Aug 31, 2011

WFMW: Don't Forget Your Jewels

It happens to me...

All.  The.  Time.

I spend an hour doing my hair, makeup, finding the right outfit, the perfect shoes and the right handbag.  Then I walk out of the house and about half way to wherever I'm going, I look down and realize that I forgot my jewelry.


I HATE that!

I NEED my accessories.  I just feel naked without them.

And feeling naked makes me feel VERY uncomfortable.

{Now you're probably feeling uncomfortable too}

Anyhow, this happened to me yet again last week, and that was it!  I had enough and decided to come up with a plan.

I decided to make an "Emergency Jewelry Box".  Basically, I took some costume jewelry that I have that I don't wear everyday, packed it up in a little box, and placed it in my glove compartment.

I knew it had to be something that could go with most anything, and nothing that I would need all the time for other outfits.

{Because that would totally be me to take it out to wear it with something, and then forget to put it back in the emergency case, and then be left with nothing again.  And we'd be back to feeling uncomfortable...}

So I chose all silver items, (and of course a little sparkle).  I packed up 2 rings, a bracelet, a necklace and earrings.  Here is what I have:

None of it is real, so it has no value, (in case you were thinking of breaking into my van for it :)

But it will save the day the next time I forget my jewels!

But just so you know, I set a rule for myself that when I do use the emergency case, I have to return the jewelry before I get back out of the car when I get home.  That way, it is there for me the next time I need it!

Brilliant!  If I do say so myself.

And I do!

I am linking up with We Are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday.  Go and check out all the other great ideas!

Aug 30, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: What Makes My Marriage Work

 Look at us Nine Years ago...Love the mullet babe :)

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our nine year anniversary. 

I know, I know, it's not even a decade yet. But I still think that in today's society, nine years is saying something.

So to celebrate, I thought that I would do a Top Ten on How we make marriage work for us!  Here goes:

10.  Keep it silly!  My husband and I still have fun together.  He makes me laugh all the time and we have inside jokes that no one but us know about.  Sometimes, when things get too serious, do something crazy to make yourselves laugh.

9.  Learn how to fight!  Every couple is going to fight sometimes, so you need to learn how to do it in a way that respects one another and respects the marriage.  For us, we never name call, it NEVER gets physical (even a shove should never happen!  If it is, you should definitely get out of the situation and talk to a professional!), and we try not to say broad statements like, "You always" or "You never".  We try to keep the argument specific to what we are disagreeing about.

8.  Get some help!  It's important for couples to have some accountability.  Not just to each other, but also to others.  For us, we have our House Church and accountability groups that check in and make sure we are keeping our marriage strong.  You have to have other people in your life that you can talk to, but that will also call you out when you are doing something you shouldn't. (Note:  I'm NOT talking about people you can talk trash about your spouse to.  This is NOT helpful!) 

7.  Make Him/Her a Priority!  It is so easy to get caught up in life.  Kids, work, hobbies, friends....the list goes on.  But if you want your marriage to last, and be successful, you need to make the other, and your relationship, a priority.  No one wants to feel like they are last on the list.  So don't just say that they are your #1, let your actions speak louder than your words!

6.  Talk About Everything!  It's important to not keep secrets in your marriage.  How can you expect to grow together when one person is keeping a part of their life from the other?  Make sure that you are opening up to your spouse and letting them in on what is making you happy, what is making you mad, what you are thinking about,  if you are facing temptation etc..  Nothing is off limits!  It will help to keep you on the same page!

5.  Date Nights!  I have said before that I think Date Nights are sooooo important in a marriage.  We try for once a month, some do it once a week.  Whatever works for you, (and I don't think once per year is a good option!), make time and make it happen.  It is seriously important!

4.  Show Some Grace!  No one is perfect.  It's funny how we often want our husband/wife not to be so hard on us, but we forget that they need grace just as much as we do.  When you want to pull your hair out and scream, just remember that we , too, mess up every day and need forgiveness.  And then extend that to your spouse.

