Sunday, July 30, 2006

Survey Says:

[my name is]: Monica Susann (Rakestraw) Tanner
[in the morning i am]: tired and ill
[love is]: the most important thing of all
[i dream about]: very wierd stuff

-W I T H .T H E. O P P O S I T E. S E X-
[what do you notice first?]: smile
[last person u slow danced with]: that would be Andy Lee

-W H O .W A S .T H E .L A S T. P E R S O N-
[you talked to on the phone]: My Mom
[hugged:] Andy
[you instant messaged]: Holly (and that's been awhile)
[you laughed with]: Andy (while I was thinking of killing him earlier today when he was soaking me with the water hose outside!!

-D O .Y O U / / A R E .Y O U-
[could you live without the computer?]: I wouldn't want to!!
[what's your favorite food?]: chips
[whats ur favorite fruit?]: strawberries
[what hurts the most?] when I feel lonely
[trust others way too easily?]: not at all-

-N U M B E R-
[of times i have had my heart broken?]: more than once
[of hearts i have broken?]: hmmm, not sure
[of tight friends?]: very close....only a handful 5 maybe
[of cd's that i own?]: too many
[of scars on my body?]: a couple
[of things in my past that i regret?]:a handful, but I try to remember that they all happened for a reason and led me to where I am today-

[i know]: that life is short, God loves me and I am super blessed!
[i want]: a baby.
[i have]: a great family, 3 lazy dogs and one missing cat
[i wish]: on stars....
[i hate]: sales calls
[i miss]: Amy living closer
[i fear]: the unknown (though I try not to and to pray instead)
[i hear]: Hee Haw from the living room....from 1983, Conway Twitty singing-
[i search]: online for useless junk way too often
[i love]: God, Andy, my family, friends and the kids I work with
[i care]: about old friends that I might not keep in touch with too well
[i always]: know each day holds a brand new start
[i dance]: when I'm cleaning with music turned up super loud
[i sleep]: way too late in the mornings when I can
[i cry]: during sad movies and when I hear certain songs
[i do not always]: remember to thank God for each and every thing that comes my way
[i write]: emails that are way too long and not enough in my journal
[i confuse]: Andy sometimes
[i can usually be found]: in front of my computer during the summer or on the couch
[i need]: to get offline and get to bed
[wuss]: yeah, that's what?
[daydreamer]: Often
[brat]: For sure for a very long time and even now it creeps up....
[sarcastic]: way too often.....some people don't appreciate it either....
[angel]: not exactly
[devil]: not that bad though
[friends]: true friends know everything about you and love you despite it all....are super hard to come by the good ones
[shy]: around new people, yeah sometimes....especially people my own age....odd
[talkative]: oh yeah....
[adventurous]: not anymore, old age made me boring!!
[intelligent]: I think so most of the time

[impacted you the most spiritually]: Amy McFarland Houseworth
[wish you saw more often]: Amy McFarland Houseworth & Amy Moulder Andrews
[most sarcastic]: Kasey Helton
[wish you knew better]: Holly & Kerri, Laura
[knows you best]: Amy McFarland Houseworth
[best outlook on life]: Tracey Brownlee, Paige Carter


[a smell that makes you smile]: a fireplace or campfire
[a city you'd like to visit]: Las Vegas or New York City
[a drink you order most often]: Water with extra lemons (then I add 2 sweet n lows)
[a book you highly recommend]: "Hissy Fit" Mary Kay Andrews , my new favorite book- hilarious!
ignore the sassy bad language and it's a hoot!! "A Gentle Thunder"- Max Lucado
[the music you prefer while alone]: owww....can't pick just christian/70's/80's
[your favorite film]: just one? "Sweet Home Alabama"
[a TV show you watch regularly]: Days of Our Lives, is daily regular enough?
[you live in a(n)]: house
[your transportation]: Dodge Durango aka: Beastie
[your cologne or perfume]: Dream Angel Divine from Victoria Secret
[under your bed or in your closet you hide]: dust bunnies! old home videos from when we were super duper young teeny boppers and acting like fools
[something important on your night table]: Bible, alarm clock, journal, pic of Andy from our honeymoon...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Time for a new crop!!
-I got them today, my new crop. I hold in my hand the official class list for this year. Not complete yet though, I have one open spot. Seems there are 5 little boys and 6 little girls so far headed my way in a few weeks. I look forward to the new crop! New friends, new adventures, new challenges and new goals. I'm excited!! A new year for me begins....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Embarassing Things I Might As Well Share:
Ok...I don't want to be left know who you are!!!

