Thursday, December 26, 2013

For the Love of Food

For 2014 I have decided that I want to begin putting together my own cookbook.

I have a list of tried and true recipes that my family loves that will automatically be going into the book. However, I also have a mountain of cookbooks that I have had very little to do with. And on top of that I was lucky enough to get two more for Christmas from my wonderful hubby.

So with that said I have also decided that at least once a week we are going to try a completely new recipe. If we love it I will automatically add it to the list of cook book recipes. If we just kinda like it I will put it aside to try just one more time. If we still like it alright the second time around then it will go in the book. If we hate it, well, obviously it won't make it in the family cookbook.

The goal with this project is to get everything that we know and love in one centralized location. However, the other thing that I want to do with it is be able to make copies of it for each of the kids. I haven't decided if it will be a graduation gift or a wedding gift or a somewhere in between gift but luckily I have a bit of time to make that decision.

One of the other things that I hope to do is to post the recipes here. That way I will be able to share the things that we love the most with those that we love the most.

I hope to incorporate pictures and step by step instructions to go along with the basic recipe. I love having visual guides to help me along.

So keep an eye out for the first new recipe of the year coming up next week!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Traditions

My whole life the holidays were always very predictable.

After all, isn't that the point of traditions? Something that is done year after year and as you participate happy memories flood over you of times past....

At least that is what is supposed to happen.

As I was growing up Christmas always went something along the line of this schedule:

~Wake up and open gifts at home.
~Quickly get dressed and drive the 16 or so miles down the mountain to my grandparent house.
~Arrive there in time for breakfast cooked by my grandfather (we called him pa). The menu always the same
      ~Pancakes
      ~Eggs
      ~Lil' Smoky Sausages
      ~Bacon
      ~Tea (hot or cold, your choice for breakfast)
~Clean up breakfast (the kids would usually go off to watch tv or hover over the gifts waiting under the tree)
~Open gifts with the rest of the family
~Mom and Ma (my grandmother) to the kitchen to begin the cooking; Pa to check on the progress of the turkey
~Dad (if he wasn't at work) to watch football (or sleep in the recliner while claiming to watch football)
~Pa off to take a nap once the turkey was settled
~Kids to play with (or fight over)new gifts
~Christmas meal usually somewhere between 3-4 in the afternoon.
~Relax (or clean up the kitchen) and enjoy the evening
~Load everything up in the car and drive the 16 or so miles back up the mountain home.
~Bed
 
As we got older on occasion the schedule would vary a bit and as we all began to go our separate ways to college and such things would be a bit different here and there. Sometimes there would be more of us around the tables and sometimes there wouldn't be as many but the tradition always seemed to remain the same.
 
Now that Pa has passed away my mom and dad have taken over much of the cooking but the recipes are all the same. And Ma is still going strong in the kitchen each year as well.
 
On occasion things would be different for me, like last year, when we went to spend the holiday with Dusty's family. But even though some things were done a bit differently there (like Mexican food for Christmas dinner) we were still surrounded by family. It was still noisy and fun. And most of all it was still a bit chaotic.
 
This year, however, due to work related scheduling conflicts, we began some of our own traditions. We, Dusty, the kids, and I, began our own fun things to share, right here in Fort Worth.
 
One thing I have always (and by "always" I mean the last 3.5 years since that's how long I have been a mom) tried to do with the kids is a fun count down to Christmas. The first year Collin was only 6 months old so I just did a simple calendar cross off while counting and talking with him as if he understood me. The second year Collin was 18 months old and I was 4ish months pregnant so we made cookies...lots of cookies. Last year, Collin was 2.5 and RaeLynn was 6 months, and it was also our first year here in Texas. I created an activity advent where we got to do a fun holiday related activity each day. We did everything from making Christmas cookies and writing letters to Santa to making our own Christmas cards and sending them out. This year, thanks to my mom, the kids go to open a new book each day, from December 1st to tonight. The kids loved it!
 
And one of the best parts of the day was the awesome new menu I got to cook. Thanks to my mom for helping me to come up with the menu and for providing most of the food for our dinner this was our menu:
 



Apricot Glazed Cornish Hen

Honey Rolls and Garlic Parmesan Potatos

 Apple and Pumpkin Pie
 
We also had Green Bean Casserole (but I didn't manage to get a picture of that)
 
Dusty said it was so good he had to struggle to stop eating. I have to admit it was pretty good. The kids weren't as excited but they were more interested in getting back to their toys than they were about eating dinner, or lunch, or breakfast....

 
We spent much of the day relaxing together as a family and the kids played like crazy with all the toys and wonderful things they received for Christmas. And tonight they are sleeping in freshly made beds on freshly bought sheets and comforters.
 
While I did miss the craziness that tends to be my family I really enjoyed the quiet day at home. It was nice to not feel like I was being pulled in a million different directions and that we could do things on our own schedule and our own way for the first time. Hopefully, as time goes on we will be able to invite those that we weren't able to be with here one year so they can enjoy this time with us in a new place, but, for now we will just have to wait and see what 2014 has in store for us.
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Laundry



If any one knows me well they know that the one chore I absolutely detest is laundry. I mean seriously, the washing, the drying (2 times through the dryer in my case), the folding, the hanging, the putting away....all just to do it again tomorrow. I HATE DOING LAUNDRY!

Today has been no exception to that feeling. With the mountain of washed and dried clothes glaring at me from the couch I just keep thinking to myself that I should really just get rid of it all. I mean seriously, the kids and I leave the house maybe twice a week. The rest of the time we are home all day, every day.

So in reality I just need 4-6 outfits per kid tops right? Enough to be able to travel with if we ever get the chance to go out of town.

