Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday - When I grow up...

It's time for Working Mom Wednesday again!  Here are this week's questions...

#1. Brag about you... an accomplishment at work, the huge amount of funds you raised for that big project, the fact that you're the talk of the office because of your sense of fashion or your bubbly personality. Here's your chance to brag about you!

#2. When I grow up... when you were little, what did you always want to be when you grew up?

Well, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a little bit of  My best friend when I was growing up wanted to be a nurse.  That's all Charity ever even thought about becoming, and she's now been a nurse for eight years.  I bounced around, wanting to be everything from a teacher to a pilot to a vet.

You're going to think I'm weird...The two big things that I kept coming back to and spent most of my childhood wanting to be were either an archaeologist or a writer.

I think the archaeology thing came from the fact that I love history (and that I loved Indiana Jones!).  I also loved the idea of traveling the world and seeing new places.  I didn't see too many places outside of Arkansas when I was a kid, and the thought of seeing exotic places - Egypt, Turkey, Mexico, Peru - sounded amazing to me.

To be honest with you, I still think it would be amazing to be a writer.  I absolutely love to read.  I love to get lost in a great book, and I would love to be able to write books that draw a reader into the story and make it come alive for them.  One of the things on my "bucket list" is to write a book.  Maybe some day...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday - Stress

Welcome to Working Mom Wednesday!  You can choose to write about one of our prompts, or you can blog about anything related to be a working mom, and link up below.

I've been majorly stressed the past couple of weeks, so that inspired one of this week's questions...

#1. what's your favorite way to de-stress after a busy day?

#2. Top 5 things you say to your kids (or spouse or boss or co-worker) on a daily basis.

I am really stressed right now…majorly stressed…'I'm going to be bald or locked in a padded room by the end of summer' kind of stressed. I started my summer class (anatomy and physiology part 2) last Monday and I had my first test Thursday, plus we've had one quiz, another quiz today, and I have another test Monday. It's going to be a crazy five weeks. So let's just say I need to unwind a little.

I have a few things I love to do that really help me unwind. I love to read mysteries. Don't ask me how an intense story of the police or FBI trying to track down a serial killer helps me unwind…it just does. I'm weird. I love getting lost in a good book, getting so wrapped up in the story that I lose track of time…add in a good cup of coffee and I'm set for the day.

However, in the midst of summer classes, I don't have time to read anything but my textbooks…so instead I resort to locking myself in the bathroom. I turn on some music, run a bathtub full of hot water, and soak away the stress. It never fails to make me feel better.

Then there are always my never-fail destressors - a good workout, and good food. There are very few things in life that coffee and chocolate can't make better…they won't make it go away, but they'll make it better! After which I need to destress with a good workout.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

And the winner is...

Drumroll please...and the winner of my first giveaway is...Jeana from Snails and Puppydog Tails!  Congrats, Jeana!  You can email me with your address and I'll have your set of Peace Soaps on the way!  Thanks to all who entered my first giveaway!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Free Printable Calling Cards - These are Beautiful!

I have to admit, as much as I love technology, I'm really just an old fashioned girl.  I've been thinking lately that I need some kind of a mommy business card since I'm always handing out my phone number and email to my boys' friends' parents, people in my college classes, etc.  I've always loved the old-fashioned idea of a "calling card" with just your name on it. (I can't remember what books I read as a kid where they had those, but I loved the idea!)  While I was doing a search for free printables, I found an awesome site and the perfect cards for a mom!

I found the link on the website Living Locurto, which an awesome site with tons of adorable printables!  You can also link directly to the page for the calling cards here.  Just scroll down the page a little and you'll see the link to download the pdf.  These cards are darling!  I printed off a few with my name, number, and email to keep in my purse.  I love them!  Be sure to bookmark the page, because you can't save the pdf to your computer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ode to Bad Drivers...

I had way too much fun with this! I'm not much of a poet, but I couldn't resist choosing this from this week's writing assignments - write a poem about the last thing that made you angry…

"_blank">Mama's Losin' It

Ode to Bad Drivers
I was driving calmly down the street,
The music playing as I relaxed to the beat.

My peace was interrupted when I carefully pulled out
And the blare your car's horn almost made me shout.

You blew past me and others too,
In your little car, painted bright blue.

You acted like everyone knew you were coming through,
But how can see when you're driving 102?

You sped down the street, driving so fast
I fear this trip may be your last.

You glare like it's my fault, that my brain is full of rocks,
While I wonder if your license came from a cereal box?

I watch you weave into every tiny space you can take,
Secretly hoping someone will slam on their brake.

