Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shutter Love Tuesdays: Laughter

I had a really hard time choosing a photo for Trendy Treehouse's theme this week (laughter), but I finally settled on one. Here Ella is laughing at her dad who is trying to get her attention behind me. :)


Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekly Menu on Monday: August 30th

For more weekly menus, click here!

  1. Pulled pork sandwiches (crock-pot).
  2. Chicken pot pie. I've been really craving some comfort food, probably because it is hard to eat many comfort foods on my gestational diabetes diet. I think I can make this one fit as long as I don't go overboard!
  3. Grilled steak, grilled corn, and grilled asparagus. Yes, I've been grilling a lot, but it has been SO easy (it doesn't heat up the house, and, generally, there is minimal clean up involved. I may try something like this on the asparagus (or even try a different veggie than asparagus, but I'll have to see what looks good at the store).
  4. Pasta bake. Ground turkey, noodles, red sauce, onions, garlic, and cheese.
  5. Breakfast for dinner. Bacon, eggs, and toast, biscuits, or french toast (depends what sounds good the day I make it!).

I Heart Faces: Photojournalism

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is photojournalism - using an image or images to tell a story. If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you've already read the story behind these pictures, but if you don't already know the story, I hope these photos convey my daughter's story well.


Be sure to check out all the great stories at I Heart Faces this week!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Handmade Bulletin Boards

I think one of the fun things about getting the kids' room ready has been doing a few craft projects to complete the room (like their name letters I made for the wall). I love doing crafty things, but I'm not a very crafty person. I'm always excited to find a crafty project that I can actually complete.

I'll admit that this idea isn't original with me. The first time I saw it was when one of our friends made Ella a bulletin board for her nursery. I LOVED the idea, and I thought I'd make Ella and Troy bulletin boards that match their bedding.

These bulletin boards are made from ceiling tiles. I simply painted the plain white tiles to match their bedding, and used hot glue to add ribbon hang them.


Ella's bulletin boards:


Troy's bulletin boards:


I wouldn't examine them too closely because I am not the best artist/painter in the world, but I was pretty pleased at how they turned out given my lack of artistic ability. I was even more excited when Ella was able to identify both the owl and the bird on her bulletin boards. She did think that the fox on Troy's board was a cat, but, hey, that's pretty close, and I don't technically think she knows what a fox is anyway! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anti-Procrastination Week

I'm still very much a work in progress, but I've been trying hard (well, harder some weeks than others) to follow Flylady's method for keeping my house out of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I need a method like Flylady's to keep me on top of my game when it comes to keeping up with things around the house (and, no, I'm not aiming for a perfectly clean house all the time. I know that isn't realistic for our lifestyle, but I would like my house to be better kept than it is most of the time, and I know I can do that!). Flylady's method constantly encourages me (mostly through email reminders) to get up and get things done. Her method also reminds me that I can get things done even if I only have a little bit of time (a big part of her method involves spending only 15 minutes on a task).

I say all this to mention that this week is "Anti-Procrastination Week" on Flylady's website, and it is certainly a kick I need - I'm the queen of procrastinating! Procrastinating is one of the BIG reasons that things around my house aren't in the order I'd like them. I've been guilty on more than one occasion to simply "let things go" so that I can have a marathon cleaning session rather than taking the few minutes every day to keep things in order. Things would be so much less stressful if I'd spend a few minutes every day rather than letting things get backed up. One email encouragement from the Flylady this week issued this challenge: If a task is going to take 5 minutes or less to complete, do it right then! Don't put it off! Such a simple concept, but I'm guilty of putting off 5 minute tasks all the time. When you put off all your 5 minute tasks, 5 minutes turns into 30 minutes or an hour or 3 hours. I have been trying to make a conscious effort to do my 5 minute tasks the moment I realize they need to be done, rather than putting them off. I think it is a good start to getting rid of my procrastination habit!

Flylady's anti-procrastination week hasn't been just about keeping the house together, but also getting other things done that you might have been putting off, like running errands, making doctor's appointments, writing thank you notes, and even pampering yourself. She's been sending out "pampering missions" all week - one of which is to paint a fresh coat of polish on your toes. I'm SO bad at putting off painting my toenails. It is even worse now because painting your toenails when you are 8 months pregnant is an especially daunting task. But, I will paint them today! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Busy Ball Popper

And, in case you are wondering, only balls are supposed to go inside the busy ball popper . . . that is a Chick-fil-a cow. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Becoming the Worthy Wife of Proverbs 31

(The blog hosting the weekly Far Above Rubies series about the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 has been taking a break these past few weeks, so I thought I would take this opportunity to post a related article that I wrote a while back. I was honored when my husband asked me to write this article to pair with an article he was writing about being worthy of the worthy wife. Here's the article I wrote from the perspective of a young woman learning how to become the worthy wife of Proverbs 31.)

