Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Just a little update!

I haven't blogged in such a long time, but this time of year makes me just want to savor and record every moment of these beautiful, cozy days!  We have had a fun fall season!  We enjoyed Neewollah, and Trick-or-Treating on Halloween!  Asher dressed up as Captain Rex from Star Wars Rebels and Claire was Hello Kitty!  Katie did an amazing job with her marching band in the parade, and they received a 1 at the marching band competition that afternoon!  She absolutely loves being part of the drum line! We've been rakin' up huge piles of leaves!  I'm not sure how it happens, but every leaf in the neighborhood ends up in our yard!  I've been trying to hold off on decorating for Christmas, and just spend some time enjoying the last of the fall pretties, but it's taking a lot of self control! I love Christmas decorating, it's just my favorite!  Speaking of self control, I have not had much in the food/eating department, but yesterday I started over, and I'm so thankful for God's mercies being new every morning!  He is so good to give me such an amazing life...my kids and my husband are the best blessings God could have ever given me!



Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Lovin'...

The spring flew by, and now the summer is 2/3 over already!  Time just goes by so quickly.  Weeks and months go by faster every year as these kiddos keep growing!  I try to remind myself to enjoy each moment, but that's hard sometimes!  Asher ended school/started summer by having an appendectomy.  He spent a couple days in the hospital, and a few days recovering at home, but was back to his active self so quickly!  Even though we have been on a really tight budget this summer, the kids have had fun, with a couple of trips to the pool and splash pad.  We also went to see "Inside Out" at the theatre.  It was Claire's first movie in a theatre!  She loved it! At home we've been keeping busy with lots of popcorn and movie afternoons, a few crafts, lots of coloring, and digging in the back yard for bugs, frogs, and worms!
Our family has grown this summer, with the addition of Walt!  We had been thinking of getting a dog for the kids for a long time, but had been putting it off.  Now I know why God wanted us to wait!  Walt has been such a blessing!  He is a great dog!  We all enjoy him!  We found him at a shelter, and had to wait for him to be neutered before we got to bring him home.  Since the day he came home, he has not been more than a foot away from one of us at all times!  He loves us, maybe as much as we love him!

I am still trying to balance having the kids home and sticking to my Trim Healthy Mama eating plan and just caring for myself in general.  It's harder with them home, and I haven't lost any more weight, but I'm maintaining the weight I have lost, and I'm hoping to go full force back to it soon.  I'm still drinking lots of Good Girl Moonshine, and still trying to choose good meals, it's just more difficult to stick with it being on-the-go so often. I made a little collage of my favorite THM drinks, because at least it makes it more fun if your drinks are cute!

Kris's dad had heart surgery a few weeks ago, so Kris has been up and down the highway to visit and help his parents as much as he can on his days off.  We have missed him so much!  Things aren't the same around here when he is gone.  We are so glad that he is able to be a blessing and a help to them though. Papa will hopefully be back to his ornery self very soon!

Even though there are sometimes difficult moments, difficult days, even what seem like whole entire difficult weeks, we are still so incredibly blessed!  God has been so faithful and generous to us!  He gives us so much more mercy and grace that we could ever begin to deserve, and he willingly gives that mercy new and fresh every morning.  I am so thankful for that!  As a mama, it feels like I need a "do-over" just about every day, but it helps to know that God is with me...he never leaves me.  I am so thankful for this family, and for God's unfailing love!

Friday, May 08, 2015

A Star Wars Birthday!

For about a year now, Asher has been obsessed with Star Wars!  He absolutely loves it!  He loves the movies, he loves the TV series, he loves all of the characters, he is just crazy about it!  So naturally he asked for a Star Wars themed birthday. We have been on a pretty tight budget, so I had to be creative in finding affordable decorations and party ideas.  I just wanted to share some of those here so he can remember his special day, and so that anyone else on a tight budget might have some hope that a themed party is doable!  Many of these ideas I found on Pinterest.  There are tons of amazing and frugal ideas!  The best part about kid's parties is that they love EVERYTHING whether it's perfect or expensive or not! So give yourself a break, Mama, they will love it, just because YOU did it for them!

