My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Working Momma Recipes

I went back to work outside the home this week. I am now a CIA at my girls' school. It is fun. And exhausting. And exciting. And chaotic. And stressful. And...I love it.

I love being on a schedule and getting up before the fam and having quiet time and being ready before anyone else gets up. I love being in the same building with my girls and getting hugs in the hallway. I love that I have a job that is on the same schedule as my kiddos; I go in when they do and walk out with them, and I'm off on the days they are off.

I don't love being completely pooped when I get home at three o'clock. But I have discovered that I have energy to get through the night on the days I work out after school. But I have also discovered that working out is hard because my classes are at 4 and 5 pm, right when we are normally fixing and/or eating supper.

I have also discovered that the crock pot is my very good friend. And a crock pot meal that can lead to several more meals is an even better friend. And, this week I am thankful for Ree Drummond, who gave me three recipes in one. And I added a few twists of my own; so, I had five days of meals from one crock. Woot woot!

Tuesday night I soaked a pot of black beans. Wednesday morning I put the soaked beans in the crock pot. Since that day we have used the black beans to make three-bean chili, chili/chips/cheese, taco pizza, and black bean veggie wraps.

Here are the recipes I've used:

Black Beans

Three Bean Chili

Taco Pizza with my go-to quick and easy pizza crust recipe

Black Bean Veggie Wraps with Mango Guacamole

This week is:

Monday: left-overs from our meal at the Olive Garden tonight

Tuesday: Potato/Sausage/Kale soup

Wednesday: left-over soup

Thursday: something with chicken

Friday: ???

This is my idea of a weekday dinner plan, which really means I have no plan other than for one night. Ha.

And in between working and trying to keep my family fed and clothed - preferably in clean clothes - we are building a house. We now have a basement. After this week we should have a foundation for our garage and front porch. And after next week, we should be framed!!!

One last funny thought from my G-girl I will leave with you this night...

We received a movie in the mail on Friday from Netflix. I thought I had ordered a movie the girls would enjoy: Little Women. I read the description to the girls:

"Louisa May Alcott's beloved novel comes to life in this sensitive, soulful adaptation. Four sisters and their mother battle life's vicissitudes in Civil War-era America after their father leaves to join the conflict."

Then I said, "Hmmm...maybe this isn't something you all would like."

G said, "It sounds real. And gray."

E and I cocked our heads. Then realization dawned on both of us at the same time. As I began to laugh, E said, "You mean black and white?" G laughed as she said, "Yes, I mean black and white."

Hahaha! I admitted it did sound real (non-animated) and gray (black and white). Love her little mind.

And...we rented Charlotte's Web.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wine or Whine

So, I got a two-fold lesson during my readings this morning. And I'm going to have to be quick about this because the girls and I have a breakfast date in less than an hour. But writing is remembering for me; so, I jot quickly.

First, Proverbs.

I have read this passage numerous times:

"If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. But since you rejected me...I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you..." (1:23-26).

And I have interpreted it thus:

Because I haven't listened to a particular instruction God has given me, I am unforgiven, unforgivable, and basically stuck in this pit of "disaster and calamity."

But today God helped me see a lie I have been believing, as I read on...

"...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm" (1:33).

Whoever listens. Whenever we listen. If we listen, these are the promises.

So maybe I haven't listened in the past. Maybe you haven't either. But we can listen today. We can gain peace for today. We can be at ease today. We do not need to fear that we will live in this pit forever. We can be out today.

Do not listen = disaster and calamity, distress and trouble

Listen = safety, ease, and no fear

What exactly have I been rejecting? 1) The power of His Word. The truth that the Word alone has the power to keep me out of  the pit. 2) The power of praise. The truth that my willingness to focus on God and his blessings (whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy), rather than my trials will bring joy and strength.

