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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season, that you had time to spend and share with friends and family. I pray that we honored those that we miss, and chose to truly value those still with us that we take part in their lives.
We had a really lovely family get together this evening, We had the wonderful corn chowder that I raved about on a previous post, hot spinach artichoke dip, stuffed mushrooms, ham/ranch pinwheels, poundcake, pumpkin bread, and mini-creampuffs for dinner. Lots of sparkly cider was had by all.
I just wanted to share a couple of projects that I made for my family. I wanted to start a new tradition, so I decided each Christmas I would make a personally designed gift box with the year clearly marked on it, to start a collection, Everyone seemed to like them, so I hope you do to!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Some projects

I have been doing MORE vinyl projects around the house, so here are a few pics. We also finally wrestled the tree up (that thing is a beast!) and it's looking really nice around here! BLISS!
I couldn't resist decorating hubby's car for the holidays-he is a die-hard Razorbacks fan, can you tell?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kanji LOVE

I am going a little crazy with the vinyl in my house, but when I saw the kanji words on my new Cricut Pagoda cart, I knew this would have to go up. Our youngest daughter is from China, so this is a nod to her :) Love you, Makenna!

JOY plates

I got this idea from the Christmas With The Cricut blogsite...those ladies are so clever and talented. Looked simple, so I had to try it! I love it! I am going to dress it up a little more, but hey! I'm getting started!

Christmas Project

My mom recently got remarried and has a new last name. I made this for her and her new hubby. I will give it to them at Thanksgiving dinner so she can use it for the Christmas holiday season. Thanks for looking! This was SO easy and so fun to make! I love the traditional stuff!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So much to be "Thankful" for-some blog therapy for me

