The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Monday, January 31, 2011

A List

Because I am tired.  Because I have lots of random thoughts.  Because I want to.

A List

1.  My favorite Mexican restaurant of all time, Mi Cocina, is coming to Tulsa.  I am counting the days until they open.

2.  Isabelle has started sticking cereal up her nose.

3.  The nosefrida is a great tool for getting cereal out of noses.

4.  The blackberry cobbler I made for Jason was delicious.  It was also ridiculously easy to make.

5.  Every time I leave the drive through at the bank I run over a curb.  I am sure the bank people have figured out that I am going to do it EVERY time and now stand around and laugh.

6.  Today I also ran into something in my garage.  Since there is no evidence of what I hit, I am not going to say so Jason doesn't get mad!!!!

7.  Once, I ran into the house.

8.  Apparently I am not a good driver.

9.  Molly is getting another tooth.  It is making her miserable.  Isabelle never had this much trouble with teething. 

10.  I am officially in love with foundation primer

11.  I LOVE snow, but I hate that it means all my appointments will cancel.

12.  I couldn't finish on an odd number because I am weird.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Updates on Kids and Cooking

Let me start out by saying that having computer issues sucks!  Our computer has decided to only work when it feels like it, making blogging somewhat difficult.  We have yet to take it in to be looked at because, well, if you wait a few minutes, turn it upside down and restart it, it may work again.  Weird, huh?  Seriously though, turning it upside down really works.

On to more important matters, Belle and Molly. 

The girls are doing well.  Molly has been a bit under the weather, but she is almost 100% again.  Belle is full of energy as usual and has developed an adorable habit of repeating every word her father or I say.  It is so annoying cute.  I am so glad that I never say anything that is questionable.  Or Jason for that matter.  We both keep it nice and clean around here.  Except last night when she said weenie.  Can't wait for her to repeat that at church.  And just so you know Jason was talking about a cucumber when he called it a green weenie.  Belle repeated the weenie part only.

Today I took the girls on their first outdoor wagon ride.  The weather here is strangely nice, which I hate, but the girls LOVE.  They both did really well, no one fell out. 

Other than that things are pretty much same as always around here.  Molly is still just pulling up, not walking.  She still has only one tooth.  She has developed a love for Charlie Brown thanks to her Auntie Leigh who sent her and Belle a Charlie Brown doll, but other than Char Brown (that is what Belle calls him) love, Molly is pretty much the same.  Same for Belle.  Except for the repeating, oh yeah, and asking "why?" every five minutes.

It did dawn on me the other day that I will only be able to call Molly an infant for two more months.  I almost lost it at the thought of her turning one, so I am going to avoid talking about it now also!

My cooking adventures have continued and with amazing success.  I have made the Pioneer Woman's pizza crust, chicken tortilla soup, and mac n cheese, and all were delicious.  I have avoided desserts since making the delicious homemade Oreo cookies, but have planned to make Jason a very special dessert next week.  Since he will read this, you will have to wait to find out what it will be also.   I think I might be in love with PW.  I have also decided that if I am going to continue cooking it might be time to invest in some basic cooking utensils/pots/pans/dishes.  Every time I go to try something new I realize how lacking I am in kitchen necessities.  So far I have made it work, but eventually I may have to break down and invest in my cooking arsenal.

So that is it, we are good, we are healthy and we are getting fat from all the cooking I am doing.  See you tomorrow provided the computer is working!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keepin It Real

First, let me apologize for not posting yesterday.  We are having some computer issues and yesterday when I wanted to blog the only thing my computer would do is say, "operating system not found," which I am pretty sure is not awesome.  However, today it is working like a gem, so I am going to blog my little heart out!

Yesterday I was reading one of my favorite blogs and I was blown away at how honest and refreshing it was.  It is pretty unusual to find someone in the blog world who just says, "hey, my life isn't perfect."  But, she did and it was great.  Don't get me wrong, I love to read about women who manage to look great, cook great, take great photos, have wonderfully great children and wonderfully great marriages and never have a single problem, I just don't believe that it is the entire story of their life.  It is the life they want to show the internet, and I don't blame them or think it is wrong to record only positive, cheery, happy things.  What is nice is when that person you look up to or admire admits that they also struggle and have been able to overcome whatever it might be and hey, "you can too!"  Knowing that someone else has made it through what I go through gives me hope and my desire is that maybe someday someone will benefit from knowing that I had challenges and I still managed to live an overall happy life!