As for me and Dusty, well the same applies. I need one or two nice outfits to wear for class and seminary wives functions. And something to wear to church. So that means 4-6 pairs of clothes for me would do nicely. Dusty wears the same thing to work 4 days a week so that makes dressing him pretty easy too.  All we need is church clothes, school clothes and the random day off outfit. So again 4-6 pairs of clothing.

I think that is going to be my January goal. DOWN SIZE! On everything. Its time to eliminate the clutter and get back to the basics.

And on another Laundry focused topic I just made my second batch of laundry detergent. The first batch was made back in April. So I managed to get through 8 months of laundry hades with only spending about $20 bucks. I would have to say that's not to shabby. 

Someday, if I ever decided I care enough I will sit down and figure out how much per load that comes to and do a cost comparison between the homemade and the store bought but for now I'm just going to stick with the knowledge that I know I'm saving a TON of money not buying laundry detergent each month.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Is the Joy of the Lord my Strength?

Sometimes I find myself in this place within my own head that I just can't seem to explain. It's a place where I'm lost, confused, and frustrated at everything around me. I see people in my life, weather close friends and family or just mere acquaintances, who seem to have life all figured out. Their path is clear. Goals are being accomplished and dreams are being realized.

Then there is me. Here I am in Grad school working on a degree with no real picture of what I'm going to even begin to do with it.  Sure I'm only in my 1st semester but this is Grad school after all.  Shouldn't I know where I'm going? Shouldn't I have some idea of why I'm spending thousands of dollar each year for educational purposes?

It's not that I'm not happy for those in my life who seem to be going places.  It's just that I would love to actually be moving along with them. It's as if everyone else is on an escalator that is moving right on up and there I am standing in the middle of the broken one waving as people pass me by.

   With this in mind, I hoped that by attending the "Art of Homemaking" conference and hearing the valuable wisdom from some amazing women I would finally be able to answer some of my own questions as to what's next.  Instead I left even more confused than when I began.

In the first plenary session (the first session where everyone who attended the entire conference, for those like me who didn't know what "plenary" meant) Michelle Duggar spoke about making your house a "teaching center" for your family. She began by sharing with us a chart on valuable character qualities that you can find here. From this chart she shared with us what she believes should be the top 3 character qualities that mothers should have and put into practice to accomplish the goal of the home as a teaching center.

These qualities are:
      Love vs. Selfishness
      Meekness vs. Anger
     Joyfulness  vs. Self-Pitty

As I sat and listened to this incredibly soft spoken sweet woman I thought to myself  "Easy for you to say, lady. I'm sure there isn't even a single angry bone in your body."  Then I realized that I don't practice any of those character traits when it comes to my children or my husband. Far to often I let my anger get the best of me. Could this be a reason why I'm still so stuck?

She finished the first session by describing the 3 character qualities that children should be learning as well. As I listened, yet again I realized that I'm not doing a very good job training my children in these particular traits. Now, to their defense they are only 3 and 1 years old but the question is am I teaching them what they need to know on these important issues?  What are these 3 traits, you ask?

Well here ya go:
     Attentiveness vs. Unconcern
     Obedience vs. Willfulness
     Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence

This, of course, led me to think to myself that it is no wonder I have no direction. If I can't even instill basic qualities in myself and my children how am I ever going to be able to go any further? As I thought about the rest of Michelle's talk I remembered her telling a story about standing in the middle of her laundry room late one night with dirty clothes all around here crying because she just didn't know how she was going to be able to take anymore (they only had 7 children at the time). She told us that she found herself crying out to God with tears streaming down her face. The song she was singing out was this: 

The joy of the LORD is my strength
The joy of the LORD is my strength
The joy of the LORD is my strength
Oh, the joy of the LORD is my strength.

And I realized I'm doing to much on my own. No wonder I have no direction. Is the joy of the Lord my strength? Am I trying to drive this bus? Most people who know me will know I like control. Perfectionism by nature I like to have things done my way. 

So in the end I realized that instead of watching where others around me lives are going and focus more on letting God be in the drives seat. If there is one thing that I need to remember the most at this point in my life it would be this:  

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future"
Jeremiah 29:11

If I allow the joy of the Lord to be my strength and I learn to let go of the reigns just a bit those simple character traits Michelle Duggar spoke of will come naturally. And maybe, just maybe I will finally be able do discover the direction and plans God has in store for me. God knows the plans he has for me, and while I often times wish they were similar to the plans He might have for those around me, I know that the plans form me are going to be something special. I also know that I have to sit back and be patient as I go through this first step of seminary before I can really begin to see what those plans might be.





Do you ever feel like everyone else is passing you by while you are stuck in one place? How do you get through that time?

What are some character traits you think are important for mothers to have? What about for children?

Let me know what you think!




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Let's be honest....

When I decided to start this blog I had two thoughts in mind.

The first would be that it would be a great way to keep friends and family that aren't near by (and those that are sometimes) updated on the things that are going on with us while we are here at Seminary.

The other thought was that maybe I would be able to help others out there in the same position that I am in to understand they aren't alone. That while husband's are in classes and papers are becoming the priority this is only a season and hopefully things will get better.

With that thought in mind each time I sat down to write a new post I just couldn't get through it. I wanted each word to sound inspiring. I wanted to saturate each new entry with powerful words and motivation.

Well, guess what? That's just not me. I'm not inspiring. I'm not motivating. I am just not. So with that said its time I start being me. Its time to start being me.

 OK, now with that out of the way lets talk conference. IT. WAS. AWESOME!

