Saturday, December 31, 2011


Here it is, the end of 2011.  This is the time of year when everyone starts talking about making resolutions...things they want to do or do differently or do better in the new year.

Let me ask you something.  Do you make resolutions?  The most common resolutions are lose weight, exercise more, eat better, watch less TV, spend more time with family. And how long do you keep them?  Have you ever lasted more than a couple of months?  A few people make it all the way into February, but most don't even last 2 weeks.  

I think the reason we don't keep these resolutions is we try to do it on our own.  By our own power.  With our own strength.  Have you prayed about them?  Are you trusting God to get you through the tough times?

Before you make any resolutions this year, I'd like to ask you to pray for guidance.  Ask for God to reveal his purpose for your life.  Then go after that!  I guarantee if you surrender to His will for you, you will succeed!

Psalm 37:4 "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." 

And if the going gets tough remember this...

2 Corinthians 12:9  "...My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness..."

Only when you surrender everything in your life to God and His perfect plans, will you find happiness...not when you lose weight or eat better or start exercising or even when you spend more time with your family.  He has great plans for you...Are you ready?

Jeremiah 29:11  "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

Love you all and Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Yes, Virginia...

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. 
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. 
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' 
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Monkeys

Merry Christmas

This is the picture we chose for our Christmas cards during our recent family picture outing I blogged about here. I think they turned out pretty OK if I do say so myself!  Thanks, Cassie, for bringing out the best in my little bunch of monkeys!  You are great!  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Love you all,


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Welcome, Sammy...

Do you elf on the shelf?
This is our first year to have Sammy (that's what my adorable husband named him) and we are having soooo much fun with him!  He is the first thing the monkeys look for when they wake up.  They have found him in all sorts of fun, unusual or just regular places, waiting to see what the kids will be up to today.  

If you don't know about the elf on the shelf, he is Santa's little helper.  He keeps track of what the kids are up to and reports back to Santa every night.  The monkeys aren't allowed to play with him (he might lose his magic) but they can talk to him and have him pass on messages to Santa.  

Here are some of the places we've found him...
In the basket of pinecones...
on top of the TV...
Hanging from the top of the "little" tree...
On the shelf (where he's supposed to be!)...
Riding the reindeer...
Drinking Mom's last Coke (naughty elf!)...
hiding in the plants...
Watching "Elf"...
"Helping" color our Christmas placemats...

I don't have a picture of our favorite escapade...he was head down in Monkey Princesses stocking at Grammy's house!  We think we was putting something in there, but she thinks he was trying to take something so she "wrote" a note to Santa telling on him!  It was priceless!!!!
I'm sure we'll have a couple of interesting things happen before the big day and Sammy has to go back to the North Pole, so I'll keep you posted!

Just one more thing... I wanted to let you know that, Yes, my kids believe in Santa (until they are old enough to figure it out for themselves) and even then, they still believe, because around here, when you stop believing in Santa, you get socks.  We don't celebrate this holiday as the birth of Jesus.  We do not own a nativity set.  I know to many Christians this is the reason for the season, but we feel Christ is the reason for every season and it is much more important to remember His death than the arbitrary day the Pope picked to recognize His birth.  No, I don't look down on or criticize you if you choose to think of Jesus this time of year - I think it's great!  Romans 10:5 states "One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike.  Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."  We see this a a fun time to get together as a family, eat too much, and give.    

I hope you and yours have a special holiday and make wonderful memories for years to come.

Love you all,


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Fun

I'm am so excited about our Advent activities that I posted here!  The whole family has been having sooo much fun!!! (And I'm not just saying that - we ALL are!)

We've read books

and watched movies.

But, so far, the most fun has been making Christmas candy.  Now, I have to admit, what happened is not what I had in mind when I made this activity.  I was envisioning traditional candy perfected by generations of my husband's family.  However, my monkeys had other ideas.  (Don't they always?)

Monkey Boy decided to create his own candy.  He wanted it to look like peppermint, but not be "hot", so he wanted to use Twizzlers and Marshmallows.  (Can I tell you that I was a little scared because I knew I was going to have to eat this concoction!)
(We didn't have large white mallows, so he opted to use the big Strawberry ones.)
I must say, they weren't bad.  Now - I'm not saying I asked for seconds (kinda sweet & hurt my teeth), but I was able to eat my whole cup.  I'm pretty impressed with his imagination!

