Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Used 2 Be So Organized!!

     I am currently doing a Bible/book study online with Melissa Taylor's online studies on the book I Used 2 Be So Organized.  We just finished Chapter 4 of the book, and it is really hitting home.  I am realizing that I try to jam pack my days to achieve things, and, although most of the things I am jam packing my days with I am doing for God, I have been much more concerned with what I am doing rather than what I am being.  While I still feel like the things that I am doing are important, I think I need to make sure that my inside is behind the doing of things correctly and not just be doing them because I want to be able to say I did this and this and this.  It isn't that I feel my heart hasn't been in it, but my heart has also been very clutter-filled with other things going on and not necessarily focusing fully on what God is trying to tell me and lead me to do.
     This has been a tremendous revelation for me, and is going to require a little extra thinking when I am trying to plan out what I am doing for the day.  It has also led me to the realization that I cannot feel guilty for trying to get some time to myself each day.  I cannot be who I am supposed to be without that time.  Do you struggle with carving out time for yourself each day?  A quiet time to be with God and have your own time is becoming more and more necessary in this world where we are all accessible 24 hours a day.  Since making a concerted effort to carve out at least 15 minutes in my day, I have slept better and been a much better mom to Alyssa and B.  We were even able to have a couple of their friends over yesterday, last minute, for dinner because I have been planning dinners out and had it in the crockpot.  That is huge for my family.  I am also trying very hard to take hold of the memory verse for our study, "The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b.
     We recently finished up our VBS and one of the things that I did was to write leader devotions.  I have been asked by several people to write a devotion book, but I am very torn about this.  I am no Bible scholar, I just wrote the ones I did from my personal experiences.  I am seriously thinking about doing it though.  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I know I'm a slacker!

Wow!  Once again, time has totally gotten away from me as far as thinking about getting on here to blog. I have started to get on here a couple of times, but blogger was acting up, so I didn't get to post anything.  A lot has gone on here lately around the house.  We have been very busy with Alyssa starting softball, finishing up the school year, and finishing up dance for the summer and having recital; B finished up the year at his two schools and has discovered how much fun it is to play with the neighbor girl that lives beside of us; and David has been super busy at work and at the base.  As for me, I have been struggling to keep my head afloat, but working hard at the church and the shop, and the past few weeks been working really hard on VBS stuff.  Our VBS at church is this week and I am one of the directors this year.  I am having a blast and, as usual, can't believe it is going so quickly.  I tried some new things this year, one of which was taking on a director's role, and another was writing devotions for our leaders and holding a short devotional every morning before VBS starts.  This has been great and we have had what I feel is a really good response for this being the first year.  I am one of those crazy people that truly looks forward to VBS all year long, and since Lifeway announced next year's theme already, I am starting to think about the possibilities for next year while trying to finish out this year at the same time.  I got a new phone thanks to an amazing gift from my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law and am working on getting things switched over to it currently.  Hopefully it won't be so long in between blog posts from now on.  I am doing an online Bible study on the book "I Used to be So Organized" and so far it has talked a lot about making sure that you are sitting down at some point each and every day and making time to think.  My goal is to be able to do that.  I have been getting up a few minutes early in the mornings to be able to do my devotionals this week and I think that is really making a difference as well.  I guess that is it for now, but, in the spirit of VBS, what is your favorite memory of Vacation Bible School?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Simplifying Life, Step 1

     In my last post, I said I was going to blog some ideas I have for simplifying my life and helping my kids to be more selfless instead of selfish.  The first thing that we are going to do at our house is an extension of something that I did over Lent.  I saw this idea on a blog called 40 bags in 40 days and since another friend invited a bunch of us to do it on Facebook with her, I was in.  The point was to get rid of 40 bags of stuff over the 40 days of Lent.  Sounds like a wonderful idea, right?  It was an incredible idea, and since I love to make lists and have contests, I also got my mom and aunt involved and we had a contest to see who could get rid of the most stuff.  I won (I normally do, I am insanely competitive), but I did not get 40 bags.  Not that I don't have 40 bags of stuff to get rid of, I just got really busy and then had pneumonia.  The object is not to just throw away 40 bags of stuff, but to really look at what you have and decide what you need versus what could bless someone else and get rid of things to charity, consignment, or trash. 
     I really loved this idea, and I am going to make a game of it over the summer with the kids.  I am going to call it "A Summer of Simplifying" and the object is to find one thing each day to bless someone else with and one thing each day that goes in the trash or recycling.  I think the kids will really like it, and I am going to get some boxes from my grandfather's grocery store that we can pack things in and then take them at the end of each week.  I think this will be a great way to not only get rid of some of the massive amounts of stuff we have in the house, but also help them think more about what they really need versus the extra stuff.  It will also help in preparation for their birthday in August since nothing else is coming in until some stuff goes out.  I am really looking forward to sharing the idea with Mr. B and the kiddos.  We will do a box for giveaways and a box for recycling, with trash just going in the regular can.  Any ideas for ways to decorate the boxes?
     In other updates, Alyssa has started playing softball, and for the few weeks that dance, softball, church activities, and school are all overlapping, it is kinda crazy around here.  B is having a blast, just being normal B.  That kid is crazy and inquisitive and it really fills my heart to watch him knowing how sick he was when he was little.  Mr. B has been working a lot, as have I and we are just trying to muddle through getting things paid off.  Lots of medical bills are still calling, but hopefully once we get them all paid off, things will be better.  We have a new addition to our family.  Her name is Daisy Mae and she is a lab/weimaraner mix (we think) and is about 16 weeks old.  She is lots of fun and the kids are absolutely in love with her. 