I made his cake, and since it was supposed to be a fiery lava lake, it was very forgiving and didn't have to be perfect!  I grabbed a couple of his star wars guys, washed them up and put them on top of the cake!  You can find these playschool action figures at Dollar General for $3.00 each!

For light sabers, I used pool noodles cut in half, then we used duct tape and black electrical tape to make the handles.

One of my favorite parts of a birthday are balloons, so I grabbed 5 foil silver stars at the Dollar Tree! I grabbed Asher's Darth Vader out of his room and poked him in a bowl full of candy for a fun addition to the table! 

Wal-Mart had a 10 or 12 pack of bubble wands for a great price so I tied on the little thank you cards that came with his invitations, and each guest took one home along with a bag of Darth Vader's candy!

I decorated our mantle with Asher's Star Wars toys, and bought the banner and swirly decorations at Wal-Mart for around $3 each. 

I forgot to take a picture of the green punch after it was made, but it was simply lime sherbet and a bottle of 7-up stirred together!  I bought a package of the store bought cups from Wal-Mart, but thought I might need more, so I stuck some of Asher's Star Wars stickers onto inexpensive clear cups. The kids actually preferred those because they could pick out their own character!  Asher had fun taking his action figures and "decorating" with them while I was getting everything ready. :)

I made tie-fighter s'mores with graham crackers, chocolate icing, and marshmallows. I downloaded the Stars Wars font and printed out the little signs for each snack.  Asher helped out by adding the stickers to each sign.

I had planned to make homemade no-bake cookies for the Wookie Cookies, but ran out of time and energy.  I bought Star Crunch Little Debbie snack cakes and glued on candy eyes with chocolate icing.  These were a hit!

Asher had a great 7th birthday!  So thankful that some of his friends from school, and some of our neighbors could come.  He had a great time, and made some great memories!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Trim Healthy Mama Pumpkin Bread!

Kris and I are really loving THM-he calls it Trim Healthy Man (ha!) but we are just really getting used to it, and even enjoying it!  Every time I try a new recipe, he says that he just can't believe we are losing weight eating all of this yummy food!  To date, he has lost 31 pounds, and I have lost 21 pounds!  We are just thrilled! And aside from losing weight, we just feel amazingly better!  His rosacea has cleared so much, he is no longer snoring at night, and his back hurts so much less!  I feel so much better also!  I feel so much better mentally that even if there were no physical improvements I would still be eating this way.  I really had NO IDEA what sugar was doing to me...to my brain, and to my body.  I feel incredibly blessed to have found Trim Healthy Mama!

I was so excited to order the baking blend from Trim Healthy Mama and tried it for the first time today!  And let me tell you, I am so excited!  I made pumpkin bread, because I had a can of pumpkin in the pantry that I wanted to use (plus it's my favorite---even when it's not fall).  I used a regular pumpkin bread recipe and modified it to be THM friendly! 

THM Pumpkin Bread

1 C. Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 eggs
3/4 C. THM Sweet Blend or P'yure Organic Stevia sweetener (from Wal-Mart)
1/2 cup softened or liquid coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 C. THM Baking Blend (or you can make your own baking blend like this one!)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1 heaping tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix first five wet ingredients together, then add dry ingredients and stir together until blended.  Spoon batter into one greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. I could have let mine bake a little longer in the oven, but didn't want it to become dry.  The batter is very thick, so it seemed like it needed to go a little less time in the oven.

Asher, Claire and I loved it!  It really was delicious! I am so happy that I tried it! I am going to *try* and save a slice for Kris and Katie but can't make any promises that it will still be here for them! (ha!)
Hope you enjoy it too!
Thanks for visiting!

(PS-the links above are not affiliate links, they are just there to help you find the products.  Thanks!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trim Healthy Tuesday: One month on plan!