Sometimes I pout and I am stubborn. It often takes alot to get my emotional attention. I tend to fall into "pits". Snares that have been laid for me. I am an easy and sometimes willing target. Let me give you a maybe-not-so brief background. I have 2 marvelous, amazing kids from a previous marriage. They are 18 and 20. I am only 40. A few years ago, when my kids started driving and getting alot more independent, I admit it-I was excited! I could see the light at the end of the "parenting" tunnel. I know you never really reach the end, but you do get to a point where you can start entertaining the idea of pursuing some of your own interests, right? A point where really, honest to God, no one cares what you are doing in the bathroom and why the door is closed.
I was going to start getting back in shape, take some classes, actually figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up,  and start cooking some really delicious gourmet meals for two. Maybe travel. Then my husband-my wonderful, funny, handsome, amazing husband got an itch. To adopt. A baby. My husband came along when my kids were "half-done" (ages 8 & 10). He never really had to go through the baby/toddler stage. No diaper bags, strollers, throwing up in the bed, daycare, snotty noses, tantrums, none of it. He was thirty-two when we got married. He had traveled to Europe, done and seen things, lived his twenties well and had enjoyed being a bachelor. He was ready to settle down when we got married. I was thirty when we got married. I had spent my twenties raising two babies, doing daycare to make ends meet until they were both old enough to go to school. I had never traveled anywhere except to Minot N.D. I was ready to rock n roll, baby! The kids were getting older and I was excited at the prospect of marrying a man that did not have any children and who proclaimed he didn't want any. We could go DO things. FINALLY, I was going to have a life outside of being "just" a mom. Until the whole adoption idea came along a few years into our marriage. But, I adore my man and his enthusiasm was contagious, so we started the adoption process. It took two years. My husband was deployed twice to the middle east. I taught both of the older kids to drive, held down my full time job as a second grade teacher, attended more volleyball and basketball games than I can count. I also ate more booster club nachos and hot dogs then I care to remember. Please don't misunderstand, I was happy about the adoption. My husband was abandoned as a baby and adopted into a loving family and I know what a difference that made in his life. Being able to have that kind of positive influence on someone's life is a gift, a privilege. But while I knew what a blessing this adoption would be, I also knew what kind of sacrifices would have to be made. Any hopes or dreams I had that involved me having a "life" or "me" time would be dashed. My husband's paycheck was more than twice mine. When we brought our new daughter home and she started to exhibit some separation anxiety and attachment problems, it was a pretty cut and dry decision on who would have to quit their job to stay home with her to insure her emotional well being. And it worked. She is well adjusted and happy and extremely ATTACHED. I have had to start doing daycare again to bring in some income. We just recently put our big beautiful home up for sale and moved into a smaller one with a much more manageable mortgage. I own a Volkswagon Beetle convertible...turbo, baby blue, daisy tail is adorable and I love it. But in order for me to get anywhere I now have to drive a not so cute, not so mini, teal Chrysler Town and Country. I hate it. It's ugly. I thought I was out of that stage too. My 18 y/o sure looks cute in the beetle. I spend 10 1/2 hour days with 6 four year olds. I have a closet full of beautiful career clothes. I am sitting here writing this post in a pair of sweats and a "Life is Crap" t-shirt my husband bought as a joke. He thinks it's funny. On my pouty days, I think its appropriate. He still gets to go to his job, go out to lunch, have friends and co-workers that admire and respect him, have grown up coversations, have his efforts rewarded in tangible ways. He actually knows what is going on out in the "real" world. I can tell you what happened on Dora the Explorer and make Cream of Wheat from memory. You would think that would be a low-stress kind of life, right? Not so, at least not for me. The nagging spirit that drags me down and reminds me everyday of what I have given up eats at me constantly.Sometimes this mundane existence effects my relationships. I live vicariously through my husband's and older children's experiences. There are days when I feel like I have sacrificed so much more, lost so much of my time. My husband only has to let this whole new life affect his routine from around 6-8 each evening, and on weekends. I sometimes get resentful when he wants to go do something by himself or with a friend (like go to a football game for 4-5 hours). I get jealous if he mentions a female co-worker once too often. I feel cheated that I don't have the opportunities to interact with members of the opposite sex just to verify that I still may have some scrap of physical attraction inside of these stretched out sweat pants.  Then the mental mind games begin. I start questioning. If I am so bored with myself, maybe he is too? I am certainly not living up to all the expectations and ideals that Oprah and the media in general think I am capable of. I am my own worst enemy with this stuff. I would like Oprah to do what she does with three kids and a husband. No nannies. No housekeepers. I'd like to see how empowered she would feel then. I know alot of the crap spewed out by the media is not relevant or realistic. 99.9% of it. But once in a while that little .1% gets to me.
 My husband loves me, and I know it. He tells me many times during the day. He calls, he emails, he is faithful, he is patient and when finances allow, he spoils me.
Yes, I am having a pity party. Or I was.
Then my husband came home in the middle of me making some lame dinner with multiple types of canned beans and told me about his day. A 21 y/o young woman he works with partied too hard and lost her life driving home drunk from a party. That was in the morning. In the afternoon, one of his troops was admitted to mental health unit for PTSD, threatening to kill himself. His wife was supposedly leaving him and he felt his world was falling apart around him. A friend of the family just found out he has a rapidly advancing form of MS. I spent the last hour of my evening watching videos on  YouTube of "Gotcha" days. These are the days when family who have been waiting for adoptions to come through finally receive their babies. They are heart-wrenching. We have our own Gotcha day video. Someday I will share it, but as for right now, I am thankful for the reminder of that day and what a precious gift our daughter is. And how fortunate I am to be able to spend this time with her-it is going by so quickly. It is hard to believe she is almost 4 years old. I should be cherishing every single second that I get with her and appreciate the second chance at mommy-dom. It's so fleeting. I will still have opportunities, my car will still be waiting for me, my husband is still in love with me, all the exotic locations I am wanting to visit will still exist. My husband survived his time in Afghanistan. I have a place to call home. I have beans in my pantry to make for dinner. We are healthy. I have people willing to trust me with the care of their children to help provide for my own. My son is in college and has a job and a sweet girlfriend. My oldest daughter is a senior and a gift from God. My baby is a firecracker that keeps me on my toes and puts a smile on my face everyday. My husband is finally retiring after 24 years of service to his country. Because of his excellent work ethic and people-loving personality, he will have no problem finding a new job and it just may be overseas at one of my "exotic" locations.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Living Room

I painted the living room a blue and sand combination and added the vinyl around the picture. I think it turned out pretty cute! All of my furniture is not in there yet, so it looks a little bare, but it's getting there!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Night Bliss

