Category Archives: Holidays

Happy Birthday, Chubbs!

Today my youngest daughter, aka Chubbs, turns 8. I have been her Mom for a little over 7 years now, and it has been such a blessing. She is beautiful both inside and out. I pray that she has a life full of laughter and joy, that she sees the positive side in trying times, and that she shines bright with the light of God each and every day. We won’t be having her party until next week (today is our weekly swap day), so we will be celebrating 3 birthdays (Chubbs, Big Puppy, and mine) at once next weekend…hopefully we’ll have some awesome pictures!
Join me in wishing Chubbs a very happy birthday by leaving a comment below. Thanks & HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHUBBS! =)

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Whether you celebrate today with bunnies, baskets, eggs & candy, or with praise & worship that ‘He is risen!’, or both…I want to wish everyone a Happy Easter! Personally, we celebrate with both (with very minimal amounts of candy) since we have children, but we are sure to emphasize the real meaning of today.

Matthew 28:6 ~ He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

If you don’t have a church home, or would like to try something new, check out Brand New Church’s iCampus. Easter service times are today at 11:15am & 5:00pm CST.

Six Years Ago…

Six years ago today, I married my best friend. It was a chilly day, and I had mixed emotions since my grandmother had passed away the day before. I was crazy excited to be beginning a new life with this wonderful man, but sad that my grandmother was unable to share in my joy. I was glad to be able to share the day with a few family members and close friends though…it turned out to be a beautiful moment that is forever in my heart.

April 23, 2005

If it’s possible, I love him more today than the day I married him. I’m not saying that there haven’t been rough patches, but nothing God can’t handle. I can honestly say that I have never been happier with my life than I am now. We have grown so much together and I look forward to how much more we have to grow. Mostly I look forward to just living my life with this man, my best friend.

Our first dance...almost 6 years after our wedding and ironically at a wedding that isn't ours. =)

Happy Anniversary, Big Puppy. I am so excited about spending the rest of my life with you…what adventures we have in front of us! I love you.

Will You Marry Me?

I was awakened this morning by sweet kisses from my husband and him whispering ‘Will you marry me?’ in my ear. What a perfect way to wake up on our anniversary. 5 years ago, I made a promise to God to love, honor, cherish, and obey a man who is perfect for me.

I am so blessed that God chose this man for me to spend the rest of my life with. He is not perfect, but he is perfect for me. We’ve had ups and downs like any other couple, but I wouldn’t change a thing about the past 5 years.  I not only became a wife to this man, but a mother to his 2 daughters and he not only became a husband to me, but a father to my daughter.  And it has been/is amazing.  I love those girls like they’re mine and am now blessed to be called ‘Mom’ by 4 beautiful children.  He is a wonderful father & husband…I couldn’t ask for a better man.

I am the happiest I’ve ever been, and I am in love. Totally head over heals in love with my husband and look forward to celebrating 50+ more anniversaries with this wonderful man, my husband, my love.  Thank you, Baby, for the past 5 years. I love you.

The Beginning of a New Year

The beginning of a new year is always bittersweet to me. I reflect on all the great times we’ve had the past year, how much the kids have grown and changed, all the things I wanted to do but didn’t, and so much more. I then look at the blank canvas before me, and plan out the things I want to accomplish over the next year. I also begin to realize that my babies are no longer babies, and my heart aches…even though I understand this is the way life is, it doesn’t make it any easier. We, as a family, are setting goals (personal & family) rather than resolutions…pretty much the same thing, but if we call them resolutions we end up breaking them within a couple weeks and then feel like crap. We are still working out the details, and since Trinity is not here yet to share hers, I am not posting them yet. I am going to post them here to hold us accountable. I feel that if you don’t share what you want with others, you are less likely to actually do anything. I will say, I am aiming high this year. I know God has big plans in store for us as individuals, and as a family. 2010 is going to be a year of big change, and I am nervous about the unknown, but excited as well. We are extremely blessed, but I know it is nothing compared to what God wants to give us…we are constantly putting limits on Him, and this year it stops. Bring it on, 2010! I’m ready.

So, to start out the year, my prayer for all my family, friends, and readers is that you gain a passion. That you make a difference in someone’s life. That you are abundantly blessed, and choose to share that abundance with others. And that you thank and praise God for every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day of this new year…the beginning of a new decade.