3.  Protect Your Marriage!  This one is a no-brainer for me, but I think it's where a lot of marriages get off track.  I can PROMISE you that someone else would be happy to march right into your marriage and destroy it.  Sad, but very true.  So you have to be proactive in protecting it.  Never assume that everything is okay.  Be honest, ask questions, and work at making it strong so that when temptation and trouble march in, you are able to recognize it and escort it out :)

2.  Be Careful With Friends!  This one is controversial for some.  I say, no close friends of the opposite sex.  Why?  Let me explain.  Marriage will face enough temptation without inviting it in.  I'm not saying you have to cut friends out of your life, but the friendships will/should change once you are married.  It is showing respect for your spouse and it is saying that you are not willing to take any chances with your relationship.  Trust me on this one. 

1.  Keep Your Commitment!  This is # 1 for a reason.  Because I can promise you that there will be hard times.  I can promise you that you will want out at some point.  I can promise you that you both will change, and grow, and become different people throughout your marriage.  But if you want marriage to work, you have to decide that the commitment you made to each other is sacred, and that you will not break it for anything.  For us, divorce is not an option.  It's not even a word we ever use.  Because if it were, we would probably be divorced right now.  But I agreed to Love my husband, even when I wake up and don't feel in love with him.  Because we see Love not just as an emotion, but a choice.  We made that choice nine years ago, and now we are committed to that choice.

Hope that if you are struggling in your marriage, that in some small way, these guidelines that have worked for us, can help you, too. 

I am linking up with Oh Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday!  Check out what all the other Top Tens are today!

Aug 29, 2011

Mix It Up Monday: Dresses and Football

This week was somewhat of an oddity for me as far as fashion.

You see, I don't have a lot of dresses in my wardrobe. 

I keep a couple for weddings and the occasional dress up event, but nothing that I could wear for everyday.

But then I went to the Gap Outlet the other week and found a couple of cute knit dresses that I thought might work for everyday.

So I bought them.

But it has taken me a couple of weeks, (or a month), to convince myself to wear them. 

And then in one week, I wore both!

(And shhh, don't tell, but I wore the black one twice!)

Who woulda thunk it?!

Sweater:  Target, Belt: DressBarn, Dress: Gap Outlet, Yellow Flower: Charming Charlie

Sweater: Target, Dress:  Gap Outlet

Look at the cute ruffles in the front!

And here is a guest appearance for Mix It Up Monday by my two little fashionistas in training.

On me: Sweater: Target, Tanks: Old Navy, White Skirt: Goodwill (Old Navy), Headband: Charming Charlie
On Both Girls:  Target head to toe :)

They are sporting their first day of school looks, and I must say, they kind of steal the show...

But I'm okay with that :)

AND, just because I promised my real life friend, The B.M.C. Report that I would, I am posting this pic of me in my Friday Night High school Football getup. 

I know, it's a little crazy for thirty something momma, but when I do something, I kind of do it all the way.

Go big or go home, right?!

And check out that headband and crazy jacked up shirt!  I MADE THAT ALL BY MYSELF!!!!

I am yelling because I am about the LEAST crafty person you can imagine.  But Pinterest came through for me (again) when I needed to know how to do a last minute spruce up to my t-shirt, and add a little hair flair to boot!

Thank you Pinterest.  You never disappoint!

I will be linking up with Momma Go Round for RMRS and The Pleated Poppy for WIWW.  Make sure to check out all the other mommas who are keeping themselves accountable for actually getting out of their PJ's each day!

Aug 27, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed But Pressing On

This is the time of year that I start to feel extremely overwhelmed.

I think most moms feel this way.

There is just so much going on.

Getting the kids off in the morning on time and with all their stuff, Making sure that they do their homework in the evenings,  filling out the 2000 forms that the schools require, getting to practices and games, making sure you pay all the dues to all the people you now owe, doing laundry so the kids have what they need when they need it, trying to find time to make dinners and keep your house semi-clean, and keep up with all the social invitations you and your kids are now getting. 

Plus, for me, it's a gazillion things for our cheer squad, trying to keep up with blog posts, volunteering at church, volunteering at my girls' schools, doing stuff with our House Church, and finding time for some family fun in the middle of it all.

Sometimes, I lay awake at night worrying about it all and trying really hard to organize it in my head so that I don't forget anything.

