Friday, December 31, 2010

I resolve...


to set one goal per month in 2011.

{maybe more often, if I am feeling ambitious -which isn't likely}

And I will accomplish that goal.


I will spend more quality time with my kids. Training them how to do domestic things like cleaning this house they live in, washing and drying dishes the right way, cleaning out the car, etc.

I {might} even do a few crafty things with them.

We will go places. Explore. Have picnics. And laugh a lot.


I will try new recipes. And my family will be the guinea pigs. The children will gag and Hubs will examine each new dish with a magnifying glass, but I will find some new dishes the whole fam can love. Oh yes I will.


I will {try to} be more organized. I type this while thinking of all the new toys {with tiny pieces} that the girls got for Christmas. We will be organized. We will be organized. We will be organized. Repeat.


There will be things I will go through this year that I cannot plan for. Trials, disappointment, heartache always get mixed in somehow. But I will trust in the Lord. His mercy will be new every morning. I will remember His faithfulness. I will recognize His unfailing love. I will not forget His goodness to me and my family. His grace will be sufficient. And He will carry me through. He always does.


I'm looking forward to this new year! A fresh start! A clean slate! It's going to be GREAT!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Future's So Bright....I Gotta Wear Shades

I have been thinking a lot about how prayer affects our lives. I know firsthand that it is powerful. I know from experience that praying as a group of Believers for a specific request is pleasing to God and He hears those prayers and delights in answering them. I know that sometimes I don't even know what to pray because I'm overwhelmed by a circumstance and the Holy Spirit Himself intercedes on my behalf and prays to God the Father my heart's inaudible cry. And He hears. And answers. I know that God answers every prayer according to His will and I try to always pray 'according to His will' knowing that He can already see what my blinded eyes cannot. He has my very best interest at heart.{My parents have taught me this my whole life.} And I believe that. There isn't a need in my life that He cannot meet. There is no battle He cannot win. No enemy that He cannot defeat. No trial He cannot see me through...and make me stronger as a result.
Recently, the transmission went out in my van and we were down to one vehicle {which isn't necessarily a bad thing} but the timing seemed terrible. Just two days before Thanksgiving and we were suppose to drive that van out of town. Hubs and I were a little bit discouraged, but decided to just pray and ask God to meet our need. We planned to keep it to ourselves and not tell people about it unless it became necessary, but just wanted to see God provide - as He has promised. It took nearly two weeks to get the van done because of the holiday and some minor details, but the day after the transmission went out {the day before Thanksgiving}, Hubs was going to have to work late and get his vehicle road-ready for our trip. The Lord laid it on someone's heart to have the work done for him on his van and he did not have to stay late or pay for the work. What a blessing that was! And something we had not even asked Him to do for us!! We were content to handle it on our own, but God decided to bless us unexpectedly. Later, when our van was finally going to be done, we had decided how we were going to pay for the transmission and AGAIN! the Lord met our need exceeding abundantly above what we expected Him to do. What a tremendous blessing to be a recipient of the pouring out of God's love and faithful provision! That was a huge burden lifted off of our shoulders even though we were purposefully trying not to fret over it. I cannot even express the joy and thankfulness I have over all that God has done for me and my family. He is so good to me.
Without trials, I would not recognize His grace. Without heartache and grief, I could not experience His comfort. Were it not for needs {financial, physical, emotional}, I would not know The Provider. Because of my weakness, I know His strength. Because of my sin, I have met the Saviour. Because of His Word, I have knowledge, my eyes are enlightened and my path is lit. My future is bright and full of hope!

PS - the Lord keeps providing by way of giveaways! Since my last post about giveaways, I have won 2 more!!! (worth over $100)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Art

This year I was inspired to make some Christmas art for my home. I love Red Letter Words and all the great prints she does, but I am not in a position to spend that much on art at this point in my budget. {Especially when I can copy it for a fraction of the cost.} So, I decided to make a fun one for my black and white half-bath downstairs in my home and what better color is there than RED for Christmas stuff?

The inspiration

I bought a 20x20 canvas from the Hobby Lobby. Painted it with a glossy red acrylic paint using a cheap bristle paint brush from the Walmarts. Let it dry. Then, measured and taped off the guidelines for each row. Finally, I took a smaller brush {actually it's my Hubs' brush that he uses for wood glue - Shhh...don't tell him. I cleaned it off really good} and painted the names of the reindeer. {Don't you think the reindeer get overshadowed by the big, jolly guy?} Freehand. That explains the not-so-crisp look of the letters. I like it, though. And now it hangs above the porcelain throne in the half-bath.

The amateur result



I have plans for another canvas for my mantle reminding us of the REAL reason we celebrate this joyful holiday! You'll see that later.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Year-Round Wreath

First try at the monogrammed wreath

I have been using the same wreath for over a year now on my front door. It's the BEST wreath ever. {In my opinion.} I first found it on The Nester's Blog which you can find in the righthand margin and adapted it to my liking. I love it because it is monogrammed and I just happened to have had a big 'M' laying around here that I had bought at TJ Maxx years ago because I knew it would come in handy....and it did. Here is my first post about the wreath sometime last year.

Wreath from this Fall {cell phone pic = way too bright}

You just take a large grapevine wreath and one the next size smaller, wire the smaller one to the front of the larger one and then add your stuff! I put my big 'M' right in the middle {after I spray painted it silver} and attached it with clear fishing wire. That baby is tied on there pretty tight and you can't even tell. Next, you add the greenery that you love and then flower or whathaveyou and hang it on your door. I hung mine from a wide wire-rimmed ribbon that I nailed into the top of my door. I'm not crazy about metal wreath hangers because they tend to scratch the paint off the door. This ribbon has been hanging there over a year and is still going strong. {Keep in mind that my door is covered by the roof of my porch, so you may need to use waterproof stuff if yours is out in the open.} I have changed out the floral stuff on my wreath for each season and just left the rest of it. It's like a 1-minute makeover for the front door.

Christmas Wreath 2010
{Walmart has these GREAT clip-on poinsettas for $1 each!!!}




I plan on keeping this wreath up forever....or until I find something else I love, but this does it for me....for now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

$5 Makeover

I've been looking awhile for a nice, big, decorative frame to make a chalkboard out of for my kitchen. Multiple trips to Goodwill produced no good results, so a couple weeks ago I hit a couple of other thrift stores in search of frames. I almost missed out on the best frame ever because of a hideous string art that it housed, but thankfully I was able to look past that and notice the 75% off pink tag. When I saw that it was $5 I took a pic and texted my sister to see if she thought it would be a good chalkboard frame - even though my mind was pretty much made up. She agreed. I didn't even have to paint the frame. I like it just the way it is...for now.

