Friday, February 26, 2010

Random Thoughts

Well the last two days have been a little different. First of all I've been sluggish feeling, so I've been taking it easy. Second, Papa and Landon came to visit us!!!

Ava and Unc Wandon had lots of fun together!

After an unfortunate and scary car accident that Auntie Sonya had a couple of weeks ago, it left them looking for a car and who did they know that could hook them up?

The finance expert helped them with a really good deal! And the car is pretty too!

We had missed Papa soooo much! The girls were ecstatic to see him! So was I! He got lots of lovin and was showed every new thing, nicknack, good homework, art projects, bible verses, and major bombardment that you could think of. But we since buying a car was involved we spent a couple of hours at the dealership and Papa, of course, was the center of attention. He showed the guys (Jeff's co-workers) all of his good magic tricks, told all the funniest jokes, and of course pulled out the bullwhips and popped them like crazy. Sounds like your run of the mill good time, doesn't it. I wish I had a pix, but I too popped the bullwhip, just to show the MEN that I could, especially when they couldn't. I have to tell you this 6 mo. pregnant country girl still has it! A great time was had by all. The guys will be trying to tie those knots for a few days, good job dad!

I neglected to show you what my babies got for me for my bday last week. They really know their mama and what she wants.
Most people wouldn't understand, but these are the kind of things that I LOVE! Who wouldn't want a new sifter for her birthday?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


My tests showed that I am anemic and my blood sugars were too high, which "suggests" that I could have gestational diabetes. More tests next week, but a bit of a relief that I can "fix" things and possibly start feeling better! Pray for me!

Raising God Seeking Children

I haven't been feeling up to my standards lately. AND normally I would NEVER tell anyone. I usually try to keep things on the down low and to myself, so that I don't bother anyone. But then after much thought and prayer, I've come to the idea that if I don't share then I won't get any help, compassion, or a place to be safe. AND I keep hoping and praying that I am making an environment for my children and husband to be open and honest, so I guess that I don't have to try to be perfect and superwoman all the time. I can't expect them to do something that I can not. So I've broke down and admitted that I can not keep up and need to rest a little bit more than I have been accustomed, but only until I feel up to speed again.

I am nearing the end of my second trimester, and felt like I had gotten past the super tired and exhausted stage. But the last couple of days I've felt like I just can't cope or stay awake at all during the day. It's been really hard to function and run my household. I called my dr. because next week I was scheduled to take the the glucose testing and thought it might have something to do with that. So yesterday I went and drank the yummy orange glucola and had my blood drawn, hopefully they will have some sort of news that will help me figure out how to feel better.

On a more exciting note, I received a gift from my sister in the mail for my birthday. She knew that I had gotten rid of most of my maternity clothes and am in great need, so she shopped for me. She also sent some of the most adorable little one piece summer newborn outfits for my new baby girl. As you can imagine, it's a little girl's wonderland at my house and you'd also think that we'd be used to such fru fru little girl stuff. I don't think that I'll ever get over how small, cute, precious, and sweet those little outfits are. My girls awwwwed and cooed over them and begged to put them on their build a bears. And sure enough they were tiny enough to fit! We are so excited for our new Abigail, Allyson, Auralee, or baby A something! My sisters are so sweet. I just keep having these foofee little girls and they keep gifting, supporting, and spoiling us! For those of you who don't know us well, both of my sister's have only boys.

So in conclusion, sometimes the best way to be successful raising your children is by being an example. We all know how much of an impact that makes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Managing A Busy Family

I bet that most of you have a calendar or a planner of some kind. If you don't kudos to you for being able to keep up w/o one!

I have made a special calendar for my family. AND boy do we need it! I print off a blank calendar from the internet. Then I let everyone pick a color. AND everyone, including Ava has an agenda and color. We coordinate their color with their schedule. I write down everything that everyone has going on for the entire month, including baby bookworm at the library.

I have framed it in a pretty frame and the frame sits on an easel on the kitchen counter next to the door. Everyone has grown accustomed to keeping an eye on it and trying to update it daily. I also print one one for the following month and put it behind the current calendar so that if we need to we can look ahead.

We hardly miss anything, because we are pretty organized. Maybe this could be a help to you and your family.

Busy Day Recipes

I have to admit that I haven't been feeling very well the last couple of days. I've felt unusually exhausted and have NO appetite. Which, isn't normally me! I guess you have to take into consideration that I'm 24 weeks pregnant.

With all of that going on, I've had a hard time bringing myself to cook or bake. Last week was exactly opposite. I made a couple of homemade old fashioned chocolate sheet cakes. I also made several batches of salsa, and I share all of it!

