Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Taking a blogging break - just for a few days

I realized earlier that I haven't posted a single thing this week.  :(  I haven't deserted the blogosphere, I'm just taking a break for a few days and enjoying my time off of school.  I've also been dealing with some job unheavals and trying to get everything worked out (I think I have).  Next week I should be back to normal!  Until then...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Small Talk Six - Favorite Websites - my favorite recipe website - I've found tons of great ideas here - great daily devotionals, very practical and useful information

A Year of Slow Cooking - a slow cooker is a working mom's best friend! - very practical, lots of great downloads (charts, etc.)

Facebook - I'm a complete and total addict

The Blog Frog

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday - What kind of mom are you?

Are you the Mom you thought you would be?

Really good question...I thought a lot about having kids when I was younger.  I always thought I would be a really traditional mom - stay at home with the kids, cooking and baking a lot, going to playdates, sending my kids to school and maybe going back myself when my youngest started school.

My reality as a mom looks a little like that...I ended up as a working mom, but I did stay home for about four years total.  I do love to cook with my kiddos (my oldest is becoming quite the chef), but we don't do the playdates and camps and lessons that I thought we would, and we decided to homeschool, which we love.  I did go back to school, just earlier than I thought I would.

Parenting is much harder than I thought it would be, but it's also so much more rewarding than I could have imagined, and I love my kids so much more than I ever thought possible.  I love spending time with my kids, and as they get older, I love seeing the people they are becoming, their strengths and their's amazing.  I absolutely love being a mom.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes

This recipe is a great one to pull out for special occassions!  It makes a really nice dinner, and its delicious.  The original recipe came from a Paula Deen magazine, but I've tweaked it and made some adjustments to suit my family's taste better, and this is the result.  I hope you enjoy it as much as do.

• 1/2 cup butter

• 1 (8 oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup milk
• 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese
• 3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
• Sliced Swiss cheese
• 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
• Savory crepes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease 2 13x9 inch baking dishes.
2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook until tender.
3. Stir in flour, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Stir in broth and milk; bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Add cream cheese and fontina cheese, stirring until melted; stir in chicken.
6. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center one-third of each crepe; fold edges and place, seam side up, in prepared baking dish.
7. Top with Swiss cheese.
8. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crepes are hot.

• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 cups milk
• 1 large egg
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 teaspoon butter, melted

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt.
2. In another medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg, egg yolk, and butter.
3. Gradually add flour mixture to milk mixture, whisking until smooth.
4. Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons of batter into skillet; cook for 30 to 45 seconds; transfer to plate.
6. Repeat procedure with remaining batter, stacking crepes on a plate.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Balance" Only Happens In Gymnastics

Do you ever feel like you've just had enough? I didn't think I would feel that way once I was done with the semester, but I guess the stress of everything is just now really catching up to me. This past week was hard. I had major work issues to deal with - work crises would be a better description - some big church events (and lots of cooking to go along with them), and the official end of school. I think it just all piled up on me, along with residual stress from having just finished finals.

Right now, I feel like someone needs me every minute of every day, and I'm just getting lost in the shuffle. I have to be the best wife, mom, pastor's wife, employee/manager, co-worker, children's ministries director, student, cook, homemaker…I'm starting to think "balance" is just something that happens in a gymnastics class. There is no such thing as balance in my life.

I feel like the guy at the circus who spins plates. I'm always rushing from plate to plate, trying to keep everything going, but something is in danger of falling all the time. Sometimes I need to be able to let a plate fall here and there, but nobody is willing to let it be their plate. It leaves me feeling frazzled and fried. I love all that I do, but sometimes I need to let something go and just relax a little. So why do I seem to be the only one who understands that?

I'm rarely home, and never until at least 7:00 p.m. during the week. When I'm not working, I'm either in school (when school's in session) or at the church. I feel like I don't see my husband and kids enough, and when I do see them, I'm exhausted and stressed and trying to get 15 things done when I only have time for 5. I feel like nothing in my life is getting my time and focus the way it really needs to.

My husband is an incredible dad who does an amazing job. I could never do this without him, and we're blessed that the kids can be with him while I work and go to school, but I have to admit, sometimes I'm jealous. I miss staying home with my boys. I miss homeschooling them. I miss taking them to the park and the library. I feel guilty that I've only been to one tee ball practice because I work every weeknight except Wednesday, when we're in church. I even had to miss his tee ball game this past Saturday because I had to work.

