Monday, November 25, 2013

Abundant Blessings!

This past week has been such a remarkable example of God's love, grace, and provision that I just have to share it!  Kris has been hunting since bow season began for our deer and this past week he finally got one!  It was a really nice buck, a little bigger than last year...so proud of him!  Anyway, I am slowly learning to cook with venison, and I am looking forward to trying some new recipes...so if any of the two of you who read this blog have any great recipes...send them my way!  So that was abundant blessing #1...a deer...yummy healthy meat in our freezer!  When Kris went to process his deer, there was a guy there who helped him, and he offered Kris some beef that he was working on that evening!  Kris said sure, but was anticipating just a few packages of hamburger...well...this guy filled our cooler almost all the way up with ground beef and a loin roast!  What a crazy wonderful blessing!  And this beef was from a farm, and it was a young cow who had sadly gotten trampled, so it was healthy, and just really good quality meat!  I know it seems silly, but 20-30 pounds is huge to us...that's 20 meals at least!  Yahoo!  Our freezer is full of really healthy, delicious meat and I couldn't be more thankful!  So...on to blessing #3...my friend Stephanie was giving some clothes away, and let me look though them for some things for me!  I was so excited!  Since we have been on our tight budget, that is something that I have just really cut down on, clothes for Kris and I, so I haven't had anything cute in a long time!  My favorite item was a black dress shirt that has tiny swiss dots and ruffles along the buttons.  I wore it yesterday to church and it just felt so nice to wear something kind of cute! And there was one more blessing that I won't share details of here, but it was such a huge, huge, huge blessing for us!  We have just seen God's hand of provision of grace, mercy and blessings this week in so many ways.  Our brief move to Wichita just wiped us out financially, and all of these blessings are just confirmation that we are right where the Lord wanted us to be!  We are so thankful!  Every week at church at least one person tells us that they are glad we are back home, and I can't tell you how grateful we are too!  God is so good to us...and his love and mercy endure forever!

Monday, November 04, 2013

What if?

I am so thankful for all of the blessings in our lives.  We are abundantly blessed...we have three beautiful children...who are all healthy.  We have a comfortable home, with clean water, a warm fire, and something cooking almost all of the time. I had a dream the night before last, that I had gone on a mission trip to Africa.  In my dream I was surrounded by a sea of beautiful little brown faces who were all pleading for love and attention, and who were all desperately hungry.  When I woke up I felt this enormous sense of gratitude...for our comfy beds, for clean laundry, for fresh water and for the ability to read a book to my children.  I woke up wondering what it would be like to be a mama in Africa, in a very poor situation, with none of the comforts I enjoy. Would l still love being a stay at home mom, would I worry constantly about my children, and if we had enough food, would I still feel blessed by my awesome God?  What if I was a mama in Africa who didn't even know about our amazing savior?  My dream and these thoughts make me wonder if there is a greater purpose for me...for our family...in the area of missions?  Or maybe our mission field is right here in our town?  Lord...please show me...I know you have plans for us to give more...to do more...to reach and encourage people...show us your plan and purpose, Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Costume ideas...just in case you are last minute like me!

This Halloween snuck up on me, so we had to improvise and recycle our costumes this year!  We ended up with a cute little owl, Tigger, and Captain America (again!)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our Neewollah Parade Day...

