Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Happy Home

This has been the longest week ever.
My little Hot Rod was sick.
Then I got sick.
Then my Shane got sick.
Now I'm looking around at a neglected house.
Instead of getting to sprucing things up I'm browsing blogs.
I did open the windows to let fresh air in while I browse.
Does that count for something?
I keep trying to motivate myself that I'll feel so much better if I can get it together around here.
But the truth is, I still don't feel 100% great.
The boys and I went out back today to play in our very own mud pit.
My 4 year old loves to bring me the tiny purple flowers.
My 5 year old put a worm on my shoulder.
I freaked out and am pretty sure he won't do it again.
My 1 year old enjoyed a mud mask on his face.
We had a snack of apples and peanut butter.
They came in and got a bubble bath.
I combed there hair and they climbed into their soft pj's.
They are all cuddled up on my white bed with clean sheets.
The fan is on and it makes for a very good nap.
The breeze is blowing my curtains which is nice.
I think I'll go light a candle and show my house some love.
Thank you beautiful Pottery Barn candlesticks for motivating me to...
think about how nice it is when everythings clean and tidy.
There is nothing like a Spring day with open windows to make a person feel better.
Maybe I'll cook something extra special for dinner tonight.
Right now I'm off to turn on some music and light a candle...and maybe lay down again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Green Thumb

(Isn't this the prettiest picture? I don't know where I found it, is that illegal to post it on my blog? I hope the po-po don't come get me)

Here's my dilemma. We have a 6 foot privacy fence in our backyard and the man behind us is raising doves or love birds or something. His cages in his yard are, well, ghetto looking from our view. I need to know something I can plant to shield the view. I want it to be green all year (aka EVERGREEN for the pro's familiar with the lingo). I want something fast growing too.

I would love to grow clump growing Bamboo. There are 2 types of Bamboo-the kind with runners that shoot new sprouts up to 10 feet under ground (you do not want to plant this in a neighborhood or the Property's Owner Association will come find you)...then there is the clump growing kind that blooms where it is planted. I like how tall it is and the green leaves are real wispy when the wind blows. You like that?

Holly Tree maybe?

I don't think I like Cypress looking stuff.

And I want something very affordable.

I do hope some green thumber will read this and come to my rescue.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend In Review

Today I was invited to do a guest post at Moop & Saba. She is such a good friend who always has the most thought provoking posts. Becke' has started photography and really has a gift for it.

Along with that, here's the State of the Union at our house. We have run from the 'bug' for 3 months. As my husband said last week, "It feels like it is getting closer and closer to us." My sweet little Hot Rod has been puny since Saturday. He is so stinkin' sweet and cuddly right now. You know me, my bathrooms are Pine Sol'ed, the sheets and matress pads are washed, every surface is Lysoled, we keep opening the windows to air the house out, and my mom got us some more Lampe Berger is antibacterial (cleans the air) and smells the house with a wonderful fragrance-we like Sweet Pear.

This is one of our little Superhero's. This is what I wake up to most days. Boys who have shed their pj's for just undies and a cape. He's got a chocolate mustache-why is that so stinkin' cute?
Lastly, a girl in our community is fundraising for a mission trip. A group of 7 monkeys came to play in our yard this weekend. My sister and her family sent them to play in our yard. They were very well behaved!!!

If you have a Little Caesar's in your area don't forget that today Large One Topping Pizza's are only $3.99!!!! March Madness Special! Happy Spring Break week to my Blogland friends!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Barefoot Contessa's Chicken Stew

One of my very favorite things to do is peruse my cookbooks and cook something extra special. Ina is my favorite cook. Sticks of butter, fresh herbs, heavy whipping cream. Every recipe I have made of hers is worth it's weight in gold. Well, there was the time the bottom fell out of my Honey Vanilla Pound Cake right before company came, but I'm sure it was me and not her.

Here is what makes this Chicken Stew extra special. Fresh ingredients. Made from scratch goodness. This recipe will take some time to prepare. You can roast your chicken and prepare the dish in advance. That is what is wonderful about this dish. Great for company or those days when you have free time earlier in the day and you just want something you can pop into the oven. And it smells amazing baking away in the oven.

Next week I am going to teach you how to roast chicken. You are going to love it. The chicken always turns out perfect and flavorful. I don't think you'll ever boil chicken for a dish again. And roast chicken is so simple.

