Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Late Night Rendezvous

One cough. That's all it takes, and I'm up! Covers go flying, my glasses in hand, and I'm booking it to her bedroom.

After 2 1/2 years of mothering the most vomit-prone child on the planet, I have learned to recognize the sounds and signals that IT'S coming. Sure, we have false alarms. Oh, and that week and half when she had the croupy cough, I didn't think I was EVER going to sleep again. I just knew that one of those coughing spells would produce vomit, and after a week and half of fighting it, luckily only one did. Puke is just apart of our lives. A challenge I face head on in mothering. Emma pukes in the middle of the night. In the car. During breakfast, lunch, or dinner. While she's watching TV. You never know when it's going to come, but at least once or twice a month, I clean up non-stomach virus induced puke. It's awesome.

This morning, of all mornings, she was up puking. I'm not sure why. I think its just another round of the mystery pukes. The same mystery pukes she had 4 days ago while eating grapes. But, whatever the reason, it came and I'm left to wash sheets and clean the toilet at 3:30 AM. And the thing about my whole milk lovin' girl is that it's always gross. Always. The bedroom. The car. The couch. Wherever she decided to be sick will smell like spoiled milk for at least 24 hours. And it's nights like tonight that make weaning her off her nightly milk cup just that much more tempting.

But, I probably won't. You all know my feelings on how much milk she consumes. That's just my girl. It could be worse. So, I give her milk, because she hardly eats. Sometimes I think she vomits because she nothing in her stomach, but milk. Ah, the struggles of parenting a picky eater. Somedays the four or five bites we get in at every meal is it, but it's night like tonight that make me question everything I've read. Everything I've been doing as a mother. Should I force her to eat more? Should I cut back on the milk? I just don't know. All I know is that yesterday she had 6 bites of scrambled eggs, some jello, a few french fries, and two chicken nuggets. Plus her usual 6 cups of milk, that was it. And then at 3:30 AM she puked. No fever. No sinus drainage. She just vomited for no apparent reason, and I feel so maybe I could do better, but I just don't know how. I try to make myself feel better, because we really do have food days like today all the time and she doesn't puke at all. But, I just hate it. I hate feeling like I'm doing something wrong.

Anyway, so tonight I'm up. My mind is turning. My heart is filled with worry. I guess I just hope she feels better in few hours when the sun finally comes up. Today is a new day. Hopefully, I can do better.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Christmas Wish List 2011

My husband and I usually don't do big Christmas gifts for each other. Winter time is hard for us since my husband spends most of it on unemployment. Unemployment means that our income is basically cut in half from November to March, and when you add this decrease in our income to our personal property and real estate taxes that are due EVERY year around Christmas, plus the gifts we buy every year for everyone else and Emma, there really isn't any money left to buy gifts for each other. We always get each other little things. Practical things. For instance, I always get him a new pair of jeans, because he goes through those as fast as I can buy them, and last year, he bought me a pair of boots that I really wanted...they were only $20. However, last Christmas, my hubby also surprised me with the leather jacket I had been lusting after for a long time from Victoria's Secret. I was totally surprised, and unbelievably grateful, because I knew he had put a lot of time and thought into that gift. It was so sweet, and I hope to return the favor this year, I'm just not sure how yet ;)

I try to focus on the fact that at least we get to spend Christmas together. There are so many couples who will be separated this Christmas, because their spouse is away serving our country. I respect these couples tremendously, because instead of wishing for a new diamond necklace or a Coach bag, they are wishing for safety for their spouse, and that they will be homeward bound soon. I am thankful that I get to spend every Christmas with my husband. I am thankful that he is here to watch Emma open her gifts, and to attend family celebrations with me. I know so many couples aren't that blessed, and for me, that's more important than any gift.

But, like any girl, I have my wish list. It's full of things I will probably never get, and a few things I'm hoping to really get this year. Anyway, I thought I'd share it with all of you...just for fun! ;)

(Because I have fallin' in love with my crockpot!)

Victoria's Secret Double-breasted Peacoat
(Because I discovered recently that both of my coats are grey.
This really limits my wardrobe choices.)

Singing Sparrow Necklace
(Because I'm obsessed with sparrow tattoos,
but I would never get one.)

Brown Ankle Boots
(Because I need brown boots to go
with my non-black/grey wardrobe items.)

Homemade Stamp
(Because no one EVER believes me when
I actually cook/bake something on my own.)

Rachel Ray 10 Piece Porcelain Cookware Set
(Because I need new pots and pans SO bad!)

Like & Dislike Stamps
(Because these are just awesome.)

Cooking Owl Day Apron
(Because if I was going to wear an apron,
this is the one I would wear ALL the time!)

Romantic Beach Vacation For Two
(Because WE need a vacation.)

Tree 8 Piece Bedding Set
(I love, love, LOVE this bedspread!
Plus, mine is in pathetic shape.
I think my bedroom needs a face lift.)

(Because I have decided to give in and read this series.)

What about you?! What's on your Christmas wish list?! I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas...

After much begging and anticipation...

We finally got our Christmas tree up! Emma was so excited, because she has been begging me all week! Ever since she saw Randi and Noah's tree on Monday, it's been so hard to make her wait until after Thanksgiving! But, she was a good girl and waited patiently ALL week. So, after a long, tiring day of Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister, we came home to an undecorated house. The last thing I wanted to do was put our tree up, but, I had promised and I am so glad that I did, especially since Daddy was around this year to help us! :)

This was the first year that Emma was really able to help me, and I loved letting her hang the ornaments and telling her all about Randy and I's ornaments from when we were kids. She did such a great job helping, and I can't wait to get all of her presents wrapped and under the tree! This Christmas is going to be a memorable one for sure!

So, as you can see, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house, what about your's? I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I will be spending my morning throwing together a few offerings to take to Randy's family's annual Thanksgiving feast: corn bread casserole and cheesy potatoes. Randy's mother will be spending Thanksgiving with her family up north, so I offered to bring a few things in her place. I'm good like that. I'm looking forward to a day filled with love and family, although I will miss mine very much.

