The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Friday, December 16, 2011

Adventures in Cooking

I know today is Friday, but I don't have five related pieces of information that are worth sharing.  Instead, I am sharing a recipe I came across and made last night.

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know, the kind of days where everything that could go wrong, did?  That was my day yesterday.  I could tell you all about it, but I am pretty sure it would just come across as me complaining.  Let's just say that I am glad today is a new day.  Hopefully my kids realize it is a new day also.

Despite how horrible yesterday was and the fact that I spent about 85% of the day crying (hormonal much?) I still was able to make this delicious soup.  That should tell you how easy it was.  If a hormonal, crying, crazy, pregnant lady can make this while her children are losing their minds, you can too!  It was so easy and so delicious. 

Here is it.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Now I have not ever had Panera's broccoli cheese soup, but my sister is a huge fan and I am anxious for her to try this and tell me how it compares.  Jason and I both LOVED it.  Seriously, it was pretty yummy.  And I think we were both a little surprised at how much we loved it.  Especially considering I was cooking it while in the middle of a pretty crappy day.

You should try this  For reals, go make this soup.  You won't regret it.

Couple of side notes.....I don't like onions, so I never, ever, ever use as much onion as a recipe calls for.  Second, I found I didn't have to cook the butter/flour/salt/pepper/milk mixture very long for it to thicken up.  Perhaps I had the heat up too high???  Whatever the reason, it was pretty thick in under five minutes.  Lastly, the tip for the broccoli at the very beginning is exactly how I cooked my broccoli.  I know that microwaving veggies takes a lot of nutrients out, but yesterday was the microwave your veggies kind of day.  Oh, one more thing (even though I just said lastly) really doesn't make much more than four servings, so if you want more, double it.

Let me know if you try it, and if you like it.  It will make a regular appearance on our dinner table.  Happy cooking!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our first Christmas celebration

This past weekend we celebrated Christmas with Jason's mom in OKC.  Even though we only spent the day there, we managed to pack in a lot of fun!

First, we opened presents.  Isabelle got a V-Tech digital camera.  She took over 300 pictures while we were there and burned through the batteries completely.  Here are some of her pictures.  Please keep in mind that a. she is three and b. the camera is 2 mega pixels. 

even though half of my face is cut off, this is still probably the best pic of me from the entire weekend!

Whoo Hoo....Dad's butt!

Grandma, or Deborah Jill as Isabelle calls her.

Molly's mouth.  Gross.  (the picture, not Molly)

Molly got a new baby doll, which is good since we have another one like it that the girls fight over constantly.  Now they each have their own and there can be peace in the house.  HAHAHA.  Now they will just find something else to argue over!  She loves her big baby and for reasons I don't understand only wants her with her clothes off.  Why do kids do this?  It is so strange to me. 

ANYway.  After naps and lunch we decorated Christmas cookies.  Isabelle was a master decorator and probably could have continued to decorate well into the night.  Molly was only interested in eating the cookies.   Here are some pics of the cookies, Molly, and sweet Belle working very hard to decorate them all by herself.

This is before the cookie decorating had begun!  Isn't she adorable?

Isabelle with one of the cookies she did all by herself.

My very good looking husband!

Just a few of the cookies we frosted!

We also had a delicious steak dinner followed by a very energetic dance-off between Isabelle and Molly.  Needless to say that when we loaded into the car to come home they were pretty tired!  I told Molly to close her eyes and she did and went right to sleep.  It took Isabelle a little longer, but she was out before we got home also!

So the Christmas season is off to a bang here at our house.  Next up Christmas morning with just the four of us.  It might be my favorite part of the holidays.  I love being able to create traditions for our family and seeing the girls react on Christmas morning.  I also love Jason's cooking and spending time with my girls and my wonderful husband.  We are starting some new traditions this year and I am looking forward to telling you all about them!

What are your holiday plans?  Any great traditions you have that you think I should know about?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Five...totally random

Today is Friday....but you already knew that didn't you?  There has been a lot taking place around our household.  Some great, some not so great.  So in honor of the Friday Five...I thought I would document five totally random things.