*When I "really" noticed Andy for the first time at church, I told a very good friend who was there..."He's next on my list"
(1 yr & 7 mths later we were married)

*I am always 10 - 15 minutes late for everything, always
(LOL~ to some of you this is NO secret huh?!)

*I spend way too much time online, I'm ashamed to admit!
(3-4 hours can go by before I realize what has happened)

*I am a "Sims" junkie. I can't keep it installed on my laptop or I will not stop playing..ever.

*The first ugly word I ever said was a 4 letter one starting with -s-
(I said it as a small child to my Grand daddy, who is a Baptist preacher)

*I am very clumsy and often trip & fall for no obvious reasons.

*I have a tendency to interrupt conversations when I want in, bad habit-

*I'd rather eat junk food for breakfast & lunch than an actual meal

*I failed a class in college, world history.
(my Daddy still doesn't know this...shhhhhhh)

*I talk (at least touch base somehow) with my internet friends every day, sometimes several times.
(I talk to my life long friends once every few months, not always then)

*I'm slightly obsessed with worrying about cooking meat until it's done, I often over cook things just to be sure...and they end up tough-

*I can be a little OCD with things like locking doors, turning off ovens, making sure doors are shut, etc...I have been known to turn around and go home to check pretty often. (or go back to school/my parents house/whatever)

*I know every clean bathroom stop between home & way too many locations to name, in town & out of town!

*When I was little I liked to eat mayonnaise sandwiches!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Messy" Enchiladas

Anyone like to try new recipes? I do! Thanks to Tracey (yeah you Brownlee) I have had a ton of new ones to try, she bought me a subscription to a cooking magazine for Christmas! Fun stuff!!
So, I thought I'd share one of our super favorites that I found a few months ago. Andy requests these often! They are actually called "Swiss" enchiladas. The thing is, I don't like swiss cheese to much. I use other kinds. But, here it is!!

You need:

cooking spray
1 & 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped roasted skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 2)
secret *to make it faster, buy the rotisserie chicken already cooked at the store & chop*
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (4.5oz) cans diced green chilies, undrained
1 (14.5oz) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups 2% reduced fat milk
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
2 cups shredded swiss cheese - divided
*I use about 4 cups of cheese: shredded sharp cheddar & Sergento Fancy 4 Cheese Mexican*

1) Preheat oven to 350

2) Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, cook about 5 minutes or until tender and slightly brown. *I add a drop of EVOO* Stir in chicken, garlic, chiles and tomatoes. Reduce heat & simmer about 7-10 minutes, until liquid evaporates.

3) Meanwhile combine milk & flour in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook about 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken up. (watch it close!) Stir constantly with a whisk! Add salt & continue to stir!

4) Warm tortillas if desired. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture and about 2 tablespoons (I put more) cheese down the center of the tortilla, roll up. Arrange filled tortillas in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Pour milk mixture over the tortillas and top evenly with remaining cup of cheese. (I usually have about 1 & 1/2 left to cover)

5) Bake @ 350 about 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven.

6) Broil casserole for about 3 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. WATCH!!!

If you use the "original" recipe, it's 419 calories in 1 enchilada. It's actually from "Cooking Light" magazine. With my altered version, more cheese...I'm sure that it's a little more. It's good stuff though and you'll never know it's a "Cooking Light" recipe! If you eat one of these things stuffed, you'll be full!! They're super messy though and you need a knife & fork to eat them with!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Here are some people that I love..

Ok, if you aren't in's not b/c I don't love you. It's because either
A) I have no picture of you
B) Your represented by a category here
C) I didn't want to use photos of some of my little people friends,
whom I love and adore very much!
D) So, no offense-

And this is also on myspace, you may have seen it there!

Things that I now remember about camping:

*I now remember, how could I forget, that Gizmo hates camping! He gets hot so very fast, fleas pounce on him every second (despite the small fortune I pay for in preventative junk) he hates getting his feet wet or dirty and he becomes grouchy when we take him to the lake!

*I also remember that we eat way more junk food, more than we'd ever even own at home, while we're camping. Why do we take so much of that stufff with is and then "graze" on it the entire time?

*There is alot of walking involved in camping. I do remember that part and enjoy it. It's nice to take Gizmo on walks, walk to the bath house and walk on adventures looking for deer. (That are everywhere and come so darn close!) Though the fall does make these walks a little more enjoyable with cooler temps.

*I am not as in shape nor as tall as I'd like to believe. I had the insane idea that I could hike my big rump on the front of Dad's boat, from chest deep water. What was I thinking?? I thought one big jump outta do it, boy was I wrong! I now have bruises on my tummy (who knew you could get bruises there) from bouncing off the front of the boat and bruises on my rear. (from bouncing from the boat, down, all the way doooowwwnn to the bottom of the lake, under the boat and under the water) It was pure entertainment for my family who are still talking about it and not so hot for one's pride!

