Wednesday, September 30, 2015

on the household stuff

Good morning!  I am dragging a tiny bit today, because I was up too late last night.  (Netflix problems.)  This seems to be the story of my life lately.

Yesterday was one of those days when I was in the kitchen all day.  I love days like that, when I make something yummy for lunch AND for dinner.  My kids love it, too.  I had gotten the ingredients to make homemade broccoli cheese soup the night before, so that was what was my plan for lunch.  When lunch with one friend got postponed until today, another dear friend came over and ate with us.  It was lovely, being able to catch up with each other.  Here is a picture from the blog where I got the recipe from:


The blog is called Life in Grace.  Here is a link, in case you're interested in the recipe.  It was delicious.

Also while in the kitchen, I made dinner for the family.  Last night was a bit crazy~two kids had to be at a rehearsal at our church, and my new Bible study started last night.  I was cooking dinner at four and eating by 4:45.  We had beer cheddar Joe's for dinner, and all you have to do is type that into Google and Mix-and-Match Mama, Shay Shull, will appear.  Make them.  They're delicious.  (My only addition to the recipe is that salt is needed at the end.  And my kids love a good dash of Texas Pete hot sauce.)

I've mentioned before that if you find beer in my fridge, this is why.  We don't drink it, but I cook with it.  I also use it for a roast recipe I sometimes make.

I love being in the kitchen~I love cooking, and I always have.  Being a homeschool mom helps.  I am home, so I might as well.  I do go through dry spells with the meals I make, like when it's eight hundred degrees in the summer months, but every other time of year, I love cooking.

One of the reasons I love being in my kitchen is because of my handy dandy little under-the-cabinet kitchen radio.  It looks exactly like this one pictured below.
Every single time I am in the kitchen, I have this turned on.  I listen while I do laundry, while I cook and do kitchen chores, I even sometimes keep it turned on while I'm in other parts of the house.  It's tiny, but the speakers are great.  I had another one of these ages ago, but I wore it out.  I told Todd one Christmas a few years ago that I needed him to buy me something electronic that year, and he was all over it.  He installed it the same day I opened it.  I literally keep it turned on more often than not.  To what station, you wonder?


To none other than K-Love.  It's positive and encouraging and uplifting, just like the advertisement says.  I love having praise music on.  Ask my kids~I am forever singing away, in my own little world, in the kitchen.  The station is different, depending on where you live.  If you're local to me, it's 94.9.  

Those are just a couple of reasons why I don't mind doing boring and mundane housework.  Anything to help that along, right?

Thanks for reading.  Love to all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

other random things

All I mentioned from our weekend was the homecoming that took place on Saturday night, but we did do some other things that were fun.  Some of our friends live in a house that backs up to the football field, so Friday night, we went to their house and sat and watched the game from a great viewpoint.  My only complaint was that the scoreboard needed to be see-through.  ;)  From there, we went to another friend's house, who had a bunch of kids in their front yard, jumping on a bouncy house.  We stayed and visited with them for a bit, but I ended up coming on home and they rode home with Graham.

Have I mentioned that I am addicted to Gilmore Girls?  It's taken over my love of books.  I am almost through with season four.  I am already dreading the end, because I have heard that the last season was disappointing.  :/  The reason I even mention this is because I used to go to bed and read.  But now, I go to bed and watch Netflix.

My older boys are playing soccer.  It was very last minute, but the games are fun to watch.  There are only two teams for their age division, and it's co-ed, so they will just play that one team all season.  They had two games last night.


Drew tried playing the goalie, but he didn't love it, so another girl came in to relieve him.  I was proud of him for trying!

On Sunday, after morning church, we had made plans to go to lunch together with our class, but the girls decided they wanted to go on a picnic instead.  Everyone brought something to share.  We had sandwiches on fancy bread, with lettuce and tomato, chips, and homemade goodies for dessert.  It was so much fun, but they were all tired from homecoming, so we ended very early so they could all go home and do their homework and nap.


A few of the girls couldn't make it, but this is the majority of our class.  Are they not adorable?!  I love them so much!