Ok, y'all-I know I have not posted in a little bit. It's been crazy with painting, moving, and decorating-all of it around 10 1/2 hour days with 7 daycare kids!!! Yes, I said 7! Kids have been crawling out of the woodwork since we moved into town. I am a little overwhelmed with the juggling this requires and when they are all here, I am housebound (not enough room in the van!). I honestly don't know how Michelle Duggar does it!
Anyway, I had a great day off hanging out with my Veteran! My husband has served for 23 years and done two tours in the Middle East. I am so very, very proud of him! I took the day off from daycare to spend some much needed time with him. We went furniture shopping-bought a new couch, YAY! I will start posting pics of the newly painted and some-what decorated house in the next day or two. I tried a new recipe tonight and it was a HUGE hit! Y'all really need to try it! So good when the weather is chilly. You will need to plan on this simmering for at least an hour and a half. The only thing that would have made it better was some homemade bread to dip in it! Let me know what you think! What could be better than starting off a recipe with bacon fried in butter??? YUMMO!
This is from Gooseberry Patch's Taste of Autumn cookbook.
Corn and Potato Chowder

1 TB butter
8 slices bacon ( I used a lot more...LOVIN that bacon!)
1 C chopped onion
3/4 C chopped green pepper
2 TB garlic, minced (I didn't have any-used garlic salt! HA!)
2 TB flour
5 C chicken broth
8 redskin potatoes, skinned and finely chopped
2 C carrots, chopped
2 C corn (I used a bag of frozen)
1 1/2 C heavy cream
2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper

Melt butter in stock pot, and bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Add onion and chopped pepper to the drippings and heat until tender. Add garlic. Remove from heat and sprinkle in flour-blend well. Gradually whisk in all of the broth until smooth. Stir in potatoes and carrots. Simmer on medium heat until vegetables are tender (about an hour). Add corn, salt and pepper then simmer for another 10  minutes. Stir in cream, herbs and crumbled bacon. Simmer for 2 minutes. Then FINALLY you can eat it! It's definitely worth the wait!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Think I Have Gone Over the Edge...Someone Catch Me!

Last weekend was moving weekend-SO, what does my dear husband decide to do? Catch H1N1 and spend the next four days in misery. And he felt the need to share it with our three year old. My weekend was HELL. Between the packing, the loading, the unloading, the painting, the health crisis and the weather, my nerves were a little frayed to say the least. Then, being the brilliant soul that I am, I do NOT take the week off from daycare kids. There are boxes everywhere, my worldly possessions are strewn about the new house in very bad fashion, we have no tv service, no internet, and a major cold front has moved into Colorado and it is bitterly cold and SNOWING on the first official week of FALL. The children cannot go outside, they cannot play in most areas of the house due to the moving debris, they cannot watch cartoons, they cannot do much of anything and we are all going insane.
Pray for us all :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Shopping Spree

I got so spoiled this weekend, but I had so much fun! We went to our first football game of the season on Saturday morning, and it was so much fun. The air was chilly, it was overcast, we were bundled in blankets and jackets....I LOVE this time of year! Then my dear, sweet man took me furniture shopping for our new house. I found a couch and loveseat that is going to be just perfect in my front room. Just have to make that final college tuition payment and then it will be mine!!!! BWAH HA HA! We went out to eat at a nice Italian restaurant, and then he took me to Steinmart for some new clothes. Such a sweetheart, he his :)
On Sunday we got up to a miserable weather morning of drizzle and fog, and went right back to bed. My crafts stores were all having huge sales, so off to town I went! I got three new cricut cartridges, an awesome edge punch (icicles) and a bunch of gorgeous fall, thanksgiving and christmas papers.