*I had forgot just how much I love looking like crap day in and day out! I love love throwing my hair up in a clip, not putting on a drop of make up for days and wearing only crummy clothes!! Maybe I like it more than I should?

*I had forgotten just how many critters join ya in the shower at the bath house. (That we use because the shower in the camper is super tiny and a pain to function in) On shower #1 alone, I was joined by 2 Grand Daddy Long Legs and 1 super huge mosquito! It didn't get better from there-

*I now remember that my husband is just as scared of big ole bugs as I am. Not the tiny ones that you can squish and come to expect from the great outdoors. I am talking about the super big flying things that you never see until it's too late and only come out in the dark. The kind that buzz in and bonk you on the head while you're in bed..making you scream in terror...and making your husband duck his head under the covers saying " handle it" Where do those things come from?

*I had forgot how much we love the people we run into while camping. There is no friendlier group of fantastic people on earth, than those who camp! Everyone speaks, waves or stops to chat. It's awesome and reminds me that people are generally good hearted and the world is a nice place.

*I had forgotten how much I love roasted marshmallows. I insist on those, over a big ole flaming fire...even if the temps are insane. (triple day time digits and 80's at night) I still make Andy slave to find wood, build me a big old blazin' fire and only roast a few-

*I now remember just how fast we can set up & unpack. We have it down to a science. We can be unpacked, unhooked, set up inside & out, tacky lights hung up included, and ready to go all within about 30 minutes tops!

*I did remember that we really do love being on the water. We were fine up there "in the woods" and didn't mind going to the beach. It's much nicer to be on the water though, with your own little piece of the lake to yourself.

*I was also reminded of how much fun we have when Mom & Dad stop in to pick us up for a few hours of swimming & riding around.

*We had both forgotten how important it is to take our own grill. We decided to just use the fire pit/grill area they provide, low on/in the ground. That becomes a problem with the afternoon thunderstorms that wet everything. While you are trying to start your supper fire....the water drips from the trees to put the fire back out. You must cook your hamburgers on the stove inside. Not too bad, but next time we'll take our own grill again! *Thankfully that only happened 1 night*

*I was surprised to find out that we could survive 3 nights/3 days without a TV/DVD or laptop AND not kill each other!! (We did have the radio in the camper) We played more board/card games than I thought were possible. We played 16 games of "Clue". How much did we love that thing? Alot! (I had just bought it the day we left, hadn't owned it in years. Why not? I love this game!) We played a marathon game of UNO for days, an almost endless game of "Dawg" opoly, oodles of hands of card games and Connect 4. Then....we found a Big Lots just 15 minutes away and bought a giant Game Chest. It has 10 games with it!! (Chess, Checkers, Tic/Tac/Toe, Chinese Checkers, Snakes & Ladders, Mancala, Back Gammon, Pass Out, Parchisi and Solitare) We just may choose to leave the TV at home and off around here more often-

All in all we were reminded just how much we love camping! We are so glad that we didn't sell the camper afterall. We love it, we have fun, we're back in business and looking forward to our week at the lake in early August!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It seems I am trying to be "cool" and have a myspace space...
I'm not very good at it yet, man I have such trouble with new things.
But...if you're interested. Here it is....

Friday, July 07, 2006

-mini spoilers contained! read at your own risk!-

I saw "Pirates 2" today with my friend Tracey. It was great no doubt. Here's the thing though.... I watched the first one last night, getting in the "mood" of things. I LOVE that movie, I'd forgotten just how's been a long time since I watched it. It's hard to live up to an original, no matter how good the sequel is!

The theater was sold out for most movies during the day, early &
late. We were headed to a 3:45, got there @ 3:20 to buy tickets to the already sold out show. So, I settled on 4:15 instead. No biggie- (Most shows before it had sold out and all 7ish -10ish movies were sold was playing every 30 minutes in about 6 theaters) You had to wait in a roped off area outside the theater before even going in. Kinda wild.

My first thought is that it's sooooo long. 2 & 1/2 hours for that kind of movie is super duper long. I think that some of it could have been left out without giving up any real story elements. Speaking of which, there were alot of sub stories going on. I thought this one was much more gross, though that's a known factor going in. (I had to shut my eyes a few times. Davy Jones and some of his gang really gave me the hibbie jibbies) I think the Kraken got a little out of hand and those parts could have used a trimming. *this is the part where spoilers could come in*Then there's "that thing" with Elizabeth, you know...where she.....GASP! You've seen it, right?! I know why she did it, but WOWIE!!! Then..the whole ending....I was disappointed. I totally see why they did're already totally hooked and counting down till #3. I think they should have at least "wrapped up" this story more though. Surely we could have still found a new/similar plot and been just as ready for 3, but had a more final conclusion. Just my humble opinion though.... I love the comedy, Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the best characters that I've seen around in a long time. You get totally involved in his personality, hilarious! Of course Will Turner & Elizabeth Swann are awesome characters too. I love the references to the 1st movie, very nicely done!