Also that day, after community groups ended, we went out to my mom's and step-dad's house to view the blood moon through the fancy telescope.  But when we got there, there were too many clouds.  They were so sweet to make nacho's for us, though, and there was chili they'd eaten for dinner that we had.  It was so yummy.  We left not too long after we got there, and by the time we got home, we could see the blood moon!


Isn't it pretty?!  It was so cool to keep seeing the progress of the lunar eclipse.  The boys were amazed, as was I.

Last up is the picture I snapped of the dogs yesterday afternoon.  We all know that I do not love puppies.  I like to look at puppies, but I do not love them.  Well, I haven't been too fond of Callie because of that little tidbit.  But over the weekend, she has proceeded to win me over some, and as she starts to understand more and more, I am finding myself liking her.  Somewhat.  ;)


I think they look so sweet in this picture!  They were both just hanging out on their beds, playing with their toys.

Well.  I need to get this day started, so have a great one!  Love to all.

Monday, September 28, 2015

weekend update, homecoming edition

This weekend was all about sports.  Friday night was spent watching our local football team from the backyard of a friend's house.  There was food and plenty of fellowship, and by the end of the night, when we ended at a another friend's house from church, I was thanking God for the gift of our church family.  I cannot imagine life without them.  It was a really fun night.

Saturday, Graham and Drew had a soccer game (they're playing on our church's co-ed team with a bunch of teenagers), then they ran a couple errands, and came home to chill for the rest of the afternoon.  That night was the much anticipated homecoming dance.  

Please forgive me for the amount of pictures I am about to show.  


Left to right are Graham, Nicole, Drew, Emma, Abigail and Andrew.  They were the ones who made most of the plans and the decision to go as a group, but there were some others that joined them.


They looked so nice!  Katie is the sweet friend who went and helped the girls with their makeup as they got ready, and we wanted her in the pictures.  On the left of the above picture are Sara, Katie and Major, with Katie in the middle.  


She is so loved by all of her friends.  She was laughing so hard as they did this to her.  


Drew and his two moms, Emma's mom and my sweet friend Laurie.  I am pretty sure he loves us equally.  He is as comfortable with her as he is with me almost, especially ever since she sat next to him on his first plane ride to Guatemala.  


If I had a daughter, I would want her to be just like Emma.  I adore this sweet girl!  I am forever telling Drew that he had better treat her right.  


Nicole and Graham.  A couple of things I loved about how they all looked were their bow ties and the girls wearing Converse with their dresses.  They are absolutely adorable.  And that is my kind of girl.  I so would have done this in high school if I had thought about it for half a minute.




I love these three!  They're all such sweet friends, and Emma texts Graham almost as much as she texts Drew.



Drew and Andrew.  


Love!  I loved their corsages.  Laurie took this picture.

And last, but not least, is this picture Toddley took of me and my boys.


I can hardly believe they're old enough to be taking dates to a homecoming dance, that they're driving vehicles (one with us, one without), that they're both taller than me, that they're both teenagers.  It seems like they should still be little.  But I do love this new and exciting phase of life we're in, and it's one that I cherish every moment.  All too soon, these days will be a sweet memory.  My friend Missy reminded me of that Saturday after they'd all driven off, and I stood there and cried as she told me.  

The days are long, but the years are short.  

If you're a mom to little's, hang in there.  You will blink, and then you'll be at the stage I'm in right now.  

Love to all.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This week has gone by with lightning speed, and yet it also has seemed long.  Perhaps because I spent a couple of days doing nothing that required getting out of my house.  I am linking up with Momfessionals for this post.

My Friday Favorites post takes me from Denver, Colorado to my little home in The Ville.

My first favorite moment from the past week was seeing my beautiful nice Erika get married to Kyle.


Their wedding was beautiful and I am so glad I got to be there.  We had planned to go as a family, but we were forced to make the decision between my car or the wedding.  The car trumped the wedding, because I need it every day.

