Monday, March 30, 2015

What's Your Job Description?

Have you ever noticed that a woman's job description is about a mile long?  Seriously, if you listed everything you do in a week's time, you would have a substantial list of duties!

When you're a young mom with babies, toddlers and little tykes all over the house, your duties consist of just trying to feed, clothe, bathe (yourself and them) and find a few hours of sleep each night.

Then the years turn into crazy driving sessions, meals on the go, trips to the grocery store, when you can and doing the laundry in between camps and youth events.

But, eventually, the kids grow up a little, become more independent and you find yourself looking around, wondering what needs to be done next.   Have you gotten there yet?

In the early years, you can't even imagine being in the future with time to spare and a little freedom to taste, but it will come and then you will be asking yourself....."What now?"

Even though I still have a few more years before I officially have an empty nest, I am already finding myself looking around the house, wondering what I should be doing during this season.

My teenager rarely wants my help with school anymore, so on a day-to-day basis, I'm left with organizing the household chores, making sure we have food and necessities, and staying ready to go, for those outside events on my teen's calendar.  

But, on occasion, I am having days when I'm caught up on the daily chores, don't have any pressing projects going on and I'm not in the mood to tackle the closets, that I find myself panicking a little at the thought of having nothing to do.  

Now, this hasn't actually happened yet, but I fear it is coming!

Some women can't stand the thought of being at home, with nothing but housework to do, so they go back to work, when the kids go to school.   As a homeschooling mom, I've never had the problem of an empty house.   However, I have found myself wondering what I would be doing, if and once this homeschooling gig comes to an end.

In fact, just this morning, I found myself thinking about how I've lost the ability to just be a stay at home mom, because for the past 17 years, I've added homeschooling to that job and basically have met myself coming and going every day!

So, I started going over, in my mind, what a normal set of responsibilities looks like for a wife at home, because I want to make sure that I am meeting the needs of my home and not neglecting any area on a regular basis.

Here's the list I came up with, based on memory of my early days:

1.  Clean bathrooms
2.  Dust
3.  Vacuum
4.  Laundry
5.  Groceries
6.  Pay bills/budgeting
7.  Cook
8.  Run errands
9.  Plan activities
10.  Take care of children

Now, of course, by putting this "out there", I've totally left myself open for criticism, but don't bother because I live my life and you live yours and they are not going to be the same.

However, this is what I do on a normal basis, while my husband is at work during the day, so this is what I consider my "Job Description" on a very basic level.    Truthfully, these are the topic headings and there are many sub-headings that go underneath these topics!    But, we aren't getting into details today.

Which basically means, when you have done all of these things successfully for the week, you can grab a book or your favorite magazine and put your feet up for a few.     Now, that's a refreshing thought!

In fact, I think I'll print these out and stick them on the fridge, complete with a check list for the week.   Then, when all the squares are checked off, everyone in the house can know that mom is finished for the week and they will have to come back next Monday.    Hahaha!!   Do you think that will work?

No, me neither.  

Oh least it was worth a try.

Now I better get back to work.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Book Review - Duck Commander: Devotions for Kids

This month I decided to review Duck Commander: Devotions for Kids, just for a change of pace, and I must's a great devotional for the little guys!

If you're a fan of the Duck Dynasty family, The Robertsons, you will enjoy reading real-life stories about the family and learning some behind-the-scenes facts, as well.    But, not only do you get to learn more about the Robertsons, you get to share facts with your kids about how to follow God in their every day lives.

The book is full of stories about how to draw closer to God in the daily life of school, friends, family and right in your own neighborhood.  Plus, each devotion includes a Duck Commander in Action section, with instructions for an activity that goes along with the story.

In other words, you get an action packed devotion, just like you would expect from Duck Dynasty!

With topics on everything from obeying your parents to trusting God to take care of you, this devotional will be a great tool for parents to share with their children on a daily or weekly basis.

From the mother-daughter team of Korie Robertson and Chrys Howard, I excitedly introduce you to this fun, little resource!

**This book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review by BookLook.  Thank you BookLook for the wonderful service and opportunity to discover new authors and books!**

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Irony of Spring

The irony of Spring is that, with all the beautiful blooms and birds and bees and green, comes pollen and things floating through the air that want to shut you down and make you hide.

Is there a lesson in there, somewhere?

Probably, but I'm not sure what it is!

I just know that it should be the time when we are all running outdoors, playing in the flowerbeds, planting something and soaking up the sun, but instead......we've been stuck inside for 2 weeks with a miserable bout of congestion and cough!

Life's not fair!

But, there comes a day when you have to throw caution to the wind and take a chance and today's that day.