Saturday, April 14, 2012


Well, for someone who was planning on blogging at the very least once a week, I am still having issues remembering to get on here and blog.  I really shouldn't say issues remembering to get on here, I think about it, but it is when I am in the car or at work and can't blog.  Anyway, I have been reading lots of blogs and noticing lots of statuses on Facebook, and I can't help but be surprised at some of the things I am seeing.  Some of the nastiness I expect, it is an election year and I do have friends that can't seem to remember what our mamas taught us about not talking politics.  Some of this is a little more unexpected though and as been very disappointing.  I am opinionated.  Always have been.  I also tell the truth with my opinions.  Most of the time I try to be nice about it, but if you ask my opinion, then be assured that you will get it.  That being said, I respect the fact that there are opinions out there that aren't mine.  Granted, they are wrong (LOL), but they do exist.  What I have been surprised at lately though is the amount of people who are using Facebook and blogs to state opinions or rants that are hurtful.  Writing about how wrong it is for people to be overweight, that you are a better mom because you don't use Pinterest, even things as mundane as food preferences are turning up on my feed as people not  just saying that they prefer carrots over broccoli, but that they don't know how anyone could be so dumb as to prefer broccoli over carrots.  I am a little confused at what point we lost the common courtesies of the world and gave over to this self-centered world.  Have we become a society that is so focused inward on ourselves and the petty little things that are going on that we can't even see what else is going on? 

This may seem like I am doing exactly what I am unhappy with, but I write this more as a question.  I don't want to raise my kids to be selfish, I want to raise them to be selfless.  Thinking I was doing just that was going pretty good until Easter, when A started fussing that the Easter Bunny didn't bring her enough.  Looks like we will be spending a little more time discussing how very blessed we are.  We have been working on trying to simplify more and spend more time together, and going into the summer, when kids are out of school and sitting around waiting on something to do (yes, I know this isn't always true), how can we focus some of that attention on doing for others, as well as keeping up with some of their own stuff?  I think my next several blog posts will be some ideas on how to do that in our everyday lives.  Not how to do a huge project that will take a day or a week, but how to consistently do something that will benefit others daily.  If you have any thoughts, shoot them my way. 

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Slacker, yep I know it

Did you ever hear that saying "The best laid plans go to waste?"  Well, that is what I have been operating under lately.  Between computer problems, things being busier than normal, and just plain exhaustion, I didn't make it to cook from Pinterest and blog it for the whole month of February.  We did make some amazing things and learn some new recipes throughout the month, so it wasn't a total loss.  As much as I would love to say that I cooked everyday and just forgot to blog, I can't even say that I did that.  Oh well, I guess I will have to try again when things settle down some. 

Since I haven't updated on everyone around here lately, I thought I would do that today.  The kids are getting bigger everyday, and it amazes me to look at them and see their personalities developing.  David added a new job skill this past week, as he has now been paid to speak at a conference, and has another one coming up this summer.  I am so proud of him.  B has been plugging along in his schools, and is really learning so much.  He is such a fun kid and I laugh every time he is around.  Alyssa is getting so big and I can hardly believe she is 8 and almost done with 3rd grade.  I coached her Upward  basketball team and had an absolute blast.  Apparently she did too, because she has asked me to coach her team again next year.  It was lots of fun, and although I haven't played basketball since middle school, I think I did an okay job coaching the team and taught them all something. 

I don't normally really update about me, but I have news that is just too exciting to not share.  I have been hired to teach at a local community college in the fall.  The lady in charge of the criminal justice department has actually changed the class so that I can teach it and continue my work at the church.  I am so excited and I can't wait to get started putting my class info together!!