Another favorite from being out of town was going to Breckenridge last Saturday.  I mentioned this adorable bookstore in my last post.  It's definitely one of my favorite pictures that I took while I was out of town.


I wish I could go back and revisit this store and go inside.  Just to see what the inside looked like.

One of my new favorite things around my house is this cute towel that my sister Debi bought me while we were in Castle Rock on Sunday.


I have loved seeing it hang on the oven everyday since my return home.  I do love fun home decorations~one of my favorite things to do is dressing my home up a little.

This week, while cleaning out my purse, I came across an old gift card someone gave me last December.  I *might* have enjoyed a little mini shopping spree on Amazon, on some of my favorite items.  With the gift card, I bought a new set of Stabilo pens, a Bible for Noah, and this book.


I can't wait to read it.  It's a collection of stories about life around the table, and included in the book are some of this author's favorite recipes.  She says that after reading it the first time, she hopes that it gets stained and that the pages become well loved with splashes of the wine we use to cook with.  It's meant to be read, then used, as a way to connect with friends and family around the dining table.

Lastly for this week of favorites was seeing my blog's pageviews number.


Who would have thought this little ole blog would receive those kinds of views?  My step dad has been keeping up with the stats for me, and he has been amazed as he's watch the numbers grow each week.  I don't know if I'm amazed, but I am definitely humbled by God.  I pray that this blog always points to Him.  Apart from Him, I can do nothing.  All that my life consists of is a gift from Him, and I thank Him for the work He has done in my life, and in the lives of my family.  I pray that He is always honored and lifted high in the writing that takes place on this blog.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bible Study

I know I have mentioned on here how sad I get when I complete a Bible study, and last night was no exception.  We wrapped up our Children of the Day study on First and Second Thessalonians last night.  It was so, so good!  And per my usual style, I cried over the last page of the homework.

I know it sounds silly, but the reason I cry is because I get to know the writer of the book I am studying.  We always study more than just that book of the Bible~we take a look at the history of that person who wrote it (Paul mainly in these books, but also Timothy and Silas), what led them to that point in time, what their journey previously looked like, what it would like at the close of the letter, who they were writing to and what they were saying in the letter.  When you get to the end of all that, it's pretty emotional.

In these letters, the people of Thessalonica were being warned of the evil that was to come.  They were being told to refrain from this and that, stay away from this type of person and that type of person, and to watch out for certain dangers.

But at the end of the letters, in chapter three of the second book of Thessalonians, we are given a beautiful promise, in spite of the things that were to come.

"For not all have faith.  But the Lord is faithful."  2 Thessalonians 2:2-3

As a part of our closing lesson last night, Beth Moore had us write that promise on the palms of our hands in Sharpie.




When we are accused of things that are not true, "For not all have faith.  But the Lord is faithful."

When trials come our way, "For not all have faith.  But the Lord is faithful."

When we are deserted by those we love most, or when we lose our friends along life's way, "For not all have faith.  But the Lord is faithful."

When people are mean to us, "For not all have faith.  But the Lord is faithful."

When people disappoint us, "For not all have faith.  But the Lord is faithful."

He is faithful.

We all need to remember this.  Love to all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

weekend update, wedding edition

Good morning!  It was heavenly being at home and sleeping in my own bed last night.  I was so glad to see my people.  They came to the airport and picked me up, and my heart skipped a beat as I saw them.  I had a great time in Colorado, but it is always so sweet to be home.

There's no place quite like it.

This post will be full of pictures.  Consider that your warning.

On Wednesday afternoon, after a yummy lunch that I made for my family, I packed and was ready by three.  My step-dad came to pick me up at four thirty and we went to grab a bite to eat at Chick Fil A.  We knew we would be hungry if we didn't eat first.  Then we headed to the airport.