The conference started with a small gathering that the seminary calls the "Grindstone."  They have one of these every so often and it is usually a speaker followed by a question and answer time. They are on a specific topic that we all face each day.

The Grindstone that was connected with the conference was a women only event with guest speaker Elizabeth George. She is a best selling author and speaker. Elizabeth has focused her life on teaching and training women to be women after God's own heart.  During her talk she explained that the best way we can be women after God's own heart in the 21st century is to spend 100% of our time worrying about what God thinks and what God wants us to be doing.  If we start with that everything else will fall into place.
Elizabeth George and Elizabeth Marshall

The next day, thanks to the fact that I participated in this conference for degree credit, I was able to participate in  a conference session. The session I was able to go to was called "Touching Lives through Taking Tea." The whole session was how to use the art of tea and tea parties to be a time of ministry for others around you. Now let me just say that I LOVED THIS! I love tea. When I was growing up I collected tea cups, tea pots, and mini tea sets. This was probably one of the most inspiring sessions I have ever gone to. On top of that it incorporates and is the essence of something I am really  coming to love: Hospitality.


The actual conference opened Friday Night with some wonderful worship lead by Angela Buck. To hear over 1000 women praise and worship God that first session was beyond breath-taking. There were several times that I had to just stop and listen because it was so beautiful.

The conference consisted of 4 plenary sessions over the course of Friday evening and Saturday. Friday night we heard from Michelle Duggar on what the 5 purposes of the home. She focused on the home being a teaching center.  Saturday's session opened with Elizabeth George again speaking on being a woman after God's own heart but this time going into some more detail. She talked about laying out your battle plan in front of the Lord each day and the importance of spending time with God on a personal basis.  The third speaker was our very own first lady of the seminary, Mrs. Dorothy Patterson.  We laughed together as she broke down the Proverbs 31 Woman passage. Lastly, Michelle Duggar came back for the final session, and after her lovely family shared their musical talents with the group, she took some time to go through the rest of the purposes of the home. With each area she touched on Michelle gave practical, hands on advice on how to have a God centered home.

Between each session was the opportunity to attend three break out sessions. These sessions ranged from how to develop a cottage industry to prayer and care for the aging. In each session women came out inspired by speakers who were able to touch on various areas of life. I was able to attend sessions on the importance of family meal times as well as ways to continue to nurture my preschoolers.

As I left the conference at the end of the day Saturday I walked home with this weight on my shoulders. Over the last few days I have been really struggling with what I need to do with all the information I learned and how I am to put them into practice. Over the next few posts I hope to take each session I went to and break them down. My hope is that as I share what I learned over the course of the weekend I not only give out some valuable information but I am also able to finally flesh out what is going on in my heart and in my mind.

However, no matter what comes of figuring out the information that I have I do know one thing: Homemaking is a lost art. It is really time that we start to come back to the home and focus our energies as wives and mothers on the precious gifts that God has given us. Having the opportunity to be home with my children each and every day is something that I never really thought of as being important until my son was born. A higher calling I could never have asked for.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"The Art of Homemaking"

I don't think I have looked forward to something as much as I am looking forward to this weekend in a very long time.

This weekend almost 1000 women will be gathering here on the Southwestern Baptist Seminary campus to hear tips, tricks, and encouragement from several women who have made homemaking not just their calling in life but turned it in to a true art form.

In today's society I constantly feel like I am having to defend my reasons behind being a full time stay at home wife and mother. A true homemaker. Men and women everywhere want to convince me that I am missing out on some amazing aspect of life if I'm not trying to be a working mother.

Let me tell you, I have been in the work force before. I am not missing anything.

Better yet, if I were to choose to still be out there working day in and day out I would be missing the most important thing of all: My kids child hood.

I would have missed out on both my babies first words, first steps, and each new day that presents both triumphs and challenges. I would have had to rely on someone else in the world telling me about all the wonderful things my kids are doing while I'm sitting at a desk somewhere.

No thanks.

That's why I'm so excited about this weekend. I am ready to hear ideas on how to make my home more efficient. Ways to use the gifts that God has given me to devote my whole attention to my family. I'm excited to hear from women like Elizabeth George, Michelle Duggar, and Dorthy Patterson about how they were able to make the challenges of everyday life work in a Godly manner. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Living on Faith

For as long as I can remember I have always heard the term "Living on Faith" and "Having the faith of a mustard seed"  The most vivid memory of that phrase is of some girls I went to school with's mother. Their father had passed away suddenly leaving her widowed with 2 teenage girls and a life left to live. She wore a necklace with a mustard seed in it and she said it was a daily reminder that as long as she has at least that much faith each day she will make it.

At the time I can't say that I really understood what she meant. But I'm starting to.

Now don't get me wrong. This woman's case was and still is to this day an extreme one. And I have not had to figure out how to make it through life raising my children on my own due to the passing of their father. However, what I have had to do is wonder on a near constant basis how or where we are going to have the finances to get all the bills paid, food on the table, and fuel in our vehicle so that Dusty can get to the job that is providing for our family.

Every two weeks, when payday rolls around I start to sweat. I get nervous and cranky. My temper gets short and I tend to take my frustration out on those closest to me, usually that person being my loving husband who takes it all in stride. And then, on those Friday mornings, when I log in to our bank account I find that not only is there enough money there but there is extra. And I find myself again apologizing to God for doubting and having so little faith in His ability to take care of me and my family.

Each time I am reminded of Matthew 6:25-34.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


Do not be anxious about your life. Man, how many time do I catch myself worrying about how we are going to buy groceries or if the food that I do already have is going to stretch to make another meal.  And yet, even in the harshest winter or driest summer the animals are still taken care of.  
Do I really think that myself and my family isn't as important as the animals? Are we less important or less loved than the flowers?

