Mar 28, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

Time for another installment of What's Up Wednesday with Shay, Mel and Sheaffer!



What We're Eating This Week:

Monday was burgers on the grill
Tuesday was french toast and bacon
Wednesday is pizza twists
Thursday is cheeseburger soup
Friday will be some sort of fish.

Nothing super fancy, but suppers that everyone loves!

I'm also all into my popcorn again.  It's been months since I've mad good ole fashioned (homemade) popcorn.  I use coconut oil and LOVE the flavor!

What I'm Reminiscing About:

Tonight we had an open house sort of evening at the new school that Alayna and Emma will be attending next year.  Rachel made the move this school year, and next the other two will join her next fall.  Which means I will have TWO high schoolers and a middle schooler.  Ugh.  How does that happen?

What I'm Loving:

Getting back into working out!!!  I've been doing so good the last two weeks with working out 4 days a week.  I've been getting up around 4:30 to get on the treadmill for 15-20 minutes and then sometimes again when I get home from work.  I'm slowly working my way into running again, and its surprisingly going really well!

This week has had AMAZING weather, finally.  Mousey and I are excited to resume our nightly bike/walks.  We got out there tonight and it was so beautiful!

What We've Been Up To:

Continuing to finish up the basement, everything is ordered and hopefully in a couple weeks we'll have flooring!

What I'm Dreading:

Nothing I can think of right now!

What I'm Working On:

Apparently you can't eat all the foods on vacation and come back the same weight.  Who knew?  I'm currently working on losing what I gained.  I had gotten SUPER lax with my workouts and eating, so it's game on again!

What I'm Excited About:

Finishing our basement!  I sound like a broken record, but I am seriously SO excited!  I have not had my own finished space in this house and I am stoked to finally have my craft room/office.

What I'm Watching/Reading:

I still haven't watched the final "This Is Us", so I need to do that yet, but besides that and Survivor, there isn't anything we really keep up on.  We've started taping "Fixer Upper" and watching that in the mornings instead of the news.  The news is far too depressing and not a way I want to start our day.

I am currently reading a few books...

"Women Living Well" by Courtney Joseph.  I am really loving this book, she's a  Christian author and talks about what it means to be a wife, mother and child of God.

I also just started "The Practice House" by Laura McNeal.  I am just in the beginning pages, but so far I really like it!

What I'm Listening To:

Continuing to love Pandora, these are my current favorite stations:
Christian Rock Radio
80's Rock Radio
Johnny Cash Radio
Bluegrass Radio
Gillian Welch Radio
Love the mix of all of these!

What I'm Wearing:

Nothing special.  I just ordered the Ab-solution jeans from Wit and Wisdom, I LOVE these jeans and already have them in black.

Main Image - Wit & Wisdom 'Ab Solution' Stretch Ankle Skinny Jeans (Nordstrom Exclusive) (Regular & Petite)

What I'm Doing This Weekend:

Volleyball, volleyball and more volleyball.  Rachel and Alayna both play on Saturday, that should be tricky, they are in the same area, just different neighboring towns.  Sunday Rachel has to work concessions and then I have my nieces confirmation.  Busy busy!

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month:

It's my birthday month!!  Yes I said month, not day.  Don't judge.

Linking up with Friday Favorites too!

Mar 23, 2017

Friday Favorites

Time for another addition of Friday Favorites!  Linking up with Erika, Narci and Andrea.

Another week is (almost) down in the books.  Sweet Jezabel it was a long one.  And for no particular reason, really.  It just felt like it took for.ever.

This is exactly how I felt, just sayin.

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I've been SO exhausted again lately and I get so cranky trying to figure out why.  I'm constantly adjusting my diet and sometimes I just feel defeated.  This week I dusted (literally) off my treadmill and had Brad set it up again.  It's been put away for a couple months because of finishing our lower level.  I have walked/ran everyday this week and it has definitely helped with the energy levels.

This is so me!  I am wide awake around 4, and literally by 10 am my energy is zapped for the rest of the day.  Sucks.  It doesn't help having a desk job.

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So besides my debbie downer beginning, here's some of my favorites for this week!

