Friday, September 30, 2011

The Motherhood Mission: #18

Number eighteen on the list asks me to think of a mother I admire. Can I just be honest here? This is a tough one for me....a really, really tough one. You see, I've been blessed to live in lots of different places and to meet lots and lots of people, so trying to choose just ONE mom that I admire-- that's tough stuff. I also blog (obviously), and I follow some of the most amazing MOM blogs ever. It's true. I checked. I mean, I could go with Kelle Hampton, who accepts her children and loves them and fights for them and embraces motherhood for all it's worth. Or I could talk about Emily Anderson and how she manages to love and nurture all five of her little ones while I sometimes struggle with two, and yet she STILL finds a way to look so stinkin cute all. the. time. I could talk about this mom, whose little girl is fighting for her life as we speak, and how she's sacrificed so much for her children. I could also talk about my own mom, who made single parenting look like a walk in the park and always put me first and has never not supported me, even though sometimes I was more than undeserving.

But today I want to talk about my friend Heather.
If you've been hanging out here since the start of this blog, then she's no stranger to you.
 I talked about  her here, here, here, and here, starting with her pregnancy (with triplets. Can you even imagine?) and took you through the hardships she faced while on bed rest and then the struggle of having her babies at a mere twenty-four and a half weeks of pregnancy.

 At birth, Mary Louise weighed one pound, six ounces, while David weighed only fourteen ounces.
And then the trauma of losing her precious jellybean, Kuylen, who was born weighing only ten ounces. However, it's not what she's endured that makes Heather a mom I admire; rather, it's her selflessness, dedication, and perspective on it all that leaving me wishing I had even half of what she has.

For starters, Heather runs.
 We're not talking about a quick jog around the block, we're talking miles.
Every day.
With two kiddos.
 I can't even find/make time to do some sit ups before bed each night,
 and Heather is out running or cycling for over an hour each day
...with TWO TWO year olds!

And I did I mention that her kiddos aren't necessarily fans of sleep?
I sometimes find myself getting selfishly frustrated with Hollyn when she wakes up in the middle of the night. Granted, Hollyn sleeps through the night FAR MORE than she doesn't, but no one likes to get up in the middle of the night and then get up at 5:45 to start her day, right?
Well, Heather's kids rarely sleep through the night
...and aren't great nappers
...and yet she doesn't complain.

She's a stay-at-home mom who still finds time to cook healthy, homemade meals, including pancakes from scratch. She's done absolutely everything she can possibly do to help her babies grow and be as successful and happy as is humanly possible, despite so many odds, so much judgement, and so many hardships. I kid you not when I say that every time I think about how easy it would be to Happy Meal it one night, I also think, "If Heather can find time to cook with two two year olds, I can find time to cook with one".

Don't get me wrong, I believe God gives us all gifts and that we are good at something; it just so happens that Heather is good at the things I happen to struggle the most with as mom. Sometimes it's hard for me to give up my 'me' time. I could blame this on the fact that I was an only child, but it's probably more likely because I'm just selfish by nature. And while I love being a mom, the thought of getting ready without interruption or having a Saturday morning to do as I please or getting to sleep in or being able to come home after a long day at work and go straight bed sounds mighty tempting sometimes.  That being said, seeing Heather thrive as a selfless mom is oh-so-inspiring to yours truly. I work daily to be this kind of mom for my girls. I want them to know that they are my priority and that everything else on this earth is second in my eyes.

And boy oh boy, does this girl have some cute bebes.
And I'm sure her newest addition, the one that is still in her belly at this very moment, and whom I pray will be there until forty weeks are accounted for, will be just as adorable.

So, to Heather-- thanks for showing me how I believe it's supposed to be done. Thanks for being honest about how it's sometimes hard and yet still rockin' at this whole mom thing. Thanks for being an example and a friend. Much, much love, and here's to another twenty-seven years of friendship.

And if you want to know more about Heather, come back soon-- she'll be guest-posting during my I Am That Mom week next week. Also, she has a fabulous blog that you can find here.