One of the hardest things about marriage is compromise, and for us, that means holidays. Since we are blessed to have both of our families: parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all living so close by it makes for a lot of going back and forth. When Emma was born, we decided that trying to go from one place to the other would not only be too much for her, but too much for us as parents of a small child. So, we decided to compromise. Every year we alternate between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, it's Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine, and then next year we will switch. Emma is almost 3 years old, and this has been working well for us the last few years. I am so glad that Emma is able to have equal time with both sets of family, but it doesn't change the fact that I miss mine when we aren't with them.

This year, I wanted to do a quick post of all that I am thankful for this year. I saw everyone posting on Facebook something they were thankful for everyday until Thanksgiving. While, I didn't jump on that band wagon, I decided I would just put them all into one post for your reading pleasure! Enjoy! ;)

  1. I am thankful for my salvation. 20 years ago in the tiny downstairs office of the Christian school I attended, I accepted Christ as my Savior, and my life has been blessed ever since. I don't know how people get through life without Him.

  2. I am thankful for my sister, Faith. She turned 13 on the 2nd of this month, and I could not have imagined the last 13 years without her. She is such a blessing to my life.

  3. November 3rd was 4 months since my grandfather passed away. This Thanksgiving I am so thankful for the time I had with him and for the blessing he was to my life.

  4. I am thankful for my mom. God truly blessed me with a Godly mother who loves Him with her whole heart. It is because of her that I was raised in a great church and given the opportunity to attend a Christian school. She is always there for me when I need her to be, and I am so thankful for all that she has done for me, especially over the last year.

  5. I am thankful for my dad. Sure he has his flaws like everyone else, but over the past 5 years he has really turned into an amazing father.

  6. I am thankful for the opportunity I have to be a stay-at-home mom. I know a lot of young mothers my age, don't get that opportunity, especially in today's economy, and I feel so blessed that I am able to raise and teach my daughter exactly how I want too.

  7. I am thankful for my husband. We have been married almost 5 years, but we've been together 8 years! He knows me better than anyone else, and I couldn't have asked for a better lover, friend, and partner.

  8. I am thankful for my daughter, Emma. She turned 2 ½ on October 8th, and I love that I get to be her mom. She is such a blessing to my life and she brings me so much joy. She reminds me how to have fun and to not take life so seriously. She's my girl.

  9. I am thankful for my sister, Randi. 24 years ago, my parents brought home a little girl who would eventually become my best friend. I love that no matter what she is always there for me. She listens to me. She makes me laugh. She reminds me everyday that even when life sucks we have each other. She is my rock.

  10. I am thankful for my nephew, Noah. He is such a special little boy and I'm glad that in him, Emma will have a friend for life.

  11. I am thankful for my sister, Kasie. I knew 51 days ago when she got on a plane to the Virgin Islands that I would miss her, but I didn't realize how much. I miss our adventures. I miss all the excitement she brought to my life, and I miss picking up the phone and knowing she was only 15 minutes away if I needed her. Despite all of that, I am so proud of her. I am proud of her for taking this adventure, for finding her own way, and for making her dreams happen. She is my inspiration.

  12. I am thankful for my Godly mother and father-in-law. Their faith and relationship is truly an inspiration to my husband and I. I have blessed by them. I am thankful for how they are always there for us, and for all of the time they have invested into Emma's life. She is so lucky to have grandparents like them.

  13. I am thankful for my sister-in-law, Mandy. She is such a hard worker and a great aunt to Emma. I am so proud of her for getting into LPN school, and for continuing her education. She has goals and dreams, and I proud of her for doing everything she can to achieve them.

  14. I am thankful for my big extended family. I have been blessed with an amazing support system of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who all live in the same town we do. I don't have a single childhood memory that doesn't involve one or all of them, and I know I'm a lucky girl to have a huge family who loves and supports me in everything.

  15. I am thankful that my husband has a job. I know that in this economy, jobs are a rare thing, and I feel so blessed that the Lord had provided Randy with a steady job which allows him to provide for our family. I am thankful that even when things are slow, the Lord always provides just enough that we are able to pay our bills.

  16. I am thankful for the home the Lord has provided for us. I am thankful that we have a safe, warm, and dry place to raise our family.

  17. I am thankful for Christian education. I love that I was able to attend a Christian school kindergarten through 12th grade and that I was able to receive a quality education that was Christ centered. I know that this played a huge part in shaping me into the woman I am today, and I will always be grateful to my mom and the teachers at CCS for allowing me that opportunity.

  18. I am thankful for the opportunity I have in January to go back to school to finish my bachelor's degree. I am so thankful that in this country, we have the opportunity to obtain student loans, PELL grants, and scholarships that help us pay for our education, so we work towards our goals.

  19. I am thankful for my friends: Erica, Stephen, Katie, Chad, Jannea, DJ K-Flex, DJ Chili, Joey, Amy, Jamie, Kyle, Phil, Chris, Julie, Merry, Kristin...just to name a few! I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life who remind me what it means to let loose and have a good time. I am thankful for all the laughs and great times we've had over the last year. I am so blessed to have all of them!

  20. I am so thankful that every week I have the money to buy groceries and feed my family. I love that we are able to afford fresh fruits and veggies, and that when I turn on my faucet, fresh, clean water comes out.

  21. I am thankful for my church family. My husband and I are apart of a great church family who loves and supports us.

  22. I am thankful that in this country we are able to worship freely. I love that every Sunday, I am able to get in my car and go with my family to church. I am thankful that I don't have to worship in secret and that I can proudly blog about my faith or share it on Facebook without fear of persecution.

  23. I am thankful all of the little things in my life that bring me happiness: my favorite TV shows, chocolate, karaoke, a good book, Diet Dr. Pepper...these things make the day to day just that much better. I am thankful for these little pleasures.

  24. I am thankful for all of the men and women who serve in our military. I am thankful that everyday they sacrifice their lives, so that I can celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving. I am thankful to all of the families who will celebrate Thanksgiving without their loved one this year, because they are away fighting for our freedom. Thank-you.

