Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snowflakes are falling today...

I arrived home lastnight from our "vacation". The quotes are because....
1) Everyone got the flu - minus me and Ava. So we really didn't do anything.

2) All the delicious Thanksgiving food never even got to be leftovers because of how sick everyone was...and we feared contamination.

2) Ava was a LOT of work seeing how I was a single parent, basically, the entire week - while Brad recovered.

I'm not in a funk, really. Just stating the facts. But, it was nice to enjoy sitting in shorts on the porch swing in 80 degree weather. And it's always nice to be with family you don't often see. {even if they were all puking}

Ava has been waking up XTREMELY early...she woke up shortly after 6am every day in FL due to the bright sun. But, here, I don't know what her excuse is. She's back in her normal bed, semi-normal routine with just us here... {sigh} ok, maybe I am in a little bit of funk. I'm tired.

Let me refocus here.

SNOW is falling. Keep in mind it's tiny...and I'm probably the only one who can actually see it...but, it is. I have Christmas music on and have started pulling out the bins of Christmas decor. It will be a good day. I want it to be a good day. This morning I grinded and brewed my first pot of Christmas coffee... complete with Peppermint Mocha creamer. If you haven't heard me rave on and on about this specific coffee... here's a quick promo:

Santa's White Christmas Blend from Barnies Coffee is amazing. It's a flavored coffee that just tastes like Christmas goodies. The beans are white because of the flavor coating... yum. It makes your home smell amazing while its brewing - and it actually tastes like what it smells like. It's my fave. And since we were just blocks from an actual Barnies... could not resist! You can order online, too. Just click the link.
I wish I could sit around in some sweat pants today, sip my decaf and just listen to music. I'm severely tempted, actually. Too bad I have a jillion things on my list to get done... and a little girl that has now disappeared from my side and is no doubt eating toothpaste or scouting out my chocolate stash. Let it snow...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some SWEET recipes...no, really.

Two of my favorite Thanksgiving/Fall time Yummy's are: Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread & Sweet Potato Crisp. I made both of them this weekend... and have plenty of leftovers to munch on til we head to Florida! {oh wait, that's tomorrow!} :) I'm sharing these recipes with you because 1) They are super easy 2) Always a crowd pleaser.

So, if you are looking for something sweet and new for your Thanksgiving table - here you go!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread
{makes 2 HUGE loaves}

3 c. sugar
4 eggs
3/4 c. water
3 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
15oz canned pumpkin
1 c. oil {I use canola}
2/3 c. peanut butter
2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon

1) In mixing bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and peanut butter; beat well. Combine the dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mix; mix well.
2) Pour into 2 greased 9x5 pans. Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes. Cool 10 mins in pans, then transfer to wire racks.
*Note: I usually end up baking several minutes beyond the recommended cook time - it's a super dense bread. I test by sticking a knife in and keep baking until it comes out dry.

Sweet Potato Crisp

8 oz. Cream cheese
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. dried cranberries
2 T. brown sugar
3 c. Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
2 lbs Sweet Potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
OR 40 oz can.
1 c. chopped apple
3 T. flour
3 T. butter

1) Preheat oven to 350. Beat cream cheese, potatoes, 1/4 c. brown sugar and cinnamon with mixer on medium speed until blended. Spoon into 2 qt. baking dish; top with apples and cranberries.
2) Mix flour and 2 T. brown sugar in large bowl; cut in butter until resembles course crumbs. Stir in cereal and then sprinkle over fruit.
3) Bake 35-40 minutes or until heated through.
*Note: I used the 40 oz can of yams, generic cereal and Granny Smith apples and think that's the best combo! The flour, butter and cereal crumble on top are great...but, maybe don't need so much flour...in my opinion.

Are you hungry now? Yum! It's only 9am and I want those now... for lunch! :)
I think those two items will always be in our Fall/Thanksgiving menu somehow. I heart them.
Well, as I mentioned before, we are headed out to FL tomorrow for the week and so looking forward to some family time. And, oh yea.... the low 80 degree temps! :)
Have a wonderful, blessed, Thankful, Thanksgiving and may you and your families be blessed! And I'll leave you now with a cute little quote I read this morning that made me chuckle... yes, chuckle. I don't have wrinkles...Yet, but... the fact still remains...