At least I hope a cop comes your way,
And that you'll learn a lesson from the ticket you pay.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A New Retreat?

Ok, this may not be a big deal to most people, but I'm excited about it! We got new patio furniture this weekend, and I love it! We went with a loveseat and chairs over a traditional table and chairs, and I love it. It looks so cozy and inviting!

I'm already imagining myself slipping outside in the early morning stillness, with my coffee and my Bible, enjoying the quiet. So far I haven't tried it - our morning temperature is somewhere around 80 degrees here in south Texas - but when the weather starts cooling down, my new retreat spot will be waiting for me. I can't wait!

Working Mom Wednesday! - Motherhood

Yea, it's time for another Working Mom Wednesday!  Here are today's questions...

#1 10 things you wish someone would've told you about motherhood
#2. describe your dream job
I posted on #1 a while back, and it's actually one of my favorite blog here it is...

1. Motherhood is 90% guilt!

Those words from my boss have helped me so much! As a working mom - well, really as a mom, period - guilt is part of the game. Just knowing that I'm not the only one who feels guilty about stuff helps relieve a little of the guilt.

2. No matter what you do, someone is going to criticize you for it.

Case in point...our pediatrician wanted us to wait until our oldest son was four months old to start giving him infant cereal. By the time he was two months old, he weighed 14 pounds. I called him my sumo baby...he had so many rolls of baby fat he resembled the Michelin Man. One day a church member came up to me, asking if he'd started cereal. I explained our pediatrican's views, and she replied - with a straight face - "You're going to starve that child if you don't start him on cereal." Really? Someone's always going to disagree with your just have to do what's best for your family and let the critics say what they will...sometimes you'll even get a good laugh about it!

3. Sleep deprivation is brutal - but it won't last forever.

Those first three months were tough, especially for a nursing mom. No one else can take care of those midnight feedings! I fell asleep in our big oversized living room chair, cradling a baby in my arms, more nights than I want to admit.

4. Watching your husband as a father will make you see him in a whole new light and love him even more.

My husband is an amazing dad! Watching him with our boys, seeing his absolute adoration of them, just makes me fall more in love with him. I am so blessed!

5. You will be amazed at how much you can do one-handed while cradling a baby on your hip.

Type, cook, do laundry, clean, write notes, shop for groceries...the list goes on. A mom's multi-tasking skills are amazing!

6. One small child multiplies your laundry by at least 10 times it's normal amount.

Clothes changes are numerous...and it's amazing how much stuff such a tiny little person needs.

7. Hang on to every moment, because it goes by too fast.

Ok, so they did tell me that...but I didn't realize how true it was. Even when you try to hang on to every moment, it still flies by. Those moments are so precious and so fleeting.

8. You are stronger and tougher than you know.

Childbirth alone proves do all the bumps and bruises, the broken bones and stiches, the fingers getting slammed in the car door...

9. You really can love someone so much it hurts.

Need I say more?

10. Being a mother gives you the greatest understanding you'll ever have of God's love for us.

As much as I love my kids, as much as I would do anything for them, including die for them - how tiny is that love compared to God's love for us?'s breathtaking.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chicken Creole Cakes

This is a great recipe for leftover chicken!  Plan ahead and use some leftovers for this easy meal.  This was found in a Paula Deen can't go wrong with anything she puts together!

• 4 tablespoons butter, divided

• 1/3 cup minced red bell pepper
• 1/3 cup minced celery
• 1/4 cup minced onion
• 3 cups cooked chicken
• 1 3/4 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 2 large eggs
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1. In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat; add red pepper, celery, onion, and cook until tender.
2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, panko, and red bell pepper mixture; set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt.
4. Add to chicken mixture, tossing gently to combine.
5. Form mixture into 10 patties.
6. In a large skillet, mix remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and cook chicken cakes 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Manic Mommy Monday - Mommy Brain

I think I'm going to lose what's left of my mind this week...the weekend was insane as I tried to clean house, work at the church, and get things together for my first day back in class (today from 12:00 to 4:30 - yes, 4 1/2 hours in class - ugh).  Add to that my boys fighting all Sunday afternoon as they were supposed to be cleaning their rooms, and my "mommy brain" was worse than usual!

I suppose it's "mommy brain" - my brain just seems to jump from topic to topic in random order.  My DayPlanner has notes scrawled on Post-It notes throughout it that range from "Talk to advisor about application process" to "Buy present for birthday party" to "Look into buying sno-cone and cotton candy machines for kids church events."  I always say my brain jumps from topic to husband says it works in spurts...I'm not entirely sure I disagree with him!

