Saturday, December 29, 2012

Round Farmhouse Kitchen Table

Last weekend we went to Branson for a few days.  Our condo had the sweetest Oak table, just like the one in the above picture.  I told Shane how I sure would love to have a round table in our kitchen.  They are perfect for a more cozy dinner feel and of course card playing.

This morning I got a text from my friend, it said...

"Hey girl-would you want an antique oak round table with two leaves?  In our garage???"

She said she was cleaning out her garage and was going to sell that table and just then my name popped into her head.

How sweet is the Lord to work like that?  It is just the kindest gift, the kind our home is full of.  We really have all kinds of Jesus furniture in our home.  We've got Jesus furniture and Jesus rooms, literally.  His hand is on so many provisions in our home, so many details and touches that His Hand provided.  And I'm not talking about the tall glass candles from the Kroger either.  No.  Some people have Bassett and Broyhill, not us though.  Most of it is straight up Jesus.  He has used so many dear friends and yard sales as vehichles (I am leaving this mispelling because... A) it makes me laugh B) can you even imagine I would spell the V word for car like that, but for the life of me the correct spelling escapes me) to bless our home.

One time my friend told me that God speaks to us fluently in our love languages.  My love language is acts of service.  I am just filled to the brim bubbly over my new table.  And so thankful to my sweet heavenly Father who always delights in making sweet provisions through sweet friends.  

So, I am thinking of painting the base celery green.  My chairs are white and our chair covers are a whimsical green, orange and blue floral.

(Thank you for the table friend, it is going to be a very special addition to our home from a very special family.  We love ya'll!)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Red Carpet of Pinning

Man I love Pinterest.  Every time I get repinned I feel like I'm accepting an Academy Award for something great.

The warm fuzzies take over and I feel like we're BFF's.  It feels like I was a bridesmaid in your wedding even though I don't even know who the heck you are or how you found my boards.

It feels like I am responsible for the amazing idea pinned on my board.  It's the darndest thing.  I do nothing but click a button and all of a sudden people think I'm the genius.  Ding. That was easy. 

And when you 'Like' my pin, well that's just about more than my heart can handle.  It's the highest compliment.  Ranks right up there with, "Your house smells so good or you smell great, what are you wearing?!"

So I'd like to take this time to thank the Internets people and the Pinterests people.  You are making me feel so good about myself, like I'm truly making the world a better place even though I'm not.

You make me feel like I'm living in a land somewhere between Pottery Barn and The Food Network even though I have ripped furniture and eat Ramen noodles.  I'd never know it and neither would anyone else.  Thank you creative people with good cameras who post good stuff.  Your ideas feel like my very own and I very much like that my friends think your great ideas are mine.  I'm becoming a rock star in my own right.  This newfound fame is doing me good.  I like taking credit for your sheer genius right here in the comfort of my own home.  I like walking the Red Carpet of Pinning.

I'd like to thank Weight Watchers because if me and my friends eat all the delicacies we've pinned for Christmas morning we're going to be 800 pounds heavier, and we'll be seein' ya bright and early Monday morning, January 7th.  Twenty Thirteen.

You did cause me some angst when I tried to decorate for Christmas this year, but I recovered.  Don't worry though, the Chocolate Crack recipe I just pinned on my Dessert board totally makes up for any hard feelings.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Party-Oops!

You just have to laugh when over 20 of your dearest Youth Group Leaders have just left the house. You're standing in the kitchen with the Mr. washin' up the dishes when he says, "Was that like that the whole time?"  "Huh?" I reply.  "The curtain, was it up like that during the entire party?"  And that's affirmative 10-4.

We tried to make it so nice.  Dinner, candles in the bathrooms, dessert table, Dunkin' Donuts decaf with the good creamer, the whole shabam.

We dusted blinds, shined baseboards (which is why said curtain was folded up like so), cleaned windows, lit the fire.

I even turned the homeschool folders around so they'd be all nice and professional like.

And we did have a nice party.  But at the end of the day there she is.  Folded up in all her glory.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shirkers & Slackers

The Bible reading plan for Shirkers & Slackers.  Yesterday I was talking to a dear friend telling her my desire to read through the Bible.  There are so many ways to do this.  I didn't want a different Bible, I wanted to settle into my very own Bible.  Reading my very own Bible allows me to settle in and get to know it. 

It begins to take the shape of a well appointed home.  I love to move.  Houses not Bibles.  But they are very similar events for me.  Moving into a new house or Bible is the same.  Everything feels new and different.  It takes awhile to find a good rhythm and to begin to feel like home.

On the housefront, when we move into a new  house the first thing we do is clean till it sparkles.  Move all our stuff in.  We hang the curtains, hang the pictures, arrange and move and get to know our way around the new space.  Over time little touches here and there continue to make it home.  The only place I want to be.

Same thing with my Bible.  The more I settle into the words on the pages, mark them, and write in the margins, the more familiar it begins to feel.

But where to begin is always the million dollar question.  This Bible reading plan for Shirkers & Slackers is money.  Simply click on the link and print off the PDF file (for free!).  Fold it in half and tuck it in your Bible. 

It is arranged by days of the week.  That way you don't feel like a failure.  If you skipped yesterday or the month of November entirely, you are not behind.  Simply pick up today and keep going.  And the article attached to the link-worth its weight in gold because it is hilarious and makes you feel normal.

Page, thanks for the info about this great reading plan!

I'm linking up with Flower Patch Farmgirl today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I ran by her house for just a minute to pick something up.  The atmosphere of her house has stayed with me days later.  What did I walk into?  A mother seated on the couch with her family watching a Christmas movie by tree light.

Remnants of cookies and milk on the coffee table.  A kitchen that still had the dinner dishes left for later.  And a mom who stopped to enjoy her family.

She knows the value of making time for the important.  She loves a tidy house same as me and you, but she also knows when to stop.  Lay it down for the important.

Keep seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Even our Savior is seated.  His work is complete and He is seated.  Not running around flustered, but seated.