Then, I grabbed up Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest and read April 14. (So, I'm a little behind.) Here is what Chambers says:

"'Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth.' How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us into the place where we can have communion with Him, and we groan and say--'O Lord, let me be like other people.'''

[Boy, have I said this!]

He continues, "Jesus is asking us to take one end of the yoke--'My yoke is easy, get alongside Me nad we will pull together,' Are you identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God for the pressure of His hand.

"'To them that have no might He increaseth strength.' God comes and takes us our of our sentimentality [that is so me!], and our complaining [yep, me] turns into a paean of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and learn of Him. [The power of the Word.]

"'The joy of the Lord is your strength.' Where do the saints get their joy from? If we did not know some saints, we would say--'Oh, he, or she, has nothing to bear.' Lift the veil. The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are there is proof that the burden is there too. The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine;most of us see the wine only. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God in a human spirit, it is an inner unconquerableness.

"If you have the whine in you, kick it out ruthlessly. It is a positive crime to be weak in God's strength."

Wow. God's strength is available today. If I listen, believe, and refuse to whine in my circumstances.

So, here's what I concluded:

When Satan presses me with his lies with the intent to crush me, I can let him drive me to the pit or I can dig deeper into the rich soils of God's Word.

When God presses the grapes of my circumstances, out comes the wine or the whine. Which will I allow to burst forth today?

Satan presses = be crushed or dig on down into God's Word

God presses = whine or let Him bring forth the wine

Today I'm going to dig deep, offer praise, and let God make wine of life's bitterest grapes. Because I am clinging to this: What Satan intends for evil, God will use for good!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Thoughts

My house has come undone. 
There is at least a load of dishes on my counters and in my sink, if not two. 
I would not even want to count the loads of laundry waiting to be washed. 
And there is more waiting to be folded, or ironed, then put away. 
The bathtub is grimy from the dirt of feet that have run bare in the summer grass. 
And covers and toys and books are strewn everywhere. 
Oh, and I won't even mention the garden. 
But I will share a picture of the weeds, trying to catch up with our 9-foot-tall corn.

And still, I love it.

We have horse-riding lessons, 

a new piece of property to mow and weed-eat, 

books to read, movies to watch, parks to visit, 

ice cream to make, a volcano to explode, veggies to pick/cook/share, 

fireflies to catch, games to play, family and friends to visit, 
(here we are in Pop's pool with the cuz)

and our friends' pool that beckons every time the sun shines 
(which hasn't been often since we are experiencing record-setting rain falls for this time of year).

And while we are on the subject...
Big girl learned to swim yesterday! Yay!!!

I have three weeks until both of my babies go to school. Have I mentioned that my baby baby starts Kindergarten this year??? I can hardly imagine what I will do with 7 uninterrupted hours 5 days a week! I think I might cry for a few of them. But until then, we will laugh, play, swim, lie in pajamas all day, and dodge piles of laundry as we head out of doors to squeeze every last bit of fun out of our last three weeks of summer.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

We're building!!!

Eeeeek! Life is what I call fun-stress right now, as my man and I are pulling together all the paperwork, cost estimates, and ideas that are needed to build a house! It is an exciting, extremely stressful undertaking. We have argued, walked away, hugged, laughed, cried, made decisions, then chucked them. We are just about to the point of digging the footer and we have started questioning our house plan again! Nothing is final until it is set in concrete, my friends, and it is about to be set in concrete.

But tonight has been all about fun stuff...flooring, light fixtures, cabinets, shelving, etc. Here are a few of the ideas I'm loving...

First of all, flooring. The man and I both really want reclaimed barn wood flooring. But let's be honest, it is $$$$$$$$$$$$. We are thinking we may be able to at least lay it in the great room, but we'll see how the moolah is holding out when we get to that point. (And I laugh.)

In the bedrooms, I am thinking I may try something un-ordinary and extraordinary like this:

Plywood planks


As for the kitchen, he and I both had a strange vision that we could hardly believe had come to each of us individually: mix-matched cabinets, painted slightly different but in the same color family, to create a unique upcycled farmhouse look.