I used to be able to sit down and focus on one thing for hours at a time.  Those days are long gone.  I think my brain has just adapted.  When I was single, living with my grandparents, and going to school, I could focus on one thing at at time.  Now as a 30 year old wife, mom, employee, student, and children's minister...well, I'm stretched pretty thin.  I have to be able to change hats, so to speak, at a moment's notice.

I know it's bad...and it's not made better by what my anatomy and physiology teacher told us a few weeks ago.  After the age of 35, the average person loses 7,000 brain cells a day.  Wow, I should be pretty entertaining by the time I'm old and senile!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Peace Soaps - My First Giveaway!

I'm really excited to be doing my first giveaway here! I'll get into that more a little later, but first, I am really excited about the product I'm giving away!

Peace Soaps were born from a partnership between Kiss My Face and Seeds of Peace, which brings teenagers together from opposing sides of conflict (such as Israelis and Palestinians) for one-of-a-kind leadership and conflict resolution training. At a camp in Maine, teens who would otherwise be "enemies" instead learn to live and talk with "the other side." They return to the Middle East, South Asia, and communities across America as more compassionate, understanding and tolerant peace makers.

This mission is, of course, made possible by sponsors like Kiss My Face, who will support Seeds of Peace by donating 10% of all profits from Peace Soap to the organization.  The donation is earmarked for programming and supporting camp efforts. In addition to donating proceeds from Peace Soap, Kiss My Face will also be sponsoring an online forum called “The Pledge for Peace.” Making a “pledge” is free and simple – all one needs to do is log onto the Kiss My Face Facebook page or and note what they will do to promote peace in their everyday lives. For every 10,000 pledges that are made, Kiss My Face will send one camper to the Seeds of Peace summer camp during the 2011 season (a value of $6,000). There is no limit to the number of kids that Kiss My Face will sponsor! The campaign will be running from June 15th through September 15th, 2010.  You can learn more by visting

The first thing I did when my package arrived was to open the soaps and start smelling. I love to use cleaning products that smell good, and these smell absolutely scrumptious! Each time I opened a new one, I thought, "This is my favorite." I also love the fact that they are all natural. I've struggled with allergies all my life, and the harsh smell of many cleaners causes my allergies to protest. There was nothing to worry about with Peace Soaps, however.

So once they passed the first test, I was ready for the second. My baseboards needing a good scrubbing, so I grabbed my Lemongrass Cleary Sage soap, mixed it with a little water, and set to work on the baseboards. It worked great and made everything smell great, too. Since that worked so well, I used it to clean up a sticky orange juice spill on my kitchen floor, and it worked just as well as it did on the baseboards.  I was amazed at the variety of ways I could use these soaps, and they worked just as well on every single one.  Overall, I LOVED Peace Soaps, and I look forward to using this product for years to come.

Now on to the giveaway! Here are the rules:

• The giveaway is open only to residents of the continental United States.

• To enter, just leave a comment on this post.

• For extra entries, let me know in your comment how many of the following you have done - one extra entry for each: (1) Become a follower (if you're already a follower let me know) (2)follow me on Twitter (3) subscribe to my blog (4) link back to this giveaway from your blog

• The winner will be announced on my blog next weekend and will recieve a set of 4 Peace Soaps, valued at $39.96. Please contact me within a week with your address so that I can send your prize.

Disclaimer: In exchange for reviewing Peace Soaps, I received a full set of Peace Soaps from Kiss My Face.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might...

I'm so excited to be joining in with my first writing assignment!

Mama's Losin' It

I have to admit, it was hard to pick just one time when I wish I'd done things differently! There have been lots of times when I could have handled things differently or made better decisions.

One thing that I would love to change is college. I went to college for two years after high school, but I really had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I started out as an elementary education major, but realized within weeks that I was not cut out to be a teacher. I changed my major to psychology next, planning to do child psychology…until a friend made me realize that if I was a child psychologist, I would end up needing to see a psychologist myself. After that, I settled on being an English major. Everyone would ask me, "So you want to teach English?" I was quick to reply, "No." They would look at me and ask, "So what do you want to do?" I responded with all of my 18 year old wisdom, "I don't know…but I'm an English major."

Just after finishing my sophomore year, my then boyfriend proposed…and we've been married almost 10 years now. I quit college when we started planning our wedding, and I don't regret it. I didn't know what I wanted to do as far as my career went, so there really was no point in continuing at the time.