I'm gathering up my teen, who literally has not left the house in 2 weeks, except to go to the emergency clinic for a shot last Saturday, and we are venturing out of this house with cough drops in hand, a bottle of water and things to do!

Enough is enough!

And, in the meantime, I'll share with you, the story of these beautiful Azaleas that were planted by my husband's grandmother many years ago.  

I had never seen an Azalea, until moving here 26 years ago, but they bloom in this area, like the Bluebonnets bloom in the Hill Country.

And, they are just beautiful.

In fact, one day this week, David walked down to get the mail, and brought me back a handful of these flowers.

It was such a great surprise, when he walked in the door, because there are some sweet memories attached to seeing these flowers off the bush.

Early in our marriage, one Valentine's Day or maybe an anniversary, David set the table for a romantic dinner and surrounded my place setting with these flowers.

I've never forgotten that.

Store bought flowers are pretty, but I've always been too practical of a person to really enjoy them (because I know how much they cost), but when my man stops in the yard and picks these and brings them through the heart melts.

And, I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is.

Enjoy your day, my friends!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Reading List for This Week

My reading list for this week may seem a little repetitive, even though I have added one "just for fun" and one "for review" in the mix.

Starting from the bottom and going up:

David and I are currently working on Chase The Lion for our homegroup Bible Study.   It's a great study, all about taking risks for God, and I'm really enjoying it.  

Of course, I've got my Bible in this stack and I've been enjoying the book of Ezra this week.   I think Ezra has some great life lessons to share.   The fact that the Jews were coming up against all kinds of opposition while trying to rebuild the temple, speaks to me on several levels.  Sometimes when we set out to accomplish something, someone or some thing will try to block our efforts.   At that point, we have to reevaluate our choices and make the decision to persevere or turn back.  

I love that God's word is always relevant!

Next is my "just for fun" book - a memoir by Susan Lucci (aka Erica Kane, from All My Children), titled All My Life.  I always like to have a book I can read, just for relaxing and escaping.    Since the majority of my time is spent reading books about learning or self help, I need to have a book on the side that is simply for entertainment.   My favorites are Historical Fiction, Mysteries and Biographies, with the occasional magazine on standby.  

I'm still reading First Steps to Wealth by Dani Johnson and The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst.    I'm taking notes on both of these books, which is what takes me so long to read them.    Though I've tried to sit and read these and try not to highlight or take just isn't possible!   Yes, they are that good!

And, that cute little book on top of the stack is my latest review book from BookLook.   I thought it would be fun to review a children's book and since this household loves the Robertson gang, I chose this one.   Duck Commander Devotions for Kids is really fun, with lots of personal stories accompanied by scriptures and devotional lessons for kids.     I will be posting a review on this one very soon.

And there you have reading list for this week.

I would love to hear what you're reading, so leave me a comment and share your list with me.

Blessings friends!
 Enjoy your day!

Monday, March 23, 2015

In The Kitchen - My Favorite Biscuits

I wanted to start a new routine this week and blog about certain things on certain days.  Although I've tried this before and  always seem to drop the routine for the sake of important things to say that don't fit the mold, you never know when something will actually stick and voila' have a new routine!

 But, the real motive behind the desire for a routine, is that I get caught up on certain topics or styles and I forget to mix it up a bit.   This is fine, if that's how you want to manage your blog (one genre), but I have many other things I would like to share here, so I'm going to try and be more intentional about what I write. I thought I'd share my favorite biscuit recipe.  These are the best tasting biscuits, straight out of the oven, with your favorite jelly or jam and they are made with staple ingredients, right out of the cabinet.

This recipe comes from Mystie Winckler's meal plan titled Simplified Dinners.

This is a great little meal planning ebook, which teaches how to stock your pantry and make a whole lot of meals out of basic, on hand ingredients.

The biscuits are found on p. 29 and simply titled....BISCUITS!

You start out with your basic ingredients:

Whisk together:
2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
3 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt

Cut in 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

(I use my handy dandy pastry cutter, which I was introduced to by the Pioneer Woman one Saturday morning.)

Stir gently, just until combined:
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 T. honey

See these old measuring spoons?  I bought these at an antique shop, years ago, because my mom had a set of these when I was growing up.  

Dump onto floured counter, roll, cut.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 minutes at 425*.

Truly, there is no need to grease the pan, due to all the "cut in" butter.   When they are baking, they are literally oozing butter onto the pan.

As you can see,  I don't roll mine out.   I just plop them onto the cookie sheet in all kinds of shapes and sizes.   Drop biscuits are another thing from my childhood, that I remember fondly.   They were always my favorite!

And, there you have it.....a super easy biscuit recipe!  No need to pick up a box mix!   Just reach into the pantry and use the fresh ingredients you already have on hand.

