Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Time: Part 2

I have a philosphy: early is on time, and on time is late. I like to be early. Work, church, baby showers, events, you name it. When I played sports in high school, my team was always told to get to practice at least 15 minutes early, and be ready to go by the time practice started. I can only remember a couple of times when one girl was late, and we all ran our butts off. In the rain! Uphill!

In my old age, I have come to realize that not everyone thinks being on time is important. Now, I totally understand that things breaks down, baby is fussy, flat tire, traffic, etc. All that has happened to me. But to be late for no reason, all the time? Dang, that's a good way to really get under my skin. I have also learned that punctuality is a quality that must be taught and instilled. I am so thankful I was involved in sports because it taught me that being on time is important, and its a life long quality. It seems so simple, but for some, its so difficult to be ontime. Tardiness is down right selfish, and if you are a cronic tardy person, I say this with all the love in my heart!

So in conclusion, teach your children the importance of being on time. Be the example. Put them in extra-curricular activities that will teach them this quality. And when they become an adult, and its down to two people for that dream job, and your kid shows up first, gets the job, and becomes a millionaire, you will thank me. And you are welcome.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Ever feel like you never have enough time? That is my world. We rush out the door in the morning, rush home in the evening, throw together dinner, bathe the girls, play, and go through the night time routine, and before long, poof! The day is done.

Then there's the weekend. Because I work full-time, I try to spend every minute of every weekend with my kids. I love to be around my kids all the time because they are both really funny in their own special way, and they make me happy. I don't want to miss a thing. (Cue the Armageddon theme song.) If there is any down time, I'm doing laundry, or cleaning, or going to a birthday party, or going to dinner with family or friends. There is always something that fills every second of everyday. It's enough to bring in the clouds and cover up my sunshine.

Lately, I've started a mental list of everything I would like to do, even though I know I won't have time for them all. And now I will tell you all about them because maybe I will feel a little more accomplished if I write about doing them, even if I never get around to actually doing them.

  • Learn to use my new sewing machine. My parents gave me a sewing machine last Christmas and it has still gone untouched. I would love to sew as well as my mom does.
  • Paint the toy box and put it in the toy room. My Grandpa Stokley made a wooden toy box for my brother. It even says, "Jon's Toys" on it. But now it sits in my attic, desperately needing some paint. And some toys.
  • Update the girls' baby books. Eek! This is long overdue. Poor Lexi's book is pretty bare.
  • Paint my fingernails a different color everyday. This one just makes me smile.
  • Take voice lessons. Stop laughing.
  • Start a running club. I love to run, and I love to socialize, so why not do it all together?
  • Finish the book I'm writing for Addyson, and start the one I have for Lexi. I would tell you all about it, but then you would steal my awesome idea.
  • My Do-It-Yourself board on Pinterest: Do it.
  • Have a garage sale.
  • Go to a hockey game. Believe it or not, I've never been.
  • Have a "place." Like 90210 had "The Peach Pit" and Saved by the Bell had "The Max." And go there weekly.
  • Read more classics, like Charles Dickens, or Shakespeare.
  • Go to a winery.
  • Go to more concerts.
I know what you're thinking..."if you would just get off this dang blog and start doing a few things on the list above, you might accomplish something!" Well, its taken me 3 days to write this dang blog, so there.

Monday, March 19, 2012

On the Mend

It's been a rough few months. Someone in our house has been sick since December. We've been plagued with ear infections, bronchitis, sinus infections, RSV, strep, a severe case of the stomach bug, and I just had surgery on my wrist to remove two cysts. Needless to say, Spring Break was very much necessary! We didn't have any plans for our week off, but sometimes those are the best plans to have. My husband has become quite the horticulturalist lately, so we visited the Dallas Farmer's Market and picked up banana peppers and jalapenos and planted them in the backyard. I'm not much of a yard person. I like a pretty yard, but I don't like the work it takes to get it pretty! I'd rather bask in the sun! But the one thing I did plant last year were irises from my grandmother's yard, and they have bloomed for the first time. I always think of her when I look at them, and its so cool to watch Addyson water and take care of grandma's irises. And Lexi loves to get her hands dirty, too!

