Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

We went to the beach Saturday morning, and it was perfect - not too hot, not too cold, and not crowded at all.  The girls had lots of fun burying each other in the sand
and splashing around in the water.

This one's always ready to smile for the camera.

Evangeline enjoyed running into the ocean and eating sand
over and over and over again.

We had Lolo, Lola and NeNe over that evening.  Bill used my uncle's marinade for our steaks (SO good).  Espy helped me shuck our corn.  We usually shuck, foil-wrap, and throw them on the grill - one of our summer favorites.  We had a simple salad, and Mom and Dad brought the rolls.  Everything was amazing.

Then, the girls had a fashion show.  Of course.  Don't you have fashion shows after cooking out?
(Fashion Show!  Fashion Show!  Fashion Show at Lunch! 
What show is that from?  Bill and I love it!)

The day before, NeNe took Espy and Gianna shopping.  Not only did she get them a ton of outfits, but she had lots of stuff for the littles, too (Thank you, NeNe!).  They tried to convince Evangeline to participate with them, but she wasn't enthused.  It was imperative to try every single outfit on for all to see.  These are only a fraction of the pictures that were taken.  Please notice and enjoy the deterioration of our hopscotch runway.

The next day we had Daniel, Lindsey, and sweet Miss Abigail over after church.  Enjoying getting to know this family!  We missed having Nathan, Christen and their girls - but we understand not wanting to share germs (thank you!).
On Monday, we headed to our friends' going-away party at one of the local parks.  It's amazing to see how one family can touch so many different lives.  That's all I'll say about that since they haven't moved - yet.

It was a great weekend, and a sweet introduction to this time of year.  The girls and I are excited about filling our memory-makers with some fun summertime adventures.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Oldest Apple

Espy came home from school with this in her hand:
Must do
Print india pics
year in reveiw
Kids Club
Poor, little Espy - the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.

Dear Espy,
Here's hoping that your love for ToDo lists will keep you organized, but not drive you crazy (Sometimes they can get your momma all stressed - I'm trying to be better!).
You definitely got this from me.
 Love you forever,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Easiest Best Wings Ever

Photo Source
These wings are fantastic!
They're easy (and fast) to make, they're delicious, and Bill AND the girls love them - very important criteria if a recipe wants to stick around this house.  Either Bill or I found it online, and it's been a keeper ever since.
Make these as soon as possible, and please try to share.

3 pounds chicken wings
(I just use however many wings I want to make for our meal.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 cup honey
1 clove garlic, minced
(I use garlic powder if I'm too lazy to mince or don't have fresh garlic on hand.)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Mix together the oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, salt and pepper.
Pour over the chicken.
 Bake in preheated oven for one hour (I turn the wings halfway through),
or until sauce is caramelized.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Martha Stewart Time

Photo by: Kate Pruitt
I am no crafter.  My sister Sarah is far more creative than I could ever be.  We both pinned this postcard calendar journal and decided to make it together one night last month.  I LOVE journals, but I have a hard time keeping up with mine.  This project is a perfect compromise.

I was the primary cutter, and Sar stamped away.  Instead of using postcards to separate the months, we used scrapbooking paper.  I planned on making one for each other girls that night - it was probably a good idea that I didn't since it took slightly longer than we expected.  

I might start the girls off with one in the New Year.  Instead of making the whole year in one sitting, I might make the cards before the beginning of each month.

It's a great little project, and I can't wait to see it develop over the next few years.
Photo by: Kate Pruitt

Thursday, May 24, 2012

When's My Party?

Today we celebrated Isabella's school birthday (since she has a summer birthday) with ice cream cups, story time, a birthday crown, and several rounds of hide and seek on the playground.

No worries, Isabella is thoroughly confused and is expecting a birthday celebration later on tonight.

I promise she knows how to smile nicely.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Better ToDo List

I haven't been a very good wife or mom lately.

I like to blame it on lots of things:
not enough sleep
too much sleep
not working out
working out too much
(you can laugh at that one)
not getting enough to eat
eating ridiculously
disobedient girls
loud girls
hyper girls

In times like these, I also enjoy utilizing the if-onlys:
If only,
...the girls would do what they're supposed to do in the morning.
...Bill would help out just a little bit more.
...I woke up 15 minutes ago.