1.  Isabelle and Molly have started playing a very funny made up game.  In this game, Belle takes Molly to class.  By class, I mean that Belle walks with Molly into the kitchen, or in front of the front door, or in front of the garage door, or in a bedroom and drops her off at class.  Isabelle then walks off and Molly starts fake crying.  At this point, Isabelle comes back in and tells Molly that everything will be okay and that she will be right back and that Molly needs to stay and, "learn Jesus."  It is pretty adorable and the game can last quite awhile.  Molly's fake crying is pretty funny and the "learn Jesus" cracks me up.

2.  I got my first flat tire EVER yesterday.  I was on the highway and talking on the phone and next thing you know, flat tire.  Luckily, Jason came and was able to change the tire and take me to the tire store to get a new one.  There was no replacing the tire with the GIANT metal chunk in it.  Speaking of the mom says I should have been paying more attention to the road and then I would have been able to avoid a chunk of metal....I say that no one would have seen it or been able to avoid it. What is your opinion?  And don't let the fact that I was on the phone influence your decision, please.  I am a great multi-tasker.

3.  I am making something from pinterest this weekend.  Wanna see?  I thought so.

I linked to the website it came from in case you want to make one also.  It is made of felt and that way your kids can "decorate" the tree as many times as they know, because felt sticks to felt.  My mom was kind enough to go get me all the supplies today, so now I just have to get busy making the ornaments and presents.  Oh, and I am totally addicted to pinterest these days.  At first, I thought people were crazy to spend so much time on such a ridiculous website...but then I downloaded the app, and now I find myself wasting an absurd amount of time pinning.  Good news is I am actually using it for some making a fun craft.

4.  My husband has a girlfriend.  Her name is Siri.  In addition to that, I am now officially the least cool person in my entire family.  Everyone has an iphone but me.  Not everyone has the brand spankin' new one like J, but everyone has one.  Except me.  Sad thing is, I am not eligible for an upgrade until May.  So I have like six more months of being super uncool.

5.  Tomorrow begins our season of Christmas celebrations.  We are headed to visit J's mom to celebrate Christmas with her.  Every year it gets a little harder to plan all the different get-togethers and every year we start earlier and end later in the month.  Most years we also celebrate once in January.  Crazy. 

Hope you all have had a wonderful week.  Hope your weekend is fabulous!  

Monday, December 5, 2011

This is how I do it

Recently a couple of different people, at different times, have asked me, "How do you keep your house so clean?"  And after I pick myself up off the floor from laughing, I tell them it is all one big act.  Yes, I do like a clean house, and yes, I do spend some time each day cleaning some part of my house...HOWEVER, my house usually is not clean and is in fact, one giant mess.

So in the interest of keeping it real, I thought I would share some photos I took of Isabelle's room this past month.

the first view....notice all the play food, the books and the stuffed animals everywhere....oh and the tipped over rocking chair

Isabelle thought it was great that I was taking pics of her room

view of her shelf...which somehow miraculously stayed somewhat organized...the puzzles were still in place which usually they are on the floor also!

So see house isn't always clean.  In fact, the floor in the living room often looks exactly the same as Isabelle's room looks in these pictures. 

Being a parent has taught me a few things (surprise, surprise) and one of those things is that having a messy house is not the worst thing ever.  I will admit that there are still days when I am totally nuts about my house being clean.  On those days I have to remind myself that my kids being happy and having time to spend with them while they are little and still like me is more important than the house being spotless.

With that being said, if I know you are coming over to visit, I will most likely work like a crazy person to make sure you think my house is clean!

