The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Five: This week

Summer seems to be a tough time to get blogs written and posted.  Last summer it was because I was busy throwing up, but that is not the case right now.  Instead we have been staying busy and having fun.  Here's what we have been up to this past week, Friday Five style.

1.  Playing with my new IPhone 4s. 

Okay, so really it is just me that has been playing with my new phone.  There is so much that this thing can do, and as a person who has never owned a smart phone (shocking, I know) I have a lot to catch up on.  Icloud. Imessage. Ilove.

2.  Playing in the sprinkler. 

You had to know that if I made a checklist, I was going to have to start checking things off, right?  That is just how I roll.  So, we drug out the sprinkler and the girls went crazy for all of ten seconds.  Then they were done.  Until I started watering the flowers and then they were all about getting wet.  For some weird reason they don't like the sprinkler, but love when I spray them with the hose.  Who knows.

3.  Picking berries (again).

The first time we went with Jason's mom and I took zero pictures.  This time I had my new phone and so taking pics was a little easier!  It was very windy and I am pretty sure Molly ate just as many berries as we brought home.  We did have enough to make some yummy muffins for breakfast this morning though. 

4.  Getting ready for vacation.

these pics were taken at two different times.  no matter what, this place always seems to look the same.
We will be staying at my mom's lake house (which sounds weird since I used to call it my grandparent's lake house) at the Lake of the Ozarks.  We decided that three nights would be more than enough for our first trip away as a family of five.  The drive is currently our biggest fear (it will probably take us five hours) followed by not having enough to do.  Jas and I would be content to do nothing, but turns out kids don't really go for that plan.

5.  Trying to decide whether or not to do a series on budgeting. 
Really, does anyone care about my budgeting skills?  Especially since the vast majority of my readers are my family?  But then I see yet another blog on doing a budget and saving money and it drives me crazy because they aren't doing it right.  I saw a budget post today (one that was supposed to be advising others) and her income minus expenses did not equal zero.  That my friends is NOT a budget.  I am not sure that anyone cares about my mad money skills and I am less convinced that people want my opinion on what to do with their money so I am still on the fence.

That was our week.  Semi-eventful.  Mostly just hanging on until today when we will start a very nice long stretch of having Jason home and hanging out with us!  What are your plans for Memorial Day?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Bucket List

I have seen this idea a hundred different times in a hundred different ways and decided I would like to do one this year!  Most of these ideas are pretty simple and inexpensive.  Most of them could also be done anytime of year not just summer.  And while I wish I had some gorgeous format to display them in, I don't.  Just not that savvy.

So here it is, our 2012 Summer Bucket List.

Get snow cones
Make sidewalk paint
Get ice cream from ice cream man
Take a boat ride
Go to splash pad
Camp in the backyard 
Go on a picnic
Swimming at grandmas
Have a cookout
Pick berries
Play in sprinkler
Set up pool in backyard
Watch fireworks
Go toy shopping
Make an art project for Dad
Have a water balloon fight
Make ice cream in a bag
Make edible finger paints
Go to Top That Pizza (girls LOVE this place)
Visit the Jenks Aquarium
Take Belle to the movies
Fly kites
Make lollipops
Create own tshirts
Make bathtub paints
Play board games
Catch fireflies
Make crayons
Have a root beer float

I have linked items that I found on the web either browsing blogs or pinterest.  I don't know that this list is entirely complete yet, but it is a great start.  I am confident that we will get to check off a few during Jason's upcoming vacation from work (whoo hoo)!

What is on your summer bucket list?  Anything you see that is missing?

Friday, May 18, 2012

4 Months

Tomorrow my baby boy will be four months old.  Cuh-razy.  Time really does fly while you are having fun.  And sure, there are some days that are NOT fun, but for the most part we are having a ball.

Some facts about Lawson:

Height: 25 and 1/4 inches.  68th percentile.

Weight:  13lbs and 7oz.  25th percentile.

Eating:  Every three hours or less.  Some days he eats every two hours.  I thought for sure that he would weigh more given how much he eats, but no.  I feel like I am feeding him all. the. time.

Sleeping:  Several naps a day and at night he sleeps 8 or 9 hours, eats and then sleeps a few more hours.  I would prefer a longer stretch, but I will take what I can get.

Likes:  His play mat and bouncy seat, being the patient while his sisters play doctor, rolling over, being held and being rocked.

Dislikes:  His car seat.