We can stay seated all day everyday in our hearts if we'll allow it.

And we can physically stop and slow down, if we'll allow ourselves.

Plan ahead or deny yourselves.  My motto these days.  Would I be willing to deny myself something I want in order for something greater?  Would you?

Colossians 3:1

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Hate You

Dear Pinterest,

I hate you.  I mean, most days I really, really love you but today is not that day.

I got out of my chair last night for you.  It was 9:30 at night for Pete's Sake.  I was settled into my comfy chair and life was good.  It was me and my Peppermint Bark.  I reshampooed my hair for you Pinterest and you led me astray.  This is not the first time this has happened.

It was all in the name of a loosely tousled beach wave.  I followed your directions to a T.  Shampoo, comb, part hair into, braid both sides, take two Tylenol and call me in the morning.

A little unsure of the Pippi Longstockingish nature I took on, I emerged from the bedroom to face my husband who was watching football.  He did a double take and I proudly announced I was creating loosely tousled beach waves.

He said something about wanting to loosely tousle my wave.  You better be glad mother nature gave me a get out of jail free card or you would really be in trouble.

This morning I woke full of anticipation and wonder.  Excitedly I unwound the two braids.  Bye Bye Pippi Hello Baywatch.  Just about that time the scary music started playing.  I looked like a mix between someone in a horror film and the child from the 80's who just got her first crimping iron Christmas morning.

Pinterest I know you think my life is all smothered hashbrowns and late night Waffle House runs but I was in my chair with chocolate for heaven's sake and it was 9:30 at night.

Is it so much to ask for gorgeous hair with zero effort?


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Store Bought Pie

I have Martha Stewart running through my veins.  I love her. Always have.

Even when the Pokey took her away, I was still a fan.

She's classic and has flawless taste.

Love her as I may, sometimes life calls for Store Bought Pie.

Take last night for instance.  You may recall I took a PDO (Paid Day Off) yesterday and ditched all my Motherly responsibilities.  I spent the day reading and writing.  The boys spent the day being kids.  Pretending, reading and playing make believe (is that the same thing as pretending?  ok, yeah, i thought so).

We had a Staff & Elder Christmas party and I had a task. Bring Dessert. So 15 minutes before the party we wheeled the bus into the Kroger parking lot. I chose the pudding cake with the neon orange $4.99 sticker. I put that sucker on my white cake stand and called it a day.

Lesson learned.  When life hands you a rainy day you serve up Store Bought Pie.

When life hands you Store Bought Pie put it on your prettiest white cake pedestal and serve it up with a smile.

My name is Anna and I approve this message.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sink Reflections

Last week I decided I want to ask for a cleaning lady for Christmas.

Shane shot that idea down faster than I could say Windex.

It was one morning last week. As I stood in my bathroom getting ready with my shower shoes on because my floors were so gross, I got the bright idea that a cleaning lady would solve all my problems.  Can I get an Amen?

Girl, I got that pity party going faster than you could say Big Texas Hair.  We've got irons in the fire, etc...etc...etc...

Our days off are Friday and Saturday and who wants to spend their day off cleaning?  Exactly.

This has nothing to do with the fact that I'm overwhelmed, lazy and unorganized, OK? 

Since my dreams got dashed to the ground, I have gone to Plan B.

Plan B is always Babystepping my way to strong routines.  Last night I dused (or some may say dusted) off my Sink Reflections book and began reading.

Baby Steps.  Getting an area of my life back in order, whether it's cleaning my house or reading my Bible regularly, starts with small steps and creating a good routine.

Strong, realistic, small routines, are the key to creating habits that last. 
(I'm pretty sure I made that up all by myself in case you ever want to quote The Bugs).
When I have a good routine on Auto Pilot it always saves the day.  When I walk into the kitchen and a bomb has exploded, I know exactly what to do.  Start working left to right, top to bottom.  Clear the counters (always working left to right).  Wash the dishes, dry them, put them away, clean the counters, give the floor a sweep.  I assume this goes without being said, but good music and a candle are a must when house cleaning or freak out moments are happening.
So my babystep routines for today?
Get Up-Make Bed.
Get Dressed And Put Shoes On.
Tidy The Kitchen.
This is the plan for every day for the next 30 days.  Get Up.  Make Bed.  Get Ready.  Get Out Of PJ's.  Tidy Kitchen.  Carry On.

(and just so you can have more things to hate me for, I'm seriously thinking about ditching school today because it's raining, we have a Redbox, the kids are happily playing were happily playing for a minute, we all have books to read, the boys are creating a campsite in the middle of the living room, ya know, the usual)

Monday, December 3, 2012

J.R. Ewing

I just had to run in for two creamers.  The Enquirer on the end cap caught my eye.

J.R. Ewing died.

Putting my creamer on the conveyor belt I said out loud, "I can't believe it, J.R. died."

"What?"  the checker girl asked.

"J.R.  From Dallas.  The show in the 80's, he died."

"I have no idea what you're talking about.  I was born in the 90's.  Do you have your Kroger plus card?" (spoken in her best Valley girl accent with no breath in between words)

Keying in my alternate ID because no I don't have my card on me thankyouverymuch, the words sank in.

She had no idea what I was talking about.  She was born in the 90's.

I walked out to my mini-van and was in deep thought the entire three minute ride home.

J.R's gone.

We watched him every Friday night growing up while eating Taco Bell.

I hope Sue Ellen's OK.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Merry Christmas To You & Yours

Just when you think you've absorbed all the realize there's a goat on her lap.
Thank you Pinterest.

You complete me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waffle House

You know how sometimes you go to a baby shower on a Tuesday night and get to visiting and decide you want to keep hanging out so you and your 2 friends all get in your mini-vans and head out into the Wild Blue Yon to keep up the festivities because you're still young and you can?