New Bedroom Set

When it comes to making major purchases for my home, I am a coward, and I am picky. I don't want to buy it until I have searched the ends of the earth (or maybe just all the malls, outlet stores, departments stores, etc in my area). I saw this set at JCPenney a few months ago, and initially liked it even though the color scheme was a little bolder than my typical taste. I continued with my search for months and could not find anything that I just LOVED. And if I am going to sleep with it for a few years, I better LOVE it. I went back to Penneys and decided that this was definitely the one for me, but I had a hard time making myself pay the $500 plus it was going to be with the sheets, curtains, pillows, etc. I checked online and they had it for clearance online!!! WhoooHooo! I paid less than $300 for all of it and got free shipping to my house. I hadn't intended on putting it together until we moved into our new house, but Brad wanted it on there. so I washed and ironed everything last night. I think I am really going to LOVE it. What do you think? Keep in mind, it is not staying with the color of wall behind it. Our new house is going to have spice and mocha colored walls to go with this set!

My Flowers

Usually my roses, dahlias, and glads are in full bloom by mid-late June. This year with all the rain and mild temperatures it took untiln the first of September for any of them to bloom. Just in time for me to move, of course! Anyway, here is one of my beautiful rose bushes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Here is the link to the painting pics!

Kitchen Pics

Hmmmm...blogger is having a hard time uploading these for some reason. I will try again in a little bit!

We are winning!

Last night I recruited some help to tackle the kitchen. Kyle, Meghan and Emily came to my rescue and we managed to get most of the kitchen painted. YAY! The kids did an awesome job. It required three coats to completely cover the khaki color, but it looks terrific! I LOVE the butter color! I don't know about the kids, but I am seriously sore from all of that arm work and climbing all over the cabinetry. We had a couple of scary, daring moments in our efforts to get to the corner of the super-high ceiling. We balanced a ladder on top of the countertop and made Kyle and Emily take turns climbing to the top of this precarious perch to paint that wall. Here are some pics from last night. This escapade turned out somewhat blunderous ( I have to fix a microwave handle that my knee hit when trying to straddle the oven) but over all I think it is going to be BLISS!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Help

Kitchen BEFORE

Me Verses the Ugliest Color in the World

We are moving! While we are very excited, some things have to be done to the new house before we can move in. The kitchen is getting a total makeover, courtesy of me! The joke around my house is that if you stand still long enough, you will get painted! I love color. But NOT the current color of this kitchen. The current color is somewhere between khaki green and baby poo brown. I chose a pale butter yellow color for the kitchen and went over to the house Sunday afternoon to start my painting. I took my little helper (probaby not so wise) and we began painting. The texture on the walls is pretty rough and there are lots of "little" pieces of wall-not wide enough for a roller. And it is going to take at least two coats of the yellow to cover up the khaki.What you see in the pic is all I got done in three hours. I really thought I would be much farther along. This is definitely going to be a challenge!

My Little Helper

Sunday Morning Brunch Casserole

I woke up much earlier than my family on Sunday morning, at about 5:30 in fact. I did my Beth Moore Bible study on Daniel. Have you done this one? If not, you really need to check into it. I think this is her best by far. I am learning SO much! Anyhoo-I did my Bible study, colored my hair, and was joined by my three year old while the hair was still poking out in sticky spikes from the cap and smelling of a science lab.We decided to get breakfast going and I wanted to try something new. I pulled out my Gooseberry Patch "Autumn in the Contry" cookbook and decided on the Sunday Brunch Casserole. We got busy cracking eggs, chopping onions, and frying bacon. Here is the recipe if you decide to give it a go! This one got 5 thumbs up by the family:)
Sunday Brunch Casserole

1/2 lb bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled, drippings reserved
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/2 green or yellow pepper, chopped
1 dozen eggs
1 C milk
20 oz pkg frozen hashbrowns, thawed
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dill weed
Heat reserved drippings in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper, cook until tender and set aside. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl, stir in bacon, onion mixture, and hashbrowns. Mix in cheese and seasonings. Pour all into greased 9x13. Bake uncovered at 350 for an hour.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

My house smells DIVINE! I absolutely LOVE autumn and have been in a pumpkin and apple frenzy. This is one of my favorite recipes. My kids just gobble this up-it won't last the day. This one goes on the 'Bliss" list!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 C Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 2/3 C Flour
3/4 salt
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Salad Oil
1 C (canned) Pumpkin
1/2 Water
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp each-Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cloves

Mix all ingredients well with electric mixer on medium. Stir in 1 Cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. Bake in lightly greased loaf pan at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Cool before cutting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009