Today was one of those days.  Today was *the* day that I had described with such sweet cheesiness just a few posts ago.  Today was the Grand Parade for our town's big Neewollah celebration.  Today was the day we were supposed to get up early, and the best mama in the world would have the hot chocolate hot and ready, and the kids all bundled up perfectly cute to eat delicious perfect cinnamon rolls while we wait for the biggest parade of the year.  It was the day I was supposed to have something yummy simmering in the crock pot for when we came home...well...it didn't quite go like that. Today was just not my day...and I failed...so many times...in big and small ways...some that I will share here...and some that I will just tell you were not pretty.  So...here is how our day actually looked...I woke up late this morning, because I coughed all through the night, and just overslept.  I hurried the kids to get them going and sort-of dressed, and we ended up getting to the parade route at 20 minutes until the parade started.  Our town grows from a little under 10,000 people to 70,000 people on the Grand Parade day...so needless to say, we had to park a mile away from the parade route, and I pushed the stroller, with two large folding chairs and a 45 pound baby uphill to the parade.  We got to a spot that I thought might work, and I nicely asked a man if we could set our blankets beside his pickup truck so my kiddos could see.  He gave me a very grumpy answer, so we watched the parade from about 4 rows back.  Asher was able to squeeze through the people to watch it a little closer up.  So...we were late, with no hot chocolate, no cinnamon rolls (you have to get there early and stand in line a long time to get one).  This mama grabbed a bottle of water and 3 bananas out of the fruit basket on our way out the door...so we had bananas and water on this glorious morning that was supposed to be filled with the most delicious calories of the year...anyhoo...so we watched the parade, Asher collected about a million pieces of cheap candy, and we headed back to the car as soon as it was over.  Claire was tired and hungry, and Asher was trying to eat all of his candy before anyone else could and Katie was thinking of reasons we should not have gone...and honestly so was I.  We finally got through traffic and got home, and I decided that since I had failed at getting something yummy in the crock pot beforehand that I would just whip up some taco soup...it's one of our favorites...and so easy and yummy.  Well...I am sure you can guess...that didn't work out.  I opened up the package of ground beef and it smelled horrible...I am not sure why, but it just was not right.  Katie was about to gag very dramatically...and again...honestly so was I.  So...I got back in the car, drove the stinky meat all the way to Walmart for a refund, picked up some new meat...and GREAT NEWS...this is where the story turns around. Kris was working, so Asher and I got to visit him a little bit.  He walked with us outside and told me how much he loved me and how much he loved the kids and appreciated us.  He literally turned my day around with his words.  We got home, got the soup going, turned on the Christmas music, and the kids kicked off their shoes and promptly proceed to play...aka...destroy the living room...but they were happy.  We had a pretty good rest of the day.  Katie had plans with her friends downtown so the little ones and I snuggled in, watched The Polar Express, and then they had a warm bath, and we read some books.  They are both sleeping now...just snuggled in so warm and snuggly.  So...this day...that I thought I had ruined...turned out pretty sweetly...not because of the world's most delicious cinnamon rolls...but because the words of my husband...who I love so very much.  He turned our day around.  I am so incredibly thankful for him. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thanksgiving mantle and my beautiful fall bunting!

Hi!  I received my beautiful bunting in the mail this morning and hung it right up on our fireplace!  Love it...so beautiful...thank you so much, Cheryl!  It's just perfect!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Latest Little Blessings...

I have just been humbled by so many little blessings lately...and I can't help but share them!  As I mentioned in my post a few days ago, Neewollah is upon us...and for the past two years we had been blessed by a friend giving us tickets to attend the Queen's Talent competition and Coronation.  Katie and I have really enjoyed it, and decided that we wanted to make going to one of those a yearly tradition.  Well...this year we were just not seeing that it was possible with our budget.  We are still trying to recover financially from our move to Wichita and back.  It's been tough, but I have just felt really blessed to have groceries and school clothes and all of the amazing comforts of home and with still being able to be a stay at home mama.  Eventually things will get better, but we have everything we need!  We got a call the other day that our friend had tickets for us again this year!  Just amazing!  We are so excited!  So Katie and I have two girls nights in a row planned, and I am just really looking forward to it! 

Another little blessing...I entered a blog giveaway contest the other day for a sweet fall bunting, and I won!  I can't wait to hang it by the fireplace and enjoy it!  Isn't it pretty?  So excited!

Today was Kris's last day of vacation, and we have had a nice day together!  We went to the little park and zoo that's in our town, and enjoyed it so much.  I set the timer on my camera and got a family picture of the five of us...we look a little rough...hadn't planned on taking these, but I am glad we did!  Then we came home and warmed up leftover soup from last night and I made some quick rolls for lunch.  Now Kris is taking a little nap, the kids are playing, and I am blogging...it has been a blessed day!




Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Thankful List

This morning I am thankful for...
the soft cool rain
Claire singing her heart out in her high chair
the hints of red and orange on our trees just outside my dining room window
that Kris has a good job
that our home is cozy and comfortable (not clean by any stretch of the imagination...but it's ok!)
that we have enough groceries for this week and next
for the little pile of pumpkins and gourds that decorate our table
that Asher and Katie are snuggled in with great teachers at their schools
that Neewollah is only a week away
that a fun day of trick or treating is only a couple of weeks away
and that the beginning of all things Christmas begins very soon
the joy and excitement of Asher being visited by the tooth fairy last night
the laughter of our family this morning when we all heard Claire "toot" at the same time (we are gross...I know...but it was a big loud one from such a tiny person!)
and lastly...but certainly not least...I am so thankful for the hope and joy that I have from knowing Jesus as my savior...I would be so lost without him.

