Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hang in There

When my life is zipping along nicely, relatively stress and drama free, THAT is the time that SMALL things bother me in a BIG way. I did what many homemaker girls do and I planted flowers this Spring! One in particular had my heart; and every day I would watch for it to POP open and bloom, showing me it's beauty and color. In fact, I even stole a picture of it right before it was about to bloom...

T H E N....our black lab puppy-dog decided that it was a chew toy and she tore it out of the ground, destroying it's roots. I was devastated...

You remember I said that little things bother me when life is good, misery was sealed and my day ruined. I let everyone around me know how frustrated I was. Later that day, my oldest 8 year old son wordlessly dropped a handmade card on my bed. And my spirit was soothed as I realized my son took notice and shared his PURE LOVE with me! Here is the card he wrote:

He even enlisted his youngest brother to help!

Well, Skyler saved the day, but one more victory to tell. . .

I saved what I could of my flower and put it in water and I received my itty bitty miracle! It bloomed just as I had been waiting for.

So when life is throwing you over the edge, and the pain won't stop, or the stress doesn't cease, hang in there because that is when the miracles snuggle into your life and that is also when you get embraced by those who care.

This post is linked to: The Lettered Cottage and is my favorite blog post for 2009.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meal of the Moment *Salsa in your Chili*

Waiter, more chips and salsa pretty please when you get a second...

I have a handful of Meal of the Moment posts. Please see here for the original post, which explains this topic. These posts will give quick ideas on how to USE UP your leftovers because I hate ((shudder)) wasting food!

Every time we go out to eat at a Mexican Food Restaurant my husband probably expects chili in his lunch a day or two after! I always ask for a to go container for the BOWLS of salsa left on our table. It is a great way to flavor up a can of chili, turning a boring workday lunch into something with a bit more of a bite. I usually have can chili in the pantry so this meal is simple:

Add whatever else you want...kidney beans, ground beef or turkey, and a can of diced tomatoes.

THEN, dump in your leftover restaurant salsa to make it tasty!

Top with shreds of cheese of course and maybe add some leftover tortilla chips from the restaurant too. This is the easiest way to use up leftover Mexican food chips and salsa.

For more MEAL OF THE MOMENT posts, click here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I've Been Tagged

I've been given a Lovely Blog award by The Luckiest Mrs. and it was a happy surprise! I have so enjoyed reading her blog. I'm always inspired by her and her husband. So a big Thank You :)

Passing the Love around to four more lovely blogs: Momedy, Bake @ 350, Blue Eyed Blessings, and La Dolce Vita I have gained much from these blogs...enjoy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Canning Blackberries

Part of adding excitement to life is trying things you've never thought of trying before! So, my mom and I experimented with this earlier in the month. We had a great time even though it took twice as long as expected and we yielded half as much as predicted! We made and canned fresh blackberry ice cream topping. It was so fresh and delicious! It can also be used as syrup over your favorite waffles.

First my mom bought TONS of fresh blackberries and we washed them all.

The most intriguing part to me was learning that the jars, seals, and lids had to be perfect. It is different than cooking. You must sterilize your jars using perfect precision with water temperature, time in boiling water, and checking for any deformed or dented equipment. This was the most difficult part for me since oftentimes I skim over details and just want to dig right in. This was my lesson in patience as we carefully sterilized everything.

We mashed those berries with all of our girl strength...

We left them to drain over cheesecloth for several hours
Later, we added the special ingredients to make it zing with flavor! And cooked our mixture until we saw rolling bubbles burst with rhythm in the pot.
We carefully poured them into jars and got ready to seal the deal!
These next steps were critical as well:

After we lifted the jars from the canner, they had to sit without being touched for 12 hours. As the jars are taken from the heat and placed on the counter, we listened for a small "pop" to assure us that our ice cream topping had been preserved correctly. We heard the "pop, pop" of each can! They were ready to sit on our pantry shelves!
But of course we reserved some to sample ourselves... ;)

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas click here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Giddy Girl

I feel so bubbly and excited! I have those little smiles that dance around a mom's heart when she is proud of her kids. The school year at Life Academy is wrapping up and every year they have a special day called "Student Teacher" day. Two students are chosen from each grade to teach the class for the day. Yes, they have to study lesson plans, give assignments, lead the class, and even give timeouts. ;) The students for each class are chosen based on GRADES and BEHAVIOR. Again, only 2 students are picked per grade out of a classroom of kids....drumroll.....

Titus was chosen for one of the teachers in his Kindergarten class!!!!

BUT, that is not all.....Skyler was also chosen as one of the teachers for his 2nd grade class! We have 2 winners in our home and I am quite possibly more excited than the kids. Sooo, off my little teachers went today to teach school, lesson plans in hand. We studied hard yesterday and I hope they are prepared.

Dakotah said if he was picked for Student Teacher that he would give a lot of time outs! WELL...I'm sure his classmates are breathing easier knowing he isn't a teacher today. ;)

Thank you for letting me spill my giddiness for a few minutes here. Being a parent is tough, but soaking up these times add much joy to parenthood. Smile wide at your little ones, squeeze their soft bodies, skip in circles with them, show them every day that you're their #1 fan and let them amaze you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Our 9th Anniversary was last week. Although I thrive on over-indulgent gifts, tossing green bills to the wind... all for an obnoxiously-sized gift of flowers, I knew I wasn't getting that this year! Somehow we must have habitually thrown all too many Benjamins to the wind as there were none left to indulge in for our anniversary this year. ;)

Well, my incredible husband instead got me A DOZEN FILE CARDS. Uhh...ummm...((choke, cough, mutter, shock))...err..."thanks babe". Let me explain and then it will all make sense how a dozen file cards captured my heart more than a dozen roses, or a dozen chocolates lined perfectly in a box.