Addyson and I also had a girls day and got pedicures together. She thought she was so special because she got to drink a Coke with a straw as her feet are being massaged! This is by far one of my favorite memories with her.

It was so refreshing to be able to make our own schedule and do whatever we wanted to do. I'm thankful that both my husband and I had the luxury to be off work together for Spring Break, and even more thankful that the Pucketts are finally on the mend!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

One of the most memorable sermons I've heard was on prayer. An illustration was given of a man who arrived in Heaven and God took him to a warehouse that was full from top to bottom of all kinds of different containers, boxes, and cases. The man asked, "What is all this?" God responded, "These are all the things I wanted to give you; you just never asked for them."

This particular sermon really struck a cord with me. At the time, I was at a crossroads in my career. I taught English at the middle school level for seven years, but I knew something needed to change. I was just uneasy and restless. I wanted to stay in education, and still work with students, just not teach English. I had all these "requirements" in my head of a job fit for me. The only problem was that it didn't exist. After hearing this sermon on prayer, I thought I'd give it a shot and start to pray for what I specifically wanted. Every morning, I would walk into my empty portable, sit behind my cold desk, and pray for this "job." I remember looking down at my desk calendar and thinking, "This request is so FAR out there! I'm praying for something that doesn't even exist! This is crazy." My daily prayers began in September, and I knew I had a long road ahead. But I did it everyday.

That next Spring, I received an email from my principal to come see her. If you are a teacher, and you get one of these emails, you know what I mean when I say that I began to sweat! I started thinking of all the things that I could have done wrong or if I was in trouble! As I walked slowly into her office and sat down, she began to tell me about a position that the district was creating to reach the at-risk students, to be their "school mama," an advocate to those with no one on their side. And she offered me the job. I was speechless, to say the least. I remember returning to my portable almost in tears. This was EXACTLY what I had asked for. Wow.

Now, the change did not happen without its challenges. This position required a masters degree, which I wasn't planning on getting for a while. But I finished my degree three weeks before my 2nd daughter was born. (Now tell me that's not God's perfect timing!) I also had a lot to learn about what all this position involved. It was a huge learning process! I realized I didn't know as much as I thought I knew. But one thing was for sure, this was totally a God thing. Now, I am able to help students in a way that I could have never done as a classroom teacher. Don't get me wrong, I'm not always successful. Many of my students fail, academically and in life. They make bad choices. They do illegal things. Some are there one day, and gone the next. But there are success stories, like the boy who has passed his tests for the first time after he and I worked so hard in tutoring. Or the girl who started 7th grade with a horrible attitude and wouldn't smile or respond when I told her said "Good morning." Now, as an 8th grader, she smiles and gives me hugs and asks how my day is going. In fact, just today, a boy stopped by my office just to show me that his arms, that WERE NOT decorated with gang signs, and that today I wouldn't have to wipe the ink off his skin. Those are the small victories I'm talking about. And without fail, every year, there are students who inquire about my faith, Christianity, or the Bible. And its these times that I know why I am here.

There are days when I'm not 100%, and I don't want to face the busy day in uncomfortable shoes. Sometimes I just want to stay home and snuggle with my girls. But I have to go back to those lonely mornings in my portable that were spent in prayer, and remember there is a reason why I am placed in these kids' lives. If I have to spend my days away from my own kids, I am comforted in knowing that God has me right where He wants me, and its all part of a greater plan.

I encourage you to ask for what you want, be specific in what you want, and do it fervently without ceasing. If God wants to take you there, He will. He has it all there just waiting for you to ask for it. Prayer is powerful. Prayer can change your life. Prayer is heard.