And...I am thankful for pumpkins!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Family Fall Fun Traditions...

Today I just wanted to share some fall traditions for our family.  October is always an exciting month in our town, because of Neewollah! Our favorite part of Neewollah is the grand parade on Saturday. There is such a demand for seats along the parade route that you have to arrive early to set up your lawn chairs...so we snuggle up with our blankets and hot chocolate and share a giant cinnamon roll early on the day of the parade!  There are so many bands and floats that the parade sometimes lasts 2 hours or more!  After the parade, we usually come home and warm up with yummy soup or chili that's been simmering in the crock pot.  It's the *official* beginning of the holiday season for us! 


Halloween is usually just a few days after Neewollah and we usually have dinner a little early that consists of "mummy dogs" and whatever fun foods that I can come up with.  We usually trick or treat just around our neighborhood and at a few friends' homes.  Last year our church had a Trunk or Treat and the kids loved that, so it will now be part of our tradition too! 

Something my mom always did was make pumpkin shaped sugar cookies.  She always used this recipe and it's the recipe I use for cookies too.  The kids seem to love these.  I always sub some of the vanilla flavoring for almond, and it makes them just wonderful!  They are never beautiful or fancy...but always yummy!


About a week before Halloween, we carve our pumpkins.  We have had lots of different faces and characters, and like our cookies...they are not beautiful or fancy, but we really enjoy scooping out the seeds and creating happy faces in our pumpkins!

Claire, Fall 2011

Claire, Halloween 2012

 
Katie, Fall 2012
 
We almost always visit a pumpkin patch, usually with my sister and her kiddos, and usually in Missouri, but this year we met in the middle and visited a patch in Pittsburg, Kansas.  It was really fun!  The kids loved the little train ride the most!
 
 
Fall is just full to the brim of so many happy things and memories!  We really enjoy this time of year!

 



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

happiness...thankfulness...gratitude


I just need to ramble about some random things that I am so thankful for today.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed by all of the amazing blessings and gifts that God has given us.  So...here are just a few things I am just grateful for this morning:
  • I have Christmas music playing on Pandora right now.
  • I just made Claire a sweet potato for a snack...and the smell reminds me of Thanksgiving.
  • Kris brought me sunflowers yesterday...and they are so beautiful!
  • The weather has been beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
  • Our three children are healthy and happy and chubby. :)
  • Asher let me hold him after school yesterday...we just snuggled up while he watched Arthur. 
  • Katie curled her hair and wore a cute outfit to school today...and she looked beautiful...too beautiful!
  • Miss Claire and I have all day today to just hug, and read, and snuggle, and to just be home.
  • I am so thankful for our home.  It's never completely clean these days, but it's safe and comfortable...and that's enough.
  • I can see the sunshine dancing on the trees and grass outside...so pretty.
  • The leaves will be changing soon, and we have two trees in our front yard that will be beautiful very soon!
  • Neewollah is coming...and my favorite thing about Neewollah is all of us going to the big parade and then coming home to a yummy hot soup or meal in the crock pot...it's the official beginning of the holiday season for us...love it!
Ok...so that was completely random and all over the place, but I wanted to try and get some of my thoughts down!  Sometimes it helps me combat depression to read back through posts of happy things all around me!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Menu Monday...and it's autumn, and a pie recipe!

Hi.  I have to confess, I didn't stick to our menu last week...I made a few of the things on the menu but not on the right days.  We had a busy week, and our schedule looks even crazier this week so I am going to create a very "loose" menu this week that can be changed as needed.  This week we have parent teacher conferences, and I'm watching kiddos for friends on at least 3 of the 5 days this week.  I have also been working at the church on Friday mornings, so this week looks a little wild on the calendar!  It's hard to believe September is almost over...this month has gone by so quickly!  Our September's are usually still pretty warm, but we have had some nice cooler days recently and it's been so wonderful. 