Week after week I find myself realizing a little bit more what it means to live on faith. Some days I think I'm running on less than a mustard seed, but others, well, those are the days I know that with the power of God I can move the mountains. I just hope that I can find myself with more days moving mountains and less with worrying about tomorrow.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation wondering how and if things are going to work out only to see in the end that not only has it worked out but things are better than you could have imagined? Take time to thank God for those occasions.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bubble busted

Today was a great day! I mean it was really good.

I woke up a little late but still had enough time to do everything that I needed to do before I had to leave for class. Walked to campus in the dark BTW since the sun wasn't up yet. Yes, that's how early I go to class. Enjoyed watching the sunrise during my class as I listened to the professor and another student talk in circles saying basically the same thing.

Came home to the kids just waking up and daddy working on getting them dressed. Took over the task of dressing and feeding the kids as Dusty got himself ready for work. Breakfast eaten, hubby to work, kitchen cleaned up, and kiddos playing quietly all done within half an hour. I was ahead of schedule for once in my life. It was awesome.

I took some time to sit and work on my testimony since I had volunteered to share it in class tonight. Gathered things up when it was time and headed back to campus, this time with some friends, for the weekly food line. There the kids behaved, I got several food items we could use this week, and had time to visit with friends from the campus.  As we were finishing up baby girl fell asleep in the stroller so the walk home was pretty easy. Brother even sat in his seat like he was asked to do and didn't complain once.

Once we got home the kids went down for a nap, I finished my testimony and spent a few minutes working on some reading. Kids woke up and play time began. Then time to fix dinner (which was leftovers so that part was quick and easy). Dinner eaten, kids cleaned up and dressed for childcare, kitchen cleaned up, dishwasher ran, and extra food put away. All done with 30 minutes to spare.

Instead of just sitting on my behind staring at the T.V. I decided to be productive. I went ahead and made up the bulk of Dusty's lunch for work tomorrow, set up the coffee maker so all I have to do is switch it on, and had the kids help me clean up the living room. Things were going pretty smoothly. I was starting to feel like I might have found some vague light at the end of the tunnel.

 Then the bubble began to bust. While getting the kids into the day care center, for a brief moment in time, I thought that things might go easy with sister. She was laughing and having a grand time until we turned down the hallway and headed toward her classroom. Then she lost it. Clinging on, screaming, and hiding her face in my shoulder, all clear signs she was not thrilled with this idea. And since both the wonderful ladies in the room were already dealing with crying children the only option was to put her on the floor and run out as fast as humanly possible.  She still beat me to the door. Not a good way to start the evening.

Brother went to his class like a champ because, frankly, Tuesday nights are his favorite nights of the week. He LOVES going to "night school" as he calls it. If I could afford to put him into the "Mother's Day Out" program even for one day a week I absolutely would.  But that's for another time.

Class went good. Sharing of testimony could have gone better but, hey, no one's perfect right?

Fast forward to time to pick up the kiddos. Sister had been taken to another class with a lady that she knows well. And in that class she did a good job...for the most part.  Except that she had the wrong sippy cup taken in there with her. Unfortunately, that made things complicated, especially since the ladies in the new classroom had no idea that one didn't belong to her. When I picked her up I was shocked to see sister holding a cup that didn't belong to her but considering there were several crying children in the original classroom it's not surprising that things got a little messed up.  And all in all no real harm was done...except that we can't find her cup. It must have gone home with someone else tonight. OOPS!

So I'm sure your thinking that none of that sounds so bad. So why the bubble busting happening?

Mostly because it stresses me out. I hate that sister has such a hard time when I leave her for childcare. I hate that she has such a hard time being left in the nursery at church, or with a baby sitter, or sometimes even being left alone with daddy. I hate that she hasn't adjusted as easily as brother has.

And it makes me feel like I have done something wrong.  Now I know that's not really the case. And I know that each child is different.And I know that eventually she will get better. I KNOW ALL THAT. But that doesn't mean that it makes it easy.

Sure I walk out of the room and act as if it's not a big deal but inside I'm screaming just let me have her. I will just take her to class with me (ya that's not happening) So, unfortunately, my incredibly awesome day ended with a great big huge busted bubble!

POP! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Learning

Learning.

I love learning.

I love sitting in a classroom as someone who is generally much smarter than me is explaining things that I really want to know.

I thrive in a classroom setting. I look forward to each and every Tuesday and Thursday morning right now and each and ever Tuesday night. I can't wait to get to class and have the opportunity to have someone pour their knowledge out so that I sop it up.

What I don't like it the homework end of learning.

Actually, I can't stand it.

I used to be good with homework. (well everything except math) I didn't mind sitting down at the kitchen table ans read the text that was assigned and take my own notes from that. Answered assigned questions or writing papers on various subjects.

My senior year of high school, while all my class mates were dreading writing their required English term paper and giving a presentation on it I was excited. I did more research than was required and I even brought in props for the presentation.

In College I would have my papers written weeks in advance most times.

Now, I am struggling to get through a book that is a simple 133 pages long that I have to have a book review written for by the beginning of October. And another book, that originally I was very excited to read, has now just become another text book that I can't get through.

It's not a matter of these books are hard to understand. Its a matter of I just don't know when or how to find the time. (I know I know, how about now instead of complaining about having no time....)

I take time to sit down when the kids are napping and I begin to read. Then my mind wanders to the dishes that need to be washed, the laundry that needs to be folded, and the floors that need to be cleaned. I try to read a bit while the kids are playing nicely together and I wonder if I am neglecting them in this endeavor. I feel like no matter what direction I turn I'm running out of time.