I guess that is about all that has been happening around here.  Hopefully, I am going to get into a routine and be able to blog more often, at least that is my goal.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Days 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18

I know, I got really busy and forgot to blog, but we have still been at the eating from Pinterest challenge.  I will try to get some pictures up later, but I wanted to get the list of what all we made up on here now since I had a quick minute.

Day 13 we made Strawberry heart-shaped Oreos.  They were so good and super easy to make.  Just take a strawberry cake mix, 3/4 cup shortening, and 2 eggs and mix them together until you have a stiff batter.  To make hearts, roll them into little balls and then stick two balls next to each other and squish the bottoms together.  For the icing, take 1 block of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter, a little vanilla, and 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix them together.  The original recipe came from here.  Everybody that had one of these loved them.  The only issue I had was that the second egg I broke had twin yolks, so the batter wasn't quite as stiff and the hearts ended up kinda looking like rear-ends.  Oh well, they were still good and everybody at the office loved them.

Day 14 we actually made two different pins because I knew we wouldn't be able to do anything the next day.  We started off with Red Velvet Pancakes with Sweet Cream Cheese Topping.  They were really good, but the kiddos didn't like them.  David loved them and the ladies at work loved them.  Super rich and decadent, and definitely more of an adult breakfast.  This pin initially came from recipegirl.com  For dinner I decided to go all out for Valentine's Day and we had Filet with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce, loaded Baked Potatoes, and salad.  My family loves steak and this was so good!!  Even better was the fact that there was enough steak left for two steak salads for me and my mom at work on Saturday. 

Day 15 we were super busy and I didn't feel good, so quick breakfast, lunch at school and work, and dinner at church for everyone. 

Day 16 brought some more help from David and he made me white chocolate macadamia nut cookies(we made some of the ones in the roll on the night we met).  Here is the original recipe he used, but instead of using 1/2 cup shortening and 1/4 cup butter, he just used 1/2 cup of butter.  He shaped it into a big heart and made me a great big cookie cake out of it (I know, you're jealous).  Here is the recipe link.

Day 17 was another crazy busy day, and we just didn't get anything made.  I worked all day and then we had Alyssa's Upward Basketball Celebration. 

Day 18 is getting ready to come out of the oven as I type.  David has made something we found on Pinterest and have made several times in the past month or so.  Frito's Chili Cheese Pie is quickly becoming a family favorite and since it is all cold and wet (apparently Snowmageddon is going to hit Tennessee tonight), we thought this would be a good one.  The original recipe comes from sweet treats and more and my amazing husband has made it all tonight. 

The next week looks to be lots of fun with a couple things winding down and the kids being out on Winter Break and Handbell Festival at the end of the week.  I love bell festival and look forward to it every year.  Don't forget to enter for the giveaways!! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 12 - Long Boy Burgers

Tonight we made Long Boy Burgers.  This is probably the first recipe that I have pinned that I relly feel like I need to tweak quite a bit.  David and the kids liked it, but I felt like it was slightly dry and needed a little more flavor in the burger part itself.  It was good, but I think it could be really good with just a little bit of tweaking.  Without further ado, here are the pictures from tonight's dinner.  Long Boy Burgers, macaroni and cheese, and fries.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Days 9, 10 & 11

After a few brief days of being so busy I haven't had time to blog, I am finally gonna be able to get caught up.

Day 9 was Thursday, and we had a great day planned, but the temperature was beginning to turn cold again, so I broke out the crock pot for a Chicken Cream Cheese Chili that really hit the spot when we got home Thursday night.  I had to work at my family's store on Thursday, then come home and do some design work for some graduation invitations, so having dinner ready and waiting was really nice.

On Day 10, I actually didn't cook anything.  Not to worry, David cooked up a Pinterest recipe that we had tried previously for him and the kids while I was working in the kitchen at an American Cancer Society function.  He made the Chicken Roll Ups things that have quickly become a fan favorite at our house.

Today, we tried to go all out and do a Pinterest recipe with whatever we had on hand (I haven't made a big grocery trip in about a week and a half, so this was actually harder than it may seem).  We ended up making Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Fruit Salad, a regular tossed salad, rice, and a roll.  Everybody was looking for more chicken, so I am sure this will become a new weeknight staple.  The chicken took about 30 minutes start to finish and the fruit salad was ready in about 5 minutes.  Now a few pictures of Day 11.
 Mayo and Parmesan Cheese mixed together
 Chicken ready to be covered in mayo & cheese mixture
(We lined the pan with parchment paper to make for easier cleanup)
 Got the wet stuff on, just waiting on the dry
Ready for the oven with the Panko crumbs and Italian Seasoning
 Ingredients for the Fruit Salad
 Fruit cut and in the bowl
 Fruit Salad
Chicken's Done
David's Beautiful Salad 
 Chicken over Rice
 My plate, YUMM-O!!
 What better to complement dinner than a big glass of sweet tea!!
 Alyssa is ready to eat!!
So is B!!