We had such a good weekend.  Kris's parents came over for a visit before Friday night's football game, and we were able to visit and get in some hugs and kisses.  Kris's mom also brought me a cookbook that I had put a couple of recipes in from their church...it looks like it is packed with yummy recipes...can't wait to try some!  Saturday we worked out in the yard, mowing, trimming trees and shrubs, and we even cleaned out the guttering...and by "we" I mean Kris...ha, ha!  I actually did the mowing and he did the rest!  He worked hard this weekend!  Saturday evening we built a fire and had hotdogs and s'mores.  It was really nice to just be home all together getting things done. 



Yesterday we went to church, had lunch, and everyone took naps or had quiet time...it was so wonderfully quiet in our house!  I also tried my hand at making chocolate cream pies...from scratch...and they turned out so good!

 
Basic Cream Pie
(from Peggy Smith)
 
1 c. sugar
3 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch
dash of salt
2 eggs, separated
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. milk
 
In a large microwave safe bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Add milk and egg yolks; mix well.  Place in microwave on high for about 12 minutes, stirring and scraping the sides of the bowl every 3 minutes until mixture thickens.  Remove from microwave and stir in butter and vanilla until smooth. 
You can add anything to this basic filling, 1/2 c. coconut, a mashed banana, or 1/2 c. pineapple.  For chocolate pie, reduce sugar to 3/4 cup and add 3 heaping Tbsp. cocoa powder...so delicious!  Pour into baked pie shell and top with beaten egg whites if desired.  (I popped mine back in the oven for about 10 minutes to brown the peaks of the egg whites!) 
 
 
And last but not least, our menu plan for this week:
Tonight:  Creamy white chili and cornbread
Tuesday:  The Big Enchilada (we didn't have a chance to have this last week)
Wednesday:  Dinner at church!
 Thursday:  Fajitas and rice
Friday:  Pizza Rolls and fries (keeping it real!) 
Saturday:  Sloppy Joe sliders for lunch, Cheeseburger soup in bread bowls for dinner!
 



Sunday, September 15, 2013

A healthy menu plan...

Kris and I have been talking...and we need to try and get back to eating healthy.  I want to try and keep myself accountable by posting our meal plan and recipes here, and I am going to be recording my food diary on Sparkpeople.com.  I really feel so much better when I am walking those 2 miles and eating healthy foods every day.  There really is no substitute for those things...and I just need to remind myself of that...daily.  I know I am a better mama, a better wife, and a better version of me when I am healthier.  I am not interested in being 110 pounds, and even if I never make it out of the 200lb range...I will still be happy just to be making healthy choices.  So...without further adieu...here are my ideas for this week:

Monday-Baked Chicken Nuggets (with a little bit of coconut oil gently melted instead of half of the butter) steamed corn on the cob, and salad...because chicken nuggets taste "healthier" if you chop up a few and top your salad rather than eating 9 or 12 or 15 of them :)  They are very yummy!

Tuesday-The Big Enchilada (made healthy by adding your own cheese on each individual serving instead of all together)  I like to just make the filling, and then everyone can fill either a tortilla or a lettuce leaf  and choose toppings as they wish!  I think lettuce, tomatoes, Greek yogurt, and 2% Mexican cheese will be our toppings with this.

Wednesday-I help with the pre-school aged class and the kids love to go to Caravan on Wednesdays so we eat and help serve dinner at the church on Wednesdays.

Thursday-Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps

Friday- Grilled Sweet and Savory Chicken (I just rub my chicken breasts down with some chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little bit of brown sugar and let that sit in the fridge all day before grilling or nu-waving) Buffalo Cauliflower with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Saturday-Spicy Garlic and Pepper Shrimp  This is so yummy...we love this, but I decrease the red pepper flakes to 1 teaspoon, and add in any other vegetables we might have...zucchini, carrots, celery, extra onions...so good!

Sunday-Roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions in the crock pot...so good with a package of onion soup mix sprinkled on top!  (Then we'll use some of the leftover roast in fajitas for Monday night!)

We will see how this goes...I am excited about making healthy choices a little more often...doesn't have to be every single meal but more often will be good for all of us!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A few things...but no menu yet...I am a slacker.

I am still working on our menu, I am just feeling uninspired...I am now officially ready for fall weather, and fall soups and stews, and fun new recipes...it's been in the 90's here, and it makes me want to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible...plus I've really been spoiled and not had to make dinners this week because of revival...it has been so nice!