Christian women often study, and rightly so, Proverbs 31:10-31 as an example of how we ought to live our lives. We read and study the characteristics of this woman who is described as rare and valuable, but how can we put these characteristics in practice? How do we become the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31? Principally, to become a virtuous wife a woman must fear the Lord (Proverbs 31:30). In Proverbs 1:7 Solomon writes: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” When we fear the Lord, we give Him honor, and we obey the commands found in His Word. When our lives are founded upon serving the Lord, we ought to be able to lead lives like that of the worthy woman.

The qualities of the virtuous wife described throughout Proverbs 31:10-31 originate from her desire to serve the Lord. She puts others first, taking care of their needs (Proverbs 31:15, 20, 27). She works very hard, inside her household and outside her household (Proverbs 31:13-22; 24; 27); and because she works hard, she does not have to worry about not providing the things her family needs (Proverbs 31:21). As young women, we should have hands that are busy with work that profits our husband and children as well others around us; we should not be lazy. We should demonstrate the work ethic described in Colossians 3:23-24: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

The virtuous wife is trustworthy: an asset, not a burden, to her husband (Proverbs 31:11-12). Although trust should be a foundation in a marriage, a young wife must build up her husband’s trust by doing him good and not evil, putting others first, and working hard (1 Peter 3:1-6, Philippians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Ecclesiastes 9:10). The virtuous wife is also careful and kind in her speech (Proverbs 31:26). We must learn to use wisdom in our words as described in Proverbs 15:1-2: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” We must gain control of our tongue and speak with goodness as illustrated in Proverbs 16:23-24: “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Becoming the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is not a simple, quick, or easy task. If being the virtuous wife was a simple task, she would not be considered as rare and valuable as rubies (Proverbs 31:10). It is something that we must constantly be working towards in our lives. As younger women we should look to the older women for guidance, as Paul instructs the older women to teach the younger women in these areas (Titus 2:3-5).We should also continually look to God’s Word for guidance, seeking to do His commands all the days of our lives (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). When we seek to do His commands we will exhibit the characteristics of the rare woman described in Proverbs 31. The virtuous wife’s worth is based on the fact that she fears the Lord, and the way she lives her life because she fears the Lord.

(If you'd like to read my posts so far in the Far Above Rubies series, click here!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Progress in the Kiddos' Room

After much debate, planning, and decision-making, we've finally actually made some progress on Ella's and Troy's room (yes, in case you didn't know, baby brother's name is going to be Troy, although he still doesn't have a middle name yet!). We've got the room painted, and I got their name letters up. I still have several other things to do before the room is finished, but this is a kind of sneak peak to the finished product.

Troy's side of the room is blue, and Ella's side of the room is purple-pink. The letters match their individual bedding which I'll get better pictures of later.




And, I couldn't resist adding this photo of Ella. We put her in her crib while we were moving furniture around, and she wasn't happy about it! :)


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


For more Wordless Wednesdays, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Shutter Love Tuesdays: My Favorite Things

Ok, so I know my husband and daughter aren't technically "things" but they are my favorite "things"! And this photo also capture another one of my favorite things - watching them play and interact together. :)



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Farmer's Market and More Peaches

After writing about Ella's love for peaches, I had to follow-up with some pictures today that I took at the farmer's market. I was finally able to tag along on the trip to the farmer's market - and I'm glad I made it out. This was the last week our friend was selling peaches.
And, the aftermath! I think she needed a bib! :)

Since this was the last week of peaches at the farmer's market, we got a huge box full of peaches that needed to be cut up and frozen. We quick boiled the peaches so that we could easily remove the skin, removed the skin, cut them up into pieces, and then froze the pieces in a sugar lemon-water mixture. We'll have yummy peaches for Ella to enjoy for quite a while! Processing the peaches reminded me of my baby food making days!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekly Menu on Monday: August 16th

  1. Breakfast for dinner: Eggs, bacon, and biscuits.
  2. Roast with vegetables (I never got around to making this a couple of weeks ago).
  3. Grilled steak, grilled corn, and salad or maybe grilled asparagus if I can find a good price on it.
  4. Chicken and sausage pasta. I don't have a specific recipe, but I'm thinking I'll sauté green bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the chicken and sausage, and serve with a light cream sauce.
  5. Crockpot broccoli beef. This was yummy last time I made it, so I thought we'd do it again!
For previous menus click here!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Panic (or perhaps nesting?)

