Monday, December 14, 2015

I got a modeling job!

Now before you get all - she's being bragadocious, hear me out.

I take my kids behavior personally.  Because after all, we are judged by our children's behavior, right???  So if they are acting sub par, I get a little "passionate".  This weekend we had one of those days where maybe too little sleep and too much sugar was affecting us all.  And the way my children were talking to their siblings was rubbing me the wrong way.  So I "passionately" (read: yelled) told them that they needed to knock it off.   And can you believe...gasp...they IGNORED me!  So the passion was elevated, to the point that I might have been a little crazy.

After I told them they were doing chores all afternoon and giving them a list, I had to hit the pavement.  Because there is nothing better than running when your mad.  If you haven't tried it,  you should.  Its a great time to have a good conversation with the Creator of the Universe too.  So as I was telling Him I thought I was failing and I just couldn't understand why they weren't kind and loving to one another and I couldn't understand why they were so loud and yelled at each other because I instruct them often to do the opposite, I was hoping I was getting my point across, when I asked, what more can I do???  And in true Creator of the Universe fashion, He told me two words.  Model it.  But I do model it, I argued.  I tell them all. the. time.  Then I have this flashback to my passionate rant.  Ok.  Point taken.  He was right.  I couldn't argue.  I hate it when that happens.

So I have a new job.  And it's going to be really hard for me.  It's going to stretch me.  It's going to make me think before I act.  It's going to take a lot of work.  And it will probably change me more than it changes my kids, because that's how these things work.  So...I guess I'll get started.

Monday, December 7, 2015

We still love you Santa, but......

No one loves Christmas more than me.  Seriously.  Lights, good food, Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is You"on repeat, a tree, good food, parties, programs, did I mention the food?  Oh, and Santa.  Our family does Santa.  But as my kids are getting older, things are getting more expensive on their "Christmas lists".  And I get that, they are hinging on the teen years, with one already there.  But there has been a whole lot of "I want an iphone," going on in my house and I'm having a hard time stomaching it.  Since I grew up in the dark ages when we some how managed to have a super fun childhood without them, I've decided to revamp our family Christmas traditions this year.  Well, really add a few. I want the focus taken off the ever growing Christmas list, and put on giving to others.  After all, the only reason we have Christmas is because of that life giving gift of baby Jesus.  I won't be nixing Santa all together - he is a giver, after all.  But this year, my 3 very blessed children who have a cozy house and plenty of food to eat are going to learn to give to others.  How are they going to do it?

  • I'm encouraging  forcing my kids to buy presents for their siblings with their own money.  These are the people we do life with every day.  They see us at our best and our worst.  And I want my kids to know what it feels like to give to the ones they love the most (even if they won't admit it).  I'm providing plenty of chores around the house to earn money so no one can say they don't have any.
  • Making gifts for the special friends in our lives.  They are going to get to choose 3 families and we are going to make them baskets of Christmas cheer.  They will be involved in the shopping, baking, and delivering.  I want it to be from them - not just me!
  • A family service project.  I'm not sure what this is going to look like yet, but serving someone else together as a family is something I've wanted to do for a while.
I would love to know some of the things your families do to change the focus from receiving to giving!  Please share them in the comments!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tree 'O Memories

                    

The Christmas tree, the centerpiece of our festivities for the month of December. It's a big deal at our house the night of the tree decorating. We eat good food and all do it together as a family. Our tree isn't fancy or color coordinated. Maybe someday it will be. But the fun we have pulling out each ornament and remembering when and where we received them as we hang them on the tree trumps beauty.  I'm going to share a few of my favorites with you.

                     

                   
Andy's great aunt Evelyn painted this for us when we first got married. She has since passed away but we remember her each year when we hang this special ornament. 

                              

This is Karlys ornament from Mothers Day Out. The day they took this picture was the day her eardrum burst from an ear infection when I picked her up and I had terrible mom guilt for leaving her there all day when she was sick. 

                       

This cowboy ornament was won at a spirited ornament exchange party. It was the coveted ornament. My competitive gene just might have taken over. 

                    

These are all of my kids when they were at My Lambs Preschool. The are all the same age in these.  Sniff Sniff.

Because I keep it real here at JFS.  I'll only slightly mention how one of our vehicles broke down (for the second time this month) on tree decorating day, so our take out food for our festivities was cold and then Andy was reading the repair manual while I was yelling at him to put it down and HANG ORNAMENTS ON THE TREE!!  

May you have many December evening with a hot drink and a roaring fire while your tree does it's thing.



