Friday, December 27, 2013

We Had a Merry Christmas

And hope you and yours did too!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Time Throw Back Thursday

From This....

To This...

... in 5 short years.
Be still my heart.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Little Salty & a Whole Lot of Dough

Since I've been trying to find some fun activities for the short one and I to do that don't completely wipe out what energy I currently have, I thought making salt dough ornaments might fit the bill nicely. And I was right.

Jacob loves getting messy & this craft definitely has the mess factor going on. We've made a couple of these ornaments with his hand prints & next time we're going to branch out to some other fun shapes. He has big plans for his Bob & Larry, Mickey Mouse & my Big Tex cookie cutters.

These are super, super easy to make. I promise. With one caveat- you have to get the measurements for the ingredients exactly correct or you'll spend a sweet forever trying to get the consistency right. Don't ask me how I know this.

Pour your flour and salt into a big bowl that you can knead it in.

Add the water.
Now, knead it until it forms a nice dough. It should be a little sticky ,but not so much that it sticks to your hand so much you need a putty knife to remove it.

You should be able to make 2 dough balls.
Form them out on a cookie sheet so that there's enough room for little hands to make an impression. 
And seriously, do this directly on the cookie sheet you plan to bake them on. Save yourself time, stress & having to re-do.


Get a straw and poke a hole into each of them so string later.
Bake them up.

The finished product.
Yes, I know. My less than fantastic photography skills make them a little hard to see. I promise, there are hand prints there!
Later this week, we're going to paint all the ornaments!

Salt Dough Ornaments

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup water

Mix and knead until a dough consistency is formed.
Roll out and press out the shape you want.

Bake for 3 hours at 200 degrees.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday, Funday


Yeah, this whole 'new baby' thing has been quite the surprise around here. I would be so bold as to say that, it was not in the 'Master Plan' at the moment. At All. But, if there's anything that I have learned in my just-over 30+ years on this planet it's this... life rarely follows the 'Master Plan' we make for ourselves.

The new baby is due at the end of June/1st week of July. And, I can already tell you it will be a scheduled c-section, cause that's how I roll.

How am I feeling?
Well, if baby would stop making me think I'm gonna blow cookies every time I step into the kitchen to try and make dinner, I'd be golden. My doctor has me on 3, count them, 3 anti-nausea medications. I'm super special like that. With Jacob, I was sick almost all the way up to the day he was born. Good grief, I'm hoping that won't be the case with this one!

Smells seem to be my kryptonite right now. One whiff of something (usually food) and I'm scurrying to get horizontal. Chicken has been all but dead to me. Ugh. But, I've actually craved a burger. And, if you've known me long you know.... I hate burgers. The texture make me gag. Except apparently now.

What I am really craving? Food-wise?
ice tea w/lemon
water w/lemon
pretzel chips & hummus
apples (good grief the amount of apples I've consumed.)
different fruits and veggies

And, I'm tired. Sooo tired. Which is typical at this point, but a special kind of super special fun around the holidays. I'm a shopping mall ninja around Christmas time, I love malls. But I haven't been able to muster the energy to step foot it one this year. I've hit a couple of brick and mortar stores, but about 90% of my shopping has been done on-line.

And when I can score coupons, get exactly what I want & free shipping all from the comfort of my pj's.... that's pretty much how I'm gonna make the season merry and bright around here.

If you're wondering, yes, the short one is excited. He's been asking for a little brother or sister FOR MONTHS. And when we told him that he's going to get his wish... oh, goodness. He goes around telling any and everyone that he's going to be a big brother. He asks me every day how the baby is & tells me he's "Just! So! Excited!"

The Husband is excited too. Though he tends to channel his energy into long term obsessiveness. Our lease is up at the end of April & the plan is to buy a house... well, with the baby due date looming not all that long after that, it's put a little bit more ... shall we say... intensity behind the upcoming house search.

