Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday funday

Ok ok ok, got a little off track, again. Going to 4 posts a week to try and keep up better. So today is Simon Says Monday. And I say educate yourself. Before you post anything political or start bad-mouthing a candidate please do your honest research. And really, name calling? Ok, so that's my soapbox for tonight. Have a fabulous week!
Here's what's coming up this week:
Wednesday Crafts: interchangeable frames (see below)
Yum-o Friday: Banana pancakes

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Food Junkie Wednesday ~ Broccoli Cheese soup

Happy Wednesday y'all! As you will hopefully come to learn, I LOVE to cook. However, I do not like cleaning up after my creations are made. So one pot dishes are by far my favorite. I cant believe I am sharing this one as it is a family recipe handed down to me from my grandmother. Its fairly cheap, easy, and a huge hit with my kids. Plus the leftovers are fabulous. I plan on tweaking this in the near future to make it less "processed" but for now I am giving you my current version of the recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
olive oil
1/2 medium onion diced
2-3 large carrots diced
2-3 ribs of celery diced
1 clove garlic finely chopped or grated
1 carton (26oz) Chicken stock (or veg if you want to keep it vegetarian, never tried though!)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 bag of baby broccoli florets
1 qt milk
2-3 cups of dry mashed potato flakes (do not use "buds", wont work!)
2 cups shredded white cheddar + more for topping if desired
1/2 tsp salt/pepper (or to taste)
optional: 1 cup cooked shredded chicken



 Prep time: 5 min    Cook time: 30 min    Start to table: approx 45 min

 

After dicing veggies, sautee in a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat with a 1/2tsp each of salt and pepper until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic during the last minute to prevent from burning.



Add the carton of chicken stock and bring to a low boil. Simmer on low-medium for 10 minutes.



Add frozen broccoli and cream of mushroom soup. Stir to combine. Bring to simmer and cook on low for 5-10 minutes or until broccoli is hot and begins to get tender.



Slowly add in 1 qt of milk (I use 2%). Stir to combine. (Add in shredded chicken here if desired) Continue to cook on low stirring often for 10 minutes until all veggies are tender (not mushy).



Add in shredded cheese and stir until totally incorporated. Add in mashed potato flakes one cup at a time and stir until well combined. I use about 3 1/2 cups total flakes. Make sure to wait a minute between adding each cup in to allow it to thicken up. Much easier to add in more flakes for a thicker texture than to try and thin it out.


Allow to thicken/cool for a couple minutes before serving. Top with more shredded cheese if desired. Serve with warm bread.

So there it is. Hope you enjoy this warm, thick, and creamy soup on a cool fall night soon! If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Halloween Frame on Kid Craft Tuesday

I love the Halloween craft the kids and I made last year
 
 

My inspiration came from this blog last year:

I cant begin to tell you how easy and fun these were. We added something else to ours. Thumbprint spiders! I believe I found the idea for those in a magazine last year though for the life of me I cant find the exact source! (If you know it please tell me so I can update!)
 
Since I used the above link to make mine I wont go into details on how to paint/glue on the eyes. Its pretty easy to follow. The thumbprint spiders were just as easy.
  • Cut the cardstock to fit inside frame.
  • Have little ones dip their thumb into desired paint color and press onto center of paper.
  • Let dry!
  • Using a ball point pen (or in our case a Sharpie no-bleed fine tipped pen), draw on the string and all 8 legs. I did the one on my 3yo's but I let my 6yo do his own.
  •  Finally glue on the google eyes and let dry. Place in your finished google eye frame and enjoy!


FYI: The spiders in the frame are from this last week. I decided I will let the kids do new ones every year. Last years were just as cute though!


Happy Halloween crafting!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Faith Monday 2

Here goes nothing! Again, my apologies about basically shutting down this blog for the summer. Things here have been CRAZY! So as per my posted schedule, today is all about my faith and what I have learned over the past week. hmmmm. Where to begin?

