Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Life in Pictures - February

Wow!  I never thought a picture a day would be so difficult.  Sometimes, I snap one that perfectly represents the day.  Other times, I wait all day and nothing exciting happens and I just snap a random picture.  I know my pictures sometimes aren't perfect, I don't have a fancy camera (sometimes I even use my iPhone! Ssshhh!!), but they represent my life - even the fuzzy ones!!  I hope you are enjoying these as much as I am...

February 1 - Have you read this magazine?!  It is fabulous! It has articles on faith and life, decorating and fashion, and, of course, food!  Everytime I get get this, I sink to my nose in a bubble bath and read it cover to cover!

February 2 - Do you know how long it has been since I did 6th grade science?!  Tween Monkey read the chapter, I read the chapter, Dad read the chapter...the answer was not in the chapter!!

February 3 - Princess standing in the window, waiting for our new Realtor. I thought this described the atmosphere in our home today...hopeful.

February 4 - Knock you naked brownies from the Pioneer Woman.  These were A-MAZING!!  I made them to eat during the Super Bowl tomorrow...

February 5 - The Girl Scouts of America are evil.  Every year, they come knocking, calling or (this year) Facebooking selling their deliciously evil cookies.  This year is their 100th anniversary and they came out with a new flavor.  I have always been a Thin Mints girl, but these Savannah Smiles are quickly becoming my new favorite.  (They are lemony deliciousness!)  I'll have to get a couple (dozen) more boxes before they are gone!

February 6 - Our new Realtor suggested extending the yellow from our living room into the dining room, so we repainted one of the terracotta walls...

February 7 - ...and, of course, the yellow wasn't an exact match because it's been a few years since the living room was painted, so we repainted the entire wall.  I love my husband!  He said he wasn't going to do it - it was my project - but when he saw I was having problems, he lent a helping hand!

February 8 - Holy Cow!  I love, Love, LOVE the smell of a wood burning fireplace!!!  This is at my in-laws and I can't wait until we get one of our own.  It's on the list for our next house.  :-)

February 9 - Monkey Boy and I put together his valentine's for his class.  We got the idea from Pinterest, here.  And I found the printable tag, here.  What luck!!!!

February 10 - I was convicted that I needed to spend more time in God's word.  In my life:beautiful magazine (see above), they have a calendar that, if you follow it, you will read the bible in one year.  I don't want to do this so I can say, "I've read the whole bible."  I want to do it so I can better know God and His will for my life.  It's not easy, it's a commitment, but who better to make a commitment to?!

February 11 - Wow!  I subscribe to a lot of magazines!  And this is really recent...I didn't use to get any.  Some of them are free subscriptions (Self, GQ, Beef) and some I got a really low rate on (Traditional Home, BHG, Ladies Home Journal) and one, I am completely in love with (life:beautiful).

February 12 - Prepping for an upcoming training job.  Spent the afternoon pouring over some research...this is after the clean up!

February 13 - The first snow of winter... finally!  And it melted before the boys got out of school.  No sledding today!  But aren't the calves pretty in the snow covered pasture?

February 14 - Love Day...We made daddy this valentine.  It's all the kids' handprints with a kiss.  Don't you love it?!

February 15 - Bubbles...Did you see the one earlier this week with the snow?  Well, today was in the 60's, so Princess and I blew bubbles in the yard and chased them around like 4-year-olds.  Had. A. Blast.

February 16 - A won this video from a blog giveaway back in December.  I never received it, so I emailed them.  I got it two days later (today).  I know it's a Christmas video, but Princess didn't mind - she watched it twice today!

February 17 - On our way to Grammy's and everyone is buckled up ans safe.  And I mean, Everyone!

February 18 - The Tween spent the night with a friend who has a dog.  Apparently this is a very good dog who doesn't chew on things...except Tween's shoes, that is.  We decided it was because they smell like something dead.  The dog was just confused!

February 19 - An afternoon at the mall with the boys... and Monkey Boy lost a tooth!  Just look at that smile!

February 20 - Oklahoma weather amazes me everyday!  Blue skies this afternoon and 5 minutes later (that is NOT an exaggeration either) we had thunder and hail...

February 21 - Momma (and Princess) got a new pair of shoes!

February 22 - Sometimes I just don't feel like eating dinner, so my amazing hubby makes me some popcorn around 8:00pm.  Isn't he the bestest ever?!?!

February 23 - New colors...what do you think?  I don't usually pick up this color of yellow, but I was drawn to it on the clearance rack.

February 24 - Princess listening to a book on manners before her ballet class.  She adores her ballet teacher!

February 25 - Our local library is hosting a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian so my mother and I took the kids to check it out.