Speaking of I AM THAT MOM week, let's take a little peek at the line up, shall we??????

Monday- Camille from Embracing the Odyssey
Tuesday- Jane returns for a second year from The Life of Jane
Wednesday- Dara from Keeping Up With the Campbells
Thursday- Kim from Let it Snow
Friday- Heather from LeBlanc Triplets
Saturday- Edi from I'm Mama Y'all

I'm so excited. The posts are wonderful, and inspiring, and full of motherly insight...just like I'd hoped they would be.

Today I'm linking to herehere , and here.

Here's hoping your weekend is fan-freakin'-tastic, as all weekends should be.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Awesome-ness is Potato Soup

In case you missed the memo, I LOVE soup, and fall makes me crave it like crazy.
I promise I'd cook soup two or three times a week if Lee would allow it,
 and this one happens to be one of my all-time favorites. 


In the history of soups.

Not sure where I first got this recipe, but it's a favorite at my house for sure.

I give you, the baked potato soup recipe:

Looks yummy, yes?
That's because it is.
Very, very, very yummy if you want my honest opinion.

It's also VERY easy.

What you'll need:

*3-4 baked potatoes (love this because you can make them the night before and then the recipe takes about fifteen minutes)
*a few strips of cooked bacon
*1 can chicken broth
*1 can evaporated milk, which is available in  fat free
*salt and pepper (to taste)
* onion (1 cup or so)
* 1/4 stick of butter
*1/4 cup of flour

In a skillet, melt your butter and then caramelize the onions. Once this is done, add the flour and mix well. Then pour them into a larger pot (which will be used to make your soup).
Chop the potatoes (I leave the skin on, but you can remove it if you like), and add them to the pot along with the cans of evaporated milk and chicken broth.
Salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil, stirring every two minutes or so.
Once it's reached boiling, you can turn your burner off.
Top with cheese and bacon, serve and enjoy the heck out of it.

Happy Thursday to you and you and you.

Today I'm sharing this recipe here and here and here, so that many can enjoy this homemade goodness.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Whatcha Gonna Do With All That Junk?

Like I said the other day, I am in LOVE with my new house.
However, it's coming in a little short in the counter space department.

And I don't know what's happening at your house, but there's a lot of mail coming into mine.
And where exactly is one supposed to put three medical bills, two magazines, a flyer to buy the latest whatever, a request to finicially support an organization, and a letter from my granny?

I don't know either.

But, I do know that I've found something that works for now.

After being inspired (once again) on Pinterest, I came up with this little ditty:

First, I took an empty cereal box.

(And if you're snickering about my cereal choice, stop it. I LOVE taosted wheat. Seriously, I sometimes dream about it. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.)

As I was saying, I took an empty cereal box, and I cut it.

Then I took some scrapbook paper, some glue, a magnet, and voila:

Now all those 'goodies' can find solace as they rest on the side of the fridge, leaving my countertops junk free so that they can be used for much more important making pumpkin muffins.

Here's hoping your Wednesday is top notch and that your countertops are junk free.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Something Bigger Than Big

Lately something bigger than big has been consuming my thoughts.
It's a huge decision that Lee and I are trying to make for our family.
Although I'm not comfortable telling you what exactly we are trying to decide, I would be foolish not to ask for prayers.
Please pray that we will seek God's will, aim to do what He would have us to do,
and equally weigh all the possibilities.
Pray that we will seek to do what He would like to for us to do,
no matter what the world may say in response.

Thanks, from the bottom of this ole' heart of mine.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Not Your Typical Psghetti {RECIPE}

Can we be honest for a second?
I'm kinda spoiled.
No, not in all aspects of life.
In fact, I'm referring to one very particular aspect of life:

You see, my g-momma can make spaghetti like no other, and therefore nothing else even comes close.
So, I avoid it.
I don't eat it, and I certainly don't attempt to cook it.

Until now.

You see, I found a recipe on pinterest that is oh my stars good....
and very nontraditional.
And while I'm usually a fan of tradition, this is just too good to resist.