Charisse came over yesterday and brought an amazing lunch!  I wanted to share the recipe for these sandwiches but it's not really a recipe...It's just toasted raisin bread, spread with cream cheese, with honey ham and sliced apples...so delicious!  Our local coffee shop makes these and they are just really tasty!
 

Anyhoo...she also brought me a surprise...a new Vera Bradley bag!  I love it so much...I was so excited!  All of my stuff fits in it and it's so pretty!  I love navy, lime, and orange together!  I am so blessed to have her...not because she is a great cook or because she brings presents way more often than she should, but because she listens and cares...and loves my kids like they are her own...so thankful for you, Charisse!


 
Just wanted to share a little about our day.  I am going to try and get a little rest in this morning.  Claire was up at 3 this morning with tummy trouble, so this mama is tired...and she is too!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our week and menu plans!

This week our church has been in revival so I haven't had to have a menu so far!  Our associate pastor and his wife are preparing meals each evening...so that's been a huge blessing and change for me.  It feels strange to not worry about what's for dinner or what's on the menu, but it's nice to have a clean kitchen for a few days!  Ha, ha!  So I have been working on the menu for Thursday-Sunday, and I may go ahead and add next week's menu too.  I will share that tomorrow morning!

I am always a bit skeptical about revival.  I remember when I was little going to revival in Delaware, Oklahoma, and I loved it because we were able to see our church friends for four or five nights in a row!  As an adult, I've been to a few revival services, but I think the enemy has always tried to ruin it for me.  Sometimes, revival services can appear to be a little "over the top" on halleluiah's and amen's, etc. with too much "loud" preaching, or too many sad old hymns.  Now---I know all of that seems really negative, and I don't mean to be, but it WAS how I felt about revival services...until this week.  Either I am getting older and enjoying all of the above things more, or this revival is "different" than others!  It has been amazing!  Our speaker had been Dr. James Diehl and he has just been great to listen to.  His messages have been relevant and have spoken to my heart...so deeply.  I have prayed for my heart to be open to hear the message that is there for me, and I have prayed for protection against Satan, and the doubts and negative thoughts that he brings.  We have been to all of the services so far, and I am so anxious to go back tonight and tomorrow night.  I have needed to hear everything he has spoken about so far, and I just feel like for the first time, I really will be "revived" at the end of this revival...and I can't wait!

Katie and Asher are still doing so well in school!  Katie is really enjoying her classes, and I think she loves the social part too.  She comes home talking about different friends she has made every day.  I am so glad she is settling in.  I was so worried about that, but she is doing so much better than I expected.  Asher is doing well too.  He still wants us to walk him in, and he doesn't want to go to the gym and wait on his teacher, so we have been staying with him until his class walks to the classroom.  He says that the gym is too loud, and I think the noise and the amount of kids (probably about 400) all in one room just scares him.  I am hoping that once he has gone to an all school assembly he will see that it's not too bad in there.  For now, we are just making sure he feels safe and trying to encourage him to have confidence about going in the gym eventually. He has made some friends too, and talks about Tavin, Eli, and Allen all of the time!  He says that they have running races at recess and Allen is the fastest! He has been staying on the "owl" status every day, and hasn't had any "stinky skunk" days yet...thank goodness!  Ha, ha...love his teacher's discipline techniques!

And one more thing before I close today...my husband is home...for keeps...and I am so thankful.  We have been trying to adjust since he has been home, and we've had some rough patches this week, but I am so thankful that we are all back together.  We feel like we are "home"...at least until heaven...here at our home that we have shared for over 7 years.  It is a little crowded, but we are making it work and just feel blessed that we have a home, Kris has a job that has been so accommodating to our moving situation, and we are together...just so very thankful!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Menu Planning Monday and Happy Labor Day!

Hello!  It's Monday, so I am attempting to make a plan for our week.  The big kids are home today for Labor Day (or Neighbor Day, as Daniel Tiger says:) so we are just hanging out today!  Kris is working, but will be home after this rotation to stay!  I can't wait...been missing him so much on this four nights of work!  The kids miss him too, they almost smother him when he comes home, but I know he loves it!