Well, that was me last night.  We roll into a local joint around 9:30 only to find out they close at 10.  We were completely appalled and dumfounded to find out every joint in town closes at 10.  This town is a dive.  I found great humor in the fact that the knowledge hit me the way it did, seeing as how normally at 9:30 on any given night I've already been in my pj's for 78 minutes and am lounging happily in my chair with my face in a book.  But some nights you just need a place to go visit with the lady folk.  Some nights you like to pretend that you're still a fun kind of girl with some spring in her step.

Enter Waffle House stage left.  We straight up rolled into the Waffle House.  I was a wee bit overdressed with my diamond studded broach and pearls but they didn't seem to mind.  At the Waffle House they treat you like family.

Karaoke was our waitress and she was the sweetest thing.  Nevermind the fact that I'd already eaten three square meals plus shower food, those hashbrowns topped with sauteed onion and tomato and cheese were calling my name.  They hit the stomach like a lead bomb but for $2.30 were oh so worth it.

And this cup of hot cocoa topped with whoop cream and mini-chocolate chips?  Shut the front door, it was right.

We stayed until midnight.  The jukebox played.  The indigestion was in full swing and us lady folk had us a jolly ol' time.

That brings my Waffle House experiences up to a grand total of 2.

Some would say that's 2 times too many but I daresay I could see another visit in my future.  Where else can you get a Waffle and a Steak after 10 on a Tuesday night?  And you will be completely blown away by the condiment selection on every single table.  Everything from Lea & Perrins to Casa de Waffle (picante sauce). 

And as Karaoke would tell you, it's really the only place the colorful people go after 10.  Most nights you get dinner and a show for under $5.  Now that's what I call a bargain.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apple Scones & Devonshire Cream

What better way to enjoy an apple a day than when tucked happily inside a scone and topped with Devonshire Cream?

This is a simple recipe.  Takes under 15 minutes to whip up.

His & Hers

This in essence is a Hot Apple Cake topped with bubbly butter and sugar.  You cut the squares into scone shapes and top with the cream.

Apple Scones:
2 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
3 T butter
1/4 c sugar
1 c diced apple
1 egg
2/3 c milk
Garnish: 2 T butter, 2 T sugar

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter; add sugar and apple.  Mix in egg and milk; stir until soft dough forms.  Knead until well blended.  Spread in a greased 8x8 pan.  Top with melted butter and sprinkle sugar on top of dough.

Bake at 450 for 25 minutes.  Cut in 2x2 squares.  Cut each square in half diagonally.

Serve warm with Jam and Devonshire Cream.

Devonshire Cream:
3 oz cream cheese
1 T sugar
pinch of salt
1 c heavy whipping cream
Cream together cream cheese, sugar and salt.  Beat in cream until stiff peaks form.  Chill until serving.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Vlog

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?  This weekend is a great time to spend a few minutes thinking through the details of next week.  Go ahead and get your menus together and get your grocery shopping done, if you can.

I'm going to be trying out some of the desserts from Pinterest.  There is nothing better than a house that smells like freshly baked goodness.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Poor Patio Chairs

If I ever get my hands on this little guy, he's toast. Yesterday I was on the patio and could not believe it.  One of my cushions looked like it had taken a beating.  My first thought was to question the boys, but the detective in me saw the signs.  My cushion looked just like my hammock that was destroyed.

This morning the kids started yelling, "Come Look Mom!!!"  And there he was.  Just goin' to town on my cushion.

We opened that door and said this is NOT Bed Bath & Beyond so you can take your 20% coupon self and get on outta hey-ah!

He gone.  And he took his new down comforter with him.

Rest Time

Every day at 1:00pm we shut it down.

All the phones turned off.  A note placed on the front door not to knock or ring the door bell.  And we have quiet time.  It's as much for me as it is for the boys.

It's the couple hours were we slow and rest.  My big boys will sleep but now I am giving them the option to sleep or read during rest time.

It's my favorite time of the day!  For me, I do whatever refreshes me.  I may nap, read, or catch up on housework.  It's whatever I need that day to energize me.

When you are home all day, every day, with your kids, it is very important to know what refreshes and energizes you.  Then you have to be intentional about taking care of yourself.

For some reason, actually I know exactly why, but I've been Mean Mama this week.  Whew.  The noise levels have seemed extra loud around here and my patience fuse has felt extra short.  It's that hormonal thing that seems to be getting worse with age.

So I am about to go crawl under my covers.  The sun is shining into my windows and my room is so warm!  I may or may not sleep but I'm stopping for a few minutes to rest.

When I wake up I'm going to read my books.  And have a piece of chocolate. 

My friend gave me an excellent idea to try.  She said to make a list of 50 things that refresh and energize you.  She also warned it is harder than it sounds to think of 50 things.

It's good to have an idea of some quick things you can do to energize yourself (i.e. light a candle) and some more involved things that energize you (i.e. asking your husband to take the kids out of the house so you can enjoy your house in peace and quiet).

Do you know that refreshes you, and do you make time to do it?

Monday, November 12, 2012


You know you're getting old when the phone rings at 8:24pm and you look at each other startled, mumbling something about who could be calling at this hour.

Are you as tired as me?  That time change just about did me in, I'm tuckered out.  Plum tuckered out that is.

So I've been wearing my Gingerbread socks.  I really wear them year round, under boots and whatnot.  They are ugly as sin but make me so happy.  They fit better than most.  Snug and right.

We decked the halls last weekend.  I figured I best not show you the finished pics because I don't want you to get angry with me.  That can be sensitive business, posting tree pics before the turkey.  I know some of ya'll out there are passionate about it so I'm respecting the turkey.  Plus I'm too lazy to get the camera out and upload the pics.

It turned out all right, the decorating.  After some tweaking, I love it.  I'll give ya a hint.  Old white window.  Red wreath.  Burlap trimmings.  Pops of red here and there.  And then of course the obscene show of glitter.  The more glitter the merrier I always say.