Monday, February 13, 2012

C is for Cookie

I love to bake, and my husband loves to eat. My favorite thing to bake are cookies. Even on a rainy day, cookies fill my house with sunshine! For years, I have tried--and failed--at sugar cookies. They were either too crunchy, or too sticky when I tried to roll it out. But alas, I found the perfect recipe for fluffy, soft sugar cookies that are super easy to make from

Here's what you'll need:

1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
5 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream (the secret ingredient)

Combine salt, baking soda, and flour in a mixing bowl. Set'll need it later. In your awesome Kitchen Aid mixer, cream butter and sugar. Then add the eggs and vanilla, and finally the sour cream. (Honestly, what was the world like before the Kitchen Aid mixer?)

Grab the bowl with the flour mixture and slowly add it to the cream mixture. Key word: SLOWLY, unless you like to look like Martha Washington after you cook, then you may add it all at once. And just warning you, this dough is delicious. Try to save some for the cookies.

Lay out wax paper on your counter top, and here's a helpful hint: spray it with non-stick cooking spray, then dust it with flour. The spray will help the flour stick to the wax paper. Genius, huh? Grab about a fourth of the dough, sprinkle the top with flour, and roll with a rolling pin. You'll want to roll it out to about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.

Yes, tomorrow is Valentine's Day so I did hearts...awwwww!

NOTICE: the uncooked cookies are on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Always cook your cookies on wax paper. I also spray the wax paper with non-stick cooking spray so I am 100% positive they will not stick.

Bake these babies at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. They will not look done, but take them out anyway. Do not cook them until they are golden! They should not be brown anywhere.

Let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. If you wait longer, they will stick.

Now for the fun part...ICING!

Check out these nifty little things:

My mom found these at Crate and Barrel, and OMG they are awesome! Just take the lid off, fill with icing, choose the tip you want, and VIOLA! (I know my friend and fellow baker, Trish, is foaming at the mouth right now! Trish, you gotta get these!) You can find them at

I like icing that dries so that I can put the cookies in cute little bags or stack them in a Tupperware container. So there's the 411 on the icing:

2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring of your choice

Beat all ingredients well. The icing will be very stiff. I added milk until I got the consistency I wanted. Then poor it into your nifty icing applicators. First, outline the outside of the cookie. This acts as a ledge so that when you fill in the middle, it won't drip off the sides. Next, put some icing in the middle. Using the back of a spoon, smooth it out evenly. Let the icing dry for about 30-45 minutes.

Every kid in my daughter's class got 2 cookies with their initial. It's simple. It's cute. It's yummy.

So I'm sending you on your way, my friend. Bake, decorate, eat, repeat. Don't forget your shades because the sun will surely shine on you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Hunger Games

Before I even get to the book, I have to tell you how I first came upon The Hunger Games. I work with at-risk students at a Title 1 middle school. One particular student had a locker down the hall from my office so I saw him several times a day. To say this nicely, he was one of those students that not many teachers or students cared for, but he was slowly growing on me. One day, I saw him carrying a book, and I asked him what he was reading. It was The Hunger Games. When he realized I had never read it, he exclaimed, "What?! can borrow my book. You have GOT to read this book! It's awesome!"

Now, if you know anything about middle school boys, you know that they are not very passionate about reading, so I needed to seize this opportunity. That night, I began reading The Hunger Games, and not only was I hooked from page one, but it also gave this needy boy and myself something to talk about. It was a common ground for us.

Okay, now onto the book...

The Hunger Games is one of the most action-packed, thrilling stories I have ever read. It's like a modern-day Robin Hood, but the protagonist is a young teenage girl named Katniss. I started this book without any prior knowledge of it, and that's how I would recommend for you to start it. But I know not everyone out there is a reader, so if you want to know more read on. If you want to read the book, well, here comes the spoiler, so stop reading now!

For real, I'm about to tell you all the juicy details, so stop reading if you want to be surprised!

Okay. I warned you.

