Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer food gloriousness

One of my most favorite little luxuries in earthly life is magazines. I LOVE having the time to just casually flip through a magazine, uninterrupted for an hour or so, sipping a lovely beverage. It's like a vacation for me.

In fact, I have at least 7 subscriptions. Now, please don't judge. I am not a fan of magazines with scantily-clad people and how-to's on things that my 2 children prove I don't need a how-to in. I also have gotten all but maybe 2 of my subscriptions for free. And the 2 I do pay for I waited and subscribed for a STEAL.

(These are all the things I tell myself to justify having that many magazines waiting to be flipped through at one time.)

Of all those subscriptions these 3 have to be my favorites:

And now that the June issues are rolling in, the theme among them is clear:





I'm resisting the urge to write the rest of this post in all caps....that's how excited I am about these recipes! These glory-filled instructions for summer bounty gloriousness! GLORY!

This is church, ya'll.

In the event that you don't know what I'm talking about, I came prepared today to share some of the glory with you. I'm going to give you the short list of my favorites from each magazine, and then send you to the link.

Tears of joy will follow.

Like my husband says, "If that don't lightcha faaar, ya wood's wet." Thanks, honey.

~Food Network Magazine (the Alpha Dog of food mags, in my opinion):

(aka Ohmyfreakingosh)

(it's a lot simpler than it sounds)

~ Southern Living

(and you should see the sauces!)

~Better Homes and Gardens
(go to the website and there's a deal going for 1 year at $5.99)

(I cannot tell you how sad I am that they don't have a picture of these up yet.
Please believe me. They look REAL good.)

(same sentiments as above.)

Now that we're all salivating, I think that you should go make some of these... and then bring it right over.

Jesus said to share.

You can ask Isaiah...he'll tell you.

Oh! And I'm going to give you a head's up. If you have a garden, could you pretty please take a picture of it for me? I have a post coming up that will involve Mr. Linky's debut on my blog, my need for gardening help and also my need for constant affirmation from other people.

Thank you for your cooperation. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

A "small" plug :)

Please forgive the billboard sized logo. I didn't know how to make it smaller. :)

So, about a month ago I got a little email asking me to take a survey and see if I qualify to be a Dove Hair Ambassador. If I qualified, they would send me a full sized bottle of their newest hair product: Damage Therapy Daily Moisture Daily Treatment Conditioner. (Longest title ever known to mankind.)

In return, I would offer my honest feedback to them, give away the samples they would also send me and tell my friends about it.

Enter you.

I qualified so they sent me the cutest little box filled with the big bottle of conditioner, a welcome kit and a bunch of samples.

Now, a word about my hair. It is thick, course and naturally curly (read: frizzy without gobs of product). I usually keep it pretty long, have highlighted for years and flat iron it almost every day. So you can imagine the damage I have inflicted. A while back I decided to stop highlighting and let it grow. I just got the last of the nasty, brassy blond cut off the ends and, while it's shorter than it's been in a while, it feels healthier than it has in a VERY long time.

So when I tried this product I knew there wouldn't be fireworks because it had just been cut...and there weren't really. BUT, it made my already healthy hair feel like silk. Truly. I kept begging Josh to feel how soft it was and I couldn't keep my hands out of it.

I did nothing different. I shampooed, put the conditioner in for the same amount of time you would for any conditioner, rinsed and fixed it like normal. I used no additional products. BUT the results felt like I had gotten a conditioning treatment at a salon. Seriously, I don't know how they could do it any better.

So, there's the opinion of a hair product junkie (you should see my cabinet). If you want to try it for yourself, go here and get a free sample.

And if you try it, let me know what you think! Happy Damage Therapy Daily Moisture Daily Treatment Conditioning! :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The day in pictures

Today was....busy, productive and a bit rough. And I'm going to warn you, I'm about to ramble on about it.

My sister is getting married in less than a month (!) and I ordered my dress online. It saved a few bucks, they promised to deliver the same quality, etc. People, please. Don't ever, no, not ever do this.

Though I ordered a size larger than what I wear (just to have a little room to work with in case of a, ahem...discrepancy), but I'm pretty sure the Chinese dressmakers envision us American girls as 6 feet somethings with teensy-tiny waists and gargantuan, enormous, tip-you-over, "hello, Dolly!"... bosoms.

Because that's what it looks like. I knew some modifications would have to be made, but oh my sweet heavens. It's so bad, one alterations lady flat out told me there was no hope for the dress.

Well, that's not an option, lady!

So anyway, back to our day....we went 2 mins down the road and met Mr. Hong. I'm pretty sure Mr. Hong is the dress whisperer. He has promised to make everything in my life ok again (but I need to "we-ah bra"). I love him.