Fast forward to the present day. I am once again a college student, this time taking perquisites to enter the dental hygiene program. I wish - oh, how I wish - that I had considered a program like this straight out of high school. Within three years of graduating high school, I could have started a great job with a great income. Our early married years would have been so much different! I wish I had spent more time researching stable careers with good incomes rather than just trying to find something I enjoyed studying. I wish my family had talked to me about two year degrees instead of pushing for a four year degree or nothing.

Although I wish I had done things differently then, I'm glad on a career track now. I'm excited about launching a new career…I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday - God's Faithfulness

They say that when it rains, it pours, and it seems to be true.  Sometimes it's big things, sometimes it's small ones.  For me lately, it's been a lot of little things.  Our eleven year old Yorkie's health is fading fast, and we probably won't have her much longer.  The stress of college is about to start again.  My dad was just diagnosed with high blood pressure, high choloestoral, high triglicerides, and borderline diabetes - not to mention my concerns about my parents spiritual health.  And tomorrow (Thursday) I have a meeting that may bring bad, though not unexpected, news about my job.

You may be wondering where the "thankful" part comes in.  Here it is - God is faithful.  I've got some stressful things going on in my life right now, but I feel an overwhelming sense of God's peace.  He has never let me go, and He won't stop holding me now.

We've been through some hard times in the almost 10 years we've been married, but God has always been there.  We've been through the flood (literally) and through the valley of the shadow of death.  We've been betrayed by close friends.  We've had times when we didn't know where our next paycheck was coming from.  We faced the possibility of having a child with a life changing illness.  (He's perfectly healthy.)  In times like those, I've been driven to my knees - and He has always been waiting for me there.

I'm so thankful for my Savior, my Daddy, and His faithful, unfailing love.  I'm so glad that I am His daughter and that I am firmly and safely wrapped in His arms.

UPDATE:  Thank you all for the sweet comments!  I ended up getting some good news on several fronts today...God is so good!  Things are already looking up.

Book Review - Hand of Fate

When controversial talk radio host Jim Fate is murdered, the first instict in Portland is panic over the possibility that it is related to recent sarin gas attacks.  But before his death, Fate had reached out to Federal prosector Allison Pierce and FBI agent Nicole Hedges about threats he'd received.  Determined to find his killer, Allison, Nicole, and their friend, crime reporter Cassidy Shaw, dive into the investivation and find a lengthy list of people who wanted him dead.  Can they find the killer before he or she strikes even closer to home?

Fox News fans will recognize Lis Wiehl as a legal analyist for the station.  I read and reviewed her first novel in the Triple Threat Series, Face of Betrayal.  I liked her first book - I liked Hand of Fate even more.  As you get to know the characters in the series more, you find yourself drawn more and more into their lives.  I feel like Lis Wiehl really took her writing skills up a notch with this book.  The story really reached out and grabbed me.  Her books are a great read that have a Women's Murder Club kind of feel to them.  Don't expect an overtly Christian theme to her books, though - she weaves ideas throughout the story to make you think, but they don't have an "in your face" approach to Christianity, making a great way to introduce non-Christian readers to the world of Christian fiction.

* In exchange for reviewing this book, I received a free copy from Book Sneeze.

Working Mom Wednesday!

Ok, y'all, I am being such a bad co-host!  I'm late linking up this week - it's only Wednesday and it's already insane!  So goes the life of a working mom...or least a crazy working mom like me who decides that work, church, and family don't keep me busy enough so I had to throw in college classes, too.  lol  My summer class starts Monday, in case you're wondering why I'm more scatterbrained than usual...I'm trying to get everything together before it starts.

Feel free to blog about any part of working a working mommy that you'd like to share, or you can answer one of today's questions...

#1. Talk about a moment of mommy guilt (and how you pulled through).

#2. Proudest moment ever (work or motherhood related).

Wow, working mommy guilt...I struggled with that a lot when I returned to work after many years of being a SAHM.  Even though our kids stay with my husband (he's a pastor, so the kids can go where he goes) when I'm at work and school, I felt guilty for months every time I left home for a day at work.  It was worse on the days that my kids begged me not to go or were crying when I left.

Then one day my boss told me something that totally changed my outlook on being a working mom.  She said, "You know, motherhood is 90% guilt."  She went on to explain that no matter what you do as a mom, whether you work or stay home, you're going to struggle with guilt.  It's an inevitable, natural part of motherhood. 