Don't get me wrong, I Love all this stuff, and I'm not trying to complain.  I feel very blessed to have the life I have.  But it does all become a bit much sometimes, and I wonder how I can juggle everything.

For me, I make a lot of lists, (or I would forget EVERYTHING!), I have people around me to help remind me, I have a WONDERFUL husband who is a HUGE help to me, and I just try to give myself grace when things fall through the cracks.

Because stuff will fall through the cracks.  No one is perfect.

I think that is the thing I need to remember most.  And also to show my girls.

We all fail sometimes.  And that's okay.

We get up and try to do better next time.

Because I would rather put it all out there and try to experience as much of this great life as possible, and occasionally fail, then to just sit back and watch it all go by.

After all, I'm only getting one shot at it. 

So crazy or not, I'm gonna try to do it all...

....and maybe take a happy pill or two to get me through :)

So seriously, what do you do to help you make it through all the craziness?  How do you keep from feeling completely overwhelmed?

Aug 25, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownie Bars

As I have told you like a hundred times now, I am addicted to Pinterest.

I spend WAAAAAAAY to much time on there and it seems that lately, I have no original ideas because I found so many good one's on Pinterest.

And honestly, why spend my precious time trying to come up with something clever when somebody else already did the work for you.

I'm all about making life easier for me.

So the other day we had a swim party to go to and I had to bring a dessert.

Now, all moms know that when you are asked to bring a dish to a carry-in function, there are three ways you can go.

First way ="Oh my life is so busy right now that I just didn't have time to make anything so I brought this box of cookies from the grocery."

Totally acceptable, but it's not going to get you very far in the 'Ooooh, I want to be a mom like her' competition.

{Yes, there is a competition.}

{I'm not even close to being in the lead.}

{I'm okay with that.}

The second way you can go= "I made this incredible dish and while it took me two full days, it was totally worth it."

Now this will get you much further along in the competition, maybe even to the front.  But I will warn you that other moms will despise you because of it and probably talk behind your back.  saying things like,

"She probably bought that." or

"I would have time to make that too if I didn't have important things to do." or

"Whatever.  She's just showing off."

I wouldn't be saying these things, but I can assure you that others would.

But the third way= "I wanted to bring something good, but that was easy and no fail.  It didn't take much time and even I couldn't mess it up."

This is the kind of dish that will endear you to everyone around. 


First, because everyone likes good food, and second, because it gives them the hope of being able to bring it to their next event and being the "ooooh, I want to be a mom like her" lady!

See what I mean?  It's all very complicated.

But here I was in this predicament the other day.  What would I do?

Go to Pinterest, of course!


They are Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownie Bars.

The name alone is enough to make you put on five pounds.

First, you make a layer of chocolate chip cookie bars and spread them in a pan.  Next, layer double stuff oreos on top, and then spread on a family size brownie batter mixed with hot fudge sauce.  Finally just bake it up and watch it disappear once it is served.  Here is the official recipe.

I wish I had captured my own pic, but they went too fast.  But boy were they good.

And best of all, I was the mom who had that killer recipe that everyone loved but that they knew they could pull off too.


I think I am a little further along in the competition this week.

Until next week when I send in cheese balls for the class snack...

As always, I am linking up with The Diaper Diaries for Things I Love Thursday.  Hop over and see what else is getting blog love this week!

Aug 24, 2011

WFMW: Not Really

Today was the first day of school for us.

Which meant that Addy started 2nd grade and Faith started...


It absolutely does not seem possible that this beautiful, spunky, funny, and marvelous baby girl that I had just five short years ago could be going off to school.

But she is, and this momma is having a hard time trying to accept that.

I know I need to get over it, though.  Because she LOVED her first day, and her excitement and enthusiasm put me at ease.

At least enough to let her get on the bus.

And then follow it right up to the school so I could watch her walk in and make sure she was okay.

And of course, she was.

But doesn't she need me?

Why didn't she cry for her momma?

Why was she so thrilled to be leaving me?  Even if it *is* just for a few hours a day...

All of these are my worries.  She has none at all.

So while this whole kindergarten thing is totally working for her, it's not really working for me at all!

