The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Molly is Three (well almost three)

When Isabelle turned three I did an interview with her and then did it again when she turned four.  I decided to do the same with Molly Moo.  Her birthday isn't for a few more days, but in her mind since we had her party, she is three.  Therefore,  I have just pretty much accepted that my baby girl is three and she is growing up and someday she will be 18 and move out and I will be so, so, so sad.  Moving on.  Here is my interview with Molly at age 3.

Favorite Food:  Stroganoff

Least favorite food:  Soup

Favorite Show:  Phonics Farm

Favorite Movie:  Toy Story 3

Best Friend:  Isabelle and Mom

Favorite Toy:  Big Jessie (her new Jessie doll from Toy Story)

Favorite Book:  Cat in the Hat (her real favorite is Pete the Cat or Everyone Poops)

Favorite Snack:  Fruit Snacks

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Police man

What does mom do all day?  Clean dishes and hang stuff up (amazingly accurate)

What does dad do all day?  Clean dishes and hang stuff up (totally NOT accurate)

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?  Baby

Coolest person you know:  Mom

Favorite Song:  I love my friend, Jesus
This is a song she learned at church.  The song says, "He's always with me, and I'm so happy.  I love my friend, Jesus."

 Here are a few things about Molly from my perspective.

Loves: stroganoff and spaghetti, playing with Isabelle, watching the Toy Story movies, doing things on her own, helping me out around the house, giving hugs and kisses, sitting on laps, calling herself by different names, calling us by different names, "helping" her brother, grammy's big lake (lake of the ozarks) and spending time with family.

Does not love:  being told what to do, going to bed, taking a nap, waking up, sharing, sitting still.

Molly is so different from her siblings.  She really doesn't have things she loves or hates, she just likes to be a part of the action.  She will try new foods and is a better eater than Lawson and Isabelle combined.  She is wild and crazy and loud and strong willed, but she is also sweet and sensitive and kind and loving.  She is hysterically funny and incredibly smart.  Molly makes me a better mom, constantly forcing me to seek God and His help in parenting.  It would be easy to think I had it all figured out if not for Molly!!!  Haha.  Molly is almost always involved in the best and the worst parts of my day.  She is such a blessing to our family and I can't imagine how boring my days would be without her!  My little NICU baby who seemed so fragile when she was born is by far the most resilient of all my children and funny enough, has the least amount of issues when it comes to her health.  She is a go-getter and get-upper.  She is tough, like seriously tough, and she will go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye.  I am so thankful I get to be her Mom.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Toy Story Cake

This past weekend we celebrated Molly's birthday.  Her official birthday isn't until this weekend, but with Easter on Sunday, we decided to celebrate early.  Three year old post to follow!

Recently, Molly has become obsessed with Toy Story.  Her most favorite is Toy Story 3, but she loves, loves, loves all of them.   Her favorite character is Jessie.  So, when she started asking for a Jessie cake I was not surprised.

What did surprise me was the cakes that turned up when I looked on pinterest or the internet for Toy Story cakes.  Every last one of them was fondant.  I hate fondant.  I have never had any that tasted good, it is expensive to buy, and frankly, I don't know how to use it.  So, to say I was frustrated that I couldn't find any Toy Story cakes online to get inspiration is an understatement.

Luckily, I have a really creative husband.  Jason and I started talking about the cake, deciding it should for sure be a round, layered cake, and that our best bet for Jessie was a plastic Jessie from Target.  We talked about putting the Toy Story 3 logo on the cake, but decided against it.  I knew I wanted a 3 on the cake somewhere, but wasn't sure what I wanted it to look like.  Jason suggested the cow print and from there we pretty much knew exactly what we were going to do.

Here is a pic of the cake.  We put cupcakes around the cake that said Rootin'est Tootin'est.  This is the frosting I made.

I am not a super decorator, nor am I a super party planner.  What I can do is make a cake.  So, while you will never see pics of the worlds most fancy party, I do try to make the cakes special for each birthday.  I am pretty sure Moll loved her cake and I know she loved all the Toy Story plates/napkins/toys.

And for the record, while I do sometimes make the cakes from scratch, this year the cakes were just box mixes and they were delicious!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Adventures in Cooking: Cake and Casserole

You know, I think it is important to remember that there was a time that I couldn't cook anything.  Okay, I could cook tacos and spaghetti and a few other easy things.  But I was not doing any real cooking.  Sometimes when I am talking and mention a dish or a dessert that I am making, people say things that make me think they personally don't think they could ever cook what I am talking about.  That could not be further from the truth.  If I can make it, so can you.  Keep in mind that I am the person who served my husband under-cooked chicken.

Moving on.

I won't lie and tell you that this cake was the easiest thing ever to prepare.  But, it wasn't impossible.  I did learn that I don't know how to beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  For some reason, I could not accomplish it despite much time on google and youtube (and almost a whole carton of eggs) trying to figure it out.  Luckily, the cake turned out great without stiff peaked egg whites!