This is the dish going in for the first round to bake. Once you put it in you make your biscuits for the top.

Handmade biscuits are suprisingly simple as well. A few ingredients and you are off and running. These bisquits have fresh parsley in them.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and roll. If you don't have a cookie cutter use a glass.

This is what your Chicken Stew looks like when it comes out of the oven.

CLICK HERE for the complete printable recipe.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

School Next Year...Public? Christian? Homeschool?

This has been the topic around our house the last week or so. What to do in regards to school for our oldest son next year.

I'd like to share our decision because we've come to one. I am very excited. It has been a process and I am confident it has been God directed.

The discussion for what to do next year snuck up on us this year. Registration for public school is tomorrow. It was nice to have a deadline for our plans.

Drum Roll Please...We will be homeschooling again next year.

Ya'll it has been a process I tell you. Homeschooling is not my first choice. Really and truly. I registered my little Hot Rod in public school last year and was very heavy hearted that I was in disobedience to God after I did it. Why the heavy heart? Our public schools are the best. Christian principles, Christian teachers, good families, lots of parental involvement, top notch really. Why not LORD? was my question. I don't know why ya'll. The heaviness was there though and I could not ignore it. So, we withdrew his registration out of pure obedience to the heaviness in our hearts that we were veering from God's plans for our family. When I withdrew his registration the heaviness was lifted. I mean instantly it was gone.

So we get to this year. My first choice would've been Christian school, public school, then homeschool. I'd like to share my journey. As you read, this post is in no way whatsoever a call for all families to homeschool. I'm not really even passionate about it (you know, like we must all homeschool or the end is near! no no no, none of that here). We're trying it again this year because separately we prayed, came together, and were on the exact same page. Isn't that God for you?! I love when he creates unity. Gives me chills. And make my heart burst with JOY!

Words God has given me to confirm this decision. John 17-many prayers for protection and sanctification.

Holiness. This is the main word that has come to mind. Holiness for my little ones. Short and sweet we want another year with him at home where we are instilling a groundwork for his little heart. As I pray for the decision Holiness is the word I keep getting.

Sacrifice. For me. I don't know. Call me lazy I guess. I can be a quitter. With his school I can't. It is a big responsibility that scares me to death. The word God gave me this morning...Anna, my righteous one will live by faith. If you shrink back I will not be pleased with you. (Hebrews)

Your Time is My Time. This is a biggie. I've been on the computer a lot less this week. It threatens to become an idol in my life. He has a job for me to do on this earth. Right now, in this season, part of my job description is teaching my kids. I didn't pick it, but I rejoice that he has a plan for me, that he revealed it, and he will equip me and enable me.

Lastly, Proverbs 31. Ahh. The final confirmation. Words I have written in my Bible about this chapter. Words that define any lot in life if done for the glory of the LORD. Hard worker, strong, gets up early, stays up late, works with her hands, helper to the helpless, plans ahead, provides for her family, invests her time in profitable trading, faithfully instructs, manages her household, her children respect her.

And then the rebuke to my soul. In all my prayers I told God what I did and did not want. Tonight I have a new prayer. Lord, I want to do whatever you want me to do. Whatever will bring the most GLORY to your name is what I desire. You can have my time, my plans, my ideas, my blogging time, my Facebook time, my year. These little boys you have entrusted into our lives are our greatest treasure. Enable us to boldly lead them in truth. You are the ultimate picture of a life of sacrifice. You finished the work God had for you to do while on earth. Please establish the work of our hands for us, Yes Lord, establish the work of our hands for us. Amen.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Moment Of Silence, Please

I realize I have already posted once today.
This is a request for every reader to please pause for a moment of silence.
It appears my oldest two sons are outgrowing naptime.
Out of curiosity how old were your children when they gave up naps?
Do you have rest time at your house?
What does it look like?
If you're wandering if I want to go to Starbuck's for coffee to grieve the answer is yes, yes I do.

Fashion Emergency Part III

Dear Divas,

Having a cute, pulled together look is not about having a closet full of expensive, designer clothes.

It is about shopping SMART.

With a few key pieces you can always have something to wear.

The key to looking great is about ACCESSORIZING.





A basic, solid colored core wardrobe.