Here are three very different examples, but we love bits and pieces of each.

My favorite

My second favorite - Def want the butcher block top island and pan rack/light fixture!

My also-second favorite

And that's all for tonight folks. Just a few fun and fabulous photos for you. Ideas to become new realities soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hello Again

So, it's been a while. A long while. What can I say? Life has been happening? Yes. But more than that. I haven't felt the need to write. Or the freedom. 

Tonight I write in freedom. Not for anyone. Because I'm pretty sure no one is checkin to see if I write anymore. But just to record some thoughts. 

One. I'm still a constant contradiction. As, I'm realizing, most of us are. One day I'm sharing recipes for my homemade, whole foods, like chili powder, taco seasoning, tortillas, and bread. (I should add they were requested, not offered presumptuously.) And literally the same day I whip up a boxed chocolate cake mix with a can of chocolate icing (aka artificially colored soybean oil with high fructose corn syrup). The next day I labor over wholesome homemade sourdough bread then eat pork nachos for lunch. Nomnom. 

Two. I'm still learning (s l o w l y) what it means to live under grace and mercy. To act only by His strength and to forgive myself when I fall down and lose my patience with my babies, judge others for the very mistakes I make, act selfishly, think I'm better, aim for the wrong goals, fail to love well...

Three. I'm still learning to not take myself so seriously. I'm trying to laugh at my ridiculousness. Admit things aren't as big of a deal as I make them out to be. Admit I'm wrong. Say I'm sorry. Let loose. Make lemonade out of lemons. Case in point: I just ran through Kroger's parking lot in the pouring ran with my suede shoes in my hand. Yes, that would mean bare feet. G and I laughed the whole way. The sudden downpour could have ruined a pair of shoes. Instead it gave us a chance to splash barefooted in the rain. 

(And then some more when we all were home.)

Four. Life is still good. Very good. 

This weekend is Easter. The girls and I have had many discussions about the reason for this season. Lent. Palm Sunday. Resurrection Sunday. We've baked Resurrection rolls and an Empty Tomb cake (the said box mix), filled and hid eggs, and coloring eggs is still to come. 

Life is busy. And hard. Lived by self-imposed rules one minute, only to be broken the next. Full of thunderous, drenching downpours of mercy and grace and overflowing with reasons for laughter. Every second crammed with opportunities to taste and see that our resurrected Lord is good. 

Here's to celebrating Him this weekend. Happy Easter. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Remember this post: Teenage Clothes, Cholesterol, and Christmas?

I just read it again and remembered a conversation G and I had this week. It went something like this:

G brought me a barbie and asked, "Can you tie this?" referring to the halter neck ties.

Me: "Yes." And after I tied it, "You know...mommy would never let you wear a dress like this."

G: "I know, because it's too pretty."

(Ack!!! My five year old equates immodesty with prettiness.)

Me, emotions whirling, but trying to appear calm: "No, honey...because it isn't modest. See how tight it is? And how much skin it shows? You can look pretty and still be modest."

There was more to this convo, but you get the jist.

Afterwards, I was left feeling defeated. What have I taught my child? That pretty clothes are always immodest? That to be modest, you must not look very good. Unfortunately, I am a poor example of being modest AND pretty. I don't think yoga pants and long-sleeved tees qualify as pretty clothes in G's little mind - or anyone else's for that matter.

But then, what do I expect? Beautiful women all around us tend to display their bodies. How do we counter the message that society is sending: to be pretty, you must be immodest?

To be honest, I have tried to step it up a notch with my wardrobe. I want my girls to know that you can be presentable and still be modest. It's a struggle, one that will probably only get harder. And I know many of you out there can relate, especially those of you with teenagers. So, just know that this momma of a just-5-year-old and just-7-year-old is already feeling your pain. We are in the trenches together, sister.