I love these biscuits because you can barely taste a hint of sweetness with the honey in the recipe.

Top them with a little bit more melted butter and your favorite jam and you've got yourself a delicious, homemade breakfast!


Friday, March 20, 2015

My Week in Black and White

 It's been quite a week around here, with a sick teenager, wild hogs taking over our yard and late night medicine rounds.   I think I'm existing on roughly four good hours of sleep a night.   However, I did manage to keep my phone (camera) handy and snap some shots from our week.   I can't get enough of black and white, so this week's recap is just that - a walk through - in black and white.

Here's my diningroom after painting it white and getting all the stuff back on the walls.   And, it looks so much better than yellow!   I never thought I'd go back to all white, but I think I'm learning that simple is best!

What's a front porch without an old, country dog on it, right?  

I grabbed this photo on Sunday afternoon.   The weather was perfect for sitting outside, so we called up an old friend and told him to come over for some coffee on the porch.   He was there in 10 minutes and we had a nice afternoon of talking about old times and upcoming events.   It felt like a Sunday afternoon is supposed to feel - relaxed and un-rushed.

Another shot of the finished diningroom, looking into the livingroom.

Since Collin has been sick this week, I've had plenty of time to clean and catch up on work around here.    I decided to tackle the boy's bathroom on this day.   I had to snap a shot of our clawfoot tub.  It's one of the things we are proud of in this old house.    David and I found it in a shop in downtown, brought it home, sandblasted it, cleaned it up and it's been here ever since.  

We knew, when we moved into this house, that it wouldn't be complete without a clawfoot tub.

This is a picture of our new coffee machine.   I have given up the Keurig and I'll tell you why.....
too expensive!!
We have enjoyed a Keurig for about 2 years now, but honestly, I've encountered several downsides to owning one.

First off, the coffee is much stronger, which causes me to put more cream and sugar than normal, which caused me to gain weight.   Yes, that's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Secondly - David found that he only liked one brand of k-cups and they only sold them at Kroger, which meant I would be forced to buy our coffee at Kroger, even if I wanted to shop another store that week.   What a pain!

Finally, those stupid k-cups are expensive!

When I added up what we were spending on coffee each month, it was ridiculous!  And, yes, we tried to use the single, fill-em-yourself filter cups, but it just got to be a pain, so I splurged on a fairly pricey coffee machine, hoping to please my (picky) husband (he likes his coffee strong and very hot).

So far, we are getting used to brewing several cups at a time and having to wait five minutes before it's ready.   How spoiled have we gotten?   So yes, we've gone back to the coffee dark ages, if you will, but hey.....anything to save money, right?   Well, at least we can try this one thing.

This week, I also spent some time in the kitchen, baking some sugar cookies for Collin (recipe from the Pioneer woman), hoping he would be cheered up a little.   He missed a lot of things going on this week, due to being so sick.    This boy only gets sick about once a year, but when he does....he does!

This is me in the car wash.   Well, actually, this is me, in the suburban, in the car wash.   Funny story about this car wash......I used to refuse to go through it because it scared me! scared me!

It's automatic and the kind that requires you to put the car in neutral, take your feet off the pedals, hands off the wheel and let the machine do the moving.    Ok, this is a real problem for control freaks!   But, I was brave this week and managed to make it through there alive.   Yay me!

Last but not least.....I stepped up to my kitchen sink yesterday and this was my view.   Of course, I ran to get my phone and snapped a few shots.  

The horses stand in this spot every morning, catching the sun rays, as it rises up over the house.  

I'm always amazed at their routine.

The old clorox bottle is one we found buried on the property.   It was probably David's grandmother's from days gone by.   How cool is that?    I have it on my window sill, with pretty yellow flowers stuck in the top.

And, that's the tour for the week.  

Tomorrow will yield our Saturday (big) breakfast, maybe some coffee on the porch, oil changes, laundry and who knows - maybe some junk shopping.

And, hopefully, some healing for Collin, a good meal Saturday night and then on to church on Sunday morning.

It's a busy but simple life.  

Just the way I like it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Even Though.....

This is the view from my kitchen window this morning.

Even though my teen has been sick for 5 days now.......

Even though I have a friend who won't speak to me.....

Even though there are little dust balls rolling around the wood floor......

Even though the floors need mopping and the wood needs dusting.......

Even though my hair is in a funky transition right now......

Even though David and I are making decisions that aren't fun......

Even though my to-do list is a mile long......

Even though I really just want to sit and read a new book.......

Even though I've been up at 3:30 a.m. trying to ease Collin's fever and cough.....

God is still Good!  

