Thursday, May 31, 2012

Design Time

I have always LOVED interior design. I find that some nights I can't even fall asleep because my head is spinning with design ideas for my home.  Years ago, when I first attended college, I briefly contemplated pursuing interior design but, somehow that idea just faded away like a lost dream. So, all that to say that I am in no way a skilled or trained designer and I don't ever intend to be but, it is a fun distraction for me.

We recently re-painted our dining room a light, cheerful blue and I love it.  I am really into the blue and green design combinations lately so I decided to create a design plan for our dining room.  Please go easy on me as this is my very first design board ever!! This design is lacking a lot of the little touches (mostly because I didn't want to overwhelm this storyboard)  that would really make the room pop but, it's a great start and if I could, I would swoop all of these things up today!  Everything shown here can either be found at Ikea or World Market which happen to be two of my favorite places to window shop.  The wicker baskets are for the white shelves and I am leaning towards the dark wicker.  I need our dining room to be very family friendly and I want the baskets to hide all of my kids markers, play-doh, paints, games etc. The floral piece is wall art from World Market and both of the ceiling lights are from IKEA. I love both lights!   Which one do you like better for this design?  I would even be tempted to hang two over our table since the table will be so large and could use extra lighting during homework time etc.  I also think some cushions for the chairs would be beautiful...possibly in a bright green.  Due to our limited budget this design will take some time to implement but, I'm eager to see if it will look as good in our dining room as it looks in my head! lol. 

So there you have it.  That was fun!  Next master bedroom which has not been given a lick of TLC since we moved in over 4 years ago. 
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Priceless Little Mommy Moments

The other night my little one was still chatting away in her crib at 10 PM. I had been out that night and Daddy had put her to bed. One thing I never do, is go in to my daughter's room at night before she falls asleep. I don't want to create any bad habits that might interfere with her sleep routine especially since it took SO long for her to even sleep through the night to begin with. This night felt different for some reason. I thought that maybe my little girl was restless because she needed a little Mommy tuck in. So, for the very first time in probably a year I walked into her room while she was still awake.

I'm so glad that I did because her response was priceless. The second she heard the door creak open and when a enough light from the hallway pierced the darkness of her room she knew it was me. She let out a long and super, duper sweet, "Hiiiiiii Moooommmmmeeeee, and she kept saying it over and over." She was SO happy and I melted into sloppy mommy mush.  I laid her back down, brushed her cheek with the side of my finger, swept her hair out of her eyes and asked her if she wanted to pray with me.  We thank Jesus every night for different things that she comes up with.  It's fun for both of us.  She always starts her prayer by saying, tank du desus fuh dis cwib (thank you Jesus for this crib) and she grabs the rail and shakes it a little....cutest thing ever right!  Ordinarily, she would list off the other cute little baby things she wants to thank Jesus for like her blankies, her poppy (pacifier), her buddies (she says all their names), juice in her belly, dinner, flowers and mommy and daddy.  Well, this special night every time I asked her what else she wanted to thank Jesus for she just kept saying, muy mooommeeeee and she would rub my cheeks with her two little hands and say, "I wuv muy moommeeeeeee."  It was one of those moments where the love that your little child has for you is overwhelmingly clear in a tangible way.  I treasure those moments!  I kissed her cheeks a dozen times and snuggled her back up in her blankets and then she went to sleep without another peep.  Priceless. 

A moment that made me forget all about the tantrums and strong 2 year old will that we have been dealing with lately.  A moment that glowed as brightly as the sun in my Mommy heart.  A moment that filled me with so much emotion that all I wanted to do is quietly pray and give thanks as I walked out of her room. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus for blessing me with this little girl."  Daisy, I absolutely adore you my sweet little baby buddy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Easy, Tasty Crock Pot Dinner

 (please do not judge this recipe by the picture shown doesn't look appealing here at all but, I promise it is quite delicious!!)