My firstborn monkey is somewhat of a cook, so I wasn't as scared of what he would come up with.  He opted for no bake cookie dough that I had found on Pinterest a couple weeks back.

Pinned Image

This is what he used (no eggs - so the dough is safe to eat!)...

     1 cup butter, softened
     1 1/2 packed brown sugar
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 cups flour
     6 oz mini chocolate chips

Following the directions, he creamed the butter and sugar together, then added the remaining ingredients.

He then rolled the dough into balls, added some sucker sticks to some of them (just because we had them and he thought they were cool) and let them chill for about 30 min.  Then he wanted to cover or drizzle some of them in chocolate, so I melted some chocolate almond bark and he did just that.  End result?  DELICIOUS!!!  I mean, really...who doesn't love cookie dough?

I hope your December is turning out to be just as scrumptious!

Love you all!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oklahoma Football

Happy Bedlam, Everybody!

For those of you not from around here, today is Bedlam.  It is the day when OU and OSU duke it out for the the win (and this year, for the conference championship!)  OU has won the last 8, but OSU has their best team in recent history and, if they win, they have a shot at the National Championship game. Nail biter!  And what makes it even more fun is that my brother, sister, mom are OSU fans and the hubby and I are OU fans!  You see that a lot around here...

It is quite chilly and windy here today, so we are going to hunker down, watch football and have some extra tasty chicken chili.  The recipe is SUPER easy (so I have more time for football) and SUPER yummy (I have to make a double batch so we can have leftovers!) Doesn't it look good?!

Here's how it's done!

White Chicken Chili
1 pkg McCormick White Chicken Chili mix
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can white beans
2 chicken breasts cooked & diced OR 1 lg can chicken

Throw everything in the crockpot, add 1 cup water.  Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours (or longer) or on high for 1 hour.  You can also make this on the stove pretty quickly, but the flavors don't mesh as well.

We serve ours with cornbread.  Enjoy!

Love you all!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Wow!  Can you believe that tomorrow is the first day of December?  Me neither!  Where did November go???

I've been thinking of ways to make this month special and not just one big blur of rushing here and running there, one more trip to the mall and...well, you get the idea.  I thought we could do a Countdown to Christmas this year (aka an Advent Calendar).  But instead of chocolates and sweets (which we really don't need!) I thought we could DO something each day leading up to Christmas.

Each one of these envelopes has a "to do" for our family. I think we will have so much fun doing these. A list of all of them (we repeated some) is at the end of this post.

Now - the kids don't know what we will be doing each day, so that's a surprise, but I kind of planned according to the day of the week when I was putting them up. That way we won't have movie night on the same night as church or make candy on the same night as basketball practice. (I have to keep some of my sanity!)  Any way - what is your favorite thing to do during the holidays? Do you countdown to Christmas as well?

Make Paper Snowflakes
Drink Hot Chocolate & Watch a Christmas Movie 
Say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Hello”
Make Christmas Crafts
Make Christmas Candy
Make outside “ornament”
Read a Christmas Book
Sing Christmas Carols
Hang Ornaments
Make Popcorn Balls
Go See Christmas Lights in Your Jammies
Read a Christmas Book
Make a gift for someone special
Donate your change to the Salvation Army
Write Letters to Santa
Drink Hot Chocolate and Watch a Christmas Movie
Get Egg Nog Ice Cream
Make Chex Mix & Puppy Chow
Make Christmas Candy
Take Treats to neighbors
Make Christmas Cookies
Read a Christmas Book
Go see more Christmas Lights
Watch a Christmas Movie, Leave Santa Snacks 
    & Read “Night Before Christmas”

Love you all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oklahoma Nutcracker

The Monkey Princess and I went to see the Oklahoma Nutcracker ballet on Sunday.

It was her first time to see "real, live ballerinas".  She was SUPER excited, to say the least!

The Oklahoma Nutcracker has the same music as the original Nutcracker but features things that are distinctly Oklahoma in nature.  For instance, instead of the Sugar Plum Fairy, it has the Sand Plum Fairy.  It was wonderfully done and had several younger dancers.  The Monkey Princess watched in fascination at all the dancers and their beautiful costumes.  She can't wait to get bigger so she can "dance on stage and get flowers."  (Because the ballerinas had flowers presented to them!)  She was so cute and HAD to get her own Nutcracker to put on the tree at home.

When we got home she told Daddy it was "the best day EVER!!"  And that's all I needed to hear!