I think I've officially realized that I'm panicking just a bit about the baby coming.

Two nights ago I dreamed that I went into labor, and I hadn't packed my bag for the hospital. But, in my dream, I didn't care that I hadn't packed my bag for the hospital. I panicked because I hadn't packed a bag for Ella to take to whoever would be watching her. It is funny how priorities change after having the first child!

I'm also a bit panicked because I haven't cleaned Ella's old car seat for baby brother. It is out in the shed, and even though it is wrapped up, I need to wash the fabric part and wipe down all the plastic parts.

I also realized that I don't really have any clothes for the baby yet (other than a few little things here and there). I'm honestly not even sure if they are newborn size clothes or not. And, up until last night, we did not have any diapers for him either.

I'm also panicked a bit about their room not being ready.

I'm also panicked because the house is a mess (I've got to get back in my Flylady routine - I'll admit that while things have been better than they used to be regarding keeping my house in order, I've still been slacking some there). I don't want to come home from the hospital to a messy house, but I also don't want people coming (even my family) to visit to a messy house. Why do I care if my house is clean now if the baby still isn't due for more than a month? I don't know, but in my head my house should be clean now!

I'm not due until the end of September (approximately 6 1/2 weeks away) so I shouldn't be panicking too much . . . although Ella came a week and half early if that even means anything.  On top of my paranoia, everyone keeps asking me when I'm due. When I tell them the end of September, they respond with a shocked expression and say something along the lines of "oh, I thought you were due much sooner than that." Do I really look that big? Of course, if you ask my husband, he'll say I'm really due the first week of October (I've been measuring a week behind my entire pregnancy).

I've decided that all this panic is just a bizarre form of nesting. Hopefully I can use this "panic" to my advantage and check a bunch of things off my to-do list this weekend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ramblings . . .

I'm tired. I don't like being tired, and perhaps I'm just thinking about it more today because we got up at 5:00 am this morning to travel home, but I'm sick of being tired.

And I'm sick of not getting good sleep. You are probably thinking, "just wait until the new baby arrives. . . " but, theoretically, at least I'll physically feel like I can sleep (even if I'm being woken up every two hours by a newborn).

I hate not having the energy I want to play with Ella. She learning and growing so much each day, and I want to be involved with her (obviously). I am absolutely amazed at how much energy she has these days and wish I could borrow some of it! :) Speaking of playing with Ella, does anyone have any toddler blogs they enjoy reading with good ideas of activities to do with your toddler? I've got a few ideas of some things I want to do with Ella, but I'd love to read some blogs to get lots and lots of ideas!

I am so thankful to have such as wonderful husband! He has gone above and beyond to help relieve me throughout all this time of being tired and having no energy.

My photo of Ella was picked as a favorite last week at the Trendy Treehouse blog. Woohoo!


I really need to get to work getting Ella and baby brother's room together. Even though the baby will sleep in our room in the beginning, I really want the room together before he comes for a couple of reasons. For starters, I'd like for it to be DONE. And secondly, I'd like to be able to take pictures of him as a newborn in the room. Silly, I know, but I do love photography (in case you haven't figured that out by now, lol). I've picked the paint colors, so hopefully I can get motivated to at least get a start on the room this weekend.

I'm so thankful for my family! We were able to go visit both sides of our family this past weekend (one last trip before the baby arrives), and we are so absolutely blessed by them!

And, as much as I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore (considering my comments about being tired and having no energy earlier), I'm so thankful to be pregnant, and I can't wait to meet our little boy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I mentioned that one of Ella's new words this month is "peaches" and boy, she sure does love peaches! Her dad has been taking her every week to the local farmer's market to visit one of our friends who specializes in peaches. She usually eats one or two peaches just sitting there visiting with our friend during the few minutes they are at the farmer's market. Plus the peaches they bring home never go bad . . .she gobbles them up! She loves Mr. Cliff's peaches! Sadly, the peach season is ending, and there are probably only one or two more weeks of the farmer's market.

We've been visiting with my parents who have a few peach trees on their property. Ella enjoyed some of their peaches as well, and also had fun helping her dad get rid of the bad peaches (aka, she tried to throw them like dad over the fence). :)






I'm glad Ella loves fruit so much!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy 18 Months Ella!

Happy 18 Months Ella!