Here's the BEFORE:
And AFTER:
I love it. I can't decide if I love the chalkboard or the bistro chalk markers more. I'm addicted. Be on the lookout for more chalkboard projects. I love that stuff.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another GREAT Giveaway

You MUST go here to sign up for one of the best giveaways ever! I'm not wasting your time writing about this so just go and read for yourself! Go! Good luck! May the luckiest girl win.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The year we broke our own rule.

Hubs and I {by only a tad bit of persuasion on my part} broke our cardinal Holiday rule. We put up our Christmas tree tonight. BEFORE Thanksgiving! Yes, I know Thanksgiving is the next holiday and one should not skip the holiday due to unbridled excitement about the following holiday that involves lots of red, the fresh scent of pine, wrapping paper galore and my treasured Fontanini nativity set. But I am here to tell you we are downright excited about both holidays around this house. I really don't know what has come over me - the fact that stores began putting out Christmas decor before they could even get the last candy corns off the shelves or the fact that our local radio station has been playing Christmas music for a good week (or longer) now or that my children, especially my 2 and half year old, are beyond excited this year and their excitement has rubbed off on me. But for whatever reason, we are excited with a capital E!! I'm ready. This is my favorite time of year (minus cold weather and naked trees) and by golly we are going to enjoy every minute of it this year...even before Thanksgiving. I've been working on Christmas projects today and love what I've gotten done so far. Still have more to do, but I'm in no hurry. I don't have all of my decorations out yet. In fact, I haven't put up the dining room tree which happens to be in the front of the house. I wouldn't want the neighbors to talk, you know. Our family tree is in the back of the house and we have no neighbors behind us. The front tree will go up before Thanksgiving, but I may not turn on the lights til after. The mantel still needs to be done, several other things put up, the front door wreath needs to be changed for Christmas and this year we are even doing outside lights. The kids will love it. So, we aren't entirely crazy, just a little bit. I'll post a few pics of my fun projects once I get them done. So, when do you put your tree up?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reason #327 Why I Do Not Want a Dog...

We (my siblings and I) had two dogs growing up. Our first one was a copper colored dog, I don't even know what kind it was, but her name was Penny. She lived in our backyard in a chain-link fence that was there when my parents bought the house. The fence was not even around our whole backyard, just a portion of it. Weird, now that I think about it, but it was perfect for Penny. She was a pretty dog. But she was a loud dog and apparently, the grouchy old man that lived behind us didn't appreciate that quality in a dog. Especially in the wee hours of the night. That man complained a lot {at least it seemed like a lot to me} about her. And one day when I got home from school, I found that Penny was not in her fence. She was gone. I thought she had gotten out and would just come back eventually. I remember my Mamaw sitting on the front porch with me as I was waiting. Penny never came back. It was a sad day. I can't remember when we figured out that my parents had taken her to the pound. They finally admitted that after years of us speculating about what had REALLY happened to her. I think we got over it pretty quickly, though. Then, in my high school years (I think) we had another dog. Her name was Samantha. She was a peekapoo. Little white dog and so cute. I can't remember how we got her, but we loved her. And we were so shocked when Mother actually let her come in the house! She didn't stay in the house, she just visited us in the house. She lived in our garage. But when we would open the garage door, Sam would bolt in the door and run up the stairs as fast as her little legs would go and she'd circle the living room a few times then run downstairs into the den, circle the den and then jump up in the recliner next to Dad. And she would relax. It's like she had to get it out of her system. She was a cute dog. We loved her. And then the time came when we decided to give her to my grandparents and they loved her, too. Overall, I think I can say that I had good experiences having had dogs while growing up. But, I will be the first to admit that I HATED, yes, hated cleaning up after the dog and bathing the dog. It was not my thing. This is something I'm trying to explain to my children. They have been begging us for a dog. Hubs had a dog growing up, too, and it lived indoors. I do not like animals indoors. Just my personal preference, no offense to anyone who has a pet indoors - I will still come visit you if you invite me. I just feel that I spend 90% of my time trying to keep my indoors clean and pick up after the five messy people that live here. I don't need that other 10% taken up by cleaning up after an animal. I've told my children {and Hubs, for that matter} that when said children are old enough to responsibly take care of their own things, I will think about letting them get a dog. BUT doggy must live outside and they must be 100% responsible for Dog. Momma ain't doing doggy duty, folks. So, I've tried to convince Children that they will have to clean up doggy poop and all other manner of doggy stuff in order to help them not want a doggy. {Hey, I'll do whatever I have to do to prolong this doggy business.} So, last night Middle Girl was telling me in a very dramatic way that she really wants a husky. Mommy, can I PLEASE get a husky???? PLEASE???!!!!! Then, she proceeded to tell me, 'Huskies don't poop.' And then I laughed out loud. Poor Husky. I don't want to be around when it decides to finally poop as normal doggies tend to do. Now, I must go make up another reason why we don't need a dog - since she completely blew that one out of the water.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm almost done Christmas shopping....

and I didn't even have to leave my house....or my couch. Or get dressed and put on makeup. Or worry about dragging 3 kids along. I just opened my laptop and browsed my favorite shops and got it done. The best part? I got paid to do it!! I'm a member of ebates since 2008. My first quarter in ebates I made $48.51 just from shopping online. If you are not a member, yet, you are missing out! Go here to sign up and start earning back some of that moo-lah. It's easy and so nice to see that cash back total adding up!
Happy shopping!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Week Full of Art....by my children

I decided to show you pictures of my week. A picture is worth a thousand words, you know, and I'm still trying to find words to describe some of my children's art this week. So, here you go.
On Monday, I was helping #2 clean up her room and found this lovely piece of art drawn solely by my little budding artist. I'll never be able to forget about this piece of work ~ it's drawn on her bookshelf ~ in ink. Where she found a pen, I will never know.

#1 brought this cute cat home on Tuesday! She drew it all by herself! I think she did a great job. Hers was picked to be on display somewhere at school. Very cute. The only cat I will ever allow in my house.
Ever seen a One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater? Well, you have now! #1 made this in her art class at school and brought it home on Tuesday. I thought it was very clever. And cute. But I am having trouble getting that song out of my head! These were taken just hours after we found cooked spaghetti noodles in #2's bedroom, strung all over the place. I didn't have the mental capacity or the humor to take a picture of that at the time.

#2 & #3 decided to display their mad art skills Wednesday night just before we left for church....It would have been lovely ~ had it not been on #1's bed sheets. I'm still trying to process this one.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm a real winner...