I refuse to really even think all that much about it (the house search. not the baby) until after the first of the year.

In the mean time, it's 9 days till Christmas (yipp-ee!!!) and my on-line orders still haven't arrived. They've been "shipping" for the better part of the last week. Jacob and I are going to work on our ornaments- look for a update tomorrow on that!

In the meantime, Happy Monday!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Summer, 2014

There's a new coming attraction for Summer, 2014.....

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Great Ice-in of 2013

Y'all listen.

It's been a bit of a weekend around North Texas. (Those of you who are living the dream with me are nodding your heads right now.) Thursday, a wicked cold wind came thru & brought ice with it. Lot's and lot's of ice. Like, North Texas wasn't made for this kind of winter weather & everything shuts down and stores run out of bread, eggs & milk and all the citizens flip into disaster mode.

Oh, how I wish I were exaggerating.

Let me tell you, I've never been so happy to be a stay at home wife/mom as I was Friday morning. Wow. Unfortunately, the husband had to be at work. And, I can report that it took him 2 & half hours to make his 25 minute drive that morning. A trip that was complete with being stuck in a ditch for 45 minutes AND loosing control of his car and kissing a concrete barrier. Yes, those were two different adventures. ::shudder::

(I'm happy to report that the husband is just fine. the car is a little worse for wear)

Jacob and I spent the weekend on house arrest. It was all fun and games the first day, but wowza... cabin fever sets in quick in a 2 bedroom abode. By Sunday night, we were ready to get out. The husband, the child & I escaped to McDonald's for dinner & energy burning for Jacob.

and yes, I do know how sad it is that McDonald's constitutes an "escape"... desperate times called for desperate measure, people.

Then I escaped into Target.

What can I say? There's been a lot of tv watching, computer games, whining, laundry & NOT going outside the last few days. The husband went to work today (with stick instructions to let me know when he gets to work!). The youngling and I are home bound again. We're going to do a few crafts & maybe make some cookies... or I may put him to work and make him help me clean the house!

And since I have a weird sense of humor, I leave you with this jewel. Stay safe fellow iced-in people!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Looking a Little Like Christmas

It's officially 3 weeks until Christmas & I'm kicking it into over-drive around here.

I love love love Christmas time. It is, without a doubt, my favorite time of the year. I love the sights and the sounds and the atmosphere. Everything just seems so much more beautiful. I'm a fan of twinkling lights and of egg nog and gingerbread. I adore Christmas carols and music & I love Christmas decorations. This is my happy place.

Because we're in an apartment, this year I didn't go full force on the decorating. But we've done window clings and mangers & snow men, a plenty.

We even have our little Charlie Brown Holiday band. 

And we have our wee little Christmas tree.

Our beloved Christmas count down, of course.

But... my favorite decoration of all is my Grandmother's old manger set. When I was a little girl, I looked forward to setting this manger up with her every year. I loved it. And I wasn't allowed to touch it without permission for years! I begged her for it when I turned into an adult. And, one year, she gave it to me.

And now, I look forward to setting it up every year. It's that one piece of decor that I HAVE to have up. It's just not Christmas without it.

What about you? Do you have the one special piece of Christmas decor that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Five Things That Surprised Me about Home Schooling

(this is just a mom, writing about homeschool & what's kinda working for us at the moment. I'm not getting paid to plug anything. I'm just sharing.)

Good grief.

I don't know why I thought homeschooling would be easy. I mean, seriously. I researched and plotted & planned until I thought my head would explode. I thought we were ready & I thought it would be a snap!

Uh. Yeah.
Not so much.

For some reason, I neglected to take into account that I still had to work on other stuff (hello, blog!), keep up with house work, keep up with commitments outside the house... oh, and deal with my incredibly strong-willed child. Unstoppable force? Meet immovable object.

And, so, I've neglacted to share a  lot about our homeschool journey on this blog... you know, the one that's (in part) about homeschooling??? I just didn't want to admit how hard it is. Or how much we struggled those first few days (hours, weeks, months).