Here's a glimpse of what I'm talking about:

Why yes, as a matter of fact, those are french fried onions you see there.

Here's the low down:

*Brown one pound of hamburger meat, turkey, or sausage-- whichever you prefer.

*Boil 8 oz. of spaghetti noodles (or whatever noodles you so choose). I used wheat noodles, but you can use whatever you little heart desires.

*In a skillet, mix your meat (which you have cooked and drained prior to this part), a large jar of the spaghetti sauce of your choice, and a package of cream cheese cut into small squares ( I used fat free, and it was awe-some). I also added a bit of onion powder, a little Italian spices, and a dash of garlic powder. You can also throw in some real onions or peppers or mushrooms if you like. Cook this until the cream cheese is melted.

*Then in a large Pyrex, mix your noodles with your meat mixture. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Then top with french fried onions and shredded Parmesan cheese and bake for another five.

OH MY WORD it is so stinkin' good.
I kid you not, I will most certainly be making this one again very, very soon.

Here's hoping your Tuesday is off the charts amazing.

And, in case you're wondering, today I'm linking here, here, here, and here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Curtains Curtains Everywhere

So this summer we moved.
And while I am slowly falling more and more madly in love with my new abode, there are still many things that need to be done.....starting with the windows.

So, Friday night while most people were out and about having themselves a grand ole' time, I was at home making curtains.

Best part?

That's right, this momma no sewy.. at least not with a machine, and there was no way I was hand-stitching curtains.

So, here's what I did instead:

I found some fabric that I fell head over heels for here and ordered it last Sunday.  It was on my doorstep by Tuesday. Can you say "I highly recommend this site?" because I do.

Then I got out my iron.

And I cut my fabric to fit my windows...leaving a few inches of seam room.

And I ironed a seam.

Once I had my seam marked via iron crease, I cut this into strips:

NOTE: If you do not already have some heat bond on hand, there are two things I would suggest you do.
1. It's available in strips rather than large sheets. This would save you some time and assure for straighter edges.
2. I always use the Lite Hear Bond, but for this project I'd recommend the heavy duty stuff since you won't be sewing. While I used lite and mine turned out just fine, this is the kind of project where stronger is better.

Moving on....

So, I used the heat bond and created a seam all the way around my curtain panels, being extra careful to leave enough room for the curtain rod when I ironed the top seam.

And then I sat back and watched as my kitchen windows went from this:



Seriously, this fabric just makes me happy.
And you can't beat happy.

On that note, I was very happy this weekend when I took Lib to the a birthday party at the movies and then slipped out to watch "I Don't Know How She Does It" all by myself...

And that hour and a half of alone time did me a world of good.

What made YOU happy this weekend?

Also, I still have JUST ONE MORE SPOT available for my I Am That Mom week, which will be here before you know it. If you'd like to fill that spot with your very own guest post, let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at . Hope to hear from you soon.

Oh, and raise your hand if you saw Libby's face here on Friday.
Love that blog.

Here's hoping your Monday can't be beat.

P.S.) Today I'm linking up here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Soup Time Once Again {Recipe}

Man I love fall. Like for reals. It just makes me happy every. single. time. Between the candy corn and weather that makes me swoon on a daily basis, it's safe to say I'm crushing hard on this time of year.
And one thing that just SCREAMS fall to me: soup. Love, love, love it. Can't get enough. Would eat it at least twice a week if the mister weren't so adamantly opposed.

And here' s one of my favs:

It's Chicken Corn Chowder, and it's as easy as pie. Best part: it's crock pot approved.


-chicken broth
-one can of yellow corn
-one can of white corn
-a finely chopped onion or onion powder, whichever you prefer
-a dash of garlic powder
-one can of cream of chicken soup
-one jar of pimentos
-two to three chicken breasts
-cheese (optional, but adds major yummy points)

This is a just go with it kinda recipe in terms of how much to add. I usually start with about three cups of chicken broth and one cup of milk, but it depends on your taste. If you want the soup to be soupier, add more; if you prefer it be thicker, add less. Just go easy on the milk. If you leave the frozen chicken breasts whole, you'll have to shred them (or chop them up into wee little pieces) once they've cooked. Unfortunately, the crock pot won't take care of this for you. Other than that, mix all your ingredients in the crock pot and let them cook on low for about three to four hours. Top with cheese, and enjoy the heck out of it.