Really. I am. I enter lots of blog giveaways (whenever I am thinking about it and have the time) and I've won lots of stuff. In the past 2-3 weeks, I have won around $150 in gift cards. And I have spent half of them on Christmas gifts. The other half, I either haven't gotten in the mail yet or haven't decided what to buy on my Christmas list. Today I've entered several giveaways. One is posted on the previous post on my blog today. The other is for a new laptop. You can enter that one, too! It's at the top right of this blog. Just click the button and follow the instructions.

Giveaways are fun! And so worth it!! Don't expect to win right off the bat, but you never know! In the past year, I've won gift cards, an outfit from Ralph Lauren for my daughter, Gourmet food products, clothing, a gorgeous red pitcher, etc. I think I've forgotten something else, but it's been fun! People are giving great stuff away....they might as well give it to me!

Have fun!

Runway Rundown's 'Spread the Word' Contest

Runway Rundown's 'Spread the Word' Contest

Click the link to enter a drawing to win a $200 handbag PLUS $200 worth of gift cards/goodies!!! And the best part of entering this is that your name will be in every drawing going forward until you actually win something!! I love it!

Thanks for entering!

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's so hard to get out of bed in the morning...

when it's cold outside. And when you have new 600 thread count sheets! I got some new sheets (long overdue) last week from CSNstores.com. I had been looking for a set of nice sheets for a good price and I was so happy to find some at CSNstores where I had a gift card. The sheets came in the mail this week and let's just say, I've had an even worse time getting out of bed in the morning. I am not a morning person. Never have been. I wish I was, but I am not. That is something that cannot be forced or faked. And now that the colder weather is getting here and the mornings are just a bit darker, it is getting harder. Oh well, at least my sheets are soft. {And not falling off the mattress.} Thanks, CSN!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Day I Nearly Voted for a Democrat

I love exercising my right to vote! It is one small way to make a big difference in the world that I live in. It's my right. It's my privilege. I don't take this for granted. I hope you don't, either. It's so exciting to me to voice my opinion by checking off my ballot and pressing that 'VOTE' button! So, this morning when I got up and realized Hubs had forgotten his cell phone, I decided I would go vote on my way to Hubs' workplace. I was happy to see that the lines were not so busy at the time I arrived - only because I had all three girls with me. They are a bit unpredictable when it comes to outings like this one. I'm never sure if they will behave themselves and show some self-control or if they will be giddy with each other, which always - ALWAYS - turns into an ordeal. I was feeling pretty good about it while I signed my name on the line confirming that I am, indeed, who I say I am and that I do have the right to vote. I thought I saw a hint of anxiety on the faces of the volunteers when I walked in with all three littles, but hoped things would go fine. Anyway, as I was going through my ballot and making sure I was checking off the people I had previously decided to vote for, #1 and #2 decided to fight about who got to stand beside me and see the screen. If you vote, you know how flimsy those voting booths are. However, we managed not to knock my little booth down. #2 decided she was bored standing there, so she began to walk circles around me...and my booth. The booths are all plugged into one another so if you unplug one, let's just say, you've got a major problem on your hands. I told #2 to stand still. Then, #3 wiggled out of my arms and wanted to stand. So, I let her stand beside me....until she began circling the booth and very nearly gave the volunteer a nervous breakdown over the idea of unplugging a machine. Finally, I got to the end of my ballot and reviewed my decisions - because Heaven knows I wasn't 100% sure I voted the way I had wanted to. Thankfully, I did get them all right and I cast my ballot while holding back a few tears. Tears of complete thanksgiving that I am so blessed to be an American, tears of excitement that I have this great privilege to bring change to the mess our leaders have gotten us into, and tears of relief that we did NOT unplug the machines...or knock one down....or give the lady a nervous breakdown. We left without harming anything or anyone and my day only got better from there.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Coffee Table vs. Ottoman


Which do you like better? Coffee tables or ottomans? Hubs and I have had our sectional for a year now and we still haven't gotten anything to put our feet on. It's been fine, so far. It leaves more floor space for the kids to play and eliminates the dilemma of stubbing unsuspecting toes, but alas, there is no place to put your glass of sweet tea. So, we are trying to decide what the best option for us would be. Coffee tables are classic, serve their purpose and look nice. Ottomans can be more versatile. Hidden storage, more comfy for putting the feet up on, extra seating, etc. If you are in the market for a new coffee table or ideas, visit csnstores.com for lots of options!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

1st Haircut

I finally bit the bullet and let my baby get her first haircut....at age 2 1/2. I had a hard time trying to part ways with 'piggy tails' because she looks so cute in them and loves them even more than I do, but the new cut will help her hair look like it's actually been brushed instead of wild and stringy. She loved the whole experience! I knew she would. She is my girly girl out of the three. And she cannot stop talking about getting her hair cut. I just love her to death.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Set Free


I've neglected the blog long enough. So, I thought I'd write something today that I've been thinking about a lot over the past few weeks. (I was going to write about my dad because today is his birthday, but my sister did that already.) Hubs and I have been praying since our girls were born that one day they would recognize their sinful nature and their need for a Savior...the Savior, Jesus Christ. A few years ago, we were thrilled when our oldest daughter saw her need and on her own asked Jesus to forgive her of her sins and come into her heart. Since then, we have seen God at work in her life. It is exciting to see definite spiritual growth in your child (or anyone for that matter!) and we have been seeing that, especially recently. And since then, she has gotten a burden for her sisters. Our middle child began asking lots of questions a few months ago, but just wasn't quite realizing her need. So, we prayed even harder and just let the Holy Spirit do the convicting. We felt that it was very important for her to come to this decision on her own, not by any cohersing from us. She began talking about this matter of salvation nearly everyday for about 2 weeks back in September and we would put her off a little bit to see if she was really serious about it. Then, in Sunday School the lesson for two weeks straight was on the sacrificing of the lambs back in the Old Testament and how the people had to sacrifice spotless lambs and the shed blood of the lambs would cover their sins and they would be forgiven. Of course, since Jesus died on the Cross, he paid the price for every sin of every person and the sacrificing of the lambs is no longer necessary. He paid that price for us. The lesson really struck her and the second week of the lesson, she told us in the car on our way home that she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart. I told her I would love for her to do that and once we got home we would talk to her about it. Sure enough, we got home and talked with her and on her own, she invited Jesus into her heart and accepted His free gift of salvation! Praise the Lord! There was an immediate change in her heart. And at that moment, though we could not see it with our eyes, her soul was set free from the bondage of sin and the death sentence that brings and she began living a new life that will be eternally free from the penalty of sin. She has a personal relationship with my Savior! I cannot tell you how much joy that brings to my heart. That very morning in church, our pastor talked about how when we accept Christ as Savior we don't even understand all that that means to us at that time, but how exciting that we can learn and grow in our relationship with Christ each and every day. As I grow in my walk with Christ, I am overwhelmed by His love and His mercy and His grace toward me in every aspect of my life. I've been set free!! Have you?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My friends are like the cherry in my Cherry Limeade.

'Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.'
{Ok, so the title of this blog is silly. On purpose.}


I am convinced that Hubs and I have the best friends one could ever have. Friends from childhood all the way to the present are included in that statement. Thanks to Facebook, I am in contact with tons of friends from different stages of my life, but honestly, I wouldn't need FB to keep in contact with them. There are friends who I only have the privilege of talking to every once in awhile and then those that I hear from more often, as well as, those I talk to almost daily. But throughout my life I've always had friends. God has made my life sweeter because of them. Hubs and I went to a memorial service for his best friend over the weekend and it was refreshing and just plain sweet to remember all the good times they experienced together. He was definitely a good friend. During the service there was a testimony time, of sorts, where those in the congregation could say a brief word about our friend. It was very heart-warming and we laughed later because several people that spoke said that Matt was their best friend. And he was. He was everyone's best friend and made you feel that way. While there, we were reunited with some of our other good friends {Matt's other best friends =)} from far and near and it was great to see them! We hadn't seen them in a few years, at least, and were able to just pick up right where we left off. I love friends like that! Time cannot dull true friendship. It is just one of life's greatest blessings. I love being with Hubs and his friends. I didn't have the privilege of going to college with them...I met them all later. But I sure love hearing all the stories and reminiscing with them. I've mentioned it before, but I think of them as 'a band of brothers' because that's how they act. They know each other very well and God knitted their friendships together so tight during their college years. We had the best time laughing with them after the service and remembering the good ol' days. They surprised us Sunday night by coming up to our city {not just for our sake} and called us when we got out of church to meet us then later came over to our house when the restaurant closed. We laughed and talked and laughed some more til midnight and then decided reluctantly that the fun had to come to an end....until next time. Who knows when that will be, but we look forward to it.
I have a few very good friends, as well, from all different stages of my life. They encourage me, make me laugh {and laugh at me}, take care of my kids when I need them to, trust me with theirs, cry with me, pray for me {and I for them} and encourage me to be more like Christ. It's a joy to be around them. Life would be a bit dull without them. I'm so thankful for friends!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Fall Y'all!

It is officially FALL!

Even though the weather is not cooperating. {It's 91 as I type.}

But FALL is in the air...and all of your local stores.

Today I decided to make my first batch of Pumpkin Bread....{dairy-/egg-free} so I can't wait to see how it turned out. The house sure smells good!
Later, I will be making Pumpkin Doughnuts {dairy-/egg-free, as well} which will be a first for me. I would not be making doughnuts if it weren't for my sweet middle child. Her class is having doughnuts as a treat on Friday and so I want her to be able to participate and have her own kind. She deals with food allergies, so she cannot have just any ol' doughnut. Hers are created very special just for her! I hope she likes them!And if you're looking for a yummy Fall-type meal to make, try out my bro-in-law's yummy Italian soup {that my sister named, 'Yes, I'll fly with you to Italy for the weekend' soup}. It's delish. I made it Sunday and it hit the spot! Pair it with Pioneer Woman's 'THE Bread' and you'll have yourself a full belly.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Amanda who won our $35 CSN Stores gift card!
The code for your $35 has been emailed to you, Amanda!
Happy Shopping!
You can visit Amanda @ Life on County Road 39!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dining Table

We have two dining tables in our house. One in the kitchen. One in the dining room. I like having a kitchen table because our kids are young and very messy and the kitchen is easier to clean up. The dining table is used most often when we have guests. I would much rather use the dining table regularly, but am still trying to convince Hubs that it's a great idea. I would like to get a smaller kitchen table, possibly round with just 4 chairs, and then use our dining room for family meals....regularly. I'll let you know when Hubs finally gives in to my reasoning.

And speaking of dining tables, CSN stores has a great selection of dining tables here. Go check them out and then come back here and tell me your favorite. Or just leave me a comment about whatever. And you'll be entered to win a $35 gift card to CSN stores online!!!! Be sure I have a way of contacting you if you are the winner. Contest starts today and ends Wednesday, September 15 at midnight. I'll announce the winner Thursday, Sept 16. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Your Legacy

I don't know if it's because I'm so addicted to researching the family tree or what, but I've been thinking a lot about the effect other people have on our lives and vice versa. Last Sunday, we were visiting my parents and went to their church on Sunday. My dad preached about Joseph being a foster father to Jesus and how he was a great influence. We always put the focus on Mary when thinking of Jesus's parents, but in reality God also chose Joseph to be Jesus's earthly father for a reason. While my dad was preaching, he mentioned how nice it would be to be the parent of a perfect child. And Mom leaned over and said, 'Yeah, but can you imagine being a parent with a sinful nature to a perfect child?' I haven't been able to stop thinking about that. I act ridiculous at times when things aren't going my way. When my pride gets hurt, the real me comes out. What a huge responsibility Joseph and Mary had to keep their own actions and reactions in check. As parents, our influence over our children affects them the most. And I have been challenged to walk in the Spirit so that I do not give in to my flesh. My children are watching closely.
Then, today I was reading in 2 Chronicles 26 about King Uzziah. He was pretty amazing - becoming king at age 16 and completely rebuilding the Southern Kingdom of Israel (which his father had let fall to pieces) and building up quite a large army to protect it. He was amazing only because he lived according to God's will for his life. Things went great, he was prosperous. He reigned for 52 years and became a strong man....and then, he became proud. Pride is so sneaky. We start out with nothing because that's really what we are without God. We're so dependent upon God because without Him we can do nothing. Things just seem to flow, and everything goes fine and then, somewhere along the way, we forget where we came from. We get a distorted view of ourselves and forget Who brought us to where we are. And then, we wonder why things seem to be falling apart. Uzziah did that. After so much success, he forgot God. He became self-sufficient. He even went so far as to break the 'law' and went into the holy place where only the priests were allowed to go. This shocked the priests (all 81 of them) and they confronted him, but he was too big for his britches and would not listen. He got angry. And God immediately struck him with leprosy...on his forehead. (I love how the Bible is so specific.) This man who had been a hero to the kingdom, and had done great things because of his dependence on God ended up alone with a disease that ultimately killed him. And do you know how he was remembered? They said 'He was a leper.' 52 great years of dependence upon God and because of pride and self-sufficiency, he died alone from leprosy. This is a challenge to me to live in total dependence on God and to teach my children to do the same. I really believe that is the greatest legacy I could leave them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

5 Years Ago...


God gave us this precious gift.

Her smile is sweet.

Her heart is BIG.

This girl knows how to have fun!

