Friday, September 30, 2011

Busy, busy, and a little love to go with it.

I'm headed to a Barn Sale this weekend.
I don't know exactly what it is, 
but it's in a barn and it's a sale.
Two things that I cannot pass up.

I had a photo session tonight and have two more on Sunday.
Have I ever mentioned how much I 
a good photograph???
After seeing some from tonight I'm super energized for more!!

Also, in order for me to go to a Barn Sale 
and do what I love,
there is an incredible man caring for our 
crazy little munchkin children.
He is awesome.
He is SO awesome.

Have a beautiful weekend and know that:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Preval Sprayer

A few weeks ago, I saw this being advertised on my blog so I checked it out.
After looking through the website, I was really interested in checking this product out.
I contacted Preval and was given the opportunity to try out the Preval Val-Pack, which by the way, is on sale through the end of the year.
I have a lot of different cans of leftover paint from different projects, so I love that I can just pour some in one of the jars, attach a sprayer, and begin painting.  
I used it to prime this table:

It worked well spraying out primer, but for a bigger project like this, I chose to go a different route for the coats of paint. 
Overall, I think this is a great product for my small projects.  Although after looking through these projects, I think I may be trying it out for a few other things!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A lot of this and a lot of that...

Baked... check.

Painted... check.

Ate soup in bread bowls... check.

 Pumpkin Patch... check.

The cool weather made me so giddy this last weekend that I accomplished my entire 
Autumn To-Do List in two days!
Just kidding.
I DID bake and go to the Pumpkin Patch.
The painting and the bread bowl soup were done last week sometime... worth sharing though.

First...the recipes: 

Sweet Potato-Apple Crisp

2 Large Sweet Potatoes
2 Large Apples
Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Cloves

1/2 Cup of Flour
1/2 Cup of Oats
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
Candied Walnuts*

Preheat oven to 350.
Slice potatoes and apples into small chunks and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and add cloves and cinnamon; mix together. Roast until potatoes are soft and the sugars in the apples begin to caramelize, about an hour or so. Prepare topping; mix all ingredients except candied walnuts. Once potatoes and apples are nicely roasted, remove from oven and place into a 9x9 (9x13 would probably work just as well). Pour topping over potatoes and apples. Place dish in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until topping gets crunchy. Remove from oven and sprinkle candied walnuts over entire dish.

*You can make your own candied walnuts by toasting about a cup and a half of walnuts in the oven (350 degrees) on a baking sheet; while these are toasting, pour 1/2 a cup of sugar in a saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar caramelizes and becomes liquid.  Remove toasted walnuts and pour into saucepan; stir to completely coat walnuts. Once coated, place walnuts back on baking sheet to cool. Sprinkle a little coarse salt on them for a nice little surprise when you bite into them.  Or don't.

We ate this as a side dish, but you could eat this as a dessert with a little vanilla ice cream... ooh, yum. Although if you have a sweet tooth, you may want to add a bit more sugar to the recipe as it's not a super sweet dish, as desserts should be.

Loaded Potato Soup

2/3 Cup of Butter
2/3 Cup of Flour
7 Cups of Milk
4 Cups of Potatoes
4 Green Onions
10-12 Strips of Bacon
1 Cup of Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bread Bowls*

Melt butter; stir in flour until smooth.  Gradually stir in milk until it thickened. Add potatoes and green onions. Stir constantly until soup bubbles. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Mix in remaining ingredients and serve in bread bowls.
This recipe will feed 4 to 6 people. Sometimes I half the recipe and sometimes I just freeze the leftovers.

*I used the same dough recipe that I used here but shaped into four large balls instead of rolls. Once baked you just scoop out the middle and pour the soup in.

Second... the painting:
I'm sloooooowly redecorating my room 
(as in I have pieces that I want to put in there all over the floor and dressers, but haven't put them up!)
and wanted a shelf.
So, I made one from some wood 
(from MY stash of wood in the garage, Husband!)
 and some old iron brackets that I've used several different ways throughout the years. 
I am loving that translucent glaze on EVERYTHING, so it received a coat of that, too.
And I love it.