Our Menu

Monday-Leftover Cheese Tortellini soup for lunch (was so good, can't wait to have some more) and Spaghetti, Salad, and Garlic Rolls for dinner.
Tuesday-Creamy White Chicken Chili, cornbread muffins, mixed veggies
Wednesday-Eat at Church with Caravan!
Thursday-Mississippi Pot Roast, Roasted Red Potatoes, and fruit
Friday-Chicken and Noodles and Mashed Potatoes (Going to try and make homemade noodles...ha!  We'll see how that goes!)
Saturday-Leftovers for Lunch, Beef and Bean Burritos, Rice, Aunt Jill's Salsa and Chips for Dinner
Sunday-Chicken Fajita Quesadillas with pineapple with all of the trimmings and leftover salsa

I am really enjoying having a menu each week.  I had planned on linking up to other menu planning Mondays, and I might still try and do that from time to time, but I am finding it difficult to find time for all of the copying, pasting, linking, etc.  I would love to know how people do that all of the time---whew...just typing out the menu while corralling kiddos wears me out!  Hope everyone has a beautiful 2nd day of the "ber" months!

 
I really enjoy visiting these blogs for great recipes and menu planning ideas! 

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Autumn is on it's way!

 
Ok, ok...I know I said that I wasn't tired of summer yet, but this morning, on September 1st, we woke up to overcast skies, a light drizzle, and I just couldn't help myself!  I broke down and hauled my autumn stuff from the garage and went to town!  I also tried a new recipe tonight...Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup and it was so, so yummy!  I added a can of Italian Diced tomatoes to the recipe, just to add a little more texture, and it was wonderful!
 
 
 
I also learned how to make a collage on picmonkey...I never knew how but found a great tutorial and now I might just be hooked!  It's so much fun...I am new to instagram too...ha...I am so behind...so I am just trying all kinds of new things!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Menu Planning Monday...

...or Tuesday...I am a little behind in my menu planning this week.  Yesterday I made roast beef open faced sandwiches and mashed potatoes and corn.  It was a yummy dinner.  My brother stopped by and ate with us.  We found out yesterday that he passed his nursing state board exam that he took on Saturday...so proud of him!  So here goes for the rest of the week, then I will update on everything we have been up to this week:

Tuesday-Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Chicken sliders on homemade rolls, fresh fruit salad (We ended up having these on buns from Braum's, and cottage cheese, salad and cantaloupe as sides instead!)
Wednesday-Pork Chops, Twice Baked Potatoes, Salad (thinking of having a rice dish on the side instead, it's been too hot to heat up the oven twice!)
Thursday-Eat Out or Eat-At-The-Game night! (Can-Opener for high school football-the big kids and Kris will probably go!)
Friday-"Daddy-Grilled" Burgers, Pasta Salad, Veggie Sticks, and Deviled Eggs (We ended up not having burgers last week!)
Saturday-Italian Roast Beef Sandwiches and a big salad
Sunday-Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

For lunches, Claire and I usually have leftovers, or scrambled egg sandwiches, or cheese quesadillas and some kind of fruit.  The big kids take their lunches to school. Speaking of school, Katie and Asher are both doing great and love SCHOOL!  This mama couldn't be happier about that.  I miss them both so much, but they love being out and about, and both come home happy and tired!  Asher sometimes voluntarily goes to lay on his bed with his "milk cup" for a few minutes when he gets home...bless his heart!

Usually this time of year I start itching for fall, but I feel a *little* bit differently this year.  Our August has been so mild and nice that I am not completely tired of summer yet.  I love looking out the back patio doors to green grass, green leaves on the trees, and lots of sunshine streaming in.  My red rocking chairs are looking pretty out there too!  I think our move kind of broke up the monotony of the "dog days" of summer for me and I am thankful for that.  I'm sure that the very first time temperatures drop below 60 degrees I will be just as crazy about fall as I usually am! Can't wait!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day of School, 2013!

Katie and Asher started school this week!  Asher started kindergarten!  This mama did ok for the drop off in the morning, but when we went to pick him up and he was so happy to see us and tell us about his day...mama lost it and couldn't stop crying!  I missed his sweet smiles and kisses so much!  But he loved it...he had a great first day of school! And he was happy to report he stayed on "Moose" status for the day...which means he did great!