But as I said, I need to get over it.  This is normal.  How it should be.  This is a happy time.

Yes, I'll just keep telling myself that until I believe it.  And pretty soon, I will.

I know this because I did it 2 years ago with Addy.

So, in the spirit of trying to accept what's happening, and even (gulp) be happy about it, I will share some pics of our special first day!

The monkey muffins I made for breakfast as a special first day treat!  The recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, and they are A-MAZ-ING!  Get it here!

My big girl getting all ready for 2nd grade!

Daddy and his girls!

Me and my babies!

Addy getting onto the bus

The special snack I packed for their first day.  I got this cute idea off of Pinterest.  Check it out here!

I also got this cute idea off of Pinterest. (I already told you, I am addicted!)  You can see it too, here!

My little kindergartner

Faith and her friend, Trey all ready to go!  Aren't they the cutest?!

Trey and Faith coming home after their first day

Addy after her first day...I think she enjoyed it :)

I am linking up for WFMW with We are THAT Family.  Click on over for all the other great ideas!

Aug 23, 2011

Top Ten Chicken Recipes

Today is Top Ten Tuesday and as I was considering what to write about, I was also trying to decide what we would be having for dinner the next few weeks.

One thing that is always on our menu, (A LOT!), is chicken.

There is so much you can do with it and my girls eat it pretty well.

Which, in itself, is saying something.

So here are my Top Ten Chicken Recipes..the one's we make most often, and the one's I wish we made more!

10.  Fried Chicken!  This is not #10 because it is our least favorite, it's more because we don't have it very often.  You see, my mom makes A-MAZ-ING fried chicken and I *wish* I did as good of a job.  She only makes hers at Easter, so the rest of the year, I am on my own.  I have tried to copy it, but I think it has a lot to do with the pans she uses to cook it in.  You know, the ones that have been used for over 20 years and produce only the most AWESOME dishes one can imagine.  Yep, those.  Here is a recipe that I have used though that is super yummy.  I mean, c'mon.  It comes from Paula HAS to taste good!

9. Chicken Parmesan!  This is also one I don't make as often as my husband would like.  I just feel like it's a bit too much work for a weeknight, and on the weekends, we end up eating out a lot.  BUT, when I'm feeling inspired, I whip it up!  I make mine without using breadcrumbs...just boneless skinless breasts and I stuff it with a mixture of ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  I top it with tomato sauce and more mozzarella and there you go! 

8.  Chicken Tortilla Soup!  Oh how I love soup.  I might do a Top Ten Soup sometime soon because I seriously would be happy eating soup everyday.  My husband, not so much.  But I was given the recipe for this soup a long time ago, and have been loving it ever since.  Here is a recipe you might like!

7.  Buffalo Chicken Dip!  I make this a lot for parties and get togethers, and everyone always loves it.  It's pretty standard, but why mess with perfection?!  Here is a recipe for a new twist on it that I am going to try soon!

6.  Chicken teriyaki sandwiches!  I make these a lot during football season for my husband.  He loves the one's a Penn Station East Coast Subs, so I started making my own version at home!  They are a win for the whole family!  Here is a good recipe for a Penn Station Copycat I found while searching around.

5.  Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole!  I make this all year round.  My girls think it's great and I can get broccoli into them without a fight!  We usually serve it with salad, and maybe rolls if I'm feeling really energetic that day!  Just mix cooked, shredded chicken with cooked rice, cooked broccoli, cheddar cheese and cream of chicken soup.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and throw some more cheddar on top just before your done baking, and you're done!  Yep, it's that easy!

4.  Greek Chicken Pasta!  I LOOOOOOVE husband and girls could do without it.  They are not huge fans of spinach, (which I think is Wonderful!).  But occasionally, I decide that I'm worth making a meal that only I truly love, and I go for it!  And since we have a no complaint rule at dinnertime, it works out fine!  I make mine by just sauteing chicken with olive oil, garlic, and oregano and then adding spinach, chopped tomatoes, feta and Parmesan cheese just before it's done.  I mix it all up with pasta, (whatever you've got on hand), and its done!   Super Yummy!