I found that baby cradle at my Dad's house... 
and just took it.
(Other people go to their parent's houses and just take what they want, right? Oh... just us? Hmm...)
It had pink sheep just kind of frolicking around on it... not really my style.
Hey, frolicking sheep are great, if that's your thing... it's just not mine.
So, it received a little TLC, a coat of gray paint, and a little sanding to beat it up a bit because it's going to get beat up anyway... believe me.  
My daughters are kind of baby crazy... they MIGHT get it from me.

We inherited those chairs (plus two more matching ones) from my in-laws when we were first married.  They're stained in a dark wood and, again, just not really my style.
And they needed to match this table:

(more on this to come)

And now they do.

And finally... 
(Yes, this post WILL have to end sometime... just keep telling yourself that!)
The Pumpkin Patch:
Like the Fair, 
I love everything about the Pumpkin Patch.
And we were the very FIRST ones there this year;
which means we did the zip-line first, slid down the slide first, jumped on the bouncing pillow first, ran through the corn maze first, rode the little train first, and had first pick of the crop
(Whoa...please remember I'm a first-born-only-girl-in-my-family brat as you read that last sentence).
It was awesome.
Aaaaaaand... we had lunch at Arby's afterwards 
(that one's for you, Becky!).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The conversation that started it all...

This is part of the actual conversation that took place when an attractive, charming young stallion finally got the guts to make something happen with me.

First, I ignored the comment.
I patiently waited two months for that moment, so I was going to really enjoy it.
Then he said it again.
Then I may have laughed. Who am I kidding? I'm sure I did.
But at some point, I agreed with him.
And love grew.
And life was just better with him around.
And it just keeps getting better.

Whatever your story is, take some time and just remember how it began.

Friday, September 23, 2011


It's officially Autumn.
I love living in a part of the country that actually experiences every season, and I love something about each one, but the cool Autumn air rushing through my lungs just makes me feel alive again.
It makes me want to bake;
and paint;
and eat soup in bread bowls;
and go to the pumpkin patch and get pictures like this:

so a year from now I can look back in astonishment at how fast my little pumpkins grow.

Be alive this weekend!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A little change never hurts...

I changed it up a bit.
That last font was always a bit too busy for my taste,
but I kept it around for some reason.
I'm loving this crisp, clean look though.
And that's me laughing up there... 
not some model I hired to pose for my blog... 
just in case you were wondering. 
Sometimes I'm just funny.

Change something for the better today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tomato Soup

When I was dating my husband, I had lunch with his family every Sunday.
(His family included a dad, a mom, and FOUR brothers, yeah that's right, FIVE BOYS total...more on that some other time!)
And one Sunday, his sweet mother made tomato soup.
I had never had tomato soup.
I didn't grow up eating it.
The only soup I remember eating from a can was Campbell's Chicken Noodle, and that's just because that's what you eat when you're sick.
I think maybe one of his brothers had asked me if I liked tomato soup and I answered that I really didn't know because I hadn't ever had it and they were shocked.
And when I took my first bite, all eyes were on me, waiting in anticipation for my reaction.
I gulped it down. I really did not like it.
And when that same charming brother asked me how I liked it, I believe I replied,
"It tastes like tomatoes.".

Fast forward a few years, I'm married and thinking that maybe I would like tomato soup if I made it myself (I'm kind of snobby like that).
And I did.
And I still do.
So, here it is:

Tomato Soup For Snobs:

Three to Four Tomatoes Diced OR Two Cans of Diced Tomatoes
One Medium Clove of Garlic
1 Teaspoon of Basil
1 Cup of Chicken Stock or Broth*
1/2 Cup of Milk or Cream (whatever you have on hand, both are good)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a pot, combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, and chicken stock; bring to a boil.  Let boil until tomatoes are soft then remove from heat.  Pour mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour mixture back into pot and add milk.  Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Grill yourself a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

I like to add a little dollop of sour cream and a little more basil on top. It looks pretty, it's delicious, and it makes me feel a little fancy. 