Today all the girls had a hand in dinner. We made meatballs in a brown gravy, rice, (their favorite)and green beans. We also made mini cherry and blueberry pies for ladies bible study tomorrow. Last, but not least we bake a jello poke cake. I am taking to Diane Cole's house for lunch tomorrow with the gals.

We did all of this within an hour.

I used my standard meatball recipe, but added worchestershire and no mustard or ketchup. Browned them and then put them in the oven with pan drippings gravy for half and hour.

We took store bought pie dough and filling and cut little cirles and pinched the edges after filling. Bake and sift on some powdered sugar and Wa LA! Lots of fun for kids.

Use your favorite cake mix and make accordingly and when you pull it out of the oven poke holes all over the top and pour over a pkg of jello box mix dissolved with water. Cool and cover with cool whip. Keep in the frig. Our favorite variation is using a lemon cake and lime jello! YUMMY!

Three easy recipes that will make your life easier and that you kids can do or help you with! (Sorry STILL trying to figure out how to position pix)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Arts and Crafts

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart...Proverbs 3:5

Last Saturday I took off to OKC and had a Girls Day Out with my mom and sisters. We went to An Affair of the Heart! If you are not firmiliar it's a large expo. I personally would call it a women's expo. They have two locations that serve two city's and four shows throughout the year. The one in OKC is the only one I've ever gone too, but this summer I'm going to check out the one in Tulsa. OKC's is at the State Fair grounds and has SEVEN buildings of vendors!!!

Did you hear me...SEVEN bldgs. Some of the most unique vendors from all over the United States come pedaling their wares. They drop their prices, because they know that you have sooo many other items that you could possibly spend your money on! I've never walked away empty handed.

My favorite thing to do is get ideas. I am a creative personal and can copy just about any craft that is out there. If I can't, my mom or one of my sisters can! I love to collect ideas for all of the special people in my life. I either get their card and put it in my gift ideas book, so I can order them or I can study them to make myself. If you don't get motivated just by walking through the plethera of ideas, there is definately something wrong with you!

One of my favorite sayings, "I LOVE giving homemade gifts, which one of the kids do you want?"

I TRY not to go overboard and I set a budget and take cash, so that I'm not tempted to splurge. Many people bring carts in with them and make mad dashes out to the car to empty them out to make room for the next good buy. BUT I will tell you that they've made it easy for the average shopper and each vendor has credit card/ debit card machines. So sweet.

So make it a point to have your own girls day out and have fun! OKC dates are Oct. & Feb. Tulsa dates are July & Nov. I am telling you this is a DO NOT MISS situation! Then when all is said and done you go out and have a nice dinner to relax!

Enjoy the pix of a FEW of my great finds! The kid is mine, but the homemade headband I bought.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Size Matters

Yes, it's Friday again! And I have to tell you that I've been overwhelmed with advise from you! Thank you so much! I TRULY appreciate it! Thanks for your support and concern.

Part of my Valentine's Day gift from Jeff was a Wii workout game. I have to say that my first reaction was, Ahhh so sweet, he cares about my concerns. Then I quickly snapped (internally) and thought WHAT, for Vday he got me a game, I don't even play the Wii!

So, I got the game out and asked the kids to play it and show me some of the things that maybe I could do. It doesn't look hard, but it does have potential for giving a GREAT workout. So, off I go to try it and I'll let you know how it goes. (even though I feel pretty silly)

Time Lapse (30 mins)

Whew! To be honest, I didn't think that I was going to make it. If Jeff wasn't here cheering (making)me on, I probably would have quit. I did squats, boxing, lunges, ran on the track, and in-line skating. I didn't think that Wii Fit or Wii Active were legitimate, but I was wrong! Now that I know that I CAN do and make it, I think that I will be more apt to doing it again! PLUS my kids did it with me, it was hilarious. Next time I will take pix or a video of the whole sorted affair, so you can laugh too! Working out and laughing isn't easy to do!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Serving Others

Something that has been beating me over the head the last couple of months is an anxiety to be apart of the church choir. Those of you who know me, not my new Arkansas friends, know that this is bizarre. I was raised in a very talented musical family. I personally have been singing solo since I was 3 years old. I won a major recording contract in a competition. I have my own CD. And truly have a major obsession and love for music in general. I am a music freak! I love to sing to and for the Lord and his people. I started singing in our local church choir when I was 13 or 14 and that my far was the youngest person to ever do that in this particular congregation. I have NEVER had a fear of serving in this capacity. As a matter of a fact, it's a long standing joke that ever song is MY FAVORITE SONG. Every time I'd get up to lead music somewhere I would say, "This happens to be my favorite song" and then one day I got called on it and truly I could NOT ever pick ONE favorite song.