There are no real big milestones from last month to this month.  He is still smiling all the time and laughing.  He is much stronger when it comes to holding up his head and pushing up when on his belly, but that is about it.  We put him in the bumbo (and by we, I mean I) last week and he did okay.  Didn't seem to be a super big fan of it.

Lawson is such an easy baby.  Truly.  Yes, I know.  I have said that about every baby and if you have met Molly you know that easy can change in the blink of an eye!  But really, Lawson is so easy.  I guess he doesn't have much choice.  His sisters are still in love with him.  They give him non-stop hugs and kisses.  Isabelle says things like, "I love that baby brother."  It is adorable.  Molly wants to burp him which I think is because it involves hitting him on the back.  They are going to be great big sisters. 

J and I think he is pretty awesome also.  Sometimes I get a little sad looking at Lawson and then at the girls.  The girls remind me that he is going to get bigger and fast.  I like having a baby around.  Babies are still okay with you hugging them and kissing them all of the time.  Let's just say I understand why Michelle Duggar keeps having all those kids.  Anyway, we love him.  We are so blessed to have him.  Happy 4 months, Lawson!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Metro

Warning:  This post will be me bragging about my husband.  Isn't he so good looking?

Last night Jason and I attended the grand opening of The Metro at Brady in downtown Tulsa.  The picture above is Jason standing outside of the building and in case you can't see it, that is his name.  On. The. Building.  I don't know about you, but currently my name is on zero buildings.

Jason was responsible for the design of the landscape and the pool design.  It looks fabulous.  Here is just one picture (which I took so it isn't exactly the best photo ever) from last night.

Oh yeah, see those handrails in the pool?  Jason designed those also.  When he told me he designed them I assumed he meant that he picked them out of some type of catalogue and told them to put them in, but nope, he came up with that design and had someone make them.  Pretty spectacular.

In case you are wondering what the heck The Metro is, it is a luxury apartment building in downtown Tulsa.  We were able to look at some of the actual apartments last night and they are beautiful.  Of course they aren't designed for families, but if I was young and didn't have any kids, they would be very, very, very appealing.  Well, except for the cost thing.  The two bedroom units that we looked at last night, which are both under 1200 square feet, rent for $1650 a month.  So, if I was young, rich, and didn't have kids, then I would want to live there!!

Here are some pics from their website.

front of the building.

pretty much everything in this photo, Jason is responsible for!

this was clearly taken on a cloudy day.  also, the umbrellas are usually all the way open!

Jason is one amazing and very talented landscape architect.  I think a lot of times when I tell people what my husband does, they envision him mowing someones lawn.  Nope, he is a design guy (well, that and much, much more).  He is responsible for the details, like the pool rails, and the pavers, and making sure things get installed right and work correctly and probably a million other things I am not mentioning.  And frankly, he is beyond great at his job.  And yes I am saying that because I am his wife, but also because it is true.  His ability to envision something like this and then put it to paper and finally have it brought to life is so awesome.  He is amazing and his work is amazing and I am so proud of him.

Way to go, Jason!  It looks great and I am incredibly proud of you and your work!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day

Being a mom means.....

dealing with a lot of crap...literally.

lots of hugs and kisses.

sometimes making the wrong decision.

saying, "no" billions of times.

saying, "yes" hopefully just as many times .

choosing which battles to fight and which things to let slide.

not eating your dinner until it is cold because you are fixing drinks, cutting up food, cleaning up messes or taking someone to the bathroom while dinner is on the table.

precious cuddle time and singing songs before bed.

not always getting to shower every day (gross, but true).

laundry.  piles and piles and piles of laundry.

getting to experience the joy of teaching your child something new for the first time.

sleepless nights.

endless amounts of people giving you their opinions on what you are doing right and especially what you are doing wrong.

making tough decisions and sticking with them.

being a good example.

sometimes having to learn a lesson from your kids. 

constantly wanting your kids to grow and stop growing at the same time.


being fiercely protective of your children.

being okay with putting others before yourself.

having a kid wipe their nose on your shirt at least once in your life.

being puked on, pooped on and peed on.

not being as grossed out as you thought you would be with bodily fluids.

loving like you never knew you could.

Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Adventures in Cooking

Have I mentioned how much I love Pioneer Woman lately?  Oh, okay.  Sorry. 

Moving on......

I have some delicious recipes to share today.  They are from a great woman who I love and adore.  You may have heard of her....Pioneer Woman.  Sorry, I couldn't help myself.  If it weren't for PW, I don't know that I would be as into cooking as I have been the past couple of years.  And while her recipes aren't always the healthiest, they are always delicious.