Love you all!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breakfast for Monkeys

[photo credit]
Mmmmm...Monkey Bread.  Do you remember this?  My mom used to make this for us when we were kids and I loved helping her.  She cut up the biscuits and I coated them with cinnamon and sugar and tossed them in the pan.  After forever later, mmmmmmm....tasty.

I was looking for a recipe (I couldn't remember what made them stick together with that gooey deliciousness) and found this from  Looks great, but who has over an hour to make breakfast?!?!  Definitely not me!  So...I was on Pinterest the other day and found this recipe for Monkey Muffins.  Hhhmmm...muffins, you say?  This must try I.  I made a couple of modifications, but this is what I ended up with and WOW! they were A.MA.ZING.
I don't have a picture of them on a plate because the Monkeys ate them straight out of the pan!
They were super easy and delicious and only took about 20 minutes from start to finish!  Here's how I did it...

Monkey Muffins
2 cans homestyle biscuits  (you can use regular or Grands)
1-1 1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 can sweetened condensed milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Melt butter and add about 1/2 tsp butter into the bottom of each muffin cup
  3. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a large ziplock bag
  4. Cut biscuits into quarters and toss into bag to coat
  5. Place 4 pieces of dough into each muffin cup (if you are using Grands biscuits, only use three pieces)
  6. Top muffins with another 1/2 tsp of butter
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with the sweetened condensed milk - don't be shy, really slather it on there.
  9. Wait to cool...yeah, right!  Who am I kidding?  You'll be lucky to get them out of the pan before people start congregating in the kitchen!
Just a little my Monkeys were eating their second and third muffins, the oldest asked why it was called Monkey Bread.  The middle one piped in with, "I know!  Because we are Monkeys!"  I love those crazy kids!  They make me smile everyday!!

Love you all and have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crafty Weekends

I LOVE crafts!  I'm really not the craftiest person...I come up with ideas, do them and think they are great, but then I see what others have done and mine pales in comparison.  I know!  I have to quit comparing!!!  Maybe I'll show you some of my crafts later...

I was feeling crafty today and have some possible Christmas presents that needed to be attempted (it is the middle of November, you know!)  So I sat down with all my stuff and realized I was missing Mod Podge.

Now, I know I have some, but we are in the process of packing things up. (Our house is for sale so I de-cluttered a few months back.  This must have been one of the things I packed.)  If you use Mod Podge, you know that it is not cheap.  The above 8 oz. bottle runs about $8.  And, since Christmas is right around the corner, I would rather spend my moo-lah on fun stuff and not this! quick Google search later and I had more than enough recipes for homemade mod podge.  This is what I came up with...

It works just as well as the real thing, but costs soooo much less.  I bought a 12 pack of the glue for $4 and used a 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby so that made it $2.40 or $0.20/bottle.  The container cost me $2.50.  So I got 12 oz of homemade mod podge for less than $3.00.  I don't know about you, but that makes me smile!

Happy crafting ya'll!!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Momma Doubts

Ethan, aka Monkey Boy
OK - So let me know if this is just me...

Everything is going along just fine.  Hubby is happy, house is clean, clothes are folded (and put away), dinner has been cooked, eaten and cleaned up...  then you look in the backpack.  Your child has told you that he doesn't have homework (and you believed him).  All is well.  You sigh that sigh of contentment that comes with a job well done.

Fast forward to the next afternoon...  You pick up said child at school and find out that your child hasn't been doing his homework.  Strike that - hasn't been doing any work.  At all.  WHAT?!  How long has this been happening??  Apparently for a while because his desk is crammed full of papers he should have been doing but wasn't.  Can I just say it wasn't one of my finer Mommy Moments.  I was ANGRY!!!!  I mean I raised him better than this!!  So...I took a breath and loaded up all the work to take home and go through. is it that he has straight A's, but isn't doing all this work?  I'm confused. 

And on top of that, I watch him get upset with himself because he knows how disappointed I am.  And then the guilt came.  You know that Mommy guilt...The kind that makes you want to cry when you think about how your child is hurting.  That guilt. 

Then Satan speaks up.  He tells me I'm not a good enough mother.  He points out all the other mothers I know who don't yell or spank and their kids are perfect (now, I know they aren't perfect, but this is the devil talking after all!).  He points out all the times I lose my patience and tells me all the ways I am failing as a mother.  This is where, in the past, I would have curled up and cried.  But not now!  Now I know what to do!!  Want to know?  I pray!  Sounds easy, right?  It is!!!