So in the spirit of  keepin' it real I thought I would let y'all in on a few of my dirty little secrets lest anyone think I have it all going on!

Most days I am worried about money.  Besides the fact that I know better than to worry (since God always comes through for me in this area and the Bible specifically tells me NOT to worry), I also know it is totally unproductive.  Worrying about the bills/cars/groceries/clothing/diapers doesn't get me any closer to paying for it all, so why worry in the first place?  This is an area I am working on!

I battle low self confidence regularly.  WHOA.  That took a lot to get out.  One might think that reading blogs of other women who appear to be rockin' it in every area would be counterproductive to boosting the self esteem, but I find the opposite.  Reading about women my age who stay at home who have the same things going on and manage to be all cheery and positive and full of confidence actually helps.  The Pioneer Woman has seriously inspired me to cook more often and try things I might not have before.  And every time I try something new and am able to do it, I feel pretty good about myself.

My marriage/children/home life/walk with the Lord/fill in the blank is not perfect.  I am pretty sure this is obvious to anyone who reads my blog, but maybe not.  In our house, we are always working on things.  You cannot just end up with a great life without working at it day in and day out. 

Some days I wish I was a working mom and not a stay at home mom.  I love my girls and I am so blessed to be able to stay home, but there are days where I question that decision.  I miss working.  I miss how easy it is compared to what I am doing now.  I miss adult conversation during the day.  I miss being appreciated and making important decisions and feeling like what I am doing matters.  I miss working with families and getting to know lots of interesting people.  Mostly I miss the feeling that comes from completing a project and knowing you have done a good job.  Okay, so I miss the paycheck also! 

I am going to stop there.  Hopefully my point came across.  We all have things we are working to try and change.  There is no use in trying to compare yourself to others.  God made you to be you and has a plan for your life that is unique from everyone else's.  When you think that you are the only one who has ever wished that you could lock your kids or yourself in your room  in order to get a few minutes of peace and quiet, you aren't.  When you think your marriage is having problems that no one else has ever had, it isn't.  Everyone has something.  So don't feel alone, we all have issues and we all have drama and we are all working on something.  The Bible makes it pretty clear that as long as we are on this earth we are going to be working on something.  Instead of hiding from it, start telling the truth, you might be amazed at who you find that knows exactly what you are talking about.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saving Money and Eating Organically

Quite some time ago at a church service in Dallas, I heard a speaker that changed my way of thinking about food and what I put in my body.  After that service I vowed to never eat high fructose corn syrup again, not to eat any pork or pork products (gelatin), to be careful of the amount of processed foods I ate and to eat organically as much as I could. 

It came pretty easily considering we lived in Dallas, had ample places to find organic foods, and had a pretty limitless budget when it came to grocery shopping.  Plus we didn't have any kiddos at the time contributing to our food budget.  But being back in Oklahoma, having a very clear limit on grocery spending, hardly any choice when it comes to finding stores that carry organic products, and having two extra mouths to feed has made it a little more challenging.

So today I hope to offer some ideas on how you can eat healthy, eat organic (sometimes but not always) and save some money.

In order to save money while trying to eat organic, non-processed foods you have to be willing to give a little.  Especially if you live somewhere where the organic grocers are few and far between.  In my family there are a handful of items that are organic only items.  I will not buy these items conventionally.  Milk is one of those things.  Belle (and soon Molly) drinks a little less than a gallon of milk a week.  For me, deciding what items I buy organically comes down to what we eat, or in this case, drink the most.  Since we drink a lot of milk, I feel it is important that it be organic milk.  Of course organic milk is not cheap, so I visit the Horizon website in order to score some coupons.  There are other items like eggs, some produce and baby food that I do not compromise on, but generally everything is fair game.  You have to be willing to do some investigating to figure out what is okay to not buy organic, but it is worth the time.  Additionally, you have to be willing to seek out coupons for the items you buy most often.