One month ago today I decided to try "Trim Healthy Mama".  I bought the book, started reading through it, and it just made so much sense to me!  One month ago I weighed 10 pounds more than I do today and Kris weighed 21 pounds more than he does today!  We are so very thankful for THM!  I am excited to keep going and finally set myself free from this extra 100+ pounds I've been carrying around for the past 10 years! I am excited to be able to do more things with the kids, and have the energy to do them!  I am excited to have hope again! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Right now...

I saw a neat blog post of one of my favorite blogs from Aimee Weaver, where she shared a fun list of things that were happening in her life at the moment, and I wanted to try and do that today!  I really want to get back to blogging, so I am going to try a few "writing prompt" posts to get things rolling!

Right now I'm:

Loving//  Springtime!  Seeing everything bloom and become green again just fills up my cup! We went out the other day and I got some pretty shots of these blossoms (cherry, maybe?) that I just love!

Reading//  Trim Healthy Mama, by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett! I am learning so much, and have lost 8 pounds this month!  I feel so much better, mentally and physically!
Waiting For//  School to be out!  I am ready for a more relaxed pace of summer break and for time with the kids! 
Excited About//  Our garden!  We started seeds this year, so growing the plants "from scratch" has been kind of neat!  The kids and I planted Jet Star hybrid tomatoes, mild jalapeños, carrots, and squash! 
Trying to//  Get healthy and I'm on my way, slowly but surely!  I mentioned THM above, and I really feel like this is an eating plan I can live with for the rest of my life! 
Working on//  Getting my relationship with Christ in the right place. 
Wearing//  Lol...I am sure this question is for someone more fashionable than myself!  I am currently wearing capri jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt, but I can usually be found in yoga pants, running shoes, and a t-shirt or sweatshirt!
Planning//  Asher and Katie's birthdays this month!  I am way behind in my planning and preparing for their celebrations...I will need to get it figured out this week!
Learning//  To be patient, to enjoy each day, and to trust God!
Dreaming of//  Kris and I are constantly dreaming of living in the country.  We just so desperately want to be in a home where we can see the sun come up and go down each day.  We want a place that the kids can just run around and explore nature in.  It's our dream, and our prayer!  God has always been so faithful and good to us!  I know that if we are supposed to be in the country he will make a way!
Thanks for reading all of that!  And kids---if you are reading this when you are adults, don't forget to call your mama! XOXOXO!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

I'm still here!

Just a little post to say that I'm still here!  I really want to try and keep blogging, so I am going to give myself some grace, and just post when I can.  I know the kids will still enjoy looking back on these, even though they are not consistent.  Hopefully they will look back and know, deep in their hearts, that I loved them so incredibly much, in spite of my daily struggles to keep it together as a mama. 

Speaking of keeping it together, and mama's...on March 12th, I started the "Trim Healthy Mama" eating plan.  It has almost been a month for me, and I have lost about 8 pounds.  Kris started about a week later, and has lost 19 pounds!  We are really enjoying trying new recipes, and we both feel so much better!  I have over 100 pounds to lose, so I know it will take a while, but I am enjoying simply feeling better and watching Kris shrink before my very eyes!

The kiddos are growing and changing like crazy-cakes!  Katie is just growing into such an amazing girl.  I am so happy that she enjoys life!  She is just a happy teenager most of the time!  I think her friends give her a hard time for being happy all of the time, but I am so thankful that she can keep a positive outlook, even in high school! She just picked out her classes for her sophomore year, and that just seems impossible to me!  She is going to learn to drive this summer, and that truly scares this mama! :)
{Katie and Kris on Easter Sunday!}
Asher is shooting up so tall!  He just keeps growing and growing!  He has struggled through first grade with reading and spelling, but he is pushing through and we're counting down the weeks until summer break! He is still my sweet, calm buffer between our two crazy girls, and still loves to hug and snuggle us!  He is playing soccer this spring, and loves it!  He is pretty good at it too!  He is just a joy! 
{Asher with his egg score on Easter Sunday!}