3.  Chicken Pot Pie soup!  I made this for the first time the other week and it was divine!  I blogged about it and here is the link to the recipe!

2.  Chicken Salad!  I'm not trying to brag, but I'm kind of known for my chicken salad.  It's not complicated or anything, but I am asked to bring it all the time to showers, parties, etc., especially during the summer.  I will include the recipe below because I think it's that good.

1.  Chicken Noodle Casserole!  This, too, is a dish I make A LOT during the winter.  It's one of those stick-to-your-bones kind of meals that will keep you warm and full for hours.  My family raves over this dish, and  I also use it a lot to take to people who are sick or have a baby etc., and often am asked for the recipe.  I am including it, too, below so that you can try it out for yourselves.

Hope you get a chance to check out some of these recipes, and tell me what you think!  I also want to know, what are some of your favorite chicken recipes? 

I am linking up with Oh Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday!  Go check out what all the other Top Tens are for today!

Chicken Salad  Recipe
 2 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken breasts (boiled, shredded and cooled)
1 Bunch of red seedless grapes, halved
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 20oz.  can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 Jar of Marzetti Original Slaw Dressing  (Must be the kind you get in the refrigerated salad section)
Mix shredded chicken, grapes, celery, and pineapple together.  Pour the dressing over the chicken and mix it all together just before serving.  Serve with crackers or rolls.

Chicken Noodle Casserole Recipe

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or a whole chicken if you prefer.. just make sure to remove bones and skin after you boil)
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz. container of sour cream (you can use reduced fat, but fat free usually doesn't work as well!)
3 ribs of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
seasoning salt to taste
lg. bag of extra wide egg noodles
Apprx. 6 Ritz crackers, crushed
Boil the chicken with seasoning salt, and chopped celery and carrots in a large stock pot for one hour.  Remove chicken and add noodles to water with carrots and celery and allow them to cook until soft, (about 15 minutes).  Meanwhile, shred chicken.
In a large mixing bowl, mix soup and sour cream.  Drain noodles and add noodle mixture and chicken to soup mixture.  Mix well!
Place in a 13x9 dish and cover with crushed Ritz crackers and bake uncovered in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Aug 22, 2011

Mix It Up Monday: Stripes and a Hat

Well, I'm back with Mix It Up Monday!

I just know you've been DYING to know what I've been wearing each week, Right?! :)

But you haven't missed much.  Mostly I've been in shorts and t-shirts because I have been coaching my daughter's cheer camp and now the games, and it has been HOT!  Sweaty me in sweaty clothes does NOT need to be captured in photos.

Trust me on that one!

But I did happen to capture one pic of an outfit that I have worn the heck out of lately.

Now, before you judge, let me inform you that I already KNOW that bigger girls should not be wearing big stripes. 

BUT, I don't think the know-it-all who made up that rule knows just how comfy this tank is.  And that in only cost me 50 cents!

50 cents I tell you!!!

If you find a comfy shirt that you like for 50 cents, I say that alone is reason enough to wear it everyday!

So I do. 

Okay, not exactly every day...but a lot of days.

Cardi and white tank: Target, Striped Tank: Gap Outlet, Pants:  Goodwill (Target), Hat: Charming Charlie

And then there's the hat.

I am normally not a hat wearer.

{Is 'wearer' a word?  If not, I just made it one.}

But I found this beauty at Charming Charlie, and thought I would try to become a hat wearer.

{Getting some good mileage out of my new word}

It has this cute bow on the front, and I LOVE a good bow!  Plus, I have had lots of compliments on it, so I think it's working.  Who knows, maybe I will be wearing hats now all the time.

So there it is my friends.  Stripes and a hat.  Not exactly ready for the pages of Vogue, but for my little blog here, I think it works just fine.

As always, I will be linking up to Momma Go Round for RMRS and The Pleated Poppy for WIWW.  Be sure to click over and check out all the other mommas who are showing us their fashion faves!

Aug 18, 2011

Today's Big Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered for the Giveaway for the CubWorks prize pack! 

If you didn't worries!

CubWorks is extremely affordable and you can still go on over to the CubWorks site and purchase the workbook and/or a membership to CubClub where you can print off customized worksheets!

