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Snow and Cookies

I don’t know how Christmas is less than two weeks away.. but, it is. Where did the time go?  Thankfully, we are mostly done Christmas shopping. We have one gift left to get and then we are DONE.

Saturday morning, Scott asked if I wanted to make Christmas cookies. I had it written on my planner, and I’m thinking he saw it. I don’t have molasses to make gingerbread cookies, and couldn’t find my great grandma’s sugar cookie recipe. (I also cannot find a recipe that was handwritten by my grandmother, and cried a lot.. moving really is awful.)  I made some obscure cookies that my husband is thrilled about. haha!

First up was gooey butter cookies. I didn’t have yellow cake mix (seriously, I’m a mess) so I made them chocolate. Yum. This is all you need. A box of yellow cake mix (or chocolate), 8 oz of cream cheese, a stick of butter, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Bake them until they are dull but soft. Seriously.. these are the baking instructions I get from my mom. I understand them and can do them.. but if that doesn’t make sense to you, I’m very sorry. haha! There’s no egg, so you won’t get ill if they are “undercooked”.

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We also made some molten lava cookies. These are such delicious chocolate cookies that have melted chocolate in the center. I’ll have to share the recipe on here soon!

We also made some candy cane cookies, but I didn’t get any pictures of them. Any cookie that is a struggle to make will never have a picture taken. I’m too busy trying to resist the urge to throw the dough in the garbage. 😉

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It also snowed here. I have been really excited for snow during the day. If I don’t have to go out in it, I really love watching the snow from the comfort of my heated home. We have windows all around our main room upstairs; including sky lights. It felt like we were in a magical snow globe, and I loved it. It has been unseasonably warm here, so none of it stuck. The girls were disappointed, but Scott and I were not!

We still have more that we want to get done before Christmas. I still haven’t set up our village, which is mostly because I’m not sure where it will be safe. I HAVE to make sugar and gingerbread cookies before Christmas. It’s tradition.

We drove around for two hours last night looking at Christmas lights. The girls were pretty quiet since they were entranced by the lights. Harper also fell asleep, which helps the noise level. Driving around enjoying my husband’s company is the best. Magical Christmas lights make it 1000% better.

Are you ready for Christmas to be here? Are you done with your shopping, or do you still have quite a bit left?

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End of the Week Slump

Happy Friday!! How was your week? It’s been rough over here this week.

I have been battling one of my children all week about finishing school work. She has been finishing at dinner time.. seriously.. dinner.. hours after other kids are home from school she is still stubbornly fighting me.  Its no different than the parents whose kids battle them over doing homework. It’s just a struggle.

Yesterday was the first day she finished before dinner. I went to the post office to take care of an errand and then to steak and shake because.. well, HOLIDAY SHAKES. Apparently I shouldn’t have gone for the shakes because on my way home the van dinged at me about tire pressure.

No big deal, it does that sometimes with our front left tire. It says it’s a little lower than the others and then it adjusts and is fine. Our van has this cool feature where you can see the tire pressure in each tire. I kept driving and it dropped from 28 to 24. Hmm. Stop at a stop sign and it drops to 18. Shoot. Turn the corner and it’s 16. I roll the window down and hear air blowing. I get out and look and there is hole in the SIDE of the tire. A perfect circle. What on earth. I’m not THAT far from home.. maybe I can make it. Suddenly it drops to something like 9 PSI and I pull into a parking lot. I call Scott with no answer. My brother-in-law with no answer. My dad.. no answer. My mom..maybe she is with dad. No answer. COME ON, FAMILY!

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I walked home…leaving my milkshakes in the car because it was cold. I really wasn’t that far, but it was below freezing out and I was cold and incredibly frustrated. Christmas is soon and we still have one big gift to get. We were finally getting back on track after a difficult year and our stupid tire goes flat.

Scott walked to the van and put the spare on…and it was flat..  My dad showed up just in time to take Scott to get air in it. It all got taken care of and we have a brand new tire now. I’m still frustrated.. but I’m trying to focus on being thankful that I wasn’t any farther from home and that Dad was able to take Scott to get air in the spare.

I know that a flat tire isn’t that big of a deal. It could be so much worse. But, it’s been one of those years (the last few years have been) where every little thing goes wrong along with really major things happening. Everything just feels so unstable. I long for a little stability.

2018 will be better, right? I say that every year.

Moving on…  Look at this!

Gah. My heart. They grow up so fast. These little girls CANNOT wait for Christmas. Holidays get more and more magical every year. I can’t wait for Christmas either. But, wishing time away just makes them grow up faster. We have lots that we want to do before Christmas. I hope to do some holiday baking this weekend! There are so many Christmas cookies that we love to make, and the girls have lots of friends that they can give treats to.