Life is still beautiful and messy and unpredictable and challenging and busy and all kinds of crazy.

But, I still have a family who loves me and a Savior who died for me and friends that think I'm worth the effort.

And, it's still a good day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Throwback and Some Amazing Meals!

 (Chocolate Daffy Cake from Marcy Jo's cookbook)

With talk of friends moving to Nashville and coming and going from one of our favorites cities, I wanted to share some posts from a series I did last year, called A Month of Meals With Marcy Jo's.

Marcy Jo's is an amazing little eating spot, just outside of Nashville, and it will forever be one of our favorite places to go.

So, last year, here on the blog, I did a series featuring recipes from Marcy Jo's cookbook.   Many of my friends participated in making the weekly selection of meals and we had a great time talking and sharing pictures of the food we prepared.  I even gave away some prizes at the end of the series.

Well, I know I have a few new followers this year and I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on this great food, so I created a page that has all the links to last year's posts, where you can see the recipes, some videos and get to know the people behind Marcy Jo's.

You can find the posts HERE or click the tab at the top of the blog titled Marcy Jo's Meals or click on the picture on the right side bar.    Many ways to get there - just click on one!

And, if you try any of the recipes, please let me know!

Happy Eating!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Painting My Way

With all the colors there are in the world, guess which one I used to paint my diningroom?



I spent the entire day, yesterday, painting over a pretty yellow wall, which has previously been red, blue, and seafoam green!  

(Insert husband shaking his head in disbelief)

Here's the deal.......

I have a small dining room, placed right in the middle of the house.   The only light it gets, comes from either the living room windows or the small kitchen window, so it doesn't have any natural light coming in, making it kind of a dark room.

When we first moved in, I thought it would be great to have a red dining room (now I'm shaking my head!), as seen in those wonderful magazines, styled by professionals.   However, I quickly learned that choosing paint is like nothing else you've ever done!   I mean, really?  Who needs 50 shades of red?  And, picking a red that doesn't look like maroon, is the same as trying to pick a yellow that doesn't look like a stripe they use to divide lanes on the road!

You can really go wrong, when choosing paint!

So, after trying all of the primary colors over the years, I decided this room called for the simple touch......plain old white (which also has 50 shades to choose from).

(Here's the room in yellow)

The problem with having yellow walls was that the room gave off a yellow hue.  Being that I use my dining room table for taking pictures (frequently), I started noticing that every single picture looked yellow!   No one wants yellow pictures!

Once I started noticing the yellow in every picture, I couldn't take it anymore and decided the room needed a makeover and this weekend was the perfect opportunity.

David was off doing volunteer work on an old ship and Collin was away on a church retreat.  This was good and bad, all at the same time.

Good -  because I could work at my own pace, without anyone needing anything from me, but at the same time - I would be working alone, with no one to help!  

I had David help me move the furniture into the center of the room, before he left, but after that, I was on my own.

I decided I was going to use as much time as I needed and take breaks frequently.   This way, I was hoping to keep my back in good shape.  

I had the TV going in the living room (Growing Pains reruns) and I worked on the cutting in, first.  I can honestly say.....I hate the cutting in and taping off and all the other work, besides the actual painting.     This prep took the most time  and had to be done in sections, followed by water breaks, lunch and a cup of coffee or two.

After all the hard work was done, I rolled the paint on the walls, without much incident, and was pretty pleased with the turn out.    I just needed to touch up a few spots at the top of the walls, where my neck got tired and I didn't do a great job.   

Surprisingly, I finished around 3:30 in the afternoon, and had enough time to still do laundry and sit on the couch for a little down time, before David came home.

I had Potato soup cooking in the crockpot, so dinner was with no effort, except throwing some rolls in the oven.

I will say that painting without help isn't the ideal way to go.  I mean, it's nice to have extra hands (and really tall men) to help with the hard parts.   

However, it was really nice to go at my own pace, paint over the nails, that I strategically left in place, and not lay down a bunch of plastic on the floors.   Yep....I am crazy like that!

Of course, I'll be wiping up little specks of paint, here and there, but it will bring back memories of the time when I did the job - all by myself - and it all came out looking pretty good.

Hey!  And, here's to pictures that look normal!  Cheers!

(Picture coming soon as I put all the stuff back on the walls, on the nails that are still there!)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Name This Cow!

See this cow?   It has nothing to do with my day today, but my posts have been kind of heavy lately, so I thought I'd post something that makes me smile.   That's right, because I LOVE COWS!

So, as I head off to another city today to meet up with an old friend, I leave you with this cute little cow that I saw on one of our recent road trips.

He should have a name, don't you think?

I'm up for suggestions.....

Leave yours in the comment box.

See ya soon!