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beauty and destruction

The weather in Oklahoma is something of a phenomenon.  We had 60+ degrees this week, and woke up to ice coating absolutely everything today.  I realize that ice causes things like downed power lines, and limbs from old trees to be separated from their trunks. And all of that makes me sad.  But the beauty of it is mesmerizing.  And when my kids wanted to go outside and play in it, I didn't feel like I could deny them the fun.  I loathe the fact that my house has no real trees on the property.  Today would be the only day I'm glad I didn't after I saw car windows broken, streets blocked, and curb appeal changed by downed branches.  But I still couldn't get past the beauty.









I know, not the best parenting move allowing them on the trampoline.....


The beauty....



I hope your warm and cozy tonight.  I hope your favorite old tree withstood the weight of the ice.  I hope you took a moment to just stare at the beauty and you thanked God for the amazingness.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Homemade Pie Crusts - I dare you





Thanksgiving = pies.  And all pies are not created equal.  I'll admit I was scared of the homemade pie crust.  It's daunting.  But once I got it - there is no going back.  And I want you to know you can do it too!!!  So for those who have procrastinated and are supposed to take pie to Thanksgiving tomorrow, I dare you to try it yourself!  You'll be glad you did.  Because homemade everything is always better.

The easiest and most foolproof pie crust is right here, by my imaginary BFF Ree, The Pioneer Woman.  Here are some tips that will help make your pie crust making much smoother.

  • Use ice cold water.  I mean put ice in the water so it is as cold as it can be.
  • The less you work the dough, the lighter and fluffier it is.  If you roll it out over and over, you will have one very hard pie crust
  • The best pumpkin pie recipe is on the back of the pumpkin can.  No lie.
  • If you're rolling out your crust on some sort of mat, place your pie plate upside down on top of your dough, slide your hand underneath the mat, and quickly flip over.
  • The prettiest pie crusts are the most imperfect looking ones.
On a personal note - my pecan pie recipe is one my Great Grandmother O'Hara used.  Nothing is more nostalgic than this right here - the recipe written in her handwriting, with a note from my mom on the bottom.   Knowing this has been made for 4 generations makes it even more special and that right there makes my pecan pie taste even better.  If you don't have anything like this, feel free to adopt mine!!


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Move over Martha. (And I'm not talking Stewart this time)

I just finished a couple of marathon weeks.  And they weren't the kind of marathons where you strap on your favorite Hoka running shoes and hit the pavement for miles and miles.  It was the life/work marathon.  I'm sure you're familiar with it. Where we have commitments 6 out of the 7 days and evenings.  Where children and adults alike are shuttled to school, work, their activities, and home again to lay their weary heads on their pillows only to get up and do it again.  Its a pace that requires organization and stamina.  And it's a pace that, if kept for long periods of time, can bring depletion and exhaustion.

I scored 2 hours to myself today, in the quiet of my own home.  This is a rarity.  Especially after the last couple of weeks I've had.  I found myself scurrying around the house that had been quite neglected.  Trying to do the things that had been left to the bottom of the priority list.  And then I saw the sun coming though the window on one of the chairs in the living room.  And I just had to sit.  I reached for my Bible, which has also been pushed to the bottom of that priority list and I read this.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!" " Martha, Martha", the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about may things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her".  Luke 10:38-42

You can probably make the parallel for yourself right here.  I am Martha in so many ways.  I get so stuck on the doing.  It becomes my mission and focus. I don't make the choice that is better.  I forget that the one thing I need to fuel me on these marathon weeks, slips to the bottom of the priority list.

The holidays are coming.  I'm going to be doing a lot of preparations that come along with them.  Because I'm Martha like that. But I'm also going to do something else.  I'm going to post the verses above on my bathroom mirror to keep in the forefront of my mind that I need to choose what is better and won't be taken away from me before I dive in and get lost in the busyness.   I challenge you to do the same.  Who's with me?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall...I heart you

I really don't understand those who don't just love fall.  I mean, we can be friends, but we will never connect on a deeper fall level unless you don't just love it.   The changing leaves, the brisk air, the chia, coffee, or hot cocoa, the pumpkin everything.  And of course the crackle of the fireplace.  Ahhhh...

Oklahoma can put a damper on my love for fall, mainly because when it doesn't show up by September 1st, I get frustrated.  And when it's still not around by Oct 20th (82 degrees today, really????) , I get downright mad.  But thank goodness for fall decorations.