Next, I try to buy what I can at Walmart and Target.  Yes, they carry organic products.  Especially canned goods, baby food, milk, eggs, and some produce.  Generally the prices for these items is less than if I drive to Whole Foods to get them.

If an item is not available in organic or is too expensive for me to buy organic, I still try to be healthy.  For me this means that the item does not contain HFCS or lots of chemical ingredients I can't pronounce.  One example of this is yogurt.  I do not buy organic yogurt.  The girls only eat it sometimes and it is way more expensive than conventional, sometimes double the price of others.  However, I only buy yogurt made with kosher gelatin and made without HFCS.  Another example is peanut butter.  I usually get the all natural peanut butter, but not organic in order to save some cash.  Again, we eat it so rarely I don't worry about it being conventional.

I would also like to say that I do cheat sometimes.  I eat brownies, I eat ice cream, I have had sausage in the last five years (probably could count the times on one hand, but still).  The point is, I have not gone off the deep end.  It is easy to go overboard with the organic, healthy, non-toxic craze.  You can drive yourself crazy.  So I try to be reasonable.  I buy organic, yes, but I also stick to a budget and make changes when I can.  I look for coupons and shop at Walmart and Target, not Whole Foods for most items.  It is possible to eat semi-organically, healthy and not break the bank!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Today I.......

bought $84 worth of diapers.

made the most delicious cookies EVER..homemade oreos.  Recipe courtesy of Crowley Party blog.

delivered some Mary Kay products.

did laundry.

did dishes.

got ready to visit our friends, Michael and Rochelle, and their adorable son, Max.

played with the girls.

realized that I still have not written down anywhere that Molly said Dada on Christmas and got her first tooth on 1-11-11.

did not drink enough coffee.

got excited about the Toby Mac concert tonight. 

ate leftovers for lunch, AGAIN!

did not take a nap or scrapbook or read during the girls nap time, but instead painted my fingernails and watched tv.

decided to keep track of all the books I read this year and blog about them in December.

told my husband he was right. 

wished I had a more interesting blog topic!

What did you do today?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Continued Adventures in Cooking

Initially I was a little reluctant to do this post.  After all, I am not the greatest cook and I don't attempt the most elaborate meals and mother-in-law reads my blog.  Okay, the real reason I was reluctant was because of my mother-in-law.  She knows how to cook and she is my husband's mom.  So admitting to my cooking deficiencies and posting some of the rather basic things I am making made me a little nervous.  Until this week.  This week I learned that she too, made quick and easy things for Jason when he was little.  She has not always served difficult and fancy meals.  In fact, Jason telling me that he ate (on more than one occasion) mac and cheese with summer sausage cut up in it, gave me the confidence to go ahead and admit that sometimes we eat.......casseroles.  GASP!  Sometimes I even call it hot dish, just for fun.

So this past week, I was in desperate need of a quick and easy meal that didn't take much time to cook, that would be something I could throw in a pan and stick in the oven so that during the cooking time I could feed Molly and be something Isabelle would eat.  Coming up with something Isabelle will eat is hard enough, but finding something fast and easy (besides sandwiches) makes it that much harder.  And yes, I just admitted that we eat sandwiches for dinner.

In my efforts to cook something new each week, I decided to grab out my trusty Kraft magazine and find something that looked good and didn't take too much time or ingredients to make.  Now, I warn you, what I found is not a gourmet meal.  It is not going to make it into the dinner hall of fame.  It probably won't even make it into my weekly rotation.  I may make it again, I may not.  Since I have been cooking more and more I have new choices about dinner and don't have to rely on the same things over and over.  But, it served it's purpose. Jason and Isabelle both ate it and neither complained.  Jason even had seconds.

Layered Mexican Bake.

I did not get around to making a new dessert last week and I am okay with that.  One of my goals is to shed some lb's and I am not sure how a new dessert each week is going to help me accomplish that goal.  I am considering making something and then sending it with Jason to work, but I have to decide if I have enough willpower to give away delicious desserts.