Then, we hit our neighborhood Super Target to buy 2 birthday gifts and then find a strapless bra...and just for kicks, let's go ahead and try on cute bathing suit tops. Now, this is why I need to never go out in public without a level-headed chaperone. With 2 little boys, a good idea that was not.

We get home exhausted and with nerves thoroughly shot to heck. I'm looking at the clock to see if it's too early for a beer. My conscience kicks in and I decide what I really need is to pray instead. Small victories, right?

Apparently, I got the boys their lunch and high-tailed to my bedroom because all I remember is noticing the quiet and, upon entering the kitchen, saw this poor sight.

(Yep, he's sleeping with his eyes slightly opened.
Yep, it really freaks me out too.)

In the midst of me trying to recover from the elation of winning my Mother of the Year award, this little cutie grabbed the camera...

found me changing Manny's diaper....

(Because who doesn't look like this when dealing with a screaming mad, diaper-rashed little boy. The people who didn't win the award. That's who.)

and then decided to give you a tour of his favorite things in our house. I found the theme to be very interesting.

The barn in his bedroom, right beside his bed.

"Goodnight Moon"...a book we sometimes read to him before bed.

Our bedroom, where he ends up sleeping at some point
during the night, despite constant warnings, pleadings and

And that takes us to about 1:00pm. Are you tired yet?

Between then and now there was exercise and laundry and vacuuming and scrubbing bathrooms and doing dishes and preparing dinner and MUCH impatience and discipline and crying and whining and directing and bathing and picking up repaired vehicles and now, GLORY, it's bedtime.

And this, friends, is why there's not a family member #5 on the way quite yet.

So there you have it. Aren't you glad you asked how my day was? :)

Now, please tell me I'm not the only one with bald patches at the end of the day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Group S

Well, it's about dang time. Thank you all for waiting at the very edge of your seats for this here extremely! exciting! update! of the 34.8 seconds I spent with the Pioneeress.

I also need to tell you that this post will, in all likely-hood, be the most anti-climatic thing you've ever read in your life.

Now that we all have normal and healthy expectations....because we all know I'm a picture of that....let's get on with it.

I went with my dear friend Kristin.

When we arrived, we had to get a ticket that told us which group we were in. They also told us that each group had about 20 people in it. We got a little lost (perhaps due to the fact that neither of us, in our excitement, had the foresight to get directions, bring our gps or even bother to remember the name of the bookstore), by the time we got there, we waited for about 20 minutes in line before they handed us our tickets.

(this was taken by Ree from the balcony)

"Group S" was written in red marker at the top. S! As in the NINETEENTH letter of the alphabet.

(I had to count the letters twice on my fingers, so I'm positive it was the NINETEENTH group.)

Oh, and there were also at least 2 VIP groups. Fortunately, there was a cute, little cafe in the store that was featuring some of Ree's dishes so we enjoyed a long, though lovely dinner at a very leisurely pace. Very. Did I mention we were in no rush at all?

One small perk was that from certain spots of the store you could look up and see Ree happily smiling and signing away at her little table on the balcony. Kristin may or may not have had to remind me that I looked crazy just standing there smiling at her while people shuffled around me.

I may or may not have made Kristin very nervous by threatening to bust through the velvet rope, past the 14 year old "security" boy, up the stairs...just to tell Ree "hi" and stare at her.

So, what do two girls do in a giant bookstore for more than 3 1/2 hours? Well, we try on hats, of course!

Ok, I tried on hats while Kristin was my paparazzi. She's a good friend like that. :)

"I don't know what to do with my hands."
(Cool points to whoever can name that Will Ferrell movie)

We take numerous pictures of each other and promise to not ever, ever post them on the internet...
(what's up with the Elvira bangs?)

(isn't she cute!)

We browse and pick out Mother's day cards until our feet hurt, then grab as many magazines as we can hold, find a corner near the sports section (not likely busy considering the clientele that evening), throw off our shoes and get comfy. We also field multiple phone calls from husbands asking, "Are you seriously still there?"

Finally, we hear our call and head upstairs. It was not unlike hearing the Hallelujah Chorus after sitting through Handel's Messiah forever.

(To any fellow music majors...I'm sorry, but it's just how I felt.)

And there she was.... still smiling.....after hours and hours of writing the same thing over and over for people who were weird and smelly and tried to secure their spot as her best friend in the time it took for her to sign their book.

And that, friends, is when I realized there was a very good possibility we were not twins. I would have dove over the balcony.

And then it was my turn. I had it all planned out. Kristin and I had rehearsed what I would say.