So instead of going to bed at a nice hour I stay up, and then I fall asleep reading or writing only to wake up and find that I have absolutely no idea where I was or what I was writing about.  And in the end I give up because I am just too tired.

Have I bitten off more than I can chew this time?

Some days I think the answer might just be yes. But because I LOVE learning and I want to hopefully instill that love of learning in my kids, and to do that I have to be prepared to teach them new things, I will continue on. Sleep deprived and dirty dishes won't stop me this time.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Living and Active" Fitness Challenge

A few days ago, thanks to a blog that I have been following for about a year now, I was lead to another blog called Peak313. The reason I was curious to check it out was because of a challenge that the author of the blog is doing.

Its called the "Living and Active" Challenge. The challenge is based on the scripture verse found in Hebrews 4:12. For more details on how she came to that name of the challenge as well as the name of her blog  you can look here.

I was inspired by this idea once I read what it was all about because as I have talked about WAY to many times I struggle. I will start on a great work out routine and have a great plan but then next thing you know I have fallen off the wagon, so to speak. I let distractions get in the way or exhaustion set in and then I just quit. I have a fabulous husband who does his best to keep me accountable but when I neglect to tell him that I haven't worked out in 3 days or that I ate an extra serving of ice cream during the kids nap time then its hard for him to hold me accountable.

The problem is I am the same way when it comes to my Bible study and quiet times. And that stresses me out more. How am I supposed to be a) studying and learning about God's word in an educational setting when I don't make myself sit down and do it, b) grow in my walk with God and be able to share that wonderful truth with others in the world if I don't know it, and c) teach and train my children up in the way they should go if I'm not entirely clear on what the path is that I should be taking?  So, the long and short of it is I am failing as a witness for Christ and as the mother He has called me to be if I don't become more diligent about studying His word.

My hope is that this challenge will help to jump start my track to better spiritual and physical health.

So here's the plan:

Spiritual: On the blog Clare has posted a wonderful little devotional along with the first weeks memory verse. The plan is to take that verse (along with the 6 that I am working on for one of my Seminary classes) and commit it 100% to memory. I also have daily devotional that I am hoping to dive back into starting in the morning.

Physical: In February I bought myself the "Biggest Loser Challenge" workout game for the Wii. I was diligent with it for a few weeks and I LOVED IT! So my plan is to go back to that. I like the fact that I can have weekly weigh in's with that and it will remind me to check in on the Peak313 blog as well.

I have asked a few people to get in on this with me and I am still waiting to hear a yes or no so for now this will be my accountability. I am seriously lacking on how much I blog as well so hopefully this will help me to get back on track with that!

So there you have it. My basic plan. I am still debating on before/after pictures but I have to make that decision by tomorrow morning. If I decide to do that then sometime tomorrow I will post a before picture along with my starting weight and measurements.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Spent

Full time stay at home mom.
Full time wife of a seminary student
Active in on campus activities
Involved in children's ministry at church
and now,,,,

Seminary Student With homework. A LOT of homework.

I am exhausted. And its only been one day of  one class.

I'm starting to question my decision to take classes. Don't get me wrong. I love being in the classroom. I love learning and I'm excited to be doing so but there is so much to be done. Papers to write, books to read, meetings to attend, and housework to be done.

I'm struggling to find balance. I feel like if I take time to focus on homework or reading for class then I am neglecting the kids. On the other hand if I take time to focus on the kids and stop to play with Collin then I am neglecting both the house work and the homework.  Its like I'm constantly drowning and I can't catch a breath.

One of the biggest problems that I face is that I set HUGE high standards for myself. And I am a perfectionist. I will work at something until I feel like it is completely 100% right. I also feel like I should be able to do it all, all of the time. I have often said that if I could ever have a super power it would be to never need to sleep. A lot of the time I get frustrated that I have to stop to sleep or rest. I just want to be able to use those 5-7 hours that I sleep at night.  Silly I know but when your plate is as full as mine appears to be sleep tends to not be much of an option.

So long story short I am spent. I feel like my tank is so far past empty that its gonna take a lot to fill it back up.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Chicken Spaghetti

Tonight I made some delicious spaghetti for dinner with some left over chicken in the sauce. It was fabulous.
So I know what your thinking.  What's so special about spaghetti?  People make that all the time right?
Well its special because......
Wait for it......
I MADE THE PASTA FROM SCRATCH!!!
Let mw tell you its really not that hard. And with the exception of the drying time it doesn't take long to get done either.
It taseted great.
Half the amount I would normally eat filled me up faster than the store bought.
My kids LOVED it!
And I know exactally what my kids were eating (I made the sauce from scratch too but thats simething I've done for a while)
All in all dinner would he considered a huge success!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mommy delusions

Screaming
Blood-curddling, nails on a chalk board, gouge your eyes out screaming
That's the sound I hear every time I even think about walking out of the room while RaeLynn, who generally appears to be lost in her own little world, is in the same room as me.
Its as if she has some internak radar that goea if when I think to my self "I'll just go put this laundry away real quick."
HA! Ya right!
When this first started I wanted to beat my head against the wall. Who,  am I kidding, I still do. In sync with the screams. We could make beautiful music together.....or maybe not.
But then today, as I slowly walked down the stairs praying it would just end already, I started thinking maybe I am just the best mom ever!  Maybe I'm just so awesome that my beautiful babies just can't stand to be away from me.
Then again it could be that she really hates it when the attention isn't on her......
I think I'm going to live in my happy delusion and go with the first option.  Ya,  that will work.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Farmers Market Adventure and New Ways to Cut Spending

Last weekend the family took a trip to see some friends about 2 hours away. On the way we went through Wetherford. As we were driving though the town I noticed their local Farmer's Market. Having the most wonderful husband in the world he turned the truck around and we went back to look around.