We can't imagine our lives without her.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us this sweet girl.
PS - She looks adorable with cupcake on her face.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Family Tree

Hubs and I have really gotten into the show 'Who Do You Think You Are?' about celebrities finding out their genealogy and tracing it way back to reveal some very interesting and historical things. Starting Sunday, Hubs and I both began researching our families historys and have gotten quite a lot of information about where we came from. It's been so much fun. Almost too much fun. Every night since then, we have put the kids to bed and resumed our spots in the living room with our laptops and found more information. I can't even wait til after church when we get the girls to bed and we can research some more. Thanks to one of my dad's cousins, I was able to find a ton of information on his mother's side of the family dating back to 1755 in Ireland, which would be all the way back to my Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather. On my dad's father's (Papaw's) side of the family, I can only get back to my Great Grandfather (born in 1884), so far. I am going to find more info on that side of the family. It's my mission. Then, my mom's side of the family had some more information that I could use to put the puzzle together. So, on my mom's father's side of the family I have traced back to my Great-Great-Great Grandfather (still trying to figure out dates on that). And on my mom's paternal grandmother's side of the family, I've gotten back to my Great-Great-Great Grandfather. Then, there's a gap of about 160 years and we found out these people descended from a couple born in Ireland around 1690 who then, travelled to NC about 1700 and settled there. I have to figure out this gap. It's going to drive me crazy until I do.


I've found some very interesting info that I think relates to this gap I just mentioned. If it's true, then, my Great-Great-Great Grandfather was fighting in the Civil War which started April 12, 1861. He was on the 1860 Census and was 30 years old at that time and in the same household with two other men who were not relatives of his. I found one of those names on a military list, as well as, what I believe might be my GGG Grandfather. According to the document, they were in the 2nd Regiment NC Infantry AKA 2nd Infantry Regiment State Troops. My GGG Grandfather's wife is listed on the 1860 Census as being 32 yrs old at the time and living with a man who was 26 (either a husband or brother) and a little girl, age 2. She and my GGG lived in the same city and I have more research to do to find out if these are indeed the people I'm looking for. And if so, when did they get married? It is very interesting getting all this info. I can't wait to find more.


Stay tuned. This is going to be a journey.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Side Table Before & After

BEFORE:
My mom gave us this cute little side table a few months ago. It has magazine holders on each end and an open space in the middle. I love it because it is petite and works perfect beside our recliner. We have a lot of dark brown in our living room and that was the color of this table, so I decided (after putting it off for so long) to sand it and repaint it. Thanks to some new curtains I bought at World Market, I was inspired to paint the table turquoise and then distress it. Last Friday, I decided on a whim to just do it. And that's what I did. Here's the Before & After....
AFTER:
Close-up




Friday, August 27, 2010

2 weeks down....


My two big girls have been in school now for 2 weeks. It's been full of new experiences, excitement, long car lines, after-school snacks, homework and evenings full of complete exhaustion. I must admit I am enjoying being on a schedule again and I love my time with our youngest girl.

Middle Girl started Kindergarten this year....finally. It seemed to take forever in her little mind, so when the day finally came she was thrilled! Her favorite things about K5 (so far) are playing on the playground and seeing her BFF, Isabelle. For at least the past year, we've been telling her she'll learn how to read in Kindergarten. So, last week, nearly everyday she came home upset that 'They didn't teach me how to read!' I was cracking up. She is learning - she just doesn't know it. And then there's the daily BFF saga. I don't think a day has passed by that she hasn't asked or begged to go to Isabelle's house after school. She and Isabelle are in the same class and they have been buddies forever. They were born on the same day, in the same hospital room, just hours apart. The beginning of their lives was very opposite, but it has been a lot of fun seeing their friendship develop. I hope they are friends forever. Of course, Kindergarten is tiring for our girl who is used to having a nap or rest time everyday. She'll get used to it eventually.

Firstborn is going to a new school this year for 2nd grade. She LOVES it. Everyday she has been so excited about her day and looks forward to the next day. The first day she came home and said, 'My teacher is nice and kind and not bossy.' So, that was a good start to the year. She tells us about the kids in her class and all that goes on during the day. It's quite interesting. She is my studious child (let's hope it lasts!) and takes after her daddy. Schoolwork is fun to her and she learns very quickly. The fundraisers have already begun, if you can even believe it. She was gung-ho about it until she realized she doesn't get to keep the money....the school gets it. HA She is always looking for ways to make an easy dollar.

I've never been so happy for a weekend than I am right now. I love the schedule, but I am so tired. Homework is already killing me. I cannot believe how much homework my 2nd grader has. I guess it only gets worse from here. At least right now, it's pretty easy homework - just takes a long time. I'm glad she doesn't mind doing it, though.

And that is what we've been doing now for two solid weeks. Not much else. It's gonna be a great school year!

Calypso...

......that's the color of a little side table I am painting right now. Before/After pics soon to come!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Best Man

Hubs & his best man, Matt
Hubs has a friend whom he has considered his best friend since college. They were in aviation together in college and developed a great friendship. Actually, they had a group of friends. I met Hubs' friend, Matt, before I started dating Hubs. He was the kindest, most sincere friend to everyone he met. He was a southern boy. My first impression of him never changed. He loved to have a good time. And that's the way all the guys in the group were. When I started dating Hubs, I got to know Matt a little better. Although we didn't see him much due to living in different cities and then states, Hubs and he kept in touch every few months or so. You know guys. And 'the guys' (whom I kind of think of as a 'band of brothers') still keep in touch....not quite as often now that everyone has their own families, but the friendship is still strong. When Hubs and I got married, there was no question who would be Hubs' best man. All the guys were in each other's weddings and I just think that speaks volumes of the friendships they forged during those college years. A little over a year ago, Matt was diagnosed with cancer. Nothing helped to get rid of the cancer and today he passed away. I can't imagine the grief his wife and three little boys are experiencing, as well as, their families. But I know that he has never been better!! The Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And I can just imagine Matt entering the gates of Heaven, being welcomed into the very presence of Jesus Christ, his Savior. And being surrounded by loved ones and friends he knew here on Earth. He is no longer suffering, but celebrating and worshipping at the feet of Jesus. I wish I could get a glimpse of that right now. My mind cannot comprehend the awesome moment of passing from this human life into the glorious realization that you've entered eternal life in Heaven. That's forever! I just cannot imagine it, but I know it will be the greatest moment one who knows Jesus Christ as their Savior could ever experience. That's where Matt is right now. He's only been there about 3 hours, but to him it probably seems so different. I wonder who he is talking to right now. Which hero of the Bible he's joking around with and talking to. I wonder if he's still bowing at the feet of Jesus and praising Him for His salvation. I wonder how many people he's told about his cute little boys and sweet wife and wishing they could know how happy he is. I would love to be there when he tells the story of his and Hubs' long roadtrip to Canada for their friend's wedding years ago. How hilarious that will be. He is probably in no hurry. He has all of eternity, afterall. I'm so thankful Hubs got to talk to him last week on the phone and tell him 'goodbye for now'. This story has a happy ending, though. We'll see him again. We have that hope of eternal life. And Heaven was made much sweeter today now that our dear friend is there waiting for us.
Matt being his jovial self!