First up, Chicken Pot Pie.

The recipe can't be found online, so here ya go.

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks (her first cookbook)

3 celery stalks
3 medium carrots, peeled
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 large yellow onion (I hate onions so only used about half this amount...maybe less)
4 tbsp butter
2 cups chicken, cooked, diced or shredded (I used only breasts, but PW says to use both white and dark)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup white wine (optional)-I did not use this
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400.

Begin by finely dicing the fresh vegetables, celery, carrots and onions. Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, celery and peas. Saute until the vegetables start to soften, a few minutes. Add the chicken and stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables and chicken and stir to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring gently.

Pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Stir in the bouillon cube and wine, if using. The flour will combine with the chicken to create a delicious gravy. Pour in the cream and stir. Allow mixture to cook over low heat, thickening gradually, about 4 minutes. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Be sure it's adequately salted!

Pour the chicken mixture into a deep pie pan. (I used an nine by nine casserole pan because I knew my pie pans were not deep enough).  
Roll out the crust so that it's one inch larger than the pan.  Place the crust on top of the chicken mixture and cut small slits in the top.  Press the crust gently into the sides of the dish to seal.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling in bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

A note on the crust...I used the recipe from the newest PW cookbook called, Pam's Pie Crust.  If you want it, go get the book for crying out loud!  Otherwise, I think any crust recipe would work.  Also, some of you may want to use crust on the bottom and top.  I didn't because I follow recipes pretty much exactly how they are written (except for onions...yuck) and also because I didn't think I would like crust.  Of course the crust I used was delicious, but given that I know how much butter was in it, I still think I would only do it on top.

This pot pie was A-MAZ-ING.  Jason and I were in heaven.  The, they were okay with it.  It was seriously so, so, so good.  And for the record, up until the day I made this, I would have said that I hated pot pie.  Now I love it.

Next,  Strawberry Shortcake Cake.

picture from PW

I was a tad disappointed in the cake, but mainly it was my fault.  For starters, I think I may have mixed my cake batter too long, making my cake pretty dense.  My brother who went to culinary school also suggested I use some cake flour instead of regular flour in the recipe.  Second, my frosting didn't turn out "light and fluffy" as the recipe suggested it would.  My cookbook doesn't show the picture or suggest using the whisk attachment on the mixer which I am guessing would have made a major difference.  I feel like such a dork for not thinking of that when I was making it.  Oh, and I think next time I will use double the amount of strawberries!

Despite all of that my father in law still said it was the best strawberry cake he had ever had, so I guess my work was worth it!  It was pretty tasty despite the problems I mentioned, and I think it was waaaay better the second day when all of the strawberry juice had soaked down a little into the cake.  I will for sure make this again.

There you go, two delicious recipes you should make very soon, if not today.  Especially the cake since strawberries are in season!  And, if you don't have PW's cookbooks, I would suggest you go get them!  You won't regret it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Summer Fun

You read that right...summer.  It was 90 degrees here at least three days last week.  So we did what any normal family would do and broke out the sprinkler.  The girls had an absolute blast.  I think this might be one of the best birthday presents we have bought so far.  Here are a few fun pictures of the girls!

belle and molly.  such great friends.

this is the face i get every time i ask for a smile!  love it.

my sweet belle.  i feel like she looks waaaay to old in this picture!  she is getting so big.

the crazy sprinkler. 
I love those sweet girls.  They love being outside and since it is already blazing hot here in OK, I see a lot more of these types of days in our future! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baby Ducks are Cute

So last night was an interesting night at our house.

Jason had been outside mowing when he came in and told me to bring the girls outside to see some baby ducks.  I was instantly confused.  Were we going to look at someones pets?  Why would anyone have pet ducks?  Whose ducks are they?  But nope, the ducks were not pets, they were just wandering around the neighborhood.  Two very small, very cute, baby ducks.  No mamma duck in sight.  These two baby ducks wandered into our backyard and were obviously lost and scared(because I know so much about duck emotions).  At that point I did what any rational human would do and ordered Jason to catch the ducks so we could keep them safe until we could find the mom.  Jason got a container and filled it with some water for the ducks and then set off to go find the mom.  I went into the front yard with him and watched him walk off with Belle and Molly to go find the mom and then went right back into the backyard to keep an eye on the ducks....only they were gone.  Seriously like five seconds I take my eyes off of them and they are gone.  I start freaking out.  I am looking everywhere.  I looked through all the bushes and plants, the neighbor's yards, under our deck, everywhere.  I even went inside and got a flashlight to search through the bushes and under our deck.  NO DUCKS.  So I go to the front yard.  And I see him....the cat.  And he knows where those ducks are.  I can tell.  This cat looks very suspicious. 