I'm learning how to take advantage of the library.  But in a good way.  I'm trying to reform my ways.  No more having 16 library books that are a month overdue.  No more getting kicked out 'cause we too loud.  I'm trying to change my ways.  I just reserved 11 books online.  No make that 12, I just re-remembered one to add to the list.  If all goes well they'll be ready for me for pick up manana.  Do you like how I just threw that Espanol right in the middle of the library talk?

And while we're on the subject, who knew purple Now & Later's were so dang good?  I'm like an addict.  I didn't realize it, but we got crappy candy this year to give out at Halloween.  It wasn't intentional.  It felt strategic.  Biggest bag for least amount of money.  We should've known.  We had a whole big bowl left over.  Anyways, those Now and Later's, the purple one's, whew, they good.

Can you tell we've been watching Duck Dynasty re-runs tonight.  I got my redneck talk on.

Well, She Gone.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Burlap Beginnings

We have the beginnings of a burlap tree. This is a very rough draft I just threw up real quick last night.  And, all 9 picks on the top are for sale.  I was going to switch to burlap and creme but all my other Christmas stuff is very whimsical.

I love the pinecone pics.  These sprigs were dirt cheap so if you want them let me know.  I got a steal of a deal on them!

I have 9 sprigs on top and it is only $40 for all of them! They are all brand new, just bought them last weekend. I call the color Pewter...not silver and not gold but could lean either way.

You can click on this link to see my normal decorating.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I have been reading Noel Piper's book, Treasuring God In Our Traditions.  It is the sweetest, thought provoking little book.  There's a group of us Moms that meet once a week to discuss what we read.  Our little group has been so good.  We laugh and laugh and talk about what encouraged and challenged us.

Our discussions have me thinking about the traditions we've established in our family.  You may be surprised to learn that most of our traditions center around the food.  I'm trying to think about new and creative ways to incorporate Scripture and Truth into the fabric of what we do.

Here's a deep thought I read in the book.  We can't bequeath God to our children.  Only God can bequeath God.  Only God can make Himself known to them.  That's why it is so important that the culture we're establishing in our homes helps point them toward knowing God.  Helps them see what a life lived in the grip of God looks like.

Something else I've been pondering...Grown-ups are the one's who have a history with God.  We're the ones who know the faithfulness of God first hand.  When I read something in Scripture I need to talk about it at the dinner table.  Let them know what I read and what it meant to me.

It's always amazing how I can squander my time away.

I'd say the biggest word on my mind right now is intentional.  Just being intentional with my time and my words.

I'm really processing through how to make the Thanksgiving/Christmas season meaningful and rich with things that help point our family toward God.

My "Be Naughty Save Santa The Trip" is still so stinkin' fun, but I'm wanting to add some Isaiah 9:6 to it.  Wonderful Counselor, Prince of know the one...for unto us a child is born...I just love that verse so much.

One last thought I'll leave you with that I learned from reading this book.  Include our children in the God-air we breathe.  Isn't that beautiful?  Include them in the God-air we breathe.

So between my trying to expand my vision for bringing more Truth into the decorating and celebrating, and Pinterest, my mind is on overtime.  And I'm just warning you.  If you see my decorations and think it's a case of Pinterest Gone Bad, you may be right.  I thought I wanted to switch to burlap, pewter and white but then re-remembered my red and lime green and now I'm just confused.

The tree is up.  Tomorrow we embrace all things glittery and twinkly.  The air outside smells like fireplaces.  Tomorrow is window opening weather.  We're packing Operation Christmas Child shoesboxes this week.  Good gravy I love this time of year!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Weight Watchers

If you sign up for 14 weeks, you save $1.50 per week on meetings.  My 14 weeks ended yesterday.  The program works, it is good.  I like that I get to eat what I want.  My choices are my decision and that was helpful for me.  If we had a birthday party or plans to go out to dinner on the weekend, I ate healthier during the week to save my points for when I really wanted them.

After a lot of thinking, I'm 99.9% sure I am going to wait until the first of the year to re-join.  My goal is to make Lifetime Membership.  That means when you hit your goal weight you attend 6 more meetings.  If you maintain that weight for 6 weeks you are a Lifetime Member.

The reason I am not re-joining right now is because of where the next 9 weeks fall.  The holidays!  During those weeks I am not going to be looking to loose, I'm going to be looking to maintain.  I didn't want to be paying for weight loss when 5 out of the next 9 weeks my goals are different.  My goals will be to enjoy the celebrations and maintain my 19 pound weight loss.

If I start to gain then I'm going to go ahead and go back to meetings, even if it means before the first of the year.

In the meantime, my plan is to weigh in with my friend.  If I loose weight I get to pay myself $12 (the cost of a mtg).  If I gain or stay the same, I don't get the $12.  This is for the next 9 weeks and my plan is to start back up with official meetings the second week in January so that I can hit my goal of Lifetime Membership.

I still need the accountability, I just didn't want to be giving the $12 away each week for maintaining.

3 pounds of gain is my flag that it is time to go back to meetings.  That's the plan Stan.  I worked so hard to loose my weight and I reeeealllly do not want to gain it back-holidays or not.  I'm just going to see if over the next 9 weeks I can do it at home.

Wish me carrot sticks luck!

Monday, November 5, 2012

College Girl? Yeah Right.

This weekend we had our annual (and by annual you realize I mean quarterly) shopping trip, my Mom, Sister and me.  We power shop and it is not for the faint of heart.  We meet around 10:30am to start the day of shopping.  We don't leave the mall till the doors are literally closing.

In case you don't know, the department stores start shutting the large glass doors right before 9pm.  We slide in just in the nick of time.  Then we go eat dinner and don't get home till 11pm.

12 1/2 hours of shopping.  That's how we roll.  When every muscle in our body hurts and our dogs are barkin' we know it's been a successful day.  Oh, and when there's a trunk full of bags, how could I forget that part?

I used to think it was unspiritual of me to like shopping.  Now I just own it.  I've been counting gifts I am thankful for and I'm almost to 1000.  Here's #873 and #874...

#873-downsizing closet-ahhhh!
#874-refilling it again-ahhhh!!!