What about you?! What are some things you are thankful for?! I'd love to hear about them. Well, I'm off to finish up a few of my Thanksgiving preparations. My dad and my sisters are coming over tonight for dinner, so that we can celebrate our first holiday without my grandfather together. Please pray for us, because tonight and tomorrow are going to be very difficult for my family. I am thankful that the Lord was able to remind me of all the wonderful things I have to be grateful for despite the ache in my heart. I know the Lord is with us and that He will see us through.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! May your bellies be full with the bounty of the season, and may your hearts be filled with the joy and gratitude of life's seasons. Praise be to the Lord! His mercy endureth forever!
{click on picture for source}

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Girl Effect

Have I mentioned how much I love StumbleUpon? Because I do. I MIGHT love it more than Pinterest...maybe. Not only do I love all of the great recipes I find, but I also LOVE the plethora of blog topics I run into. I mean, seriously, StumbleUpon is THE BEST cure for writer's block (as long as you give credit where credit is due, of course). Anyway, yesterday morning, while using my faithful StumbleUpon toolbar, I discovered this great organization: The Girl Effect.

As many of you know, I am all for sponsoring organizations that help people who live in poverty, especially kids. My right sidebar has several organizations under "Sponsor" that you can read about and give too. I believe in each one of these organizations, and what they are doing to make a difference. But, I must be honest, The Girl Effect struck a cord with me. Maybe it's because I am a woman. Maybe it's because I have a daughter. Maybe it's both, but for whatever reason, I fell in love with this cause. Like seriously. I think it's my new soapbox.

Now, let's get one thing straight, I am THE FARTHEST thing from a feminist that you will ever meet. I believe in women's rights, but I also believe in being the Biblical wife and mother God has called me to be. With that said, even though I am not a die hard feminist, I am not blind to the fact that women in other countries, especially poverty stricken countries are not as blessed as the women in this country. I am also sadly aware that to be a young girl in a poverty stricken country is the equivalent of a death sentence for so many. According to The Girl Effect fact sheet:
  1. More than 600 million girls live in the developing world.

  2. One out of seven girls marries before the age of 15.

  3. 38 percent marry before 18.

  4. One quarter to one half of girls in developing countries become mothers before the age of 18.

  5. 14 million girls age 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.

  6. Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide.

  7. 75% of 15-24 years old living with HIV in Africa are female. It is up 62% from 2001.

  8. Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.

And according to Wikipedia:
  1. In 2001, UNICEF estimated there are 1.75 million individuals in sexual slavery.

  2. As of 2007 there were 2.8 million sex workers in India and 35.47% of them entered the trade before age 18.

  3. Over 200,000 Nepalese girls have been trafficked to the “red light” areas of India. Many of these girls are barely 9 or 10 years old.

  4. In Pakistan, young girls have been sold by their families to brothels as sex slaves in big cities. This happens due to poverty or debt.

  5. In Thailand, Thailand's Health System Research Institute reports that children in prostitution make up 40% of the prostitutes in Thailand.

I think these statistics are only a glimpse of the problem at hand, and I think there is more we can do to change that. I think we can do more to give these girls the same opportunities that our daughters have such as receiving an education, using their education to support themselves and their family, being able to marry when and to whom they choose, and being able to start a family when they choose.

I talked with my friend, LeeAllie, who is an amazing young woman and human activist. LeeAllie spent quite a bit of time in Haiti after the earthquake working with the Haitian people. You can definitely tell Haiti is where her heart is, even though she is now married and living the domesticated life. I consider LeeAllie to be my foremost authority on organizations that reach out to people living in poverty, and I asked LeeAllie if she had ever heard of Girl Effect, and this was her response to me:

“I don't have any personal experience with this organization, but I am extremely convinced that the world needs to focus more on educating and improving health for women and girls. I read their website and as far as donating/fundraising goes it depends on what you want your money to go to. If it is advocacy, then I say go for it. If you want to directly provide a scholarship for a student, improve water access, train women workers, then I would suggest finding (maybe even one of the organizations that is a part of the girl effect movement) and give directly to them. I have found that the more hands money has to sift through to get to those in need, the fewer dollars that actually make it to that person. This is why I also always suggest finding an organization run by the nationals of whatever country you are giving your money too. I worked with a couple organizations in Haiti that I would suggest for scholarships, loans, and goats--Haitian-American Caucus and Kids Connection Haiti. Kiva and Partners in Health are also great organizations working across the globe.

After heeding LeeAllie's warning to watch where my money goes, because often times the more hands that the money has to pass through means less for the person in need. I searched Girl Effect's FAQ sheet and came up with this answer:

"As we mentioned, the Girl Effect is a collaborative movement of TONS of amazing organizations and people who are passionate about alleviating poverty by investing in girls. It’s not one big campaign, but thousands of smaller ones acting in concert. Since we’re a movement – a powerhouse of girl-focused organizations – rather than a stand-alone organization, donations to the cause are collected through the
GlobalGiving Foundation and distributed to a select number of innovative projects that we chose especially for you...If you still have questions, GlobalGiving is happy to provide you with more information about how funding is used. Or, if you opt to donate to a specific organization, you can reach out to them directly through the contact listed on their GlobalGiving page."

After reading the GlobalGiving website, I found that funds are distributed to specific projects once "x" amount of dollars is reached and that "all projects on GlobalGiving are vetted for eligibility -- by GlobalGiving or its partner organizations -- to receive international grants. This means that these projects have satisfied the IRS guidelines for international grant making as well as the new voluntary guidelines for anti-terrorism set forth in the Patriot Act." Therefore I feel that most of the money being raised by Girl Effect does go to the specific projects you donate too.

I am planning to host a party to raise money for this organization after the first of the year, and I would like to involve my bloggy friends. I know that money is tight for everyone right now, especially around the holidays and that's why I wanted to wait until after the first of the year. I would just ask that all of you to begin praying about if you would be willing to give to this organization.

A $10 donation will ensure a girl educational needs are met while she pursues her legal case or it can cover the cost of materials for an out of school girl for one year. A $25 donation provides counseling support to girls who have been the victims of sexual exploitation, can provide a loan for a girl to raise chickens which means food and money for her family instead of having to sell her body, or it can buy a sheep that will provide an economic incentive for a family to keep their daughter in school. $30 provides life skills training and financial education for a girl, and $50 provides a loan for a girl to undertake a business of her choosing, or purchases tools for the technical training in one small agro-forestry enterprise (shovels, rakes, axes and gardening gloves), or it can trains 10 girls in financial literacy. As you can see, even the smallest amount of $10 is put to good use!