As a reminder, I am gonna have a cooking themed giveaway as well.  I will take all the comments during each week of February and use random.org to generate a winner once a week, so the more you comment, the higher your chance of winning.  So, one entry per comment, one entry per person you send to the blog (they have to comment and let me know you sent them), one entry per follow (either Pinterest or the blog), and one entry per pin (just pin my blog on Pinterest and let me know in the comments section).  Hope everyone enjoys the month of fun new recipes.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Days 7 & 8

Days 7 & 8 have been a little rougher and more different in the recipes that I have made.  Yesterday, on day 7, I made homemade taco seasoning.  I doubled the recipe and probably have enough to be equal to 9 or 10 of the seasoning packets.  It was super easy and we tried it out immediately on our nachos.  They were really good, and had more flavor in the ground beef than what is normally there from the packets.  I also tried an idea I saw on a pin where you layer your chips, then lettuce, then tomatoes, then meat, then cheese, then sour cream and salsa.  This is so you eat more of the veggies and less of the fats.  I also made the nachos with lean ground beef so that there was even less fat in it.  Today's recipes were made for the kiddos lunches.  Both of them got peanut butter and jelly rollups that I found on a healthy lunches pin.  We have been using tortillas instead of bread for our lunches lately instead of bread and the kids have really seemed to be eating their lunches better.  B's lunch gets packed every day and Alyssa's gets packed every once in a while.  They both really seem to like the switch to tortillas and it is a slightly healthier choice than the white bread we were using previously.  It has been a really long day, but before I hop off here for the night, I need to name my first weekly winner.  The winner for February 1st - 7th is Susan. 

As a reminder, I am gonna have a cooking themed giveaway as well.  I will take all the comments during each week of February and use random.org to generate a winner once a week, so the more you comment, the higher your chance of winning.  So, one entry per comment, one entry per person you send to the blog (they have to comment and let me know you sent them), one entry per follow (either Pinterest or the blog), and one entry per pin (just pin my blog on Pinterest and let me know in the comments section).  Hope everyone enjoys the month of fun new recipes. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Days 5 & 6

Believe it or not, I did actually continue on my challenge, just didn't have a chance to post the last two days worth of Pinterest cooking.  For Super Bowl Sunday, we went to my Mom's house and took some finger foods.  That night I made the Bacon Crisps and Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies.  On Monday, I got up and made an awesome Smoothie and put a pork roast in the crock pot to make the Slow Cooker Parmesan Honey Pork Roast.  The Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies are amazing and so customizable.  We did Yellow cake mix with Heath bits.  I would love to say that the Bacon Crisps were a hit as well, but apparently the oven didn't get cooled down enough from the cookies and they were beyond crispy.  I will be trying those again soon to see how they actually taste.  The roast was wonderful and both kids are asking for that one again.  The smoothie was pretty good, but I forgot to freeze my banana, so it was not quite as frozen as I would have liked.  I took some pictures, but will have to put them up tonight when I get home.  Hope you are enjoying the challenge as much as I am.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 4 - Italian Crescent Casserole

What started out as a fun way to work myself up to the bigger challenge of cooking my way through a cookbook has turned into something much bigger for my family.  We have been trying new (and healthier) things to eat and spent more time together at our table than we have in a long time.  Having the meal planned out has also allowed me to clean the kitchen as things cook and save some money on groceries.  I am really enjoying this challenge and our children have started getting excited about what we are going to try new each day. 

On to today's new recipe from the wonderful world of Pinterest.  Tonight we had Italian Crescent Casserole, corn, and salad.  Here is the pin and the original recipe for the Italian Crescent Casserole.  I made two slight modifications to the recipe.  I did not put the Basil on it (I thought I had some and had run out) and instead of a cup of pasta sauce, I used a whole jar (I forgot to read how much).  Although I love sauce, it made the bottom crust a little soggy.  It was very good even with my two mistakes and both kids cleaned their plate again tonight.  I didn't take very many pictures tonight, but here is the finished product.