Here are a few of the fall touches that make me think it's fall outside when the weather tries to tell me otherwise.

The mantle.  You know what I love about mantle's?  They are so versatile.  And you can do absolutely anything you want with them.



The glass pumpkin.  I have a friend whose house always has a glass pumpkin filled with candy corn and peanuts.  She was kind enough to gift me with my very own.  If you ask me, absolutely everyone needs a glass pumpkin with some sort of candy corn in it for it to be fall.



Mini pumpkins.  Whoever came up with these...I am in love.  Serious mini pumpkin love.


Now light the pumpkin candle and enjoy FALL!!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

An Ode to Carson

Aren't we all sooooo tired of mom's saying, "I blinked and he/she's 5, 10, 15 years old".  Want to know why people say that??

BECAUSE IT'S TRUE!!!!

Let me tell you a little bit about Carson, if you don't know him personally.  As a kid, Carson was that kid who got so excited about everything! If he was at someone's birthday party and they were opening presents, it was like he was the one opening presents he would get so excited.  He's a rule follower.  He can do 1000 piece puzzles in a few short days.  He loves legos and his room is officially a lego shrine.  He likes basketball, soccer, movies, Lego anything, and his dog.  He lets his sisters get to him a little too often, but he secretly loves them. He is the Whirly Pop master, popping us all popcorn every single evening.  And my favorite thing of all is that he loves the Lord.  I love watching him grow into a teenager and become his own person.  I love that I can still lay with him at night and hear about his day.  I love when I hug him and he adamantly protests, but doesn't make a move to leave.

Happy 13th Birthday Carson!!!!!!

xoxoxoxoxox


Monday, September 14, 2015

Oh My! And stuff

It looks as though the first thing to go when adding too much to your plate is blogging.  But I'm shaking the funk, taking control, and releasing some things that just need to go at the moment.

So school has started.
Um...who are these big kids?????


Because I promise just the other day they were these kids



And then there's this one, who has completely rocked our world.


And with the taking care of these 4 - I'm a little cray to the z.

But I have to say, sometimes taking a little break from things like blogging and running and cooking are good for the soul.  Sometimes when you set the bar super high, and then you can't meet the bar, you get really frustrated and cranky.  That's where I was a month ago.  But then I remembered, I had the power to lower the bar.  And so I did.  And I was happier. And now I think I'll go back to those 3 things that I love because I feel good about raising the bar again.  I feel like I need a picture of a bar here.  

Your takeaway?  If your stressed, tired, and have too much on your plate - fix it.  Because you can.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sweet Potato Muffins

The thought of them sent my kids into all kinds of gagging noises.  And thats when I knew the entire batch would be mine.

I found this recipe from Runner's World Magazine a few months ago and just happened to come back across it this week.  We enjoy muffins of all kinds at our house, as I've shared with you here.  But sometimes, it's time for an "adult" breakfast entree.  Thus, the light, fluffy, and delicious......



Sweet Potato Muffins

2 1/2 C flour
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Combine the above together.

In a separate bowl combine

1 C canola oil
1 C sweet potato puree
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter.


Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes


Then eat in front of your children as they gross out and relish that all 12 are yours.  Feel free to freeze if you don't want to eat them all in one setting.















Friday, July 31, 2015

Pool S'mores

One of the few things I like about summer is swimming.  We don't have a pool in our backyard.  And we don't have a neighborhood pool.  But we have friends who do!!

The other day my friend Bethany invited us to her neighborhood pool.  And she treated us to these.

Pool S'mores


These are easy, delicious, and officially our new summer snack.  You need graham crackers, nutella, and marshmallow fluff.  Layer, as thick as you like, and sandwich.  EASY.  And you're welcome.





If you don't have a pool, like us, you can eat them after you do this.





Summer, it's been fun.  We'll enjoy you for a few more weeks.  
Bring on fall.





Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Diary of a Border Collie Owner: Week 2


We didn't have a pet dog when I was growing up, well, when I was old enough to care.  Just wasn't at the top of the list of needs.  But I have always been an animal lover.  Dogs, cats, birds, horses - I love them all!!  So when we finally got the green light to get a dog, I was over the moon.  I had all these visions of a well behaved dog accompanying me on my runs, going with me to get the kids from school, camping with the family - all that fun pet owner stuff.