Monday, November 28, 2011

thanksgiving recap

this thanksgiving we decided to host jason's family at our house.  we do not have enough room in our house for anyone to be able to stay here, but everyone was here for dinner and for some other fun family events.  here is a recap. and btw...sorry for no photos...i apparently was too busy to take pics!

wednesday evening:  game night.  this is an annual tradition with my family and this year scott, elaine and l'deane were able to participate in my family's craziness.  we played charades...but our clues were all to easy and it ended in a charade-off.  my team won!  whoo-hoo!

thursday:  because we had prepared all of our breads (cinnamon rolls and cresent rolls) and the mashed potatoes the day before (thanks pw), we really didn't have a TON to do on the actual day of thanks.  the menu included turkey (duh), gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, crescent rolls, salad (gotta have some green in there), broccoli cheese casserole, and cranberries.  everything was pretty delish if i do say so myself.  for dessert we had pumpkin pie, apricot icebox pie and pecan pie.  i did not make my normal apple cake, and i missed it so much i am thinking of making it this week!

friday:  the guys (jason and his dad) continued to work on the beds for the girls.  if you want a sneak peek at what i am talking about, you can look here.  ours will not be green, and will look a little different as i am pretty sure we used a different plan for the beds.  i promise to have a post about the beds as soon as they are done.  after the bed making and football watching, we went to eat at mi cocina's.  YUM. 

saturday:  scott, elaine and l'deane came over in the morning and enjoyed some yummy cinnamon rolls and when the girls laid down, jason took them on a little tour of a couple of his projects.  saturday night, everyone had gone home and jason and i took the girls to church and had the williams family over for dinner.

sunday:  whew!  with our weekend almost over we decided we should go get a christmas tree.  i will post pics this week.

this thanksgiving was event packed.  we had a great time and can't believe how fast it went by.  the girls and i are slowly adjusting to being on our own today.  seems weird to not have a houseful of people.   hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Yes, it is Thanksgiving and yes, I am going to give thanks.  Predictable?  You betcha.  But who really cares? 

I am thankful that this year I have so much to give thanks for.  It makes it harder to know where to start!

I am so incredibly thankful for my family.  Especially my husband.  I won't go on and on, but I will say that I am blessed to have such a loving, hardworking, patient, kind, generous, and dedicated husband.  He is a wonderful father to the girls and he is the best husband I could have ever asked for.  He is such a blessing to me and I am so happy to have been married to him for over 10 years! 

I am also so thankful for my girls.  I am thankful that they are happy, healthy, smart and funny.  They are two of the most amazing people on the planet and I am beyond grateful to have been trusted to be their mom.

I am thankful, of course, for the rest of my family as well.  Thankful that we are relatively healthy, that for the most part avoid major drama, and when faced with a crisis we pull together rather than fall apart.

I am thankful for my friends.  My sister is my bff and I consider myself beyond lucky to have such a great bestie.  Friends from high school, college, church, Bible study, friends from when I worked in Dallas, friends I work with now in Mary Kay, friends I talk to all the time, and friends I catch up with only once in awhile....I am thankful for them all.

I am thankful for all the little things.  You know, things we take for granted everyday.  Food, shelter, clothing, medical care, computer access, television, indoor pluming....etc.  It is amazing to think about how much we take for granted living in the United States.

On that note, I am thankful for the men and women who fight for our country, thankful for their sacrifice.

Lastly, I am thankful for Jesus.  Thankful he died on a cross to save me from my sins....Thankful that I have eternal life......Thankful that I have a personal relationship with Him.......Thankful that He hears my prayers....Thankful for the many blessings He has given me.  I am thankful for His love, His mercy and His forgiveness.

I hope that this Thanksgiving you have much to be thankful about also.

shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
worship the LORD with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
know that the LORD is God.
it is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
for the LORD is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Par-tay

Here are some pics I promised from Isabelle's birthday party.  We had a great time and Isabelle is still talking about how fun her birthday party was!

My sister is the one that really deserves all the credit for making the party a success.  She not only came over early to decorate the cake, she also bought the paints which were the best present of the day!  Now that things have calmed down a bit, Isabelle is much more excited about her other presents as well, but the paints are still the favorite!

The Elmo cake, plus cupcakes! 

Just the Elmo cake.  My sister is amazing!

Poppy and Great Grandpa trying to assemble a pink princess tent!
Dad and Isabelle in the tent!
Another pic of Belle and Dad! 