Fast forward like 15 minutes and Jason gets back.  I have been searching frantically for the ducks.  A girl across the street has found one of them and is for some reason returning it to my house.  I proceed to think about where I can keep a duck safe and land on the only reasonable choice, my bathtub.

Jason continues to search for baby duck #2 and sees that stupid cat pouncing on something.  My heroic husband rushed to the rescue of baby duck #2 and saved it!  Of course at that point we realized we have two baby ducks and no idea what to do with them.

Lucky for us a lady in our neighborhood was walking by and saw the ducks and said she had a friend that raises them and wants more so she will take them to her if we want.  We said sure and loaded the ducks up for her to take home.  I was pretty relieved at that point as the only other option I had found was a place that said I could bring them to their office in the morning when they opened (which would have meant overnight duck care and then transporting them plus three kids to a vets office).

At this point I was pretty happy that we had saved two ducks from the mean cat and found them a good home on what I am imagining is a very nice farm or something. 

Then my mom ruins my picture of an idyllic duck life by letting me know that most people don't raise ducks for pets.  "What else do they raise them for?"  I ask.  I am some kind of moron.  I clearly did not realize that I may have just sent them off to someone who eats ducks.  My sister suggested I chase the people down and ask if they will be eaten and if so, demand my ducks back.  But, like I said before, I had no idea what we would do with two ducks.  So, I let them go.  Hopefully to a live out a long duck life.

And just so you Jason and I were going to bed last night, we both said that we were a little sad we didn't keep the ducks for ourselves to keep as pets for the girls.  Of course, we then discussed duck poop and decided it was probably for the best we didn't keep them!

I am slightly disappointed that I didn't get a picture of the girls with the ducks, but I was a little concerned they would squish them if they held them and I was also a little worried that ducks might carry some weirdo disease....of course the disease thing didn't stop me from putting them in the tub but whatevs.  I washed my hands like twenty times, no worries.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Random Ramblings.....

So, I've been a little slacking on the blog front.  Want to know what has been going on?

1.  Jason's dad came for a visit.  It was his first time meeting Lawson.  Lawson had a great time and I am pretty sure Pawpaw did also.  The girls were also glad for the visit, though they missed Elaine, Jason's step mom.  While he was here we took the kiddos to the zoo.  They l.o.v.e.d. it.  We took them on a carousel ride (Molly's first) and they both said it was their favorite part.  Here are some pics of the trip!

2.  I have been pondering how weird it must be to have adult children.  Like how my parents must feel.  It makes me beyond sad to think that there will be a day where my kids will stop sitting on my lap and stop giving me hugs and kisses like a million times a day.  In fact, there will probably be a point at which they have to tell me, "Mom, seriously, stop trying to kiss me all the time."  I can't imagine how weird and sad that will be.  Obviously my mom doesn't want to hold me or shower me with kisses anymore, which is the weird part.  When do you stop wanting it?  Is it at the same time as your kids stop or after?  Are you sad?  Is that why grand kids are so awesome?  Thankfully I still have little ones to kiss and hug. 

3.  Lawson is getting big.  I have never been more conflicted in my emotions.  I want to make him stop growing and grow faster at the same time all day every day.  Stay small, but get big enough to sleep through the night or wipe your own butt, or talk, but please don't get any bigger.  Of course, that is in its own category of weird.  A tiny, talking, butt wiping baby???  Super bizarre. 

how could you not want to kiss this face all. the. time?

4.  It is summer time here in OK which means two things.  One, I am back on the, "I need a pool," kick and two, my air conditioner is running non stop making me a crazy person fretting over the electric bill.  Okay, I am not seriously worried about the bill, but I would like to find a way to not be paying out the ears this summer.  What do you think is a reasonable temp for the thermostat to be on during the day?  I have no clue what other people keep theirs on.

5.  Lastly, I think we may take a little summer vacay this year.  My mom has a lake house at the Lake of the Ozarks and I think we may try to go.  Camping is just out of the question for this fall and I want to get away for a bit...sooo the lake house may be the solution.  Beds to sleep on, toilets to pee in, showers, and electricity all while being able to enjoy the out of doors?  Sign me up.  I think.  It is a five hour drive and I am not sure how much we could find to do, so I am still a little unsure.  What do you think?