The reality?  That stuff is extremely far off, and if we can even get through the puppy biting, crazy stage it will honestly be a miracle.  I'm not the first person to have a puppy.  I keep saying this to myself over and over.  I don't think I'm a selfish person...????  If you're a mom, it's hard to be.  But this puppy has me completely frazzled.  Because of our family schedules, the brunt of taking care of this little bundle of fluffy happiness is falling on me.  Gone are the days of me sitting reading a book, leisurely, staying up late watching Netflix and sleeping in the next morning.  That is a luxury you have when your kids get my kid's ages. But it's a luxury you promptly give up when becoming a puppy owner.

My days are now filled with  squeaky toys, chew sticks, clickers, treats, and potty breaks every 30 minutes.  I can tell you the best you tube videos on how to train your puppy and don't even look at the library for dog training books because I've got them all checked out.  I've stood outside in the middle of the night with rain coming down and lightening lighting up the sky, begging her to take care of her business.  I'm sleepily walking her at the break of dawn dreaming of that cup of coffee that is brewing in the pot at home for me.  I'm trying to understand her need to dig in the Oklahoma red mud and the bathtub is sparkling clean because of it.  My instagram feed and Facebook status's will most likely begin to annoy people to defriending.

The highlights are she's only 8 weeks and is ringing the bell when she needs to go to the bathroom...most of the time.  She is the cutest thing in the world - when she's sleeping.  And despite the fact I've thought almost every day that just maybe we are going to have to give her back, I miss her when I'm gone for the 2 hour max window I can leave her in her crate.  I dream of a full night's sleep and wonder if I'm too old for this.

Izzy...I won't give you back, you just better hurry up and learn to stop play biting!!!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

What did we just do???

My favorite stage of raising kids is most definitely the one we are in right now.  My kids are old enough to take care of their basic needs.  They know what is expected of them.  My only real issues are molding their character.  The days of having 3 kids under the age of 5 is now but a distant, blurred, memory.

We are animal lovers.  All 5 of us.  Except one of the 5, (Andy), didn't want to own one.  It's not that he doesn't like animals, because he really does.  He just doesn't want the hassle of taking care of one. 4 of us didn't find that reason enough not to have a family pet.  So for 2 years, we've been talking, begging, subtle hinting, and not so subtle hinting that we wanted a dog.  Neely would sneak little notes in her dad's lunch box about what a great dad he was and how much she wanted a dog. I would forward cute pictures.  Carson would lay on the guilt trip about how he was the only kid at school who didn't have a pet.  Then one day, he agreed, but with stipulations of breed and age.

Enter Izzy.  We have prayed for, anticipated, and dreamed of Izzy.  The cuteness was just almost too much.  So we brought her home.  And just like that, I now have another cute, small, bundle of joy to be responsible for.  Here are the things about new puppies that you consciously shove into the back of your mind when deciding to get one.

  • They need constant supervision
  • They really, really, love to chew things
  • You can't just leave them in the backyard because they cry, and then wiggle their little bodies under the fence.
  • They really, really, love to chew things.
  • They don't realize the world, including your house, isn't their restroom.
  • They really, really, love to chew things.
  • You spend lots of money on toys, only for them to play with the ice cube you dropped.
  • They really, really love to chew things.
  • You, literally, can not take your eyes off them while they are awake.
  • They don't like the crate.
In the wake of the whirlwind named Izzy, I find myself wondering what has happened to my usually sensible self. Just exactly what did I just do????


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blackberry muffins

Every year we go to the blackberry farm and pick blackberries.  Its a summer tradition.  And every year, we seem to get carried away.  I mean, you just start seeing all these huge beautiful blackberries on the bushes, and you get sucked in.


You just wander up and down the rows and it is so hard to pass them up, even if your bucket is full!



And then before you know it you have 15 pounds of blackberries and you remember you have to pay for them.


So after you get over the shock on the drive home from the blackberry farm, you start imagining all the things you can do with the 15 pounds of blackberries.  And blackberry muffins are one of them.
*note, blackberries freeze wonderfully!

Muffins are a staple in the breakfast rotation.  And this recipe isn't just to use up your blackberries.  It can handle any add in you throw it's way.  I've done strawberry, chocolate chip, raspberry, and blueberry.  Just use this muffin base and get your creative on. (Your cranky preteen son will wake up and give you the biggest hug for making them.)




Blackberry muffins (makes 12)
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
about 1/2 cup milk
1 generous cup of berries or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  
In a 1 cup liquid measuring cup, measure oil, add egg, and enough milk to make 1 cup.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Add berries.  Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 15-18 minutes

I'm not going to complain about the now 13 pounds of blackberries in my freezer.  And I'm pretty sure my family won't either.