I have to say, I WISH I had gone ahead and bought the kindergarten curriculum that I was thinking about buying way back in the summer. Truly, I could kick myself. Piecing together a coherent curriculum has been hard. Like, really hard. Like, the death of me hard. Chalk it up to a serious lesson learned.

I did, however, find something that has really saved this experience for us. We're using ABC Mouse. (cue the choirs of Angels...) It's been heaven sent.

Jacob and I were running into a big problem. He detests 'copy-work' and worksheets. Like, with a fiery passion in his heart. But it was all I had. And we were quickly having daily confrontations about his school work. Both of us were getting tired and frustrated. And that's not how I wanted this year to go. We backed off. Totally. And I went back to the drawing board.

He loves anything to do with the computer, so I saw that as my window. We tried a couple of different websites before finally settling on ABC Mouse. And, it's been fantastic. He loves it! He's got a guided lesson path that I can customize & monitor.

So, I've found myself leaning heavily on ABC Mouse & adding quite a bit extra.

And now, I present to you...

The Top 5 Things that Surprised Me About Homeschooling

1) how stubborn my off-spring is. And how pissed off irritated I get when he doesn't do his best.
The child is so dang smart. He picks things up like lightening. But. He's pretty much only interested in learning what he wants to learn. Period. And little things like... oh, learning to read, aren't that interesting to him. Up the wall, it drives me.

2) how much I would lean on 'computer' learning. Wow. But, I've decided that if he will sit and soak it up in this form, I'll use it. 

3) how much I've detested coming up with a curriculum all on my own. Yeah. Not my gift.

4) how much I've had to decimate my prior expectations. Like. Wow. There's been a whole lot of me having to realize that maybe my sweet boy just isn't ready for hardcore Kinder learning. And that's okay. What's really important is to create in him a love for this learning thing. 

5) how much fun we can both have when we're on the 'same page.'

Monday, December 02, 2013

When We Watch the SEC


My Longhorns weren't playing this past Saturday night, so I flipped over to the only other game I was really invested in. The Alabama/Auburn game.

Let me give ya a little back story here. One whole side of my maternal lineage is from the great state of Alabama. Some of my family "Roll Tide" and some "War Eagle." I happen to be a fan of Auburn.


By the end of the game, I was proud of Auburn. Mostly enjoyed the game. And was waiting for the field goal.

When it happened.

Oh. My. Gravy.

Seriously. One of the greatest moments in football.

And, if you're wondering what the reaction in my house was like in that moment... it was something close to this....

I don't know Nana, but I feel a kinship with her! I would imagine there were more than a few others shouting "Hurry! Hurry!" to that kid as he ran across the field!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

We Did a Craft

For Thanksgiving.
And, I'm just now posting it. Whoops!

I found a template for the cornucopia online (thank you, Pinterest) and we colored and talked about our blessings.

And, honestly, anything that involves coloring, cutting and glue is a hit with the resident 5 year old!

Ice Cream: the greatest reward

So, part of our nightly routine around here is the "Responsibility & Commitment Chart" that we go through every single night. On this chart are various tasks and character building exercises that we're (and by that, I mean... Jacob) working on.

One of the most important check point on the chart is memorizing Bible Verses.

We've been doing this for 3 months (or so) & Jacob (and me & E) has memorized 3 verses. He's proud of himself. We're proud of him. And, honestly, listening to my child quote God's Words to me is priceless. He's 'hiding it in his heart' for moments later in life when he'll need it.... even if he doesn't realize how important this is now.

And when you get to go to the ice cream parlour wearing your Mickey ears & eat a big ol ice cream cone for "dinner".... it makes for a pretty special reward when you're 5.

FYI- Jacob's 3 verses are
John 3:16
Matthew 22:37
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We're going with the verses in Luke for the month of December. A little longer. A little more challenging.

