Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Balancing Act

Life with kids can be nuts. I know this is no surprise to any mother's out there, but every once in a while I still get shocked at how thin the line between normalcy and chaos actually is. I don't know if it is something I will ever obtain, but I am constantly trying to find balance in my life. It is just so hard! For example: a clean house. This is another one of those things that I thought I had down before kids. Before kids, I was always going to have a tidy home. I even *mostly* managed it with just one kid, which made me feel pretty confident in my homemaking skills. Then came Allie. Hahaha!
Allie's room after she decided to play instead of nap

It actually is possible to have a perfectly neat house with kids, it just takes sacrifice. It means less time playing with the kids, less time with the husband,  less time on facebook, and way more time stressing over crumbs. I've tried it-it's not fun. I've also thrown housekeeping to the wind. Not surprisingly that didn't turn out well either. It did result in quite a few tears over the fact that the house was messy.
Allie's gift to my freshly vacuumed floors today.

In general, I've settled somewhere in between the two, but there are still days when it looks like a tornado ripped through the house and days where the kids fall into TV induced comas so I can deep clean. ;) For now, I'm trying to embrace the mess as a gift from God. At first it sounds a little crazy, but I recently read a story of a woman who lost all her children in a car accident, and now her house that never gets messy and the windows that never get smudged are a reminder of all she lost. So yes, a messy house is a blessing. ♥

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Puppy cake, how to.

If anyone cares, here's a little "how to" guide for a very simple dog cake. First, I looked around online until I found something that I liked, then used that image as a guide.

really wanted to attempt this cake (from cakecentral.com), but since Sam came down with the flu, I wasn't able to go out and get the pans needed. It's probably a good thing anyways, cause this would have taken a whole lot longer:

Anyways, after looking through pictures, I figured out what I wanted and then used my pans to come up with a plan. It's a lot easier when you know what you're doing before you start to do it!
So this is what I came up with, although I ended up using a smaller round pan for the nose...you could leave out the nose pan all together if you like:

And then the real thing:
For the ears, I simply made a small round cake (using the small pan from above) then cut it in half. The paws are cupcakes, and the nose here is a single serving pan I had lying around.

After that I crumb coated the cake. You could definitley stop here and add the facial features and it would be cute. I was going to use two opened oreos for the eyes with an m&m pupil and a closed oreo for a nose, but I wasn't able to get to the store so I had to improvise with what I had. You could also pipe them on.

Finally, I piped on stars for added texture then used licorice for the nose and mouth. I piped on the eyes, which personally, I think I did a rather poor job at, but I didn't care enough to fix it...

And really quick, here are some dog cupcakes for a little party Sam will be having at the park with a friend. Basically, I quickly iced the cupcakes, added a slice of a Little Debbie (half a marshmallow would have been much better, but again I had to improvise). After icing over the Debbie, I set them in the fridge for about thirty minutes to harden. Then I iced them again, this time thick enough to cover everything and used string licorice for the mouth and mini m&m's for the nose and eyes (which also look a wreck). The ears on the white dog is a mini marshmallow cut in half, and the other ears are chocolate pieces chopped up. Rolled out tootsie rolls would have been awesome for the ears.

I got the idea for these from the book "Hello Cupcake"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


There is the saying that that people make the perfect parents until they actually have children. How true! I find it really funny to think back about how I thought parenting/children should be, and how it actually is. To be honest, I actually thought I had everything figured out until Annaleigh came along. Sam was an awesome baby. He started sleeping through the night at six weeks, fully potty trained in less than two, stuff like that- just very easy. (I like to joke around that apparently God thought I needed a lot of help in the parenting department because "God only gives you what you can handle" and Sam was not a lot to handle.) Sam led me to believe that it was mostly our awesome parenting skills that made him so awesome.
Then came Allie. ;) She is definitely awesome too, just a different kind. She makes us work, lol. Anyways, one of my parenting theories was that babies should be done with the binky by the time they can say their first word. (Joel think's Annaleigh is still too young to worry about it. I think I was traumitized by those six year olds you see that still have theirs.) Lets just say that Allie has been talking for a while and the binky was only unplugged yesterday. I wasn't even going to start the process yet (soon, but not yet) but she lost her last one and we weren't going to go to the store at bedtime to get one. I also wasn't sure how to do it. There's one suggestion out there to cut a little bit of the end of the pacifier off everyday until there's nothing left so they finally get tired of it. On one hand, I like it, because it seems like the lazy way out, but on the other, I was worried about her sucking in extra air and the safety of it. Cold turkey it is.
This is night two, and I have mixed reviews. She fell asleep pretty quickly, but only because she's really tired from refusing her nap. She wants me to lay with her while she's falling asleep but I can't trade in one bad habit for another, so we've been going and calming her down every few minutes. I guess it's too early to tell. (Btw, Sam only sucked his thumb, and he stopped that at six months when his 1st tooth came in. See?? EASY!)
So anyways, that's one of my parenting theories that hasn't panned out so well. I know there are countless others that have been adjusted and probably countless more that will be in the future (my kids are going to be perfect teenagers).