I know that I am not the hostess with the most-est when it comes to birthday parties.  I don't have balloons and streamers everywhere...or for that matter the fancy banners that everyone makes nowadays.  I don't have a candy bar or special labels on water bottles or even gift bags for my family to take home.  We don't have a bunch of friends over, in fact, mostly just family.  But, I am pretty sure that for now that is okay.  The girls had a great time.  We got to eat yummy chili and cake and ice cream and Isabelle is still talking about it over a week later.  A week later and I still can't believe my sweet girl is three!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


So as I mentioned, this past weekend we celebrated Isabelle's third birthday.  Usually birthdays are a great time to get lots of great photos of J and I with the kiddos, but not this time.  We decided to put the girls down for a nap early before everyone arrived.  It seemed like a great idea considering how my girls are when they don't get naps.  However, I failed to think about how they might respond to going to bed with no one here and waking up to a house full of people.  They both were a little overwhelmed.

This is Isabelle right after waking up from her nap.  She sat on my lap, quietly, for what seemed like forever.  Isabelle is hardly ever still and quiet at the same time.  It is the only semi-good picture of us together at her party. 

I will post more pics and details from the party next week, so be sure to check back in for some awesome Elmo cake pics!

Also, if you have trouble remembering to get yourself in some photos with your kids, you should start the Embrace movement as well!  Check out Emily's blog here.  She is great!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Isabelle is Three

Can't believe that this baby......

has turned into this baby.

This past weekend we celebrated Isabelle's third birthday.  I had planned to blog about it before today but have been battling computer problems.  So now I have like 20 blogs I need to complete, but I am going to start with Isabelle.

Belle turning three is kind of weird.  I don't feel like she should be that old, but on the other hand I am relieved that there are more things she can do on her own, especially now that I am about to add another infant to the household.  I am sad and happy at the same time.  Plus, she has such a wonderful personality and is so fun at this age that it is hard to stay sad for very long.

Isabelle's likes and dislikes at age three.


Sesame Street.  More specifically Elmo.  She even had an Elmo cake for her birthday (pics to come soon). 

Anything related to art.  She loves to color with crayons and markers, loves to decorate with stickers, and loves to paint.  She finally got some paints for her birthday and she said being able to paint was her favorite part of her birthday.

She loves to sing, dance and run around.  That girl is always moving.  Playing outside is one of her favorite activities.

She also loves reading.  She loves books and loves to ask about words and learn how to spell them.

Playing with her sister.  Most of the time they can play very well together.  She told me yesterday that Molly was her best friend.  Presh.

The color red.  She loves the color red.  Anything red is awesome. 

Being independent.  Belle now demands to pick out her clothes each morning and put them on all by herself.  She is all about doing it on her own.  The only exception to this rule is eating.  She sees us feeding Molly and has determined that she must be fed as well.  It is quite irritating.

Calling people by their full names.  She even calls Jason and I by our full names.  It is quite funny.


Sleeping.  Bedtimes are a bit of a struggle at our house.  She sleeps well at night, it is just getting her to fall asleep that is tough.  She usually wants to read or sing or get up for the millionth time to go to the bathroom. 

Eating.  Belle is one skinny lady.  We go to the doctor today for her check up.  I am anxious to see her percentile for weight.  The foods she will eat are bean burritos, quesidillas, parm-dijon chicken, sandwiches, and fruit. 

Things being dirty or wet.  If Belle gets a little dirt or a little water on her she must immediately change clothes.  There are days where we change clothes four or five times a day.  I pick my battles and right now, changing clothes isn't on the list.

Giving hugs and kisses.  Unless I am leaving it is near impossible to get some love.

Belle is a great child.  She is smart,  like seriously smart.  She is a great big sister (most of the time), and she is super funny.  I think she is the most beautiful three year old on the planet, and I think she thinks the same.  Jason and I can't believe how blessed we are to be her parents.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Embrace the Camera-Sister Edition

It is Embrace the Camera Day! 

And I have pictures!  What the what?  It is sister edition today.  No pics of the kiddos!