What does that mean???
Every closet should contain:

A great fitting pair of blue jeans. Pay $$$ if you have to, to get a great fit and look. Go shopping and try some high end ones on. You don't have to buy them, but try them on to see what you could look like. Save $$$ to invest in this. The beauty of a pair of great jeans is you can wear them dressy or casual. If you pair them with a cute shirt, jacket and heels you are date night ready. If you pair them with a football t-shirt, tennis shoes and a baseball cap you are soccer game ready.

A great fitting pair of black slacks.

Some solid color shirts. For sure a white, black and brown. You need t's, tanks, long sleeve, and 3/4 sleeve. These are for layering your look.

Lightweight pants or capris.

Jacket(s). Denim, Khaki, a fun color, doesn't matter. If you stay at home full time I'd say one jacket will suit you fine. If you are in the business world then you know, the more jackets the MERRIER!

A pair of flats (shoes) in either black or brown. (This is the most simple thing you can do to update your wardrobe.) This is to wear with your black pants or jeans. On those days when you want to be comfortable but look cute you can put on your jeans, flats (instead of tennis shoes), a solid color shirt and...


Here is the thing about jewelry. Right now, you either wear it or you don't. If you wear it you know how great you feel when you put that necklace, bracelet and earrings on. You sparkle. Even if it's a gloomy, rainy day you shine. Here's the thing. Your jewelry is what is going to take your look from DRAB to FAB.

This kind of closet can be built up over time. Think about simple, basic when you are shopping though. You should be able to wear your shirts with all your pants. Jackets should be able to inter-mingle with shirts and pants.

Your mission this week: Look around while you are out. Pay attention to the women that are well dressed that catch your eye. What is it about their look that you like?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fashion Emergency Part II

911: Now that your legs and toes are whipped into shape let's talk about your shoes. Do you have some cute sandals/flip flops and a pair of flats?

DID: Yes, and I bet Yellow Box will be coming out with their new Spring line in the upcoming weeks.

911: You are right. Wow, a smart Diva, I like that in Emergency situations. Don't make the mistake of passing up the cute Yellow Box bling when you see it. I'm looking at your chart and I see you allowed this to happen last year. Tsk Tsk Tsk. I see this happen far to often. A Diva sees a pair of Yellow Box. It is love at first site. And she keeps going. And she misses out. Then she struggles with jealousy every time she sees fellow Diva's wearing her shoes. Not good.

911: You are also going to need a pair of flats. You can wear a pair of thin trouser sock with your flats. This will be a must on cooler days when you can't wear your Yellow Box. Check Targe', the Wal-Marts and Payless. You can find these for $10 or so bucks.

DID: I'm needing some Retail Therapy anyway so this is doable.

911: Let's review our checklist so far...

  • presentable legs, even if they are looking like the ghost of Christmas past
  • pretty toes
  • sandals
  • flip flops
  • flats
  • lightweight pants (linen, denim, something light and Springy, can be pants or capris)

Stay tuned to see how our Diva In Distress fares. I do hope she makes it through her Fashion Emergency.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fashion Emergency

The following is a call from a Diva in Distress. Hopefully we can all learn from her so we don't find ourselves in the same emergency. Northern Diva's be warned because the potential for this disaster to strike your home is coming. Southern Divas please take caution.

911: 911 What's your emergency?

DID (Diva In Distress): Yes, I do not know what to do. It is hot outside today and I don't have anything to wear.

911: You have NOTHING to wear?

DID: That's right. NOTHING. If I have to wear my black outfit or a sweater again today I will surely fall over dead.

911: Do you have any possibilities in the attic you can pull down and try on?

DID: Yes, but the attic shrunk my clothes during the winter. Again.

911: Mam, Don't panic, I can help you. The important thing is to stay calm. You don't want to frighten the children or your husband or your checkbook.

911: You need to start by taking inventory of all your options. Spring days are coming. DO YOU HAVE A PAIR OF LIGHTWEIGHT PANTS OR CAPRIS? If not you need to locate a pair immediately. I don't care if you have to go to the Goodwill or the Walmarts. This is a staple to get you through.

DID: OK, I can locate a lightweight comfy pair of bottoms.

911: Now, let's talk about your legs and toes. Have you shaved your legs recently?

DID: I plead the 5th.

911: Well, you need to shave. Immediately.

911: How are your winter toes? What's the status on your polish?

DID: Well it depends. Do you see the polish on my toes half empty or half full?