February 26- Eeeeeekkkk!  The new Sophie Kinsella book is out AND available at the local library!!!  Yeah!!  I've been a huge fan since my friend at Sasha Says turned me on to her Shopaholic series...

February 27 - My hubby is AMAZING!  (I think I may have mentioned that earlier, too...but, he is!)  I am currently using a TV tray with a tablecloth over it as one of my end tables.  He said that would not do, so he has made me a matching set.  All that's left is the stain and it will match the other furniture he has built!  Soooo handy to have around!  :-)

February 28 - The weather is wacky here...above you will see the snowy day pictures and here we have the first blossoms of spring.  What is going on around here?!?!  But, really, aren't they pretty?  I love the sense of everything starting new again.  God is amazing!!

February 29 - Leap Day!!  I came home from an appointment to find Princess had fixed her own hair this morning.  She couldn't find a bow to match, so she decided to just go with them all!  (Check out those dimples!! I almost let her where them all to lunch because of that smile!)

Hope you enjoyed my February.  I love being able to look back at the month and actually REMEMBER!

Love you all,


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I'm a little overwhelmed this week, so I'll be light on the posts. I really appreciate all of you who read this blog. And I am truly humbled by the fact it is touching your heart. I prayed that God would use me...and here He is! Isn't that Awesome!!

I will return later in the week with My Life In Pictures for February and {hopefully- fingers crossed} the word of the week. I'm also working on a post about juggling - and not the circus kind! Hope to see you back here soon!

Love you all,


Friday, February 24, 2012

Confessional Friday

Hey, y'all! I'm linking up today with Leslie at A Blonde Ambition blog for Confessional let's get confessing!!

1) I have no idea what I am doing half the time. Really! I have no idea about the techie stuff for this blog - I kinda just logged on one day and started it. I guess I will learn as I go and I hope you guys stick with me through the learning process!

2) I'm taking a break from caffeine. Well...not a complete break. I usually drink an Absolute Zero Monster energy drink from breakfast and I cut that out. And my afternoon Diet Coke? Gone. I still have tea or diet coke at meals, but that's it. It's a start, right?

3) I only recently learned how to give myself a manicure. Sasha over at SashaSays gave a step by step tutorial on how to give yourself a professional looking manicure and I was blown away with the results! I am never paying for another manicure again!!!

4) I am a serial project starter, but have trouble finishing. I guess I get bored or distracted or something and never get around to completing the things I start. I cannot begin to tell you how many patterns I have cut out and never sewn...I think it's a sickness!

Anyway - I hope you still love me after all this!

Love you all,


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Word of the Week - Encourage

And the word of the week is...

This weekend Tween Monkey played basketball, just like he does almost every Saturday this time of year.  And his team won by a really big margin (44-2).  But this post isn't about his team.  It's about the team they played.  I think this other team has won maybe one game all season. They are coached by a teenager - maybe college-aged.  You would think that these kids would be disgusted or disheartened by now, but they always come to play and always play their best.  And this weekend I figured out why.

I was asked to keep score, so I was down on the court with the coaches.  And I noticed something about this other coach.  He NEVER said anything negative.  I mean nothing,  Not even things that sound like compliments, but are really not like, "Nice block, but you should have..."  Everything he said was an encouragement to his team, even when they were down by 40 with no time left - he was still encouraging them.  I truly believe this is the key to his team's attitude week in and week out.  And that got me thinking...

What about my words???  Do they build up or tear down???

When I speak to my kids, am I letting them know how much I love them or am I telling them I think they are idiots?  Now, let's be clear...I would never call my kids idiots, but sometimes my tone says it loud and clear. Do I treat them with respect?  Do I encourage them in their dreams?  I would like to say that I do, but I know that sometimes, my words tear down instead of build up.  I'm going to work on that this week...will you join me in thinking before you speak?  Let's all be a little more encouraging today.

Love you all,


Thursday, February 16, 2012

I {heart} PW...

The Pioneer Woman ROCKS!  I follow her blog...I watch her cooking show on the Food Network...I {heart} the Pioneer Woman!!  She's hysterical and I don't want to be her when I grow up!  With four kids, she still has the time to cook all the time, write cookbooks, star in her own show on Food Network, maintain a daily blog/website, homeschool and crack jokes while she does it.

While I don't want to be her, I do adore some of the recipes she makes.  They are super tasty, yummy, fattening and perfect (sometimes with slight modifications) for my hungry monkeys.  This is the one I made about a week ago to gorge myself nibble on during the Super Bowl.  All the credit goes to PW, here...