Eat it and raise a fist in honor of tomato soup snobs everywhere.

*Stock is made with bones; Broth is made without bones.  I use both, but I think I may prefer Stock.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why, yes, you can call me Ms. Thrifty!

I'm the oldest of my siblings; and I'm the only girl.
So... yes, I'm spoiled (this is beside the point...) and I crave alone time.
Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good get-together and I don't even need a reason to have one, but I do get to the point of just really needing some time by myself.
And this weekend, I hit my breaking point.
Fortunately, I married this guy:
This is an old in a DECADE ago when we were dating!
It makes my heart flutter.
And he actually looks exactly the same.

 and when I hit this breaking point, he's all for me getting away 
(and it has nothing to do with the fact that I stomp around the house huffing and puffing... or maybe it does...either way I get outta there!).

So, this weekend I had a few things in mind that I wanted to get done.
A trip to the Dollar Tree on a mission to find crocheted doilies that my soon-to-be sister-in-law said she had seen there... check.
A trip to Target... check.
Hit a few thrift shops and garage sales that I had seen earlier in the week... check.

Oooohhhh man, and look at my finds!!

I already have a similar glass jar and I'm thinking some terrariums for the girls would be fun.

That mirror is just awesome.

I basically stole those shoes. 
Those are Born shoes, which are SO incredibly comfortable. I ran into a thrift shop next to the Dollar Tree just to look around and stumbled upon the mecca of amazing shoes that have never been worn.  However, whoever priced these had no idea what they were pricing because these babies along with some others (Gianni Bini's!!!) were marked lower than even the Target brand shoes that were there. I seriously looked around me in astonishment as if I was in some kind of fantasy world and then snatched them up and ran for the register.

That sweater is also awesome.

I loved that window pane and am thinking a wall hanging or maybe even a picture frame of some sort... we'll see.

I've been contemplating making a new bed set.  I pinned one that I loooove and thought I could make and have been taking the steps to figure out all the materials I'd need for this project, but then I saw this set. 
And it was marked down to less than $20.
And I'm no fool.
I snatched that up, too.
And then I hopped on the front of my cart and cruised through the main aisle yelling,
And from there, it's kind of a blur... I remember breaking out in a little song and dance number to "Hooked On A Feeling" (the Blue Swede version, NOT David Cassidy) with some of the employees and other customers, but like I said, it's blurry.

So, anyway... that was my weekend.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tis the season...

Ah, yes, 'tis the season indeed... the season of diligence.
The dictionary defines diligence as a constant and earnest effort to accomplish what has been undertaken; the persistent exertion of body and mind.

The persistent exertion of body and mind...

As I wrote that, little thumbnails of images went through my mind;
taking my two year old to the bathroom during church... six times in five minutes;
disciplining my three and a half year old for being unkind to the two year old...10 times in one hour;
cleaning pink lip gloss off the couch for the third time this week;
acknowledging every bump, bruise, cut and scrape;
eating every cupcake and cookie brought to me from the little pink kitchen;
wrapping up every baby doll just like baby brother is wrapped up;
reading the same books and listening to the same songs over and over... and over.

Loving people... so they see;
 speaking kindly... so they hear;
showing empathy... so they feel;
doing the right thing... every time;
asking for forgiveness... EVERY time I mess up;
praying constantly... out loud and with them;
being thankful... in ALL circumstances;
being obedient... when I really don't want to be;
accepting consequences;
being hopeful... always;
resting in my Savior's grace.

These are the seeds being diligently sown daily.
It's hard work. It's REALLY hard work!
But I fully believe we will reap an incredible harvest.
 In fact, my three year old could sing you a nice little diddy she's learned (from listening to the song EVERY TIME we're in the car!) about sowing seeds from Miss Millipede and the gang in Ants'hillvania... let's see how I do:

"First you pull the weeds, then you rake and hoe, then you plant the seed, that's the way you sow.
Just you wait and see, everyone will know, what you planted there when they start to grow.