I learned a lot about my faith in the last few weeks really. God has been challenging our family hardcore. We have been forced to make big decisions in a very short period of time. We have been required to trust how God is working in our lives, even without being able to see where that is leading us. Part of me has wanted to just crawl into bed, not deal with anything, and let my depression cloud get the better of me. The other part is reminded, especially this last 2 weeks, that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. Did I want Jeremy to be injured? Heck no! I wouldn't wish this journey on anyone....wait. maybe I would. This whole terrible, traumatic, painful journey has forced us to take a hard look at what we believe to be true, to trust like never before, and to be blessed with riches far greater than we hoped. So many prayers were answered in this last year for us.

some small, some big, some selfish, some honest, some just because.

We have been so blessed. People are honestly still amazed when I say that. Why? Why cant we take the pain and hurt and turn it into something good that glorifies God? This IS our testimony. This is our chance to show others how much God cares, how He loves, and how we are to love. I admit, I am amazed that we made it to the year mark. It seems like just yesterday that I was walking in his ICU room praying that he would be okay.

I think the fact that this year has gone by so fast is part of the reason I am so scared to move away. I'm worried I will lose sight of the God I have come to know and love so much more deeply when we leave here. His presence is very evident here to me. This is the place where I have developed my strongest relationship with both God and my family. I know in heart though that I have to keep trusting Him. I have to keep trusting that everything we are going through now is part of the same great plan that I trusted him through a year ago. I knew then that God was taking care of us in the midst of the storm. And He still is. He will forever. I just need to continue to seek His face and trust that there is purpose in our lives, and we will be provided for.

Hear my voice when I call Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face Lord, I will seek.
Psalm 27: 7-8 NIV

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Did you miss me?

Sorry folks. Summer fun and the stress of the 1-year anniversary of Jeremy's injuries got the better of me. I really really REALLY want to make this blog work. I think it can. I have been blessed to follow some other amazing bloggers and the guilt I have felt over not posting anything has been eating away at me. I am so sorry that I have not been updating it.

This month has been especially hard. Not only did we have some added stress of things going wrong with the property we own in another state (UGH!), both children being in school 5 days a week for the first time, but we also made it to Jeremy's very first "Alive Day"!

WOOHOO!!!

By far its been the biggest hurdle. He is doing AMAZING. The difference a year makes!!! He shocks me on a regular basis with just how much he can do now that he couldn't do even 6 months ago. We are so blessed. The other news that goes along with this is that he finally got his retirement/disability ratings. It means we are leaving.

Soon...

Too soon for me. I love our life here. And I have been praying hard for strength and clarity through it all. The direction God wants us to go in still seems so foggy. I feel like most days I am still stumbling around in the darkness. That darkness is filled with an ever growing to-do list, a house that never seems to stay clean, and all the worry that comes with any Army move times like 1000. The darkness sucks. Not being able to see what the next step is sucks. Thank God I have a strong, amazing, supportive husband who puts up with all my complaining. Thank God I have wonderful, just-as-nutso-as-me friends who remind me that we WILL get everything done. And Thank God I have beautiful children who keep me going everyday.

Which brings me to our adventures today. I had a to-do list that was a mile long this morning. We should have stayed home. I would have ended the day frustrated. There would have been whining, kids fighting, yelling, and feeling guilty cause I hadn't gotten as much done as I liked and yelled too much and didn't pay enough attention to the kids......and on and on and on. It would have been like far too many days lately.

This morning was different. While we were all still in pj's (don't think this was early, it was like 10am!) I made the crazy suggestion that we go to the zoo. No, not the one 10 min from our house that we can walk through in less than 30min, the one that's an hour away that costs us double to go to thanks to gas prices. Thankfully my husband saw that I was serious. See my kids were sad because we couldn't go to the Georgia Aquarium and see the dolphins. This was thanks to the program we saw on tv about how they built it, trained the dolphins, etc. Man do we miss the aquarium something awful!! So the zoo it was instead. Checked the banks account, yep we can go! Checked the fridge, yep we can take a lunch with us! Checked the weather, yep we are outta here! I am so glad we went. The kids had a fabulous time, I go to hold hands with my fella, and I got some super cute shots of some of our favorite friends.