Holiday Recipes…YUM!

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, and Christmas in barely a month, I thought it would be the perfect time to share a few of my favorite holiday recipes. =) These are recipes I have found and used over the years. I have no idea where I found most of them…backs of packages, online, magazines, etc., but none are originally mine. Of course I do tweak most of them due to my own taste or need to substitute an ingredient…if I do this, I will make a note.

Buttery Soft Crescent Rolls (Bread Machine)

1/2 C warm water
1/2 C warm milk
1 egg
1/3 C butter, softened
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 (1/4 oz.) package active dry yeast
1/4 C butter, melted

1. Place ingredients into bread maker in order recommended by manufacturer: water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast. Reserve additional butter (1/4 cup) for later.
2. Select dough/knead cycle and start. This cycle should mix dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush with additional butter.
4. Cut into 16 pie shaped wedges. Roll wedges starting with wide end into crescent shapes.
5. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and allow to rise for an additional hour.
6. Bake for 10- 15 minutes at 375°F or until golden brown.

*NOTE* One thing I love about these is you can make them bigger if you would like to use them for sandwiches. My husband loves to take these for his lunch filled with cheese and lunchmeat. YUM! They also freeze well.


Cranberry Mandarin Salad

1 (12 oz.) bag fresh cranberries
1 (15 oz.) can mandarin oranges
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. orange zest

1. In saucepan, place 3/4 bag of cranberries over med/high heat.
2. Add in liquid from mandarin oranges, grate in ginger & orange zest, add sugar.
3. When it starts to thicken, mash mixture until all berries are broken.
4. Add remainder of cranberries & cook until they start to crack.
5. Remove from heat, stir in mandarin oranges.
6. Chill and serve.
*NOTE* I have never used fresh ginger or orange zest. I use 1/2 tsp. ground ginger in place of 1 1/2 tsp of fresh, and I skip the orange zest all together. (I don’t have a zester.)

Fluffy Pumpkin Pie

2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant french vanilla pudding
1 1/3 C milk
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. pie spice
4 C Cool Whip
1 graham cracker crust

1. Add pudding to milk in bowl, and blend on low speed for 30 seconds.
2. Blend in pumpkin, spice and 2 cups Cool Whip.
3. Put in pie shell and chill for 4 hours.
4. Top with 2 C Cool Whip.

Egg-less Eggnog
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
6 C cold milk
1 1/4 tsp rum flavored extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix w/ 2 C of milk, allow to chill for 5 minutes.
2. To the mix, stir in rum extract and nutmeg, then slowly mix in the remaining 4 C milk until the mixture is a thick but drinkable consistency.
3. Chill until ready to serve.
(I can’t seem to find pictures of anything except the Cranberry Mandarin Salad, so I will be sure to take pictures of the other recipes this year and update this post!)
I will post more holiday recipes as I make them…I plan to make all the above recipes for Thanksgiving, so I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! =) Happy Thanksgiving!

Adventures w/ the Fam ~ Part 2

For July 4th festivities, we went to Bull Shoals. We originally planned on meeting some friends and enjoying the fireworks from the Golf Course, but it didn’t work out as planned. Before leaving the house, we pattied up ranch burgers and filled the coolers with random food including ingredients for S’mores…YUM! We had to run into Wal-mart for a couple last minute items, and had the bright idea of grabbing a little grill just in case there weren’t any open. This turned into a 15 minute (at least) ordeal, where we had to grab utensils, a screwdriver, and charcoal. Luckily we got a great spot with a large picnic table and grill right next to the playground. I’m pretty sure if we had to assemble the small grill it would have been after dark before we even got started on the burgers.