I really enjoyed reading everyone's Balancing Work and Home Life for Working it Wednesdays.  it was SO refreshing to see that I'm not the only who feels like a raging lunatic.  And very interesting that *most* of us moms enjoy getting up at the butt crack of dawn to get some "me" time in.  If you're still on the fence about this one, just try it for one week.  It feels so good to have my workout time and devotions done AND I can usually get supper together.  You can read my post here.

 Despite being super busy this week, we still enjoyed some yummy suppers, here's what we had:

  Layered Taco Casserole is a huge hit with everyone, even mousey ate it up.  So many ways you can personalize this.  I've made it a couple days in advance and it doesn't change the taste at all.

Another fave is chicken wild rice soup.  Rachel got home from volleyball and was jumping up and down when she saw what we were having for supper!!  So glad I can make her day with food, haha!

Picture courtesy of
Chicken Wild Rice Soup I

One night was venison sausage and another was tator tot hotdish.  Alayna was in heaven!!  As much as I still love to plan my meals and do some prepping, I am trying to not make my entire weekend about prepping for the week, it was starting to make me slightly insane.  So, I'm doing more delegating, and enjoying a little more "me" time.  So far so good!

Emma and Alayna have been in Easter craft mode.  They are both in charge of the treat for Easter with their friends.  Each friend takes a holiday and then does little treats/gift baskets.  Such a cute idea!

And lastly, here are some pics of what we're finishing.  We built our house 10 years ago, and at the time I was doing daycare.  The budget didn't allow for us to finish the lower levels completely (we have a 4 level home), so we finished the family room on the third level and left the other rooms and 4th level unfinished.  We still had an office, bedroom, laundry room and bathroom plus the 4th level to finish. 

Brad has done most of the work himself and it looks awesome!  He's been working on it for about a year and a half and I am SO SO ready for it to be finished!  I have dealt with bins/boxes placed anywhere we have extra room, and dust like you wouldn't believe, ugh.

Here's a pic of my office, the walls are a pale yellow, it looks amazing!  This room is SO bright during the day, I love it.  My treadmill will go in here and then all my craft/scrapbooking stuff.  It is going to be amazing having a place for all my stuff finally!

This is Rachel's room.  We painted the walls a light gray and I love it!  So bright and fresh in here.

We ran to Hobby Lobby last night as all of their pics were 50% right now, we did find a couple things, but my favorite is this cow pic.  I LOVE it!  It is so my 3 girls.  Alayna is the one sticking her tongue out, bossy flossy Rachel is in the middle and posing just so perfectly Emma is on the left.  I saw this and laughed so hard, it totally made my day!  Cannot wait to hang it in my office!! 

As long as we're on the subject of pictures, I recently added to my gallery wall in the living room.  When we were in Mexico there was a photographer that walked the beach and would take professional pics.  Of course he latched onto our girls and took a ton of photos.  And of course we spent a trillion dollars buying said photos.

But seriously, they turned out SO good, how could we not??  Rachel got a pic with a monkey, (who, if you look real close, actually shat on her shoulder) which has always been her fave animal EVER.  Mousey got a super cute pic with the monkey also...

And then we bought this beautiful pic of Emma.  Seriously.  Freaking LOVE this photo!  

Happy Friday everyone!!

Mar 20, 2017

Workin It Wednesdays: Balancing Work and Home Life

Linking up with Erika and Shay

This is a perfect topic for me right now. In fact, I just recently had a melt down about this very subject!

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Here's a little back story....When Brad and I married, I was a nursing assistant, I LOVED that job.  It will probably always be my favorite job.  When Rachel was born, I worked until she was almost a year and then decided to stay home and do daycare.  I quickly learned that staying home is HARD and staying home and doing daycare was HARDER!!

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I did daycare for 11 years, and as hard as it was, it really was the best decision for our family.  I loved being able to do the preschool stuff, crafts, celebrating any and all holidays, etc.  I do wonder how that affected my kids, because lets be real, at the end of the day I was freaking exhausted and crabby!

When Alayna started 1st grade, I decided to hang the daycare hat.  11 years was enough for me.  I found a great office job that was only 3 days/week 10 minutes from our house.  It was the perfect job to transition away from being home!  I worked there for 4 years and loved it.  Just this past August I accepted a position at a different job only 10 minutes from our house and love it!  The only downside is that it is a fulltime gig.

