Monday, November 30, 2009

then and now

When Dave and I had our first Christmas I was all about making our house look picture perfect. My parents brought us a beautiful tree. In fact, it was so beautiful, you couldn't even touch it. It was a Colorado Blue Spruce. Great color. VERY prickly needles. My hands were near bleeding by the time I finished putting the lights on.

The colors had to be matching and everything had to have just the right balance. My mom joked often about how it looked like a department store tree.

This year, 7 years later, the tree doesn't look as picture perfect. I had 4 tiny hands help me decorate and I was less worried about the look and more worried about my ornaments making it from the box to the tree without breaking.

But it's beautiful. I love the ornaments we have collected over the years. The blueberry fairy, the snowbabies that the girls now call snow fairies. The white polar bears and the crystal snowflakes. I picture many more ornaments to come, some homemade and some bought.

I don't miss my perfectly matched tree one bit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


The last week or so I've been giving thanks each to the Lord for all he has provided for our family. Here's my top 5:

1. 30 little fingers and 30 toes with smiles and giggles and kisses and hugs

2. For a roof over our head and warm room to sit, when the rain outside is pouring down

3. A husband that loves and a seeks to serve me and love me the way God designed it to be.

4. A mother and father who are helpful, loving, and able to help in any way possible

5. For plenty to share with those that have less. For full cupboards and tanks of gas.

God is so good and I'm thankful that I am saved by His grace.

Happy Thanksgiving to so many of you who make my life sweeter and richer just by being my friend. Many blessings to you all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

recipe time

I've been cooking more these days. Planning has been the key to my sanity. And I've also started cooking again for the family I was cooking for previously. So I need to make sure the meals work with both families. This is one I've made a few times and the kids tend to like too. It's a good one dish, quick meal. It's from Healthy Cooking by Taste of Home (my favorite mag).

Nacho Beef Bake


  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean) - We use ground Turkey
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
  • 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated reduced-fat crescent rolls
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces baked nacho tortilla chips (about 2 cups), crushed
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped


  • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the beans, water and taco seasoning; mash slightly. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until heated through; set aside.
  • Unroll crescent dough and press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray; seal seams and perforations. Spoon beef mixture over dough. Spread sour cream over beef mixture; sprinkle with cheese and chips.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with lettuce and tomatoes. Serve immediately. Yield: 12 servings.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Favorite Link Friday

These are the things I'm searching for this week:

*fellow moms who experience the same thing, including bribery.

*cute Christmas crafts - that I may or may not do.

*helpful to-do lists

*honey beer bread - easy and delicious.

*chocolate banana bread - this looks delicious too

have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

princess thoughts

Being the mom of two girls, it's hard to avoid the princess stuff. At first, when I just had Eloise, I almost insisted that she avoid princess anything. Why such the aversion? Two reasons:

1. Pink. It's alot of pink. Guess what color my girls love--pink and purple. Eloise takes pink, Lily takes purple. I just didn't like pink. Now my life is filled, overflowing, in fact, with pink.

2. the story line of most princess movies. I have a strong reaction to the 'follow your heart for the one true love' story line. When this involves disobeying your parents, I'm definitely not down with that. But I just don't want my girls to grow up thinking that finding that 'one true love' is the be all, end all. I love my husband very much, but he's not number one to me, the Lord is.

With the two above reasons, I threw out a bit of the baby with the bathwater. One thing that little girls love is character's that have a special abilities. It's the fascination with things we can't do. Fly, swim underwater as a human, and twirl with a big dress in a beautiful castle (mama is the princess on the wall in our house in my wedding dress).

Eloise and Lily love Tinkerbell and have mentioned a time or two wanting to watch the movie. We have yet to delve into full length movies, besides Jonah, and I was a little hesitant. I'd never seen Tinkerbell and didnt' know much about the story line. Finally, after much deliberation we decided to rent the first Tinkerbell. And the weird part is, I felt a bit guilty. But I felt guilty b/c I had other people's standards running through my head and had yet to figure out my own.

(cheesy mom moment here) I can honestly say that it was the cutest thing ever to watch the two girls see Tinkerbell for the first time. It was like they were seeing magic come to life right before their eyes. It was heartwarming a bit to see the excitement in their eyes. To see a little bit of their imagination come to life (see I told you, it was cheesy).

So I know there are many varying opinions on watching movies, especially amongst Christian culture, but I've got to tell you, it was super fun and I'm really trying to put aside other people's standards on this one. Each family chooses what is right for them.