Our first race ever.  Jason, my sis, my bro and I all completed the OSU Scrub Run.

My sister is a runner.  Like a serious runner.  She has completed many 5k's as well as a couple of half marathons and a marathon.  She is in the process of training for her second marathon as we speak.  It is kind of crazy considering she once told me the only reason she would ever run was if she was being chased.

I try to go to all of her races.  I have only missed three.  One that was out of town, one when I was in the hospital and one I am not sure why.  I usually try to get a pic of us together at her races. I haven't succeeded each time, but in the spirit of embracing the camera I thought I would post pics from her races I have attended and put in the pics I have of us together.

pretty sure this is her first Tulsa Run.

Route 66...think she did the half.

Our second OSU Scrub Run.  This time my bro-in-law and niece joined us.

Aquarium Run with Lauren

Tulsa Run...I was preggers with Isabelle

first marathon

another Tulsa run...i think

OSU Scrub Run this year

This last pic is from her latest Tulsa Run.  She is pretty amazing.  She inspires me to run....and then I  what?  that is crazy talk.  I think jogging is more my thing.  It sounds better than running really, really slowly.  I love my sis.  She is my bff and I think she is pretty awesome!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I looked back at my blog and how much I have written during the past couple of months and I was pretty sad!  I have so much I want to write about and so little time to do it.  Unfortunatley, I don't see my schedule getting any easier in the next couple of months. 
The holiday season around our house is a little chaotic.  And that is putting it mildly.  Between birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all that accompanies those events, I barely have time to work, much less to blog.  Jason and I both being from divorced families means that at Christmas we get to enjoy something like 423 different celebrations...okay so that is an exaggeration, but it is a lot.  We also used to travel during the holidays, but now that we have two kiddos we try to stay as close to home as possible.  We have also decided that every Christmas morning will be spent at home just our family.

the girls last year
Here is a glimpse into what we already have planned the next couple of months!

This weekend we will celebrate Isabelle's 3rd birthday with mostly family .  Our mostly family will include at least 18 people.  I will also be Christmas shopping for the girls this weekend.
Next weekend, the one before Thanksgiving will be spent with close friends.  One couple on Saturday night and one couple on Sunday for lunch.  Since Jason and I don't get to hang with friends very often I am super looking forward to next weekend!

The week of Thanksgiving is going to be busy with relatives visiting from Utah, Nevada, Kansas and Washington.  We will be preparing and eating lots of yummy food and watching our #2 Cowboys dominate during their weekend game. (hehe)
While you may think things would slow down, we also have my brother's birthday, my niece's birthday, Jason's birthday, Jason's office Christmas party, Christmas celebration with Jason's mom, celebration with my dad, celebration with my mom, and our own celebration with just our family.  Then another visit from Jason's mom and after all the celebrations are over with, we have three weeks to paint and decorate and build furniture for the big changeover of the rooms in our house.  Oh, and then sometime on or before January 19th I will be having a baby!  And those are just the things that are already on the calendar.

It is going to be CRAZY.  Most of it crazy good, though, so that is a plus.  It is easy for me to get overwhelmed this time of year.  It is easy to focus on the negative things, rather than all of the positive ones....SO this year my goal is to remain positive and enjoy and embrace the craziness.  And I hope to be able to blog more than like once a month!  We shall see!  What are your holiday plans?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Yes, I realize that most normal people would have already blogged about this, but I am behind.  I am, however, trying to catch up!

We took the girls to the pumpkin patch the weekend of Halloween.  That was our first mistake.  The place was BUSY.  The second mistake was me forgetting a pair of shoes for Isabelle.  I blame pregnancy brain.  I actually picked up her shoes as we were leaving and instead of putting them in my purse, I put them in her shoe bucket!  Needless to say, it was a short trip to the pumpkin patch.  Belle wore Molly's tennis shoes (over a size too small) and Molly stayed barefoot (which worked out great until she was screaming to walk around).

Also, you should know, my kids don't really like having their picture taken.  That makes it hard to get lots of really cute pics of them posing next to pumpkins.  Here are the only ones we got that are worth putting on the interweb!