That just made me laugh when I wrote it down a couple of weeks ago.  So this weekend I was in a jewelry store and the salesman Kevin went a little cray cray.  He straight up asked me where I went to college.  I was like, OK.  Now I know you are trying to sell me this pearl right now but seriously!  I've been out of college for almost 15 years.  I wear velour sweatsuits, drive a bus and have 18 kids.

Which brings me to my next point.  I'm 36 now.  I don't know how the heck that happened but it's true.  This morning I was having the best dream ever.  My friend Shelia was selling me her burlap welcome banner and a set of Pottery Barn placemats that were burlap and cranberry, and she was selling em' for $5.  Just as I was about to buy them I was awakened by singing and breakfast in bed!  My 8 year olds famous breakfast toast and coffee.  It was sweet.  Even though I woke up mid transaction it was a great way to start the day.

Should I mention I had a horrible crick in my neck when I woke up?  Comes with the territory I suppose.

It's been a sweet birthday.  Last night we got the house spruced up so this morning it was freshly mopped and the vacuum lines were in the carpet.  I lit my new Aromatique Cinnamon Cider candle while I ready my Bible.  Friday I went antiquing with one of my best friends, today one of my best friends came over to visit (and I spilled her smoothie all over her van on accident).  The boys and I went to Taco Bueno with my Mom and Mamaw.  Tonight we're going to eat BBQ and today was my last day of Weight Watchers.  I didn't go to the mtg. because I've celebrated a leeeeetttttllleee too much this week-ha! 

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my new Weight Watchers plan.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Come On In

Welcome to Candy Fest 2012.  We kicked off the festivities with a Jack O' Lantern Pizza.  It's the closet we got to a Pumpkin Patch this year.

Orange Crush was the perfect Spooky sidekick.

This little guy wanted to be an Indian.  He went in the back yard, found some sticks, and whittled himself his very own bow and arrow.  He was mighty proud of that.  We've been reading an Indian book so it's all the rage at our house right now.  His cape was one yard of felt that I cut a whole in for his neck.  Total price: $2.97.

Our friend Kari came over for dinner and some trick-or-treating with us.  She got to see the chaotic fun right up close.

Dad had to work but ran home to pick up something so we took advantage of the photo op.

Batman had a costume malfunction at the last minute-his neck area was too tight which led to a break down and tears.  Frantically I'm searching our closets for a new creative costume, praying for some creative last minute ideas.  Finally I told the little superhero it was Batman or bust.  You see what he chose, but it was a close call!

The famous fireplace picture.

Our friends went the extra mile this year and brought a trailer for a hay ride.  It was muy fun riding down the streets on a hay ride.  Boy did that hay ever smell good and it was so soft to sit on.

Upon arrival home we enjoyed Rotel Cheese Dip with Sausage (so good), Hot Apple Cider and Gingerbread with Cool Whip.  We turned the kids loose with their buckets of candy and sat around visiting.

All in all I'd say Candy Fest 2012 was a huge success.  Let's see...friends, candy, hay ride, beautiful fall evening, good food, dress up clothes, candy for breakfast this morning...I'd say that's all the high points.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

burlap and white christmas

it was midnight as i lay in bed looking at the black ceiling last night.  visions of burlap and white christmas tree mantles danced in my head.  shane will kill me if i re-do our christmas theme but i just can't help but think this is the year for change.

i blame pinterest.  and maybe the revival of burlap.  and the happy burlap french script garland at the shop down the street.  you may not know this but i like to decorate for christmas on november1st.  like, as in, manana.

and i almost hate to come out and say it but i'll tell ya.  i like halloween.  not the devilish stuff but the fun we have at our house every october 31st.  our  friends gather and we take our little superheros and mermaids door to door to get snicker bars for mama to fill their little buckets.  then we all gather back at the house for hot apple cider, gingerbread and other treats.  we'll have the fireplace on and it is all warm and cozy like.  all that paired with the yellow mums is about more happiness than i can take.

for me, october 31st is officially the start of "the all  things wonderful season".  this week will be filled with fun size candy and cooler weather.  in the next week or two we'll go ahead and deck the halls.  i'm tellin' ya, we love us some christmas around these parts.  love it.  love the lights.  all 5 of us.  so we enjoy it for a near two full months.  and let's face it, the day after thanksgiving we're ready to have the halls decked.  i'm all about decking early so i can enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

while we're on the subject, as you might of guessed, we're black friday shoppers too.  girl, we'll go out crazy hair and all, just to find the deal. 

well, i'd better go hop off and give the kids "the talk."  ya know, be kind to the neighbors and when given the choice, always, and i mean always, go for the snicker's or reese's.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weigh In-Rate your Plate

I've got to start by telling you about my dinner Friday evening.  Mamaw came home from rehab and we spent the day getting her settled back at home.  We went to Outback for dinner and days later I'm still thinking about that dinner we had.  It was a fun celebration, her first day in over a month to be out in the real world.

It started with a Bloomin' Onion followed by bread and honey butter.  I had steak and a sweet potato topped with honey butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Then.  Then.  Wait for it, wait for it, we got a Chocolate Thunder From Down Under.

It was the best dang dinner I've ever had.  This weight loss journey has made me change some things.  Years ago I read the Weigh Down Workshop and loved the concept.  Eat what you want, when you want it, stop when you are full.  That concept, combined with Weight Watchers has helped me drop...

19 pounds

  • I think about what I really, really want before I eat it.
  • I've realized I can have fun and enjoy a fun dinner.  Just not every day :).  No more big Mexican celebrations just 'cause it's Monday and I can.
  • When we go out to eat, I share with someone.  If I don't share I end up overeating and feeling miserable.  In my mind, sharing never seems like enough food, so I make myself feel better by telling myself I can always get a dessert if I'm still hungry.  Crazy thing is, half a meal out fills me up.  5 of us shared this dessert and it was perfect.  A few bites of heaven was all we needed!

Back to point number 1, thinking about what I really, really want.  I already LOVED food and eating, but this makes it even better.  Food, especially really good food, is an experience.