I love this time of year.

I hope that all of your tires stay inflated and your weekend is slow and relaxing!

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Just Be

This was my day yesterday. I said that i was the day we were getting back into the grind after a long weekend. Nope. We got a slow start because the big girls slept in.. especially Chloe. They had a big day Monday, so I wasn’t surprised.When your child doesn’t wake up until 8, you get a much later start to the day.

We ate breakfast and were going to get started with school. I could see that one of the girls was really struggling. Addi had a REALLY rough day yesterday. Sometimes the enormity of what has been lost hits at very random times. I could see that we needed to slow down and just be. We snuggled on the couch all day watching Christmas movies and reading books. It felt really good.

Sometimes I think we need to pay closer attention. We are in tune with ourselves and realize when WE need a break. But, do we pay attention to our kids. They are little humans who are trying to figure out how to be people. They are figuring out how to deal with emotions and life. Sometimes we don’t show them any grace and we ignore the signs that they really need a little extra from us. Slow down, mamas. Pay attention and take a day to just be with your kids.

I am thankful that my husband works so hard so that I can stay at home and raise our daughters. I feel like I’m losing my mind a lot of every day. All stay-at-home moms do. But, I am grateful. Really really grateful. I haven’t missed a moment; good or bad.

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Weekend in Pictures

Happy Tuesday!! We had a bit of an extended weekend around here. Chloe took her turn spending the night with my mom and dad Sunday night into Monday. The past few months, she has ended up very upset at bedtime and has to call me to calm down. My mom let her invite Addi to come also, so they had time with Mimi and I had time with just Harper. It was a wonderful weekend; the first that Scott has had off in quite a while.

Friday evenings, we always make or order pizza and then watch a movie. We will obviously have Christmas movies on repeat around here.

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On Saturday, we had a full day. We went to the Christmas parade in town. My nephews were on the wrestling float and so stinking cute.

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Harper was holding her bag out before the parade even started. Girlfriend really wanted some candy. Chloe was the best big sister and gathred all the candy and filled Harper’s bag with candy she could have (dairy allergy). Cousin Eddie in the parade made my whole day.

The girls had their rehearsal for the Christmas program in the afternoon. After that, we went to Scott’s family Christmas/Thanksgiving party. I stayed up later to put  up some more decorations around the house. My bed was calling to me, and I was very thrilled to crawl under the warm covers and watch a Christmas movie.

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Harper was so tired she fell asleep on the way to church.

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Chloe and Addi had the church program Sunday night. Chloe had a line, and had been nervous for WEEKS leading up to it. She did such a great job and remembered all of her words. The girls sang their hearts out and I am so proud! This moment that I took a screenshot of may be my very favorite.

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The girls spent the night with Mimi and Papa. Mom had a full day planned with them on Monday. She sent me these pictures and my heart melted.

She taught them to sew with the sewing machine and made a gingerbread house. They went to the park and store and had so much fun. The girls couldn’t wait to show me their pillows and sleeping bags that they made for their Wellie Wisher dolls.  (Chloe’s / Addi’s)

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I basically snuggled with this peanut all day. It was a really perfect Monday!

We are back to the grind and dragging today, but our hearts all feel very full after a fun weekend full of family and fun activities.

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Weekend Links

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Happy December!! How on earth is it already DECEMBER?! This year has gone lightening fast.

This advent calendar is adorable. I’ve wanted to do an advent calendar for a while, but haven’t found the right one or the time. My girls would love this one.

This would smell SO good.

It’s time to stalk Jessica’s blog for all of the holiday inspiration. I love how she decorates her girls’ rooms each year. Mine would rip everything off the wall and destroy it.. so I’ll live vicariously through her..

Lists like this make me happy. Bring on all of the wellness information.

Wow.  (Our recycle bin got dropped off last week and I was giddy.)

If you need a laugh, read this.

 

It’s a short and sweet list today. I hope you have a good weekend. We have a FULL weekend ahead, and I already need a nap.

 

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Our Thanksgiving Menu

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Do you have your menu planned for Thanksgiving? It’s always really hard to narrow down what exactly to cook. I have had our menu set up for quite a while, because I am a planner. If you need some inspiration, here you go!

Appetizers:
Little Smokies
Gouda and White Cheddar Cranberry cheeses
Assorted crackers

Lunch:
Turkey (One smoked and one baked)
Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Green Beans (for those who hate casserole)
Sweet Potato Casserole
Mashed Potatoes and Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Rolls from scratch
Fruit Salad

Dessert:
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Silk Pie

 

Tomorrow, my mom and I are going to be baking our pies so that the ovens will be free for the rest of the goodies!