Tomorrow's recipes won't be for a full meal.  It is three different things that we are taking to a Super Bowl Party and a recipe for a smoothie tomorrow morning that I am planning on drinking after I work out. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 3

Today it happened.  I was tired, cranky, and had too much on my plate.  I wanted to drop by a fast food joint for dinner so badly, but wanted to folow through on my challenge, so here it is.  The menu for tonight that I am absolutely stoked that I made.  We did have some leftover corn salad from last night and some broccoli as veggies, but the two new Pinterest recipes were Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken (less than 30 minutes from package to table and amazingly good) and 7-Up Biscuits.  I do realize that the Chicken doesn't sound like it would be good, but this may be my new favorite way to fix chicken.  I did do a little better at getting pictures tonight, so here they are.

 After tossing the garlic, olive oil, and brown sugar in the skillet to make the garlic tender, you pour it over the chicken.  The recipe calls for chicken breasts, but I use chicken tenders because they tend to be more moist and are also easier to get better serving sizes for kids.
 Flour and sour cream mixed together for the biscuits
 The biscuits before I put them in.  They would have been more uniform if I had rolled them out and cut them, but it worked really well to just do it with my hands.  It didn't change the cook time and was a whole lot less mess.
 The chicken after I had dipped David and B's plates.
 Finished biscuits.  They were so good and the size of my fist.
 Finished plate with the corn casserole.
Another view of my plate.  Not a lot of color, but when I put the broccoli on it was pretty.

I hope you are enjoying some of these recipes.  The biscuits took about 20 minutes total to make, and the chicken took about 30 minutes total.  I made the sauce for the chicken and poured it on the chicken and left it sitting while I mixed the biscuits.  Put the chicken in and then dropped the biscuits and put them in.  It was all done at the same time and the kids both ate their whole plateful.  Finished it off with some Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies that we ate while they were still warm and already got the kitchen cleaned up, too.  Definitely a good ending to a frustrating day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 2 - Chicken Tacos, Corn Salad, and Strawberry Skewers

Well, although today didn't kick off quite as planned, but I still managed to cook dinner made totally off of Pinterest.  I threw chicken, salsa, taco seasoning, and cream cheese in the crock pot before work this morning in preparation for the chicken tacos.  I was running a little bit behind, so I just tossed the rest of the stuff for dinner that I had grabbed at the grocery store this morning in the fridge.  I was rushing, but still managed to get a couple of pictures this morning as I was tossing it all in the crock pot.

 Salsa and taco seasoning
 Mix and add a block of cream cheese
Toss the chicken on top, put the lid on, head out the door.

Unfortunately, these were the only pictures that I managed to get.  I ended up going back by work after I picked the kids up, so I called David with the recipe for the corn salad and I made the strawberry skewers when I got home.  By the time I was done, Mom, Dad, and my little sister, Lindsay were here for dinner and we all sat down and pigged out.  I didn't think about taking pictures until we were all done and David was cleaning up.  It was incredibly good, and everybody cleaned their plates, kiddos included. 

Here are the pins I used today:
Chicken Tacos
Corn Salad
Strawberry Skewers (Not really a recipe just a picture I saw pinned and changed the kind of cake used to pound cake)

I will be back tomorrow night with another round of recipes and results!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 1 - Rainbow Pancakes

My month of pinning, cooking, and blogging has started off with a bang!! I got up this morning so excited to be starting on my personal challenge project and having fun all month long.  I decided that since we have church activities, work, and school all day on Wednesdays, the perfect way to start this little challenge was with a fun breakfast recipe. 

 I used this recipe for old fashioned pancakes and added food coloring.  Here is where I pinned the idea, but the original idea came from iambaker.net.  This is my first attempt at cooking and photographing it, so hopefully it will get a little better as we go along.

My little helper, B.  He loves to make coffee for me in the mornings. 
 Just one more minute, Mom!
 Ingredients I forgot to take a pic with the flour in there, but yes, the time does say 6:39. 
No wonder I forgot the flour pic.
 Dry Ingredients after being sifted
 I added the egg, milk, and melted butter. 
( Make sure your butter isn't still really hot or it will cook the egg)
 I divided my batter into 4 bowls and added food coloring, this was the blue one.
 (I added more blue food coloring after this picture was taken to get a brighter color in the end)
 The blue ones cooking on my griddle.  Aren't they pretty?
(By this point, B was dancing around the kitchen and very excited about eating colorful pancakes)
 Alyssa's finished plate with the little pats of butter and swirly syrup.
B's finished plate.  He said his was a "mixed-up rainbow on a plate." 
Gotta love that kid and what he comes up with.

All in all, I would call this first day a rousing success.  Both kids were happy, David liked them, and they were made with love.  I may make some red heart ones for Valentine's Day breakfast.