Two weeks ago I was in Memphis.  We had BBQ for lunch, of course.  Everything about the lunch experience made me happy.  The way the sun was shining and the bright blue sky did not have one cloud in it that day.  The way 14 of us women gathered around a table and chatted happily over what we were learning.

The way the smell walking in should be bottled and made into perfume.  The cheese biscuits.  Oh those cheese biscuits.  The 2 real Dr. Peppers I drank.  The brisket and french fries.  It was gooooooood.  I ate what I wanted and when I was full there was half a plate of fries and bread from my sandwich left over.  I enjoyed it all, rated my food, decided the meat and fries tasted best, so most of my bun got left behind.  Normally it would have found it's new home on my rear end.  Ha ha ha get it.  Buns, Buns?

Later that same afternoon we went to Chick-fil-A for shakes and the craziest and I mean craziest thing happened.  It was weird.  Like, I've heard of this happening to people but never experienced it first hand.  As I stood there looking at the menu for a shake (still full from my BBQ lunch that was so satisfying because I ate exactly what I wanted) I decided the fruit cup looked best.  So that's what I got.  A fruit cup.  Mediano.  $2.46.  About an hour into our trip when I got hungry I whipped that puppy out and it hit the spot.

A fruit cup.  Is that not crazy?  I'm tellin' ya though, that lunch earlier was so fantastic, I didn't even need the shake.

My other tip besides halving your food at restaurants is halving your portion size at home.  I'm a seconds kind of girl, probably always will be.  When we had chili this weekend man, I know I'm going for 2 bowls.  So I trick myself and just have smaller size bowls. 

Before weigh in this morning I wanted to quit.  But man, it's working and I've still got 11 pounds to go.  Last week I lost 2 pounds and ate out a couple times.  I just used my eat what I really want trick and it worked.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mommy Time Out

I have just put myself in a Mommy time out.  Is it really wise to be posting about it in the heat?  Probably not.  So, it can just be so frustrating, teaching the kids.  Today started out good.  Sun shining, laundry going, Wal-Mart list planned, learning our first catechism, etc etc was going good.  Till the wheels starting falling off the bus.

Till the phonics lesson started getting frustrating.  Till I lost my temper because I want to see a little effort and not such an easy bent toward giving up.  I set the timer for a 5 minute break then I went and turned it off because maybe I just need more than 5 minutes to simmer down.

Then I log into the computer to get the math lesson geared up.  My computer asks me a ridiculous question.

What would happen if you lost your Google account tomorrow?

Really?  Nothing.  Nothing would happen if I lost my Google account tomorrow and no I'm not giving you internet people on the pop up screen my phone number.  I might even gain a little more freedom because something was just erased from my "have to" list.

And then there's the issue I am dealing with of processing through what God wants from me.  This weekend me, along with 13 other women from church, college age to the mini-van drivers with hips, attended an amazing conference together.  It was good, the older and younger teaming up.

Not just good, but challenging. I heard some passionate women speak about their love for God and people. 

I got some great ideas.  Like having an extended quiet time.  2 hours or more.  I was filled and challenged and on the ride home I was overwhelmed.  Why?  Because as my friend Sandra pinned it, Satan tried to swoop in to steal, kill and destroy the truth I had taken in.  Tried to make me feel guilt and failure.  Tried to link bad words like bondage and legalism to the truth God had spoken.  But we saw it for what it was.  And I will not allow the Enemy to take away from me truth God freshly planted inside me.

I know the freedom of living a life of Joy in the Lord.  I know Grace.  My life knows Faith.  And right now, in my Mommy Time Out, I know new beginnings.  Fresh starts.  I know that a spirit of judgement and criticism is my red flag that I am in sin.  It's not who I am, nor who I am called to be.

This morning my Scripture reading from Ex 3 reminded me that God came to a vision in Moses while he was tending his everyday work.  While he was out tending sheep in the pasture, living the everyday, God came to speak life and truth into his life.

My Mommy Time Out is about to be over.  I'm going to start Math lessons, read about George Washington, take a trip to Wal-Mart to get Cascade, have another conversation with the boys about why we are not spending money on Halloween costumes, we'll re-heat left-overs for lunch, and I'll finish up the laundry, and my day will not be ruined.  It won't be ruined because we had a bad 5 minutes.  It won't be ruined because my Google account might not be here tomorrow and it won't be ruined because your life and mine look different.

Today is the everyday and it is good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Snow Covered Trophy

Trophies of His Grace.

It's how my Pastor worded who we are on Sunday. The ironic thing is most days I remain completely unaware of how valuable the trophy is.  Most days life is lived in the here and now.

I ingest the Word.  Say the prayer.  Do the dishes.  Take the phone call.  Stir the sauce.  Tuck them in bed.  Read the story.

The morning begins each new days cycle.  I move mindlessly through the routine we call life with no thought to my inner workings.

Only this week was different.  Last week a new prayer found its way into the old.  "Show me my sin."  Not just the obvious ones.  Show me the hidden ones.  The ones who are so much a fabric of my days that I do not even recognize them for who they are anymore.  I can't be that good and there's got to be more.

And one by one they begin to show their faces.  In the midst of beautiful Fall days, filled with vibrance of color from purplish red to fiery orange, eyes are opened to the tainted.  The sin stained soul.

The Pumpkin Cupcake candle flickers and fills the room with comforting smells and sights and the sin stained one carries about her duties.

She seeks control when it is not hers to be had.  The judgemental, critical thoughts dance across her mind.  Pride of the ugliest kind follows closely on its heels.  One by one they begin showing up, those hidden sins, and she begins to understand something of her sin nature.

Most of it is hidden.  It is underneath the surface.  In the hidden places of the heart and mind.  It makes her prayer sweeter when she prays,

"Be gracious to me, O God, according to your lovingkindness, according to the greatness of your compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.  Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that you are justified with you speak and blameless when you judge.