J and the girls checkin' out the goats.

Isabelle was fascinated by the big pumpkins.

Seriously the only time I could get here to hold still(ish) for a picture.

Great pic of J and Molly....minus the fact Molly refused to look at the camera!

Even though we were there only a short time, I think the girls enjoyed themselves.  They each picked out two mini pumpkins to take home.  Molly tried to eat hers in the car on the way home!!!  That girl  is always eating!!!  Next year I will be sure to go before Halloween and I will be sure everyone has shoes.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mom Confessions

Last week I read another article about kids and television.  Of course it was about the fact that kids watch too much t.v. and that the recommendation was still no television for kids under the age of 2.  Television watching, according to the study, can lead to sleep problems and delayed speech among other things.  This got me to feeling guilty, again, about how much t.v. my kids watch during the day.  Way more than none to be exact.  And I hate that, I hate that guilty feeling that comes along with just about every decision I make as a mother.  So I decided to make a list for you, a list of my mommy confessions about things that make me feel guilty as a mom.

Hope you can maybe relate somewhat to some of these!  If not, you are one super momma!

1.  My kids watch television.  I won't try and justify it by telling you what they watch, though I do think certain programs have got to be better than others. 

2.  There are days when I look back at what my kids ate for the day and realize there wasn't a single vegetable, green or otherwise.  Yesterday they had yogurt for breakfast with toast, then pb&j for lunch with fruit, and pancakes for dinner.  Not the most healthy day at our house. 

3.  Some days I spend a little too much time on the www. and not enough playing toys.

4.  It is hard for me to remember to brush their teeth twice a day every day.  I can't do it at the same time I do mine as they are usually in bed before I brush my teeth for the night.  So, some nights they go to bed with dirty teeth. 

5.  I also don't read to them every single day.  Most days, yes.  Every day, no.  Sometimes I just don't have the patience to force them to sit still and listen.  So on the days they aren't into it, I don't force it.

There you go, five of my mommy confessions.  These are the ones that bother me the most.  The ones I am constantly trying to get better at.  I have more things that I could how I sometimes have to walk away from the changing table while Molly is lying there so I can go get a diaper out of the dryer, but that is another confession for another day.

What are your confessions?  The things that make you feel guilty as a mom?  I would love to know I am not alone in all of this!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Things to Remember

Awhile back I did a post about things I wanted to remember about the girls, and I figured it was about time for another one.  So here goes.  Here are some things I never want to forget!

Belle saying that something happened lasterday.  I don't know why I find this so cute, but I do.

Molly being the world's biggest cuddle bug.  She is a momma's girl for sure and she loves to cuddle up with me whenever she can.

Belle's talking in general.  She comes up with the craziest things to say.  She has such a great imagination.  And I know that she should be quiet when going to sleep, but it is pretty presh to hear her singing and talking to herself at bedtime.

Molly saying, "hold me, hold me." 

Molly eating anything and everything she lays eyes on.  I am sure this will stop at some point.  But seeing her shove a fist full of vegetables in her face is something I think I should remember for that point when she won't touch anything green.

I want to remember how great the girls get along.  Of course we have our moments of kicking, pushing, hair pulling and hitting, but for the most part the girls love each other.  I can't get enough of them spontaneously giving each other hugs and kisses or when they play together outside holding hands and walking all over the yard.  Isabelle won't even go in the older kid class at Bible study because she wants to stay and play with Molly.

Isabelle telling me I am her best friend and then saying, "I love you, friend."  I know that one day I will need to remember this piece of information.

Isabelle calling everyone by their full names, including Jason and I.

Molly copycat-ing everything Isabelle does.  It is so adorable and yet so irritating.  Adorable when she copies her singing or dancing, irritating when she copies Isabelle putting her food on the kitchen floor.