By now I'd say that most of you are well aware that I am not a fan of cooking. I love watching cooking shows, looking at yummy food pictures and recipes in magazines and even listening to other people talk about food and what they like to cook but, that is where my interest ends. It's such a shame that my interest in those things doesn't translate into cooking passion. Sorry hubby, daughter and any future children I might birth. Meals around our house are going to be very routine and seldom exciting.

 One of the few meals that I actually do prepare and actually enjoy eating is my modified crock pot chuck roast. In the past I cooked my chuck roasts with only salt and pepper to taste and I would usually throw in some potatoes and carrots half way through the 8 hour cook time. I never enjoyed the roast and neither did my husband but, it was easy so I kept making it and we kept suffering through it. Then, a couple of years ago, we ate dinner at a friend's house and she happened to make her roast with sauerkraut. I was not a fan of sauerkraut at all and I was actually quite nervous about trying to choke it down in effort to be a polite guest. Well, imagine my surprise when not only did I not need to choke it down but, when I eagerly asked for lots of extra sauerkraut on my second helping. Chuck roasts have never been the same for me since. So, that being said, if you are like me and are feeling skeptical about using sauerkraut in your recipe, at least try it once. You might be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

 I posted the above picture on Instagram today and got a few recipe requests and I've had other requests in the past so here is me actually trying to be punctual about a blog post for a change.

I never measure this recipe out so I do not have specific amounts but, the good news is that you really cannot go wrong with a crock pot chuck roast.  You will probably find that you will also modify this to suit your tastes and that is great!  That's what cooking is all about...or at least that's what I'm told...I wouldn't know because I don't like it.  lol


*One nice, big honking chuck roast (make sure you can fit it in your crock pot!). 
Mine usually serves 4 comfortably.  salt and pepper to taste.

*1-2 cups of beef broth (give or take) I like to have a lot of broth to serve with mashed potatoes

*1 tablespoon of fresh crushed garlic (give or take. I buy the semi-fresh crushed garlic in a jar)

*3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (I add a lot.  This is kind of my special ingredient.
 I love the way this makes the roast taste!!)

Stir these ingredients around a little bit and then plunk your roast in.  Pop the cover on. 
Set your crock pot on low and give it about 8-9 hours to simmer. 

About 4 hours in I toss in the sauerkraut and carrots. You could definitely do it at the beginning but, I don't like my carrots falling apart.
*carrots (I usually buy a small bag of baby carrots and pour them all in)
*1 16.5 ounce jar of sauerkraut (I could easily use a 30 oz. jar but, that's just me:)
optional veggies: potatoes, celery, fresh cabbage
Serve with mashed potatoes and a salad.  YUM!!! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Little Gardener

I thoroughly enjoy gardening, landscaping and yard work.  I get great satisfaction out of pushing a lawn mower and watching the grass get shorter, pulling weeds, planting flowers, trees or whatever, watering and edging along the fence line.  My hubby happens to enjoy these things also so it is no surprise that our little one has taken notice of her parent's love for the yard.  If given the chance she'll gladly get her little hands dirty to help me plant some flowers, pull weeks (which usually ends up being a chunk of our lawn), or water the plants (which usually entails soaking me unexpectedly...not so fun).  She is such a great little helper and I think she's going to be a yard lover just like her Mommy and Daddy.

   I hope I can teach my little girl that in the same way that we tend to and care for our flowers and plants that we need to tend to and care for our spirit.  I hope I can teach her that praying and reading her bible is like watering a thirsty flower and it will refresh her and give her strength.  I hope I can show her through example that in the same way we pull the weeds in our garden that try to hinder the plants growth, we need to pull the weeds in our lives that hinder our growth and spiritual health.  I hope that I can teach her to pull weeds of fear.  Pull weeds of hatred.  Pull weeds of gossip, envy and strife.  I hope I can teach her to pull weeds of pride and of shame to make room for the fruits of the spirit to grow and thrive in her.  It is not easy to hold on to these virtues or on to faith at times.  The weeds are always popping up, the dry seasons come, the storms beat down and the pests attack.  When those times come for my little one, I hope she will remember that she is never alone.   The gardener will always be there to protect and strengthen her.  The gardener never gives up on His garden and under his care all things thrive.  Jesus.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galations 5:22-23 