I also wanted to bring this organization to you today in case you are looking for something unique to do for your in-law's, your boss, or your best friend for Christmas. Why not give to this organization in their name? I donate to World Vision every year for my mom in honor of her birthday, because that is what she has asked me to do. She doesn't need or want for anything, but she knows that so many children all over the world do.

I am looking forward to sharing with all you my goals for my fundraiser in the near future, but for now I would just ask you to pray. Pray for these girls. Pray for amazing organizations like this one, who are trying to help them and give them the lives that we all want for our own daughters. You can also check out some of the organizations that LeeAllie mentioned. She is an advocate for organizations that seek to provide fresh water to poverty stricken areas, and I know that a few of the organizations she mentioned provide ways to give to that initiative. Who knows, maybe you'll find an organization that tugs at your heart through the ones LeeAllie has already given her's too.

I hope you all are having an amazing Tuesday and that all your Thanksgiving preparations are coming along nicely!

{I receive no monetary compensation to promote this organization. I just think they're pretty rad, they support a cause I believe in, and I've been looking for ways to help children in poverty. Period.}

Monday, November 21, 2011

25 More Truths

Wow! I got such a great response from my post on Thursday, that I knew I just had to do it again. I think there is something really freeing about answering questions we are sometimes afraid to ask ourselves. In a way, the answers to those questions left me more at peace with myself. What about you?! Well, Saturday morning, I StumbleUpon this blog post that asked some of the same questions I answered on Thursday, as well as 25 more! I just knew I had to give them a spin! So, today I'm baring all. Here's 25 more truths about myself.

    1. Which is worse, failing or never trying? Never trying. Sometimes I think that we spend so much time worrying about failing that we limit ourselves by never trying.

    2. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? Because more often than not, we allow ourselves to get stuck in our comfort zone. I know that for me personally, a lot of the things I like, but never do are challenging, and I'm constantly making excuses (i.e. time, money, my family, etc.) as to why I can't do them.

    3. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? Working as a tour guide at the Smithsonian, the White House, or anywhere I can be surrounded by history.

    4. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? Yes, I am doing what I believe in. I believe in being the best mom I can be. I believe in making adjustments to my budget, so I can stay at home with my daughter. I believe in being the type of wife God called me to be. I believe in finishing my college education. I believe in doing things that make me happy.

    5. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? I wouldn't. I mean, I married young, I had my daughter young, and I believe that these times in my life are some of the best times I will ever have, so if I was only going to live to be 40, I could honestly say that I have accomplished some of the most important things I wanted to do with my life.

    6. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? I believe in free will, and I know that every mistake I have ever made has made me stronger and lead me to where I am today. But, I also try everyday to hand my life over to the Lord and let Him be in control. I want Him to direct my path and show me the wonderful plans He has for me.

    7. In 5 years, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that? I don't know if I will specifically remember yesterday or the days from the past week, but I know that I will remember this time in my life. I will remember when Emma was little and being able to stay at home with her. I will remember whispering and giggling with my husband as we lay in bed. I will remember being young and poor, and how we made some great memories in this little two bedroom house. I will remember all the great times I've been able to have with my friends and family, even if they are just memories of Faith's basketball games, eating Taco Bell on Randi's couch, and singing karaoke with some of the most wonderful people I have ever known.

    8. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Never forget that your parents love you. There will be some days up ahead, when you will think they hate you and that they are the dumbest people you have ever met, but just remember that they DO love you. Because someday you'll be in their shoes, and you'll realize that they aren't really as dumb as you thought.

    9. If your friends had to pick three words to describe you, what do you think they would pick? Loyal. Crazy. Passionate.

    10. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? Go on vacation to Greece.

    11. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? Someplace warm! Like Florida, Arizona, Texas...Mexico :) Because I will always be a summer girl at heart.

    12. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
    Yes. All you have to do is read Scripture. It's in black and white.

    13. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
    A joyful simpleton. What's the point of being super smart, if you never get to relax and enjoy it?

    14. Why are you, you?
    Because I'm one of a kind. I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that the Lord only created one of me, and He delights in me. I don't try to be something I'm not. I accept that I am quirky and a little weird. I accept that I am loud, and occasionally obnoxious. I know that I am not a Victoria's Secret model and I'm okay with that...and so is my husband. I try everyday to love myself. To embrace to girl in the mirror...quirkiness and all.

    15. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
    I hope so. I know that isn't always the case, especially when I was younger. But, I do try to be a good friend.

    16. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
    I think I would rather never be able to make new ones. The memories I have are so precious. I wouldn't ever want to lose them.

    17. What are you most grateful for?
    Wow! Well, I have a whole blog post about this scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, so I will keep it short. I am grateful for my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, and all of the wonderful blessings the Lord gives me everyday.

    18. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
    I think when a good friend moves away, because a part of you is never the same without them, and if you've lost touch with a "good" friend who live close by, it probably wasn't meant to be anyway.

    19. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
    I don't know. I think it boils down to the fact that we worry too much about what people think about us. I try to learn from my mistakes and accept that they have played a huge part in shaping me who I am today, but even with that mind set, I still worry about failing in front of others.

    20. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
    No, thankfully. I think my worst fear is losing my daughter or my husband. That would be something I would have a hard time coming back from.

    21. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
    All of the Sunday lunches we've had over the years at my Grandma's. I know big families like mine are not able to get together every week, and I consider it such a blessing that I am able to have those memories. Those memories from my Grandma's have played a HUGE part in making me the family oriented person I am today.

    22. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
    For me it's the little things: getting up on my little soapbox about an issue, giving birth to my daughter, date nights with my husband, enrolling to go back to school after almost 3 years, laughing with friends, teaching Emma something new, and writing something really great that people have enjoyed reading.

    23. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
    Randy and I have had this conversation a thousand times!, if we ever won a million dollars, Randy would keep working...but not as hard, he says! LOL! We would definitely use the money to pay off all of our debt first, then we would buy both of us new vehicles, and then we would put some of it in savings and into a trust for Emma. Then, with whatever was left, we would give back to our parents for all they have done to help us out.