Do I love pink? Not really. Do I love princess culture? Not so much. But for my girls, they love the beauty and mystery of it all and if that is all there is to it for them, then I love it. I'll evaluate each movie as it comes.

I'm pretty sure if I had boys first I'd be talking about swords and guns, but since I have girls first, Sam is stuck with the pink. He sure looks entertained here. (not the best pic - something's going on with my camera)

Monday, November 16, 2009

the ledge connecting our living room and kitchen is lined with:


2 inhalers

air chamber for inhaler



and a medicine dropper

guess what that means?

Sickness has descended upon our household.

Plan canceled and videos ready. Let's see how long it takes us to go stir-crazy. I'm betting 2 days. Any ideas to keep kids happy at home while sick?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Favorite Link Friday

*it's the month of thankfulness. I found this blog post and was really encouraged to do this in our family. Or at least talk about it.

*I like this blog - Impress your kids

*Super-duper cute Turkey's

*Good Christmas idea for those who like Cooking Light - only $5. I love this mag.

*100 calorie desserts - I need this to get me through the holiday's. (thanks, Casey!)

*Easy DIY - Wall Art. I've been meaning to do this too. Now I have instructions.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Today was a fantastic day. And there were several events that could have turned it sour quickly. Like buying a pink/purple leap pad on e-bay and having it arrive in the mail and not knowing what to do. I only had one. ONE people. I have two girls who love pink and purple. Eloise's leap pad that she got from Nana on her birthday is orange (the only one they had).

I stared at the box, while Dave laughed hysterically b/c he was about to leave for work. Immediately I called Angela. I asked, "you know what happens when you only have one sword, or one Thomas the train around the house?" She said, "Oh yea, I run out and immediately buy another one".

So I told her of my predicament. She concurred with Dave and laughed too. "Don't give it to them yet and order another one immediately", she says.

Now I know what some of you are thinking here. Time to teach those kids about life not being fair. But I've got to be honest here, now's not the time. There are plenty of other times I plan on teaching that lesson.

I fought with myself to what to do. I was really excited to give this to them, really it's for Lily, but let's be honest, Eloise is going to hijack that thing faster than I can get it out of the box.

I open the box, it came with a princess game. Bingo! I'll give the leap pad to Eloise and the game to Lily.

They wake up from their naps (another unfortunate dilemma considering they are both awake still and it's 9:40) and I decide to jump in with both feet. Dave is practically running out the door to work to avoid the disaster that is about to unfold.

I give Lily the game first and she is so excited. The I pull out the coveted pink/purple leap pad and Eloise grabs it immediately, hugs it to her chest and says, "thank you mama, thank you so much for my pink and purple leap pad". It was SO cute.

Lily is too engrossed in the princess game with the orange leap pad to notice. 30 seconds later her head whips up and she's begging for a turn.

Let the timer setting begin. 10 minutes for you and then 10 minutes for you.

Ebay here I come.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

thoughts - warning - long one!

I've thought alot about my post last week and what was triggering those feelings and thoughts. So many ideas came to mind, but I'll just share a few.

But first, remember this as you read, not just this post but all posts I write. I feel honored and blessed to be the mother of my children. I believe wholeheartedly they were handpicked and designed by God for me to be their mother. I love them dearly.

These thoughts are not directed at any one person. Just thoughts I have milling about.

Thought #1: I often hear the line, 'be thankful for what you have'. I love this line, no kidding, it's true and I need to remember it. I am thankful, without a doubt, but there are moments that I long for something else. Moments, not constant time, moments. It's like when I hear someone say they wouldn't trade being a mother for anything, I stop and think, would I? NO WAY! But maybe I would trade some moments for a week in Mexico laying at the beach with a Pina Coloada in my hand. Does it mean I love my children less? Nope. Just means that as a mom I need a moment to take a deep breath and get my bearings.

Thought #2: I grieve for those who are infertile or have difficulty getting pregnant. And I recognize that comments about struggling with my children fall hard on those trying to get pregnant. I have dear friends who struggle with it and it breaks my heart to see them in pain. Recognize though that being fertile doesn't mean I automatically feel blessed by my children b/c I have them. My fertile surprises are just that, surprises, and they cause me serious struggles with the Lord over loss of control and their timing. Being pregnant with Lily left me bitter and angry for over a year and took serious repentance to move into a place of loving her fully.

