Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feelin' the Christmas Love Until Valentine's Day!

The Christmas decorations have been packed away for almost a month now.

Except for the Christmas cards.

I just can't bear to put them away!  I have them displayed on a large stretch of wall that I walk by a million times a day.  I love seeing the smiling faces all day long of so many people that I love.

And so, I've made the executive decision to display Christmas cards until... Valentine's Day!  It's the holiday of looovvve, so why not have a daily reminder of the people God's put in your life to love?

And besides... um... I *still* haven't sent out our Christmas New Year's Valentine's Day cards, and I know there are others out there who intend to send them out as well, and so I will keep them up while I wait for them in the mail.  And for those reading this who have yet to receive our card, you need to know that being nixed from next year's Christmas card list would break my heart and is among my biggest fears.

Okay, that might be just a little exaggeration, but I do love getting your cards.

When I took down all the Christmas decorations, I switched out the red velvet ribbon I had the pictures hanging from for a simple piece of twine.  Now it seems less Christmasy.  I think next year I'll use these teensy little cute clothespins since they'd be less distracting. And I might need to add another row.  It's getting crowded!

Gary and I made a sign to display over our cards.  It says, "I thank my God every time I remember you." (Philippians 1:3)  At Christmastime, it's perfect with sprigs of holly and pinecones garnishing it, but take them off and... voila!  A perfect way to display cards through Valentine's Day.

When I finally do take down the cards, I think I might make one of these ideas that I found on Pinterest.

These prayer sticks are such a cute idea... if I can get the guts to cut up the beautiful pictures!

But if I chicken out, I love the idea of these little books.  The link will take you to printable covers to make your own.  Love it!

Are you still displaying your cards?  Do you think I'm just in denial and will display them until Mother's Day after I've finally sent out May Day cards?  What do you do with old Christmas cards?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When massages go bad

The girls' latest bedtime stalling technique?

Nightly massages.
I mean, how are you supposed to stop them mid-backrub and send them to bed?  Smart girls.

They start by laying out a big, soft blanket and put pillows side by side, right next to the warm fire.  Then they instruct us to lay down so the massage can begin.  Seriously!  I'm supposed to deny them this loving, selfless act of service?  ;)

So there we were the other night, getting our romantic couples' massage.  Emma hit this spot that was just right.  I groaned a blissful groan.

That's all it took for the massage to take a quick turn.  Addie lit up and exclaimed, "Let's see what noises DAD can make!"  And with that, she gave his back a few good rubs and soon she was delighted to hear a deep, "HUBBA HUBBA!"

His outburst was met with uncontrollable giggling.  Next, Emma couldn't wait to see what sound I would make.

Oh, there it was.  That spot on my left shoulder.  "Aaaa-OOOOOO-gah!"  Mimicking an old-timey car horn brought on squeals of laughter.

Daddy was next.  "Sweet Betsy!!!"  I'm pretty sure Addie fell off his back at that one.

Our soothing massages were no longer relaxing, but had turned into a competition of ridiculousness.

"Ohhhhh yeah!"
"Sweet mother of pearl!"

It's hard to believe they were wound up when we finally ushered them up to bed, isn't it?

In these moments of delirious laughter, I am so in love with my family.  Thank you, Lord, for those fun, unexpected minutes before bedtime!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pinterest Dinners By a Former Idiot

A common evening conversation:

Gary:  "What's for dinner?"
Me:  "Something new!  I'm trying a new recipe!"
Gary:  [all color is washed from his face and panic sets in.]  "Oh."
Me:  "Get excited!  Yipppeeeeee!"
Gary:  [ulcer begins to form over aforementioned new recipe]

The last two nights for dinner, I tried new recipes from Pinterest!  Gary was so thrilled.

Sunday night I tried the Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin.

Picture and recipe from ww.candcmarriagefactory.com

It was so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o good.  Everyone liked it and I've been given permission to make it again.

What I'd do differently:
1.  The recipe says to cook it in the crock pot for 6-8 hours.  I tasted a little at 7 hours and it was perfect.  In my crock pot, 8 hours made it just a little bit too dry.
2.  Also, an hour before it's finished, you're to brush on the glaze.  At that point, I poured out the fatty juices/water in the bottom of the crock pot.  No no.  I shouldn't have done that.  It probably contributed to the touch of dryness when it was finished.
3.  I wish I would've either made more glaze or saved some to serve with the pork upon completion.

But it was still really, REALLY good.  I'll definitely make it again.  Easy and yummy!

Last night I made Crockpot Italian Chicken.

Picture from homeiswheretheholmansare.blogspot.com

Looks good, right?  Well, Pinterest is a funny thing.  I kept seeing this recipe pop up, so I decided to finally click on it an make it.  The blurb under the picture gives crockpot directions:
4 chicken breasts, 1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning, 1 8 oz. cream cheese (softened), 2 cans cream of chicken soup; Cook on low for 4 hours. If sauce is too thick, add a little milk. Serve over pasta.
Perfect!  But when you click on the picture, it's a totally different recipe.  It's for White Cheddar Chicken Pasta.  Hmmm.  So I made the crockpot version (which is not pictured, by the way), and my family liked it and has requested it for future dinners.  I thought it was okay, but I'm really curious about the recipe that's actually pictured.  I'm putting it on my to-try list!

And not to worry:  Even though I've critiqued a few recipes, this is not turning into a recipe blog.  I've said it a million times, and Gary's panic over a new recipe proves it - I'm not really a good cook. At all.  