    24. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
    I would try to get my entire family into one room...probably at my Grandma's. I would want all of us to spend every moment we could together, but mostly I would just want to spend it with Randy and Emma.

    25. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
    No. I'm not a overly material person, so being super attractive or famous has never really appealed to me. However, I would totally get a boob job, but not if it was going to decrease my life expectancy. Bigger boobs are important to me, but not that important! ;)

    {picture source & blog questions}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

25 Truths

While using StumbleUpon today, I came across this blog and this blog post where the writer asked 25 thought provoking questions that are also illustrated. As I read each question, I thought, "Wow. This is some deep stuff." But, then I realized that I actually have answers to some of these questions, and I'm sure some of you do too. So, I'm going to attempt to answer these 25 questions...25 truths, if you will, and feel free to steal them and share your own answers. I think they make for a very interesting blog post.

1. How old would you be, if you didn't know how old you are?
I'm not sure, but I think it would be somewhere in my teens. I know most people hated their teen years, and at the times I did too. But, something I realize now that I didn't realize then, was how good I had it as a teenager. During that time in my life, my family was whole, I had the greatest friends, and money was the least of my concerns. I miss that.

2. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would that message be? I honestly think it would be the message of salvation. There are so many people in the world who do not have the hope of Christ, and to me that is so heartbreaking. I also think that why I had everyone's ear, I would try to put an end to all the hate. I'm not a hippie or anything, but I do think there is a lot of negativity and judgement that pollute our world and I would try to spread a message of love. You would think sharing Christ with someone would change that, but actually, I think some people who call themselves "Christians" are the most hateful people in the world. I think we all need a heart check.

3. Is it possible to lie without saying a word? Yes. I think you lie anytime you don't take a stand for something that is right.

4. If not now, then when? This is a question I have been currently trying to address in my life. I mean just because I'm married and I'm a mom doesn't mean that I should let it hold me back. I can still dream. I can still strive to do the things that are important to me, because there is a lot more to Ashley than Randy's wife and Emma's mommy.

5. What would you do differently, if you knew nobody would judge you? Nothing. I'm sure I would of answered this question differently 10 years ago, but right now I am super happy with my life. I strive to be an honest person, and with me, what you see is what you get. However, I do wish I didn't care so much about what people think about me. Maybe then so many of my albums on Facebook wouldn't have to be private. ;)

6. Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of? Yes, and I have been trying everyday of the last 3 years to let it go.

7. Have you done anything lately worth remembering? Yes. The motorcycle trip I took back in June with my dad, my grandfather, and my husband. It was the last trip I got to take with my Grandpa. I will hold onto that memory forever.

8. Who do you love? What are you doing about it? I love my daughter, my husband, my sisters, my nephew and my family. I try everyday to show them how much I love them, because I know that time is precious.

9. When is it time to stop calculating risks and rewards, and just do what you know is right? Today.

10. Do you think crying is a sign of strength or weakness? I don't really think it's a sign of either. I think it's a sign of vulnerability. I think we all have things that leave us open and bare to the world around us...some of us have more than others, and no matter what those are the things that make us cry.

11. Would you break the law to save a loved one? Yes. Most definitely.

12. When you're old, what will matter most to you? My family and what kind of legacy I'm going to leave them.

13. Do you ask enough questions, or do you settle for what you know? I think I settle too much. I wish I was more adventurous. I wish I had more of a desire to try, taste, and learn new things.

14. Do you celebrate the things you do have? Not enough. I do spend too much time feeling sorry for myself and the things I don't have, and while that's sad, it is still oh, so very human. I think for my New Year's Resolution, I am going to try to focus more on the wonderful things God has given me, because no matter how bad I may think I have it, I am still beautifully blessed in comparison.

15. When it's all said and done, will you have said more than you have done? Sadly, yes. This girl is way more bark than she is bite.

16. When was the last time you tried something new? Last summer when I crawled on the back of my husband's motorcycle for the very first time. I had never been on one, and I had sworn I never would. But, I am so glad that I gave in. My new found love of riding with my husband has allowed me to make so many wonderful memories.

17. Which activities make you lose track of time? Reading and the internet.

18. If you could do it all over again, would you change anything? No. Absolutely not. Because every memory, every heartache, every struggle, and every mistake has made me into the woman I am today, and I love her and everything she has become.

19. What is the difference between living and existing? I think that existing is just a matter of being. It's getting up, doing your same routine, and just being. You don't really let yourself feel and you never challenge yourself. Living is embracing life. It's more than your routine. It's giving into your feelings and emotions, instead of being ashamed of them. It's challenging yourself to grow outside of your box.

20. If you had a friend that spoke to you the way you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? Not very long. But, I'm working on that. I'm working on embracing myself and loving the girl in the mirror. It's a challenge, but it's worth it, because I have started feeling so much better about who I am.

21. If you had to teach something, what would you teach? Computer skills, especially to the older generation.

22. Time or money? Time. But, today I wish I had more money. ;)

23. Are you aware that someone has it worse than you do? Yes, I am. I realize that I am an incredibly blessed young woman.

24. What makes you smile? Emma playing dress-up. The way my husband looks at me when he walks into a room. My sisters. A good basketball game at Christian school. Singing karaoke. Cuddling with Emma. The way my husband puts his arm around me in the middle of the night. Date nights. A new pair of shoes. New lovelies from Victoria's Secret. Comment love. Chocolate. Lazy afternoons and baking adventures with Randi; phone calls and text messages from Kasie; and being silly with Faith. A good girls night out. A really good book. Actually baking something that tastes good. Sunday afternoon lunches at my Grandma's.

25. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life? Well, if I never get to do them, I would regret: not visiting Europe, especially England and Greece; never going back to Boston; not finishing my bachelor's degree; never building Randy and I's dream log cabin home; and not being a good example to my daughter of what a good wife and mother should be.

What about you?! What are your 25 truths?

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's A Good Thing I Love You...

Did I mention I have an undiagnosed case of OCD?! Yep. I'm pretty sure I did. Here and here. Anyway, there is nothing...NOTHING...I hate more than coming home to a mess. I work very hard to make sure that my house is clean when I leave it. I spend all day cleaning up after Emma and I, and teaching Emma to clean up one mess before she gets out another. I vacuum WAY too many times a week. I ALWAYS clean my bathroom before we have company over, and if I have to leave the house and there are dishes left in the sink, I worry about it the entire time I'm gone. It's a problem.