When I started writing these posts last month, I never imagined you would learn and grow so much in one month! Your energy is amazing, and you love to run and climb everywhere. You learned how to kick when you were playing with your dad at McCarty. You love to dance, and you start dancing when the music comes on - even if we are in the car (I've posted a video below of you dancing in the car - sorry for the video quality, I took it on my phone). You respond with the cutest "uh-huh" and head nod when you want something or you are answering "yes" to something we ask you.

Last month, I was able to write down every word you knew. This month, you know so many words, I can't even imagine writing them all down. I would never get them all! Your dad observed that you are learning at least 1-2 new words every day (if not more!).

Some new words you've added this month . . .
  • "Boos coos" and "dotebook": As I mentioned recently, you love "boos coos" (aka Blue's Clues). When you are watching the show, you even holler out "dotebook" (aka "notebook") when clues are written down in his "handy, dandy notebook."
  • Purse: You love to carry a purse around with you, and put things in and out of your purse including smurfs and some 'lipstick' that you put on your lips.
  • Door: I didn't know you even knew the word "door" until we were at the doctor's office for your 18 month check-up and you wanted out of the room as fast as you could get out. You did not want to see the doctor!
  • Hot: You've learned that the oven is hot, sometimes food is hot, sometimes water is hot (like in your bath), and that it is REALLY hot outside. I'm amazed that you can already apply the word "hot" in so many ways. If we say your food is hot, you pick it up and blow on it - it is absolutely precious to watch you do this!
  • Peaches: Your dad has been taking you to the local farmer's market each week to get peaches from one of our friends. You absolutely love Mr. Cliff's peaches!
  • Goat: You had so much fun meeting goats at a friend's house.
  • Finished: You can both sign and say "finished". At first you only applied this to eating, but now you say you are finished when you are done doing many things.
Signs you do: thank you, please, milk, bath, thirsty, hungry (eat), more, finished

Words you say: I can't even attempt to name all the words you say!

Animal noises you can make: owl, cow, sheep, puppy/dog, horse, bee, cat

Body parts you identify: head, hair, nose, ears, eyes (your favorite to point out!), tongue, feet, toes, cheeks, belly, belly button, hands

Favorite foods: peaches, banana, guacamole, tortilla, eggs, broccoli, noodles with meat and red sauce, rice, chicken nuggets


Shutter Love Tuesdays: Weddings

We were recently at a rehearsal dinner for some friends, and Ella got a hold of the flower girl's basket of petals (Ella was NOT the flower girl). She had a ton of fun playing with the petals . . . specifically dumping them out and putting them back into the basket over and over again!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Proverbs 31:24

Far Above Rubies

(To read previous posts in this series first, click here!)

Proverbs 31:24 (NKJV): "She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants."

This verse expands more on the fact that the virtuous woman is a hard worker. I've already discussed this quality in my posts on verses 13, 14, 151618, 19, and 21 of Proverbs 31. I'm truly amazed at how hard the virtuous woman works in all aspects of her life, and hope that I can do the same! This woman is not idle or lazy!

I'm also amazed at the resourcefulness and talent of the virtuous woman. She provides food for her family. She researches business propositions and makes wise decisions regarding business deals. She clothes her family very well. She creates quality merchandise with her hands; and her merchandise is obviously quality work because she is able to sell her garments and supply her garments to the merchants to sell.

Be sure to check out the home blog for this study (Bringing Up Benjamin) and participate in the weekly discussion in the comments section!

Weekly Menu on Monday: August 2nd

Ah, after a few weeks missing my weekly menu posting, I've finally planned a weekly menu again this week (although abbreviated since we have some things going on where I won't be cooking dinner):

  1. Migas and Fajitas. Migas are a wonderful scrambled egg mixture generally containing tortilla strips, onions, jalapeños (or Serrano peppers), tomatoes, and sometimes topped with cheese. They are one of my absolute favorite Mexican breakfast (or lunch or dinner!) items. You can eat them alone, inside a tortilla, or even with some fajita meat inside a tortilla. Yum! Another plus side is that this meal is low carb for my gestational diabetes diet- the only carbs come from the tortilla strips in the eggs and the tortillas (if you choose to eat with tortillas).
  2. Slow-cooker roast. What is your favorite way to prepare roast? I've tried lots of different ways, but haven't found a favorite yet.
  3. Shrimp scampi. I've never made shrimp scampi, but I saw this recipe on one of my new favorite food blogs (Annie's Eats), and thought it looked so simple and yummy!
What are some of your favorite food blogs?? I love new places to seek out recipes!

For more weekly menus, click here!