Now, to announce the BIG WINNER....

Momma of The B.M.C. Report!

Congratulations!!!!  I hope you enjoy using the product with your 3 little cuties!

Aug 16, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons I LOVE Fall

Fall is coming...I can feel it!

The weather here has been a little cooler this week, and in the evenings, it is PERFECTION!

And it has inspired me to post about the Top Ten things I LOVE about fall!

10. S'mores!  I never feel guilty about indulging in these yummy treats during the fall season.  This year, I'm gonna kick it up a notch with some of the yummy s'mores themed desserts I have found on Pinterest!

9.  Boots!  Don't get me wrong, I live in my flip-flops all summer long.  But as soon as fall gets here, I dig out my boots and don't take them off until spring.  And this year, I have cowboy boots to add to my collection :)

8.  Routine!  I know I've hit the back-to-school theme home over the last two weeks, but I really do love the routine that school and fall brings back into our lives. 

7.  Sweaters!  I ADORE a good, comfy, sweater.  And I have a gazillion of them to prove it.  Can't wait to start breaking them out!

6.  Bonfires!  If I could have a bonfire every single night, I would!  I love the smell.  I love the calm it brings.  I love roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.  I love everything about it.

5.  Friday night High school Football!  I am lucky enough to live in a city that has a pretty awesome team, and the entire town gets behind it!  It seriously feels like a college game when you're there and it is SOOOO FUN!

4.  Halloween!  For my family, fall means Halloween and as soon as September rolls around, they start asking how much longer until trick-or-treat.  We plan our costumes and buy candy WEEKS too early, (and usually eat it all and have to buy more...), go to crazy amounts of parties, (and have one too!), and when the day comes, we head out with friends and let the kids gather up as much candy as they can so mom and dad can eat it :)

3.  Hayrides and Pumpkins!  This is a tradition we never miss!  We head out to a really neat local farm, and take a crazy-bumpy-muddy-fun-filled ride out to the pumpkin patch and let the kids pick out their favorite.  They think it's awesome and I love watching them make these memories!

2.  Comfort Food!  Bring on the Chili, Stew, Casseroles, Roasts, Crock-Pot Meals, and warm gooey desserts! 

1.  Festivals!!!!!  My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THING ABOUT FALL!  I love festivals!  I will go to just about any, (ask my husband!.  I spend hours wandering the streets looking at crafts, eating yummy festival treats, and people watching.  For me, it is pure bliss.  And I am lucky to live in the mid-west where fall festivals are aplenty!  Bring it on!

As always, I am linking up with oh Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday.  Head over and check out the other Top Ten Lists!

Aug 14, 2011

What I *WON'T* Be Doing This Week and Target Winner!

Well, it's here. 

Today closes out the Back-To-School series, and I still have mixed emotions about the end of summer and the start of school.

I am excited for my girls to go, but since Faith will be starting Kindergarten, and she is my last baby, I am sad too.

I am holding on for dear life to the last week of baby that I have left. 

So, just so you know, here's all the stuff I WON'T be doing this week:

-I won't be telling her to stop sucking her thumb
-I won't be telling her that she doesn't need 'bwankie'
-I won't stop cuddling with her so that I can get something done.
-I won't be telling her that it's too late for a lullaby.
-I won't be telling her that she needs to talk in her big girl voice.
-I won't be making her get dressed all by herself because 'she's a big girl'
-I won't rush through our mornings so that we can get on with the day.
-I won't be making her take a big girl shower instead of a bath.
-I won't be thinking, "I wish she could do this herself".
-I won't be telling her that there's no time for dress-up.
-I won't be putting her to bed relieved that I get "me time"
-I won't be spending as much time writing this blog so that I can spend the last week before school starts enjoying every.  single.  second.  of the baby that I still have left.

I hope you understand, and that you too are enjoying the last  bits of summer.

I will have a *few* posts this week, but they will be short and simple.

BUT, before I go, I want to announce the winner of the $20 Target Gift Card Giveaway! 

Congratulations to BETH NEWSOME!!!!!

Hope you enjoy it and get something fun!