The kids tossed around a football, played with ‘sand castle toys’ in the gravel, and enjoyed the playground.
The fireworks were quite nice, and Grayson actually got used to the explosions and enjoyed them.
Traffic wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be…I’m used to watching the fireworks show at Celebrate Freedom in Texas and fighting 200,000 other people trying to get home.
Of course we had a ‘photo shoot’ the day that Mom, Nicki, Johnny & Madi left…this consisted of cute pictures of Grayson hugging and kissing Madi (an often times unwilling recipient of his affections),
funny pictures like us asking them ‘Where’s your Be-Bo? (bellybutton),
nice pictures of Mimi with all her grand babies,
and then the ever popular ‘Can we do a silly one?’ Where everyone makes funny faces and/or acts like a weirdo.
And you wonder where I get it…

Party All Night Long! (or not)

Trinity’s birthday party was a huge success! We began actually prepping for the party the week before by making the invitations and planning the evening out a bit. The invitations were simple to make, turned out very cute, and Trinity was quite proud of them. The plan was for her to bring the invitations to school on Monday and give them to her friends. We were only inviting a few girls because of the birthday party being a slumber party, and I wanted to survive the weekend with my sanity intact. There was to be a total of 8 girls (including my 3), one didn’t go to her school, and 2 were sisters, so she really only had 3 invitations to deliver. The last day of school being 2 days before the party wouldn’t pose a problem since she was handing the invitations out on Monday, right? WRONG! First, she ‘forgot’ to bring the invitations to school on Monday…then on Tuesday she informs me that the school won’t let her hand them out. What?! Evidently it is against school policy to hand out invitations…not sure why, but whatever. So, I then had her call her friends to invite them…none of which answered, so I now had a very discouraged birthday girl leaving party invitation messages on voicemail.

Fast forward to Friday…Party Day. I had purchased pizza, pre-made Banana Punch, and was putting the finishing touches on the Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. Kids were set to arrive after 4, with my girls coming at noon. Trinity completed her pre-party preparations, and I sent the girls outside to play. 3/5 girls had RSVP’d, so everything was going smoothly. The 2 sisters that were coming live in our neighborhood, so when they saw our girls outside at 2pm, they came over early…not a problem. I began setting up for the party. Nothing fancy, just getting the craft ready, setting the punch out, bringing out the presents, etc.
Our third and final guest arrived at 4pm as planned, and we began the craft. They decorated tote bags to take home, and had a great time. They also made a special one for Trinity that they all added something to for her birthday.
Greg got home around 5:15, and I put the pizza’s in. We got a phone call about 5:30 that one of the girls that was invited would be coming sometime after 6:30, so our count was up to 4/5 guests. I let the girls go ahead and eat pizza and cake and then we waited on our final guest to begin opening presents and finally start the movie.
Trinity got some great stuff for her birthday, and was glowing when she read cards saying how good of a friend she was and how much her friends loved her. It was really wonderful to see how this affected her.
Trinity chose ‘Hotel For Dog’s’ as the movie. We laid out some blankets and had them bring in their pillows and small blankets for what began as a quiet time.
Several of the girls had already seen it, so it was a bit wild in the game room during the movie. After the movie was over, I gave them all glow sticks to play with in the game room…we’ve never had a problem with them before, but of course we would at a slumber party with sugared up kids. A glow stick burst on Trinity as she cracked it and sprayed her in the face. Thankfully it didn’t get in her eyes, just on her forehead, chin, and her blanket. We cleaned up the glowing mess and continued on with the evening. Our late arrival announced she was not having any fun and wanted to go home around 10:30. Since she lives in our neighborhood, I let her call her mom and she came to pick her up. I told the girls they could stay up as late as they wanted as long as they were quiet and stayed in the room. I fell asleep on the couch around 11:30, and when Greg woke me up to go to bed at almost 1am, they were all asleep.
The plan was for the kids to be picked up by 2pm on Saturday, but they were all gone by noon.
Trinity had a great time with her friends, and overall had a wonderful birthday. I was very pleasantly surprised that there was hardly any fighting the entire time. Since I did survive the weekend with my sanity intact, I think we will do this again. I will most likely plan a few more specific things for them do next time, but the party really was a success.

Date Night!

Since our anniversary, my birthday, and Greg’s birthday are all within about 2 weeks of each other, we attempt to get away and celebrate ‘grown-up style’.  This means, at least one night away…with NO children, dressing nice (which I did, but had to change because it got cold), eating out, and doing something fun.  This year we returned to Branson, MO, and had a wonderful time…again.  It did rain the entire time we were there, but we enjoyed ourselves regardless.