Every plant has little seeds that make others of it's kind, apple seeds make apple trees and they do it every time. Seeds make flowers and shrubs and trees, seeds make ferns and vines and weeds, what you plant is what you grow, so be careful what you sow!

Down inside your heart there are thoughts you sow, that are just like seeds planted deep below, just you wait and see everyone will know what you planted there when they start to grow!

You must choose your seeds with care, what you sow will blossom there. Keep your garden free from sin, let wisdom from above within. Good thoughts help you do things right, bad thoughts make you fuss and fight. What you plant is what you grow, so be careful what you sow."

Okay, I'll just go ahead and admit that I had to actually listen to it just to get all the words right.
But it's a great tune to have playing over and over (and over!) reminding me that I have small window of time to really be diligent in this process because things are already sprouting up. Some really good little blossoms... and some really bad little weeds that need some major raking and hoeing!

I found a quote from Samuel Johnson that I really like:
"What we hope ever to do with ease, we may learn first to do with diligence."
So good to remember.

And when I'm tired and everything in me is screaming, "NOT AGAIN!!!!" I'm reminded to
"...not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

Don't give up.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


First, let's just get it out of the way and say it:
This girl is BEAUTIFUL.
Like, can't-stop-staring-at-her-face stunning!
And on top of that, just such a lovely, passionate soul.

Hilary was needing some updated shots for her portfolio.  I believe her exact words were:
 "I have a great head shot, but I don't have any half or full body shots. They can see my face, but for all they know I could be a centaur. Feminine in looks, but a centaur none the less..."
(Ha! She's funny, too.)

I feel that these shots prove that she is in fact NOT a centaur.

Check out some of her film work!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September: The Help

Last night was Book Club.
I've been a part of my book club for almost three years now.
It has evolved so much over the last three years; 
when we started, about half of us had kids or were pregnant, and we even had one who wasn't married.
Everyone is now married;
over a dozen babies have been born; 
we've taken each other dinners on numerous occasions for numerous reasons; 
we've agreed on things; 
we've disagreed on things; 
we've attended weddings together;
we've attended funerals together;
we've laughed and cried together... a lot.
We've lived life together.
And it's only been three years.
But these girls will be a part of my life as long as I have life.

This month's book was "The Help", by Kathryn Stockett.

And the really important part...

There were two who had read the entire book, four still reading, and two of us had seen the movie (which is currently playing in theaters) and we were missing four people.
I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago and am still reading through the book.  
They seem to parallel each other pretty well for the most part from what I've read through.
I can usually get through a book pretty quickly, but this has been a little harder for me only because it's written in the Southern accent and it takes me a few chapters to get myself back in that place once I begin reading again.
I'm still in the first half of the book, so not too much of the plot has really taken place, however since I've seen the movie I already know what happens... so I'll talk about that.
I LOVED this movie.
There were moments that I felt so overwhelmed by emotion, I could not keep the tears from streaming down my face. There were moments that were SO funny, I busted out in laughter.
I love stories that emphasize love in ways that you don't often imagine.
The message throughout the movie was one of loving your enemy and having courage to do the right thing allowing truth to set you free.
It's just so good.
I definitely recommend this book/movie.

Oh yeah, and I tried Brussel Sprouts for the first time and I recommend those, too.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Oh, His Sense of Humor...

I love the Fair.
I love everything about the Fair. 
The Fair never disappoints me.

The pretzel bites with cheese that are so insanely good and the perfect remedy for worn out little ladies.

The chewy taffy stretched out right before your eyes, and then magnificently displayed in their sheer wrapper begging you to open them.

The tiniest goats I've ever seen.

Chickens with major attitude and exquisite flair.
(Cruella Di Vil, Cruella Di Vil, if she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will... isn't that the first thing you thought of when you saw this?)