I kind of like to pretend that the whole  binky "issue" never happened, so anytime I notice that a paci sneaks it's way into a photo, I feel as if I have to take a different one. ;)





Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot

Sunday, May 22, 2011


One of the funnest things I did while in Colorado was a suprise laundry room makeover  with my sister's help. My parents house was all very lovely except for the laundry room. It's located in a hallway basement, so it was pretty dark and dreary. Definitely a place you want to get in and out of. We did the whole room for about $80 (paint and supplies included in that price), with the biggest splurge being the seagrass baskets from Walmart.

Here's a little before:
And After!

I love what the paint color did for that sink!

We repainted all the shelves a bright white and the walls a pretty baby blue.
The iron horse was $2.70 at Hobby Lobby, and got those baskets on the bottom shelf from the Dollar Tree!

This cutie is one of my favorites from the room-another cheap Hobby Lobby find!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tortilla Soup

Thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes with you! So delicious and healthy (well, at least if you skip all the extras at the very end). Besides a little chopping, it's pretty easy, and makes a lot.

Olive oil (to sautee veggies and chicken)
1 lg white onion diced
2 chopped fresh jalepenos (seeded)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 lg carrots (diced)
2 celery ribs (diced)
2 green peppers (diced)
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Chili Powder
5 (15 oz) cans of chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup enchilada sauce
1 can hominy (a white corn, found in the Mexican aisle at grocery stores)
Shredded chicken (I use about 3-4 chicken breasts, but you can use as little or as much as you like)
Toppings (highly recommended for at least the first bowl!):
Tortilla chips
sour cream
Cheddar cheese (shredded)

Saute onion, jalepenos, garlic, carrots, celery, and green pepper in a small amount of olive oil until they start to get tender (if you're planning on eating it soon and not letting it simmer for a while, cook them until tender)
 Blend flour and seasonings into sauteed vegetables until flour is well incorporated.
Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce, hominy and chicken and let simmer for at least 1 hour.
Garnish with crushed chips, sour cream, cheese and avacado.
I don't have a picture of this one, because I was too busy eating!!
Variations I have tried are: 1 can black beans in place or in addition to the hominy (I won't do it again, but some people may like it) shredded pork instead of chicken (also very yummy).

Friday, May 20, 2011

Home sweet home!

Phew! We made it home! At this moment, I am fairly certain that I never want to step foot in an airport again. At least not with Annaleigh. The trip was definitely worth it though, and we all had a blast, we're just done traveling for the time being.
On the 6th, the kids and I left for Colorado (flew from Augusta-Atlanta-Denver, drove from Denver-Colo. Springs). The longest flight was 3 hours and Annaleigh literally fell asleep as the pilot announced the descent into Denver, so she slept for a whole ten-fifteen minutes of that ride. So airport to my parents house was about 8 hours total. Not too bad.
The very next morning, my sister (Hannah), Annaleigh, and I left at 4am to drive six hours to The-Middle-of -Nowhere Kansas, to watch my little brother's band preform. He did a really good job, and my sis and I had a lot of time for catching up, so besides a speeding ticket and a little sleep deprivation, it was a great time. The next day we drove back home...it was a lot of traveling in three days.
The trip home was a lot longer (about 12 hours) since the Denver airport took a whole lot longer to get through than Augusta's little one. Thankfully Allie slept for two hours on one flight and then a lovely grandpa played with her for the entirety of the second flight.
I'll have to write about the trip a little more another day, but for now I have to figure out what to do with the tons of toys that came home with us!

