Friday, December 31, 2010

My Top Blogs of 2010

We're spending New Year's Eve with my parents and my sister. My mom had a fall almost 2 weeks ago and hurt her leg. She started having some complications and had to go to the ER today to check for a blood clot. Praise God there was no clot! She does have the beginnings of cellulitis and was given strict orders to stay off of her feet and keep her leg elevated above her heart! Hmm.. seems like someone has told her that already!??! ;) Please keep her in your prayers that she will completely heal!!

So, I thought that as we all sit around and watch the ball drop I'd share my top favorite blogs! I can promise that reading these blogs will be a good use of your time on the internet! So, in no particular order:

1. Women Living Well by Courtney. Courtney writes great posts on family and marriage. She also post some great video blogs! Her friendliness and sincerity comes through in her posts! I have been so encouraged by her!

2. Grace is For Sinners by Serena Woods. Serena is a must read. She shares honestly and beautifully God's message of grace for sinners through her own story. Her words to Christians on giving grace to others have challenged and changed me. I have learned so much by reading her story and her words. I can't wait to get her book!

3. Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by Sarah Mae. Sarah Mae is the first of many new blogs that I began reading several months ago. Not only do I love reading her words, she introduced me to so many new fantastic bloggers! She is open and honest about her walk with Christ and it is so refreshing. She is business savvy and offers awesome blogging consulting services! Check her out!

4. A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp. Ann's blog is food for my soul. It is evident through her writings that she has truly been given a gift from God. I am captivated by the artistry and beauty in each post. Her words ooze grace. She has new book too.. and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

5. Stay at Home Missionary by Joy. I am fairly new to Joy's blog but I so enjoy reading about her life as a stay at home mom in another country. She is such a godly example to me. Her posts are so uplifting.

6. Love Well by Kelly. I have been reading Kelly for some time. I actually remember when I first started reading. Her sweet baby girl Teyla had just been born! That was almost 3 years ago! Kelly weaves wonderful words together about her faith and family. She is real and I like that.

7. The Crow Family by Jessica. Jessica is a real life friend. She is even more precious in real life than on her blog! Right now her hubby is serving over seas on his 3rd deployment. She encourages other military wives through her blog and is an inspiration to me! The faith she has in God is evident! :)

8. I Take Joy by Sally Clarkson. Sally is a HUGE encouragement to me in the area of mothering! I have read her book The Mission of Motherhood (which is a MUST read by ALL mothers) and I read her blog regularly. She is such a godly example. She shares amazing advice that comes from years of mothering. Her words have driven me to seek God in my pursuit of being a godly mother to my children. I just truly can't say the impact she's made in my life!

9. 10 Million Miles by Laura. I have just started reading Laura too! I found her through the Raising Homemakers blog (another great blog by various writers started by Sarah Mae). She gives great parenting and homemaking advice. Her two girls are precious! She's encouraged me with her Family Fun Friday posts and right now she has a great Blogging for Your Life series going on!

10. Time Warp Wife by Darlene Schatch. Darlene gives wonderful posts about what it means to be a godly wife and mother. Her advice ranges from how to be a better helper to your husband to how to set up a weekly cleaning schedule to keep your home in order. Love her blog!

What are some of your favorite blogs? I truly am thankful for these bloggers. God has used each of these blogs to encourage, convict, and challenge me. They have made me laugh and cry. I am thankful for their words. Blogging can truly make a difference. Words can make a difference for the kingdom! Be blessed!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cranberry Candy

These are soo simple! And while I know Christmas is technically over, these would be a great treat for any Christmas get togethers that you still have (we have one in January with some of the Hub's family) or on a New Year's dessert table.

Cranberry Candy

12 oz bag white morsels
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Place pecans on a baking sheet and put into a 200ish degree oven. Melt white chocolate in microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring between every 30 seconds. Give the pecans a shake and check on them while melting your chocolate. My chocolate took about 90 seconds in the microwave. You may still see some little lumps after the 90 seconds but once you stir it all melts. After about 5 minutes take the pecans out and stir the pecans and cranberries into the chocolate.

Once incorporated, drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and let set for about 20-30 minutes. I like to make them on the small side because they are sweet! It makes over 2 dozen but I didn't really count!