What are you looking at?

My little animals
Siri posing for the camera


Its a rough life just lion around.

As per tradition, we just cant go to Syracuse without headed to the mall. This time we finally got to see the new wing that was added. And the kids rode the Carousel with daddy. Who knew riding around in circles could make them so happy.


After we got home, I realized there were still dishes to do, and laundry to fold, and a child who needed a bath (well they both do but the princess was passed out). While J was in the shower I took a moment to try and catch up on my pinterest page. I came across this blog, Hands-Free Mama. I was in tears.

THAT WAS IT!
We needed today. Was there whining and crying today? Yes. My kids are 6 and 3. Someone is going to cry or whine, that's just a given. Was there grown-up stuff that could have been done today? Of course. I wouldn't trade today for anything though. I got to laugh at my daughter for being fascinated with the "poop beetles" (dung beetles), and watch my son have moments of such maturity that I forgot he is only 6. It was perfect chaos and I loved it. SO much better than a year ago. A year ago I was headed to Germany. A year ago I didn't know if my husband was going to recognise my face when he woke up. This year is different. This year is ours.

My challenge to you is to put down the phone, the remote, the to-do list and just spend a few minutes with your family. Go do something fun. Just because you CAN.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Faith Monday 1


Ok time to try out the new schedule! woohoo!!
im totally trying to wake myself up here can you tell?!

B and I spent the morning at the gym then had a lunch date with a good friend. B of course fell asleep on the way home which made me soooo sleepy too. I ended up spending an hour and a half in bed watching tv while she napped.
(of course now that I am trying to knowck out this post she is waking up!).

Im so glad I got up when I did though. I was able to see one of our neighbors take in a new foster child (at least Im 99% sure thats what was going on). At the time I was working on a devotional made especially for busy moms. I couldnt help but prayer for the girl, this new family, and her own family that she is currently seperated from. I dont know her story and probably never will. Thats ok. But it did get me thinking about just how much I want to someday foster/adpot.

Seeing a very nice family take in a child who needs a home only strengthened my desire to be able to be a part of this world. This world of kids who need to be shown unconditional love, covenant love, Godly love. I am so blessed to have a husband who supports this desire that God wrote on my heart so many years ago. We both know that getting into it is still at least a couple years away if not longer depending on the other things that God lays out for us.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after oprphans and widos in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.   
  James 1:27 (NIV)

It also made me think about WHY we want to get into fostering or adopting (or both). And it has nothing to do with being religious, or looking good to others, or because we have to to be Christians. It has EVERYTHING to do with just being the right thing to do. To care for those around you that need to be cared for. Because no matter what religion you are, that is right. It is 100% what I would want for our own children if something happened to us. For them to be taken in by people who can love them. I am so thankful that God has given me this desire and I cant wait to see how he is going to move and make it happen.

What big challenge/desire has God laid on your heart?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

BLOG HOP!

So since I am trying to get more readers, I am inviting yout to join this awesome blog hop today! Check out how many awesome blogs have already linked up! I have already found so many amazing crafty ideas and gotten inspiration for my own blog. YEA! Happy hoppin!




Friday, June 15, 2012

Part 4: our little backyard garden

Our little backyard garden is growing so well! I didn't think it would take off but we have already been able to enjoy some of the lettuce and green beans from it. hopefully my carrots will be done soon so we can enjoy those too. this makes me hopeful that when we move back down to warmer climates I can have a real garden, not just a container one.

So here are some pics from last month:

Right after I got everything transplanted outside and new seeds planted.
Back row is all green beans, middle blue ones are carrots, middle red is lettuce, and front has basil and garlic. and yes that's my giant 7yo chocolate lab Bailey who just had to be in the picture!
first flowers on the beans


and more current ones:
look how much its grown! not a great pic i know and please excuse my very messy porch!!!!