A rest stop in Kansas

Thursday, May 5, 2011


The kids and I leave tomorrow for Colorado leaving Joel to fend for himself. I take care of all the cooking in the house, so I worry he might starve without me...or at least live off Ramen for two weeks. Since I love him, I spent yesterday morning cooking up a bunch of meals for him, so he'll at least have some home cooked food. I (half) joked with him that it's a good thing I know he appreciates me or he'd be on his own. ;)
Another Better Homes & Garden idea: write everything on a board and erase as food is eaten.

Here are the quantities I used (which was enough for about 7-8 medium sized tortillas), but you can definitely adjust anything to your taste preference/size needed.

*7 eggs, scrambled
*about 1/2 package tater tots, cooked according to package, then tear apart   each tot
*1/2 roll of sausage, crumbled and cooked
*1/2 cup salsa
*flour tortillas
*cheddar cheese
*salt and pepper

Basically, cook everything separately, then mix together. Put desired amount on tortilla, roll up, and enjoy!

I wrap each burrito in aluminum foil and store them all in the tortilla bag to keep them
together in the freezer

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baby owls and laundry rooms

 Etsy.com is one of my favorite internet spots for boring nights. I love looking through it! I found a seller that makes the cutest felt owls, but as her prices are between $75-$100, which is definitely not in the budget. I'm not sure if there is some sort of code that says crafting plagiarism is wrong, but if there is I am guilty of it. I made our little family for Allie's room, and then I was sad that I was done, so I've started making them for friends now. (So friends beware, there is a chance one could be headed your way).
Here are a few door hangers I made for a good friend that's moving away:
For her daughter

Her little boy (Sam's best friend) is crazy about Mario, so I tried to make him a Mario owl.

I think the only other project I've done that has made me as happy were the curtains for Allie's room. I bought cheap white curtains at Walmart ($15 for two panels) then embellished them.

Whatever craftiness I may posses, I definitely did not inherit any drawing skills. It's kind of annoying because I would love to add something to a wall on my laundry room, but my paper sketches were so bad that Sam was like "what is that?"

This is the wall I'd like to add something to, but will probably remain with my Monet. I know wall decals can be bought fairly cheap, but I was hoping for free!
This is the first one I tried, and after it was a definite flop I tried a few simpler designs, but I failed at them all. Ah well....

Sunday, May 1, 2011


My idea of a perfect day always involves reading. I love it! I'm hoping to instill a love for books in my children, so far it's looking promising. Now that Annaleigh's crib is down, there is room for a bookcase in her room, which I am thrilled about. We need at least two more bookcases in our house to contain all the reading material we own. I hope that we always have more books than we have room for!

On a side note, the majority of the books we own are Christian books. I haven't always been as selective as I am now, but one day I realized that everything you put into your mind gets stored up there and eventually becomes part of who you are. (The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Lu 6:45) We are the same way with music in our family. It doesn't have to necessarily be Christian, but it does have to be "positive" (no swearing, glorifying immoral lifestyles, ect,  which honestly cuts out just about everything but Christian music).

 So, if you were at my house, here are the one's I would pull off the shelf for you!

"More Than a Carpenter" is a book I think all Christians should read. It explains a lot about the facts of Christianity (ie, the historical and scientific evidence that we have).

This is without a doubt, the best book I have read in a while. Richard Stearns, president of World Vision wrote this one about poverty and the change we can make. (btw, it's only $5 at cbd.com!)

Kevin Leman has a lot of great books, but this one on parenting is awesome. It's all about using "natural consequenses" rather than punishments like time-outs. He's a funny author and very easy to read.

I like just about all Francine Rivers books, but the Mark of the Lion series is amazing. "A Voice in the Wind" is my absolute favorite book

I don't know if this is a favorite, but it's such a sweet story. I used to love Sparks, but I find his killing off of main characters in the endings to be annoying. No deaths in this one!

Children's Bibles:
This one is awesome for toddlers. It has cute pictures and short rhyme verses. Perfect for Allie's age, although Sam still likes it. I've read it so many times, I think I have the whole thing memorized!

For older kids, I love this one. This pictures are fun and since it uses actual Bible verses, it is a really good introduction to what the Bible actually sounds like.
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