My girls are pretty amazing, adorable, wonderful, funny, crazy, adventurous, energetic, determined, smart, creative, beautiful little ladies.  I am so blessed to be their mom, and I hope that I can remember most of the fun things they do!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bad Blogger

I have been neglecting my blogging duties.  And, well, today isn't really going to be any different.  I am a little under the weather.  Okay, maybe more than a little.  And hopefully, fingers crossed, the fact that Isabelle is now complaining about her throat does NOT mean she is coming down with whatever I have.

My mom was gracious enough to stay over today while I took a much needed nap.  I slept for two hours and think I will probably still go to bed early tonight.

All that to say, sorry for not updating or posting anything this week.  I have lots of exciting things to talk about and even have pics for Embrace the Camera next Thursday.  See you soon....

Friday, October 14, 2011


I feel a little like a wussy even talking about this.  For one, lots of women have lots of children and none of them seem to be going crazy.  Second, I have a dear friend who in May will have three babies all under the age of two at her house.....SO, it seems a little silly for me to say anything about my worries about having three children ages three and under.  But, I am going to do it anyway.

My Friday Five:

Fears of having three children.

1.  Meal times.  How in the world can I feed Molly, over-see Isabelle and feed an infant?  The only solution I can think of is to spread them out, but I fear that then the only thing I will be doing all day is preparing food and feeding children. (oh and then cleaning up)

2.  Nap times.  Is there ANY way to get them to all sleep at the same time?  Belle and Molly are good about taking naps at the same time, so hopefully I can get jr. on the same schedule.

3.  Babysitters.  Will I be able to find anyone to watch all three kiddos for longer than a couple of hours?  What if J and I want to go on a long weekend?  Is there anyone who will volunteer for that job?

4.  Alone time.  Will I ever have any?  This is coming from someone who used to loathe alone time.  Now I dream of it.

5.  What about my house?  Will it ever be clean again?  Will the laundry ever be done?  Currently I have trouble keeping up.  I can't see how this improves with another person to take care of.

So that's it, five of my concerns about a new baby.  I would love to hear from moms of big families where kids are close in age saying how easy it is and how going from two to three is super awesome.  Seriously, find those women and have them email me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Adventures in Cooking-Crockpot Edition

Since I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had not been trying new recipes, things have taken quite a turn around our house.  I have actually been cooking new recipes and trying to find new (and economical) things for the fam to eat.  I know there has been a big crockpot movement on facebook, and if you haven't visited the crockpot girls, you should.  They have a ton of great recipes and who doesn't like an easy dinner once and awhile?

These are two recipes for crockpot dinners that we have had recently.  Both yummy.  Both easy.

First up,

Holiday Bean Casserole.

I found this recipe while searching for a vegetarian meal to make for dinner.  I was thinking more beans and cornbread, or red beans and rice type of meal, but it is so hard to find a bean recipe that doesn't involve PORK.  And in case you didn't know it before, I don't eat pork.  So this recipe looked perfect.  It also looked different, which I liked.  It is easy to prepare, and delicious.  As far as the kids go, Molly refused to even try it and spent her time squishing the beans on the table.  Belle, on the other hand, picked out all the "pink beans" or kidney beans and ate just them, but at least she was eating!


Creamy Ranch Chicken.

There is no link, you will just have to copy it down!  I honestly don't know where I got this recipe.  I copied and pasted it into a word document and saved it.  It is from someone else, not me, and the poor person isn't getting any credit for it.  Sorry.  It is too yummy not to share even if I can't say whose recipe it was originally.

3-4 Boneless chicken breasts

4 Tbsp melted butter (divided)

1 packet Ranch dressing mix (divided)

1 package cream cheese (8 oz.), cubed

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can chicken broth -or- 1 bouillon cube and 1.5 cups water

Wash and dry chicken and place evenly in crock pot. Sprinkle about 1/2 of ranch packet over chicken. Drizzle with half of melted butter. Combine remaining of ingredients in bowl. Mix well and pour over chicken. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Stir occasionally. Serve over noodles or rice.

We had this served over jasmine rice and it was very, very good.  Kids ate it up.  One of few dinners both kids will eat and ask for more.