Another FYI- it cracks me up every time I hear him say "Thessalonians". Lol

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Them Guys

I live in a home that is male dominated. I spend most of my time, it feels like, washing stained clothing, yelling to flush & wash your hands (that's just to Jacob.... the husband long ago conquered that!). And, I spend a great part of my day watching the two males & having the thought, "I.... just don't understand you people."

Getting dirty and working with tools is one of their love languages. True Story; the front end of my car is "a little broken" to quote Jacob. And E has been on a mission to fix it. This past weekend, E and Jacob pulled out the tools and did "man work" on the car. They were in The Zone. For several hours. And then, they spent another hour or two cleaning and washing out the toolbox & the tools.

They were dirty & greasy! They loved every moment of it!

And Jacob is the biggest clown on the planet.
Jumping around, being silly. Rolling around on the ground... any ground. His nickname around here is, "The Flying Squirrel" LOL. He never walks when he can hit the turbo-powered Run. The child has 2 volumes: Very Loud & asleep. And, he's never still- even when he sleeps, the child is always moving. And he's the Master of Making Weird Faces!

The two love the rough-house with one another. Again- Love Language. They love chasing each other & scaring each other & running around like crazy people. And getting dirty and wild. And sweaty! It's a rare day when I don't hear "AHAAAAA!!!!!!" coming from both of them are they gallop around the house.

And, that's not me!

But, it's them & it's fantastic! They crack me up- even when I'm staring at them with wide eyes saying, "Be Careful!" or "Nothing broken please!"

These two are my heart. 

And... perhaps, they aren't so much different from me!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Dinner at Chickalay

Chickalay= Chick-fil-a.

And we love us some Chick-fil-a around here. Especially on rainy Monday nights, when I've been sick all day & E and Jacob are primed to get out of the house... and I'm not.

E and Jacob met E's brother, "Uncle J" for dinner at one of the Chick-fil-a's close to us & to their delight, they were having an event! Jacob came home and told me that it was with the "Duck People"... aka: Duck Dynasty.

E said later that they were giving out camo decorated toys to the kids (Jacob came home with a camo airplane) and the Famous Chick-fil-a Cow was out and about greeting people.

It's safe to say that "the big cow!" is well loved by Jacob!

If you have a Chick-fil-a around you, I highly recommend checking into their schedule of events! There's almost always something happening at our local one! It's a great place, with yummy food & our family highly approves!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Our Family Thankfulness Tree

So, since the holiday season is upon us, I thought I'd share something that we've been doing as a family.

Way back in August, I knew that the temptation for getting the 'gimmie's' would be great, especially for the resident 5 year old. He's never met a present or a toy he hasn't wanted. I knew we wanted to really start instilling the idea of thankfulness and blessings into him this year, so I started plotting and planning on the best way to do this.

The answer was simple: The Thankfulness Tree

Every night, before bed, we sit down as a family & everyone thinks of one thing that they are thankful for on that day. Each person picks out a leaf or a bird (Jacob's personal favorite) & writes down what they are thankful for and signs it. I tape it to the tree (or around the tree).

The Thankfulness Tree has been a great tool for teaching Jacob the concepts of thankfulness, blessings, & being a blessing to others.

And, it's been great for me & E. It's so easy for adults to get caught up in the bolts & grime of everyday life and forget all the blessing that surround us. And, taking time to be intentional in giving thanks is a life skill that no one outgrows.

To make the Thankfulness Tree, I used some of my rudimentary art skills! I pulled out a large piece of poster board (being a homeschool mom who loves a good craft comes in handy!) and sat on my kitchen floor. I tree out a sketch of tree and then grabbed my paints. It took a couple of coats, but it ended up looking cute. I wish I had taken a pic!

Then I made templates for the leaves and the birds. I traced the templates on a couple of different colors of construction paper & cut them out.