I would ask her to please sign my book "To my twin" because I had a silly little joke on my blog about how we were twins...and then I would somehow try to make her understand that I wasn't a freak who obsessed over her in a crazed, lunatic way (thus making her re-think her choice in security boys). I was simply a fan with a little joke.

I walked right up to her as bubbly (in a non-crazy way) as I could be, waved enthusiastically and said something like,

"Hi, Ree! Ok, I have a weird request. Would you mind signing my book 'To my twin?'
I have this obnoxious little joke on my blog about how we're twins because clearly we're not.
I can't really cook. Or do ballet."

"Oh, I don't think I can do ballet either anymore!"

(paused for a picture...then she looks at my hair and says,)

"And you're a brunette, and I'm a red-head."

"Right! I mean we're perfectly twins!"

(now if that's not the cheesed-up grin of a crazy lady, I don't know
what is)

And that was it. I waited for Kristin, we both said our goodbye's and left. That's just the life of my, decidedly, un-twin.


And really, I'm ok with it. Maybe the dream has ended. Maybe I'll never be like Ree, and she'll never be my "twin".


It could all be an act while she composes herself and figures out how she's going to handle this news. She'll take some time to decide how to address this turn of events in the press, and how we can finally be the long-lost sisters we never were. She was in shock upon meeting me and now she's processing....

And she can take all the time in the world because I have the truth to keep me warm at night.

And in her heart....

I really do believe....

she knows the truth too.....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bedtime conversations with a 3 1/2 year old

The conversation I had with Isaiah right before bed tonight about him and Grace, our neighbor's boxer:

"Mom! Ah told Grace a suhee-crit! Ah told her not ta tay-yull INNEE-WON!"

"What is it?!"

"It's a suhee-crit. Ah told her not ta tay-yull innee-won."

"But what is it?"

"Ah told her not ta tay-yull innee-won!"

"I know, but what is it?!"

"Ah don't know! Ah told her not ta tay-yull innee-won!
But it's about uh bo-wee.

It's about uh ca-yow. "

*I'm realizing a translation might be helpful.

"Mom! I told Grace a secret! I told her not to tell anyone!

"What is it?!"

"It's a secret. I told her not to tell anyone."

"But what is it?"

"I told her not to tell anyone!"

"I know, but what is it?!"

"I don't know!
I told her not to tell anyone!
It's a SECRET!
But it's about a boy...

It's about a cow."

Welcome to my world.

DIY mason jar lanterns. And also etcetera.

It's been a busy week around here, but I promised to tell you all about meeting the Pioneer Woman, and tell you about it, I will.

But first I would like you know that I have recently come across several more diy-ers in the blog world who have forced me to jump off a cliff headfirst into diy la-la land.

I just stare. And dream. And imagine cooking in their kitchens. And try to wipe the drool away before my children become scared of me.

When I'm wasting away my time on the internet, that's what I'm doing. Facebook doesn't even hold my attention like these incredibly creative, resourceful, take-life-by-the-cajones girls. now I want to make these....

Cute, huh? I've been looking for something to light up my patio table on warm summer evenings, and these seem perfect. I love that I can use old spaghetti sauce jars and some wire. I love that they have that unfussy, farm kitchen vibe.

In case you want the directions, here ya go!

I also want a farm kitchen. And a farm sink. And fresh eggs.

But not chickens. I hear they poop a lot and, well....I live with boys so I have enough poop in my life right now.

So here is a short list of a few of my new favorites. Try not to get addicted.

New Nostalgia (she loves Jesus!)

Kara Paslay Designs ...(she also happens to be a big Jesus lover!)

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia (I don't know if she loves Jesus but still very cool)

Your turn! Tell me what's on your project list!

What are you excited about doing (or not excited cause that's ok too!)???

Friday, May 07, 2010

A family reunion

Tonight, God willing and the creek don't rise...

I will meet her Sassy Pioneeress.

Remember her? The one I am so much like in my cooking and photog abilities....and ballerina skills? Let's not forget those.

And the cattle ranching.

Gosh, I keep forgetting all my skills. Sometimes it's hard to keep up, ya know?

I'm sure it will be just like 2 twins finally finding one another after a life time of separation. Years and years of longing and wondering what the other one is like...

(for further proof see here and here.)

Oh, the emotions come flooding back every time I think about it.

I'm sure somewhere in a hotel room, she's a little misty too, thinking about me.

But first, I have to locate one of these....

Because, after we arrange my extended vacation at her lodge (for getting our families together, of course, because I'm no moocher) and letting the children meet their new uncle and cousins....and kissing Charlie.....I'll want her to sign her book for me.