 

I would love to hear what is on your menu!

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Thankfulness and Finding the Good

Our autumn leaves have been so vibrant this month. I am loving it, and feeling a bit sad that they are quickly falling. Look at this picture from Saturday!

I didn’t use any filter.. it was super rainy and dreary, but they are still SO bright. Agh. Please never leave.

We also got some giant snow flakes on Saturday. What on earth? It was so gross outside, but I am so thankful to have a warm coat that keeps me super warm. If you are in need of a WARM and cute coat, go buy this!! Only, maybe wait for a better sale if you can? It’s not super puffy.. which I love. Who needs MORE fluff? Not me.

I am really excited for this week. I get to host Thanksgiving for my parents and Scott’s mom and brother. Our families have done SO much for us (especially this year) and it feels really nice to be able to do this… and to have our families together will be really special; especially this year.

We are really struggling with this being the first holiday without Papa here. They used to come visit for Thanksgiving really often, so it will be hard. We have a sketched picture of him in a frame. Addi made him a birthday hat when it was her birthday. He is now wearing a pilgrim hat. I think we’ll just dress him up for all of the holidays. If you think that its inappropriate, you really need to know him. He would have loved it.

We had our Thanksgiving feast at church yesterday. Our pastor has always allowed plenty of time for people to give testimonies of what the Lord has done in their lives. I wanted to so badly to say something, but every time I thought about it I would choke up.

My parents opened their home to my family without batting an eye. We gave them two weeks notice that we were moving in with them, and they went right to work making space for us and renting a storage unit for us to store our “life” in. They fed us and spoiled our girls rotten through a difficult transition. My mom helped me sew some projects I had been working on. We laughed and loved our time together. I miss sitting up at night chatting with my mom and dad. But, I live less than two miles from them and can go see them any time I want! I am always thankful for my parents, but especially grateful to them for this. My mom’s knee surgery went really well. She had surgery two weeks after Jim passed away. My uncle suddenly passed away after hip replacement surgery, so I was a nervous wreck. Not only did she make it through surgery well, but she is thriving with her recovery!  My dad had to have a heart cath and there was a possibility of more risky procedures on Friday. I was so worried, and am so thankful that everything went really well and he is feeling good.

My mother and father-in-law also played a huge role in helping us get back here while we are in this transitional time. This house we live in is all because of them. My father-in-law really fought hard to get us back to IL, and I am really grateful that he did. We got to spend his final months with him. We also got to be close enough to spend his final days with him; something I will never forget. They are some of the most selfless people, and have always done so much for us also. My mom-in-law has loved on the girls and been so strong through all that she has been through. I loved Jim dearly and love Denise dearly. I’m so thankful to have known them for the last 14 years.

My older sister stepped up for me and dropped everything to watch my girls while we dealt with a lot. She let us go on a date night. She let them stay for a sudden slumber party while we said goodbye to Jim. Her and my brother-in-law loaded up six kids and took them to a parade. They kept life fun and lite for our girls during a difficult time. Amy has brought me coffee and always stops by when I need a lift.

My younger sister had been farther away, but was a huge help. She has always been an encourager to me. She was always there when I would call or text her. She still is, even though she just went through a big move. Her move has gone much like ours did last year.. where everything goes wrong. But, she has continued to pray for me through it all.

Being close to family the last 6 months has been the biggest blessing.

I am so thankful to be back with our home church for this season. They truly are the hands and feet of God. They welcomed us back in as though we had never left.

This year has been hard. If I sit and list all of the reasons why 2017 has been awful, that list is long. But, the blessings really do outweigh the bad. It is just hard to see it sometimes. I will be glad to put this year behind us, don’t get me wrong. But, I am trying really hard to focus on all of the good. Because there is SO MUCH. I have so much to be thankful for, and I know that I am only scratching the surface with this list.

I pray that no matter how hard the year has been for you, that you can look for the good. If you are grieving and hurting, know that you are being prayed for.

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Thanksgiving Favorites- Crafts

Thanksgiving Favorites

I have little ones. Obviously. Crafts are our jam, and also the perfect way to entertain your littles while slaving away in the kitchen. Thanksgiving gets a little tricky to invite little ones into the kitchen. But, we let them help with the prep food days before.

I thought I’d share some of the Thanksgiving crafts and games that I’ve found around the Pinter-web. (Get it? Pinterest. Web. Yeah..)

Stuff the Turkey Game

Fabric Turkey Wreath– kids would love tying the knots on this one.

Pin the Gobbler on the Turkey

Don’t Topple the Teepee – we have tons of pencils.. easy peasy

Turkey Rocket Races

Turkey Windsocks

Make the Kids Table More Fun

 

Some of these would be really fun if you have a big group of kids at your house.