What are your favorite crockpot meals?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Camping 101

This past weekend we went on our annual family camping trip.  It was a memorable experience to say the least!  Here are ten things you should know when taking a camping trip with toddlers.

1.  God made dirt.  Dirt don't hurt.

This summer was particularly hot and dry, resulting in the dirtiest camping experience ever.  Molly was tripping over rocks and tree roots and.....okay, she tripped over everything.  In the process she became one dirty child.  She was covered in dirt pretty much all day, every day during our trip.  Belle wasn't quite as bad, but she got pretty dirty also.  I had to surrender to the fact that they were going to get VERY dirty on this trip.

2.  When an airbed gets a hole the size of your finger at three in the morning, everyone will wake up.  It will not be easy to get back to sleep after that.  Perhaps having a backup airbed would be a good idea!

3.  This is more for pregnant people than people with children, but when said airbed gets a hole, and you have no backup bed, sleeping on the ground produces very sore hips.  (Children don't know the difference between the bed and the ground though, so don't worry about the kids.)

4.  Bring lots of helpers.

Having lots of extra hands can allow you to not be taking care of children the entire time you are camping. 

5.  No matter how horrible something might seem at the time, kids only remember the good stuff.  My example:  Belle and Molly were so filthy that I thought taking them to the showers to wash them off was a great idea.  They screamed and cried like someone was torturing them.  It seemed very traumatic at the time.  I am assuming that since Isabelle has already asked to go camping again it didn't scar her for life.

6.  Bring lots of donuts.

Molly asking for more donuts.

Belle posing with her donuts!
On the morning we are packing up to come home we usually bring donuts for breakfast.  They are fast and easy and don't require any dishes or clean up.  Molly put entire donuts in her mouth and after six!!! (mini donuts) she still wanted more. 

7.  Taking good family pics is hard. 

I suppose this is true for all of life and not just camping, however when camping you feel you should capture a moment with everyone looking like they are having a GREAT time.  Not going to happen.  Check out the kids faces.  Not really the portrait of sheer bliss.  We were on a nature walk, and they were having fun, just doesn't come across in the picture.  Oh well.

8.  Bring food that everyone will eat.  My kids are picky eaters.  I should have planned better for mealtimes.  Instead I planned normal camping food.  Lucky for me we had pb&j also.  I am pretty sure Belle had a sandwich for lunch and dinner two days in a row.

9.  Relax.  Camping is supposed to be fun, right?  Who cares if the kids eat a few more cookies than normal, or cheese for breakfast, or miss their normal nap time?  Try to be more relaxed than I am and go with the flow.  I am working on it, but it is a slow process.  Go to the playground, let them play in the water, get dirty, and don't freak out if something doesn't go exactly right.

10.  Keep your trip to a reasonable length.  We go for two nights and with both girls that is a perfect amount of time.  Any longer would not be fun and any shorter would be a waste of energy!  Maybe someday when they are older I will brave a longer camping trip, but for now the close to home, short trips are best!

We had a pretty good time overall!  This time was better than last time and that has to be a good sign, right?  I will probably avoid camping while preggers in the future, but otherwise I am glad we are getting our kids into the camping tradition early.  They love it and it is good to get away from it all once in awhile.

Do you camp with your kiddos?  What tips do you have to make the trip more enjoyable?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cheap Sunglasses

I bought Isabelle a pair of sunglasses at Just Between Friends.  They were actually for Molly and for $1, I couldn't pass them up.  Somehow they have ended up as Isabelle's sunglasses and the ones Isabelle had are now Molly's, but they don't seem to mind.  Isabelle has become a little obsessed with her new sunglasses.  Here are just a few of the pics of her in her new sunglasses.

This is first thing in the morning while drinking her milk and watching Yo Gabba Gabba.
During bath time, obviously.

During the garage sale!  She had to try on the bike helmet and play with all the old cell phones.

Eating lunch.

On our way to church.

On our way home from church with her crown that says, "I obey when I'm away."

 Isabelle cracks me up pretty much every single day.  She is such a funny girl.  And, she loves her sunglasses.