Monkey Boy and I sat down and talked about responsibility, then we prayed that we would remember that everything we do should be done for the glory of God (Colossians 3:17).  I also prayed that Ethan would do better in school and I would have more understanding when instructing him.

Now - the doubts still come but I know how to make them go away.  I AM good enough!  After all... I am a chosen generation, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 3:17).  If you have Momma Doubts like me...might I suggest the following book, A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope.  It is fantastic!

 Product Details

Love you all!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Family Pictures

This is my family, my brother and his family and my little sister in last year's group shot!

Do you get stressed when it comes time for family pics? Boy, I sure do!

What will we wear? I don't want matchy, matchy, but the girl can't wear pink if the boy wears orange! That will just hurt my eyes!!

What is the weather like? A couple of years ago we had to postpone because of rain and today we took pics in 40 mph wind! I love Oklahoma but it sure does a number on my hair!

Will the kids behave? Of course not!! Monkey Boy is rolling in the damp grass in his new jeans and white shirt. Monkey Princess is pouting because she doesn't want to sit by her brother. And #1 Monkey only wants teen angst photos! What's a Mom to do?!

Well, we got it done and got some good ones, too! I may even have a Christmas card pic in there! I'll post a few when I get them so you can see my Monkeys in action. (They are pretty cute! I'll leave you with last years, just so you can see them up close!)

#1 Monkey - Drake, Monkey Princess - Haley, Monkey boy - Ethan

Love you all!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cow chaos

We have a farm.  Actually, my in-laws have a farm and we have cows.  Lots and lots of cows.  And this is the time of year when we start conditioning the calves for the winter.  So, you city folks might ask..."What does that mean?"  Basically, it means we take the calves from their mommas and make them grow up.  We give them shots, brand them and tag them.  We also bring in a couple hundred more calves without their mommas and do that to them, too.  This is my hubby working last year's calves.  The calves don't like it very much and they don't cooperate very often.  It's kind of like being a kindergarten teacher but the kids are 500 pounds!

And, it's really loud, too!  Have you ever been around a baby that wants a bottle?  You know that crying that they do until you give it to them?  It's like that-only the momma is crying, too and they just keep calling to each other...all day and all night.  It's kind of sad.  But this is how we make our living.  I am so blessed to be able to work along side my hubby.  My monkies love going to check the babies.  (This is how my Monkey Princess practices counting!)

So, if you don't hear from me for a couple of days, it's because I was wrangling calves, stirring up dust and probably couldn't hear my phone ringing amidst all the chaos.

Love you all!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


As Thanksgiving draws ever closer, (can you believe it's only 19 days away?!) we are asked more and more - What are you thankful for?

I was thinking of this last night...that reminds me of the song from White Christmas where Rosemary Clooney couldn't sleep and Bing Crosby sang to her, "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," but I digress... What am I thankful for?  Cute shoes?  New TV?  Friends?  Love?  Chocolate?

 I narrowed it down to the Top 3: 

1.  Jesus and His sacrifice.  Without this, I wouldn't have Hope...hope for eternal life, hope for my future.  Hope is good, let me tell you!

2.  My husband.  He is amazing!  He works hard and doesn't complain, smiles and tells me he loves me when I do something crazy like start a blog, leads our home according to scriptures and is the best dad ever!!!

3.  My kids.  The Three Monkeys bring so much joy to our lives.  They bring more than their share of craziness, too.  But even through the yelling and fighting, you can still feel their love for each other.  I hope they never lose that.

I know - pretty unoriginal, right?  But  this is my life and I'm so happy to have it and I am thankful for it everyday!

So - Along this line of thinking, I found this Thanksgiving craft on The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking and I am totalling doing it this year!  It's a garland for the mantle that even the kids and hubby can get into.  Take strips of paper and have people write on them what they are thankful for this year.  Then you can display for all to see.  I love, love, love this idea!!

And remember friends - I'm thankful for you, too!

Love you all,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here we go...

Hi, everyone! I've been thinking of starting a blog... Not because I'm crafty, or some kind of expert, or particularly passionate about anything fascinating... Just as a way to document the everyday craziness of my little piece of heaven on earth.

As you get to know us, I hope you find us charming and adorable ( but more likely it will be crazy and, well, crazy!).

I hope to talk about Faith, Family, Sewing & Crafts, Food and anything you might want to bring up. So, follow along the strait path with me. Let's see what this life has to offer us charming and adorable (crazy) people.

Love you all!!