3 types of romaine lettuce. i had my doubts if it was going to transplant well and apparently it just needed to be outside! they are so yummy!!!

these are the carrots i planted outside as seeds. they are as big as my ones that started inside!

can you see all the baby green beans in there too?! the next few warm days should give me enough to use in a meal!
So I don't have any fabulous advice about planting a container garden. Especially because the growing season here is so weird, and because this is the first year I have really been able to grow anything other than pumpkins! I will say that I am glad I did start indoors because its given me some plants that are at various stages of development and so I will have a slightly longer season. The kids have really enjoyed watching them grow. They always let me know when there are beans that are ready to be picked and both kids will eat their salad if I put even just 1 piece of lettuce from the garden in it! Quite honestly the plants just make me happy. I feel accomplished knowing that I can grow food for our family, even if its just this tiny amount for now. Somehow it makes me feel a litle closer to God. Like watching this creation happen before my eyes is one way He is just reminding me thats everything is going to be ok. See how he cares for even the tiny plants?

So what are you growing this year?! Any veggies? Flowers? Tell me! Got any advice to help me make the most of this tiny garden?

part 3: 2-87 Summit Ball

well the end of deployment is official. We attended our final military ball on May 4th. It was wonderful! we had a great time with awesome friends and got to honor even more amazing soldiers. I feel so blessed that we were part of a unit that would care so much. They are family. I cant even begin to express how much I am going to miss my Catamount girls!!!!
me getting ready. i totally went to set up the event like this only with a scarf covering the rollers. it was awesome. my husband claimed he didn't know me while setting up. but my bff did so its all good! lol!
the beautiful early mothers day present I got from hubby right before the ball.
leaving for our last ball.


Lt. V and his minions. Lt. V, Carman, Dutton, and hubs.


centerpieces. we had to scrub all the old wax off these before the ball. it was FUN! :(

in the ballroom. man was it HOT in there!!!!!

me and my other half Jess G. Her dress was AMAZING!

Jess and her hubby Kell

my fav pic of the night. This is the Lieutenant Jeremy had when they left on deployment and his fiancee Lisa. Jake was injured by an IED last summer and lost both of this legs. I think I cried just as much when I got the news about Jake as I did when I first got the call about Jeremy. His strength and determination is nothing short of amazing. We are so proud of how far he has come and cant wait to see what life has in store for these two!
So there it is in a nutshell. We had so much fun. It was over a month ago but I know I wont forget that night. It was a great way to leave the Catamounts.

Monday, May 21, 2012

parts 3&4 will just have to wait

so I should have been working on the rest of our story from the first part of the month. SORRY! Its just going to have to wait a little bit. I promise some super awesome pics (ok they are just ok pics but the people in them are amazing!) are coming from our ball and I have some super cute pics from our ever growing garden to share too. But It seem slike this week, God has been tugging on my heart in a new direction.

We have TONS going on right now. This month is flying by so fast. It makes me really sad. I have been begging for warmer weather, and nicer days, and all the things that come with a North Country summer but the sooner it gets here, the sooner it will be gone...and we will move again. So I am trying to savor every moment.

So far this month we have attended our last military ball, raised money/walked 3 miles for March for Babies, planted our garden outside, helped our bff's demolish their kitchen (the renovation is going awesome! pics of it to come later too!), made gifts for teachers, spent more days playing outside than inside, attended a Mothers Day tea at J's school, started tball games, attended J's spring concert, helped at church during District Assembly, had the washing machine quit, nursed J back to health after a nasty cold (over mothers day no less), played in a church league softball game, found out our tenants at our rental moved out with no notice 3 months early, and learned more than I could ever imagine duirng it all.

I think I learned more in the last 3 weeks than I have in months. For the first time I am starting to see the fog lift. Starting to feel like things are really falling into place. And amazingly I am not freaking out about them. Even the renters moving out. Dont get me wrong I had my moment of panic when I first got that phone call from our property managers, but thanks to my amazing husband, good friends, and my faith that God WILL provide for us, I made it through that "moment" with no lasting anxiety. Where did all this calm come from?! I havent been getting up to do my yoga in the morning like I wanted to, my house is no where even close to being as clean as I would like, I feel like most days I have a bigger to do list than time to do it in, and have had plently go wrong. I shouldnt be so calm, I shouldnt be so ready to just keep moving forward. But thats right where I am. cause the one thing I did change was to pray about it, and give it up to God.

