Sunday, July 31, 2011

Love is in the air...

Ahhhh, young love... So of course you know that my brother-in-law has been staying with us recently, and last Saturday his girlfriend also came to visit. Well, Wednesday he asked her to marry him, so she has moved up from girlfriend status to fiance. They are both young, but they have a strong foundation in Christ and will be just fine. Haha, did I mention that her name is also Bethany? It's kind of funny since I haven't really run into another Bethany since the 6th grade, and now I'll have one as a sister-in-law!

Michael and Bethany's story is similar to Joel and mine, so there's been a lot of nostalgia going through my brain these days...

Joel and I met through mutual friends the first day of college at Pensacola Christian College. A month later, there was a formal concert (it's kind of like a high school dance without the dancing), and I said "yes" to the first guy who asked me because I really didn't want to go by myself. Actually, I really didn't want to go with Jose either, but it was better than going alone. Anyways, Joel had asked one of my friends, so I invited myself and Jose to double date with them. (Very kind of me, I know.) So it was after that night that Joel and I became interested in each other. Poor Joel. He had to work so hard with me. I was the most self-conscious, low self-esteemed person ever....I'm still a little shy but it's nothing like it used to be. There were many a times I just sat there not saying a word.
the day before our wedding

 When he officially asked me to be his girlfriend, I told him he needed to think about it and we'd talk again in the morning. Joel thought I needed to think about it, but the first thing I told him the next day was that I wouldn't be upset if he changed his mind about me. I honestly thought there was nothing worthwhile about myself and he'd realize that over the night! Thankfully he didn't, and on May 7, 2005, Joel proposed to me. That day is definitely in the top 3 best days of my life. Although we had no jobs and Joel didn't even have a drivers licence (exactly where Michael is now) we got married six months later (19 years old!). We were totally poor the first three years, but it was such a fun time (still is!).
Here's to love! ;)

Monday, July 25, 2011

R.I.P driver's side tail light...

Friday, Joel and I went out on a REAL DATE. It was great. We went out for overly large hamburgers for dinner, and then finished up with a movie from the dollar theater. (Joel and I are huge money savers, so going to the "real" theater makes both of us a little sick..the last "real" movie we saw at one was Avatar, and before that the first Transformers.) But we love our $1.99 movies. Maybe having Michael here will be nice. It's like permanent, free babysitting. You know what else I love? The Dollar Tree. It's amazing. You'd be suprised, but you can find some good makeup finds (brands like Maybelline, Almay, and Sally Hansen). They'll have the exact same products there that you find at Walmart or Target for five or six dollars...the products change, but I almost always find something worth buying. (And, I've never found anything wrong with them, like buying expired products.)Not related to makeup, but they even have brand name feta cheese there.
Found this there Friday night:

I was doing more etsy snooping this weekend and I found some really cute hair bow holders, so I tried to create my own version:

kinda crooked...
OH. I forgot the biggest weekend news. Haha. Saturday, Sam and I had a school supply shopping date. We were all excited and ready to go and I backed out of the driveway and right into the mailbox. Took out the tail light. I flipped out. You would have thought I wrecked the car and ran over the dog. What a mess. It took me a full hour to get myself together. I think Joel was so weirded out by how hard I was taking it that he didn't even care about the car. After I pulled myself together, Sam and I went out and had a great time. We were able to find a lot of Super Mario stuff and even a Luigi shirt, so Sam was happy. Haha, when I got home Joel had already ordered a replacement part and it was only $30 including shipping, so I definitley didn't need all the morning's hysterics. Ahh well...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thank you Vera

The other day I was out shopping for a pair of cheap sunglasses at Kohl's and I ran across a purse I loved, at 70% off it was $26.70 (which actually is about the top of my purse price range) but that was also about how much money I had left in the month's spending budget, and since I don't need another purse, but wanted a new dress, I passed it by.
I wear a lot of black and grey so I love a purse with color