Here is the link.

I made this for my mother in law's birthday a couple of weeks ago.  It was very, very, yummy.  I did end up buying a spring form pan which I didn't think I would need, but actually is crucial to the recipe.  Also, I learned a whole lot more about hazelnuts than I ever thought possible.  If you want to make this, you should know that hazelnuts don't come skinned, toasted and chopped.  That is a job you will do yourself.  You will buy whole hazelnuts, toast them, remove the skins and then chop.  I found toasting them and then removing the skin by rubbing them together in a dishtowel while they are still warm was the best way for me.  Just don't use a towel you care about because it will likely be stained.  Then chop, chop, chop.  And, in case you are like me and are hazelnut ignorant...they are not cheap.  So don't go into this cake thinking cheap and easy because you will be wrong!

Also, if you are like me and can't get the stupid egg whites to cooperate, don't worry, it didn't affect the cake or the marshmallow swirl really at all.

Lastly, I would reserve some of the marshmallow swirl (not fold it all in) and make just a layer of swirl on the top.  The recipe doesn't say to do this, but the picture in the magazine sure makes it look like that's what they did and after tasting it I think that would make the cake even better.

Overall, this cake was a winner and one that I will probably make again now that I have an idea of what I am doing (and leftover hazelnuts).  Everyone loved it, including Molly and Isabelle.  I think my mother in law was pretty happy also!

Next up, Bean Tortilla Casserole. Another Martha recipe.

Since we are trying to eat more meatless meals around here, I was pretty excited when I saw this in Everyday Food this month.  It is similar to another recipe I have but Jason liked this one much better.  The pureed tomatoes and cilantro did add a great flavor to this dish that the other recipe is missing.  If you are looking for a pretty simple and yummy vegetarian meal this would be a great one to try.

There you go, one easy dinner and one not so easy, but totally worth it dessert.  Happy cooking!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ordinary Days

Recently I watched a video on facebook of an author reading part of her book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day.

After watching the video, I checked out her book from the library and read it.  And while it wasn't exactly my type of book, it did force me to think about my children growing up and how fast it all really will go by.  When you think about it, taking care of small children is such a very tiny part of our lives.  Yet, when you are taking care of three toddlers under the age of four, it seems like the runny noses, dirty diapers, night time interruptions and constant corrections will last forever.

In an effort to try and keep perspective, and to make sure I can record as much as possible about this time in our lives, I thought I would make a list of some of the ordinary things that make up my days with my wonderful kiddos.

Cuddles on the chair holding at least two sometimes three kids while watching Gabba, Curious George or some other children's program that drives me bonkers (Barney, Dora, Pinky Dinky Do).

Preparing, and cleaning up three meals a day for three kids that often just want to eat grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly or mac n cheese, not the well thought out, well planned, balanced meals I have fixed that day.

Playing games like Memory or Splish Splash or better yet, the games out of the back of the Highlights magazines.

Hearing a million times a day, "I'm done," being hollered from the bathroom.

Bath time with three babes who all love to see how much water they can get out of the bathtub and onto the floor.

Doing "school" which basically amounts to us singing songs, talking about the calendar and weather, coloring pictures and doing some phonics/reading lessons with Isabelle.

Breaking up arguments between Isabelle and Molly one moment and then seeing them play together wonderfully the next.

Kisses, hugs and snuggles all day long.

Cookie parties and dance parties.

Hearing made up stories from the girls.  Molly just told us that her grandpa had a polar bear that hurt his eye and that her grandpa told the polar bear, "don't eat my chips."

Molly calling Jason, Grandpa and me, Grandma.  Molly calling herself Kenna or Lauren or Will, calling Lawson, Seeda, and calling Isabelle, Hannah.

Taking walks to the neighborhood park or just playing in the backyard.

Reading books like, Can I Just take a Nap, Pete the Cat, Kiss Kiss Yuck Yuck, Madeline, Hurricane Henrietta, The Thingamajigs, Cat in the Hat, and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas over and over and
over again.

Saturday morning breakfast with donuts or pancakes or cinnamon rolls but always together as a family.

Telling my girls repeatedly that they are beautiful and look so pretty despite the crazy outfits they choose to wear.

Tucking in and singing songs and saying prayers and giving "one last hug and kiss" every night at bedtime.

So there you have it, some (but not all) of the ordinary things that take place during our days.  I am in a phase right now where I really, really, really don't want my kids to get any older (especially Isabelle).  I can't imagine a time where she won't want to give me kisses on the lips or hold my hand or sit on my lap or tell me how much she loves me or even that she is so glad I am her mom.  And frankly, I know that time is coming and will be here before I know it.  I don't want to see the end of her asking if I'd like some loving or crawling into bed with us in the mornings to snuggle.  And since I know that I don't have control over time, I am trying to soak in every kiss, every hug and every moment of her being four instead of being sad at how fast it is all going by.  I encourage you, no matter what phase of mothering you are in, to capture some of the ordinary moments in your day.  Write them down so that you can remember the perfectly ordinary days that I am sure will be what you will treasure most after the kids are gone and living lives of their own.