For months I kept my depression/trauma/anxiety a secret (as best I could). My closest friends knew something was up and have done the best they could to see me through it. My husband knew and did all he could to stand by me and let know that he was there for whatever I needed. Turns out I needed more sunshine, more open prayer, and some awesome sermons from Pastor Chad and Life church. I needed to hear that it was ok to not be ok. I needed to be reminded that God KNEW. God saw everything that was going on in my life and KNEW what I needed, what was good, and wanted nothing but that good for me. I needed to be told that I need to let go of my nets around me. Those ones I keep tripping over (those things I keep holding onto as if they are going to sustain me the way only God can). I had to let go of the financial worry, the "after the army" worry, the body image issues, the "what will so-and-so think" attitude, and just give it all up to Jesus. I cant handle those kind of nets, those burdens. I just cant. and let me tell you what, its freeing, its amazing. Do I still have times when I feel overwhelmed and anxious or sad or scared? Damn straight I do, but I remind myself that God is so much bigger than this. He WILL provide exactly what we need. Might not be what I want (case in point: I wanted my husband home from deployment, but not the way it happened. God knew I needed him home and how it was going to happen to bring us both closer to Him). I NEED Jesus. I need bringing glory to Him to be the top thing on my mind everyday, top of my "to-do" list. Cause then everything else just falls into place, the way He wants it to.

I have purposely spent more time just trying to enjoy small moments with my children and husband this month.

 Walks through the trails with B



hubs coaching J



watching the joy on my husbands face when he see's that I am washing his truck for him


just enjoying this AMAZING life we have up here.

Thank you God for giving us the chance to grow closer to you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

part 2: teacher appreciation gifts























yes i am aware that teacher appreciation was last week. my life seems to get more and more insane by the minute. the good thing is, all of these ideas could be used as end of the year gifts too. =D
each day has the teacher gift as well as the gift for the aide in his classroom.



Monday: Cup & notecards

The original idea for the cup came from pinterest and this blog:
"You have all the 'write' stuff!"
"Thanks for quenching my thirst for knowledge!"



















J's teacher LOVED it. She was so excited! With as many times as the original link had been pinned I figured for sure she was going to get 4 of them. NOPE!  Inside is just a piece of scrapbook paper rolled up as a filler and 4 packets of crystal light drink mix. His teacher aide got the set of notecards. I never really got to see her reaction to gifts since she was usually helping get kids off the bus when we went to his classroom.

Tuesday: Stamps & Candy

"Thanks for being an A+ teacher!"
This was just a set of 4 wooden stamps and 3 ink pads. total cost: $4!!!
his teachers aide got the small container of candy pictured in the group pic at the top. Apparently I didnt take a picture of it by itself! Whoops! =D More info on it later.

Wednesday: Candy & Notepad & Soap

3 GIFTS! Yep, Wednesday was also School Nurse appreciation day! So they got a wonderful foaming hand soap from B&BW! (I adore their 6/$20 specials!)

"to help you 'escape' all those nasty germs! thanks for all you do!"

His teacher got candy and the aide got the notepad and pencil. Total cost for these 2 projects: $5! The containers with candy came as a set of 3 for $1. So I used one for his aide and the other 2 for his teacher. 

"Thanks for being so sweet!"
"Thanks for being an A+ aide!"

Thursday: Frame & Lotion

"Thanks for helping handle the stress of our class!"
"Thanks for being so amazing!"

$3 frame from wallyworld, scarpbook paper, & a cricut = love! And a $4 bottle of lotion and a $.50 nail file make for EASY stress relief! =D

Friday: FLOWERS!


"Thanks for helping me grow"


I think I spent more time and energy on these than all the others combined. First the pots I bought for J to paint were not working at all. BUMMER! So we ended up at the PX to get new ones (and flowers!) on Thursday night before tball. He had fun painting these though. The signs took me forever to make. Thats what I get for waiting til the last minute though!!! I had all the other gifts ready to go the week before. Oh well. They loved them! Mrs. A even put hers on the table during our Mothers Day tea at school Friday afternoon!