I'm going to have to stop here because I am obnoxious. At least I figured it out myself. I'm one of those people who love to give adivce. I'm not so bad that I go around giving it to people I don't know (unless you're reading this and I don't know you, I suppose). I'm NOT that person that tells the pregnant lady what not to do, but I sure do love giving some friendly advice. Haha, on a be-nice-to-myself kind of day, I'd say it's because I'm a fixer, and if I see a problem I can't help but want to try to fix it. On another day, I might say it's because I'm obnoxious and meddlesome. It's probably a combination of the two.
SO, my advice to married folks: set a budget, and when you do, pencil in an equal amount of spending money for you and your spouse. Up to that amount, you are able to purchase whatever your little heart desires without having to check in with your better half. Even if it's a 6 foot tall bow (as in bow and arrow) or in my case another suuuuuuper cute pair of shoes that Annaleigh (or myself) does not actually need. Joel and I have been doing this for a few years, and it works really nicely. Kind of funny, but we started this system because I tend to feel really guilty about spending money on stuff I don't need and it drove Joel crazy since we could always afford whatever I felt too guilty to buy.

Anyways, back to my riveting purse story. So, I decided to tell Joel about my purse encounter, and asked him if he would be willing to buy it for me for Christmas and just stuff it in the closet until then. Sigh...yes, I was totally serious, and yes, I know Christmas is six months away (but hey, our anniversary is in only 5!) So after we came home with the purse I asked Joel where I should store it away, and he told me that I was being crazy and there was no way he was waiting until Christmas to give it to me. So now I have a new purse, and you have a very long story on how I got it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tex-Mex

Michael got here Sunday, and I have to say, yesterday was awesome.  The kids were so busy bothering him, I got all my chores done, plus a long walk in all before lunch! However, I did warn him that he should probably stay in his room for as long as possible in the morning, or at least until he was ready to face them. ;)

So, I thought I'd share an easy chicken enchilada recipe with you. I learned this from my mom, who has lived in New Mexico her whole life. I've seen a lot of variations of this recipe, but I like this one the best, probably because it's delicious and super simple.  I used the shredded chicken breast I froze a while ago (which, btw, thaws like a dream!)

Ingredients:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small can diced green chilis, drained.
1 can green enchilada sauce
Corn tortillas
shredded chicken breast (I use about 6 of the small strips)
shredded cheese (1-2 cups)
sour cream for topping (optional)



Mix the soup, chilis, and shredded chicken all together. This is where the kids usually say they will never ever eat this, cause it looks kinda gross.

Next, heat up the enchilada sauce in a pan, and dip the tortillas in for a few seconds. This gives them more flavor, plus they won't break apart when you roll them up.
Most people take the tortilla, add the middle, and roll them up. I'll do it if I want to be "fancy" but another trick I learned from my mom is to make is kind of like a lasagna. It saves a bunch of time, and it tastes the same.

Put a little sauce at the bottom, and then layer tortillas, filling, cheese, and repeat until you're out of stuff, ending up with sauce and cheese at the very top.

Cover with foil and bake at 375* for about 30 minutes.

I don't have a final picture, but mostly it looks like a cheesy, gooey mess...and it is sooo good. As long as I buy the mild sauce (so it's not too hot) the kids love this mess. We all do.

Oh, and it freezes really nicely, so if you double the recipe you can throw the other one in the freezer (uncooked) and not have to worry about dinner some other day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The switch

I got Sam's room all set up today! Annaleigh has been sleeping in a twin bed in her room, but since her bed will be used by someone else for a while, I went ahead and put up Sam's old toddler bed.  I only added a dresser and the bed to the rooom, but everything had to be moved around...there's also a bookshelf and another long dresser in there that isn't pictured.

Sam's room before:

And now:
Even closet space is fine. Thankfully they don't have too much stuff (they do have plenty though).
If you have kids and are able to make changes to your house, I would totally recommend adding a second close rack in the closet. The one above was only $11 at Walmart and because of it Sam can reach his clothes and it adds a lot of storage room (I ♥ toys in labled plastic shoe boxes).