Knock You Naked Brownies

  • 1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (I didn't use these - my kids don't like nuts)
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (additional)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 bag whole caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

(Now don't get scared off by all these directions, it isn't that hard...really!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together cake mix, nuts (if you are using them), 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir together until totally combined. Caution:  it will be very thick.
Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When melted and combined, pour over brownie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.
Turn out remaining brownie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, generously sift powdered sugar over the surface of the brownies. Cut into either nine or twelve helpings, and carefully remove from the pan.
I gotta tell you, these are really rich and you should cut them into small servings...(that way you don't feel guilty when you go back for 2nds or 3rds...)  Enjoy!
Love you all,

A Few of My Favorite Things...

One of the things I am striving for is to be more intentional.  To see the things around me that bring my joy.  I thought I'd share some of them, along with random pictures of our snowy day we had this week....

Holding my hubby's hand

The sound of my children laughing

Anything chocolate (as long as it's the right kind of chocolate)


Crackling fires



80's music

How I Met Your Mother

Watching the Monkey Princess dance

Jeremiah 17:7

Bean Dip Nachos

Chili's Chicken Crispers

Homemade whip cream

Listening to Monkey Boy read to me

OU Football

Mexican Food

Long talks with the bestie (I miss her...)

life:beautiful magazine

Watching Tween Monkey play ball

Discussing the bible with my Father-in-law

Roasting marshmallows

My hubby's prayers


This blog

Meeting new people

Not cooking

John Cusack movies

Brat Pack movies

Spending the days with the Princess





Reading my Bible

Dr Seuss

NOT having to change diapers anymore

Homemade gifts


John Grisham books

Sophie Kinsella books

Karen Kingsbury books

OK - Books...

Eating ice cream on rainy days

Rainy days


Star gazing in the country

The howl of coyotes (not actual coyotes, just their howl)

Absolute Zero Monster drinks

Red hair

And you guys...

Love you all,


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Word of the Week - Love

And the word of the week is...

No surprise there, right?  I mean, this is the week of Valentine's and heart shaped everything!  But what does love really mean to you?

There's a pretty popular book that discusses the different ways people give and receive love.  It's quite interesting and I've learned some things about myself and those around me.  I've learned that Words are the way I give love.  I enjoy sitting and talking - sometimes about nothing, with those I love.  I super enjoy it when they talk to me.  And send me a card - I'll probably keep it for a long time.  But my hubby - he's not that talkative sometimes and buying cards are really not his thing (although he has gotten really good at it - you should read the card I got today!).  He's an Actions kind of guy.  I've learned that when he takes my car to the store and comes back with it sparkly clean, he is really telling me "I love you" and when he does laundry, he's really saying "You are special."  But it was something I had to learn.

How do you show love?  If you receive love in a different way than you show it, do you recognize it for what it is or do you wish it was something different?

God loves all of us and He made us all different.  That is one thing that i find so amazing about our Creator.  He KNOWS I need the words, so He gave me the greatest love letter ever written, the Bible.  He KNOWS the hubby is an actions guy, so he told him how to spread His love by caring for those in need.  Little, behind the scenes things that rarely get noticed - those are the things my hubby does to show he cares for those around him.

Do you need quality time?  God is waiting to spend it with you.  Do you rejoice in receiving gifts?  Look around you  - God has left you presents everywhere you turn... the beautiful butterflies, the gorgeous rainbows, even the sparkling, snow covered pastures...they are a gift, from Him to you!

Mark 12:30-31 ~ "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these."

Happy Valentine's Day - Love you all!!!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Summer Skin

Summer skin is so nice.  It's soft, smooth and glowing... so unlike winter skin!  Winter skin is dull and rough and I don't like I fixed it!

How did I fix it, you ask?  Well, of course, I turned to the internet!  Pinterest to be exact... and found this salt scrub I needed to try.  It was super easy to make with ingredients found in my kitchen!

Here is the recipe:

5 Tablespoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon

I doubled the recipe and used a 2 cup Rubbermaid container.  That way it won't leave a rust ring in my shower and I can't break it when I drop it on my tile!  One thing I did notice was that I didn't really need 2 lemons.  I always zap mine in the microwave for 30 seconds to create more juice, so I only ended up needing the juice of one lemon.

Now I have softer, smoother skin - no more dull, rough patches or "chicken skin" on the backs of my arms.

Bring on the Sun!

Love you all,


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Slave for Chocolate

There is a song on Christian radio by Matthew West called "My Own Little World".  This is how it starts...

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population me

and this is how it ends...

What if there's a bigger picture
what if I'm missing out
What if there's a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world
Start to break my heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

Did you notice the line..."start to break my heart for what breaks Yours..."?  Remember that line...

I LOOOOOOOVE chocolate.  (Especially milk chocolate, even though I know the dark is better for me!)