Oh but wait there is more! On Tuesday I gave Brooklyns teachers at her pre-k (its really daycare but more structured) gifts as well! I <3 the dollar section at target.....
Each one included a slinky, a flower growing kit, drink mix, a notepad and pencil, star stickers, gum, and chocolates.
card said: "A special gift for an EXTRA special teacher! Thanks for helping to QUENCH MY THIRST for knowledge! you are a SUPER STAR teacher, with all the WRITE stuff! Its been so much FUN learning to GROW in your class! HUGS AND KISSES!"
I hope you enjoyed all the gifts and found some inspiration to show your kids teacher just what they have meant to you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

playing catch up.

I've been bad. SOOOO much has been going on in the last few weeks that I can barely begin to get my head around it all, let alone blog about it. I really do want to get better about posting on here at least 2-3 times a week. I know that I woul love to see expansion in my number of followers and who in the heck is gonna follow someone that doesnt ever post!? :) So I am very sorry readers. I am now going to attempt to play catch up. I will try to make this into several posts instead of one long one. HERE GOES NOTHING!

Part 1:

The weather here cant make up its mind. one day its like this:

daddy and B flying her barbie kite.

And the next its like this:
view from inside my car after PWOC (bible study)

I think its the one part of the North Country I will never ever get used to.

Next on the agenda is my rededication to my yoga mat. Ok dedication is a STRONG word. But I am really really really trying to get on it more. including weekly yoga class with my favorite Jessicas (yes I have SEVERAL and they are a-maz-ing) once a week at the Y. I so wish I had a picture of us trying not to laugh at our instructor Michele when she reminds us during savasana that "you are beautiful, you are good enough, and gosh darnnit people like you!". I think its our favorite part.  

And last but certainly not least on this post is part of the reason I have been so absent. I have realized in the last few weeks that I was more traumatized by my husbands injuries than I ever though possible. I have been dealing with major emotional stress and trying to just "deal" and of course thats not working. I am in the process of finding a counselor I like and working with my doctor to manage my hormones so that maybe just maybe I can stay off antidepressants/antianxiety meds. Ive gone that road before and really really dont like the way I feel on them. I never though homecoming and the end of deployment would trigger such feelings of trauma. I expected it to be the release, the end, the chance to finally really start putting everything that happened in Sept/Oct behind me. It was literally the opposite. It was so unexpected that it actually took quite a while for me to figure out what in the heck was going on. Can I just say though, I have the most amazing support system. First my husband who has stuck by my side through all my crappy moods, random crying episodes, and held me after each and every nightmare. And next to my amazing Army family. Since my own family cant be here to help us out, they are my amazing support friends. I dont know how to ever thank God enough for putting the people in my life that he has. Between my amazing friends and even more amazing husband reminding me that God has a plan for us, that it is Him that I need to put my trust and focus in, I know that I will make it through this. My family has done what they can from far away but there is only so much that they can do from there.

Its been a rough road with both my husband and I realizing that we were not doing everything we could to make things better. I know we will get through this rough patch. Thats the kind of marriage we have. Its forever. Good AND bad. Thank you Jesus for teaching me what that means.

The other things that have gotten me through are some awesome blog posts. Seriously I love these women. They are amazing writers who share their lives on their blog and make us feel welcome. I have to share some of my favs.


So there it is. The general mess that has been our life the last few weeks.
 Coming up in parts 2-4 are as follows:
2~ Teacher Appreciation gifts
3~ Battalion Ball
4~ My little backyard garden

and now for a good laugh. this is video of my darling 3yo daughter last night. I found her an awesome t-shirt at Target yesterday and couldnt resist. We have gone Avengers crazy in this house the last 2 weeks since we are planning an Avengers bday party for J next month (lots to come on that!!!). B has a fav character....... its sooo cute! enjoy!

video