When Jeff and I moved to Kansas City I ached to be apart of their choir and never had enough guts to go and do it. The church was HUGE the choir seemed even bigger and they had a live orchestra and band(a large intimidation for a country girl)!! I had never been apart of such a luxury. When we came Springdale the first Sunday we attended church I FELL in LOVE. My heart was overwhelmed and I could not keep my arms still or in my lap. I knew that I HAD to get over myself and my anxiety and get involved. (Kim and the choir sang ...Well, I used every excuse and then I got the nerve and went. I want to remind some of you that it's way bigger than anything I'm used to. My desire has been to be apart of the Praise Team. I've felt intimidation, which isn't like me. I've been doing this exact thing all my life. My entire family has been stumbling over the fact that I've been nervous to even inquire about getting involved. So I've been singing off and on on Sunday mornings.

WELL, last night Chris Emert said somethings in choir that just absolutely convicted me! We aren't singing in the choir to find glory for ourselves, thus my selfishness and worry. I don't read music very well and he said, he didn't care. He even said that you don't have to be a great singer. Well then I started feeling really selfish and ridiculous! Right now we are going through a time of change and a bit of a struggle to rally our group after losing our leader. I don't think that I truly grasped and understood what an essential part of worship the music department and choir play. And I've been a professional in the music industry. WOW! Music is an obvious way to for us to relate and get in tune with God. And after hearing Chris speak to my and many others hearts lastnight I feel like it's an easy way for me serve the Lord. There is no reason why I shouldn't be putting in the time and effort and being there for my church. The choir is there to uplift people and to prepare their hearts for the word of the Lord.

So many people have a hard time finding a way to serve the Lord. And I have an obvious God given talent and I'm wasting it. So against all my fears I am going to make contact this week and tell someone about my interest and if I'm needed I will volunteer to face my fears and serve! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Raising God Seeking Children

Last night we were flipping through the channels and found the MTV show "16 and Pregnant" I want to state right off the bat that we DO NOT watch MTV at our house. It in no way, shape, or form is a good example for anyone! Anyway, Ammorae and I talk often about this topic, because it's very obviously an issue very close to my heart.

I was a young unwed single mother and very obviously want to teach her to abide and obey better than I did. I also volunteer at Loving Choices each week counseling girls in crisis pregnancy's. This show does more than it's job showing how NOT COOL it is to be a teenager and be pregnant. It doesn't leave any room for question what a young person might be feeling or going through in a crisis like this.

It showed her that in that position you lose your time, social life, sleep, trust, respect, and relaxed lifestyle that an average teenage girl gets. This particular episode showed a rude, disrespectful, cussing, and selfish girl. These are things that we talk about all the time. These are things that kids her age are doing to be "cool". She kept saying, "can you believe that" "Why did she talk to her mom like that" "Why doesn't someone do something about it"

That is exactly my point today. We must as parents and God followers be strict and put our foot down. We must teach no tolerence and purity. We can ask God for strength and he will provide it. We have to stop worrying about being our children's friends and hurting their feelings. We DO have control for a certain amount of time, while they are in our homes, and if you don't, you need to obtain it and make some changes. I know that sometimes it feels uncomfortable and is scary, but you love them and it's essential to a successful future and it's what God wants us to do. Good Luck and let's pray for each other. Pass along any ideas that may help me in my home or at Loving Choices.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Managing A Busy Family

It's no secret that I'm a BIG fan of being organized. I try to go shopping once a week. I plan a menu that includes snacks and desserts for one week at a time. I write down a list of meals and hang it on the bulletin board. In the morning when we are eating breakfast together we have a vote on which meal we want for dinner. Which ever one gets the most votes is the winner and that's what I work on throughout the day. Sometimes I even let Ammorae's friends weigh in on it. I let them vote the night before either, through texting or facebook and it makes it fun for her. And then the next time I see them they ask, "How was the homemade pizza and breadsticks?" (which is what we are having tonight. The dough is rising as we speak)

Including the entire family makes it fun! The girls help with almost every single meal. Sometimes it's messy, but they learn skills that will assist them throughout their entire life. Just a side note, don't deny your kids the opportunity to learn responsibility. I hear so many adult women saying that they CAN'T cook, because their mother's just wanted to do it and get it done. That is just a huge dis-service.

Try this organizational tip and see how if it works for you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Special

Usually, Valentine's Day isn't a big ordeal at our house. We try to avoid the money trap. We do celebrate our love for one another, especially with the little girls. But this year it was a weekend of Valentine's.

My girls and I went to OKC to visit the sister's and my mom. We attended the Affairs of the Heart w/o any kids, which has NEVER happened. Paul teamed up with Ammorae and watched the kids, but it was mostly the Uncle Paul show. He spoiled them with a trip to the park, homemade "special seasoned" popcorn (their favorite) and he even painted all of their nails. WOW! Remember he doesn't have any little girls at his house. He probably should have been terrified, most people are.