Anyway, back to the mexican hot dish.  It was good, it was fast, it was easy.  Try it on a night where you don't want to eat sandwiches!  And just FYI, I will be back to money saving ideas next Wednesday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas Recap

I realize all the Christmas blogs have come and gone.  In fact I have already posted my goals for 2011, but this past weekend we celebrated our last Christmas celebration with my dad and step-mom, finishing up our Christmas season.  We started with celebrating with my mom and siblings on December 18th and just finished yesterday.  WOW.  That is a LOT of Christmas cheer.  Seriously though, we did have a great time and the girls are now expert present openers or in Molly's case an expert wrapping paper eater.

Since we are finished, I thought I would give a quick recap and post a few photos.

December 18th:  We celebrated Christmas with my mom and siblings with our traditional breakfast/brunch get together.  We eat breakfast and then tear into our presents.  We then spent the whole day hanging out, playing games, watching movies, and eating ourselves sick.  This year we also added a puzzle to the mix! 
December 24th:  Game night at our house.

December 25th:  Christmas morning with just Jason, myself and the girls.  We hadn't put any presents under the tree because the girls kept getting into them, so Christmas morning was quite a shocker for Isabelle.  As I have mentioned, Molly was pretty clueless.  She did like her new Bear-Bear from Aunt Leigh, but the wooden teether, blocks and clothes were totally ignored!  Isabelle saw her new kitchen and once she figured out it was hers, she was good to go!  Christmas lunch was spent with family eating delicious chicken fried steak that Jason prepared!  He is such a good cook. 

December 26th:  Breakfast/brunch with Jason's mom and grandparents.  We had a great pancake breakfast and Isabelle was in heaven being able to open MORE presents. 

Fast forward to this past weekend January 8th:  My dad and step mom came down to spend the weekend with the family.  We opened presents pretty much right after they got here and then later that evening had a taco fiesta.  After all, nothing says Christmas like tacos, right?  We had a great time with them here and Isabelle is still wondering where Poppy and Gigi went and when they are coming back!!!

Now for some pictures!!

Isabelle playing with her new pink kitchen on Christmas. 

Molly and Belle playing.

Not a great picture, I realize, however these were the BEST cinnamon rolls EVER.  We made these Christmas morning and had so many we sent some home with my sister and mom and took some to my next door neighbor, Mary! 

Belle chillin' in the new wagon.  Technically this wagon is for both Isabelle and Molly, but for the time being Isabelle has claimed it as her own.  Pretty sure she loves it!

We had a great Christmas but every year we are glad when all the craziness is over.  We took down our tree, put away the Christmas decorations and finally feel ready to start the new year!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Things to Remember

There are lots of things about this time in the lives of my girls that I hope to be able to remember when they are older.  I am confident that if I do not write them down, I will never be able to remember everything I want to, so I decided to make a short list of things I want to remember.


I want to remember you politely asking to pick my nose.  I said no.
I want to remember that you had to have pink, yellow and white in order to go to bed (blankets) along with every stuffed animal on your bed.
I want to remember you brushing your teeth in my bathroom, spitting in the bathtub, and turning on the water to get a drink.
I want to remember the first time you said, " I. Love. You."  Not just, "you, too."  What makes it better is that you said it out of the blue, not in response to anything.
I also want to remember how you always say, "Bless you" after someone sneezes.
I want to remember how good you smell.  Even your breath smells good to me!
I want to remember how sweet you are to your sister.  Giving her hugs and kisses whenever she wakes up from a nap, telling her goodnight before you lay down, asking about 'sister', and playing peek-a-boo with her in the living room.
I want to remember that you never wear matching socks.  NEVER.
Lastly, for now anyway, I want to remember your love for prayer.  Seriously, you pray like 20 times a day.  I am confident that will serve you well later in life.


I want to remember you swaying to music.  Your sister never swayed like you.  It is SO funny.
I want to remember you shaking your head.  I was worried at first, but the Dr. said it was fine so now I can just think it is adorable.
I want to remember all of the ways you are different from Isabelle including how incredibly mellow you are as well as how much louder you cry when you are upset!
I want to remember (for a funny story later) that you constantly tried to suck on Isabelle's toes (GROSS), and that I had to often discipline Isabelle for letting you.  GROSS, again.
I want to remember your laugh at this age.  It is the best.
I want to remember how fast you crawl to your dad when he gets home from work.
I want to remember your addiction to the paci.  Mostly I want to remember you clinging to one paci while sucking on another one. 
I want to remember that you aren't as tough as Isabelle and that is okay.  Being tough isn't always better.  Sometimes being sensitive is better.  I am not sensitive, so I should know!!!
Lastly, for now, I want to remember your incredible, one dimple smile that lights up my life.

