Friday, August 31, 2012

Pancake Virgin

Yep, it was me. Until today.

I get to cross off something else on my list of "things I've never done that I want to do." It's always a good day when this happens. August 30, 2012 is the day I first made pancakes.

This seems silly and negligent, and I agree. I've made lots and lots of waffles though, thanks to Tyler's Grananna who bought us a Belgian waffle maker our first Christmas. It came in a set with some William-Sonoma flavored pancake and waffle mix and we've been hooked on their mixes ever since. Santa brings Tyler some every Christmas. Before we had Levi (and a good reason to make dinner at least semi-healthy and nutritional), we used to have waffles for dinner pretty regularly (usually on Tyler's night to cook).

We've been working on and implementing "routines" for Levi the last few months as a part of his therapy (speech therapy and other types of therapy), and I noticed I have inadvertently implemented a breakfast "routine" as well. He has cinnamon toast, a serving of fresh fruit (all different kinds), and organic whole milk every single morning (with oatmeal occasionally thrown in). I've also noticed lately that he has become a semi-picky eater, when he used to have quite a diverse appetite. I want to get him back to eating a wider range of foods, so we've got to get out of the toast rut. I got up today and decided I would conquer pancakes. I had some blueberry mix from WS and used that. Their mixes require adding a little more than Bisquick (eggs, butter, & milk instead of water) but it is totally worth it in my opinion. They turned out very cute and of course I took pictures, and most importantly - Levi devoured them. Woohoo for new things!



Monday, August 27, 2012

Watermelon Salad

The August issue of Southern Living highlighted several recipes for watermelon. One recipe I thought was charming was a watermelon salad. Their version didn't necessarily fit our taste, but I made my own version to savor this summer fruit before we start rushing into the fall season. 

I'm really not sure why I called it Watermelon Salad, when really it's just..................watermelon. But the extra work seems like it should have a bigger name.

The original recipe included red and yellow watermelon (I used watermelon and cantaloupe because where-the-heck-do-you-buy-yellow-watermelon?), fresh lemon juice, sugar, vodka, raspberry rum, sea salt, and fresh mint. I omitted everything except the melon, sea salt, and fresh mint, and it was a great little addition to a collection of hors d'oeuvres at a party. Here are a few snapshots of the pretty summer dish:


Friday, August 24, 2012

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

I feel like I'm letting myself down if I'm not trying to make something new every week or two. Needless to say if you live in my household, I've been letting myself down a little more than usual lately...but I'm focused on more important things. A great-Aunt or distant cousin in Tyler's family wrote down some "family recipes" for us in a wedding card (which, by the way, I consider a GREAT gift...I love good recipes and especially family ones), and one of them was called "Quick & Easy Creamed Beef." It is a quick middle-of-the-week crock-pot recipe that uses stew meat, creamed soups, onion soup mix and a can of sprite (plus a few other things). I made it often for the first few years of marriage. It was the closest thing I had made to Beef Stroganoff until last night. This recipe was amazing!
I got this recipe via my mother, via Pinterest, via

MKC button

How's that for a recipe heritage? I shamelessly copied the recipe pretty much exactly, with the exception of using garlic instead of garlic salt, and
Moore's Marinade in place of the Worcestershire sauce (which I do pretty much in every recipe, because I buy it by the gallon and it's good). I'll go ahead and type it out anyway, so you don't have to go to a different page to see it.

3 lb. chuck roast, cubed
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 T. Worch. sause
1 1/2 Cups beef broth
1 T. ketchup
1/3 C flour
7 T. apple juice or water
sliced mushrooms
1/2 C light or regular sour cream
Place the stew meat, salt, pepper and onion in the slow cooker. Stir to distribute the seasonings and onion. In a small bowl, combine the garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth and ketchup. Pour over the meat. Cook for 7-9 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. About 30 minutes before serving, combine the flour and apple juice in a small bowl, whisking vigorously to combine well. The roux should be thick but still pourable so add a tablespoon of apple juice or water at a time to thin, if needed. Pour the flour mixture into the slow cooker, whisking quickly to mix in the roux with the stew meat and juices and to avoid lumps. Add the mushrooms and stir. Cook on high for 30 minutes. Stir in ½ cup sour cream right before serving. Serve over pasta, rice or baked potatoes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nail Spotlight: Party Nails & Other Details

Last year, some of you may remember this manicure and this post about it:

That manicure was for Levi's first birthday party (camouflaged-themed). It was really fun. This year, I had decided his 2nd birthday party (construction-themed) would be a bit more toned-down, without going to the extremes we did last year with decorations, food, manicures, gifts, number of guests, etc.....

And then I saw this:

{Courtesy of here, via Pinterest}

And then I realized my Pinterest board for Levi's party inspiration looked like this:

And Tyler brought me these from work yesterday:

The planning began months ago. Several things have been made and ordered... It's 2 months away. Here we go!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Project Post 26: DIY No-Sew Banner

Yesterday afternoon we (my class) hosted a little sip & see shower for a friend in my Sunday School class and her precious new little boy. Due partly to this being a very busy time of year and also that we have a small class, myself and another friend were the only ones able to plan and prepare for the shower. The church does not have a fund set aside for showers, so the cost is really up to the individuals planning the event (we are working hard to remedy this, as half of our class is currently pregnant).