My excited face.  Though, truthfully, it was more of my terrified face.  I hate flying.  I have anxiety over flying and could probably use a nerve pill of some sort.  We ended up changing seats after I took this.  The flight wasn't full at all, so my sister that you see in the background and I moved to the row behind where I originally sat and spaced out a little.  We landed at around eight thirty, Memphis time.  It was so good seeing everyone!  My sister Debi was the first one to greet us as we walked to the baggage claim area, then we saw my niece Erika and then my other sister Lisa and my nephew Jaret.  Erika cried when she hugged all of us.  I think things got real at that moment, hence the emotion.  After we got our bags, we all went to Erika's house for pizza.

We got back to Debi's kinda late, so we went to bed soon after arriving.  My niece Nicole was so gracious in giving Trish and I her room.  Mom and Bill were on the other side of our jack-and-jill bathroom in the guest room downstairs.  In Colorado, the main floor is the upstairs.  I wish I could say that I slept great that first night, but that would be a lie.  It wasn't anything but me~Nicole's bed is so comfy.

The next morning, Thursday, I enjoyed my quiet time on Debi's back porch.  The view from that spot is amazing.  Practically right at their backyard is a field with a barn and horse stable in the background.  That is where Nicole takes riding lessons and works.  Every morning, I would see deer, rabbits and birds.  Also from her porch, you can see Pike's Peak.

We got dressed and were ready to go by ten.  Erika was having a bridesmaids luncheon at noon, at a beautiful Italian restaurant called Maggiano's.  I sat by Nicole.  Isn't she pretty?  She found out while we were there that she was nominated for the homecoming court!



My mom and my sisters and me outside the restaurant.

Below is Erika and her best friend and maid of honor, Morgan.  These girls are precious.  The first time I got to know Morgan was on a trip to the beach when Graham was four and Drew was three.  She won my heart then and my boys won hers.  And now, she is a wife and mommy to a precious son.


They're so beautiful!  We went back to Debi's house after lunch and rested for a bit before the rehearsal and dinner that night.  Debi and Mike live in Parker, Colorado, about forty minutes outside of Denver.  Erika got married near downtown Denver, so it took us a little over an hour to get there because of traffic.

The venue was called Baldoria on the Water, and while it looks like it's in the middle of nowhere, it's in a bustling area.  It was beautiful, though, and the inside looked like a winery.  The wedding and reception were here, with the wedding outdoors and the reception indoors.


Sweet KK and me.  She is stunning and it seems like she should still be five.  She was so sentimental in the moments leading up to her wedding, and every time her eyes filled with tears, my eyes filled with tears.  I absolutely adore her.

The rehearsal dinner was at a hotel across the street, in the restaurant in the downstairs area.  The food was good and the company was fun.  I might have embarrassed Erika a tiny bit as I relived some of my favorite memories with her in them, but she didn't seem to mind too much.  After the dinner, we got home late and all pretty much went straight to bed.

The next morning we got up early and got dressed so we could drive into the city to help my sister decorate for the reception.  It was a bit chaotic and it was a very long day, but everything went off without a hitch, and it was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to.  My brother in law, Mike, married them.



We're seesters!  This was us right before we sang "Goin' to the Chapel" to Erika before she walked down the aisle.  She cried, then I cried.  #storyofmylife

She was such a gorgeous bride.  They left for their honeymoon under a canopy of sparklers, driven away by a friend of Erika's in a Bentley.  My boys might have died a bit when I told them that.

We were exhausted when we got back to Debi's and we all slept late the next morning.  And by late, I mean eight thirty.  We went to Breckenridge for the day, after a long ride in the car that made me minimally ill.  The weather was perfect and the view was spectacular.  We stopped in a little town called Idaho Springs and ate a yummy lunch at a place called Beaux Jo's.  From Idaho Springs, we still had an hour long ride to Breckenridge.


We window shopped in some really cute little shops.  I bought Graham and Drew their favorite brand of tee shirt.  They say Breckenridge on them, and they're Comfort Colors brand.  They loved them.  Jonah and Noah each got a bag they'd been wanting from Cabella's.



I found my dream store in the heart of downtown Breckenridge.  It was an adorable little used bookstore that had mountains of books everywhere I looked.  I didn't go in, though that was a sacrifice on my part, because I had people waiting on me.  I could have gotten lost in there for hours.