So that's where my struggle is.  I feel like I still need to do all the things I did when I was home, but I'm quickly learning that I just can't.  For me, it feels like I'm failing at being a mom and I need to transition my head away from that.

With volleyball tourneys almost every weekend, I tend to feel even more crazy, haha!  So here is what I do to try and keep my sanity:

MEAL PLAN!!  Seriously.  it doesn't take a huge amount of time, but it will save your sanity.  I wrote a post here  about how I do it.  We don't always stick to the meal plan 100%, but just having some things prepped and ready to go is a time saver.

If I know our weekend is going to be super crazy, I will so one load of laundry everyday to keep up with it.  I am lucky that I work 10 minutes from home, so I can put a load in before work and switch and fold when I come home for lunch.

My girls are 16, 13 and 10, they are MORE than capable of helping.  I will leave them notes of things they need to do like clean out and fill up dishwasher, fold laundry, clean bathrooms, etc.  Helps me out so much!

I am also an early riser, I am usually up by 4:30-500.  This is MY time.  I do my daily devotions and read blogs/do a blog post.  I need this time with Jesus and coffee to get my day going!

I also enjoy working out and this one is crucial for me.  With our basement in shambles right now, we had packed up my treadmill.  Brad helped me set it back up and I ran yesterday for the first time in 2 months and it felt glorious!  I need that for my mental health.

So, those are a few things I do to keep me sane, I can't wait to read what everyone else has done!!

Mar 16, 2017

Friday Favorites-Rachel's Birthday Edition

Linking up with Andrea, Narci and Erika 

I'm pretty sure I say this every week, but it seriously feels like yesterday was Monday, and here we are at Friday already!!

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Our sweet oldest had her 16th birthday on Tuesday, you can read all about her here.  We went out for supper on Monday night since she had volleyball practice on Tuesday.  Normally we would have let her skip practice, but they are playing in national qualifiers this weekend, so ya know, kinda important.

Her birthday morning the girls and I were up super early to decorate.  Her fave colors right now are gold, black and blush.  I had pretty much all those colored decorations already, so the only thing we bought was the Happy Birthday sign.

Rachel requested donuts for breakfast, so Alayna plopped 16 candles on it and we sang happy birthday!

This was my favorite part of her day, Emma and Alayna made up the "16 Things We Love About You", it was hilarious!! I mean, look at number 8, the best, haha!!! (side not, I am LOVING Emma's calligraphy writing)

Emma and Alayna were on spring break all week, but Rachel still had school.  Emma made her a birthday cake but wasn't sure she would eat it since she had given up sweets for lent, so she made her a granola bar cake, Rachel loved it! 

After volleyball we all enjoyed birthday cake! (Their cousin William was over for the night too)

Of course the highlight of her week was when she passed her driving test on Wednesday.  Heaven help me.

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Seriously, I knew it would be a change, but it is SO hard to watch her drive off and know that you no longer have control.  Ugh. On the bright side, I met some friends for happy hour last night and she dropped me off and picked me back up, woot!  Even though I only had a couple drinks, there's no reason to drive if shes available!

This weekend is a bit nutso.  Alayna has a volleyball tournament on Saturday about an hour from here, and Rachel is in a tournament about 4 hours the opposite direction.  We won't make Rachel's Saturday tournament, but depending on how they do, we'll see about Sunday.   I'm tired already.

Mar 14, 2017

Sweet 16

Today my beautiful oldest baby turns 16.  Oh my hell, where in the world does the time go??  Tomorrow she will take her drivers test, which means another part of me she won't need.  You know what the hardest part of watching your kids grow up is?  When they don't need you anymore.  I know she will always need her mama (I still do!), but it's so hard to watch them become so independent.  

Since she has volleyball practice tonight, we decided to go out for supper last night.  We went to Fuji's and ate at the Hibachi grill.  It was Matt's first time and it was fun to see him experience it!

She was royally embarrassed when they came out singing with dessert.  They even made her stand up, HA!

We are so very proud of the young woman she is becoming.  Rachel is very confident, outgoing, and not afraid to ask questions, in any situation.  She is very much a "take me as I am" kind of girl, which I love.  Not sure what Matt's thoughts are of that, haha!