And if you prefer the non- crock pot version, easy peasy. Simply cook your chicken breasts in advance using whatever method you so choose and cut or shred it prior to mixing it into the chowder.

Also, and this is of the utmost importance: this is best served with corn bread.

Happy Thursday to you and you and you.

Tonight we have open house for this one:

Let's hope she can come straight home and still go to bed on time, because tonight the only night of the week when I'm a devoted tv watcher.
Am I the only one out there who's counting down the hours until the Grey's Anatomy premiere?

And if you have a soup recipe you care to share, I'd love to hear about it.

Oh, and one more thing: in a few hours my blog will be featured here. Check it out?
 I would appreciate it greatly, and so will the wee ones in your life-- their site is packed full of great ideas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Do I Want Them to Remember Me?

If you do recall, I am working hard in my mission towards becoming a better mom for my girls.
And #22 on the list, asks for me to think about how
I want them to remember me. Tough question. There are so many things
 I'd like for my children to be able to honestly say about me when they look back on their childhood.

Here are a few of the highlights from my list:

*I'd like them to be able to say that we had fun. That we did fun things, that we had fun adventures, and that we were rarely bored all fit in that category to me as well.

*I'd like for them to be able to say that I stood up for them. While I realize that my children are not always going to be right and that they will, in fact, sometimes be very wrong, I want them to know that if the occasion were to ever present itself, I would fight tooth and nail for them. I am their biggest fan, and I will ALWAYS be on their side, even if being on their side means steering them in the direction they need to go to be and do better.

*I'd like for them to be able to say that I was well-rounded. By this I mean, I hope my girls grow up feeling that I did a good job balancing work with family life, that they always felt important no matter how many fires I had burning elsewhere, and that they can see and learn from the fact that I have other interests and still make time for my friends while doing all I can to be the best mom I can be.

*I'd like for them to say that I was their teacher. While I don't home school my children, I don't just turn the teacher in my off when I get home. We still read together, play games together, and do homework together. And I make a conscious effort to teach my children daily, whether it's a life lesson or a lesson I think their teachers won't be able to teach them because so much of what they are able to do has to revolve around testing; I want my children to be able to say that they learned something from me.

*I'd like for them to say that I was creative. By this I don't just mean crafty; I also mean that I tried to approach life in a way that was sometimes out of the box. I hope they notice that I try to shake things up sometimes and to make life as fun and interesting for them as I can. Whether it's being creative with our budget to still offer them all that I can or creative with mealtime to make it more appealing, I hope they realize that I worked hard to make their home a memorable, fun, festive play to be.

*I'd like them to say that I taught them the importance of doing for others. Serving others is a huge part of who I am, and while I realize that we all have our own, unique gifts and some feel more led to serve than others, I believe that we should all do our best to help those less fortunate, whether it be someone who literally has less than we do or someone who is hurting or suffering in some other way. I want my children to know from day one that this is important, that is what God intended, and that some of the greatest joy we can find here on Earth comes from this.

*I'd like them to say that I was honest with them. I don't consider my children to be sheltered, and I think that Lee and I do a good job of being honest with our children in terms of our expectations, their gifts, their shortcomings, and everything in between. While I realize that children are only little once and I want to preserve their child-ness as long as possible, I also want them to be aware that the world is full of joy and happiness just as much as it is full of hurt and fear, and it's how we balance the two that makes the difference.

*I'd like them to say that I embraced them for who they are and recognized their gifts. I work very hard to not compare my children. By this I don't just mean to each other, but also to my idea or vision of who I think they should be or who I'd like them to become. I aim to love them AS THEY ARE while also helping them become their best possible selves. For my two girls could not be more different from one another. How I discipline Libby and the kind of child she was is like night and day from Hollyn. So, with baby #2, it's almost like I'm starting from scratch in many ways. And I make a valiant effort to embrace their differences.

