on cookie sheet. Drizzle creamy Caesar dressing on one halves of bread. Layer lunchmeat (we like smokehouse ham and mesquite smoked turkey breast), cheese (we like provolone, colby jack, meunster, or pepper jack), and purple onions. Place in oven on broil until edges are brown and toasted. Drizzle a little more Caesar dressing and sprinkle pepper on one half. Close, cut in half, and enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pray For Our Soldier

The Kelley Family: Dad, Mom, 1 sister-Kim, and 4 brothers-Warren, Paul, Craig, and David. Craig and David were surprise additions to the Kelley Family after the three other siblings were a little older. Well, the additions were a suprise to Dad and Mom, but God had this family planned since the very beginning of time.

The Kelley Family is the most generous, loving families I know. We laugh together, play together, eat together, cry together, and most importantly, pray together. This entire family has been involved in ministry in some point in their lives, whether as a child or an adult. With parents as Assembly of God missionaries (now retired), how can you not be involved in sharing the love of God?

Mom loves to get the whole family together whenever possible. We always share some sort of scrumptious meal together. Well, this gathering was very bittersweet. The youngest Kelley boy, David, is about to leave on his 3rd deployment to Iraq with the US Army in just a couple weeks. You would think this departure would be easier after being gone before, however, it's still just as hard. David will be gone for a year, come back for about one month, and then leave again for another 9 months. Believe me, prayers and cries for safety will be heard from this family.

David will leave behind his wife and two kids. His wife, Cindy, is a strong woman and can handle all the duties as mother and father. But, I know she will anxiously await the day her soldier comes home for good. Please keep the entire Kelley family in prayers. Pray for all the soldiers that are away from loved ones. Pray that we will all be reunited again, if it be God's will, to share many more memories on our earthly home.

Preston dumped out the toy bucket that Granna and Granddad keep at their house. Then, he decided to hide under it.

Two cousins: Hayley and Kaitlyn playing together.

Time to eat! We had hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, beans, spicy corn casserole, and all the fixings. For dessert: brownies, apple pie, and fruit cocktail cake.

David did the grilling. It was very good!

Paul and Faynetta brought their Wii. The boys loved it and it was hilarious to watch! Here are Paul and Craig getting into swordfighting.

David was excited too!

We even got Dad to play against Warren. I think he thought the closer to the TV, the better he'd play. :)

Then, they played kayaking.

The Kelley boys-Warren, Paul, Craig, and David.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chicken Carbonara Deluxe

It's time to share another recipe. This one is a main dish from Betty Crocker. Caution: Eat at your own risk!!! It's not the healthiest recipe, but in the words of Paula Deen "I'm not your doctor, I'm a cook."

The whole family loves this dish, even Preston our pickiest eater. In the picture, I served it with garlic bread and green beans. Enjoy!

Chicken Carbonara Deluxe

1 package (7 ounces) spaghetti
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream

Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
While spaghetti is cooking, cook bacon in 3-quart saucepan over low heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp. Remove bacon from saucepan with slotted spoon; drain. Drain fat from saucepan, reserving 1 tablespoon in saucepan.
Cook onion and garlic in bacon fat over medium heat about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Stir in spaghetti, chicken, cheese and whipping cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Toss with bacon.