Please keep his wife and boys and their families in your prayers. These are difficult days for them and my heart breaks for them. I know they appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Milestones...

We are hitting lots of milestones in our home lately and I have been hit with the reality that time is flying by. My kids are growing up. Which must mean I'm getting older, but we won't go there. Our most recent milestones:
~ My baby is officially potty trained (at least by daytime!) and it was way too easy. It took approximately 4 days, and she's 27 months. My older two were a good 3 1/2 before they were potty trained. And it was no picnic....believe you me. This time, I was dreading it. Really, really dreading it. And we just started cold-turkey one afternoon. I am still shocked everytime she tells me she has to 'go'. I love it!
~ My baby is sleeping in her big-girl bed tonight! We've been talking about it for awhile, but had to wait on some bunk beds for Middle Girl's room (which came today). So, tonight's the first night with her being free to wander (in a technical sense). I'll probably have to get up way earlier than I want to in the morning, but I'll survive. It won't be the first time...or the last.
~ Middle Girl is starting Kindergarten Tuesday!!!! I have been looking forward to this for months because she gets so bored being at home all the time, but now that it's fast approaching, I think I'm going to need a Kleenex. Make that a whole box of Kleenex. She's my little, thumb-sucking sweetheart and a cuddlebug. I just don't think I am ready to let her grow up. But it's time. Time to let her go. To let her begin the painful process of learning NOT to suck her thumb. To let her take her own lunch box to school and eat without me there making sure she's really eating and not still hungry. Time to let her learn and mature and make friends that I don't know. It's time. Whether I like it or not.
~ Firstborn is starting 2nd grade at a new school on Monday. We took her today to meet her teacher. I had butterflies in my stomach all morning, as though I was back in the 3rd grade when my family moved to a new city and I had to start a new school after the official school year had started. And I was wearing baby blue corduroy culottes when everyone else was wearing pants. And they all stared at me as if I were from a foreign country. Yes, I felt like I was back there as I walked into the elementary school this afternoon. Only it was much easier this time knowing from experience that everything will be okay. We met her new teacher who seems very nice and explored the classroom, found her desk, got her school spirit t-shirt. It was a good experience. She is excited about starting school Monday. Visiting her classroom and meeting her teacher was enough to settle her fears. I'm thankful she's excited. But I'll be needing a Kleenex on Monday, too.
Even though I'm not starting school, (and oh how thankful I am to be past schooling years!!) I will be very busy with my girls' schools. I have signed up for everything I can possibly sign up for, I may be subbing at Middle Girl's school, I am heading up a Moms in Touch prayer group for Firstborn's school each Monday, I'll be a member of the PTA at Firstborn's school, etc. I am exhausted just filling out my calendar for the school year. It is going to require a lot of my time, but I will only have this opportunity for a few short years. I want to really take advantage of every opportunity I can with my girls' schools. I'm going to be very involved. This is my ministry right now. It's very exciting! I'm praying for opportunities to develop new friendships with other moms in the girls' schools and will be looking for ways to be a blessing....ultimately pointing them to Christ.
Hope your school year is shaping up to be a good one for you and your children, as well!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Choices...

Life is full of them. We make choices everyday. Some are no-brainers (like 'are we going to have dessert?? Uh, Yeah!), others are more serious (Chocolate or Sugar-free?), but all of them affect us one way or another. Hubs and I have had some big choices to make this summer...the biggest one being schooling for our children. We have two in school this year (can I get an Amen?) and we thought long and hard (as well as, prayed often) about where to send them to school. Firstborn has been in school since K2. Middle Girl is just starting K5 without having gone to any preschool. Firstborn has been in Christian school the whole time and we had no thought of ever changing that...until summer began. I won't go into detail, but we began to wonder if the cost of sending our two girls to Christian school was really necessary AND right for our family. While we loved the school Firstborn attended, the cost was really causing us to question continuing her in that school. I began to pray about what to do. I was kind of torn - we loved the school, she was excelling, etc. but we had some uncertainty about if this was right for us. My experience is that God uses circumstances to guide me and direct my steps and obviously He wanted us to rethink this. I had talked to my mom about this and one day she told me that my dad thought it wise for us to consider public school. I grew up in public school and am very thankful for that opportunity. God allowed me to really grow and mature in my Christian walk during high school and some of that was due to the challenges I faced with some of my peers/teachers regarding my moral beliefs. I can honestly say it was good for me. I know public school is not for everyone. But don't knock it til you've tried it is a saying that comes to mind. Hubs grew up in Christian school because of the ministry his family was in while growing up. So, I knew that his opinion of public school would be very different than my own. But when we began praying about this option, it was amazing to me how God united our hearts and our thinking and gave us peace to make the decision that was right for us at this present time. We believe God's will for us at this time is for our daughter to go to public school. And I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. Of course, there is a little hesitancy, but only because I am not familiar with the public school system here firsthand. But we have peace and fully believe God has directed us in this decision. I don't write all this to get your approval because frankly, I don't want it or need it. I just want to share with you why I am so excited about this and maybe challenge you to think deeper about your own life's choices.
Because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and my desire is to glorify Him in my words, actions, etc. I surround myself with other's who know Christ as their personal Saviour. I love being around my brothers and sisters in Christ and am encouraged and rejuvenated after spending time with them. We are active members in our church and spend a lot of time there. I do not work outside the home so most of the people I speak with/hang around are Christians - in the real, true meaning of the word. When my girl was attending Christian school that took up even more time being around other Believers and less time around people who do not know Christ. God's Word commands me to be the salt and light of the World, building relationships and friendships with those who have no hope of eternal life without Christ as their Saviour. Now that my girl will be in public school, we will have the opportunity to be around people who need Christ. I plan to be very involved in her school and will be looking for opportunities to befriend people that do not live the way I live. I want to be able to relate to my neighbors and others whose lives are very different than ours. I don't want to ignore their need for Christ just because we do things differently.
Another reason for my excitement is that my girl will be able to see for herself that she is very blessed. My prayer is that God would enable her to see that not everyone lives the way we do. Christ is not the center of their homes and that makes a huge impact on the choices they make. I don't want her to continue living in a 'bubble' where everyone she knows and talks to lives their lives almost exactly like we do. That's not reality. The truth is there are people all around us - everywhere - that have no idea what a privilege it is to know Jesus Christ. They don't know what it's like to have peace in their homes, to know they are loved with an everlasting love. They have no hope. But we do! And I want her to understand that and be able to share that hope with her friends and others that she will come in contact with.
I want to guard my children against the mindset that if people don't live the way we do, then we shouldn't associate with them. If we don't associate with them, how will we ever win people to Christ? As Christians, we shouldn't live like the world does, but that absolutely does not mean we should shelter ourselves and our children from the world. They need to know how to function in reality. Not be homely and unsociable or scared to talk to people who are different than them. Even in 1st grade, I heard a comment or two from my girl about public school and I could tell by her tone that she thought that was not a good thing. It was eye-opening to me, to say the very least. I am not sure where she got that attitude from, but I was not pleased. That attitude is directly opposite of Christ's attitude toward people. He was criticized for associating with people who were not 'up to par' according to the Pharisees, but that didn't stop Him. The fact is that is doesn't make a hill of beans worth of difference what elementary school someone goes to. The school doesn't define who you are. School is just a means to an end, it's temporary, but God has you there for a specific purpose (whether you realize it or not). A purpose bigger than just education. But isn't that life? Every place God allows us to be (school, work, church, neighborhood, etc.) is authorized by God, yet we forfeit many opportunities to share Christ with others because we aren't prepared or actively looking for those opportunities.
We are purposefully teaching our girls that God doesn't classify people according to our standards. We are all sinners, unworthy of the mercy God so freely pours out on us. So, who are we to look down our noses at someone because of where they go to school, etc.? There's a word for that...pride. And the Bible doesn't have any good thing to say about that kind of pride.
And let me just add here that I am not declaring that everyone in the Christian school is automatically a Christian. That definitely is not the case. A Christian is one who recognizes their sinful nature and confesses their sin to Jesus Christ Who paid the debt for their sins by dying on the Cross. A Christian places his/her trust in Christ alone, believing that He is the ONLY ONE that can save from sin. We cannot trust in works/deeds because they just aren't good enough. Salvation is bought only by the shed blood of Christ and is FREELY given to those Who believe that. We can't buy it or even pretend to have it. Our best just isn't good enough. And that's the beauty of salvation. It's something I could never merit on my own, but God loves me so much that He freely gives that to me when I recognize my need. He'll do the same for you.
No matter what school your children attend, the most vital element of that is parental involvement. The biggest influence in your child's life is your home. Not the school or their peers. And if you're looking for ways to keep communication with your children open, I recommend "Parent Talk" - totally forgot who the author is, but you can google it.
So, that's our decision in a nutshell. Very exciting days ahead for us! And I am making myself available to the opportunities God will be placing in front of me and my family.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Butterflies and Zinnias