That was an "aha" moment for me.  I realized that each and every mom can only do one thing, and that is be the best mom you can be in the situation you're in.  That's it.  This is the life you have, the situation you have, so throw yourself into the best you be at what you're doing.  Sure, I still have days when I feel bad about being at work instead of at home, but they come much less often, and now it's much easier to brush it off and know that's it going to be okay.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Berry Strata

My boys love helping me make this easy, super-yummy recipe.  It's a lot like bread pudding, but creamier.  We love it for breakfast, but it would also make a great dessert.  I found the recipe while watching Giada on the Food Network one day, but I've wasn't able to find it on their website...

• 2 tbsp butter

• 2 tbsp honey
• 4 large eggs, beaten lightly
• 1/2 c. ricotta
• 3 tbsp sugar
• 1 c. milk
• 1/4 c. orange juice
• 4 slices thick day old bread, such as French bread, torn into pieces
• 1 pkg frozen mixed berries, drained

1. Melt together honey and butter; set aside.
2. Mix eggs, ricotta, and sugar.
3. Add milk, juice, butter/honey mix; mix well.
4. Stir in bread pieces.
5. Add frozen berries and mix in.
6. Pour into baking dish, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours, up to 24.
7. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Manic Mommy Monday - The Right Career Path?

Do you ever wonder if you've picked the right career? Do you have a job or do you have a career that you're really, truly passionate about? I've thought about that a lot in the past few months as I started school and chose a career path different from anything I've ever done.

I started thinking about what career I could go into that matches the skills I have, and it's actually not the one I've chosen. With my skills and experience, I know what I'd be great at - I should be a professional event planner and fundraiser!

As a pastor's wife and children's director, I do a lot of fundraising. I've done everything from silent auctions to bake sales to product sales. I've let kids throw hundreds of water balloons at me and douse me in ketchup. I've made phone calls, mailed letters, and gone from business to business. I've done all but get on my knees and beg for donations (and I've come pretty close to that before) and I must say I've gotten pretty good at it!

I also have years of experience in event planning. We started small - church dinners, Easter Sunday services - and as the years have gone by, the events have gotten bigger. We've done major community events, elaborate Easter and Christmas plays, and banquets attended by people from dozens of area churches. Now on my annual schedule is our church Easter egg hung (10,000+ eggs), our 4th of July car and motorcycle show, our sports camp Vacation Bible School, and our Fall Festival. It's become almost second nature to know what needs to be done when.

I have the experience…but I don't want the job! Lol I know people do those things for a living, but I've got to tell you, volunteering a few times a year is enough for me! It's hard work. As I type this, my family is recuperating from the above mentioned car show. Right now I'm in need of a good masseuse! It's a good feeling when you pull off a successful event, but I'm looking forward to my low-stress career as a dental hygienist.

Menu Plan Monday - July 5th

Monday Lunch: spaghetti

Monday Dinner: slow cooker cheeseburger soup (this is a new recipe I found on A Year of Slow Cooking)

Tuesday Lunch: hot dogs
Tuesday Dinner: omelets

Wednesday Lunch: spaghetti
Wednesday Dinner: slow cooker baked potato soup

Thursday Lunch: pork chops
Thursday Dinner: leftovers - slow cooker baked potato soup

Friday Lunch: hot dogs
Friday Dinner: omelets

Saturday Lunch: pot pies with rice
Saturday Dinner: hamburger casserole

Sunday Lunch: Salisbury steaks
Sunday Dinner: hot dogs

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Growing in their faith

I love my kids...I think everyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that our boys are the center of our world.  As a mom, my #1 goal for my boys is that they will always put God first in all they do.  If they grow up as Christians and remain strong in their faith throughout their lives, my greatest desire for their lives will be fulilled.

I love seeing my kids grow in their faith.  They are both growing and learning, but it's most obvious with our oldest son, who is eight and beginning to get a really good grasp on things.  He was talking to my husband the other day and it really dawned on us just how much his faith is growing.

First a little September 2008, Hurricane Ike flooded most of our town, including our home.  We only got a few inches of water, but it was enough to force us to rip out floors and sheet rock and totally remodel our house.  We lost most of our our furniture, some of our shoes and clothes, and the kids lost about half of their toys.  At first, it was horrible - and I definately don't want to repeat the experience - but in the end, it ended up being a blessing in diguise.  We were able to completely remodel our home with the money from our insurance.  (Thank goodness we had flood insurance!)  We've talked often about what a blessing it ended up being.

Now back to that conversation between my husband and our son...Bobby told his daddy, "You know, you're always saying that God is good to us.  Now that I'm getting older, I'm really starting to understand how much He takes care of us.  He took care of after the storm, and He takes care of all the time."  It's so amazing and so awesome to see him growing in Christ!
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