*I'd like them to say that I am someone they can respect. I want them to recognize that I have their best interests at heart, and when I correct them or steer them in a different direction, it's only because I want this life to be as wonderful as possible for those I love. I want them to see that I am honest, hard-working, and dedicated to them and that they are at the very heart of my identity.

And, most importantly:

*I'd like them to say whole-heartedly that I love them unconditionally.

What about you? How do YOU want your children (or friends for those of you who aren't at this same place in life) to remember you when they're all grown up and doing their own thing?

And to my mom readers, if you're still interested in signing up to be featured in my upcoming I AM THAT MOM week, please let me know. I still have three available spots.
 And, in case you're wondering, here are my I Am That Mom posts from last year:

Enjoy your trip down memory lane.

Happy Wednesday to you and you and you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Am That Mom: One Year Later {and a last call for guest posters}

If you've been around here a while, then I'm sure you recall this post that I wrote last year. I thought then and still think now that being a mom is one of the greatest blessings and greatest challenges that life has to offer. I think that way too often society tells us we are supposed to spend every minute as a mom consumed in peaceful parenting bliss.
While I don't know what's happening at your house, that is certainly not the norm at mine.
And I think that hands down our greatest resource here is each other.

Well, another year of Mom is now under my belt now, and
with that being said, here's my I AM THAT MOM POST, one year later:

I am that mom who realizes that every mom has her own way of doing things, her own ideas of what's best for her wee one, and her own priorities as a parent. Just because something worked for me and my baby, it may or may not work for you and yours. Point being: I now only offer mom advice when someone ASKS...otherwise, I keep my big mouth shut and realize that sometimes the worst thing I can do to a new mom is overwhelm her with all the things she's not doing in what is my version of "the right way". We each have our own version of  "the right way", and I am a-okay with that.

I am that mom who LOVES birthday parties. I think there's essentially nothing better than a day when you can celebrate YOU.

I am that mom who would rather eat dirt than pack lunches, but I do it because my kids deserve it.

I am that mom who secretly wishes I could let go of the fact that my kids room are not as neat and tidy as I'd like them to be; 'a little mess never hurt anyone' needs to be posted on my wall so that I'll eventually learn to accept it as truth.

I am that mom who now loves other children more and has more patience for them because now I see them as more than just little people; they are somebody's children. I hope whoever comes in contact with my girls feels the same way.

I am that mom who makes a point to read with and to my children whenever possible; I believe that a love for reading starts at home, and seeing as how it brings me such joy, I can't help but want to share it.

I am that mom who prays for the husband each of my girls may someday have. I pray that he will be patient with her, will love her to the fullest, and will accept all of her little oddities that make her her.

I am that mom who worries way too much about what my kids wear. Seriously, in the big scheme of life, what does it matter if Libby's hair is not perfect or Hollyn's shirt is covered in spaghetti? I am, however, making a conscious effort to care less and just let go of this. My kids are not Barbie dolls, and they should not be treated as such.

I am that mom who has a true heart for service and works daily to instill this idea in my children. I want them to experience the joy that comes from selflessly doing for others.

I am that mom who works daily to not compare my children to one another. Hollyn is not Libby, and Libby is not Hollyn. Period.

I am that mom who would pay lots and lots of dinero for a good night's sleep, including a Saturday morning where the wee ones let me sleep past nine. Heck, make that past seven.

I am that mom who sometimes struggles when it comes to balance. I want to be and do it all for myself and for family. And, unfortunately, I am quickly coming to realize that this is simply not possible.

I am that mom who thinks and maybe even worries every day about my daughters and their futures. I worry about them learning valuable life lessons that will help them later in life, about their fragile self esteems, and about their little developing minds. There's never  a worry-free day in the life of a mom, agreed?

I am that mom who will do absolutely anything for my girls, no questions asked.