Now, I know that given the emotions that will surround our reunion since the womb, this may seem tacky, but I've thought through this and really feel it's best in the rare chance that she'll claim she never knew me.

I've heard that some siblings go through a season of denial and I'm willing to stick by her through that.

(And if all else fails and she never comes around, I should get a pretty penny for it on Ebay. I kid, I kid)

So wish me luck, and I'll be sure to let you know all the gritty details once we've dabbed away the tears from our perfectly made up faces.

There won't be a dry eye in the place tonight.

Those hundreds of poor women won't know what hit them.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Quick declutter

Wow...I don't even know how to organize thoughts anymore. I guess you would call this a Stream of Consciousness Update Edition of a Small Variety.

See? I told you.

I have much to update, little brain energy and many, many distractions.

Here's a smidgen of what's been going on in reverse order.

1) Got back yesterday from the most WONDERFUL surprise girl's weekend ever! My 2 closest girlfriends in the whole world coordinated with my very sweet husband to steal me away and take me to the beach. They completely surprised me Thurs night....and ya'll, I'm really nosy. I'm not surprised often so I consider that Bond or Bourne-worthy on their parts. I had a performance at school Fri morning and by lunch, we were on our way!

We laughed (a LOT), cried, pondered, shared, planned, ate, laid on the beach, wrote down quotes of the weekend, went for walks, ate, slept in, went out, ate, watched some tv, came up with 3 words to describe one another, critiqued outfits, know, the perfect girl's getaway.

Friendships like that are rare....treasure like diamonds. They know me (even before I was a wife or a mommy). They get me. They value me despite all my mess. They truly want my good. They are a safe place to land and I love them dearly.

2) My students had a performance last Friday morning (Grandparent's day...that whole thing is still weird to me), and I was at school every day last week.

I. was. exhausted.

And it was just for TWO songs!!!

Those of you who manage to be a mommy and work full time....I'm baffled at how you do it. Truly.

Now that it's over, I'm hoping to be able to formulate thoughts that don't revolve around getting my kids to sing "I Vow to Thee, My Country" with the tall mouth shapes of Charlotte Church, and doing the right hand motions for "This Is My Father's World" wonderful as those songs are.

(I screwed up the hand motions, by the way, and one of my 4 year old's exclaimed "Oh! I forgot that part!" At least the audience laughed....maybe I can blame it on him. :) )

3) If you know me, you probably also know by now that my sister-in-law, Stacey, is having TWINS!!!!! I seriously about pee myself every time I think about it. CAN. NOT. BELIEVE. IT.

We also just discovered that the twins we thought ran in the family, were actually from fertility treatments so there are NO twins in the family that were a result of their genetics. Excitement for them doesn't capture how we're all feeling. God is funny. And a little scary. :)

4) We have now had 2 wrecks in 3 months. Yep. So lots of Josh's time has been spent repairing and paying for repairs on multiple vehicles....poor guy.

(but I'm glad I didn't have to do it.)

The up-side is that no one has been hurt, we have been spared MUCH, it wasn't the new-to-us van :), God is providing the resources to pay for and fix the cars, one of the other car owners is a co-worker and has been incredibly gracious and understanding, we are growing and learning a lot in the process, it's forced us to have some ugly conversations that exposed sin and ended up in a sweet, forgiving place.

Remember that cool bedroom makeover? Yeah, that's the down-side. It's gotta wait a little while longer (or be done very-little-bit by very-little-bit), but I do have a few pics to show you of things we've done since our last BM of 2010 update. So look for that coming soon.

5) God has been digging deep into my stuff. I know it seems like He's always doing that. I say that a lot, but this is a little different. It's a skeletons-in-the-closet kind of digging. Lots of shame. Things I don't want to acknowledge, much less talk about....and I think it's safe to say I'm a pretty open person. Don't get scared of what that means. I'm not really a man and I haven't killed anyone....but the digging has been hard. It has also become unavoidable and desperately needed.

And at the same time, I'm starting to feel more clean and free than I have in a very long time. I have a feeling it's going to take awhile, and I don't know if I'll ever get the guts to write about it all (especially not here in the middle of it), but the Lord is bringing healing. Healing to me, my heart, my mind, my past, my marriage....everything. Light in dark places.

I'm thankful.

6) The boys have been busy. Both are getting really big and quite freakin' adorable, if I say so myself. :) I just stare at them all the time.

It might also have something to do with the fact that I don't know what to say when one of them decides to compare some of his, um, "unmentionables" to mine (in front of our SMALL GROUP)...

but that's for a different post.

I think this is enough for one day. I feel much less cluttered now.

Thank you for helping me dust out my brain. :)