If you give them a try let me know! This was my first year making them but I'm sure they will make a return next year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

White Christmas 2010

What a blessing God sent us on Christmas Day! Here in the south, we rarely get snow! So, to get snow on Christmas Day is especially a treat! I can remember getting flurries but I don't believe I've ever experienced a true white Christmas! We took a ride through some beautiful country side before they closed the roads Christmas afternoon. Sadly, I didn't think to bring my camera. I did get some shots of the boys playing in the snow!

Love bug Eli...

Sweet Luke..

So excited!

Looks like he's about to throw it, right??

Nope, just gonna eat it! :)

Daddy and Luke with a sad, Alabama snowman!

And of course, we must right the gator in the snow!

Our backyard yesterday morning... yes, most of it stayed a whole 24 hours!

Disclaimer for my friends up North: Yes, I know, the ground still peeks through.. But, this is considered a 'white Christmas' for us folks! ;)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

So, my body is on carb overload!! I feel like a big bowl of broccoli would do me some good! So, here is our menu for the week! I'm hoping to pack in lots of veggies!

Vegetable Soup, Corn Bread

Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Annie's Mac & Cheese, Green Peas

Mexican Tortilla Pie, Spicy Brown Rice

Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Broccoli and Ranch Dip

Spaghetti, Salad

This is just a rough plan. My sister is home (yay!) and my family, minus the hubby :( , is off work. So, things may change around a bit! I'm in desperate need of getting this house in order! Whew!

Check out for more menu plans and recipe ideas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Things have been a little out of the ordinary around here (in many ways!) the past few days! So, in celebration here are a few silly pictures of the kids!

I was attempting to take some cute pictures of the boys in front of the tree...

I am busy at the stove just cooking away and then I turn around to find this:

(That, by the way, is a whole bottle of sage and a brand new bottle of basil!! He had been 'playing' with some tupperware... I guess he decided he wanted to cook too!)

Next, Luke asked me if he could dress up in his suit he wore for Aunt Kelsey's wedding. He said he was going to play preacher. Then he got a stool and preached to me! :)

And last, here are my two munchkins wearing two new vests that I got for Christmas early. I've never been into the puffy vests but I'm liking them this year. I haven't completely decided on the pink one. The boys look so funny in them!

Have a great Christmas week!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 12/20

Seriously, is it already December 20th!?

Chicken & Dumplings, Green Beans, Corn Bread

Lasagna, Salad and Garlic Bread (we had to cancel last weeks dinner with friends because of sickness! I had already made the sauce, so it's in the freezer! I'm one step ahead!)

White Chicken Chili

After that it will be pot luck dinners with the family pretty much the rest of the week/weekend! Hopefully, I'll have time to share a few recipes of the things I'm making!!

Check out Menu Plan Monday over at!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Search for Square Pretzels

Photo from Disney Family Fun

Update: I found them! Actually my sweet husband found them! He drove about an hour and a half away to get them for me! And I didn't even know! :) Then, guess what? I went back to WalMart.. and they had a gazillion bags! Of course! ;)

See those square pretzels... that's what I'm looking for! Some call them waffle pretzels. I can't find them!! We have been to five stores in search of them and also called another, but no luck. They are no where to be found. This is the recipe I'm wanting to make: M&M Nativity Legend and Recipe with Candy Cane Kisses! Super cute! And Candy Cane Kisses are probably my favorite holiday candy.

You can make many variations of this candy though with whatever kisses and M&M's you like. Last night I was reading a few blogs and found a new "Bakng with Vivi" video over at Raising Homemakers! (Remember, I shared with you all about her Tuna Salad Video). She is just precious and explains so well how to make this yummy treat!

So, if you happen to find the square pretzels, pick me up a bag or two! What kind of easy treats do you like to make at Christmas?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday ~ 12/13/10

*So, this is late. Monday night and tonight were not on the menu! Eli has been sick and we've been at the Dr more hours than we've been home, at least I feel like it. Seriously, four visits in twenty-four hours. Hopefully, we're done. And I'll be back on track with the menu tomorrow!

Sun- Grilled Ham and Swiss Sandwiches, Carrots and Ranch Dressing

M- Shepherd's Pie (didn't have it last week!), Homemade Whole Wheat Biscuits

T- Beef Tips over WW Egg Noodles, Steamed Broccoli or a Salad

W- Loaded Baked Potatoes, Salad

Th- World's Best Lasagna, Salad, Garlic Bread (having friends over!)