Sigh.

And I didn't even know Patagonia had a shop.  Maybe that's naive of me, but I had no idea.  My boys would have loved seeing this store in person.  We also stopped in the Columbia store.  My nephews and step-dad all bought jackets.  I helped.  :)

Our last stop there was at the Starbucks.  We were all really tired and left for home.  Debi had a delicious lasagna made for us that was in her freezer, so she had Nicole heat it up in the oven for us while we drove home.  Debi is an amazing cook and hostess.  I have never felt so much at home at someone's house.  I loved staying there and I loved being with her so much.

Sunday morning we got up early again and got dressed for our day.  Everyone stayed home except for Debi, Mom and me.  We went to Castle Rock, which was about fifteen minutes away.  We shopped and had lunch that made us all sick and then we went back to Debi's.  Later that afternoon, Nicole had a riding lesson, so Mom, Bill and I went and watched.


She is so graceful on this horse.  We loved watching her in her element and she impressed me very much with her talent.  I was so proud of her in the moments watching her that I had tears in my eyes.  I love seeing my nieces, nephews and kids doing something they love so much.

Everyone from out of town came to Debi's that night for dinner, but I was seriously sick.  I went to bed early and even woke up yesterday still feeling horrible.  I was praying I would feel better by the time we had to board the plane and my friend Missy was praying as well.  It worked, because after lunch, I felt totally normal.  I was so thankful!  I cannot imagine flying sick.

After a very tearful goodbye, we went through security and the airport and boarded our plane home.


It was an amazing few days.  I am so thankful to God and to my step-dad for the opportunity that I was given to be able to go.  I hated leaving my family at home, but they were fine without me, though they did tell me repeatedly how much they missed me.  While I was gone, my car was fixed and a new puppy was added to our family.  Her name is Callie.  The jury is still out on how much I like her.  She's adorable and all, don't get me wrong, but she has made me miss Andy the Wonder Dog so much it hurts.  There will never be another dog on this earth that could replace him.  The boys, however, are enamored by her.  She really is cute, and so far, she has been a great puppy.

Well, you made it through the duration of this blog post!  Thanks for reading.  Love to all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week is flying by!  Probably because I'm leaving town today for five nights, and I feel like my clock is running out.  My giant to-do list has been my BFF all week.  One of the things on my to-do list was to pull out my fall and Halloween decorations.  I forgot about this last year and didn't pull any of it out.  And my mom gave me some really cute little people to decorate with when I was at her house on Saturday.


Aren't they adorable?  Now, I did manage to pull the stuff out of the attic, but then it just all got left on my dining room table.  So today I will finish putting them out.

I love decorating.  Because we are always at home, I love for my house to look cute.

For a while now, I've had the app Snap Chat.  My kids have it, so I have it.  But that's where it ends.  I haven't understood it, but I think I am finally coming around.  There was an update on the app, and last night I took a picture of myself that cracked me up, so I sent it out to some people.  Toddley got this app too, and yesterday, he and Jonah took a selfie.  Never mind that I always ask Jonah to do this with me and he never does.


They had to run to the bank and look at the goodies they got while there!  They made out big time.  And no, Jonah is not drinking beer, but it is root beer.  ;)

We all had dental appointments for teeth cleaning yesterday, but Jonah has had a sinus infection all week, so I let him stay home with Todd.  None of us had cavities!  I thought for sure that I did.  My heart did a little happy dance at those words.  And though I hate going to the dentist for anything, I do love our dentist so much!  His name is Floyd Garrett, and he's in Cordova.  Toddley has known him forever, and he is always so good to us.

At our church, once a month we have something called Impact.  It's a dinner that's free and it's a set time to reach out to those who have visited our Bible fellowship classes, either by letter, phone call or visit.  I always take that time to write letters to my girls.  I love encouraging them, and I love seeing a lot of our youth there.  Last night, they were singing show tunes very loudly.  Very loudly.