911: Just as I figured. Take your winter polish off. Today. Here is how to give yourself a quick pedi. This is imperative as you will be wanting to wear sandals/flipflops in the coming days and weeks. Take a warm bowl and fill it with hot water and soap. Soak your feet and enjoy some TV. After 20 minutes or so, get one of those foot scrubber things and show your footsies some love. Lotion them. Repaint your nails.

DID: Cajun Shrimp?

911: Perfect.

(there is more to the call but you'll have to stay tuned...)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just Another Day In Paradise

Today lunch was drawing to an end.
The baby started throwing a fit and screaming.
Nothing unusual.
He earns himself more time in his chair when he does that.
He does not care if he gets in trouble for throwing food on the floor.
And I don't care if he screams his little head off because when the food hits the floor, I make him sit in his chair until the kitchen is cleaned, and the floor is cleaned.
So today.
Everything was tidied up. The big boys were already excused and in another room playing. I got the baby cleaned up. We went to my bedroom so I could change his diaper.
Huh. That's odd.
No diaper.
Huh. That's odd.
Things sure don't smell quite right.
After further investigation I found the diaper had undone and was in his pants leg.
Nothing a little midday bath can't fix.
This seals the deal.
Now I HAVE to go switch the laundry so I can get Exhibit A into the wash.
Just another day in paradise.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dear Flylady

First off I want to thank you for your sweet running comments. Ya'll just made my day being so encouraging about running so thank you. Really, you were so encouraging!
Dear Flylady,

This week I fell off the wagon. I've been trying out a few new things in my life which have left me feeling like a 92 year old woman who can't get around very well. It's like I want to get to the Walmarts so I can get my prescription filled and visit with the MayIHelpYouPeople but I just can't get to get my shrinking duff off the couch.

This will help explain the washcloth convention going on in my bathtub right now.

And the counter that has not been shined. Flylady that outlet on the blue wall nearly shocked me when I unplugged my fan yesterday. Sparks flew. I could be dead.
I know this is unpleasant. Those white scummy spots don't make my heart giddy.

I knew all I had to do was pull out my secret weapons and find an 8 minute nook and cranny.

Now this is what I call a faucet.

The superhero diving toys are much more at home without all the terry cloth staring them down.
8 minutes. Mission Accomplished.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I ran.

Can you believe that?

This morning I got up and put my hair in a ponytail. I washed my face. Bobby pinned my bedhead bangs out of my face, put on that Bath & Body Works pepperminty lipgloss stuff, spritzed on some body splash, put on my shades and went outside.

Have you ever gotten to that point where you are tired of feeling sluggish and fat?

I hit that point 3 or 4 weeks ago. I joined an exercise dance class and it is a hoot-I love it.

However, there are a couple days a week my schedule will not permit me to make the dance class. Until today, I have been enjoying my off days. BUT. My friend Amanda motivated me. She started running this past week as well.

As for me, I have never, and I repeat never been a runner. Hate the word, don't want to talk about it and sure as heck didn't want to try it. But the truth is, have you ever noticed how stinkin' skinny runners are? Even if you hate them, you have to admit they look good.

One of my friends took up running a couple years ago and she transformed her entire body. She even checked breast reduction off her list of things to do, because the girls shrunk down to a size that didn't hurt her back anymore.

So, how was my first day on the job? It felt good to be out there doing it. I am using the Couch to 5K plan. Today I started with a 5 minute walk. Then I ran for 60 seconds walked for 90 seconds. I did that set 5 times-so that means I ran 5 minutes total today.

I'm gonna be completely honest about this journey. It felt great to be out there while I was exercising. When I got home I was starving and I've been beat today. Very tired. I did stay up too late last night.

In the meantime-I ran this morning. That is crazy!

Afternoon Coffee

Do you ever make a pot of coffee in the afternoon?
What is it I love about it so much?
The sound of the coffee brewing against the backdrop of a quiet house after the babies are tucked in bed for their afternoon nap?

The way it can make a cold March day feel and smell like Christmas?

The way it is the perfect sidekick to a piece of last night's cake?

Is it the caffeine pick me up that puts me in full gear for a few quiet moments alone in my chair?

I think it's all of the above. A special treat for the middle of the day.

Is there something special you like to do for yourself during the day?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Berber Rugs-$2.50 each

We are in our sixth or seventh month of not using credit cards. That means I've been learning to prioritize what I want/need. Our new floors are a smooth white porcelain tile. When we wash our hands and turn to get the dish cloth on the oven, water droplets drip on the floor, then they get stepped on and make mud. You know about my obsession with a clean floor so to say I've been waiting 2 months to purchase kitchen rugs was a huge, huge thing for me.