Friday- White Chicken Chili, Corn Bread

Sat- Leftovers!

This week I'm going back to having a meatless meal: Loaded baked potatos! I used to do this often but I need to start it back. There are lots of great meatless meal ideas out there!! It's inexpensive and good for you! Yes, cheese, sour cream and BUTTER are good for you!

Check out for more menu planning ideas and great recipes!

Letter N

WOW! It's has been FOREVER since I have posted our letter projects. In fact Letter N is from way back in September! I'm going to try and catch up on our letter of the week posts over the next two weeks so bear with me! I'm going to have to use pictures to help me remember all that we did!

N is for Numbers!

And Noodles!

Luke also worked in his Kumon Uppercase Workbook and did Homeschool Creations Letter N Collage!

Luke made some snack mix that was full of yummy things.. especially Nuts! We talked about different kinds of nuts and how good they are for you!

He also did some cutting practice! He is really improving!

And we found this old and funny book about Noses at the library! Each page has a picture of a nose and you have to figure out what animal goes with the nose! We also read some different books about the sense of smell and how our nose works!

Our favorite part of the week was making these cute little bird's Nests from Mama Jenn's blog!

And then we made N is for Nest from Totally Tots!

Letter N was FUNNNN! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Clinging this Christmas

Last Sunday at church we were singing, "Before the Throne of God Above".. a song I love, a song we sing often. As we neared the end and the words rang out..

"Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace..."

(Charitie Bancroft, 1863)

I thought of the baby, the baby in the manger. And it's a thought I've been pondering and mulling over all week. When I see that baby, I see Christ. He is the Lamb of God that was taken to slaughter, crucified. The baby, the Christ Child, came to be murdered. That was His destiny.

And I think of the beautiful God who loves me so, who sent His Son to that lowly manger. And tears rush as I think of Jesus the King of glory stepping from heaven. It doesn't make sense. But neither does invisible love, nor perfection. Christ is both of those things to me.

The manger scene is a beautiful one.. an angelic baby, radiant Mary and humble Joseph adoring their new babe. The glorious stars twinkling in the sky that sing with all of heaven, rejoicing that redemption has come to earth.

I am desperate for Him. I am frail and weak. Oh so weak. And I need the cross. I need to remember Him on the cross. There is no Christmas without the cross.

"My soul is purchased by His blood.."

He was wounded and was hurt.. He knows wounds and He knows hurts. And the cross shouts LOVE and GRACE to a wounded and hurt world.

So this Christmas, I will cling to the cross. I need daily dying. I need to remember the baby who came to die. His death is my life.

"And if there is no cross in my Christmas, then my Christmas has lost the Christ —- what is the manger if it not for the Messiah, the one who saves us with the scars?" Ann Voskamp

Take a moment to go read Ann's post on this very subject. She puts words to my thoughts and I am so thankful for her gift!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chicken Nachos {Non-Recipe}

This recipe is not really a recipe! There are no measurements and it is SOO simple! It's inexpensive and easy! The picture above is pre-baked.. we were hungry and I forgot to get a picture of fresh out of the oven!

Chicken Nachos

Cooked, Shredded Chicken (about 2 cups)
Tortilla Chips
Taco Seasoning
Cheese (I like Monterrey Jack)

If I'm using shredded chicken that I've frozen, I throw it in a pan with about 1-2 TBS of butter and thaw on med-low. Once the chicken is thawed and hot, I'll add some taco seasoning (to your taste 1-2 tsp) and stir around for a minute or two. Next add in about 1 cup of salsa, you don't want it too wet. Once it's heated through, spread tortilla chips over a foil-lined sheet pan in a single layer. Layer chicken mixture on top of tortilla chips and then top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm, right out of the oven with sour cream!

For a really quick week-night meal use a rotisserie chicken!

I usually set aside some chicken (plain) for the boys and just make theirs with only chicken and cheese. I use Marketfresh (WalMart) corn and black bean salsa that you get in the produce section.