I'm so afraid my kids are going to look back and resent me for not being there more. Even though I have no choice about working, and in the long term this is going to be so good for us as a family - great pay, great hours, and much more time with my family - will they understand that? Or will they think I made the wrong decision? Right now it all leaves me feeling like the "worst mother of the year" award should go to me.

I think a few weeks out of school, and a few days off with my family next month, will make things better. I still think I'm doing the right thing for my family, and I'm glad I decided to do it. In some ways it's been easier than I thought it would be, but in some ways, I had no idea how hard it was going to be. I really had no idea what kind of toll it would take it on me personally. It's not an easy road.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Never Let You Go - Book Review

In a matter of months, Lexi Solomon's world crashed around her. It was enough to crush most people, but her love for her daughter Molly has carried her through losing everything else. Life is hard, but they've managed to survive, and Lexi hopes their circumstances will soon start looking up. Out of the blue, Lexi's past comes back to haunt her - her sister's killer, her estranged husband, and the man who led her husband to drugs. Lexi once again feels like her world is crashing down. But along with the men from her past comes a mysterious stranger who always seems to show up when he's needed the most. Lexi is left fighting forces that are determined to destroy her to save the last remaining shreds of what matters most to her.

Wow! That pretty much sums up my initial reaction to Erin Healy's first "on her own" novel. This book is amazing! It keeps you hanging on and wanting more. Never Let You Go echoes the feeling of Frank Peretti's novels on spiritual warfare. Her storytelling pulls you in to Lexi's life, and the story leaves you standing in awe of God's love and grace. I can't wait to read Erin Healy's next book - she has made me a dedicated fan.

*In exchange for reviewing this book, I received a free copy of the book from BookSneeze.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Small Talk Six - Baby Names

Baby names we considered but didn't choose

For boys:

1. Trey (for our oldest, who is the 3rd)

2. Chandler

3. Ethan

For girls (we have 2 boys)

1. Emily Rose

2. Madeline Alexis

3. Mary Rose

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Women of Faith Wednesday - If I could give myself advice...

If you could go back in time and tell your teenage self one thing, what would you say?

Just one?  Wow, there is much I wish I knew back then...

I think the #1 thing I was say is - be yourself.  I spent so much time as teen feeling like I didn't fit in, feeling shy, and I pushed people away from me because it.  I wish I had known that it was okay to feel like I didn't have it all together or to really know who I was yet.  I wish I had realized that I never really had to care what others thought, because in God's sight, I'm precious just because I'm His.  It took me years to learn those lessons, and in many ways, I'm still learning them.  I wish I'd had even half the confidence then that I have now.

Retail Therapy?

Ok, I'll admit, I'm a little strange...I'm not a big shopper.  If you put in the right kind of store (a bookstore, a kitchen store, a purse store) and I've got money to spend, I could shop all day.  But when it comes to "window shopping," I'm not a big fan.  If I shop, it's because I need to get something.

But I do have one weird thing I like to window shop for...I love looking at office supplies.  Once when I was having a bad day, I went to Office Depot and bought myself a new day planner to cheer myself up.  Looking at Post-It notes and pens always boosts my mood.  Lately I've been browsing day planners and other organizers, since I'm always looking for what's new out there.

I thought for a long time that I was one of the only people who is obsessed with office supplies, but I've discovered that my assistant manager at work loves them, too.  We've had some good laughs over our odd obsession.  I'm sure why I like them so much...maybe I feel like if I look at organizing stuff long enough, it will somehow rub off on me and I'll actually be able to get organized!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A great tasting diet cupcake

Yes, they really do exist - lol.  And since I'm currently on a diet...hard for someone who loves food, but I need to drop a few pounds that have crept up on me...I'm posting a super easy and very tasty recipe.

Take a box of chocolate cake mix, mix with one can of dark diet soda (Diet Coke, etc.), and pour into muffin cups.  Bake according to directions on the box.  That's it...a box of cake mix and a diet drink.  You can do the same thing with yellow or white cake mix and diet Sprite or 7-Up.