See Exhibit A:

I bought this 2 weeks before my wedding day, when it dawned on me that I'd be cooking for someone THE REST OF MY LIFE and I'd only really made chocolate chip cookies and cereal.  I was scared out of my mind, and wishing I'd paid attention when my mom was trying to teach me to cook.

I still use the receipt as a bookmark.

Fast forward 12 1/2 years, and I can proudly say that my husband is still alive; I have neither starved or poisoned him.  I still don't claim to be a great cook, but I've come a long way.  In fact, I'm ready to get rid of this book... but I can't.  I'm kind of sentimental like that.  

What Pinterest recipes have worked for you lately?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

wiww {8} {on saturday?}

First of all, I'M OKAY.

That last post was a tad emotional.  I felt like I was a weepy mess all day, and while I really feel like there's never a need to justify or explain away any tears for any reason, I can admit that there may have been just a teensy weensy little touch of *MPS that came into play.  (*I've scrambled the letters so ordinary people will have no idea what I'm talking about!  Sneaky.)

That darn MPS.  It makes intensifies everything.

Moving on...

I'm a few days late in joining the wwiw party over at The Pleated Poppy, but better late than never.  I only have pictures from one day...

This is what I wore to church last Sunday.
dress - Old Navy
leggings - WalMart
cardi - Kohl's
boots - DSW
belt - very old, no idea where it's from
necklace - made by me!

But I got home from church and immediately changed into this:


Okay, so I probably wouldn't have posted wwiw this week since I'm so behind, but I just had to share my Broncos love.  Because, as you've probably heard, they WON on Sunday!

And I'll admit - I've worn the hat 4 times in the last week, and I'm wearing the exact same outfit at this very moment, because they play TONIGHT!

(Yep, I know it's all backwards.  Thank you, webcam!)

Kick off in 1 1/2 hours!  GO TEBOW!  GO BRONCOS!

Updated to say:  BUMMER.  Love my Broncos anyway!

(They probably didn't wear any Broncos gear.  Just sayin'.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The kids are finally in bed, and I just collapsed on the couch for the first moment of not being "on" all day.

And the tears started coming.  I've been a little weepy all day, in fact.

I cried first thing this morning when I received sweet emails from a friend who I miss so much.

I cried when I remembered that one year ago today, I received news that my friend Joanne had had a life-changing stroke.  And I cried when I thought back on the past year.  Tears of thankfulness that she's still with us, and tears of compassion for the trials she's endured this year.

I cried out of frustration mid-morning when Chloe would not stop crying and throwing herself on the floor in fits.  I felt like such a big baby crying right along with her, but I was at a complete loss.  I was probably the one who really wanted to take a nap at that point, but decided to put her down instead.  Lucky girl.

I cried when Gary called home late this morning.  Poor Gary, he didn't say a thing to earn those tears.  Those ones just happened.  I tried to explain why I was crying, and he responded with, "You want out of our family?  Our marriage?  Out of being a mom?  I don't understand..."  I smiled through my tears and said, "Nooo, not 'I want out' - I'm WORN out!"  BIG difference!

But then I cried again after lunch as I helped a new friend process her grief after losing her baby recently when she was 18-weeks along.  My tears were stirred by memories of my own baby Joshua, and for the heartache I know she feels.

I cried later this afternoon when parenting seemed too much to handle.  I feel so inadequate to do this mom thing sometimes.

I cried when Gary stopped by home in the midst of his busy Wednesday and helped me deal with our kids for a few minutes.  Tears flowed as I watched one of my beloved children wrestle with matters of the heart.  Oh, how I need the Lord's strength and direction with this little one.

Finally, just before I set out to tell this tale of my tears, I read another message from a friend.  This time, tears of joy came as I read great news of a sustained pregnancy.  Tears filled my eyes as I thanked the Lord for answering prayer in bigger ways than we imagine.

I'm glad today is just about over, because I'm a little tired of all the crying.  I wouldn't even say it was a bad day.  It was just a day filled with reminders over and over again of how we just can't do life without Jesus.  Just can't.

And now, I'm thankful that tomorrow is a new day.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22, 23

Friday, January 06, 2012

When One Pin Leads To Another

When I joined Pinterest, one of the first things I pinned was a delicious, cheesy chicken enchilada dish.  In fact, it looked so yummy that I pinned it again a few weeks later without realizing it.  It's on my "Oh My Yumminess" board twice.  Here's the picture and link to the recipe:  White Chicken Enchiladas.  
Source:  www.joyful-mommas-kitchen.blogspot.com

Anyway, I made it last night!  
I thought it was really yummy, although I might add more green chiles next time.  Gary thought it was just okay.  Chloe devoured it.  

Emma loved it:

And Brody loved it too:

Addie... not so much:

She did NOT like it, and made it quite clear to us.  In our house, you eat what's served, or you don't eat.  No alternatives, not even PB&J as a back up.  

So we compromised, which is when Pinterest came to the rescue.  I had seen this idea about a month ago:

Source:  www.realsimple.com

The number on the dice is the number of bites you take.  Easy.  

And so we got the die (lucky for her we could only find one) and she rolled her fate.  

And when she wasn't happy with that, she rolled again.

And again until she got the ONE.  And that's when Gary and I made the decision to add all of the numbers up and told her she needed to take EIGHT bites before being finished.

I chose not to take a picture of the ensuing melt-down.

Speaking of Pinterest... need an invite?  Give me your email address and I'll send you one!  Also, you can follow my boards here!


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