Typically when I find bone-in chicken breast on sale, I boil it and then shred it. I can usually get 3 or 4 meals out of a large pack of 4 chicken breast. I shred the chicken and divide the chicken up into 2 cup 'servings'. The last time I did this I used one serving for chicken noodle soup and then froze two more two-cup servings. I use those for soups/chili, spaghetti, tacos and of course nachos! And don't forget the broth! Yum! After you shred your chicken throw the bones back in with some onion, garlic, carrots, celery (whatever you have on hand) and boil for another hour or so. YUMMY broth!

Oh and if you just happen to have any extra left in the pan.. this is what you do while the rest is baking..


I'm linking up to What's Cooking Wednesday!

And Raising Homemakers, Homemaking Link-Up!

Raising Homemakers

Sunday, December 5, 2010

He knew. And He is so beautiful. {My Miscarriage Story}

I've been wanting to sit down and write this post for a week or so but I just haven't had time. I want to share my feelings for many reasons and one of them is because I've had several people ask me how I'm doing. So, I guess the best place to start is in the beginning.

Robby and I found out that we were expecting our third baby a little over a month ago. We were surprised, but excited! We had planned on starting to try for baby #3 after the first of the year but were pleasantly surprised to be pregnant a few months earlier! About a week after we found out, I started having some problems. I don't know anyway to explain it, but I had a deep feeling that things weren't right. I called the Dr about the problems and they told me to 'take it easy' and call if things got worse. So, I took it easy and things actually got better for a day or two. I tried to shake the uneasy feeling but two days later I started bleeding again.

That day (Nov 17th) actually started unusual. I woke up around 6:30am to find my husband still in the bed with me. I asked him if he was going to work.. and if not, then why? He never just stays home to stay home. He said that he just decided to take a day and hang out with me and the boys. So, since things had gotten better we decided to take a trip to look at Christmas trees with the boys. We were all going stir crazy! The Hub's mom was going to get us a new tree for Christmas and we were trying to decide on what we wanted. So, we spent about 2 hours looking at new trees and decided to eat lunch on our way home and just get the first one I had liked... at WalMart! At lunch is when my problems started again. I decided that when I got home I would call my Dr back. The Hubs had already talked to his mom and planned on meeting her at WalMart, so I just had him drop me off at home. He and the boys met her there, while I talked to the nurse. The NP said I could come in right then and have a sonogram. My first apt wasn't for a week later. I called the Hubs and they were checking out. We only live 5 min from WalMart so they were home quick and thankfully my mother-in-law was there to keep the boys. Coincidence?

So, to make a long story short we made it to the Dr and I was taken back pretty quickly. I prayed the whole time that God would just give me a peace no matter what. I found myself that day and even the days prior wanting to just know... so I could move on. I really think I already knew. I just wanted to know for sure. I was suppose to be 7 weeks and 2 days. So, she started the sonogram and I immediately knew something was wrong. There was nothing there, only a sac. At 7+ weeks there should be a baby and a heartbeat. And while some people may be off on their dates, I wasn't. I got a positive pregnancy test on October 26, over 3 weeks before this sonogram. There is no way it was too early to see a heartbeat. So, my Dr gave me the options to think it over and decide what I wanted to do. I decided to wait and have blood work over the course of a few days. Because, although I knew, I wanted the numbers to prove the feeling I had, 100%. My blood work showed numbers that matched the supposed gestation of the baby... meaning the hCG levels showed a 7-8 week pregnancy, but the sonogram only showed a sac measuring around 5 weeks. That was my confirmation although, like I said, I already knew in my heart.

I got home and did research about what my type of miscarriage meant. Was I ever pregnant? Was there a baby? I needed to know these answers. Yes, there was a baby. My baby was just too small to be seen on sonor. A fertilized egg implants but the embryo stops developing very early.

I chose to miscarry naturally. I actually prayed that if it was His will, He would allow me to do so before I had to have more blood work on Monday and He did. The actual miscarriage happened Sunday, Nov 21. It was difficult, emotionally and physically. But I think the physical part was good for me. It was hard but it was healing. I'm still having blood work waiting on my numbers to go all the way down. Hopefully today was the last one. It can take a few weeks if you miscarry naturally.

My heart was broken. But God gave me such peace. It really is unexplainable. His peace truly does surpass all understanding (Phil. 4:7). When family asked how I was, I told them that I was okay. And I was. He was with me. He has ordained all of my days and has promised to never leave me. He knew my husband needed to be with me. He knew my mother-in-law needed to be near. He knew. And He is so beautiful. What a wonderful God! I praise Him for being so near and being so involved in the details of my life! He is so good!! I know where my baby is. No, he or she is not sitting on a white cloud with wings. My baby is in the prescense of Jehovah! And that is comfort in itself!