Some of the theater staff were dressed up in their pirate get-up. (An
d I mean big time dressed) and were waiting on ya at the exit doors, that was a nice touch. Well done and cute. I saw some kids with homemade pirate hats and thought it was precious. (Though I wouldn't have taken mine that young to see this movie yet, it's a little much for younger kids) There were a few people dressed up too. (Made me wish I'd have had at least a t-shirt to wear like I did with "Cars"...don't know why....but ya know....)

There ya have it, my ramblings. All in all GREAT movie and a TRUE MUST SEE! (Just don't drink a biggie coke, you'll never make it till the end) *If you haven't checked out the "official" webiste of the movie, through Disney..go do that, neat interactive stuff!!*

So here's the best part, after the movie...we went to eat at the "Melting Pot"....fondue!! We ate strawberry/almond/spinach salads which are my FAVORITE (and strangely enough Tracey is the one who introduced me to those!) Then we ate my 2 favorite courses: cheese and chocolate....YUMMY....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

of July!!

-We didn't do anything exciting today. Grandmother & Granddaddy came up for a little while and tonight Mom & Dad came out for supper: BBQ ribs & all the fixins! Followed by homemade cookies and cream ice cream...YUMMY~ I think we've had our share of weekend thrills and they'll have to set off fireworks across the nation without us! Hope you and yours had a great weekend too!!!!

"The devil went down to Georgia and he was willing to make a deal..."

and Monica & Andy went to the lake-------

Day #3 of the holiday weekend:

We met Mom &
Dad at the lake for a day of sun & fun! Dad & Andy went crappy fishing and caught oodles of them, they threw them all back...too hot for a fish fry! There were sandwiches for lunch, all the sun you wanted and tons of water to keep you cool! It was a great day. A cloud came up about 3:30ish, but by then we were all tuckered out we decided to call it a day. And yes, there was yet another mountain. In our riding around the lake (and there was ALOT of that) we did go up to Red Top Mountain. This picture of oodles of boats tied together, is the local "party cove" just like the song.."Redneck Yacht Club" I 've never seen that many together though, there were at least 50 in that space, cozy for sure!

It was shopping at "Sam's" as evening entertainment, gotta get those ribs for tomorrow~

"I'm leaving...on a midnight train to Georgia"

Ok, it's more l
ike a 6:15ish train..and it was around the bottom of Stone Mountain...but you get the idea!

Sunday Day#2 of our weekend adventures:

We started our morning off with attending church at First Baptist of Powder Springs. (Where we both grew up at church and were married, if ya didn't already know that) It was their celebration of the 4th and super duper heart warming and soul stirring!! We saw tons of familiar faces and it was a fabulous morning!!

After a quick nap (those are required if you're baptist on Sundays you know) we were off to Stone Mountain. It takes about an hour for us to get there from our house, not too bad. If you haven't been there, check out their website! ( There is sooo much to do out there now! There are trails both up and around the mountain, the sky-ride, train, 4-D movie, Cross Roads country town, Ride the DUCKS (yep, they have some too), golf, water park, river boat, antique car museum, shows and on and on..... Our goal was to fit in one adventure and catch the laser show!

Here i
s a picture of the Cross Roads area. It reminds me of frontierland at Disney. Stone Mountain now is partially "owned" by Dollywood and it favors that as well. There are several stores, places to eat (fried chicken, taters & onions cooked out on the HUGE skillets, hotdogs, hamburgers, home made ice cream, funnel cakes, turkey legs, etc..) the 4-D theater, the tree house (a giant play area with all sorts of gadgets for kids), the great barn (an inside play area with foam balls, etc..for kids), a magic show, a few other shows, candle makers, black smiths and more of that kind of stuff. Fun place to hang out! You can pay for each individual thing you do or for $22 you can do anything in the entire park all day. (including the things not located in Cross Roads: riverboat, sky-ride, etc..) If you do nothing, it's $8 per car to get into the park. (You can see the laser show and walk around tons of places)

We also went on the train ride around the moutain. It's about a 25 minute ride with a stop and mini show in the middle. We ate a fried chicken supper and went off to find a spot to claim for the laser show. It's insane and about 10,000 (ok, give or take a few) of our closest friend were there. There wasn't a blade of grass, rock or even cement walk way that wasn't claimed by the time the show started. CRAZINESS! People camp out hours before the show starts or at least claim their spot and go off to do other things. People bring picnics, games, balls & gloves, chairs, blankets and even pillows out to enjoy the evening! We had our blanket, chairs and a deck of UNO cards..what more do ya need?!