Here's the rundown:
  • The story takes place in the future in a country called Panem.
  • Panem has 12 districts. District 1 is known as the Capitol.
  • The main character, Katniss, lives with her sister, Prim, and her mother in District 12.
  • The story is told in first-person point of view through the eyes of Katniss.
  • Katniss is a teenager and hunts with Gale, an older boy also from District 12.
  • District 12 is a very poor district and many die of starvation. Katniss and Gale hunt for survival and also sell their game to other District 12 citizens. Hunting and selling food is illegal.
  • Every year, the Capitol hosts an event called The Hunger Games.

The Rules of The Hunger Games
  • The purpose: to remind the country not to rebel. And its also very entertaining. Its like reality TV.
  • "Tributes" (a boy and a girl) from each district are chosen to represent their district and compete in the games.
  • Only one person can win the games. The last one alive wins.
  • Katniss's little sister, Prim, is chosen for District 12; however, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The male tribute from District 12 shall be Peeta Mellark, the baker's son....and he has a crush on Katniss, but Katniss is pretty much oblivious to this fact.
  • The Games take place in a man-made, undisclosed area, where the climate, vegetation, and wildlife are all controlled by the Capitol's Gamemakers.
  • The winner of the games shall receive unlimited amount of luxuries for themselves and their family. Not to mention, a great amount of supplies for their needy district.
  • Upon being chosen, every tribute is treated like a celebrity. They are given their own make-over team, and a camera crew follows them until they either win the games, or die trying.
  • The games are broadcast to every district in Panem. Each district cheers on their tribute.
  • District 1 and 2 are the power houses. They train all teenagers for the games.
So the games start. Katniss is basically on her own. She spies Peeta, who has teamed up with some of the other tributes, and Katniss immediately feels betrayed. She eventually finds Peeta, who is near death and camouflaged in the mud. She rescues him, nurses him back to health in a cold, dark cave. This is where the love connection happens, and because Katniss knows all of Panem is watching, she plays it up. She wants to be the favored tribute. The one everyone cheers for. And it works.

Eventually, Peeta and Katniss are the last two. But, as you read earlier, only one wins. Will Peeta's undying love for Katniss overcome his will to live? Will Katniss have the strength to kill Peeta?

This is where I stop. Can you feel the suspense? There's soooo many twists and turns in this plot! Oh, and I forgot to mention that Gale, Katniss's hunting partner, also has a little thing for her. There's love, violence, action, and suspense. Chicks and dudes will love this book. The moment I read the last sentence, I immediately grabbed my car keys, and went out in search of Book 2, Catching Fire.

The best part about reading The Hunger Games is that I got to relive each scene with my student. He would ask me everyday where I was in the book until I had finished it. He became one of my favorites (yes, teachers have favorites!), and The Hunger Games was a starting point for him to gain trust in me. We were eventually able to talk about other things, like his grades, attendance, and behavior. This book goes down as one of my all time favorites, not only for the great story it tells, but also for the opportunity it gave me to help out a boy in need of love, attention, and an advocate.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's my blog, yo!

As I'm typing this, the theme song of Beverly Hills 90210 is playing in the background. This is truly one of my favorite shows. I was never allowed to watch it when I was a teenager, but thank goodness for Soap Net on Saturday mornings, because I think I've watched every season at least 3 times. 90210 brings a little bit of sunshine to my life, and yes, I know its a ridiculous show that has no deeper meaning than the love triangle between Brenda, Kelly and Dylan, but I love it. And I also love to write, which is why I started this blog. I'll be writing about a variety of things that have brought some kind of sunshine to my life. I'll be sharing stories about my kids, parenting, my faith, marriage, being a full-time working mom, reality TV, do-it-yourself projects, celebrities, fitness, recipes, and many, many other topics. Amuse me by reading them, and I promise your day might get a bit brighter.

Now back to 90210. Brandon and Brenda are planning a party while their parents are out of town! Oh, the drama!