I started today's post with the fact that we're not charging purchases like this because it's an adrenaline rush for me to see how God keeps providing things that we want and need. SO, Saturday I was at Wal-Mart and the Berber Kitchen Rugs were on sale for $2.50! What a great deal. There are a lot left. Red, Green, Blue, Sand, Striped, Solid. They are in the kitchen section where you can buy plates and kitcheny stuff.
Mr. Sunshine teased me and asked if he wanted me to go ahead and carpet the kitchen. Aren't I lucky to live with such a comedian?!

We are the proud owners of 5 new kitchen rugs ringing in at a whopping $12.50. It is making a HUGE difference on how clean my floor is staying. We put one in front of the sink, oven, fridge, and doors.

I took my cues from my Nantucket Cottage style and went with one blue, two sand color and 2 stripes. Before I defined my colors I would've gone with red and I would've liked it. I'll tell you what though, I am tickled about my sand and sea colors.
My tip for today: Try something new. Maybe a new color. We did not grow up with blues. My mom is Fiesta ware queen all the way. Red hot chili peppers. Caliente and bold. Don't ask me how I have such a love for beachy looking stuff but I just do. Choosing blue rugs was a step out for me. And I like it. Go with what you like. Take a chance.

Robin's Egg Blue

The journey to a more cottage style is in full bloom at our house.
Do you like this cute little bird plate? If you want one take your $2.50 down to Hobby Lobby because he's 50% off this week.

Are you loving this Robin's Egg Blue vase? I do. It makes me incredibly happy. He is only $3.50 this week at Hobby Lobby and the white flowers were only $2.50.

And ta-da...our new spring mantle. These are my candle lights from Restoration Hardware. I shopped the top of my mantle in the sitting room and moved them into the living room. It was hard to think of moving them because for two years they have been at home on top of my china cabinet. It was hard to take them off and move them because like some of you, change is hard for me too. Worst case scenario I thought was I'd have rearranger's remorse and have to move them back. Guess what? I love their new home and they are staying.

There are more fun, affordable finds I can't wait to share with you later this week.

Hugs, Bugs

(I just linked to A Soft Place To can see more do it yourself ideas)
(I also just linked to Nester's Mantle Party. Check it out for mantle ideas)

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1

Well, how are you enjoying the first day of March? We are real excited over here. Have you looked at the trees today? They are getting tiny buds on them. Winter has been very noticeable to me this year. We moved into an established neighborhood which means there are a lot of trees. It is going to be very exciting to see how things come to life these next days and weeks.

So, do you want to know about our weekend? It was relaxing and fun. Friday night we made Italian Beef subs. It is my mother-in-law's recipe and it is very flavorful. I'll leave you with the recipe at the end. We put the kiddos to bed and I read decorating books and Shane played Farmville. We watched the Olympics. We enjoyed the Olympics this year.

Saturday we woke up and had my husband's famous french toast. We took the boys to get their hair cut. I made some exciting purchases this weekend that I can't wait to share with you this week. You may want to go get some new fun things too, especially when I tell you the cost was $2.50...hmmm, what ever could it be? Saturday afternoon we put the baby down and we went outside because it was so beautiful. We trimmed the crepe myrtles and burned the scraps. What is it about the smell of burning trees and leaves that smells so yummy? We love working in the yard...a cool February day with clear blues skies, it was perfect. That night we went to Olive Garden.

Sunday we went to my parents for the day. Worked outside all day. It is the best feeling to work hard outside all day then eat a good dinner (we went out for Mexican), come home, shower and fall into bed.

Italian Beef Subs
4-5 lb roast
1pkg dry Italian Seasoning
1 pkg Au Jus Sauce
1/2 jar peppercini's and juice (on pickle and olive aisle)
1 can beer
1 pkg sliced provolone cheese
12-24 dinner rolls
Spray crock pot with Pam. Add roast. Sprinkle top with Italian seasoning, Au Jus seasoning, 1/2 jar pepperocini's and juice, add 1 can of beer to the bottom of the crock pot. Cover and cook on low 10 hours. When done, shred beef with two forks. Discard any fatty looking parts. Serve on dinner rolls with a half slice of provolone cheese.
(This recipe freezes great)
(the peppers are like the kind that come in Papa John's pizza, but they are already sliced)