The last couple of years Chris started a tradition of giving me a promise on our anniversary. The first time he did this I thought it sounded like a nice idea but simply impossible to keep his promise. He proved me wrong! After each promise made, he fully committed himself to holding fast to it and he never once has gone back on those 2 promises. Every time I think about it I am amazed. I pinch myself to find its really true that he could love me so much to make me promises that he has to consciously be aware of and put 100% of his energy into keeping them. He makes me feel extra loved with those precious promises and I am grateful.

Lately I felt as if Chris wasn't listening to my WORDS. I guess that is what motivated him to make this new promise to me this year. He told me that he wanted to hear every word I said and that he is "REALLY HEARING" everything I said. He promised to make an effort to pay attention and absorb what is said during our conversations. He let me know about this promise by placing a dozen file cards the morning of our anniversary right in my path as I got ready for the day. I found all of them before heading out for the day because he left them in all areas that I would pass as I prepared for the day. See for yourself! :)

The Purse
Kids' lunchboxes
The makeup bag
The Shower

The Coffee Pot
The Yukon

PS...We did get to indulge in some Italian goodness for our dinner date, Delish!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flower LEFTOVERS *Works for Me Wedsday*

What do YOU do with your withering flower bouquets? You received them on Mother's Day and they looked vibrant, alert, and full of color!
But NOW....(sigh) they're beginning to lose their luster and a few of the weaker flowers have already bowed out of the game and hang limply in the vase.
It crushes your heart to toss the cluster of probably pricey flowers in the trash . . .so don't!
Not just yet.
Pull out the tired, dead flowers and toss them.
Then pull off some of the withering leaves on the rest.
Re-cut the stems and group the flowers into 2 or 3 different mini bouquets.

This is also an ideal time to get creative by finding things in your house to use as vases. For example, in the photo below I used an old candle jar. I burned the candle out last fall, so I simply cleaned the wax out and made a vase.

You have newly fresh cut flowers that add a completely different atmosphere to your home. Before, you had one regal, large, and stately bouquet to set front and center in your home. And now you have cute, little clusters of flowers scattered about your house giving a romantic, fresh, cottage-spring feeling to your home! Enjoy those flowers and savor the beauty in everything.

One last note: If you don't have any fancy flower bouquet to makeover, it is still the perfect time of year to get outside and cut a variety of fresh flowers to use in your home sweet home!

For more Works for Me Wednesday posts, click here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Momma's Day

Sugar, Sugar...
wishing all you SWEET mommas a sparkly day!
Check out these divine cupcakes that we devoured today from Cold Stone Creamery!

Traditionally we honor Mothers on this Sunday in May. But this morning I started thinking of Mother's Day from a different angle...I began to dwell on where I am RIGHT NOW.

What is my family honoring me for today?
Am I deserving of it?...really?

How well do I actually exercise mothering skills?

What areas am I excelling in?

Can my boys FEEL my love?

What areas need improvement?

After sifting through these thoughts I realized that Mother's Day is also an excellent day
quietly reflect on the job we're doing as moms as we raise up children to be solid strong men and women of God. It is the ideal day to evaluate where we stand and what areas need work. So much time is spent fluttering around from task to task, event to event, that we never grab the still moments and critique ourselves to make sure we are providing exactly what our children need at this moment in their lives. So I encourage each mom to take this Mother's Day and choose a few things that you can work on to help build your childrens' character. You are given a tremendous gift when you receive the title MOM. Now use it wisely and always respect that responsibility that God has given to you.

Bonus pic...we went on a hike at the base of the Monument today. This activity was chosen by my mom who is, and always has been, an incredible example as a mom!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Suggestions S'il te plaît

Suggestions Please

As I said, here is the post of my Pier 1 finds that I was so excited about. They are charming little jars to go on my kitchen counter. They fit my decorating style perfectly!! I would like some feedback though. I'm not going to store the things that are labeled on them. I already have a satisfactory Tupperware storage system for my baking goods like flour and sugar.

What useful items I can store in these jars? I always like to make my decor serve a useful purpose if possible. I would be interested to hear your clever ideas on what I can keep in these romantic-looking kitchen jars.
Thank You. xo

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Be Frugal with ID Tag Gifts *Works for me Wednesday*

This Works for me Wednesday is the Frugal Edition, so I wanted to share a fun idea to do with your significant other to celebrate an anniversary, Valentine's Day, or another holiday without spending money: Create pet ID tags to use as key chains.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I had a date night ALONE on New Year's. We thought of this out of the blue and silly idea to go to Wal-Mart and make pet ID tags for each of us to use as key chains. We inscribed the same wording on each of ours but chose different tags. Our key chains read:

" Chris and Lisa
Always and Forever
New Years 2007"

Everytime I see either of them my heart smiles because I am so grateful for our relationship and it is enjoyable to look back on that night. It was extremely inexpensive but a fun idea! You can inscribe whatever sentiment fits your occasion.

It gives extra satisfaction as the tag falls down the dispenser when it's finished. It feels like your own little work of art that you were able to engrave and create in seconds...using ANY words you desire!

For other Works for me Wednesday ideas click here.