 I was so excited to see all the wonderful colors. It was all I could do to not but at least one of everything there!
 We did take some of these fabulous grapes home with us however. Actually, Dusty and I ate most of them on the drive home while the kids were sleeping!
If I hadn't just bought bell peppers at the grocery store a few days before I would have taken some of these home but I didn't want the ones I already had to go to waste.
 I thought of my mom when I saw all the okra! The last time I was at the local farmers market in Alamogordo with her she was grabbing up all the okra she could get to freeze to have some for the winter months. I'm sure most of it was ear-marked for my dad's jambalaya or gumbo that he makes.
 These potatoes were HUGE! I am positive they would have made a wonderful baked potato to go with an awesome steak! (Assuming I ever had the extra money to get an awesome steak)
 I think the watermelon were as big as RaeLynn.








I made Dusty commit to trying to get over there at least once a month to bring home goodies. Then again, I should just look into a farmers market close by here.


Recently, it seems like money is getting tighter and tighter. Several of our bills have gone up and with the fall semester fast approaching which will mean an added tuition bill for both Dusty and I I have been looking into ways to cut our spending down further.

For starters we have go to quit eating out so much. It seems like every weekend we are at one place or another causing us to need to get lunch or dinner and then it just snowballs from there. However, there are other things I am looking into.

A few years ago I bought a book. It was on sale at a Barnes and Nobel. The title, "Make the Bread Buy the Butter" intrigued me. During the time I have had it I have used it only a few time. Mostly, for the pizza dough
recipe that is in it.  The other day I pulled it out and started looking through to see what I would find in it.











One of the suggestions, as in the title, was making fresh bread. So I started with that. And Cinnamon Rolls!


Today, I decided to try a new recipe. Fresh, home made peanut butter. The recipe is simple.

1-2  pounds raw, shelled, skinned peanuts                          
  
2-3 Tablespoons oil (peanut perferably)
salt



   I spent probably 2.5 to 3 hours shelling and skinning the peanuts. Let me tell you that part was not fun. My fingers hurt like crazy but I got it done!
                    




Next was the blender! Dump in the peanuts and the oil and let the blades do the work. That part was a little more time consuming than I thought it would be and I kept having to stop and loosen up the mixture but all in all it worked out pretty good.









And in the end: PEANUT BUTTER!  I know it doesn't look like much but, surprisingly the peanut butter is naturally sweet. I added a bit of salt but I'm starting to think that I may not have needed to do that.








So there it is. One more step in my journey to saving money and getting healthier. I like knowing exactly what is in my food and this way I can! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New weight-loss challenges and an anniversary

As I have posted SEVERAL times, I'm on a road to getting healthier and losing a ton of this added weight that I have been carrying around. Well, I'm happy to say

Me and my awesome sister in 08 or 09
that I am no longer alone in my journey.(Not that I ever really thought I was. Ton's of people are in the same place I am.) Anyway, my sister and I talk EVERYDAY! Seriously, we talk via Facebook Messenger more now then we ever did as kids and we lived in the same room back then. She saw my post about my newest tools for getting into shape and decided to follow suit. She created a schedule, a chart, and even went with the cool little jar things I did. You can see it all on here blog right here
We have decided that even though we live in 2 different states (New Mexico and Texas) that we are gonna do this together and help to keep each other accountable. Its always nice to have someone there that is supporting you, don't you think?

So with that I have been trying really hard to stay diligent with my working out and eating right.  I am tracking my calories on myfitnesspal.com and I am doing my best to stay active.
My sweaty self post workout yesterday!












Ok, moving on to the anniversary. On June 28, 2013 Dusty and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. To be honest I was a little shocked to realize we have already been married for 5 years. I know that doesn't sound like a very long time but if you knew some of the crazy things we have been through you would be shocked too.

Anyhoo, Dusty has been BEGGING to go to Medieval Times dinner show FOREVER! Every time we would travel to visit the metroplex he would beg for us to go. And every time we either didn't have the money or we didn't have the time. So I decided this would be the perfect way for us to celebrate our anniversary. (What could be better than knights in shinning armor defending the princess' honor right?)
Us at the entrance of Medieval Times

Thanks to our wonderful friends we were able to make this little trip into Dallas kid free. Our FIRST kid free date in A YEAR! That's right folks. We hadn't been on a date alone since baby girl was born. So there for a while I was a little lost with both hand free.

Photo with the princess!
We sprung for the "Kings Royalty" seating package which came with all sorts of goodies like front row seating, a photo with the princess, and a commemorative program. We even got a special "cheering banner" to wave for our knight. It was amazing. We ended up being seated front row center. I could have reached out and touched the horses if I wanted to! And I wanted to. (Dusty wouldn't let me. Something about getting into trouble or distracting the horses.....)



The evening was wonderful and A TON of fun. I am definitely looking forward to being able to take the kids with us some time but that will definately have to wait until baby girl is a bit bigger.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Plans

After I had my little break down the other night about how unhappy with myself I was I spent the yesterday making a new plan on how to get back on track. I know that I have said and done this all before so if this is old and repetitive then stop reading now. But for me I just need to get it out there.

So first thing I needed to do was get myself back to drinking my water regularly. So I have gotten a few of these reusable tumblers. And I have a 64 oz water bottle in the fridge. My hope is to drink all of that throughout the day.

This one is my favorite!




