If you are a mom, be sure to write down what you want to remember.  I am pretty sure that when you are older and your kids are grown you will be thankful you did.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Money Saving Thursday.....for moms

Oops....I forgot to post this yesterday.  Please forgive me.  My children have been sick, I have been sick.  We still aren't done with Christmas yet.  The list of excuses could go on and on.  But, rather than make excuses for my tardiness, I will go ahead and get to work.

Today is not so much about saving money as it is about not wasting money.  And really, so you know, today is focused primarily on new moms or moms-to-be.  So, if you don't fit into this category....KEEP READING.  You probably know someone who is, or you will probably at some point be buying a shower gift for a new mom and you need to know the best way to spend your money!

It is so easy to waste money on baby products.  The media/society/internet/other moms have convinced us all that we need every new and wonderful baby product that hits the market and if we don't have it we are bad parents.  NOT TRUE.  While I did not buy all of the products I will mention today, I did buy some of them and boy, were they a waste of money.  So, hopefully my list of what NOT to buy will help you out also!

Special thanks to Kel for giving me the idea for this post!

What NOT to buy for your baby.

#1.  Diaper Genie.  Total. waste. of. money.  Sure, it seems great in theory.  After all, who wants to walk ALL the way to the garage to throw away a diaper?  Especially when your brand new baby is going ALL THE TIME.  I get it.  I have two kids.  They dirty diapers with the best of them.  But seriously, you are paying $30 or more for the diaper genie (trash can), and then have to spend $5-$6 for a refill of liners (trash bags) and you have to do this over and over during the diaper era which can last 2 or more years.  HELLO.  Those people are marketing wizards.   Take my advice and avoid this product.  If the thought of a diaper in your trash can grosses you out, put a trash bag in the garage and put them there.  Trust me, when you start feeding your baby real food, you aren't going to want to keep those diapers in your house anyway.  Even in a diaper genie.  Talk about SMELLY.  You will want those things OUT.  Avoid the temptation.  You will thank me later.

#2.  Wipe Warmer.  Seriously, a wipe warmer?  First of all, your kid doesn't know the difference.  Second, even if they did realize they were being wiped with a room-temperature wipe and not a warmed wipe, what makes you think they care?  Both my girls are wipe warmer free and neither one of them has ever complained about the un-warmed wipes.  Save your money.

#3.  Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker.  Some of you are not even sure what this is.  Others (like me) have seriously considered spending the $150 (plus money for recipe book and food storage containers) to be able to make your own baby food.  I am a HUGE advocate of making your own baby food.  It is a great way to save money and feed your baby only the freshest, most healthy foods.  However, the only tools you need are probably already in your kitchen.  You only need a steamer (or microwave or stove and a pot to cook in, or an oven), a food processor (or blender or food mill), and some old school ice trays.  Don't be silly and spend this much money when you probably have everything you need at home.

#4. Baby monitor with video.  I totally get the appeal of this item.  Who doesn't want to be able to watch their little one sleeping?   But this particular item is not for the normal parent.  It is for the mom who worries, "Is my baby still breathing?  I haven't heard her in 30 minutes...I must go check on her."  I understand the craziness that comes right after having a baby.  Especially when they start to sleep longer and longer.  It kinda freaks you out.  You start thinking about all the horrible things that might have happened in the room where you can't see them.  I won't list all of the irrational fears I had in case you haven't thought of those particular scenarios yet.  The fact is, your baby is fine.  Your baby is sleeping.  You should go to sleep, not stay up and check your video monitor every five (or less) minutes.  Also along the lines of a video monitor is a sensor pad underneath your baby's mattress that alerts you if no movement has been made in 20 seconds....BAD IDEA.  Again, go to sleep.  These companies know your worry is on overdrive.  They market products to you based on your fear.  Don't give in.