Honestly, I didn't believe the person who told me about these, until she made some and brought them for me.  These cupcakes are so moist and so good (and I beleive they're only 1 point in Weight Watchers).  If you want, you can top them with light whip cream, and you've got a yummy, low-cal way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Five Question Fridays - Winning and Losing

1. What is your worst memory of your siblings?
I'm an only child. :(

2. What was YOUR naughtiest childhood memory? (Must be something YOU did, no pawning it off on someone else!)
Oooh, this is a good one...this actually happened in high school, but it's so funny...

First, let's establish the fact that I was a goody-two-shoes.  Big time.  Straight A student, never in trouble, always the good girl.  You kind of have to know that to get why this is so funny. 

I was in my 10th grade biology class.  We had a class pet - a corn snake (named Jake, by the way - you don't need that random piece of information, just thought I'd throw it in here).  There were four us who sat near Jake's enclosure - me, Mindy, Charmaine, and a guy whose name I can't remember. 
On this particular day, we were supposed to be reading, but since we were kind of hidden behind Jake's terrarium thingy, we weren't.  Well, I was, since I was a goody-two-shoes, but the others weren't.  Charmaine was napping, Mindy was goofing around, and the guy was messing with this rubber snake he's brought to class.  Suddenly, inspiration struck.  I turned around and whispered to him to hand me the snake.  He asked why, I said, "Just hand it here."  I passed the snake to Mindy and said, "Put it on Charmaine's desk."

Charmaine hated snakes.  She hated sitting next to Jake.  So as Charmaine slept, Mindy slipped the rubber snake onto her desk.  All was quiet for about 5 minutes...then Charmaine woke up.  Charmaine was a very tall girl, and since our high school was expanding, we were having class in a "mobile classroom" - here in the south, we call it a trailer.  So when tall Charmaine who hated snakes woke up and saw one her desk, she immediately screamed and started jumping up and down, causing the trailer to shake and nearly giving our teacher a heart attack.

I thought he would just about kill us...but when he found out I had masterminded the whole thing, he started laughing and said it was about time I came out of my shell a little bit.  Charmaine forgave me (we're Facebook friends now - lol!).  It was really, really funny.

3. Where do you like to go to relax?
The bookstore...Starbucks...the track (to run)...or the park...the barn...the spa (ha! In my dreams) or when all else fails I lock myself in the bathroom with a book. :P
4. What was the last thing you won?
I went a women's conference a while back and won a really nice gift basket with a Third Day CD (one of my favorite groups!), a devotional book, lots of gift certificates for area restaurants, a t-shirt, and lots of other goodies.  I never win - I was shocked when they called my name!

5. If you could be on a game show, which would you choose?
Oooh, that's a hard one...I'm not much of a game show person...maybe Deal or No Deal?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thankful Thursday - a milestone

Several months ago, when I decided to return to college 10 years after dropping out, I was terrified.  I wrestled with the decision and felt that it was the right thing at the right time, but I was so scared.  I didn't know how I would juggle family, work, home, ministry, and college, but I took a leap of faith and started college in January.

Today I am thankful because as of Thursday, May 6, I will finish my first sememster, and it looks like I'll finish with straight A's.  I only have three more classes to take before I turn in my application to the dental hygiene program in December, and if all goes well, I'll start the program in July 2010.

I'm so grateful to be done with my first semester and for my two month break.  Most of all, I'm grateful for the love and support of my husband and kids - I could never have done this without them.  My husband has been my biggest fan, my study buddy, and my shoulder to cry on when I'm stressed.  I'm glad I decided to take the leap of faith...and I'm glad my first semester is over!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday - Career Changes

Working Mommy Wednesday

What would you do if you could change your career?

This is something I'm actually going through right now!  I guess you could say I'm really starting a career instead of changing one...

I seem to do things backwards.  Most of my friends went to college, finished college, got married, and started careers long before they had kids.  I quit college after two years, got married, had kids, and worked part-time jobs here and there as my family needed.  A few months after we moved to Texas, I started working almost full-time at my current job, a trainer and manager at a women's gym.

I had been working for about a year and a half when I started thinking about going back to school.  I came to terms with the fact that I couldn't go back to being a stay at home mom, and I decided that if I have to work, I want to make good money.  My kids were also getting older, and I felt like the time was right to make some changes.  I'd seen and heard a lot about two year degrees that earn really good money, and I started checking it out.  I really became interested in dental hygiene because of the great pay and flexible hours, and I can get into the field with a two year degree.  I found a college just a 30 minute drive from my house that offers the after a lot of thinking and praying, I jumped in with both feet.  It's exciting and scary at the same time, but I know it's the right thing for my family.