As most of you know, I am ‘frugal’ so, after searching online for a decent hotel for a good price, I stumbled upon the Scenic Hills Inn.  At first, I planned on booking a regular room because they had good reviews, and on their website they appeared to be nice and a good price (under $50 +tax).  Then I noticed for about $35 more, I could have a jacuzzi in the room.  How could I resist?  I, of course, announced a disclaimer to Greg as we were arriving at the hotel, ‘If this place isn’t what we are expecting…it’s not my fault.  You okayed it!  And…you left all the planning up to me…AGAIN!’  I can honestly say that every get-away/vacation I have planned has been a raving success…this was no exception.  The room was very nice (smelled a little stuffy, but not bad), the bed was very comfortable, and the jacuzzi was wonderful (a little noisy, but that was to be expected).  We plan on booking that room again next time.
For dinner, we once again visited Wasabi.
They had remodeled a little on the inside, and the food and service was fantastic.  I had been looking forward to eating ‘real’ sushi this year, and decided on a spicy tuna roll.  I was a bit nervous at first, but LOVED it!  I also had to order California Rolls which were as awesome as I had remembered.  We avoided Saki this year…once was enough for me.  
After dinner, we stopped at Walgreen’s and picked up some ice cream.  We headed back to the hotel, where we enjoyed a romantic evening filled with laughter and eating ice cream while relaxing in a steaming jacuzzi overflowing w/ bubbles.
Breakfast took place at the Cracker Barrel (also one of my favorites), and everything was delicious.  My eyes were bigger than my belly, and Greg finished off his breakfast plus about half of mine.  
He then drove me to Michael’s…a store that if I lived closer, the employees would probably know me by name…where I bought little goodies for the kids and a couple things for me.  
After a few more stops, and me throwing a fit, Greg agreed to take me to play a round of mini-golf.  We went to Branson Family Fun Factory, where I proceeded to sink 2 ‘hole-in-one’s’ and claim a victory over Greg in their indoor ‘Glow-in-the-Dark’ 18-hole mini golf course.  The artwork in there was fantastic…there were 3 different areas if I remember correctly – a forest, dragon’s lair, and an underwater area.  After the 2 stroke massacre I inflicted on him, he challenged me to a game of air hockey.  It was so close…tied 6-6, and he scored for the win.  (I had a picture of Greg putting, but decided not to include it…considering it was glow-in-the-dark, you can’t see anything but a big orange blob.)
Finally, we drove home (in the rain…still), and just talked about our life.  We are beyond blessed.  I am so thankful for a husband with dreams, ambitions, and goals.  We are in sync on most of what we want out of our life, things we want to accomplish with our time.  I can truly say I am happy, and am totally in love with my husband.  We had a wonderful time in Branson, and I look forward to many more birthdays where we can celebrate the year.  Not just the laughter, but also the tears…not just the accomplishments, but the failures as well.  You have to take the good with the bad.  Life is good even when you think it stinks because God has a plan, and it’s bigger than yours. 

Funny Story Friday

Last year, I decided to pool my resources with my brother & sister and get my Mom a birthday present she would really love.  She is a big American Idol fan, and had been rooting for David Cook since the beginning.  I did a little research to see when the Idol Tour would be near her, and we pitched in and bought her 2 tickets.  We, of course, enjoyed teasing her about her ‘Best Present EVER’ for weeks before her birthday.  She was given vague clues as a hilarious form of torture…even her cake was a clue. 
Her guesses consisted of total randomness…appliances (after the cake her friends were sure she was getting a gourmet oven-which is hilarious considering I had to practically squeeze the money I did out of my siblings.), cooking classes, a frozen margarita maker (because she really wanted one), and various other guesses that I can’t think of at the moment.
To continue the torture, we wrapped the card containing the tickets in a box which was then placed in a larger box.  A huge, heavy chain was placed in the largest box to confuse her even further.  
Once she got down to the card containing the tickets, she correctly guessed the gift.  
She was quite excited and confirmed that this was one of the best presents she had ever received.  The torture continued since the concert was several weeks away, but she said it was worth the wait.  Her and my step dad caught the tour at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, and had pretty good seats.  They didn’t actually get to meet any of the Idols, but had a wonderful time.  (I planned on including pictures of the actual concert, but someone *cough* my sister *cough* neglected to send me the link.)
For a look at some of my other ‘confection creations’ you can go here or here.