I blame some of my problem on the fact that our house is currently on the market. It's been on the market for almost 4 years, and after having your house listed for almost 4 years, you learn that the realtor could call and want to show your house at any time.Yep. So, I clean. A LOT. I tidy. I never leave my house in disarray. My home is always ready. It has to be. So this obsession, among other things, has lead to my undiagnosed OCD. It's a blessing and a curse.

And you know, I'm not the only one who thinks I have undiagnosed OCD. Everyone knows I'm a neat freak. Everyone. Especially my dear husband. My dear husband who has been married to me for almost 5 years. Who let me come over and compulsively clean his house that last year we were dating before we got married...even though I didn't live there. Who knows I can't sit down and watch TV until the dishes are done. Who has seen me mop the floor at 11:00 PM more than once. He knows. He "suffers" with me. And yet, I still have to endure nights like tonight.

Let me just start by saying that I was in quite a funk all day. I guess I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I didn't want to do anything and I had been kind of short with Emma. But, I managed to clean my kitchen and bathroom, type up Randy's excuse letter for jury service, and make a few important phone calls. After nap time, I put on my make-up and took Emma to Faith's basketball game. When I left my house, it was clean. I needed to run the vacuum, but it was clean.

Well, my husband decided to have our friends over for dinner, and when I walked in the door there were toys all over the living room and a kitchen covered in grease from the fried potatoes they had cooked. Oh, and did I mention there was a sink FULL of dishes. We're not talking a few plates. I'm talking two greasy pans, my crockpot, and several pieces of silverware. UGH! This is JUST what I wanted to do at 9:45 PM...clean up my house...AGAIN. After a brief argument, I decided to just do them. I mean, his friend was still here and another one was on the way to watch their favorite show. Plus he never does the dishes, especially really dirty dishes, quite to my standards and I would of ended up re-doing them anyway. So, it's just easier if I do them, but it didn't keep me from fuming about it. I fumed while I put our daughter to bed. I fumed the entire time I did the dishes. I fumed while I picked up the living room. I fumed while I washed my face. And now I'm here...fuming and typing. And you know, despite it all, as mad as he makes me, tonight I am reminded of how much I love him. That this too shall pass.

Granted there are days, like today, when I think, "You know, it's a good thing I love you!", as I stomp through the house and clang dirty dishes together. Because it's nights like tonight that only our love can see us through. If we were just dating, then nights like tonight might be the end of the road for us.You know your love has reached a certain level of maturity when a minor argument doesn't last a week, and by the end of the night you are cuddling as if nothing even happened. Yep. Tonight after his friends left, Randy came to bed and we cuddled and looked through Pinterest apologies needed. That's just the way we are. He knows I'm sorry for over-reacting, and I know he's sorry for making a big mess...AGAIN. End of story.

Yes, I know there are times when apologies are needed, because one of the most important things you can ever learn to say to your spouse is, "I'm sorry". But, I also think that when your relationship reaches that level of maturity where your arguments never last, you also reach the point where sometimes "I'm sorry" is just understood. It doesn't always come in the form of words. Sometimes it comes in the form of a goodnight cuddle or holding hands on the couch or forcing your husband to endure Pinterest. It's the little things that show we are sorry, instead of always having to say it.

And you know, nights like tonight remind me why we are doing this. Why we made those promises so long ago. These are the moments that define our marriage. That give it character. These little arguments and how we handle them set our love apart from what it was 9 years ago. Our ability to take the bad with the good and embrace every moment, even the ones that don't make us smile, gives us the wisdom we need to weather the big storms. The ones that you wake up and wonder if you will ever make it through. These are the moments that are not only growing our marriage, but us as individuals. Because your marriage is always a work in progress. It is always getting better and more mature...or at least, it should be.

So, sure I was mad. Really mad. But, I got over it. Tonight "I'm sorry" is understood, instead of said out loud and tomorrow everything will be fine. Yes, I will still come home to a messy house, and yes, we will probably have this argument again, but deep down I know this is minor in comparison, and who knows, maybe someday I'll be able to come home to my house exactly the way I left it ;)

What about you?! What are some silly things that you and your spouse fight about that seems big at the time, but you know, you are growing from it?! How do you work through them?

Little Miss Popular

Just call me Little Miss Popular, because I received two more blog awards over the weekend! Woot! Woot! I just wanted to take a moment and blog about them! They are two new awards that I have never seen before, so this should be fun!

The Giver:

A big thanks to Kelsey over at Crafy Camo Lover for bestowing this award on me! I met Kelsey through a blog hop and I love to visit her little corner of the world. Her significant other is a deployed USMC soldier and she just has the sweetest, most beautiful outlook on life. P.S. She just got a new job at Michael's, so I'm excited to here all about her adventures at the craft meca of the world. Please swing by and show Kelsey some love! I know she'd appreciate it!

The Blog Award 411:

The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

To keep this award going, pass the award along to 5 other new deserving bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

The rules for the Liebster Blog Award are:
  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
I especially love this award, because I don't have to bore you with facts about myself that you probably already know! I just get to thank Kelsey, and pass it on! This is totally my kind of award!

The Recipients:

1. Lucy over at Lucy The Valiant. Lucy is an art teacher and a mommy to two of the most adorable little girls EVER! I love, love, love Lucy's blog and her creative and interesting take on the mundane things of life. She is a great blogger and definitely someone you should add to your reading list!

2. Mrs. B over at The B's. I love this girl and her blog. Amanda is an adorable stay-at-home/Coast Guard wife and the thing I love most about her blog is all of her pictures! I mean, it helps that she has such a sweet little girl to focus her lens on! I also love Amanda's honesty and how she has openly shared the ups and downs of her family's journey from Marine family to Coast Guard family. Be sure to check her out.

3. Katie over at A Southern Soap Opera. I actually stumbled across this girl by clicking the "Next Blog" button on the Blogger tool bar, and I am so glad I did. Seriously, she and I would be the best real life friends if she only lived closer! Katie is an amazing, funny, and witty storyteller and you just have to check out her blog out! Plus, she just got back from Disney, so you at least have to stop by for the pictures and all the interesting stories!