The Affairs of the Heart is another entry all together. It was awesome! We hit the mother load.

The we hit two late night ball games, one of Brent's and one of Ryan's. They both won and did awesome!

On Sunday Gramma treated the family to a lovely brunch at The Cheesecake Factory. It was also an early birthday celebration for me. My kids wore party hats and so did Zac, but we couldn't catch it on camera.

When we came home we were surprised with flowers, cards, and gifts from daddy. He put a rose in everyone's favorite cup, even Ava's. (sippy cup) Then he and I went on "The Great Date Experiment" It was so much fun! He took me to The Powerhouse restaurant. We played a game with our server that offered her an opportunity to make extra money throughout our dinner. She did really good.

I was exhausted and really feeling the long weekend, so I fell asleep and daddy played the girls' new wii game with them and put them to bed. What a blessed weekend. I love you Lord. Thank you for the safe travels and all the extra blessings!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Arts and Crafts

Today I am in Oklahoma City with my sisters and mom.

It's very fitting for today's topic, because we are going to the Affairs of the Heart. It is at the State Fair grounds. SEVEN buildings of peoples arts and crafts. I've found some of the most unique items ever at this venue. When I had my own flower and gift shop I picked up so many super finds and vendors here. Wish us happy pickings!

Tomorrow, of course, is Valentine's Day. It's been almost three years since I've had to be a slave of this holiday. Unfortunate to my husband, having your own store that caters to such day's, I've become an expert and know what people want and need this time of year. (and how much the typical person spends) So, I make it a point to plan ahead and do unique things with my girls to show other's how much we care and love them and all without spending a lot of money.

This is what we spent our week preparing. I hope you like it and maybe use the ideas for yourself. Maybe you got one?

The first one is an ipod valentine. YOU ROCK VALENTINE! You can find the directions and supplies list at under the valentine's icon on the third or fourth page.

The second is our favorite sugar cookie and frosting recipe. Who doesn't love sugar cookies. I'll post the recipe for you.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Size Matters

Okay, I thought that a smart way to tackle this nasty weight issue, while I'm pregnant would be to work on my arms and legs. I have small weights and thought that I could do a couple of small workouts with my arms each day.

I bought into an infomerical and YES, I thought that I could take the EASY way out and let a product do the work for me. Every little bit of extra help works, right?

Well, on my birthday suggestions list that I put out a month ago had the Shake Weight on it. Low and behold Wal-Mart picked it up and now it's on the, Grab it while you wait in line shelf, next to the register. My husband, who loves the As Seen On TV stores- so he can make fun of everything, so generously bought it for me to try out.

The ENTIRE family was begging me to open the box so we could check it out. How do I even explain what happened next? If you watch the advertisement it looks like it shakes on it's own and you hang on to it. Which to me, made sense. Some of us aren't as coordinated as others and it would allow you to concentrate on holding your arms in a good position while getting a good work-out. See, I could help them with the marketing!

Needless to say, it doesn't work that way! Are you surprised? Apparently, there is a component inside that plops up and down as you are trying to shake this weight. Saying it's a bit misconceiving is putting it mildly. It even has these accordian looking things on each end that look like it's going to open and shut or expand like a shox effect.

There should be a warning on the side saying "If you are uncoordinated DO NOT TRY this" So if you have a REGULAR weight at home you can shake it up and down and get the same effect. It doesn't look as fancy, but you will look just as ridiculous! Ask my kids.

I did a tri-weekly aerobics class for five years, you'd think that I, number one wouldn't have veered so far from exercise, but that also I could handle this. Well, I'm here to tell you that I CAN and I'm not ready to give up YET! Back to the drawing board, which means normal old everyday weights. Maybe next week we'll visit the idea of Toning Tables? Happy exercising!
Pix courtesy of Aydan (my 4 yr. old)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Serving Others

Today I was reminded of GREAT opportunity here in Northwest Arkansas. Those of you who are reading that are in the area, pay close attention and serve today!

This fall I was introduce to a beautiful example of a servant leader and true Christ follower, Mama Dean. She has a restaurant in South Fayetteville. For every meal you buy there she will give a free meal to someone who is in need and hungry, and more than likely is homeless.

When the weather turned chilly and cold she made a plea for people get involved and help these folks. Her contributors are children, family entities, churches, sunday school classes, non-profit organizations, city offices, small businesses, and large corporations; such as J.B. Hunt.

Some people offer to pay for her expenses and she does all the work to serve a warm meal and offer a place with no judgement and lots of love. On Christmas my family (parents, sisters, and their families) did not give ANY gifts, instead we contributed and served breakfast Christmas morning there. It was VERY frigid and cold from a snow storm and Jeff volunteered to drive folks back to their "homes" which were cold tents. Some of them had walked several miles to receive this free and warm meal.