We started the Tree on October 1st (we missed a few days here and there when life got weird on us) and we're continuing all the way up to the last day of November! We'll have spent two months learning about Thankfulness, remembering to be thankful, counting our blessing & blessing others.

Then, on December 1st, we'll move into Advent. I think it's a pretty darn good way to usher in the Advent season.

(disclaimer: please excuse the crappy picture quality. Sometimes the iPHONE takes great pictures & sometimes, it's not so great.)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

FMF: Grace

Five Minute Friday

Sometimes I find it very hard to live out the idea of GRACE. Like, really hard. When the laundry has piled up & is starting to stage a revolt. When the kitchen counters are still sticky. And the trash needs to be taken out AGAIN. And the dish washer is full, but the last person who put something in it didn't start it.... AGAIN.

And when there's more month than money. Plans go wonky & the woman who has a hard time when plans change on regular days about has a spaz fit when plans go sideways on surgery day.

And the toilet clogs (again.) And the 5 year old refuses to poop. Again.

And everyone is tired and cranky. And no one is thinking about showering others with grace. But we sure want a lot of it poured on us.

Sometimes it seems like an endless cycle.

And, I think that's alright. For me, the cycle leads me back to showers of grace. I end up in that exact moment when I think, "Wow. If I had done that, I would really appreciate the other one to be kind. To let it go. To help me fix it."

There are so many times, more than I would like, when I just don't want to be the one to bend. I want others to bend to me. But... when you humble yourself to others, something amazing happens. They tend to do the same thing. And this amazing grace fills up the space & drives out the anger. the frustration. the hurt. Other things well up. Love. Joy. Thankfulness. Understanding.

that 5 minutes went fast as I was writing. Not quite sure I'm done unpacking this thought. Perhaps another post at a later date. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Night.... Pre-Tricks or Treats


photos encouraged/and or taken by the resident 5 year old....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Words on a Wednesday

Sometimes, I'm not really sure what to write. My mind is just a complete and total blank. Part of that, I think, is just basic writers block. It happens. But another part. A huge part is, for me, when life starts to get crowded & busy and messy... it starts to take up more and more space in my brain. And it pushes out anything BUT that.

The Husband and Me.

We're both in our 30's now... and we both had the time to cement various aspects of our personalities- some for better & some for worse. And, it's painful to take a chisel to those parts of our souls. To knock them away & form something new. We're both changing and it's good.

It's just messy.

Life is so darn messy. And, I think, even great blessings come with a mess. My husband and my son are great blessings to me and for me. And they come with messes. I hope I'm a blessing to both of them... cause I know I come with great messes.

And, sometimes, I wonder what God could possibly do with 3 messy people.

A mess of a person like me.
I'm prone to deflating & letting others rule my emotions. I don't always think before I act (or speak.) When I'm angry, I rage. And I say horrible things to hurt the person I'm angry with. I have a smart mouth. I struggle with insecurities that run deep. I can be clingy & needy but then, ice cold. I don't tell a person what I should say to them... and I get angry & become passive aggressive. I can be so lazy.


Sometimes I despair that God could ever do something or make something with a mess like me.

But I know He has. He's taken big huge messes & made beautiful creations out of them. I read the Bible and see this truth played out time and time again.

 Big, huge, messy, fallen, sinful, broken, defeated, why-don't-you-just-give-up-on-them people.

And there was hope for them. There was Grace. God took them and made new creations out of them- sometimes they went willingly.. other times, they were kicking and screaming all the way. And, it's the same for me (for us). He is constantly chipping away at the dirty. At the ugly. And remaking something beautiful. And, it hurts. It's messy. And, in the midst of it, it's hard to see the beauty in any of it.

But. It's there. It's that part of God that forms us into a closer reflection of Him.

And, that's what I'm dwelling on today.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu Planning Monday

Yup! It's that time again. Monday morning- means menu planning for me. And, I'm actually remembering to post it! Woot!