You desire truth in my innermost being and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Purify me so I will be clean.  Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.  Make me hear joy and gladness.  Let the bones you have broken rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins.  Blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.  And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your Presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.

Deliver me from my guilt so my mouth can joyfully sing of your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips so that my mouth can declare your praise.  You do not care about sacrifice or I would bring it.  The sacrifices of you Lord are a broken spirit and an apologetic, regretful heart, those you will not despise."

Psalm 51

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cold Snap & Knickers

It's always special, that first cold snap that catches me by surprise.

The boys don their one pair of knickers and tube tops I kept down, just in case it gets cold on us, and out the door we go to brave the floods.

Today I've been wading through bins of Fall/Winter clothing from the attic.  This coincides perfectly with my hankerin' to declutter.  The good news is I've already got a big trash bag full of outgrown clothes to donate. 

The other good news is my boys need some pants and maybe a couple long sleeve shirts.  That could be viewed as bad news except for the fact that Wednesday I started checking out boys clothes for the Fall.  There is some serious cuteness to be had and my boys are pumped that we get to go shopping.

This book is on my list to read.  Have you heard of it?  Everything about simplifying and downsizing makes me happy.  So that's my Friday.  Decluttering and changing out closets.

My closet has to wait until Monday.  The goal is to downsize by 50%.  I have the weekend to pump myself up that it can be done!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chilly Night Chili

Chilly Night Chili
2 pounds ground round beef
1 46 oz can Campbell's Tomato Juice
2 16 oz cans Bush's Chili Beans in Mild Sauce
2 10 oz cans Rotel
1 1oz pkg Williams Original Chili Seasoning
1 diced yellow onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1-4 Tablespoons Chili Powder (according to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Brown beef with onion and garlic.  Drain meat.  In a large pot, combine meat with remaining ingredients.  Stir and simmer on low to medium heat for at least one hour, stirring frequently.  The longer it simmers the better it tastes!  Serve with Fritos, Crackers, Jiffy Cornbread Muffins, Cheddar, Sour Cream and Jalapenos.

Set a pretty table.  Light the Fall candles.  Throw on a sweatshirt because this my friends is a Fall dinner done right.

This recipe is my sister's.  It got published in a magazine and let me tell you, it is one of our families very favorite dinners! 

This is even better the next day.

It freezes and reheats well.

I like to use left overs to have Chili Dog & Tater Tot night.

If there is just a small amount to freeze, you can pull it out for a quick meal one night.  Top Baked Potatoes with the Chili, Cheese & Salsa-serve with a Salad.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weigh In

The last 3 weeks have been off schedule for us.  It started with us tearing out all the tile in our house.  A week later we left for 2 weeks.  I wandered how my weight loss would handle the lack of routine and the lack of healthy food.

This morning I went for my weekly weigh-in, but before I tell you the results, I have to tell you what I've been eating the last 3 weeks (because it has been heavenly!)

  • Chicken & Fries (x too many too count)
  • Pizza & Caesar Salad (ditto)
  • Krispy Kreme
  • Chili Cheese Nachos (x4)
  • Wine
  • Steak and Mashed Potatoes
  • White Cheddar Cheese Its
  • Snicker's (fun size)
  • Frozen Reese Cups
  • Ice Cream
  • Ice Cream
  • Chili Dogs
  • Fried Fish, Fries & Hushpuppies (x2)
I'm probably leaving some things out, but I have not eaten healthy the last 3 weeks.  It has been fast food and processed food.  So, did I loose weight?

My goal was to maintain what I've already lost.  I was able to maintain my weight loss and even lost another pound, bringing my grand total weight loss to...
15 pounds!!!

Shane and I are puzzled that we did not gain weight on vacation.  I've tried to think of how on earth I ate like I did but managed to not gain.  The biggest thing I can attribute it to is that we shared our meals (except for that last day at Disney when I was hot, tired and grumpy and looked at Shane while we were in line ordering lunch and said today I'm getting my own combo!  big butt or not i gotta do what i gotta do!)

So, our portion sizes were smaller and it was a very active trip-we walked all day every day.

When we got to Orlando we went to the grocery store.  I picked up a carton of grape tomatoes.  I never once even cracked into them.  They traveled across 5 states with me and finally last night they got eaten.

When I look at the list of food we ate on vacation, it is a huge contrast to the new normal at our house.  Last night I cooked Potato Corn Chowder and we ate Salads with it.  It was the first meal I've cooked in awhile.

Tonight-My sister's famous Chili recipe.  It is the best!  I'm going to share the recipe with you later this week!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vacation Part I

This is where I spent the last week, at a resort on the Disney property.  It is a really neat story how it came to pass.  In April I was praying about vacation.  Shane and I had different ideas of what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go, so I decided to pray about it and ask God to lead us and guide us.

About 3 days after I prayed we received a call from a sweet couple from church.  "Hey, we booked your family a week at our timeshare in Orlando.  Here are the dates, and everything is all set."  It was such a generous blessing.

Four days before we were set to leave, my Mamaw fell and was admitted into the hospital.  It was really bad and she was not doing well at all.  We postponed our trip a little to make sure she was going to be OK.  The night before we were trying to decide whether or not to go, I opened up my Bible.  I prayed and asked God if He would show me in Scripture whether or not we should make the trip or cancel it. 

My Bible Verse that day was in John 11, so I opened up and began reading the entire chapter of John.  There was a verse that stood out above all the rest, as if God Himself highlighted it for my eyes to see.
"This sickness will not end in death"

Whoa Nelly.  Lord, I thought, are you really giving me such a specific confirmation?  I knew in my heart it was exactly the answer to my prayer.  So with hesitant hearts we loaded the bus and started the 15 hour journey to Orlando.  It was a hard couple of days at first emotionally, with us all being so concerned about Mamaw.

We knew that God had ordained the circumstances, all of them, but moving forward with them was difficult.

He is faithful though, even in the hard things.  He always prepares a table for us, wherever we find ourselves.  Sometimes it is hard to find the table, and sometimes we don't like what is on it, but it is always there, nonetheless.