I can't think of anything more patriotic than the laser show with it's tributes to the love of our country!! Between "Proud to be an American", the sports team tribute, "Living in America", a whole ton of other song
s and then the "American Trilogy" with Elvis...what more can ya do? I'm such a sucker for the laser show!!! (and such a red-neck I guess?!)

It was tons of fun and we ended up leav
ing when we thought the fireworks were over! (They weren't and we listened to them for quite awhile as we made it to the car, that's the biggest firework show EVER) It was ok though, because we beat the crowd and that was a miracle!! Fun day~

Monday, July 03, 2006

"Just an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind!!"

So it's the 4th of July weekend and what is there to do? Enjoy the beautiful state that we call home, that's what!! You've heard of Disney's claim to their own mountains, right? Well, we have some of our own here in Georgia! Andy & I set out to explore some of those this weekend!

Saturday- Day 1:

Part 1: We started out heading to Rossville, Georgia (right near Chattanooga) to visit Lake Winnepesaukah. Known to most everyone as, Lake Winnie. (Ok, that's most everyone that's heard of it and.. most everyone hasn't heard of it! But, you get what I mean...right?) It's a super cute (but small) amusement park. It's on a lake, thus the name! There are all sorts of rides: ferris wheel, log ride (that goes ends up in the lake!), wooden roller coaster, swings, swinging ship, antique cars, bumper cars, a ton of kid rides (TON), carnival games, food, pedal boats, a show and a picnic area. It's only $5 to get in and walk around. You can pay for ride tickets individually or for $19.99 get an armband and do it all as much as you want. Andy and I chose to take this trip to just "soak it all in" and walk around. There are tons of picnic area inside the park and plenty of shade. We both ate hotdog/tater tot meals with drinks for a total of about $7 though!! (That's hard to beat!) It's a super cute place, check out the website. ( Oh, there are super HUGE carp in the lake!! If only you could fish there....

Part 2: We were already up there, so w
hy not go on to Chattanooga? We did!! (It's about 2 hours from our house to Chattanooga, we have been known to visit there ALOT) There are tons of things to do in Chattanooga!! (the aquarium, IMAX theater, incline railway to the top of the mountain, train museum and Chattanooga Choo Choo, Rock City at Look Out Mountain, Ruby Falls at Look Out Mountain, Out let shopping downtown, RiverBoat ride, Tow Truck museum (yes, I've been), ride THE DUCKS (amphibious vehcils from WWII, not quack quack) and on and on....This time we chose Rock City @ Look Out Mtn. We've planned on going before and always get side tracked. Both Andy & I have been before, with our families when we were little. So, off we go!

Rock City is kind of hard to describe, if you have no idea what I am talking about...check out the website! It's a walking adventure through natural rock formations and a few flower gardens on Look Out Mountain. On your way you journey through several things such as fat man's squeeze. This is Andy at one part of that, the only point in which I could actually turn around and take a picture. There are parts that are TINY!!

There is a 2 part swinging bridge that is LONG on both parts, super HIGH and major .. um...SWINGY....if ya know what I mean?! Of course you're on there with obnoxious boys, like my husband...who insist on swinging it so hard that you have to hold on and walk very slowly with both hands. YIKES~ Remind me to take the stone bridges next time!!! My legs were super jello like when we finally go to the end!!

Turns out Andy is super strong and can balance a 110,000 pound boulder, who knew?!

When you get to the top there are snack bars, a shop, a bird show, the house where the people who made & own rock city live (it was an ordinary family who started it all in 1947 and now there family still live up there in a gorgeous house) and a super gorgeous view where you can see 7 states! (or so they say, who can tell?!)

On the way back, there is an area called "Fairy Land". It's of course a hit with the small kids. It's what I remember most about my trips as a little girl! There are all sorts of statues scenes that you look at through these little windows of nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters. They are lit up with black lights, it's dark in the caves where these are...pretty neat.

It was getting on into the evening and we decided that it was time to head back home. (All the while wishing we'd have packed a toothbrush to just spend the night...also reminding myself that when we're there...we're just 2 more hours from Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge which we LOVE)

So there you have it, day one of our Georgia Adventure!
Forgive my color issues, I have such trouble when I try to change it!