Monday 10/28
breakfast: pancakes w/fruit & juice
lunch: nut butter & jelly sandwiches with chips & applesauce
dinner: E is working late tonight, so it's just me and the youngling for dinner. He's having Trader Joe's Mac 'n Cheese & salad. I'm having soup & salad.
Jacob asked for "Halloween Pizza"... hmmm, this might be the night!

Tuesday 10/29
breakfast: cheesy egg scrambles & toast
lunch: tuna salad sandwiches & fruit
dinner: bruschetta chicken, green beans, salad

Wednesday 10/30
breakfast: cereal
lunch: leftovers
dinner: homemade potato soup & corn muffins

Thursday 10/31
breakfast: fried eggs & toast
lunch: sandwiches & salads
dinner: Halloween night!!! 

Friday 11/1
breakfast: cereal
lunch: pantry raid
dinner: hmmm, we shall see! E's having day surgery this day! It may be leftover night!

Saturday 11/2
breakfast: cereal
lunch: salad
dinner: salmon, veggies & brown rice

Sunday 11/3
breakfast: pantry grab
lunch: "Hot McDonald's" aka: McDonald's after church
dinner: pasta w/turkey meat sauce & salad

Having a meal plan every week is a great way to stretch our budget & keep me from making extra visits to the grocery store. And, I like the fact that I always know what we are having for dinner every night! 

What are y'all having for dinner this week?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meet Me in Dallas, Texas! Meet Me at the Fair!

(I never claimed to be anything but cutesy when it comes to blog titles!)

A week ago we went to the Great State Fair of Texas! Woot!

We go every single year. Not kidding. It's the kick-off event to my Fall & my upcoming Holiday Season. And, honestly, where else can I eat all manner of fried and delicious foods (and be encouraged to do so!!) and not feel even one ounce of guilt?!

This year, my dad came with our little family trio. It was awesome fun. We got to see the new, bigger, badder Big Tex. And get our pictures in front of him. It was a traumatic event last year when the big guy went up in flames. We were all happy to see him again. (... though, E mocked me endlessly for being emotionally attached to a large cowboy. My response? I grew up in Texas! What do you want from me?!)

Big Tex looked great. But his head moved from side to side & that was a little weird. It felt like he was following you around the Fair grounds.

We hit up the car show (both buildings!!!). Did I mention I was with 3 persons of the male species? We rode the the sky-tram thingy that takes you from one end of the Mid-way to the other. It was a great view. And at the bargain price of 10 tickets a person!!!!

We saw Elsie & Beau (the cows). Jacob had a fantastic time seeing them and petting them! He kept saying, "Ooh, look! They are so cuuuute! Aren't they so cute?!"

We walked & walked & walked. And I dodged people... and more people. And even more people. Did I mention- we went on the LAST DAY? Yeah. Oops. I gotta say, we won't be doing that again. It was wall to wall to wall, people.

But the real show was the food. Ahhhh...... the food. I love me some Fair Food. Every year I have to try one of the 'Competition Foods'.... those fantastic fried delicacies that make health food people go into spaz fits. We had pizza, and baklava, and Philly cheese steaks. There was ice cream. And hot dogs. And corn dogs.

And this delectable item. Fried Spinach Bites. 
Shut the Front Door! 
Oh, my goodness. 
So. So. So. So Good. 
It tasted just like spinach & artichoke dip.
I am a fan. 
And I need it at the Fair every year, from here on out. Forever & ever.

E tried the Fried Thanksgiving. It actually won for best taste... but not with the husband.

For some of you that might not know, I am a die-hard Texas Longhorn fan. 
And.... this year was the scene of sweet, sweet victory for my beloved Horns. 

By the end of the night, we were all exhausted & very much ready to get ourselves on home.
We rode the DART train to and from the Fair- which is great.
If a little time consuming. 

I think this pretty much sums it up. 

And I can't wait until next year!!!!!