"For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Isaiah 61:11(NKJV)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Keeping Busy

It's been a full week since my last post.  Evidently, I just don't have as much to share these days but, it certainly isn't because we have nothing going on...maybe because I've had too much going on. LOL And isn't this picture of this sweet little girl looking up to the Heavens while holding her teddy just priceless.  I feel like she could be saying a little prayer, "thank you so much Jesus for my little friend teddy the bear.  He is perfect for me and I love that you give us such perfect things."  Too cute huh.  
We have been keeping busy as always. We're working on finding the right paint color for our dining room and that has been a challenge (for me). The dining room is a disaster and I don't like having disasters in my house so you can imagine my sense of urgency to get this particular project finished. tee hee. I am trying to find a nice cheerful beach blue (a soft but, cheerful blue hue) and who would have thought that choosing a blue could be so dang difficult. The swatches and samples that I buy look perfect in the store and then when I get them home and onto my wall they look too green, too gray, too purple or to aqua. I have painted about 8 colors on my wall and I think I've just about pinned one down after getting some samples from Benjamin Moore today. I love their paint! I'll be sure to share the room when it's like, forever.
  I've had a couple of photography sessions over the past 3 weeks. One for a 6 month old little beauty and one for a two year old little cutie and friend of my daughter. I absolutely love photographing kids. They are so full of life and personality and they aren't worried about posing or how they look. They just do their thing and I get to take pictures of it. It's a blast!  I had SO many favorites but, I included just a few in this post to share with you all.  Aren't these girls adorable! 
Daisy has become increasingly active and energetic over the past few months.  Keeping her busy has been a better workout than any elliptical or treadmill could ever be.  We go to the park a couple of times a week, have a couple play dates every week, walk through random stores that have fun things for toddlers to touch and play with, turn the hose on everyday and spray each other, go for walks, build things with legos, color, play with play doh, read books, dance, watch shows, let her drive my car (pretend) and have a billion tea parties every single day.  WHEW...I'm tired just writing all that.  I tell my husband everyday that she is his clone when it comes to her attention span and her energy level.  Thanks honey! Yes, she wears me out lately, but she is also such a blast and talking UP A STORM!!  More on that to come.
I just love this sweet family picture. These folks are good friends of ours and photographing them as a family since their daughter was a newborn has been such a treat for me. Love being a photographer!! Really it is a lot of work but, it is SO rewarding! So yah, other than photography, getting sick a lot, working in our yard, encouraging my hubby, hanging out with friends and entertaining a toddler I haven't had a lot going on. :P.  Hope you are all having a blessed Monday.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012

8 Years (woot woot!) - Marriage Is An Adventure

Source: via Casey on Pinterest

Today my guy and I celebrate 8 years of marriage!  Wowzers!  We've been together since we were juniors in high school when I was just shy of 17.  Before meeting my guy I was much more introverted than I am now.  I hadn't yet discovered my love for sushi or spicy foods and I had no idea how much I would love having sub woofers in my car.  I didn't have a natural servant's heart and I had never been kissed.  I wasn't competitive at all.  I hadn't traveled a whole lot and I wasn't terribly adventurous or spontaneous.  I used to cover my mouth when I ate food because I was a slob and I got embarrassed easily.  I hadn't yet realized my love for dancing.  I wasn't an animal lover (I know I'm terrible) and I never stayed up very late because I loved to sleep!