Thought #3: Blogs. Oh, blogs. They are a curse and a blessing. I love to read the successes of other women. Their creative projects, their perfect muffins, and beautiful pictures of their kids. But I've realized that this breeds something, envy. Why can't I do that? How do they have time for that? If I only had a better camera. Reality is lost in pictures and recipes of perfect dinners. There are rare, sobering pictures of laundry piles, burnt dinners and crumbs under the table. I'm all for hanging my hat on something I've done successfully and sharing it with the world, but I want people to know that I'm real and that's why I shared the post last week. I know some might see it as whining or that I'm just filled with complaint. I don't want to be and I'm reminding myself all the time that compliant is evidence of doubting God's goodness to me. And He is good! But I feel the need to share with others b/c I need to know I'm not the only one who is having hard time working through this.

I know that God has created us all different as mother's. For some, mothering is as natural as eating. For others, it's like we have the wrong shoe on all day, nothing seems to fit right and we question all we do. For the rest, we fall somewhere in the middle.

I want to be an encouragment to all women, especially mothers. I want to have an open, non-judgmental ear to listen. Even when some need to say, "I'm ready to sell them on craigslist". I know they aren't serious, just incredibly overwhelmed, need 20 minutes to think and not hear me respond with judgement. I know that they love their children deeply and madly and would crumble at the thought of anything horrible happening to them. I cherish my friends that I can do this with b/c I feel at complete peace knowing that they get me and I don't have to explain a thing.

I air all these thoughts because I need to. Because these are the roots of being overwhelmed --judgement, envy, failure, and disappointment. I want freedom from all of these and I'm working to release them one at a time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Favorite Link Friday

SO.....after that crazy last post on my overwhelming day, thought i'd just bring a few links I noticed this week.

*I made this pumpkin dessert this week - great! I'm making it for Thanksgiving.

*I'm going to try this chicken in a crock pot recipe.

*Thinking of getting this cute wooden kitchen for the girls. They love cooking and dress up so I'm setting up areas in their room that help them have been access to those two things and quick clean up at the end of the night. Dress up is another one to tackle soon.

*Cute idea here.

*Deliciously Organic homemade vanilla. I think I may try this. I love vanilla and have tried to make it before, but I don't think I used enough vanilla.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

all consuming

success is escaping me

my jeans are too tight

dust is draping all over my house

there are crumbs under the table

a dishwasher that needs unloaded

children that are whining and complaining at an alarming rate

a child begging to be schooled and I don't have the mind to do it

princess dresses littering the house

a bathroom that needs cleaning

clothes on the floor

a child who won't sleep more than 35 minutes during the day

3 hours of sleep last night

and after all of this I cannot muster up the strength to find any type of success in my day so far and it's on 11:30 a.m. It feels as if everywhere I look I see failure, something I'm not doing right. It's as if I've missed the formula that everyone else has.

I'm not training my kids right, I'm not teaching them to their max potential, they probably watch too much TV and consume too much white sugar. I cannot shake this. I just need mercy and grace and i can't seem to find it.

This is the stage I loathe. This is the point postpartum that takes me down. This is the phase I must power through and I hate that I have to do that. I know it will even out, but it's just so overwhelming at times.

sorry to be such a downer, I'm normally not, but my thoughts of others having it altogether is consuming me today.

Monday, November 2, 2009

did you know...

...that I forgot my camera on Halloween. Yep, I do things like that often and then wonder later why I don't have pictures of significant events. I'm hoping my memory holds ups. Pretty sure it won't. Hopefully I'll get a sweet camera before then. Here's few my friend Melinda took.

(there is always someone looking away from the camera)

...I love brussel sprouts, but only on Thanksgiving with gravy and mashed potatoes.

...I look for patterns constantly. Ways to organize, structure my day, how things work in patterns, etc... My dad does it too. We'll both catch ourselves looking at something and comment about how the pattern goes. Strange, I know. But it really does come in handy when you want to organize. But not when you have an baby who is not quite ready to fall into a pattern. That's when it drives me nuts.

...Speaking of driving, when Dave and I go anywhere together, I always drive. It saves our marriage. A lot less of me trying to control the situation, him getting angry at other drivers and me becoming anxious b/c I hate conflict.

...our house is 1200 sq ft and we only have 1 bathroom. Yep. It's superfun now that Lily uses the bathroom. Let's just say that Dave is really glad there is another boy in the house that will someday understand how long it takes for girls to use the bathroom and that they have to go in pairs.

...My feet grew 1/2 size bigger when I was pregnant with Eloise and then again when I was pregnant with Sam. I was a 7.5 when we got married, now I'm an 8.5 with alot of extra shoes that don't fit.

...This June it will be 15 years ago that I graduated from high school and 10 years since the last time I was in Europe. Italy, it was a beautiful trip. Am I really that old?