#5.  Lots of newborn clothes.  Thing about those newborns, they grow.  And they grow fast.  Giving in to the temptation to buy tons of newborn clothes is so easy.  They are so cute and so small and so precious.  I know, I have two girls.  So go ahead, get some, but not a lot.  And know that it is very probable that those precious newborn clothes that you drooled over in the store and came home and laundered in special detergent and folded so neatly in the drawer and took such care of are going to end up pooped on, puked on and stained.   Babies have a knack for waiting until you have put them in said clothes for something important like pictures or church or a visit from friends to unleash the largest blowout diaper in history, or the grossest spit up episode EVER.  Don't believe me?  Ask any other mom you know.  I speak the truth.  Just be prepared. 

That's it.  My list of what not to buy.  Save your money for diapers or wipes or any of the many other things you will need for your little one.  And for any moms out there who are reading, I would love to hear what you think is the best or worst thing you spent money on for your baby! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goals for Twenty Eleven

I am so glad I started referring to my resolutions as goals.  It helps me focus and stay motivated and actually gives me confidence I can accomplish everything I want to in a new year.  This year I am trying to be more specific, more detailed, and more ambitious in my goal setting.  I can't wait to see how 2011 turns out!

Goal #1.  Eat less, exercise more.  Okay, okay....lose weight is really what I am trying to say.  I just hate that I am so predictable.  I purposely left this off last year's list because I was getting ready to have a baby and it was not the ideal time to try and drop a whole bunch of weight.  This year is different.  I am almost done nursing and am not pregnant, so I can begin some serious weight loss.  I have a number in mind that I am aiming for, but I am not brave enough to share that on the internet!  I will be honest about my progress and will try and update regularly throughout the year!

Goal #2.  Tell more people about Jesus and commit to daily quiet time.  Last year I was pretty broad when talking about a spiritual goal.  This year I wanted to really know what I was trying to accomplish.  I want to be bold in sharing my faith, making sure I am showing the love of Christ in my daily life.  Since I know I cannot accomplish that love thing all on my own (not really my natural personality!!!)  I am going to have to get serious about spending time in the Word and praying so that I can actually do what I set out to do.

Goal #3.  Learn to sew.  I have taken on cooking and now I want to sew.  I don't want to make all of our clothes or anything crazy like that, I just want to be able to make curtains or make simple repairs to clothing.  I think it is important to always be in the process of learning something new.  It keeps your brain from getting old!

Goal #4.  Double my Mary Kay sales.  That one seems a little overwhelming to me, but I am putting it out there!  I would like to see my retail sales double in 2011.  Want to have a Mary Kay party?  Call me!!!

Goal #5.  Be a better family member.  I heard someone say this on T.V. last night and at first thought it was a little silly, but it is pretty nice when you think about it.  I want to be a better wife, mom, sister, daughter and daughter in law!  I don't know how I will be able to tell if I accomplish this goal during the next year, but I am still going to try.

Goal #6.   Increase my blog traffic.  Sounds easy, right?  I am not entirely sure how to do this, but I am going to find out and I hope to see the number of visitors and followers of my blog grow throughout the year.  If you are reading this now, and aren't a 'follower' of my blog, I encourage you to read some more of my post and if you like what you see become a follower!  You can also subscribe to my blog through the orange icon that looks like this at the top of the page near the right side under subscribe.  Click on that and you will be subscribed to my blog and it will be added to your favorites bar and will let you know when there is a new post.

Lastly, Goal #7.  Save more money.  This will be especially hard for our family.  We are already pretty frugal when it comes to our spending.  I am always looking for ways to save.  However, I would like to pay off our student loans before we die....and would like to buy a car (and pay cash), and have some things that I would like to do around the house (like a new porch and a new dining room table).  We will need to save in order to do any of those things. 

So, if you are full of ideas on saving money, or for that matter if you have ideas about any of my goals, leave me a comment.  And if you leave a comment or question, stop back by as I try to respond to any comments I get!  Heck, I would love to hear your resolutions or goals or whatever you call them!  Happy New Year.