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.
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.
Yup! It's that time again. Monday morning- means menu planning for me. And, I'm actually remembering to post it! Woot!
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!
dinner: hmmm, we shall see! E's having day surgery this day! It may be leftover night!
dinner: salmon, veggies & brown rice
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!
(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.
(and, I'm actually remembering to check the prompt & write this Friday! Woot!)
Go HERE, to read all about the idea behind 5MF & to meet some other really awesome writers/bloggers and maybe even join up.)
My son is 5 years old & it's a rare thing when we are not together. He wants me to be in the same room with him all the time. When he goes to the bathroom, he leaves that door wide open and wants me to come and visit with him. And, vise versa... he gets all huffy when he encounters a closed door- and I'm treated to fingers under the bathroom door and a little voice, "Whatcha doing in there, Mommy?"
My husband works long hours and, often, 6 days a week- when he's home, he's bombarded by me and the little Mister. Both of us wanting as much family together time as possible, because it's sweet. The husband needs some time to decompress. I need some time to not be the short one's personal playmate & dictionary. And Jacob just wants to soak up as much time with all of us together as possible.
It's just the 3 of us, so dinner is usually somewhat peaceful. It's the time we can sit together and eat & see each other's eyes without 900 other distractions.
We scatter after the dishes are done.
But then, the bedtime routine brings us back.
There's a 'commitment/attitude/job' chart & a thankfulness tree that we almost always remember to do.
There's some time for reading books & just 1 more lullaby, Mommy please?
And the husband and I try to go to bed at the same time.
But it's another day of the week for me. Wednesdays are, kinda, my days. No one is home but me. It's silent... an aspect of daily life that I sorely miss & in need of every other day of the week. It's an amusing fact to me that, when I was in my 20's, I craved being around other people. I craved... loud. Noise. Movement.
But, somewhere around 30, that changed. I still love being around people... specifically, my people. But there's something about silence & stillness that I find myself reaching out for.
Wednesdays are usually the days when the tv stays off. If the radio gets turned on, it's usually for a very short time. And even then, it's on softly. Right this moment the only sounds around me are the fan blades whirling & the laptop keys clicking as I type. For me, that's a beautiful thing.
We went to the Fair on Sunday & I realized how quickly a person can become Way. Over. Stimulated. There were so many people. And so much noise. And so much to see. And so much going on. And trying to keep up with everyone, including a 5 year old. And did I mention? So. Many. People. It was really hard for me to enjoy my day. And that stunk, because I look forward to the Fair every single year. There were a few times when I had to give myself a time out and go stand in a corner to take a few deep breaths (hopefully without someone running over me with a stroller... again).
I thought about it later & realized that those few hours on Sunday were really a insight into life for me. There's so MUCH going on. Every day. Some of it's fun & fluff. Some of it is important & requires the attention it demands. And in life- just average, daily life... it's so easy to become way over stimulated. It's so easy to run from place to place & moment to moment. To forget to breath. To get run over by the strollers in life.
It's so darn easy to get totally and completely caught up in it all. To be absolutely immersed in the business of life- so much so that LIFE starts to pass by without notice.
I wonder if that's one of the reason's God tell us, to STOP. To BE STILL.
Actually, I take that back. I know it's one of the reasons. He tells us time and time again. And warns time and time again against being in too much of a hurry- of being so darn busy. We miss stuff. We think we don't.
We're so sure we're getting it all done & seeing it all & that we're missing nothing.
But, the truth is... that just ain't the truth.
Wednesdays are my days to just stop. To simply be. To watch. To listen. To wait.
(yes, to do laundry & clean bathrooms as well...)
But, not to hurry. Not rush past.
To remember that life is fast enough. It doesn't need me to hurry it up.
More specifically, we went to the Owens Big Orange Pumpkin Patch. This place has been a family tradition for my family (and scores of others) for years. And this year is the last year. Not because we don't want to go anymore, but because the farm is being closed and sold.
Very Sad Day.
It's a super fun place to spend a couple of hours. We went on a Sunday afternoon after church and for just $7 a person we got to roam the farm to our hearts content, check out all the animals, have a hot dog, feed some goats and take a ride on the hayride! I think it's a fabulous deal. We took some family pictures while we were there too.
And, we picked a pumpkin family- 1 pumpkin for each member of the family. We were in a hurry by the time we were picking pumpkins! It was about 15 minutes before closing time. But, we each got a pumpkin that I (err, I mean we) were all happy with. And, the pumpkins in the patch are $2 each.