I'm not sure if any of you parents have run into this, but Annaleigh did something so incredibly obnoxious it is actually kind of funny. A week ago I cleaned Sam's fish tank out and that night she dumped half a bottle of fish food into it. I finally got around to cleaning it out  yesterday, and she did exactly the same thing, so I had the pleasure of cleaning it out again today. She's only done this twice, and it's only been right after I've cleaned the thing out.
Thanks Annaleigh!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prepared


I love missionary books. I've actually read a few this past month, but this one- The Cross and the Switchblade- is amazing. It's all about a pastor (Wilkerson) in the late 50's who goes to NYC and begins working with teenage gang members. There is one part in particular that got me thinking...Wilkerson creates a home for teenagers trying to get their lives together, and at one point they run completely out of food and money. What happens next is the classic example of God's provision: they sit down and pray and a few minutes later there's a knock on the door and lady has exactly the amount of money they need for the day.
There is really two sides to this. On one, there is the pastor who sits down and begins praying with absolute faith that God will provide. That's the kind of faith that I pray daily for. And on the other, there is the woman who shows up with the money. She obviously responded to a burden God placed on her heart, and because she did, she was able to be a part of a really amazing thing. I believe God would have still answered their prayers even if she didn't respond, He just would have found someone else who was willing. I came across a verse recently that ties in really well with this:
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

I have a little more to say about this and how it applies to my life, but that is for another day. I hear Sam in his room yelling to Allie that there is only five minutes left on the timer...which means quiet time is over!



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mud puddles


I found Allie this cute little swimsuit at Target the other day for $3, and she quickly broke it in with a trip to a puddle left by the rain (we did start out in the baby pool). Ahh, to be young! I was tempted to hop in there with her!


I also finally got my Valentine's Day present this week! Joel wanted to get  a new bedset for me (well, that's what I told him to get me ;), but we couldn't find something we both liked (or wanted to pay for). I like the one we have now, but I want to have something else we can switch around with to change things up, but I want it to go with the sheets as well.
This is the set we've had for a few years now.


Anyways, I found this set at TJ Maxx:



I'm still not sure if Joel likes it or not. He's sometimes a little vague with stuff like that, he always says that since I care more, I can decide. (I also think that he kinda likes it since it's the cheapest one I've found at $50) I've never really decided if I'd like him to have more of an opinion or not. On one hand, it's nice getting to do pretty much whatever I want, but on the other, it's his house too, and I want him to like what's in it. Although...Joel has a thing for weapons, so we have a bunch of swords and stuff around the house, and I could definitely live without those beauties...But then again, I hung up Joel's college diploma and several awards he won in the office and he didn't want that (what can I say, I proud!) so I guess it probably ends up even in the long run. Or at least mostly even. I won't let him hang the swords in the dining room...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Birthday parties and house cleaning

Yesterday was Allie's birthday! Two years old!! Poor Sam was a little disappointed because he has been saying for a while that once she's two she won't be a baby anymore...he thought Allie would be able to do a lot more stuff on her birthday. :) I had a ton of fun with her birthday cake...I wanted to something with Barney (her very favorite) but Barney is not that cute, so I also tried matching it to the decorations. I kinda love it, to be honest. It took awhile, but was actually pretty easy. The green is icing, and the rest is homemade fondant cut out with cookie cutters.

Birthday decorations...haha, I found those flower garlands at the Dollar Tree and used them for her birthday last year, but I loved them so much I saved them to use again this year.

This is a little random, but after all the birthday festivities, my house is kind of a mess and I have zero motivation to do anything about it. So on days like this I use a home cleaning method I learned from my mom years ago while visiting her one summer.
Super easy:
Write all the rooms in your house on strips of paper. Cut up and throw in a cup. Pull out one at a time and whatever you get is the room you clean. For some reason, it always makes cleaning a tiny bit more interesting. :)

I decided to make Sam his own, but just for the bedroom. I usually have to come and tell him every three minutes what to do next, so this worked really well at getting him to clean his room by himself. Of course,  I don't know if it will last...For him, I listed the stuff that usually is all over the place. Here's a few:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This and That

The kids and I went out on a Sam's Club run this morning...phew does that place add up fast! I am the very grateful recipient of a free membership thanks to generous parents who add me onto their plan, but I kind of wonder how much money it would actually save if I did have to pay for it. Probably not much...you can get some good prices, but you would have to get A LOT of those to add up to the $100 membership fee. I was thinking that I should come up with a price list on my most commonly bought items and compare them at Sam's, the commissary, and Walmart. It sounds like a good idea, but I probably won't ever actually do it. :P