And then I met my guy and all of those things changed.  Thanks honey!  We met in a keyboarding class at the start of my junior year in high school.  He was funny, outgoing, spontaneous, wild, a surfer (somehow I always knew I'd marry a surfer!), dark haired and dark eyed (yum) and he made me feel like a princess from the very start.  One of the things that drew me to him like a moth is drawn to a flame is the way he pursued me.  He was SO persistent!  He called often.  He wrote me sweet letters and brought them to school.  He came to my house all the time and seemed to thoroughly enjoy chatting with my Mom and Dad (I wanted that quality in a guy!).  He bought me nice things all the time.  Really he spoiled me rotten and never expected anything in return.  He drove me places.  He wasn't a negative person and I seldom ever heard him complain.  I truly began to understand my own worth even more because he valued me so highly and the most beautiful thing of all is that he continues to pursue me that way even today.  Every day he asks me, "how can I serve you today my wife," and every day he serves me without complaint and with joy.  He helps me with things around the house and he takes my daughter off my hands when I am melting down from toddler drama.  He lets me buy things without scrutinizing my purchases because he trusts me.  He works so hard...harder than just about anyone I've ever met.  In fact he hardly ever slows down.  He loves to get me coffees and flowers and he always tells me I'm beautiful.  I really do have the guy of my dreams. 
Source: via Casey on Pinterest
I often hear women say that they ache to have a husband who pursues them after marriage. They ache to be wooed and served. Perhaps many men feel that upon being married that they no longer need to make the effort to adore their wife or find ways to continually bless her. Men, if you are reading this, don't ever stop buying your wife pretty things. Don't ever stop surprising her with your love or telling her how beautiful she is. Don't ever stop serving her by helping around the house or by taking the kids out to give her a tiny little sanity break.  She will glow and thrive like a well watered flower if you take good care of her heart.

 My greatest caution to wives is to remember that real life and a Hollywood chick flicks play out much differently.  Try not to place such unattainable expectations on your husbands and always evaluate your own actions and motives first.  Are you being the best wife that you can be?  When I'm honest with myself I can always answer that question with a simple, no.  I can always, always, always be better.  There is always room for me to grow and if I ever get to a place where I forget that then I will have a problem.  I want to serve him without expecting something in return.  I want to listen more without needing to be heard.  I want to find new ways to bless him and surprise him.  I need to understand how hard he works and to express my gratitude more often. I want him to know that I think he is the handsomest guy I've ever laid eyes on even if we are a little older, grayer and wrinklier than we were 12 years ago;-).  I want him to know that he is my Superman and my Prince charming!  I want to build him up and not tear him down.
We have weathered many ups and downs as husband and wife over the past 8 years.  Namely the past 3 years have been exceptionally trying and most of you know the jist as to why.  During our first several years of marriage life was pretty easy and stable.  We fell into our new roles as husband and wife quite naturally and we immediately enjoyed being married.  In fact we thrived.  It wasn't a hard transition and I think we were proud of how well we communicated and worked through our every day issues.  Don't get me wrong, we had our share of hiccups but, we worked hard, prayed hard and we worked together so those things never rocked the boat too much.  I remember thinking that if this was what married life was like then we would have a pretty blissful 60 years.  I knew that storms would inevitably come and I always prayed that God would give me the strength for when they did and I can truly say that God has answered those prayers from years past. 

Source: via Casey on Pinterest

You could say that this is a year of reflection for me.  A time to reflect on all of the years that I have shared with my husband.  So up and some down and some all around.  Through it all one thing has never changed...God's faithfulness.  God has been faithful to provide for us time and time again when we didn't think we would have enough.  God has been faithful to guide us when the path ahead has been confusing.  God has been faithful to challenge us through our circumstances to make us stronger.  God has been faithful to mold us and shape us into his image.   God has been faithful to teach us about love and what it means to really love someone when the world is crashing around us and when the sun is shining high in the sky.  God has been ever faithful to us. 

So, tonight as my hubby and I go out to sushi (WOOHOO), we will toast to another year of this adventure called marriage.  We will smile at each other knowingly and without saying a word we can look into each others eyes and see that we will always be each others partner in crime.  He knows that I've got his back and I know he's got mine.  We know that the road ahead of us is might be crazy yet but, if God is for us who can be against us?

Happy Anniversary babe!  You are my best friend forever and always. XO