Mama Dean handed out gloves, blankets, backpacks, shoes, socks, and bags of food. God says to LOVE your neighbor as yourself and to give the shirt off your back if someone is in need. Will you obey? Talk collected items down to her. Go eat a meal there, so she can feed someone else, the food is very good! If you'd like you can drop off your items with me. The winter and cold season is far from being over. There is great need, reach out and serve. We are not here to pass judgement on other peoples live decisions.

By-the-way, Mama Dean will be featured on My Inspiration entry on Sunday. You will be happy to know that she gives ALL that she has to those in need. She is very deserving!

Mama Dean's Soul Food Kitchen - South School Street

Serving Others

I was reminded today of a GREAT opportunity here in Northwest Arkansas. So those of you who are reading that are in the area, pay close attention and serve today.

During the fall, through a friend, I was introduced to a very special lady who is a Christ follower and a beautiful example of a servant leader. Mama Dean has a restaurant in South Fayetteville. For every meal that you purchase, she gives a meal to a hungry person, who more than likely is homeless. When the weather started to turn chilly and cold she started making a plea that people come together and gather items that these cold and hurting folks would need. That list of contributors is very lengthly. People who are assisting and serving are that of small children, family units, churches, non-profit organizations, and large corporations; such as J.B.Hunt.

Some people offer to pay for her supplies and she then in turn does the work and provides a warm and loving environment for these people to come with no judgement or strings attached. On Christmas my entire family (parents, sisters, and their families) did not give any gifts, instead we contributed and spent our Christmas morning serving breakfast with another family down there. It had snowed and was very frigid, so Jeff drove a lot of folks back to their "homes" which were cold tents spread all throughout Southern Fayetteville.

Mama Dean and her helpers gave out gloves, shoes, blankets, tents, clothes, and bags of food. These people were SO thankful and in much need. My children loved serving, visiting, and they even sang a couple of carols for them. All these people want and need is unconditional love.

It's not for us to judge or decide anything about their lives decisions. God says to LOVE your neighbor as yourself. He also says for you to give the shirt off your back, if someone is in need. Will you obey? It's very cold outside right now and the winter season is far from being over. Take some things down there or drop them off to me. Go down there and eat,so she can feed someone else, the food is very good. The environment is one to be experienced. The kitchen plays soul music that resonates throughout the entire restaurant.

By-the-way, Mama Dean will be on my Inspiration entry on Sunday, and I think that you would love to know that she gives ALL she has. She deserves much!

Mama Dean's Soul Food Kitchen - South School Street

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Raising God Seeking Children

Today I attended my monthly MOPS meeting. For those of you who aren't firmiliar it stands for Mothers Of Preschoolers. We invited a panel of men into our meeting to listen and discuss their opinions about our relationships.

The main concept that screamed at me was that our children learn mainly by example. I know that is not a great epiphany, but it was layed out to me in a way that I hadn't examined or thought about it before.

A woman needs submit to her husband and he unto the Lord and through that, obviously love and respect each other. But a woman needs to allow her husband to be in charge and be the head of the home. (and if he doesn't do that well, God will deal with him) A woman needs to put her relationship with her husband FIRST, that means before her children. Yes, you heard me correctly. And your children need to know and understand that concept.

If I don't display that throughout my day, faithfully, infront of them and bring it to their attention, how could I possibly think that one day they too will know to do this in their own relationships? It's important for present day, and during the daily grind and it's important to their futures.

A good way to start this is when daddy comes home, mom's we should build him up and get the kids excited to see him and tell them how hard he works for us. More ideas that were shared, are to stop whatever you are doing and give him your undivided attention and love before throwing the chorelist at him or the lowdown from the day. Make sure that it's obvious that he's the king of the castle. Promise each other special one-on-one attention during the week. And obviously communicate about what your expectations are and visa versa.

If my girls know that their dad and I are solid they too will feel solid. An obvious and easy way to help your husband is to pray for him daily. Pray for guidance, pray for protection, which includes a wide realm of things,and pray that God has favor for him. And doing this with your children can teach them so many things.

Who would have thought that a lesson for my kids would too be a lesson for me. This topic could be discussed daily and we'll have to visit it again. Remember that being an example goes a long long way.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Managing A Busy Family

WELL, a typical Tuesday would entail getting around early, because I attend a morning women's bible study at First Baptist Church of Springdale. School and bible study were both cancelled today, due to snow and frigid temperatures. Jeff's schedule got re-arranged and had the day off too.

Today I slept in, I got up at 8am. We were slow and relaxed. After watching some tv with the kids my husband, surprised me and suggested that it was time to get the chores done. After organizing the kids on their responsibilities he cleaned and vaccuumed his little heart out. He knows how I function and that I have a better day when I get the house cleaned and my list cleared early. He doesn't understand or work that way, and that's why I am so impressed and pleased.