Sunday, June 21, 2015

Their dad

You never really know what kind of a dad your husband will be when you marry him.  It's true.  You can think you know, but you really never know, until it happens.

My kids - they have no idea how lucky they are.  Their dad loves them so much, spends time with them, nurtures them, hugs them, is there for them whenever they need him.  He would lay down his life for them.

Not everyone can say that about their dad.  But I thank God every day, my kids can.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Coconut Chia Bark

I bought this large container of chia seeds.  Because you know chia seeds are all the rage.  And that large container of chia seeds has sat in my pantry, for a really long time.  So when I stumbled upon an entire book at the library on how to use those chia seeds I checked that sucker out.

A version of this recipe was in the book, but it called for lemon zest and I am sorry - lemon and chocolate should not be in the same bowl, if you ask me.  So I omitted the lemon and added some sliced almonds to make them a little prettier.

This one is for my sister, Traci, who desperately wants to eat only things of nature but absolutely can not shake her love for chocolate.

Coconut Chia Bark

1 bag of dark chocolate (must be dark so you can justify the chocolate)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Melt chocolate in double boiler.  When melted, remove from the double boiler and add the coconut and chia seeds.  Mix well and spread on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Freeze for 30 minutes.  Break them up and eat them with no guilt.





Monday, June 15, 2015

Rookie Middle School Mom - Chapter 2

Middle school boys are frustrating creatures.  We mothers birth them, love them, nurture them, and what do we get in return?  Conversations like this.

So I'm dropping off Carson this morning at a science camp.  He didn't know anyone and I had butterflies for him all the way there.  I was so proud that he was stepping out of the comfort zone of his best buddies and doing something simply because he wanted to.  So as we stand in line to check in , I say "you're so cute".  My mom, who is with me, says "You should wait to say those things to him at home, and not here in a new situation".  Then she turns to him and says "You're really going to have fun.  You're going to make all kinds of new friends."  I looked at her and said, "Really?  Was that much better?".  In the meantime Carson had walked away from us and up to someone who looked in charge and had checked in.  Um...bye...

I randomly wonder all morning what he's doing.  Are kids being nice to him?  Is he having fun? Will he even want to go back tomorrow? Grandma had pick up duty and I couldn't wait to talk to him so when his sister called me I told her I needed to speak with her brother.  As she hands him the phone I hear him saying "Why?"  

Me: So how was it this morning????!!
Him: good
Me: Did you know anyone?
Him: yes
Me: From your school?  
Him: yes
Me: So you had fun?
Him: yes
Me: So you still want to go back tomorrow?
Him: yes.
Me: (exasperated)  Is that all your going to give me??????
Him: yes.
Me: sigh.  ok.
Him: click.

He totally hung up.  Like the conversation was over.  
Oh.  My.  Goodness.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Neelster!


See this girl?  She's 10 today.  This is how she does everything.  This is what her personality is like.  She's the middle child.  She's crazy musically talented.  She does the best impersonations of family members.  She loves kids.  She has a tender heart for those left out.  She makes us laugh all the time. She makes us consult our nonexistent parenting guide daily.  Her favorite past time is to pester her older brother. She thinks she's 16.  She will make a difference in this world, mark my words.  
Happy Birthday Neely!!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

HAPPY NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!

It's Nation Running Day!  Did you run today?

I think it deserves a My Top 10 Favorite things about running list.

1.  When I run by myself, I always win.
2.  I have a reason to buy new shoes every 6 months.
3.  If I'm ticked, I can "run it out" and I usually have a new/better perspective when I'm done.
4.  It gives me energy.
5.  It reminds me I need nothing but to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I will get to where I want to go.
6.  I get to enjoy the outdoors.
7.  Playlists.
8.  Its a good example for my kids to get out and stay healthy.
9.  I like to wear visors.
10. It's contributed to the better version of Amy.

Get out and run!

Here's to my favorite running partner and my favorite running shoes.



Happy Running!!


Friday, May 29, 2015

Humidity, spitting, and my serious lack of motivation.

I've got this problem, here in the month of May.  Its called exercise motivation.  I have none. Zero. Zilch. Nada.  For someone who prides themselves (that is my first problem, pride goes before a fall, Amy), in self motivation and challenging oneself, this is a large blow.  Its been raining, and raining and raining.  I like to run in the rain.  But this has been some serious rain flooding streets that don't normally flood.  So I thought it in my best interest to stay inside.