You can ask anyone - I can eat my weight in chocolate...but then I'd weigh twice as much so I don't actually do that.  And Valentine's day is right around the corner so all the stores' shelves are full of chocolate.

I recently read a blog post here that broke my heart and then did some research on my own.  Every website I visited left me more and more broken.

Did you know that most of the world's chocolate is grown along the Ivory Coast in Africa?  Did you know that many of those cocoa plantations use slave labor?  And, worse than that... what can be worse, you ask?  
Child slave labor.    

The CNN Freedom Project just completed a series called "Chocolate's Child Slaves."  It was eye-opening and heart breaking.  Did you know that the world's biggest chocolate producers have known about this issue for over a decade?  They signed Harkin Engel protocol that promised to end the practice...but they haven't done anything to actually end it.  This latest spotlight on the issue did prompt Hershey to pledge $10 million to improve West African cocoa farming and fight child labor, but what about everyone else?  And what can we do?  I do know that I will never look at a box of Milk Duds the same.

The above picture is of a "Divine" candy bar.  It is certified "Fair Trade."  This is one way I can make sure my family is taking a stand.  It is harder to find and is about 2x as expensive.  The above bar cost me $1.50 at an all natural food store.  But in my eyes, it is worth it.

The Freedom Project told a story of a 10 year old boy who had been working in the cocoa fields for 3 years.  He doesn't know where his parents are, he doesn't have a warm bed to sleep in, he doesn't have a change of clothes and he has never even tasted chocolate.  I see my 7-year-old's face on that little boy.  I can't go back to the way it was...I can't unlearn this information.

So, before you go shopping for Valentine's Day, think about that chocolate.  Will you unlearn what you know now, or will you make a change for good?

Love you all,


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Word of the Week - Hope

And the word of the week is...

Psalm 71:5 ~ "For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou are my trust from my youth."

Hebrews 11:1 ~ "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

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."

Hope is a very important thing to have.  Have you ever been around someone who doesn't have any hope?  They are hope-less?  It can really drag down your spirit.  

I feel like the last 6 months have really done a number on my hope.  (Still trying to sell the house, remember?)  I tell myself to have faith and then something comes along to knock it down.  Someone calls to find out when they can see the house, then never makes an appointment to see it.  Hopes get up, then dashed to the ground again.

I KNOW God has a plan, a great plan for our family. I just have to have hope.  That's when I turn to His word.  It gives me the hope that no one else can give.  Not my husband, not our new Realtor, only Him.  Because I know the Bible to be true, I can put my hope in what it says and in Him.

Romans 15:4 ~ "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."

Isaiah 40:31 ~ "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Romans 5:3-5 ~ "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hears by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

If you are feeling hope-less, let me encourage you to turn to God.  He will give you the hope you desire.

Love you all,


Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter Wreath

I needed something to transition my mantle from Christmas to Spring.... at first I thought I would do this project as Valentine's Day wreath, complete with a red felt heart, but the hubster did not like the look of that.  We agreed on the bow.  I think it turned out nice and fits perfectly on my mantle.

I'm sure you've seen how to do this - it's not rocket science!  But, I'll give you a quick step-by-step anyway...

First, cut out a couple thousand hundred (it just feels like thousands) felt circles.  I used a travel coffee mug as my template.  I actually used close to 250 circles.  (I ended up using about 1 yard of 72 in" felt.)

I purchased a styrofoam wreath and a package of straight pins along with my felt.  

To start, you take a felt circle and fold it in half...

then you fold it in half again...

then you take one of your straight pins and just start pinning!  Push the pin through the point of your felt piece straight into the wreath form.  Then pin the next one right up next to it.  You should "fluff" the pieces as you go to make sure you are getting the fullness you want and not just squished felt.  (You'll notice that my felt and wreath form are both white.  That helps in case part of your wreath peeks through the pieces.  If you are using a different colored felt, I would recommend spray painting the wreath the same color.  It's worth the effort!)

Here it is almost done... I ran out of circles and had to cut some more!

Like I said, it took me awhile to first figure out where to put the wreath and second how to adorn it.  I had an empty spot on my mantle, so I rested it there (just to get it out of the way) and we really liked the look of it.  I then used some wide leopard print ribbon to make a bow and attached it with fishing line.  The great thing is that the bow isn't a permanent part of the wreath and I can change it with the seasons if I so desire!

And that's it!  I'd love to know if any of you attempt this project.  Send me pictures and we'll get them posted!

By the way...if you are a regular reader of this blog, I would love for you to "officially" follow me.  Just click "Follow" up at the top or join this site with Google Friend Connect.  It's the only why I know who even cares what's going on in our little corner of Oklahoma.  And thanks for stopping by!

Love you all!