Oh, yes... and the people.
This, my friends, was waiting outside the gate of one the Kiddy Rides as my young children and I exited. 
What a creative way of expressing themselves... good grief.
I certainly got my money's worth today!
(Admission was free with my Dillons Plus card... hehehe)

So, if all these images aren't enough to get you to the Fair, then I just don't know what will.

My day began by rounding up my posse and heading to my Dad's house.
He loves the Fair, too.  
He had already been once over the weekend.
We pick him up and head out for about an hour's drive.
We stop and get our cinnamon rolls as we roll through Amish country.
We arrive and I begin carefully packing my stroller's compartments with ALL the necessities I know I will need at some point... purse, camera, snacks, diapers, wipes, drinks... check.
I say a little prayer to the One who gives me so many opportunities to laugh each day, asking for just one thing today: 
"Please just keep my stroller's tires aired up while we're here."
You see, the tires on my stroller are like bicycle tires and I'm pretty rough on them; hauling two little ladies and all of our stuff over anything and everything that is in our path. They go flat ALL THE TIME.
But I knew my prayer was heard. 
So, we made our way onto the grounds looking through goats, sheep, horses, baby animals, rabbits, and then the little guy woke up NEEDING food.
I decided to make a little trek to the ladies room while my dad kept the girls and the stroller and were just going to walk around looking at the rabbits.
I walk out to my dad, kind of in panic mode, the little ladies just kind of pacing around, and the front wheel of my stroller, get ready for this one...
Somehow, the bolt had come loose and the front wheel just came off.
So, I laughed and thought,
"Oh yes, this IS funny, thank you.  I hadn't even THOUGHT to pray that the wheels would actually stay attached. You do indeed have quite the sense of humor! Now what do I do???"
I need a screwdriver and a wrench at this point and to my dismay I have neither and there are none just laying around waiting to be put to use.
So, I see some young men who look like they might have these tools, and ask if they can assist me in any way.  They do not have these tools, but they set off to find something that will work.
They come back with their boss, a knife, and pliers. 
Their boss was a jovial little woman who also enjoyed the humor in this situation; the knife worked quite well as a screwdriver and the pliers did the rest.  And we were on our way. 

Throw in one of the little's legs getting caught between the door and the stroller while passing through, the other little tripping over every single cord in her path, an eventful trip to the restroom with one tiny screaming "BUT I DON'T NEED TO GO YET!!" then bursting into tears, and a Grandpa who had no idea what he was really in for, and there's our day.
And one of our back tires did end up going flat.

My gifts today are almost to numerous to even type out.
It was indeed a wonderful day.

We're off to the State Fair today!
Pronto Pups, Roasted Corn, Frozen Lemonade, Sheep, Goats, Pigs, Salt Water Taffy, Honey Sticks, Ferris Wheel, Quilts, Pies...and the people.
ALL the crazy people you see at the Fair... I can't wait!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Day

Today, we went to our local Botanical Gardens.
My little guy exploded in his pants, but not on me 
(though I did have to change him on the spot in front of a nice group of people that had already made mention of how full my hands were);
my little lady who is potty training herself was a bit distracted and peed, but I had extra;
both little ladies were soaking wet and covered in dirt by the time we left, but had blast.
And check out some of these shots:

Oh yeah, and when we came home nobody took a nap.

However, that worked out nice for me since everyone was EXHAUSTED after dinner and a round of "Red Light, Green Light" out in the front yard and were in bed before seven, leaving me no choice but to get in a good run, a movie with my Love, and a bowl of Cheerios.

So, some of today's gifts include a good dose of humility, a dash of patience, a nice heaping spoonful of flexibility, surrounded by overwhelming beauty and four incredible souls to spend my days here with...
and I get to do it all again tomorrow!

Count your many blessings.
Name them one... by... one.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And The Winner Is...

...Becky S.!!!!