And Miss Claire...oh Miss Claire!  She is something ELSE!  Kris and I agree that we are thankful that her cuteness is equal to, or greater than her orneriness! She is BY FAR our most curious, adventurous, and mischievous child! She just turned 4 in February, but is so smart!  She knows all of her letters, and the sounds they make!  She can drive us crazy and melt us with her sweetness simultaneously!
{She wanted to pose with the rabbit!  She was obsessed with this bunny for the first full two days after I got him out for Easter! She wanted to carry him everywhere!}
We are so blessed!  Just looking at these people, who God gave me as the most precious gifts humbles me!  He has given me so much, and sometimes I catch myself whining or complaining when I already have everything I could have ever dreamed of!  I am just so thankful!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fall and Stuff...

I have been struggling to find time to blog...with two in school, it seems like things have gotten 20 times crazier around here...instead of just twice as crazy!  We are not so busy that we are never together, and I don't feel like any of us are incredibly overloaded, but there are just a lot of things that need to happen each day, and I have trouble finding lots of free time to blog.  I still take lots of pictures of the kids doing the things they do, and to decompress at the end of the day (or in the middle during Mama's "time-out") I love to look at Pinterest and Instagram.  So...all that to say...I still love and plan to blog, but sometimes there are just not enough quiet moments in the day to get it done.  We made it through Neewollah, Kansas's largest festival, that's held right here in our town, and we made it through Halloween, so now we are just enjoying the beautiful autumn colors and cooler. quieter days leading up to Thanksgiving...love this time of year.  It's just my favorite. The hustle and bustle of Christmas isn't quite here, but the warm feelings, sounds, smells, and excitement have begun, and I just love it!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Coming out of my late summer hibernation...

Whew...I thought that summer was never going to end!  August is my least favorite month, weather-wise.  I would choose a -30 degree any day over 100+ temperatures!  We had a really mild summer, so the weather spoiled me and when that heat wave hit...oh my!  We have been going outside so much more since it's been cooler!  I wanted to share a few pictures of our latest outings.  Claire is finally getting big enough to hike along with us, so we have taken short hikes at both Elk City Reservoir and Big Hill Lake.  We have had so much fun just being outside together! 



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First day of school!

Katie started high school today....oh...this mama is struggling with this! But she did great!  She really enjoyed it!  She said that she likes all of her classes, except PE, and is excited to be with her friends again!  She looked so beautiful on her way out the door!  She picked the outfit out by herself...complete with her Converse...of course!  Her friend Orianna came to walk to school with her, and they were both just bubbling with anticipation!  They didn't seem nervous at all! 

And my Asher boy started 1st grade!  Seems impossible as well!  He was so excited to wear one of his new Star Wars t-shirts, and to take his new backpack...he was pretty nervous though, and there were a couple of times I thought he might change his mind and just stay home with Mama!  He did great though, and walked right in to sit in his line!  Claire decided she would like to sit in his line with him, and I almost had to wrestle her to get her to leave Asher...she loves her brother so much!


So now there is just Claire and I on the days that Daddy works, and we are going to be ok...we miss them so much already, but I am sure we will find some things to do. :) 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Getting a little anxious for fall to arrive and a yummy new recipe!

I haven't started decorating and feathering our nest/home for fall yet, but I had to do SOMETHING to remind me of the hope and promise of autumn being on it's way...so I decorated the blog instead, with some photos from last year's beauty!  I love opening my blog and seeing all this prettiness!

We are gearing up for school that starts next week!  Most of the school supplies have been rounded up, and Katie is going shopping for school clothes tomorrow with my friend Melisa (because she is much cooler and lots more fun to shop with than mom!) It will be fun to see what she picks out!  She has been saving her money from summer work to add to her clothes budget, so hopefully she will get some things she really likes and will feel cute and comfortable in!  We found some great deals on her favorite shoes...Converse All Stars, and she was able to get three pair for less than the full price of one pair...super score!