I HAVE to be organized and have a plan in place if I am going to be successful everyday. I have several peoples itineraries to keep. And sometimes it's really easy to get wrapped up in a one track mind frame. Work, work, work! Although this is my comfort zone, it's not my husband's.

Then they went sledding and provided much entertainment for Ava and I to watch out the window. My favorite scene was Jeff loaded on the sled on his stomach and Aydan on his back. They flew about 200 ft. down our hill with her laughing and whispy hair flying and then finally she rolled off and screamed, "daddy that was fun".

In a clean kitchen, and kids being attending to, I was able to make a nice lunch for my troops to warm up to. The girls were overly tired and volunteered to lay down for naps, which made a great afternoon.

The important point is that being flexible today and enjoying my family being together, blessed me with a great surprise. God blessed us both Jeff and I for being patient and thoughtful. It's "normally" essential for me to be biligerant and stay focused and do it my way and today I learned that it doesn't ALWAYS have to go down that way. This will be a long lasting memory for me. (I'm sure that tomorrow will be a day for therapy for the other half of my day. Most daydreams are short and sweet.) Oh yeah did I mention that Jeff even painted the girls nails too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow Fun

This morning, after school was cancelled, Ammorae headed straight outside, really early to play in the snow. She quickly recruited her sisters and they had lots of fun! Here are my little snow angels sledding and running amuck!
READ my recipe entry below!

Busy Day Recipes

These aren't your typical Busy Day Recipes. But I feel like I have to advantage of the weather and season and share with you the two recipes that me and my girls made today.

These are "Take the Time Recipes" and "Make Memories Recipes"

The first is my Grandma Esther's Easy Homemade Carmel Corn Recipe.
1 C. Butter
2/3 C. Light Karo Syrup
1 1/4 C. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Bag of Puffed Corn w/ no kernels (I use 1 & 1/2 bags)
You can use regular popcorn too.

In a saucepan combine and melt ingredients. Turn down heat and add baking soda. It will foam. Bake at 250 for 45 mins. stirring every 15 mins. Turn out onto wax paper, let it cool, and break up the pieces. Wha la! Enjoy!

Homemade Snow Ice Cream
1 Gallon Fresh Snow
1 C. Sugar
1 T. Vanilla
2 C. Milk


A friends recipe (Alicia Brown)
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1 T. Vanilla
1 C. Sugar

Mix and Serve. We add mini chocolate chips. The girls LOVE it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Inspiration

Well, I have so many people to fill this spot with each week. I can't wait. You better be careful, because you might be on here next! You know, you can find inpiration everywhere, especially if you're always upbeat and looking for the good in people.

That's exactly the description of the next person that I am uplifting on MY INSPIRATION SUNDAY. Lois Lukins, or if you live in my house she's called Lola, has been a HUGE inspiration to me all of the years that I've known her.

She was the most submissive and obedient example of a wife that I have every known. She has mentored and ministered to numerous women about how she did it and how she sees life's duties as a Christian woman, wife, and mother. She and her husband Bob were such a team and influence to all who came into their presence. I've heard testimony after testimony of people stating how they were brought to the Lord through their ministry.

For those of you who are reading and don't know The Lukins', yet, because you will after today; Bob passed away in 2002 and he is GREATLY missed. Bob's story is another entry that I will tell one day. Lois was an extension of Bob and when you said one's name the other immediately followed, like they were attached or hooked together. ex."LoisandBob this... BobandLois that..." I think that many of us wondered what she would do when he wasn't here any longer. Well, as much as we all know she misses him and tells you everyday that she can't wait and is ready to join him she hasn't slowed down a notch.

Lois will be 87 in October and if you met her or know her you'd never guess her age. She's not your run-of-the-mill, Grandma. Daily she serves the Lord, her family, and the community in GREAT capacities. I am a young mother of four (almost five) and I have to admit that I would have troubles keeping up with her. If something is going on at church, she's there helping. She has been a Sunday school teacher for each one of my little girls. She sings at the nursing home every Thursday. She volunteers at the General Store, a local community thrift store. She volunteers at the food bank. She is part of the United Methodist Women's group, Ladies Auxilary, Senior Citizen's Center, Fundraising for Hospice Care, organizes the Blood Mobile, and more things I'm sure that I've missed. She hauls food and transportation to the fields during harvest. She is a master gardener. And in between all of this, she makes time to travel. She spends vacation time in and out of the country. Her last trip to Hawaii made local headlines. She makes many trips to Branson every year and I've drug her many places with me and my family and she's ALWAYS up for it! And BEST of all she bakes the best cakes and there is no other homemade ice cream that could be any better than hers.