A few days into our trip Mamaw started improving and that was a huge relief to us.  We settled in to Florida time and really had a blast.  If you know me, you know family vacations are very important to me.  We play hard, rest well, and eat goooood.  It is pretty funny because you would die if you saw our condo after we got our hands on it.  My house at home is neat as a pin (most of the time).  Well, that all goes to pot when I'm on vacation.  Flip flops and clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink, towels on the floor, Capri Sun's on on the coffee table and I don't give a rip about any of it.

You put me in a resort with my lit candle, good books and no responsibility and I go cray-cray!

The boys had a room and we had a room.  They thought it was super cool to have a TV in their room.  It was sweet how they decorated their beds with their blankets, pillows and stuffed animals from home.

This is how the condo looked before we arrived.  We gave it a more lived in look (code: Mama fell off the wagon).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm Baaaack

If there are still any readers of this here blog I just wanted to say hello.

We've been gone the last 2 weeks on vacation.  I couldn't say anything because I didn't want the burglars coming to steal all my spray painted yard sale treasures while we were gone.

I laugh sometimes that if a robber broke in my house they'd be seriously disappointed.  We got nothin' they'd want since I'm so anti-technology.

We had our house re-tiled while we were away.  It looks good but I've got a mess on my hands.  The washer and dryer are in the living room, I have suitcases of laundry to do, a fine layer of dust from the floors has resettled on everything my Mom and I cleaned before we left, I'm tired and overwhelmed so I'm doing nothing.

The good new is we have beautiful brown tiled floors, we had 2 weeks of rest and family fun (with a melt-down thrown in here and there for good measure), the windows are open because it is a perfectly perfect day, and I only gained a couple of pounds on my french fry fast food eating extravaganza we like to call vacation.

Shane and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary yesterday on a 15 hour ride in the car.  Krispy Kreme for breakfast number one, McDonald's for breakfast number 2, Chick-fil-A for lunch, McDonald's again for dinner.  What?  We're trying to win Boardwalk on Monopoly so we can build our dream house.

Looking forward to getting back to the ol' blog.  I've missed everyone!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Razorback Beauty

This is the most beautiful YouTube video I've seen in awhile.

The Lord has blessed me with some super amazing friends, and now I give you Aunt Liz, one of my dearest BFF's Aunt's.  Pure awesomeness is all I can say about this.

Woo Pig Sooie!

Hogs are beautiful!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dinner Party

Tonight we have between 20-25 people coming over for dinner.

What's the state of the union on the house? 

I'd say semi-clean.  There are flip-flops on the floor, a few school papers on the table, the guest bathroom needs to be cleaned (de-tooth-pasted and other issues around the toilet thanks to life with young boys), still need to sweep, mop, feather dust and run a quick vacuum.

Oh, and did I mention I will not be here for dinner since we double booked and I have a jewelry show tonight?  Yeah, good times.

Here's the biggest thing I try to remember when company is coming.
The house doesn't have to be perfect, but there are a few things I can do last minute to make it seem like it is.

That can be hard to believe, but it's true.  My mom and I had a conversation a few weeks ago about cleaning.  When a person comes over, they don't know if you feather dusted, ran a quick vacuum and lit a candle, or whether you slaved away for hours cleaning.

Here's a quick run-down of what happens at my house before company comes.

  • Clean my kitchen counters.  By this I mean I spray 409 on them, let it sit a minute and wash them off with a hot washcloth. 

  • I always sweep and mop my white tile kitchen floor and the guest bathroom.  It shows dirt so easy and I like it to sparkle.  Plus, the smell of good lemon floor cleaner makes the house feel and smell fresh.  This takes about 15 minutes.

  • Quick feather dust in the living room.  It knocks that little pesky layer of dust off and makes the wood look nice and clean.

  • We vacuum.  New lines in the carpet looks fantastic.  The best part is our boys vacuum these days.

  • Windex the front door and any other surface that has fingerprints.  Such a quick easy thing.  Not every single thing gets Windexed, just hit the smudgy spots in the main areas (Living Room, Kitchen, Guest Bathroom)
And of course, light a candle.  Today I picked up one of my all time favorites at Wal-Mart, Mulled Cider.  They are $5.00.  It smells like Fall in here.

If you are having a larger group over, keep the menu simple.  Tonight we are having BBQ Chicken, Baked Beans, Salad, Dinner Rolls and Sweet Tea.  Do you know how simple that is?  I bought really good BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's), it will cook in the oven, the beans are in the crock-pot, the salad is a nice Spring Mix already prepared, the Hawaiian Rolls are ready to eat straight out of the package, and Red Diamond is making the tea tonight.

Since I'm not going to be here, I had to keep it really simple, but there is nothing wrong with serving a simple dinner anytime you have friends over.

Well, that's it for today.  I'd better hop off and get a bathroom cleaned.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mission Of Motherhood Study

Next Wednesday, September 12th, at 8:00pm we kick off the Mission Of Motherhood study at my house.  It is a 6 week study where we'll explore creating a life-giving, peace-filled home, passing on a legacy of righteousness to our children, and creative ideas on keeping your child's heart open to you and the Lord.

One thing I love about Sally's books is how the Lord uses them to give me creative ideas to bless my house and family.  I am a more gentle, intentional Mom because of the truths she has taught me in her books.

Here is a schedule of the next 6 weeks in case you want to check your calender to see if you can join us.

Sept 12th- Intro week.  Pass out books. 
Sept 19th- Part 1 Discussion (Ch 1-3)
Sept 26th- OFF
Oct 3rd- Part II Discussion (Ch 4-6)
Oct 10th- Part III Discussion (Ch 7-8)
Oct 17th- Part IV Discussion (Ch 9-11)
Oct 24th- Part V Discussion (Ch 12)

I am ordering books in the morning and they are around $10 or so.  If you'd like me to order one for you, just holler at me by late tonight.