Now as far as dream jobs...that would involve horses.  Right now that's not even in my life as a hobby, but hopefully one day they'll become a part of my life again.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Typical Week in the Life of a Wannabe Supermom

I was on a pastor's wives message board earlier and several of us who are in college have been posting about how crazy and hectic life if right now. I wanted to share a little about my typical week...


Up at 7:00 a.m. today to study, get ready and head for the grocery store. As soon as I get back, I unload and put everything up, get lunch ready, eat, and head to work for a 2:00 p.m. manager's meeting. After the meeting, it's off to my anatomy and physiology class. After class, I head back to work, finally heading home at 8:00 p.m. to watch 24 with my husband. (It's last season - what I do without it? Time to buy all 8 seasons on DVD…) Then I look over my class notes and head to bed.


Up at 6:00 a.m. again to get ready for the day. I throw some laundry in and get lunch together and put it in the fridge for the guys before I head out the door for work. Tuesday is my paperwork day at work, so I spend most of the morning at the desk taking care of my managerial stuff before I head out the door at 1:00 p.m. to go to sociology class. After class it's back to work for 3 hours, where I squeeze in a workout, then head home to cook dinner and stay up late studying (since I can sleep in tomorrow).


I sleep in today, getting up at 7:00 a.m. I try to get some stuff done at the house, including laundry, before we head to the church around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. We spend the day working at the church - I help Robby type his sermons - and grab something from the drive thru or eat leftovers for lunch. I leave at 2:45 for my anatomy and physiology class, then head back to the church to do a couple of more things to get ready for that night. After church, we head home for a quick dinner, then everyone is rushed off to bed - tomorrow will be a hectic day.


My earliest and longest day…up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for work. I have to open at 7:00 a.m. so I need to be there by 6:45. I leave the house at 6:25 and work until 1:00 p.m., when I leave for my sociology class. After class, I go back to work until 7:00 p.m., close up, go home, and crash on the couch - I'll study over the weekend.


My earliest class of the week is my 8:00 a.m. anatomy and physiology lab today. After class, it's off to work. On my lunch break, I head to the local library with my laptop to do online sociology assignments and to work on my blog and unwind a little. I head back to work from 4:00 until 6:30, then it's home for the weekend! After cooking dinner and putting the kids in bed, I study until I crash into bed at 11:30 or 12:00.


Saturday used to be my sleep in day, but not since tee ball season started! I get up at 6:00 a.m. and get ready before I get my husband up at 7:00 and the kids at 7:30. We have to be at the ball field at 8:30 for a 9:00 game. We have a blast - it's so fun watching these four and five year olds play ball! After the game it's on to the church to spend the day getting ready for Sunday. We usually eat at one of our favorite restaurants for lunch - it's become a Saturday tradition! I also spend some time blogging and Facebooking while Robby gets his thoughts together. We usually get home late, eat dinner, and everyone heads to bed…except me. I stay up studying.


Up at 6:00 a.m. to iron clothes and get everyone ready for church. I get to the church a little early, at 9:00 a.m., to put the finishing touches on my Kids BLAST lesson. I update my blog and check my Facebook page before I head over to our Family Life Center to teach children's church.

After church we go home for lunch. The kids play after lunch while I do laundry and plan my menu and shopping list for the week, and if I'm lucky (which is rare) I'll take a short nap. We head back to the church around 4:30 p.m., where I check for online sociology assignments while Robby studies his sermon for that night. On the first Sunday of each month, we have a leadership meeting at 5:00 p.m. to plan out the next two months worth of activities at church. After the evening service, we head home to get ready for the next day. After dinner, I get the kids in bed, make sure everyone's clothes are ready for the next day, and study before I head to bed at 11:00 p.m.

Small Talk Six - Bedtime

The last 6 things you do before you close your eyes at night

1.  Make sure everyone has their stuff together for tomorrow
2.  Brush my teeth
3.  Take out my contacts
4.  Wash my face
5. Take my vitamins
6.  Make sure my alarm is set

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