Becky, I'll be sending you an email with more information on getting your own
C - Mama Healing Salve

Friends, thanks for participating in this giveaway from Earth Mama Angel Baby!
They really do have great natural, toxin-free products that I hope you all have the opportunity to use at some point.
Also, for those of you who signed up for the monthly newsletter, you can also keep up with them daily on their Facebook page:

Monday, September 5, 2011

24 more hours...

Since this giveaway happened to be on Labor Day weekend, I'm going to extend it 24 more hours just to be sure you all see it! So... get to it!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Earth Mama Angel Baby

I've mentioned before in another post that I've had two pregnancies end in miscarriage.  After the second one, I began working with a midwife, just trying to figure out what was going on with my body. And whatever we figured out worked, because I was soon pregnant with my first little lady.  It was an easy pregnancy. I felt good; I exercised regularly; I ate a balanced diet; so as we were getting to the end I figured everything else would go as planned.  The plan was to let the little lady enter this world at The Birth Inn, which is a home where you can go and have your baby rather than in your own home. Weeelll... 39 weeks came and I was showing no signs of giving birth... not too abnormal for the first time.  However, at 40 weeks, I was still not showing any signs of going into labor and my midwife was becoming a little bit discouraged and after a lot of prayer and discussion, we decided it was best to go see her back-up doctor.
As I met with the doctor, he didn't seem discouraged at all and decided to let me go another week and if I didn't go into labor that week, we'd more than likely have to induce. And sure enough, that's what happened.  Fast forward through that day and by early evening, the little lady was still not here.  After receiving an epidural in hopes that would produce some results, it actually put the baby in stress and my doctor believed it best to do an emergency c-section. And then she was here! Fast forward even more and her little sister and little brother would also be born via c-section.  Not exactly the way I had planned for my babies to enter this world, but they're here and I'm happy.
C-sections, however, require a little bit more of a recovery time.  And multiple c-sections definitely start to take a toll on your body. After my first c-section I had found a website called Earth Mama Angel Baby that offered products that were made from completely all natural, organic, toxin-free ingredients.  And they had a product, C-Mama Healing Salve, rich in Vitamin C, essential fatty acids and amino acids, that was specifically designed to help with cell regeneration and wound repair.  I really wanted to try this product, but for some reason I didn't.  Second time around, again I really wanted to try it out, and I never did.  Third time... I WAS GETTING THE SALVE! 
C - Mama Healing Salve 
I got the salve.

Friends, it is AMAZING.
I'm now nine weeks postpartum and I've been using the C-Mama Healing Salve for seven weeks. Scar tissue building up is one of the things that can cause quite a bit of pain throughout recovery, causing the scar to knot up at the ends and just be tender throughout. However, massaging the salve into my scar each day, I've noticed there have been no knots and my scar is actually diminishing. 
I had read others reviews who had used the salve on their stretch marks, and guess what? It works on those, too.  How do I know?  Because having two babies over nine pounds causes your tummy to streeeeetch. So, I just rubbed a little bit of the salve on those, just to see (because I was pretty skeptical) and sure enough I can see a difference!
The reviews also mentioned using it on old scars, psoriasis and eczema, inflamed rashes and burns.
This product is so wonderful I began mentioning it to my friends who had also had c-sections, and then I thought,
"I should blog about this and REALLY spread the word."
And then I thought, 
"Maybe I should let Earth Mama know how AWESOME this has worked for me."
and so I did.
While letting them know that I was planning on reviewing this product on my little blog, I just happened to ask if there was anything that they could do to entice you all to check them out... and they did not disappoint!!

They are giving you all the opportunity to try the C-Mama Healing Salve out for yourself!! And I as mentioned before, this salve is not limited to JUST c-section scars. So... to enter this giveaway I want you to go check out the Earth Mama Angel Baby site and then leave me a comment sharing which products stand out most to you.  If you'd like to sign up for Mama's Monthly Newsletter or begin following on twitter (@EMAB_HQ), leave me another comment saying you did so and you'll be entered a second and third time as well.
All entries need to be in by midnight, September 5th.
Check them out right... now!