Katie and I have been sick since Saturday with some kind of weird summer cold virus, so she had to miss her first day of school and visit the doctor's office instead. She has also been having some pretty big anxieties about going to public middle school, so this morning was a little tough on her (and mama and daddy!)  I was so happy when we got into the building and were greeted by one of the teachers that we had met.  She was so positive and welcoming to Katie!  We had talked to her during enrollment about Katie's fears of going to a public school when she had gone to a Christian school for so long and she had been so comforting and encouraging...we were so thankful that God put her in that place especially for this morning.  She looked at Katie's schedule and told her about several more of her teachers who were really strong Christians...so I could tell Katie was comforted by that.  She is in band, choir, and art, math, science, language, and computers.  I can't wait to hear how her day was!


So now it's just little Claire and I here at home...and I'm almost not sure what to do! It's been a while since I've only had one kiddo at home!  We are doing good though...so far just having our milk cup/coffee and donuts and hanging out!
 
 


Monday, August 19, 2013

Last day of summer break and Menu Planning Monday!



Katie, Claire, and Asher enjoying the water park last week!
 

Today is the last official day of summer break. Katie starts 8th grade and Asher starts Kindergarten tomorrow morning!  It's hard to believe they are growing up so fast.  It seems like yesterday we were just a little family of three sending Katie off to Kindergarten, and now there are five of us, with the middle kiddo heading to school too.  It will just be little Claire and I home by ourselves during the day.  I think she will really miss the big kids but hopefully she will enjoy some "mama" time too.

We have Asher's "meet the teacher" meeting at 4 today, and I thought we might take a little trip downtown for Cherry Berry as summer's last "hoorah" sometime today.  I think I am going to try and make homemade cinnamon rolls for tomorrow's breakfast, and Claire and I are going to make a special treat for the kids when they come home from their first day of school. 

I wanted to try and start a menu plan with school starting.  During the summer things are just kind of unscheduled and super relaxed, but I think with their busy school schedules it would really help our budget and my sanity to have a "plan"...so here is our dinner menu for the week:

Monday-BBQ Pork Chops, Mixed Veggies, Rice
Tuesday-Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs, Garlic Twists, and Corn
Wednesday-Chicken and Rice Casserole and Salad
Thursday-Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice, Lettuce, Cheese, etc.
Friday-Grilled Burgers, Homemade potato salad,  and chips
Saturday-Leftover buffet (Daddy back to work)
Sunday-Kid's Choice/Kids in the Kitchen

I am going to try and remember to do this each week and link up with these ladies:

Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday
The Diary of a Real Housewife's Monday Meal Plan

Sunday, August 18, 2013

We're home again...

I haven't posted in a while...because we moved...again.  We were not able to sell our home and Kris and I have been having the feeling for quite a while that the Lord wanted us to move back.  Our house had been on the market since November 2012, and we had many people look, lowered the price $10,000, but zero offers.  We had just put in new flooring throughout most of the house, and had updated so many things...but no offers. We feel like there must be a reason for us to come home...now we are anxiously waiting to know what God has planned for us here.  Kris is commuting for a while, but had an interview in the local store just last week.  I know there is a plan for his work too.  Our move was so amazing...our Impact church family helped pack us up the giant U-Haul, and in the same afternoon, our church family here helped us unload it...I tell you...God was in the details...we are so blessed.

The kids have adjusted beautifully to the move.  They are just content to be home.  In fact, we drove in the driveway after following the above mentioned giant U-Haul for 2 hours, and Claire shouted from the back seat, "Home! Home!"  We have been working on getting the kids enrolled, school physicals done, and unpacking boxes one by one.  There are so many things about this home that we forgot that we loved so much.  I love being able to hear the kid's conversations because they aren't 2000 square feet away...and being able to do laundry and fold it and put it away all on one floor...and not rationing the amount of times I can adjust the d├ęcor on our walls because of too many nail holes (ha, ha!).  It's simple things...like the way you can hear the peacocks from the park from our backyard, and the way all of the trees in our yard shield and shade us...so thankful for those things.  We love this home, and if houses could talk, I think ours would say that it loves us too.  We are so happy to be home again!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

39

 
I turned 39 earlier this month.  We had just had our D&C the day before, so Kris and the kids really went overboard to make my day special. Katie painted me a beautiful canvas, with a Bible verse from Proverbs 31:25.  Kris heard me mention that I wanted to read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom a few weeks ago, and bought it for me.  He also bought a frame for our family picture, and a coffee mug from Krispy Kreme!  They really spoiled me!  Katie created a giant "39" out of photos, and I just loved it...it meant so much to me.  Even though this is my last year of being a "thirty-something", I am looking forward to everything this year holds for our family.  I know my forties will be amazing too!