Although now that I think of it, Sam's might actually come in handy soon! This next month is going to be a busy one. On the 17th Joel's younger brother, Michael, is coming to live with us for an indefinite period of time. (If you think of it, please say a prayer for my nerves as this is the third sibling I have the pleasure of getting to be in the car with as they learn to drive.) His girlfriend will be staying with us for a few weeks, and then in August Joel's parents and other brother and sister will be here for two weeks. We rarely get to see family, so we're really excited. Sam and Allie will be moving in with each other, so that's another thing that hopefully goes well!

Yesterday, I made a strawberry poke cake for the first time. It is actually really tasty (and super easy)! It's a pretty light cake, in part thanks to the whip cream topping, so it's perfect for summer.
 http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/raspberry-poke-cake/9edd24bc-1013-4244-b1b1-ad986ef40b4b




Christine, if you ever read this, this cake has jello in it, so I thought of you while eating my animal bones. Yummm yum. ;)

Monday, July 4, 2011

All American weekend

Happy Independence Day! This four day weekend has flown by, but it's a fun one. It started out with Joel finally getting promoted to Staff Sergeant. He found out he was being promoted last September, and got his new stripes on Thursday.I brought the kids to the ceremony and they behaved pretty well so it was nice.

Friday, Joel spent the day helping out at the Vetran's Hospital, and then we all went to the fireworks display at Ft. Gordon. I was really suprised by how nice it was, since things on base here are usually overcrowded and underwhelming. It did take an hour to get from the parking lot to the gate, but it was still a lot of fun.


Yesterday we decided to go out and see our little hometown minor league baseball team play and went to a game.
before Sam decided that baseball is boring

We've decided that baseball is not our thing. It started out annoying before anything even happened because the two teams wore almost exactly the same uniforms. It was really hard to tell them apart.  "Our" team was also losing by 7 by the 2nd inning, we had obnoxious teenagers behind us, and it was hot and muggy. We had planned on staying the whole game and watching fireworks at the end, but we decided that since the kids were already whining a lot after three and a half innings to just go. We stopped at Checkers on the way home and all got a 79 cent shake so the kids were happy.

It's kinda hard to tell from this, but they're both wearing green tops and light pants.


And today is the 4th! We plan on grilling some burgers tonight and not much else. We did buy a little pack of fireworks and sparklers. This is our first time ever doing that, so we'll see how that goes!

I like the idea of decorating for each holiday, but I've never been good at doing anything besides Christmas. I did find some cute stuff at Goodwill this year, so I have a little bit of holiday spirit going on in the dining room:




Friday, July 1, 2011

Date night

Date Night is one of those things that I promised myself that Joel and I would never lose after we had kids. :) I am trying really really hard to remember our last official date night. I know we had a few hours without the kids when he graduated from ALS in April, but besides that...I'm not sure...yikes...it actually has been a really long time. Maybe September? I must not be remembering right...Okay, so it's been a while, but it can be really hard when you don't have any family nearby. Family is awesome because they are pretty much obligated to watch your kids from time to time. ;) Also friends with kids works nicely since you can swap kids for the evenings. Of course you can always pay a babysitter, but first you have to find someone you trust, and then you have to pay them. For people like Joel and me (we only eat out once a month to save money) that can be painful. Have you seen the rates for babysitters these days??
Fear not, the romance isn't gone in our home. We do At-Home-Date-Night now. We aim for once a week, but more realisticly it's probably every other week. We do family dinner together every night, except date night, where the kids eat dinner early and the grownups eat after they're all tucked away for the night. Depending on how my day went, we either do something really easy or I'll make something fancy. It's fun. As fun as the "real" thing-only a whole lot cheaper!
French bread, Caprese Salad, shrimp cocktail, and tiramisu=fancy date night ;)



And...since tonight is pizza night I used the leftovers from last night to try something new for us:
Caprese Pizza!


 
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