As of this moment, Claire and I will be staying home again this year, with the possibility of me substitute teaching on Kris's days off and on days when my friend Emmalee has openings in her daycare.  I am also trying to decide whether to send her to 3 year old pre-school or not.  She is so very smart, and I know she would love it, so we will probably send her.  It's only 2 mornings a week, so surely she (and Mama) will survive that little bit of separation!

I wanted to share a new recipe that I tried this morning.  We had sautéed some veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes) the other night to serve over our steaks, and we had lots of leftovers.  I decided to try and make a breakfast frittata/crustless quiche with them this morning.  It was so easy and really yummy!  I also had a few strips of bacon leftover from BLT's, so I chopped that up, cooked it in the iron skillet, drained it just a little, then added the leftover veggies and sautéed a little longer.  I scooped those into a pie plate, and poured beaten eggs (mixed with a tiny bit of milk and salt and pepper) over it and baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then another 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Yummy!

This morning the weather was so nice, the kids and I sat outside for a long time just listening to the birds wake up and the wind blowing through the trees.  I just felt overwhelmed with blessings.  I feel so fortunate to have this life...to have Kris, and the kids...alone those would be more than I ever dreamed of, but God also gave me a great little home, the means to be a stay at home mama (at least for a while), and countless other blessings.  I want to remember these "blessing" moments so that on the days when I am feeling down, or stressed, or depression creeps in I can read these posts and KNOW that God is sovereign and loves me. 
I wanted to add...I am so sad about the death of Robin Williams.  It made me think about others I know who struggle with depression.  I want to make sure that I try to do something, anything, to encourage people who are hurting.  If for some crazy reason you are reading this...and you don't know the hope of knowing Jesus as your savior, or if you are struggling with depression or anything that you just don't think you can handle alone...just say a little prayer...leave a comment...I would love to pray for you too.  I have been to some dark places of depression...and I know that the pain is more intense than anyone can imagine...but please know that there is a God in heaven who loves you more than you could ever, ever imagine!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

More summertime ramblings...

Just wanted to update with some pictures of things we have been up to!  It's been a pretty good summer!  We have been keeping busy, just enjoying the simple things.  Our garden keeps growing, and the kids just love seeing what is new each day.  I even learned to can jalapeños!  So excited about that!  We have cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, big tomatoes, jalapeños, banana peppers, and bell peppers just growing, growing, growing!  Gardening has been so much fun this year!


We visited the 4-H fair, here in our town, and the kids LOVED it!  Just Asher, Memory (our new sweet kiddo that we've been watching this summer) and I went, because Claire was especially cranky that day.  They loved the animals!

We also visited the park one day, but it was 101 million degrees, so we didn't stay too long!  Asher found the biggest shade tree of all time...and that is where he wanted to stay!  I think it might have been the hottest day of the summer!  We have actually had a really cool summer, with some days being in the 70's and low 80's...it has been wonderful!  Yesterday the high was 73...in southern Kansas!  Crazy but wonderful!

Katie started her orthodontic treatments this summer, so take a good look at this smile, because next week it will be covered with tinsel!  She gets her braces on next Tuesday.  She is super excited! I think she is already beautiful, so I can't even imagine what a couple of years of maturing and braces will do! 
Lots and lots of people I know (ahem...including myself) turned the big 4-0 this summer, and this week we had a little coffee party for my friend Charisse, who turned 40 on Tuesday.  I looked and looked on Pinterest for party decorations that she might like, and didn't find anything that fit, so I made some!  She loves chickens, so I just went with that!  I just searched for a chicken silhouette, pasted it into a document, printed out cupcake toppers and a little sign, and added some ribbon.  I was excited about how it turned out!

We visited Meme and Papa at the lake, and had lots of fun at the splash park, and Asher and Katie discovered the amazing wonder of mobility on the golf cart!  They drove everywhere along the shore of Grand lake, and had such a neat time together!


It has been a pretty good summer, and it's hard to believe that school starts in just 3 weeks!  Katie will be a freshman in high school...just impossible for this mama to comprehend, and Asher will be a big first grader!  I am excited to see what God has in store for us for this new school year!