I want to share a little bit about Luke and how he handled it, but I'll have to do that later! I do want to thank those of you who have prayed for us during this time! We are so thankful and appreciative!

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!" Psalm 118:29

Menu Plan Monday 12/6/10

Save, save, save! That's my motto for the week.

M- Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Oranges

T- Chicken Nachos w/ Black Beans and Corn

W- Shepherd's Pie, Homemade Biscuits

Th- BBQ Sandwiches, Green Beans, Mac & Cheese

F- Taco Soup (posting recipe soon... it's one that doesn't use packets of taco seasoning or ranch seasoning!)

Weekends are up in the air around here right now with it being Christmas season! I've got 2 cups of frozen, cooked shredded chicken in the freezer for the nachos. Rob's dad got us a smoked boston butt that I froze and it will be great for sandwiches this week! I love thinking ahead and having these kinds of things on hand... though it doesn't always happen!!

I'm planning on making these Orange Muffins for snacks/breakfasts too. Last week I made some yummy banana bread! I really had gotten out of making yummy homemade snacks and breakfasts. The boys just loved the banana bread! And it was so healthy! So, I've got to get back to having those kinds of things around!

What are you having?

Visit for more menu planning and recipe ideas!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Links You'll Want To Check Out!

Have you got some time on your hands today? If you're like me, you don't! But maybe you're taking a break from all of the busy! I've got some wonderful links for you to take a look at!

Ten Things To Do On Christmas Morning: When All of the Gifts Are For Him ~ Wonderful ideas! I've been praying for God to show us what He wants us to do on Christmas Day... for Him.

I mentioned this blog post from Sally Clarkson a few days ago but I must mention it again. It's so good. And it's something I needed to read. And read again. It's all about living with Him.. living in grace... knowing Him in the everyday, even mundane... being close to His heart. "You can’t just read God’s Facebook profile and suppose you can be close to His heart."

Check out these Christmas Table Decorating Ideas from Courtney at Women Living Well. There are some beautiful Christmas tables here! I love them all! And Courtney gives some tips on how to create on a budget! I'm actually going to go out today and see what I can find for really inexpensive! I don't have a need for anything fancy.. candles and anything breakable is no good with my little monkey. But I am looking for something simple to go on my kitchen table. I think making our homes beautiful is just one way to glorify Him! It's an area that I struggle with because I don't have much decorating sense! But I'm attempting! :)

I made these cookies this week and they are yummy! I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans. I wanted to add cranberries but we didn't have any! They were really yummy and it makes a lot! So give some away or freeze!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More real. Less fake.

I've decided to take a break from Facebook for the month of December. FB sucks my time. And I hate it. So, I'm letting it go for a month. And in the process I'm going to pray about where it fits in my life. If at all. I enjoy keeping up with people and sharing pictures of my kids but it's not real life. Real relationships. I read this today from Sally Clarkson.. actually it's a quote from her daughter, Joy, but it's from Sally's blog.

“You know, online media just can’t substitute for a real person. You can see words or a picture, but you can’t see the movement of a nervous gesture, or smell the perfume or odor of someone or look into their eyes, or hear the tone of their voice. There is no substitute in a relationship for the real thing.”

And she's right. I want more real life. Less fake. I pray this will help me focus on the real.

I still plan on blogging, though... and I plan on blogging more about this later. I have a husband to spend time with now! :)

Oh and that blog post I mentioned.. soo good. It was definitely something I needed to read today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fudgy Pecan Pie

Before the Thanksgiving holiday I scoured the internet for something yummy I could make. While on facebook I saw a link from Bakerella come through my feed. So, I checked it out! And after reading the recipe and looking at the yummy pictures, I knew I was making the Fudgy Pecan Pie! And let me tell you, it was a great choice! I got rave reviews from it and it was so easy! I'm not going to post the recipe here because I want you to head over and check out Bakerella's site and drool over the pictures!

My notes: I had to bake my pies a little over an hour to set up, as opposed to her 45 minutes. I also suggest covering the edges of the pie the entire time and then the whole pie the last 20 minutes! It's soo good!