She is a first born child all the way, a leader, bossy, organized and isn't much of a procrastinator.  She likes things a certain way (I think she gets that part from her dad) and isn't afraid to fight for what she wants.

It's been so fun watching her grow up and seeing how much her personality is the same from baby on!  I was put on bedrest at 28 weeks from pre term labor, but that little scheister decided to hold off coming out until I was almost 39 weeks!  Stubborn already!

Rachel, we LOVE you immensely and are so excited to continue watching you grow up!  Never, ever underestimate the power of you, and as Grandma Donna would say, "go out there and kick some ass!"

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

Mar 9, 2017

Friday Favorites

Another Friday and another Friday Favorites with Erika, Narci and Andrea!

This week has been a bit crazy, as Brad got hit with a stomach bug on Monday afternoon.  I'm writing this post on Thursday morning, and he still isn't 100%.  In the 22 years that we have been together, I have never seen him this sick.  We aren't entirely sure it isn't food poisoning, but I am praying he starts feeling better.  Yesterday he was finally able to eat some solids, poor guy.

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I have been diffusing oils like a mad woman, Thieves and Purification mostly.  I bought some glass bottles off of Amazon a few weeks ago to make my own room sprays, and they have worked awesome!  I made Lavender sprays for each of our bedrooms, and the girls have all said they feel like they sleep better (us too!), and I also made a few Thieves sprays which has come in very handy with the sickness we've had.

I'm not even sure that I have talked much about essential oils on here, but I've been using them for almost 20 years.  It kind of makes me laugh that it's so popular now, because a lot of people 20 years ago thought I was crazy, ha!  I've always used Young Living  oils and love them.  Everyone has their own preferences, and this is the brand I've loved.  I got introduced to them at a nursing home that I used to work at.  It was a nursing home for a local monastery in our town and we used oils to help with healing and with calming the sisters.  Many times when I use specific oils I think back to my time there, such wonderful memories!   I used to be a distributor, but got lazy and didn't order for awhile, now my girlfriend orders for me.

I'm still happy to day that I've still been on my game with meal planning!  We had this Ham and Potato Chowder last night and everyone loved it!  ( I do not, and never will have photography skills, just sayin...)

We also enjoyed burgers on the grill and pigs in a blanket... who doesn't love pigs in a blanket??!!  Our version is a hot dog with cheese wrapped in a crescent roll.  SO good!

One of my favorites this week is the little electric "wood burning stove" my dad brought down for us last weekend.  I had asked him to send a picture of theirs because we wanted to get one for the basement and he said we could have theirs since they are getting a pellet stove.  WIN!  I put it in the dining room for now next to my chair and absolutely love having it on while I'm cooking.  You can have it on with or without the heat.  I might miss it when it goes downstairs, ha!

Another favorite this week is skin care products.  It's an obsession I have always had.  In high school I couldn't wait to get my allowance and browse the skin care isles at our local Ben Franklin store.  Usually my advice came from my Sassy magazine (anyone else remember that magazine??  )  And pretty much whatever they said was true, haha!

I love trying new products, but still have my faves that I stick with and will never change.  Now that I'm in my 40's (ugh, did I just say "in"?  I still feel like I'm in my 30's...) I am definitely more interested in age fighting products.  Not that I want to look younger, but more that I want to take the best care of my skin.

Growing up, my mom always used Oil of Olay lotion and I remember that she always washed her face before bed.  Unfortunately I wasn't a follower, and didn't start washing my face at night until I was in my mid 20's.  Now I don't EVER skip a night of washing my face. 

Here are some of my fave beauty products that I've been using lately.  Shay recommended the Clinique overnight moisture mask, so I decided to order the sample size to make sure I liked it.  I LOVED it!  My skin has been much drier than normal this winter, and this worked perfect for my skin!

My next fave is the Mary Kay Timewise Repair Revealing Radiance Facial Peel.  I am a huge Mary Kay fan, most of my skincare is their Timewise line and I swear by their foundation and loose powder.  I seriously love their stuff!  This facial peel is awesome, you apply a thin layer, leave on for 10 minutes and wash off.  I have a couple sun spots that have started to show up, and they are diminishing since using this!

The last one are these self tanner pads for your face.  Another one that Shay recommended on her blog.  They work awesome and are so easy to apply!  I started using them after we got back from Mexico, since my face mostly stayed out of the sun.  I use one application and it last about 5 days.