We were dying.  Not really.  Truth be told, I love these girls so much!  They can sing me anything they want and at any volume, and I would love them.  They are precious and wonderful, and I am so honored to be even a small part of their lives.  These are two of the Katie's.  There is a third.  She wasn't there.  I love when they text me, I love that they ask me for rides, I love that they always seem to be excited to be invited to my house for anything.  And I love that over fall break, we are taking them on a camping trip!  Should be fun.  Should be interesting.  Should be full of laughter.

When I came home last night, I cleaned in the kitchen and put some things away and did some laundry.  Then I sat down to make my to-do list for today and my packing list.  I am such a list maker, people.  I particularly love making lists with my fun pens.


I have a million things to do before leaving for Colorado tonight.  Did I mention why I'm going?  My beautiful niece Erika is getting married.  She has lived in Colorado for several years now, and has made a life for herself there.  I have so many memories with her in them as a little girl.  So many.  She was tiny and fierce and terrified of dogs.  She had the sweetest little voice in all of the world, and she had most people wrapped around her little finger.  She was always KK.  I think her brothers gave her the nickname.  I cannot believe that she is about to be a Mrs.


This was one of her engagement photos.  Isn't she beautiful?  She always has been.

Last on my list o' things of random is this picture.


I changed my Instagram username and info this morning, per the request of my bonus son, Alex.  I love this kid so much.  When he asks me to do something like this, how can I not?  He gets irritated when I refer to him as my son's friend.  He considers himself a part of our family, and we do too.  So, I am no longer all4boys.  I am now allfiveboys.  (all5boys was taken.)  My heart is full.

Well, my list isn't going to get finished on its own, so I had better run.  I won't update the blog again until Tuesday, most likely.

Love to all!

Monday, September 14, 2015

the weekend

We had an amazing weekend!  Part of the reason because of the amazing weather.  I love, love, love fall weather.  It's not officially here yet, and I know it'll get hot again but, for now, we are enjoying the cooler temperatures.


I took a screenshot of the weather on my phone, and this was around noon.  This is perfect camping weather.

On Friday, Graham filled out an application to be a summer missionary for Street Reach, the outreach and school that our church is involved in.  He's been praying about this for a while now, but it all started two years ago.  Next summer, he will finally be old enough to be considered, and it's a day he's been waiting for.  First he has to apply through Street Reach, then he will have to apply with the North American Mission Board (NAMB).  It's exciting times for him!  He would be gone all summer, from the end of May until the first part of August.  Gulp.


I'd asked my small group ladies at bible study to pray for Graham, as he prayed and considered going through with this application process.  I know that if this is what God's will is for Graham's life next summer, that He will open the doors for him to be accepted.  If not, then He will shut those doors.

We ate lunch with my mom on Friday afternoon.  We went to her house and hung out for a bit, then came back home.  We had an easy dinner that night, then we all ended up at a friend's house, where the boys had been tie-dying tee shirts for the next day.

On Saturday, we stayed home most of the day, then Graham and Drew left for the Relay For Life, here in The Ville.  They helped work the kid zone area and didn't get home until ten thirty.  While they were there, the rest of us went to my mom's house for dinner.  Afterward, the boys played outside and my step-dad and I sat on the backporch and talked.




We had friends with us.  Thankfully, all the grandparents are okay with them always having friends with them!

I had to be at church super early Sunday morning for choir, and missed out on Sunday school, but it was a wonderful morning.  After church, Graham went and picked up a bunch of tacos for us to just eat at home, and then all the boys went to the park across from the street from our neighborhood, to help set up for our church's annual picnic.  I love this time of fellowship that we have as a church family!  The weather was perfect, again, and the food was plentiful.



It was a really fun night.  To top it all off, we cheered on our teenage girls while they played a very competitive game of soccer.  Some of them played soccer, and some of them danced.


It was another beautiful night, and it's always fun being with friends.  I don't even want to think about how boring my life would be without these friends God has given me!  It was an amazing weekend, and we are ready to tackle this week.  We've got lots going on, but I'm ready for that, too.

Happy Monday to you and love to all.