ToDo lists often consume me.
Keeping up with the house can be overwhelming.
Scheduling for a family of six is complicated.
It's not likely that these things will change.

However what I can change is how I react when: 
Espy requests a drawing partner 
Gianna asks me to jump on the trampoline 
Isabella wants to play a game 
Evangeline longs for some cuddle time 
Bill urges me to step away from what I'm doing and spend some time with him.

I don't want our girls to know me as the person who checked things off her list,
or my husband to remember how great I was at multitasking.
These are precious times that I'm letting slip away.

I recently read a post (Heather has a great blog!) that referenced this post.  Heather writes,
For 16 years a teacher asked her students to make a list of the things their parents did to make them feel loved and valued.  This teacher kept the writings of her students and compiled them into one list:
  1. Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in and sing me a song.
    Also tell me stories about when you were little.
  2. Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately.
  3. Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around.
  4. Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy.
  5. At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend.
  6. At night talk to me about about anything; love, school, family etc.
  7. Let me play outside a lot.
  8. Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show together.
  9. Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care.
  10. Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag.

    Please note that
    walking on a spotless floor,
    participating in every activity known to man,
    and opening a drawer full of freshly laundered (and recently folded) clothing

    didn't make the list.

    I'm thankful for a God who always extends grace
    and for four sweet girls and a husband who overflow with forgiveness.

    Here's to making more memories like the one pictured above.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Is Ridiculously Good

Apple dumplings
Photo by: Saija Lehto
I found this recipe a couple of years ago, and I've never looked back.  If you're ever in need of some amazing, delicious recipes - please familiarize yourself with Ree Drummond at The Pioneer Woman.  I'm sure you've heard of her, her blog, her cookbooks, and/or her cooking show.  If not, you need to go discover her - right now.

I've never met a person who hasn't fallen in love with these bad boys.  They're easy to make, but not so easy on the hips.  Please click here for Ree's step by step baking instructions.  You will not be sorry that you did.

2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
2 sticks Butter
1-1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Cinnamon, To Taste
1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda

Peel and core apples.
Cut each apple into 8 slices each.
Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll.
Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.
Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir.
Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples.
Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So Pretty

We don't routinely tell our girls that they're pretty.
Is that horrible?

It's nothing that Bill and I set out to do before we became parents.  It just doesn't happen.  We tell them we love them - constantly.  We fondly call them buddy (guess who calls them that?), sweetheart, and lots and lots of variations of their names.  I'm sure we've commented on how they look in their little lives - but it's hardly our focus.

The other day, Isabella had on a princess gown and tiara with magic wand in hand.  She was prancing around the house declaring in a sing-song voice,
I'm so pretty.  I am SO pretty.

At three years old, she has more confidence than I have in my little pinky.
I don't want her to lose that - ever.  I want her to wrap herself in His Love that is unconditional and never-ending.  There is no one on this earth that is like Isabella - and if you've met her, you know exactly what I mean.  She is a spitfire of energy wrapped up in a little body - full of so much emotion.

In that moment, when she claimed her beauty - I thought,
Yes!  Yes, you are!

 She is beautiful because He created her in His image.
She is beautiful because there is no one else like her.
She is beautiful because He has a path for her life that is greater
than anything we as her parents could plan out out for her.
She is beautiful because of Him.

Our culture will have plenty to share with our girls in terms of what they look like.

Society will tell them that they're
not tall enough
too short
not thin enough
too fat
not light enough
too dark.

The media will demand that 
that their eyes are too close together
that their nose is turned just so
that their chest is too small
that their hair is too coarse.

Our hope as their parents is to battle against what our culture would have them believe - to instill in them the source of their true beauty.  Perhaps along the way,
their momma will be reminded of hers.

Will you be reminded of yours?

You are beautiful because He created you in His image.
You are beautiful because there is no one else like you.
You are beautiful because He has a path for your life that is greater
than anything you can plan out for yourself.
You are beautiful because of Him.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
I Peter 3:3-4