Monday, March 11, 2013


So, I've been running.  Not like super far or anything, but still, running.  And the thing of it is, I think I am going to keep running.  Crazy, right?

It started with the Hot Chocolate Run, a 5k, in Dallas with my sister and my niece. I had started running to prepare for the OSU Scrub Run 5k, so I just accelerated my training to be able to run the Hot Chocolate Run.

After the Hot Chocolate Run with our scrumptious hot chocolate and chocolate fondue.

The Hot Chocolate Run was awesome and when I finished I realized it hadn't been as hard as I imagined it being.  My last 5K was terrible, but this one wasn't bad at all.  I was actually looking forward to the OSU 5k after this because of how easy the Hot Chocolate run was.

The OSU Scrub Run was two weekends ago and it went pretty well.  I finished faster than the HC run and I felt pretty good afterward again.  Jason ran it too and of course, finished faster than me despite not really training that long!

J and I before the OSU Scrub Run

Now, the thing is, I realized that if I don't have a race that I am preparing for, I don't really stay motivated to run.  So, after thinking long and hard about it, I decided to run the Aquarium Run 10k in April.  I have started training to run farther than I ever have before and while I am still slow, I at least feel like I will be able to finish the race.  After that, I think a half marathon.  The Jenks Half Marathon is in November and gives me plenty of time to train.

Some days I think I am stupid and delusional to have set out to run a half or even a 10K, but then when I get on the scale or when I get done with a run where I went faster or farther than I have before, I think differently.

Running for me, has been an interesting journey.  Every year I run a 5k but never dream of doing more.  I don't know why this time I decided to keep going, but so far I am glad I did!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Wish List

I don't know if it is the time of year (valentine's day, anniversary, birthday, and mother's day all within four months), or if it is just that I am a greedy, stuff centered person, but lately I have found myself "wishing" for a lot of things.  I know that they are not "needs" but rather "wants" and I know no one is going to go out and buy them for me, however, I think it is okay to dream, right?

Here are a few things I am really wishing for these days.

A Kindle Fire HD.

I have a lot of reasons for wanting one of these, but mostly because I want to download books and have something "ipad-like" all at the same time.  I would also need like a million dollars in amazon gift cards so I could purchase all the books I want.  I also think I could find some home school uses for it!

This tent.

It is huge and it is awesome.  I have visions of our family camping in this tent and having plenty of room and being able to stand up and move around without problems.  I have wanted this tent for a couple of years.  Who knows, maybe this is our year.

For the kids.

I saw this last Christmas and wanted to get it, but we had already spent our Christmas dollars.  Then, recently, two of my fb friends posted pics of their kiddos playing on bounce houses inside during bad weather and I became convinced we needed one.  Good for indoor or outdoor play, this bounce house is highly rated and would provide HOURS of fun for my kids.  Not to mention how awesome it would be for play dates!

Other things on my wish list include running clothes, Fiesta Ware in tangerine, some new clothes after I lose just a little more weight, my wedding ring fixed, and Duck Dynasty seasons 1 and 2 on DVD.

I know these things are not important in the grand scheme of things, and trust me, my happiness does not rest on getting more "things."  With that being said, I think it is normal to have a few things you are really wanting or saving for.  So, what is on your wish list?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Party Time

Today we had Lawson's follow up appointment at the ENT's office.  It is a little hard to believe it has already been two weeks since his surgery for ear tubes!  After a great hearing test and a quick look in his ears, our wonderful doc says all is well and we don't need to come back until it is time for a one YEAR checkup.

Lawson got sick right after his tubes so until this week it has been really hard to tell how much the tubes have helped.  His disposition has been much better during the day, but until I saw him at the hearing test today, I was really unsure if the tubes had helped at all.

Since he is feeling better, we started sleep training.  I prefer using the "Ferber" method of progressive waiting and it has worked like a charm.  I know that not many people like the CIO method, but with this at least you have a point at which you can go check on them.  And, for the record, there has not been one single time where Lawson has cried longer than 10 minutes or had to go past the second waiting time.  Last night he slept (without waking) from 8pm until 2:45am.  That is a miracle, people.  And, after 10 minutes of crying, he was back asleep until 6:45am.  Praise the Lord.  CIO works for this family.

In other news, tomorrow is his first haircut.

I am not exactly excited and have yet to decide how much hair will be cut from his head.  He is just so stinking cute (even with the curl that sweeps away from the side of his head).

I'll post an after pic for you soon (assuming the haircut takes