Next I redid my measurement chart. I keep it hanging up in the downstairs bathroom with a picture of my self from right around Collin's first birthday. It definitely keeps me motivated to get some of this weight off. When I diligently wrote my weight and measurements down each week I looked forward to seeing the number go down. I'm hoping that will happen again.  My printer is dead (like in the trash never to return dead) so this time I had to get creative!


I think the pink paper gives it character!



















And lastly for one more visual aid I followed several others on Pinterest. One jar says "Pounds to Go" and the other jar says "Pounds Lost." The "Pounds to Go" jar is full of glass beads. 100 of them to be exact, because thats how many pounds I need to loose to get into a healthy range.  There are 90 clear ones and 10 blue ones. I will move one clear one for each pound I lose in to the "Pounds Lost" jar. Then when I reach the "10 pound" mark I'll move a blue one. I'm hoping that seeing one jar empty and the other one fill up will be another motivation.









So there are my first three goals. Of course healthy eating and daily exercise will fall into that plan as well but I'm starting with the baby steps.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Looking for Motivation

From January through March I did really good with exercising, counting calories, getting good rest, and getting in enough water. I had even lost 15 pounds and I was feeling much better.  And then I began a class that ATE MY LUNCH!

Between my homework, housework, church work, and being a mommy I didn't have any time for anything much less working out.  And then we traveled to see family. That was a long trip filled with lots of stress and unhealthy choices. From then on I have tried to get back into the swing of things but I just can't seem to find it.

I have tried to exercise and count my calories but there are temptations at every turn. Like right now when I have 2 birthday cakes sitting downstairs calling my name. And the sweet tea in the fridge. And the chips in the cabinet.

I really hate the way I feel. I hate the way I look. This is me being brutally honest! But I have absolutely no motivation. You would think that hating the way I feel and look would be enough. You would think.

So I'm in need of motivation. OR figuring out the right time to work out. And the self control to not eat every bad thing I can find.

My plan is to figure out a schedule and stick to it. I hear that it takes up to two weeks to form a habit. So maybe if I can get into a habit of exercising and counting calories again I will get back on track.

Here's to trying......

Friday, May 31, 2013

Choices....

Why is it that when you give kids choices they always choose the messier option. It doesn't matter the level of the mess they will always choose the messiest.  Do they have like some sort of built in radar that detects the messy level?
For example today at lunch I gave Collin the choice between an apple or an orange to go with his sandwich.  Of course after a whole two seconds of thought he decided he wanted the super juicy orange. The orange that squirted juice right in my eye when I cut into it. The orange that will have him sticky from head to toe and probably his sisters too.
But I can't be frustrated (ok maybe about the juice in the eye but thats about it) because I gave him his choices. I can't tell him no and give him the apple instead. If that was the case I should have just made his lunch choice free. So instead I deal with the sticky mess and plan for an early bath time tonight.
So on another note I'm begining to see that summer is an interesting time around the Seminary. Some families are steping back abd taking a much needed break while others arw diving into summer courses where the entire class lasts no more than a week where all the information you would normally get  over a 13-14 week time period is dumped on you from 8 am to 5 pm for 3-5 days. 
Other families are moving out of the student  housing having graduated and are moving on to their next adventure. While still others are just moving into our little community embarking on this new journey. And lastly are the families who are making and finalizing plans as they prepare to leave for another country, many going over seas to take tje message of Christ to those thay need to hear it.
There is an excitement in the air and buzz in conversation as goodbyes are said to old friends and hellos are being said to new ones. All I can say is I think things are going to get pretty exciting around here as the summer goes on.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Not how I wanted to wake up.....

So imagine this:
Its sometime in the middle of the night.  Your in your bed sleeping peacfully when you hear a faint voice.
"Daddy, look."
Then a god awful smell hits your face like a ton of bricks. Before you even sit up to peer over your sleeping husband you know what happened.
You look up to see your almost 3 year old son standing by the bed covered from head to toe in poop. The bed time accident of the century has struck!
That was exactally how my 3 am went. He had it on his hands, up his back, on his face somehow (seriously gross), down his legs, EVERYWHERE!
As I cleaned up Collin, Dusty cleaned up his bed. His sheets, his favorite blankie, his pillow, all the toys he managed to get in bed with him before he fell asleep. It was a mess!
As I sat in the bathroom trying to get the mess cleaned up without crying I prayed RaeLynn would stay asleep.....ya not so lucky. The sound of daddy moving around and the lights from the bathroom and hall were too much for her.
Mumbling unpleasant things under my breath I went to check on her, leaving Collin in the bathroom for a few seconds, only to find that she too was in need of a change. I was up to my elbows in kid poop!
Finally with kids and beds clean it was time to get back to sleep. Or so I thought.  Collin wanted to talk, about superheros of course.  And RaeLynn wanted to play. Eventually I just put her in her bed and fell asleep on the floor. I have no idea when Collin made to back to his bed but he did.
Not exactally the way I envision being woken up EVER!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Confession time.