So, I grew zinnias from the ground up this year. I was expecting them to be the short, cute, fat ones when I planted the seeds, but they kept growing and growing and growing. They are about 4 feet tall now. And that doesn't include the pots they are in. It's quite funny. But I love them. My zinnias. They have about 25-30 blooms at all times and at least 5 butterflies and a few bees, as well. I love cutting my zinnias to put in my bud vases in my kitchen window. Zinnias are a happy flower. I even saw a gorgeous yellow finch enjoying my zinnias the other day. And for a split second, a hummingbird came to visit. He left too quickly for me to get a picture, but I did take one of a beautiful butterfly....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Meat Loaf Muffins


I am continuing my quest for healthy meals for our family and here is one that I tried last night. I had a lb of ground beef in my fridge that needed to be used last night and because my family is absolutely sick to death of spaghetti and meatballs, I had to brainstorm. I thought that maybe I could do a meatloaf or something so I googled 'sugar free meatloaf' (we are trying to limit the sugar intake and most meatloaf has ketchup in in). Didn't find anything appealing so I decided to google egg-free/dairy-free meatloaf. That's when I came up with Meat Loaf Muffins. You can get the recipe HERE. I used less ketchup to lower the sugar grams (Hunts has a 'No High Fructose Corn Syrup ketchup) and I just left the egg completely out of the recipe and it held together just fine. I, also, substituted bread crumbs for the crackers. I like the taste much better. Bread crumbs normally have milk in them, but I buy Panko brand and the one I have has no dairy. They turned out great and take less time to bake than a whole meatloaf. Putting them in muffin tins also provides a great portion size for children and makes them easier to store for later. I served them with steamed broccoli and sweet corn. YUM. The fam loved it. And if you really want to be sneaky, add in some extra finely chopped veggies. Hubs and the children had no idea it had onions and carrots in it. {I love it when a plan comes together!}

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I {heart} America!

We had a fabulous Fourth of July! Long weekends are always nice, but when you celebrate America's birthday over a long weekend it is just that much more fabulous. Our weekend started with a short trip to see my fam. It was a nice day to drive through the mountains and we just had a lovely time. The girls were so happy to get to see 'the cousins' again and only asked, "Are we there yet?" about 90 times and "What state are we in?" approximately 107 times. But we made it with our nerves in tact. Soon as we got there, we woofed down our lunch and got right back in the car (it's really a van, but I call it a car all the time....I don't know why. Does it really matter?) and headed for the lake. Sister and Bro-in-Law have a boat and we hadn't been on it since B-I-L gashed his foot open on the propeller a few years ago, so we were happy to take a little boat ride Saturday. The girls loved it. Firstborn even surrendered her fear of open water and jumped onto the Tube with her cousins and went for a ride behind the boat. I was so proud of her! She is not our fearless, adventurous one so this surprised me. After the boatride, she even got into the lake with The Cousins with her life jacket on and did so well until the fear returned and she nearly drowned her favorite cousin, causing Hubs to have to jump into the lake before he was ready to jump into the lake and rescue her. Evidently he wasn't getting her back to the boat fast enough because she declared {very adamantly} "GET ME ASHORE!" I totally thought about videoing this whole episode because it was hilarious, but I didn't want her to know we were laughing when she was having such a hard time 5 feet away from the boat....with her life jacket on...and her daddy holding her. That, and the fact that I couldn't hold the camera still from trying so hard to hold back the laughter. Bless her heart. She was brave, though, and I was proud of her. I told her so. We spent a couple hours out on the lake and then headed back to the house and had BBQ with my parents. It was so good to see them. We played a mean game of Scrabble and called it a night. Sunday we celebrated our freedom to worship and went to church with Sister and fam in the morning and then to my parents' church to hear Daddy preach Sunday night. It was a great day. After church, we drove Downtown and watched the fireworks from the top of a parking garage. Best seats in town! Monday we were able to go and swim with all the cousins and Grammy and Papa at their friend's house. It was a fun time. I was surprised at how much more brave my girls were this year in the pool than they were last year. The Baby (who is not really a baby anymore) makes me nervous because she's fearless and it's a fight to keep her water wings on. Much to our surprise, though, the girls did not sleep all the way home. Maybe just a few minutes each. But we did put them to bed while it was still bright as day outside and they slept 12 hours last night. It was a fun weekend! So great to be with family! Now it's back to the grind before we finally go on vacation!! I can't wait!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thinking outside the {macaroni & cheese} box