 

 


Monday, July 08, 2013

Our 4th of July, 2013

We stayed home and had a relaxed day together.  Kris and I tried to just stay focused on the kiddos and having fun, rather than on the loss of the baby.  We wanted the kids to have good memories, even though we were struggling to keep it together on the inside.  We had lots of good food...


Red, Hot and Blues Potato Salad  from Caramel Potatoes (so yummy!)


Delicious sweet corn (from Dillon's) because we couldn't find any local here yet!
The kids had so much fun shucking the corn, they were in a race to see who could shuck the fastest!






We also had red, white, and blue cake!



The weather was absolutely perfect, so we spent lots of time sitting out on the patio, just enjoying a few snakes, smoke balls, and crackling balls.  It was even cool enough for a little lap sitting and snuggling.


I hung an old barn star I had out on the fence, and moved the outside furniture over there for a little cute spot...it was even cuter with the kids sitting there! (even though I couldn't get a picture of them all looking at me to save my life!)



We had a really nice 4th of July, just being together and enjoying each other!  I am so very, very, thankful for these three kiddos...they are the best blessings in the world.  I would have loved to have had just one more, but I feel so incredibly blessed to have these beautiful three.


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

 
Wednesday I visited the doctor and we found out that our sweet baby we were expecting in February had passed away.  I hadn't posted about this pregnancy, and only a few close friends and family knew about it.  My hcg had not been increasing the way it should for several weeks, so we went through several weeks of blood tests and sonograms to confirm that we had lost the pregnancy.  Yesterday I had a D&C.  I feel pretty lost about how to feel.  This pregnancy was a complete and total surprise but Kris and I had started choosing names and dreaming of what the baby would look like, how much it would weigh-would it outweigh his/her big sisters and brother? Would this baby have my skin tone or Kris's, would he/she have red hair or blonde hair?  I know our sweet baby is being snuggled in heaven right now, probably by my Grandma Rench, or maybe by Jesus himself...it just hurts to not have him/her with us.  I know we will be ok.  I have felt the presence of the holy spirit through the entire experience, I know he has been holding my heart.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

A few recent garage sale finds...just in time for Independence Day!

We have gotten to do a lot of garage sale shopping this summer, and it has been so much fun!  It seems like each one I go to has a few little treasures or things on my "wish list"!  I have been searching for 1/2 pint glass milk containers, and recently found these two cuties for $2.00 each!  One of them is from 1949, and the other is from 1946!  I have seen them at flea markets for $5-8, and just couldn't pass up the bargain!



At the same garage sale, I was able to buy two Ball Mason jars, with the zinc lids with the porcelain in tact, also for $2.00 each.  One of them has already made it's home in a red wire basket (that I bought at a GS a couple of years ago) on my kitchen table, love them!

 
And last, but probably the most festive...a set of four flag glasses for $1.00!  They aren't old, but they were way too cute to pass up! 
 
 
We are planning a relaxing day of the five of us just being together on the 4th.  Our neighbor told us that we pretty much have a front row seat from our front yard to the city fireworks display that is held at a park nearby!  Looking forward to Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Ribs,  "Red, Hot, and Blues" potato salad, some fresh corn on the cob, and just hanging out with Kris and the kids! 
 
Have a great 4th of July!
 
 
 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summertime!











It's summer, and we're just enjoying it...blowing bubbles, eating Popsicle's, playing in the water, and sprucing up our outdoor furniture.  We have been to a few garage sales and found some really amazing bargains like a big girl bed for Claire that's super nice for $15.00 and 4 bistro outdoor chairs for $1 each!   Kris had two weeks of vacation before he started on the overnight shift, so we tried to just enjoy that time together as much as we could.  The overnights are a little rough on everyone but we are just so thankful that Kris has a good job. We haven't been on any exciting vacations, but we have traveled to Neosho, MO to visit my sister and her family, and to Grove, OK to visit Meme and Papa.  It's been a good summer so far, and we're only 3 weeks into it!  Hooray for summertime!