Can I be honest for a minute?
I'm a bit jealous of my parents and youngest brother right now.
Why? 
Well a few years ago my bro got involved in Bible quizing with his church. He did so well that he qualified for the all star team at the end of the regular season. This meant that he got to take a trip to Point Loma University in San Diego, CA. For his first trip Collin, who was not quite a year old yet, my grandmother, my mother, and I went along with him. It waz great. We ha a good time and the campus is absolutely beautiful.
Last year I was too far along in my pregnancy  to.get to trav so I didn't go last year and this year I have 2 kids and a husband working full time so I'm not going again. I would love to and I know they are going to have a great time.
Good Luck little brother! Quiz well!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What a weekend

This weekend was great.
We started it off on Saturday by spending the day at Lake Texoma with Dusty's dad. We grilled burgers and then took the kids to the water. Collim got to "fish" for a little while and RaeLynn got to splash her feet in the water. She absolutely loved that. Every time I moved her away from the water she lost her mind. It was super cute.
Sunday we had a good day at church followed by a nice lunch and grocery shopping. A quiet Sunday for us
Monday is Dusty's day off from work so we get a 3 day weekend with him. So yesterday afternoon we took the kids to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.  By the time we got there we only had an hour to look around but that was actually plenty of time. We had a ton of fun in the children's museum portion. I'm lookin forward to being able to go back sometime soon. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Daily Ramblings

I have so many things rattling around in my head today so here we go.
I can't say enough about how much I truly despise laundry. I seriously believe that clothes should be disposable like paper plates. If we ever win the lottery I know my biggest spluge would be paying someone to do my laundry.
Today is menu and shoppin list day. With the end of the semester craziness I got out of the habbit of making my menu and writing out a list. I don't even want to think about the amount of money that I have blown shoppping week to week with out a plan. I'm really hoping I am going to be able to get back into the swing of things.
I absolutely love living where I do but somedays I really wish I could live in a place where I could have a real garden. I think it wouod be awesome to really grow my veggies. I know I can do some growing in containers but to me its just not quite the same.
Lastly, I'm kinda disappointed in the movie selection on Netflix streaming. There are so many movies that I want to watch that I haven't seen in forever but I can't. So I'm stuck watching reruns of the same shows over and over again. I suppose its just a good reason to quit watching TV.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tax Season

For the first time in 8 years when Dusty and I filled our taxes we got the news that we would actually be getting a refund. We still owe some to the IRS from back taxes but even with that being paid out we will be receiving a large return. So for the first time we had to really think about what we wanted to do with such a large sum of money.

So here are the things we WONT be spending the money on:



Much to Dusty's displeasure
But these are the things we WILL be spending the money on:

There will be some left over once those two things are covered and we have some ideas what to do with it but for the most part we will finally be able to get caught up and have our feet back under us!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Then and Now

I realized today that I grew up in a bubble. The way my family interacted, and still interacts to this day is so far from the norm that really you only read about it in books.
Holidays were/are times set aside for just family. It seemed like nothing was more important on those special  days. The whole family gathered together for food,  conversation,  amd quality time together.
Now I live in a world where "family time" is squeezed in if possible inbetween study breaks. I know that this is  the life we signed up for and I know that this is just a season but I still can't help but long for the individed attention, especially on the holidays.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

1 Corinthians 11:2-16








 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that [a]Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of [b]Christ. Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman [c]whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover [d]her head, let her also [e]have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to [f]have her hair cut off or [g]her head shaved, let her cover [h]her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man [i]does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman [j]independent of man, nor is man [k]independent of woman. 12 For as the woman [l]originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things [m]originate from God. 13 Judge [n]for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no [o]other practice, nor have the churches of God.

Often times when I have been in discussions over this passage at least one of the women in the group will shut down when it comes to "The head of the woman is man" I always hear about how no man is over them and women should be strong and stand up for themselves.For some reason it seems like women have this unnatural fear of submitting to authority. I don't know if it is because of the curse that was put on us when we sinned in the Garden, or if its something that has just developed over time but it always seems like women in today's world feel like men are out to get them.


Here in this passage Paul is helping us to see what willing submission is. God is the head of Christ. God, Christ, Holy Spirit, all equally God, equally divine and holy. Yet, Christ willingly submits to God. And has since he gave up his place in heaven to come here to earth as a little baby. To live as a homeless man, wandering around the country side relying on the handouts from strangers, being followed, questioned time after time, and eventually betrayed by a loved one, sentenced for nothing, and finally dieing a horrible death.  All the while Christ continued to willingly submit. Just as Christ is the head of man. It is the man's responsibility to willingly submit to Christ. Man is to look to Christ for guidance on how to run his household, how to manage his finances, and how to live in today's messed up world. Man is the head of woman. It is our responsibility to follow or husbands lead. It is our responsibility to pray for our husbands as he seeks God's will and vision for our families. 

God and Christ are equally God. One is not better, or stronger, or more powerful than the other. But there is still a line of authority that must be established in order to eliminate chaos. Men and Women are equal in God's eyes. Men are not seen as better or more powerful than women. Men are not called to rule over women with an iron fist. We are to live together as equal partners in life but there is still a line of authority that must be followed. When you live in a world with too many chiefs and not enough indians resentment, anger, and maliciousness tend to set in.

When it comes to the section on head coverings and hair length this is a reminder that we need to be careful what messages we are sending out when we are in public. In the times that this was written women who went out without their head covered and women who had short hair were usually prostitutes. The Christian women who chose to go into the church in that fashion were sending a signal to the community that they were open for business, even when many of them may not have even lived in that type of lifestyle. It was very hard for them to be examples for Christ when most people say them as prostitutes just looking for the next bed. This is a reminder that we have to know what messages we are sending. 

Are you calling yourself a christian but when out in public are you wearing t-shirts with ungodly images? Are you taking part in activities that aren't uplifting? In general, what example are you setting? Are you shining for Christ? Or does your lifestyle say your couldn't care less about the kingdom of God?

Paul isn't trying to push women under mens feet. He is helping us to better understand the importance of masculinity and femininity. God, through Paul, is revealing his intent for both men and women, that we properly represent who He is. Men and women have different roles in God's design but both are equally important. Women be women. Be soft and feminine and enjoy being beautiful.