4. Michelle over at Along Came Ellie. Michelle is an amazing stay at home mom to Ellie, and a new blogger. She is seriously in need of some bloggy love, so please do me a favor and stop by her little corner of the world. She needs some followers and I would love nothing more than to share some of you with her :)

5. Mrs. H over at Neidy's Infinite Playlist. I met Mrs. H through a blog hop and I love stalking her little corner of the world. Not only does she have great taste in music, but she is just a few months, no weeks, of becoming a first time mom! Yay for Mrs. H! So, be sure to swing by and show her lots of mommy love!

The Giver:

I just want to give a huge shout out to Tiffanie over at High Heels, Boots, and Binkies! She has been showering me with blog love lately in the form of bloggy awards, and I truly appreciate her! She is a sweet stay-at-home mommy with a Black Friday obsession you have to read about to believe. She is also one of my most faithful followers and I can always count on her for an uplifting word of encouragement. I love this girl! Check her out!

The Blog Award 411:
  1. Tell us 7 things about yourself.
  2. Pass it on to 15 other bloggers

7 Things About Myself:
(I'm just going to stick with the basics this time! No unusual facts this time!)

1. I am a stay-at-home mom to Emma who is 2 1/2 years old and a wife of almost 5 years to Randy.

2. I have my Associate of Arts degree, and I will be returning to school in January to work on completing my bachelor's degree in Healthcare Management.

3. I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper.

4. Karaoke is more than a hobby for me, it's a passion. A borderline obsession!

5. My best friends are my sisters: Randi, Kasie, and Faith. You can read more about them here. They keep me sane and definitely know how to put me in my place.

6. I am domestically challenged. You can read more about that here.

7. Some of my favorite past times, besides karaoke are: reading, playing volleyball, blogging, and watching movies with the hubs.

The Recipients:

I am supposed to pass this on to 15 deserving bloggers, so here goes:

1. Kelsey over at Crafty Camo Lover
2. Christa over at Young & Restless
3. Jane over at A Few of My Favorite Things
4. Mama at Our Little Fam
5. Erika over at Chambanachik
6. Rachel Joy over at Cool Bean Mommas
7. Jenn over at Pickles and Cupcakes
8. Joeylee over at Sweet N Sassy Girls
9. Sherri Lynn over at life of a wife
10. Reccewife over at This Is My Blog
11. Megan over at Loving the Little Things
12. Sarah over at Life Is What You Make It
13. Kimberly Anne over at Cardigan Chic
14. Brittany over at Living In The Moment
15. Raven over at A Momma's Desires and Pacifiers

I seriously love reading each one of these blogs, and I know you will too. Be sure to swing by and show each one of them some bloggy love!

I also think this would be a great time to direct everyone to my Facebook page! Feel free to swing by there and show me some "like" love! It's the best way to keep up with what's going on around here! :)

Okay, I'm off to do mom stuff! It just took me two hours to put this post together...Sheesh! I hope all of you are having a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Meaning of the Season

Today, I want to talk to you about Christmas. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those Christmas fanatics who already has their tree up and is blaring Christmas music all day everyday, but I am a smart shopper and I have already started making/purchasing some of my Christmas gifts. I can't afford to get all of my Christmas presents at one time in mass quantity (No, Black Friday for this girl!), but I've found that if I spread it out over time, it certainly makes less of an impact on our budget...or at least it appears too. On top of being a smart shopper, I am always looking for way to give back at Christmas.

It's important to me as mother to teach my daughter that Christmas is so more than receiving, it is also about giving. It's about reaching out to others and touching someone else's life, especially during the holidays. Thankfully, I have the perfect example of Christmas mom. My mom has always been one to go overboard during Christmas, not just for my sisters and I, but for our entire family. But, one of the best examples my mom not only gives to Emma, but also to my sisters and I is her yearly dedication to Operation Christmas Child.

Every year my mom packs and ships over 200 shoeboxes to needy children in impoverished countries. By reaching out and sending children basic things like soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, stickers, candy, and school supplies, she is not only giving the tools they need to improve their life, but she is also helping to open the door for hundreds of missionaries to share the love of Jesus Christ with these children. It is truly a labor of love for my mom, because she spends all year collecting the various things she sends in her shoeboxes, and she spends weeks organizing them and packing them. This year I had the privilege of helping her pack 60 of them. I enjoyed spending time with her and seeing the smile on her face as she packs each one. She truly enjoys giving back in this way, and I think it's just one of the things that makes her an amazing example to Emma. I can't wait until Emma is old enough to actually help us pack the shoeboxes. I think it is one of the best ways to teach her the importance of giving back, but it also makes it fun.

How about you?! Have you been looking for a way to teach your children the importance of giving back? Well, I hope you will consider sending a shoebox through Samaritan's Purse. Wanna know how to do it?! Well, here you go!

1. Select a shoebox. Yep, you heard me right. Get yourself a shoebox...I know you have some lying around, ladies! Use an empty shoe box (standard size) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required.

2. Choose whether your shoebox is for a boy or a girl. You also need to choose the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate boy/girl label here. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.

3. Here's the fun part: Fill your shoebox! Go here for a list of gift ideas, but some of the basics are a bar of soap, a wash cloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb or brush, school supplies (i.e. pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, small notebook, colored pencils), small toys, hard candy, a t-shirt, socks, and a pair of flip flops. The key is to have fun with it and get creative!

4. Include your $7.00 donation. Each box cost $7.00 to ship and you can include it by writing a check or submitting your donation online.

5. Drop off your box. Place a large rubber band around your box and drop it off at your nearest Collection Center.

You have to hurry, because November 14-21 is National Collection Week! So, get packing!

If you have been looking for something fun to do with your kids that teaches them the real meaning of the season, then please consider shipping a shoebox or two with Samaritan's Purse. I promise you won't be disappointed. Don't believe me?! Then watch this promotional actually brought tears to my eyes when my mom showed it to me!

This is an organization that is near and dear to my heart, and no one is paying me anything to share this information with you. I'm just a mom who wants to teach her daughter the importance of Christmas, and I think this is a great way to do it.