And I am that mom who never, ever would have believed that I could possible love anything as much as I love these two little people:

What kind of Mom are YOU? What would like other moms to know? What does being a mom mean to you, and how has it changed you? I'd love to know, and I'm sure my readers would too. If you're interested in contributing to my I AM THAT MOM week, please leave a comment with your e-mail address or e-mail me at I still have just a few guest post spots available for the first week of October, so contact me quick if you'd like to share your insights with the blogging world.

Here's hoping your Tuesday is greater than great.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thank You Notes, Owl Style

I live in the South, and in the South you say thanks.
So, seeing as last weekend was the Libster's seventh birthday shin dig, we are now in full on thank you writing mode at our house. And simply buying thank you notes would be way too easy. So, here's what we did instead:

We gathered some of this. And yes, those are paint swatches you see there. Also, that jumbo hole punch is one of the best craft items I own. Two points for Michael's for being so darn awesome.

Then Libby went to work creating some of these.

Cute, yes?

Not only is this activity helping her to be more appreciative, but she's actually excited about writing thank you notes this year. Let's give another two points to Mom for teaching her kid so early to be grateful in a way that she can actually enjoy.

Here's hoping your Monday feels more like a Tuesday.
Come back tomorrow where I'll be posting my I Am That Mom: One Year Later post and calling for a few more guest posters for later this month.

Happy start of a new week to you and you and you.

Today I'm linking here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Embracin' the Camera and It Tastes Like Cake Batter

In case you missed it, Saturday we partied like it was 1999 while we celebrated Libby's seventh birthday.

And in addition to yummy in my tummy owl cupcakes, we also had this:

It's dip made from Funfetti cake mix.
And, in fact, when made it tastes exactly like cake batter.
So, if you're a cake batter fan, this dip is for you.

The best part?
It only has three ingredients.
Doesn't get any easier than that.

Here's what the recipe calls for:

3tbsp cake mix
2tbsp plain yogurt (feel free to use fat free if you so choose)
1 tbsp cool whip

So, this serving size is perfect....for one.
However, if you plan on sharing, which you probably will, then you'll need to make a wee bit more.
By this I mean that I dumped the whole box of cake mix into a bowl and added yogurt and cool whip until it tasted right.

We ate ours with animal crackers, but it would be scrumptious on fruit or graham cracker sticks.

If you're looking for an easy dip of the sweet variety, this one's for you.

And while you're here, here's a pic. of Lib and I at her party:

I'm embracing the camera and joining my all-time favorite blogger in her linky party where she asks you to embrace the camera and capture a moment of your life with your kiddos.
You should join too; all the cool kids are doin' it.

Happy Thursday-ing to you and you and you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall Flashbacks: What I Made Last Year

Last year, whilst staying home, I outdid myself.
Seriously, how am I ever supposed to compete with all that I did last fall while now having a full time job?
If you figure that one out, will you please let me know?
I'd be forever grateful.

In the meantime, let's flash back to fall o' 2010, and take a peek at the goods I came up with:

(And for your convenience, I've added a link to the post I wrote last year about each item. Just click on the title under the picture. And you are so welcome :) ).

What is YOUR favorite fall recipe?
I'm always on the hunt for new ones to love and look forward to each year.

Here's hoping your Wednesday is the

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hollyn: How She Spent Lib's Par-Tay

Yesterday when I posted about the Libster's seventh birthday par-tay,
 you might have noticed that Hollyn was nowhere to be found.

That's because she was busy.

Girl had things to do.

Here's what went down while Lib was gettin' her owl on:

Hollyn would hold the balloon.

Hollyn would let go of the balloon.

Hollyn would hold the balloon.

Hollyn would let go of the balloon.

Hollyn would hold the balloon.

Hollyn would let go of the balloon.

Hollyn would drink juice.

Hollyn would stuff her face with things we'd normally never allow her to eat.

Then we'd rinse and repeat.

Question for the day:
Do you partake in the joy that is linky parties?
If so, which one or ones are your favorite?

I'm feeling some serious craftiness coming on and want a new place to hang out in blog land.

Here's hoping your Tuesday is top notch.