I've turned over a new leaf. I'm blazing a new trail! I'm changing our family's menu.... This is very exciting to me, but scary to Hubs. This type of change will be good for us and so far, I am absolutely loving it! I came to this decision because my metabolism found out how old this body is and decided to take a vacation. Or so it seems to my summer wardrobe. But that was just the motivation I needed to make some serious change around here. I love me some Chick-fil-a and apparently I was loving it just a little too much. Well, that along with soda and the occasional {okay, more than occasional} dessert. Not to mention, Hubs' love of ice cream and B1G1 Sonic shakes. I can't let him act alone on such things! So, I am determined to make some changes! So far, so good! Granted, this is only Day 4, but I am pretty motivated to stick with these major changes. Hubs and I are just sick of junk food. Although, I do crave Chick-fil-a in a big way, but that just reminds me that I'm normal.

So, to change, I've personally started a 14 day jumpstart with no sugar. That means no carbs, too, and hardly any dairy. I am feeling good and haven't had many cravings until today when I made my daughter a PB&J and I was tempted beyond belief to lick that yummy, sugary peanut butter off the knife. But I didn't. And I am proud of myself! But the changes won't stop after these 14 days. I'm determined to continue cooking yummy, healthy meals for dinner each night, choosing healthy lunch options and forcing this non-breakfast eater to eat a healthy breakfast every morning.

Just thought I'd share with you a couple of delicious and healthy recipes that I've made this week. Super easy (I won't cook it if it's not easy.) and so yummy that I am envious of my husband who took the leftovers to work today. Never thought I'd be selfish about healthy food!

Last night, I made Jenny's Grilled Chicken Breast and it was the best chicken I've eaten in a long while. I even grilled it and usually that means it's blackened (aka. burned to death) because I have an insane dislike of raw chicken, but I did pretty good on this one!
I also made Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli and HELLO?! It was awesome!!! Yes, I used awesome to describe broccoli. Who knew?? Broccoli never tasted so good! You must try this. The family liked it, but Hubs still prefers steamed broccoli. I'm just glad he eats broccoli, so I will continue to make it the way he likes it and then make mine this way from now til forevermore. It is THAT good. I am thinking very seriously of making it again tonight with our dinner. Shhh....
I also made homemade Mac N Cheese for the fam who still loves their carbs, but I did not partake. I was too full from broccoli to even care that I was missing out on that cheesy goodness.

Today, I made a variation of homemade salsa to eat on top of my spring mix salad and black beans. Sorry I have no picture to share, but trust me, it was good. Here's how I made it...

1 Tomato, diced

1/2 c Red Onion, chopped

Fresh Cilantro, chopped

Chili Pepper, Salt and Pepper to taste

1 T Olive Oil

1/4 c Fresh Lemon Juice (Lime would be good here, but I didn't have one on hand.)

Mix it all up and EAT!

On an interesting note, did you know {according to The Ultimate Weight Solution}...

* Eating a second helping {200 calories} three times a week can add 9 pounds to your body in a year?
* Eating one glazed donut every day on your coffee break can add 22 pounds to your body in a year?
* Drinking a cup of whole milk twice a day instead of Skim Milk can add 13 pounds in a year??
* Drinking one regular soda a day versus diet soda can add 15 pounds in a year? (Not to mention, that raises your chance of Pancreatic Cancer by 75% or is it 87%, one of those??!!)

These are shocking to me! But even more than that. I have been really paying attention to sodium levels in foods and just today I realized that 1/4 teaspoon of table salt has 590 mg sodium in it! We should have a maximum of 1 tsp of salt per day. That really puts things in perspective for me. I am a salt lover, but for crying out loud...I will be seriously watching my salt intake from now on. I don't really know anyone that only uses 1/4 tsp of salt at a time. My Papaw used to make the holes in his salt shaker bigger because he loved salt and it just wasn't coming out fast enough for him. I'm with him on the salt - much prefer a salty snack to a sweet snack, but my salty days are dwindling down. Can you say water retention?
*photos courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Saturday, June 12, 2010

GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED!!

Congratulations!!
Emily {entry #42 - chosen by random.org} is our winner!!!!
She liked the Hillsdale Milwaukee headboard.
Emily, I have emailed you instructions! Please contact me within 48 hours to receive your prize or I will need to pick a new winner. Congratulations!!!
thanks to all who entered! more giveaways coming soon!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fresh Air & Exercise


Hubs loves to hike. He loved it so much when he was a bachelor that he collected all the hiking/backpacking gear. Then, he met me. I enjoy being outdoors and a nice jaunt in the woods, but I am by no means a backpacker. And I don't camp. It's not my thing. I just do not enjoy the thought of sleeping in the wild where there are animals. And bugs. I remember camping out in the backyard in my brother's tent when we were younger and I have no desire to ever sleep in another tent. We would wake up and the whole tent stunk, not to mention the slightest move would make the tent 'roof' move and it would 'rain' on us from all the dew. Nope. I love my bed. And the fact that it doesn't matter if it rains or not while I sleep. I know I'll wake up dry and comfortable. Oh - and I'll get to have a warm shower the next morning. Not a cold one in a cement shower stall. That's too much like youth camp and I'm too old for that now. That said, we love going for day hikes. I'm all for that. It's getting easier now that our youngest is 2. We've been doing it quite a bit these last few weeks and it has been very much fun! The Biltmore House and Gardens is a great place for being outdoors and there is much to do and see. The girls love it there and we always take a picnic lunch. Last weekend, though, we went to the Carl Sandburg Home for the first time and walked around then had a picnic. It was fun and nice to be outside. We didn't tour the home, though - didn't seem like much and we really wanted to be outside. Here are a few pics from our day...
Maybe one day {when the girls are older - MUCH older} I might try camping in the wild. Part of me wonders if I could survive it....at least the way Hubs likes to camp....in the Wild. Where you have to hike half a day to find a good spot, {while carrying all your stuff} then set up camp and rough it all night just to pack it all up and carry it all back to wherever it is you came from...and that's without a shower anywhere in sight. Ahhh me. Tell me.....where is the fun in that?? I didn't even mention three girlies tagging along begging to be carried, reminding us they're hungry every 10 minutes, and wondering when we are going to find a potty out there in the wild. I think I'll stick to day trips for now.