They do have some bigger, more exotic looking pumpkins- but they do cost more.
Jacob's favorite part of the day was riding the hayride. It goes around the big pond & there's a hide-and-seek game you can play as you go around.
The pumpkin patch runs through the end of this month, so there's still plenty of time to go. If you can get away during the middle of the week, the price is $6 and includes a pumpkin, instead of a hot dog.
I don't know what we'll do next year for our pumpkin patch outing. I hope I can find another farm! But even if I do, I'll miss the Owens Farm and all the memories we've made there!
Does your family have a specific pumpkin patch you go to every year?
It's a rainy Monday, here in North Texas & that means it's the perfect kind of day for a warm, yummy bowl of soup. Last week I tried my hand at an (almost) homemade pot of chicken noodle soup. Or rather, chicken and corn noodle soup!
I looked through so many recipes, but none of them worked with the ingredients I had on hand. So, I read the 'how-to's' for those recipes and then meshed those ideas with my ingredients! I gotta say, my soup came out so tasty! I was really excited. (And so was Mr. Husband! He ate two heaping bowls!)
The batch I made was HUGE. Just saying. We had it for dinner one night. I filled a left-over container to stick in the fridge for later in the week & I filled a freezer container and froze some for dinner later! I'm rather excited about that!
In honor of rainy days everywhere, I present to you...
Super Easy & Tasty Chicken & Corn Noodle Soup!
Chop an onion. I chopped mine up fairly fine. Then chop a carrot up. I always have those little carrot stick thing-ys on hand for snacking, so that's what I used. I eye-balled the amount of carrot. My onion/carrot ratio was about even.
Pour a little bit of veg oil in a big pot and put over medium heat. Throw the carrots and onion in & let them go until the onion is cooked and the carrots are nice and soft.
Add some happy garlic. I used the jarred minced garlic I have in my fridge. Yes, I use jarred. I don't like garlic-y smelling hands. Don't judge. I eye-balled the amount once again. I say use as much or as little as you like.
Let the garlic go until it cooks and then pour in your chicken stock. I used 2 cartons & then added about a coffee mug's worth of water. Turn up the heat and get it bubbling. Add your spices now. Mine? Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, 2 bay leaves & dried parsley. I kept it pretty simple this time around. But feel free to get crazy!
Now... as I've said before, I usually roast a chicken once a week or so. Because of that, I almost always have some cooked chicken hanging around. That's what I used. I just pulled it off the bone and shredded it to the size I wanted. I also used the dark and the white meat.
Add it to the pot- carefully!
Next, add 1 package of frozen corn.
Yup! Don't worry about thawing it- just throw it in.
Turn down the heat & let it simmer for an hour or so.
When you're ready to eat, turn the heat up & add a package of egg noodles. Let them cook and then serve!
(preferably with lot's of crusty bread to dip into the broth!)
I'm a horrible food stylist!
But, I promise you... this soup is good. Really good. And perfect for a rainy, October Monday!
Fall has officially arrived here in North Texas. Well, according to the calendar! It would be super awesome cool if the weather would get that memo too! Every year I promise myself up and down that I'll make a bucket list of things to do around town & then, you know, actually check them off. Since the short one is 5 now, I decided the time has come!
So, without further ado, here's my super awesome Fall Bucket List!
1) go to the State Fair of Texas
2) make a pumpkin pie (since the husband doesn't like pumpkin, that means I get it all to myself!)
3) have at least 1 pumpkin spice coffee from Starbucks
4) go to the pumpkin patch
5) go apple picking
6) go see the fall decorations at the Dallas Arboretum
7) paint some pumpkins
8) go on a hayride
9) go to a fall festival
10) build a fire in the fireplace
11) go camping & eat s'mores
12) make an art collage with leaves
13) have a chili & cornbread night
14) make homemade chicken soup
15) create a Thankfulness tree (for Oct & Nov)- Done!
16) make pumpkin bread
17) make rice crispy treat turkeys
18) take fall pictures of the family
19) play in a pile of leaves
20) make caramel apples
21) watch "The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
22) watch "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"
23) watch some football (this is an all-Fall event for me!)
24) go on a family bike ride (when the weather cools off some more)
25) break out my long sleeve shirts & my UGG boots
What about you? Have you made a bucket list for Fall? What are you looking forward to the most?