Lois I LOVE you and I'm glad God brought us into each other's lives. I am trying to follow in her footsteps. I know that she's been an inspiration for so many others. Father, thank you for blessing this earth with such an example and leader. And just like the song says, "Greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done" and Lois is going to be apart of them, that I guarantee!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Arts & Crafts

I Love arts and crafts. The realm and it's unlimited possibilities! The thing about arts and crafts is that it's neat to see something that you like or want and go home and try it for yourself. This is what I live for! There isn't a day that goes by and I don't see or find something or an idea and say, "I can do that myself".

The internet and blogs have busted the doors wide open for people to share their details and specific plans on how to accomplish such things on your own. I am a "handy girl" instead of a handyman. I probably use power tools more often than my husband and I DO ask for them for my bday and such. As a matter of a fact I'm looking to borrow or buy a router for a project.

I was in a couple of shop classes in high school, but I learned more from my dad than anyone. He can make a trash can look good! I also took home economics, attended an Art College and Culinary School. All of these things are classified as Arts.

Some my dreams revolve around making and either giving or selling my wares. I am building a book right now that I believe will be something HUGE and useful to every household in America and beyond. Don't worry you'll be hearing all about it later down the line. I will share my ideas and projects with you and hopefully you will use some of them yourself. I'd also like your honest opinion, if you think it's marketable and retail worthy. Instead of hiring stuffedshirts I will ask the PEOPLE, who are the real professionals, and the buyers. No doubt about it though, most of my entries will be personal feats that will be only for fun, like next weeks Valentine's for my kids.

Here goes, my first project unveiled is my version of a growth chart. I made one for my nephew Leo and my sister liked so I made one for each one of my little girls. I haven't seen one around for awhile. Most of you are using a closet wall with a pencil. It seemed very Pottery Barn looking to me, which I am into. Each one is different and I will mark them with paint pens. I am going to paint their names on them. I want to make some for gifts for a few friends. Tell me what you think, and be anonymous if you like, so I know if they are selling worthy or if you'd like one. There are lots of baby stores in the area that could sport an Aimee Bryan original.

Size Matters

It's no secret that this girl is chubbier than she should be. And today I want to talk about SIZE MATTERS.

Well here are my excuses. When I got married I was close to my ideal weight. Then three months later we were pregnant. When Aydan was three months old we surprisingly found out that we were having Addy. During this period I went through MASSIVE postpardom depression. Then a little further down the road we were blessed with Ava. I've actually done a pretty good job keeping my weight down during the last couple of pregnancies, but have not been successful taking the weight off in between. I've estimated that I gained about 20 pounds with each of the last three girls and if you calculate the same with this one I will have PACKED on 80 pounds in four and half years. WOW! I can't beleive that I'm admitting this in public!

The reasons that I am talking about this are many. One, we treat people different when they aren't perfect like society wants them to be. Two, your health is SO important and it doesn't just effect one's self. Three, there aren't many addictions or illnesses that people shouldn't attack on their own.

So I am going to use you as support in my FIGHT to beat the battle of the bulge this year. I am going to try to keep my weight down during this last pregnancy and fight like crazy to get my life back! I'm going to need your help! I'm going to play both sides of the coin. I'm going to show you the way I and other over weight people live and feel and how you "more fit" people live and percieve us.

So here goes. I'm going to be brave and do before and after shots and lay it all out there. I NEED you to cheer me along and give me all the advice you can. My life depends on it! May God bless this endeavor. See you next week!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Addy Bea

Addy did her own hair and makeup today! When I showed her this pix, I asked, "Ad, who is this pretty girl?" She answered, "Gramma" I said, "Addy, this is you." She said, "It wooks wike my Gramma"! (Read my Thursday blog entry- below)

Serving Others

Thursdays are very exciting for me. I am a volunteer at Loving Choices, a Christian Pregnancy Crisis Center. I go there ever Thursday for four hours. We counselor and serve women with love and grace and without judgement.

I learned about this opportunity when I was attending our women's bible study at FBCS last fall. Our faithful leader was Courtney Palfreeman and she worked there as well. She has now taken on a much stronger role and is the fundraiser for the both locations, and let me tell you she's a God send.

When I heard about this place and what they do, I KNEW that I had to be apart of it. I too experienced a young unexpected pregnancy and have always felt that God wanted me to share with others who might be walking the same path.

I was blessed to have the faith and support to direct me to my church when I was struggling. My friends in Kiowa, KS not only helped and supported me but taught me to understand a much deeper love that God had for me and my baby.

We administer pregnancy and STD testing. We have the most beautiful care center that has a baby boutique that gifts women for coming and learning about God and how to become a great mother. (They ALWAYS need donations)

There are sad and shocking stories about too young of a youth having intercourse and not being able to have any understandings about the consequences on their lives. There are happy heart warming stories of married couples anxiously awaiting the arrival of their dream child. But all in all God's hand is upon this place and all the people who work and volunteer there. It's amazing! If you are curious, please come visit. If you want to serve, I invite you to check us out. There are many capacities that you can do so.