How do you teach your children about the real meaning of Christmas? What do you and your family do to give back? I would love to hear about them!

I hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Family Photo Session

My sister, Randi and I have wanted to get our kids together for pictures since Emma was born. We tried during Christmas 2009, but it was a disaster. Emma was too little and Noah wasn't going to have anything to do with the camera. So, we opted to wait until they were a little older. Well, thankfully it has been a beautiful fall, and last Tuesday presented itself as the perfect opportunity to have pictures done of the kids. My friend, Merry, who does all of Emma's pictures came over and we got to work taking pictures of Noah and Emma together, as well as, pictures of Noah and my sister. Randy, Emma and I had a few family pictures made too. We took all of the pictures at my house and at my in-law's farm. Randi and I are so happy with how the pictures turned out, and I can't wait to get copies made for our family!

And now without further adieu, here are the pictures from Emma and Noah's photo session!

If Randi and I have done anything right in this life, it's definitely our beautiful children. They encompass us, they complete us, and they are the reason we get up every morning. I love that we were able to get these pictures made of the kids. I know we will cherish them forever.

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Little Bit Of Heaven In Your Mouth

Let's talk about pancakes. I love them. I have loved them as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, my dad used to take my sisters and I to his favorite coffee shop and order a half a pancake for each of us. We were never offered anything else...just pancakes and chocolate milk, and you know, as far as I know we never complained. To this day, my sisters and I frequently get together for pancake dates at the same coffee shop. Nowadays, we cozy up in my Grandpa's favorite booth, drink coffee, and indulge in some perfect, golden flapjacks. For us, its the epiphany of the perfect breakfast...I only wish I was a talented enough cook to make them at home. You see, I have never been able to make them. I try and try and try, but they ALWAYS end up burned or not cooked in the middle or whatever. I'm the queen of the less than perfect pancake...until today.

Last night while perusing StumbleUpon, I discovered THIS recipe (random recipe deliciousness: reason #127 why you should be using StumbleUpon). The minute I found it, I knew I HAD to try it, even with my pancake making handicap. So, I sent the recipe to my sister and posted it on my Facebook wall, so I would know where to find the recipe when I was ready to give it a shot. Well, that chance came yesterday morning when Randi called me. Before I knew it, I was on my way to her house with a sleepy toddler and my half of the ingredients in tow.

We threw the ingredients together and we only burned 4 of them, before we finally figured out that we needed to turn the heat down. They never really bubbled on the top like the directions said they would, so we just watched them very carefully. Within an hour we each had our plates of deliciousness and I knew in that moment that I would have to share these with you! Yep, buckle your seat belts, I have the perfect recipe for a party in your mouth and I'm about to give you the secret!

{I will apologize ahead of time for the crappy iPhone pics!
I forgot my camera. I didn't realize things would go so well!}

Cake Batter Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup yellow cake mix

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups milk (I use almond milk)

assorted sprinkles

Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add 1 cup of milk, egg and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. You want the batter to look like regular pancake batter; not too thin, not too thick. This will vary greatly on the brand of cake mix you use. Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if needed. I suggest a small taste test as well to see if the pancakes are flavored enough.

Preheat a skillet on medium heat (I use an electric grilled and turn it to 250 degrees). Fold desired amount of sprinkles into batter. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more.

According to Emily over at Dish and Tell, you are supposed to use powdered sugar to make the glaze you serve them with instead of syrup. My sister and I attempted to make that glaze, and to be honest, it was disgusting. It tasted a little bit like medicine someone had put sugar in to make it taste better...not so good (Yeah, screw you, Mary Poppins!). So, Randi and I began searching for something else to serve them with that was about the same consistency. We ended up using:

1/2 tub of cream cheese icing
1 cup of warm milk

1 tbsp of brown sugar
A dash of vanilla

This made a tasty icing flavored topping for our cake batter pancakes, but it was also very sweet. If you don't like super sweet, then I don't recommend it. We enjoyed it, but we agreed to try something different next time. So, after talking with a friend of ours who is a chef, we decided that we probably should of made a cinnamon roll type glaze to achieve the taste we were looking for. He was nice enough to give me these ingredients for homemade cinnamon roll icing:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 pkg of cream cheese

Combine these ingredients and mix until you achieve a glaze type consistency. These measurements are only a guess. He's a directions needed! :) He just adds these things until it reaches the glaze type consistency and taste he was trying to create, so feel free to experiment. You can also look up recipes via the Internet until you find one that suits your tastes.

Anyway, I would encourage everyone to give these a try! They would make the perfect birthday breakfast for someone special in your life, or just for yourself! You're welcome.

{Recipe courtesy of Emily at Dish & Tell}

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Domesticated Saturday: Part Deuce

Did you love yesterday's post about the Mac n' Cheese?! Yeah, your welcome! Well, today I wanted to share with you the second half of my domesticated Saturday...the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I made! YUM! Yep, you got it! THIS girl didn't just make one thing from scratch, but TWO things! And quite successfully I might add!

Anyway, I wanted to share my new oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe with you too! Alas, Sherri Lynn did not have a oatmeal cho
colate chip cookie recipe (sad face), but who knows, maybe she'll read about mine and decide to enlighten us with one of her own! ;)

Okay, for the record I got my oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe here, but I'm going to give you my slightly modified version, which basically means, "the same recipe without the nuts"! So, here goes:
Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

I forgot to NOT grease the cookie sheet like the directions call for, but I did find a great way to get the cookies to set up without going splat all over the baking sheet...refrigerate them! Yep! One you get them on the cookie sheet, stick them in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes, and that will help your cookies set up and look much prettier! I know that it really helped mine! These are the best looking/tasting cookies I have ever made. I was so happy with how they turned out and I hope to master more cookie recipes in the future.

Yep, nothing satisfies your urge to domesticate like a freshly baked, made from scratch cookie! Mmm!

What about you?! When do you feel the most like a domestic goddess?

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I do not receive monetary compensation from any of the products, companies, or organizations I promote through my blog, unless otherwise specified during a giveaway or promotion. I am just your average mom trying to share products that I enjoy with other moms, as well as organizations and charities I believe in.