I hope you all have a fun and restful weekend before the official kickoff to the holiday season!

 

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Winter Wellness

Cold and Flu season is upon us. Holiday parties are coming where germs always abound. It’s the most stressful time of the year.. along with the most wonderful!

Usually, one of the kids will come home with the stomach bug; either from church or the store. We haven’t been to a holiday party in quite some time. I end up rushing to the store in a panic trying to get what we need. This year, I am determined to get a head start and not feel overwhelmed if/when sickness hits. I figured I’d share some things that I plan to stock up on to maintain our wellness this year.

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  1.  Fruits and Veggies– a healthy diet is obviously really important in maintaining wellness. This is the launching point. If you do nothing else to stay well, DO THIS!
  2. Probiotics– I am thinking I will give these a try for the girls. The best probiotics are typically  in dark jars that you have to keep in the fridge. We have limited refrigerator space, so this is the next best thing. Yogurt is also really great, but you have to watch the sugar content.
  3. Multivitamin– I have these for the girls. Most kids vitamins are full of junk. These have no artificial flavors or colors, just check out the label. I bought a vitamin from Sprouts earlier this year for myself, and got these for Scott.
  4. ElderberryThis combined with my essential oil regimine kept strep from spreading to everyone else in my house earlier this year. Amazon has a $2 off coupon for Zarbees right now!
  5. Vitamin D– I have never given my kids a vitamin d supplement, but realize how important it is for all of us. Most people are lacking vitamin D, so this is a great supplement for everyone; especially in the winter when you aren’t getting as much (if any) sunlight.

You should definitely check out Bridget’s homeopathic travel wellness kit. I saved her post immediately and have snagged a few of the items that she recommends. I always forget to pack anything for possible illnesses, and then stress when someone starts sniffling. I would definitely pack a thermometer. (This one is the best!)

Is there anything else that you would add? I am determined to stay well this year. We are under less stress and not moving, so hopefully that will help a lot!

 

It is worth noting that I am certainly not a doctor, and you should check with your doctor before taking anything.

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Colds and Contentment

Is anyone else late everywhere they go? I have NEVER been this person until recently. We are battling our children to get out the door. “You can’t wear flip flops, it’s cold outside.” “You need to wear leggings under that skirt, it’s cold outside.” “Harper, YOU HAVE TO WEAR A COAT TO THE CAR!” It goes on and on. I hate being late. It’s so disrespectful to everyone that is left waiting for you.

Our family is still fighting colds or some kind of allergies straight from Satan himself. Scott had a super sore throat yesterday and has been coughing like crazy. All of the girls have nasty noses. Mama is finally on the upswing other than the cough that never leaves. I still have been avoiding shaking anyone’s hand just in case I can pass something to them.

Yesterday, our pastor’s sermon was on contentment. Just hearing that word convicts me. I have been one angry person. I have been holding on to anger… anger over the way I have had to watch my husband be treated. Anger over my father-in-law passing away. Anger that I felt like God had abandoned us. Anger everywhere. Anger for things that I don’t share here. I haven’t been depressed.. I have been downright angry. That is a miserable place to be for everyone who has to come into contact me.

He asked us the question “What will be enough?” He told us to fill in the blank. “I will be happy when _____________” Everyone will answer that question differently. I challenge you to ask yourself the same question.

I realized that I needed to let go of all of the negative feelings that I have had this year. These trials have been heaped on my plate and they aren’t going anywhere. I have to deal with them or they are going to sit there and start to rot. It’s not going to be easy. This plate is pretty heavy with all of the stuff I haven’t wanted to face.

I got to test my contentment after church in a small way. I always have a meal ready in the crock pot (or Scott does if I am getting a slow start.. every sunday). I have a new crock-pot that I am still figuring out the groove of. When we got home, our meal was no where near done. I was really frustrated because there wasn’t a back up. We needed to run some errands and everyone was hungry. Scott told me that it was fine.

We packed our family up and went out for Culver’s. I’ll be honest, I dread eating out with my kids because it’s usually chaos, but I’m trying to shift my attitude. We had a lot of fun sitting at that oval table with our kids that don’t understand INSIDE voices. Everyone ate all of their food. We gave Harper some custard, so we will see how her dairy allergy is. (The only way to test with FPIES is to feed her some.) So far so good.

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Fun fact: This Culver’s is where my first job was. I got to be in the building before it ever opened.

Will you pray for me as I deal with this attitude shift? Contentment is a struggle for me because I am an expert at the comparison game.

Friends, Monday is a great day to make a fresh start.