"There is always a lot to be thankful for if you take the time to look for it. Right now, I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt."
-Barbara Johnson

Friday, November 19, 2010


On Tuesday I attended a "Keeping the Holy in the Holidays" ladies tea party at my church. It was the last day of our bible study and our leader had this great idea to end on a holiday note! Right up my alley! We enjoyed delish treats, Coldstone hot cocoa, birthday cake {Happy Birthday Jesus birthday cake...} and great conversation. But maybe my favorite part was when each woman shared their family traditions. It always strikes a cord with me when I hear that word, Tradition, because... I feel like Brad and I haven't made great strides at creating our own, and I SO desire too. I want to raise our children to treasure holidays, special days and even normal days by the way we magnify God in how we celebrate life. I heard tons of great ideas: Jesus Tree, serving at homeless shelters, operation Christmas Child, advent wreaths, PJ's on Christmas eve, bible studies, etc.
I guess my definition of what tradition is needed some reviewing.
During one of the games there was a prize up for grabs. And wouldn't you know it... I won. I opened it up to reveal Noel Piper's book - "Treasuring God in our Traditions", something that was on my Amazon "wish list" but I just hadn't bought it yet. SCORE! I'm on day #3 of reading it and so far.... soooo good. I've been challenged on my "why" to want to set traditions. I've been intrigued by hearing her family's stories and most of all inspired by the Word of God and what it has to say about traditions. Even today reading about King Josiah was so challenging... good stuff! I'm eager to finish the book and then have some good conversations with Brad about what we are doing. What we NEED to do.
Anyone else read this book? Have any good thoughts on traditions - the "why's" and "what for's"?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

...so, yea, our life got a little more exciting...

Blah, Blah, Blah... I cannot think of an interesting enough opener for my BIG news... so rather then trying to be creative I'm just gonna blurt it out!

WE GOT A VAN!!! God has provided for us in a HUGE way and I am so very thankful!

A 2005 Chevrolet Uplander - it's now sitting in our driveway. The heat works. All the windows open {that should}, and I actually get radio stations... I'm just still kind of not believing it! I keep peeking out my kitchen door at it, "yep, still there". I'm a nerd like that. This van is such a blessing to this momma's heart as every time I stepped on the brake peddle of our current car that moaning, creeeeking sound would start. "God, we cannot afford a new car...". "Lord, how can we make it through another winter with this vehicle...?". He always knows and always has an answer. Though it may not be in our timing. ;) Needless to say I'm BLOWN away by the timing of this one!

So, wanna see it? Ok. And, please note how excited our little lady is... she thinks she's the driver.

We took a ride downtown in the van this morning to do the title transfer and all of that - and still have a few more paper work things to do later this morning {working with Brad's schedule}. But we did get celebratory doughnuts and I did really enjoy feeling heat while in a car. Not to mention the fact that if we wanted to... we could pop in a DVD and watch it...right in the van. We are rejoicing in God's awesome provision! Thanking him for where He has in life right now and how He continues to show Himself faithful time and again. Praise the Lord!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A busy weekend

We had so much going on this last week/weekend. I went to bed and crashed hard every night. I love those kinds of days...where you feel like things were accomplished and you know your family enjoyed something. :) Love 'em. I had a random burst of energy this past week which was great for getting so many little things done. Hoping those little bursts come every few weeks :)

But, today I'm back to exhausted - and, really should be napping as Ava naps. Right after I devour whatever I can find in the fridge - lethal combination of hormones this week!

Rather then go into every little detail I thought it might be fun to do a week/weekend update picture style.

Happy 27th Birthday to my handsome Hubs! This included a lovely date night dinner at
Cafe Di Scala! Yum!

A trip to the mall to spend Daddy's b-day money! Somehow we always get sucked into this kid trap :) But it was followed by some killer Hyvee chinese...so, momma was thrilled!

Hubs and Ava were such great helpers, too. They cleaned all the floors for all the company we had over this weekend!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let me introduce you...

This was baby Pausley #2 {yes, I've got to come up with something other then that to call him/her}

at our 8.5 week appointment a while back. The moment I saw that little shadow-like picture show up on the ultrasound I had to fight to hold back the warm tears starting to form. Every baby is a miracle - pure and simple. And, since losing a precious baby prior to having Ava - I acknowledge that more and more. What a gift to get to live in this country where we can gaze at our unborn children - watch them wiggle and turn, measure them, observe them... I'm still blown away at every one of these ultrasounds.