Keeping that in mind, the costs can add up pretty fast. We made several little DIY decorations like tissue pom poms, little chalkboard signs, and a banner. I knew I wanted to make a banner for the food table. I didn't have a clue where I was going with it when I bought a yard of canvas fabric, but I think it turned out pretty cute.

First, I laid the canvas on my kitchen table, and cut out a little flag. Once I was happy with the shape, I used it as a template and cut out 6 more flags so that I would have enough for each letter in his name (5) and one blank on each side. Then I picked out a font to use for the letters. For this, I just go to a free font website - one that will give you a sample using the letters you need (like and find a font I like.

Here is what I used to guide drawing his name on the canvas:
{"Romantiques" font - a current favorite}
Then, using this picture as a guide, I just sketched out each letter with a pencil onto each canvas flag. After each letter was sketched, I painted each one with white paint, then went back over each letter with navy blue (sharpie marker and a little paint) for the "highlights."

I then planned to use my hot glue gun and make a "loop" on the top of each flag to put ribbon through (here's where being able to sew would come in handy), but my mom suggested just cutting a couple of slits to run ribbon through. Using her method, I didn't have to locate and use my hot glue gun (with a toddler wanting to be part of every bit of this process).

This is the quilt in his nursery (for whatever reason, I always like matching shower decorations to the baby's nursery), and I already had some ribbon on hand that I knew would be great to match this quilt.

{Picture via here}

So I cut 2 slits in each flag and then ran the ribbon through them. I think it turned out pretty cute for a very economical, thrown-together banner. It's definitely not something you'd want to permanently hang on the wall, but it was cute for a shower decoration. It was so easy to make that I thought I would share - anyone could do it!

Don't mind the thermostat box and the ugly vent on the wall. Those are things we ignore when decorating this room. Also, the lighting causes pictures to have a green/blue tint. I tried all the editing tricks I know and it still won't get rid of it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Heirloom Bug Box

My mom brought home this bug box from my grandparents' house a few weeks ago. They sent it home for Levi. Seeing it brought back a lot of memories for me! I remember having one exactly like it when I was very young. My grandpa made several and he had this one left.

We used to run around the yard and catch "nice" bugs in the bug boxes -- crickets, grasshoppers, worms, and lightening bugs mostly. We'd put grass and leaves in there and create a little bug habitat. In a few years I can imagine Levi having fun doing the same. In the meantime, his mom helped him "catch" a (dead) cicada for the pictures. I am such a good mom (sarcasm).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Caught Up

Lately I've been studying a lot about living obediently. I get caught up a lot in things that just really don't matter. I set a lot of selfish goals and work hard to meet them, when really I should be working toward goals that really matter. I'm saying all of that to say, I fail a lot, but hopefully I'm learning.

The world teaches that selfishness is right. It's completely normal to hear things like "I deserve this," and for people to be unabashedly only concerned with their own world. But in all reality, that is wrong. It's not biblical to make yourself or your own affairs numero uno. The two greatest commandments are instructions to love God and love others. Serve God and serve others. There is nothing about serving myself before either of those.

My dad always taught me to put others first. He probably told me to quit worrying about my own problems or to worry about other people before myself about five million times (don't have a heart attack Dad, we do listen to you...........sometimes), and I probably rolled my eyes five million times in response. I never liked hearing it because it was usually heard when I was in the middle of a high-school-teenage-girl-extreme-crisis. At the time, I usually was pouting because I wished I had the type of parents that sympathized with every "situation" I went through and told me that the world was treating me wrong and I deserved better. I definitely didn't have those kind of parents, but it was because they were trying to teach me that I deserve nothing. I'm glad I don't get what I "deserve."

Here are a few words inspiring me lately:

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:13-14 

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Friday, August 10, 2012


Pictures from the last few weeks via Instagram

{Bulbs I bought at an estate sale to use as Christmas decorations}

{Passed out in a booth at dinner}

{I pretended it was fall, turned the thermostat down, and made a batch of spice tea :)}

{At the Bell PowWow Run}

{Passed out at dinner again}

{Toddler swim time}

{Watching cows after speech therapy}

life rearranged

Sweet Words

I don't always drag along my headphones when I go running, because it's just a lot of baggage and a lot easier to run without them. This morning, though, I grabbed them for whatever reason as I headed out the door. During my first mile (the hardest part to me) I heard some sweet words that almost made me uncontrollably sob made me tear up. It was a gentle reminder that I need today.

When the path is daunting
And every step exhausting
I'm not alone
I'm not alone, no, no
I feel you draw me closer
All these burdens on my shoulder
I'm not alone, I'm not alone
You pull me me from this place

You carry me every day
You carry me all all the way
You carry me to the
You carry me to the cross

How your love has moved me
To the foot of all your glory
I'm not alone, I'm not alone
I'm not alone

You carry me every day
You carry me all all the way
You carry me to the
You carry me to the cross

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Family Fun Night

Our church has outgrown our current facility and recently purchased some land across town for a future location. Last year we held our back-to-school community block party on the new property (I blogged about it last summer), and back in June, we had a "Family Fun Night" there. It was at 6pm and the summer temperatures were already relentless (100+). Everyone was dreading being outside in the heat but that afternoon (due to a lot of prayer), the skies miraculously clouded up and the temps dropped over 20 degrees as some storms rolled in (un-forcasted). It was a beautiful display of God's grace and everyone had a great fellowship! 


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