3 weeks later, there is an end in sight to the rain, and I haven't run once.  So after a harsh mental lecture, at 1pm I hit the road.  72 degrees and 75% humidity - I have no idea what I was thinking.  I'm a morning, cool weather runner.  I made sure I didn't go far, because well, what if I didn't make it?  There were a lot of things wrong with this run.  The fact that I was breathing air I could cut with a knife maybe?  But I had some serious spitting problems.  Sometimes, to distract myself during a run I practice spitting.  Because that's an art you know.  And you most definitely need to be able to propel with force and accuracy in races.  But today, my spitting was crazy off.  I spit on my shoulder, not once, but twice. Yes I was the girl running with the trail of saliva flinging over her shoulder, twice.  With that nonsense, I headed home.  

When I rounded the corner the neighborhood children, half of whom were mine, were riding bikes.  They begged to go with me, and since I had only gotten a whopping 2 miles in, we hit the half mile loop twice.  I'd say I finished strong, thanks to the 6 children circling me on their bikes.  Sometimes your run stinks.  And sometimes it's amazing.  Here's to finding that next amazing run.  Clink.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mesquite Jalapeno Cheddar burgers

Buy For Less provided Shur fine products to get our BarBQ on for Memorial Day weekend.  Mesquite Jalapeno Cheddar burgers were in order.  People, you can do absolutely anything with burgers!!  Don't stop at ketchup, and cheese.  Your insulting the burger.






Shur Fine had 3 barbecue sauces to choose from.  And since we are a family with 5 different taste buds, this was a win.


  
This bag of Charcoal made it super easy to get the grill started.  All that is necessary is lighting the bag, and your cookout has begun.




Having your freezer stocked with the frozen beef patties makes grilled burgers an easy quick choice for grilling.  I was happy to see the only ingredient listed was beef.

Since the baked beans were already seasoned with brown sugar and bacon, all I had to do was add a few jalapenos for some extra bite


The result of our super quick cookout was this plate of Barbecue goodness, with the star being the Mesquite Jalapeno Cheddar burgers.  

Do your burgers a favor, everyone likes a little more than ketchup.







Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Getting our summer on

Its officially the first week of summer for us!  Not setting my alarm is what I am most excited about.  So the night before the first day of summer, I let the kids stay up late and I went to bed with the happy thought that my body would wake on its own, when it was ready.  When my kids were up at 7am - their school wakeup time, I was not amused.

That was the start of one very, long, first day of summer.  There was a lot of technology usage, a lot of refereeing, and a whole lot of annoyed people.  When Carson took a chunk of the wall out by pulling the vacuum by the cord, when Karly used the new expensive hand soap for her bath, and when we realized we had over $50 in library fines as a family to start the summer, I declared that I needed tomorrow to come quickly because we seriously needed a redo.

There is nothing like the start of a new day.  With new rules in place for technology usage, and a nice long list of chores, Day 2 went much smoother.  I'm getting paid $1 per participant for those who need my referee services and technology time will be earned.  And when there seems to be too much energy for the room, a mandatory 15 minute family jumping session on the trampoline is the cure.   We'll see how long this lasts...
Hooray for summer!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

See those two crazy kids?


We were so naive.  Babies!  We were babies when we got married 18 years ago today!!

I'm not one to pretend that everything is always perfect.  That doesn't do anyone any good.  It has not been 18 years of marital bliss.  Andy and I had a lot to learn about ourselves and about each other.  And we most certainly didn't know one thing about what it would take to be happily married.  Our journey has been sweet and rewarding at times, and there have also been some very dark days, that I didn't think we had the strength, as a couple, to climb out of.  But here we are today, a married couple who works hard at being the people we know God wants us to be, and working on the relationship we have seen Him restore.

You may have a marriage that is perfect, and if that is the case, my words will not resonate with you.  But if you don't, I want you to hear these words.  Don't quit.  Even though you want to.  Don't quit.  There is a God who is bigger than anything, who can love you both through your mistakes, insecurities, failures, and selfishness.  He can fix anything that is broken.  We were broken.  Our relationship was broken. And when you come out on the other side, you'll take each other's hand and say, I am so glad I'm doing this thing called life with you.

Andy, I'm so glad I'm doing this thing called life with you.  You call me out when I need to be called out.  You love me when I am unlovable.  You have fun with me when I need to have fun.  You fist bump me after every run.  You fix the doors that I slam when I'm mad.  You work hard to support your family.  You gave me 3 amazing children. Your getting hotter with age.  I love you babe.