Serving can be writing a Thank You card, which I did last night. It can be baking cookies to give to a friend, we hand delivered them to daddy's friends at Kent Dobbs and took some to church for my "Crazy Love" bible study class. It can be stopping and helping someone stuck in the snow. Thank you dad for the tow rope, it's very dirty! (my parents manufacture and make them) There are endless ways you can serve. I ask today that God lays it on your heart to try to do so as often as you can. He demands it of us. And you might even enjoy it, like I do!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Raising God Seeking Children

Well some have criticized me and said that I am on a "Crusade" to shelter or save my children. Well say what ever you will and call it what YOU want to, but I am bound and determined to take every opportunity and take intentional time to teach my children about our sovereign and gracious Father.

My story isn't as warm and fuzzy as it will sound, but it definitely is sweet. I vividly remember asking Jesus into my heart when I was five and w/o a doubt I knew exactly what I was saying, asking, and accepting! My parents had just renewed their relationship with God and had committed the entire family to a pretty strict and close walk of faith. We, like some of you, practically lived at the church - it was our home and family. Being in a small rural area, they let me sing my little heart out every Sunday and days in between. I've had Jesus in my heart ever since I can remember and that's what I want for my girls too.

I will take a stand and say that my life has been FAR from perfect, but even in the harder times, I know he's been there and had his hand in everything.

This last month God has laid a burden on me about how I am raising my girls. I've been nervous, excited, unsure, and everywhere in between on my stragedy. I can easily voice to you what I don't want to happen in their adolescence, but when it comes to directly deciding what to "intentionally" do - I've been a bit vague. They've all been in church from the day of their birth and they all know by heart, "Jesus Loves Me" but I can tell you from experience, it's not enough.

I've always been very open and honest with Ammorae (the oldest) and we often freely talk about our responsibility to be a Godly and Christian woman. I've truly felt that I've done a more than average job explaining and being a good example to her. Tonight on our way home from the weekly Wednesday night at church, we were talking about what we both had learned. And she asked what it meant to be a "lukewarm" Christian. And I of course took the opportunity to explain it and insert it into her daily life as an example. I asked her, "Are you a lukewarm Christian"? She said, "Mom, I'm just a sixth grader" Wait there is more. "Of course, sometimes I am".

It's definitely not what I expected to hear, but it's what I needed to hear. I know now that I've got my work cut out for me and that I have to trudge on with more fervor and excitement so that the next time I ask that question, maybe she'll ponder a bit longer before so quickly deciding that her age and youth have something to do with her loving God and obeying him and his calling on her life.

We've definitely got a lot to talk about on Wednesday's. I hope that you'll stay tuned and share with me your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. I pray that God sends me all the help that I can get. I welcome every bit of advice that you'll give me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Managing A Busy Family

I know that everyone of you can relate! When I was three I lived in a house with my parents, of course, and at least six other siblings, give or take a few. There were nine of us all together, in a yours, mine, and ours household. Our house was also opened to many foster children and foreign exchange students, not to mention all the people that my dad picked up and brought home who were "down" on their luck. So maybe some of you haven't really seen a "busy", or probably a better word is crazy, household.

I have an eleven year old who is just starting to dabble in cheerleading and sports. She has made a commitment to be involved in youth group and a connection group at church and MOTION, which is a youth evangelism team. So needless to say we are constantly coming and going with her alone right now.

BUT don't forget, I have three other little girls and another one on the way. I have tried to carefully plan and organize our time so we can spend and enjoy as much time together, because it doesn't last long, and it seems they are in another world.

It's not a secret that our family has gone through many changes in the last couple of years, and one thing we've struggled with has been finances. Oh no, I have admitted it in public??? Due to our deep desire to become "dept free" we've been a one vehicle household (which is paid for). Can you imagine? I've been getting up and taking the girls to school, then Jeff to work, back home, work on the house, run errands, pick girls up, (at different times) go back home and do homework and get supper started, sometimes go to basketball practice, go pick up Jeff, and then, if I'm lucky settle in. My average day, usually brings me to town at least four times!!! AHHHHHH!

If your a mother, you completely understood that there was NO time left to do anything for yourself. That's where the ART of carefully planning and staying on your toes comes in handy. By-the-way, Jeff just recently bought a pre-owned vehicle, which has been a true God send, that has lightly lightened my load. I believe it's a reward of being faithful!

So, I hope that you will stay tuned for each installment of Managing A Busy Family to see what happens next, because you are sure to be entertained. I hope you might even walk away with something that will help you with your busy schedule!