Hope you all have an amazing weekend!!

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Mar 6, 2017

The Weekend

It was another crazy busy weekend!  Rachel and Alayna both had volleyball tournaments, and Emma had her one act school play.

Friday night was nice and low key.  Brad fried up some fish for supper, nothing like good ole crappies!  Rachel's boyfriend Matt came over for the fish fry and some card playing after.  They all played Carbels, and I enjoyed meal planning and watching "The Help".

Saturday morning we were at the gym bright and early for Alayna's first volleyball tournament.  They played SO good!  We were really impressed at how well they played together, they ended up placing 2nd in the bronze division!!

Our favorite part was watching how much energy Alayna had on the court, she was also cheering her team on, dancing around and just having fun!  She might be a peanut, but she packs a punch!

Saturday night Emma had her first play performance, we loved it!  It is amazing how much talent there is in middle school!  The play was called "Paranormal High School" and Emma was Dr. Cordelia who was a professor.  She is such a natural up on stage it KILLS me!

For the record, it totally cracks me up when Brad and I do the same things, unprompted!!

Sunday Brad went to Rachel's tournament in the cities while I stayed home with the other two as Emma had another performance. 

I was up bright early (5 am) to get Rachel's lunch and snacks ready, we were in charge of bringing snacks.  I made my homemade granola bars and we also brought cheese sticks and Gatorades.  After they left, I enjoyed my quiet time!  I have a couple devotionals that I do every morning, and I also found a podcast from a church we used to attend, so I listened to one of those, I so miss that church...

I also discovered, they have hundreds of different types of workouts, and I try to do one of the 10 minutes ones in the mornings.  Feels so good to (slowly) get back into workouts.  I cannot wait until my craft/treadmill room is done so I can get back into running.

Favorite Kid Parties

Today I am linking up with Andrea for Show and Tell Tuesday!

This month's prompt is favorite kid parties and I am STOKED for this one!  I love, love, love planning parties.  I love every aspect of planning a party, coming up with a theme, finding decor (on the cheap!) and making the food.  I've been working full time outside of the home now for almost 5 years, and I will say that my party planning has taken a slide, I just don't have the time to Pinterest like a mad woman, but I still love to put a party together!

I think it's so fun to come up with a theme and then see what I can pull for decorations with what we already have.  My fave place to order decor is from Oriental Trading Company.  It's super cheap, and I can get a lot of stuff!  Now, I have a huge box downstairs that I keep all decor from birthdays past that I can pull from.  I love that I don't need to spend a lot of money and my girls are always so excited to see what I've come up with!

Here are some of my faves, unfortunately I don't have all their birthdays on the blog, sad.  But it was so fun to look back at the ones that I did blog about!!

I loved making their cakes every year, I'm definitely no professional cake maker, but I sure have fun!

Alayna's 4th birthday:

Alayna's 5th birthday:

Alayna's 8th birthday

Emma's 6th birthday

Emma's 7th birthday

Emma's 10th birthday

Emma's 11th birthday

Emma's 12th birthday

Rachel's 8th birthday

Rachel's 10th birthday

Rachel's 11th birthday

Rachel's 13th birthday

Rachel's 12th birthday

Besides birthdays, I love having any reason to entertain!  Back in the day, we use to do a gourmet club with 4 of our closest couples.  Once every 3 months we would each take a turn hosting and planning the menu, the host would give out the recipes to the others and we would all get together and try yummy foods that we might not normally make.  We did this for a couple years and then one couple moved away and one couple got divorced.  I will always treasure these memories we had together cooking and drinking wine...

I had a girls only gourmet club evening that was all chocolate themed.  We had:

Pepper Crusted Tenderloin Steaks with Shallots, Port and Chocolate
Chorizo-Chocolate Tapas
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Tiramisu Dessert

Even though the meal was a bit of a disappointment, it was still so much fun!  I had found a bunch of different sized cruet bottles at a garage sale and decided to make each of the girls a body scrub.  I love adding little things like that to parties.

One thing I have learned is that you don't need to spend a ton of money, or spend hours making everything.  The last thing I want is to be super stressed about how things look, the kids really could care less!  Just putting some thought into it, you can create something beautiful you're kids will always remember!