Yesterday we went in for our 12.5 week appointment. I had trouble sleeping the entire night prior, as if it were the night before Christmas and I was 7 again, only...not. Doubts and fears plagued me... will there be a heartbeat? Can I handle another loss? What if they find something wrong? Am I gaining too much weight? And the list goes on... I don't consider myself to be a worry-er, so it was strange having all these thoughts and fears. I know it's a spiritual battle I fight each time I'm pregnant. And, I'm asking God for victory to take captive my thoughts and HE will help me...always does.

Anyway, the appointment went very well. My weight was down - on account of being SO sick for so long - and my heartbeat/blood pressure was great and the best was... after just a few seconds hearing that amazing little, "bump, bump, bump" from the doppler. Our baby was alive and doing great! Praise the Lord! And yet... we would praise Him even if the doppler was silent.

So, sometime in the middle of May {Lord Willing} we will welcome this little person into our home and life. Though, as any mommy understands, this child has already found a home in my heart. :) I'm eager to see what God has in store for us as a family of 4 - the things we need to learn and areas we need to grow. I'm eager to watch Ava blossom as a big sister. I'm eager to see Brad with a newborn again. I'm eager to wear maternity pants without shame... LOL.

We have another appointment in 4 weeks - which, always feels like half an eternity. But, until then we'll keep praising God for life and wait with anticipation at what He's going to do! And then soon after that we'll have another ultrasound to see if baby is a SHE or HE. We are thrilled! I found these awesome pics online of what baby would look like in the womb today... how can people doubt a God after seeing things like this?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fall, Fall, Fall... fare and fotos {pardon the alliteration}

Is it Autumn? Because... being outside yesterday felt more like late May or even a July night. Not that I'm complaning - just sayin'. It's terribly difficult to listen to Christmas music and make paper turkeys when the sun is beating in on your dining room table and every window in the house is open. Again, not complaining.

Ava is loving so much warmth because it means more outside time, which, is good for both of us. If I can manage just to get myself together and GO. ;) Yesterday we raked leaves, make piles to jump in, played babies and did laps in our yard. She is precious!

My favorite thing about Ava right now is listening to her try and talk. She is constantly jabbering something - I can make out most of it, but sometimes its just down right funny to hear her ramble in a language only she knows. Trying to say our big words is tough I suppose.
Now onto the fall fare. Lastnight I made two delish recipes that went so well together. I mentioned it the other day on FB and several people asked for the recipes, so, here they are - enjoy! It's a wonderful fall meal :)
Pork chops w/ Spicy Orange Glaze
4 bone-in rib or center cut pork chops, 1/2 in. thick
1 t. plus 1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
3/4 c. orange juice
1) Rub each chop with 1/4 t. oil and sprinkle with salt, (I use kosher) pepper and cumin. Sprinkle one side of each cop with 1/8 t. sugar.
2) Place chops, sugar side down, in large nonstick skillet and press meat into pan. Cook, without moving, over med. heat until lightly browned, 6-9 minutes. Turn chops, reduce heat to low, cover and cook additional 3-6 minutes. Transfer chops to platter, tent with foil, and let rest while making sauce.
3) Add remaining oil, garlic and pepper flakes to empty pan and cook over med heat until fragrant, about 30 secs. Add juice and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Tip accumulated chop juices from platter into skillet. Cook 1 minute. Serve over chops.

Twice - Baked Sweet Potatoes
2 Lg. sweet potatoes
2 T. Milk
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. pecan pieces
1) Heat oven to 425. Cut potatoes lengthwise in half, place cut side down on foil lined pan. Bake 30-35 minutes.
2) Scoop out centers into a bowl, add cream cheese, milk, sugar and cinnamon to pototoes and mash.
3) Spoon mix back into shells; top with nuts. Bake 8 minutes.
Yum! I especially loved the baked pecan taste! Happy November!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Autumn, house stuff... oh, and one more thing

Here where we live its a balmy 60 something today... on November 8th! Crazy. Though, I won't complain because it just makes the trees hold onto those last few colorful leaves a little longer. I love this time of year. The other night I went outside for some reason and could smell someone's wood burning stove... {sigh} and just breathed it in. It smelled comfortable and familiar. We haven't done a ton of outdoor-sy type stuff as a family lately but even just the 10 minutes here and there have been lovely.

The other day at Target I was walking down their "uber-expensive aisle". You know...the one name brand company there that sells wreaths, candles, doormats and nothing is under $20. Much to my suprise all of their fall decor was clearanced down super low. I found two adorable twine pumpkins that just jumped into my cart... and then found this platter a few aisles over at a discounted price.

As I learn how to decorate a house I'm finding that I'm more of a simple type gal. I like simple. And this, for me, is pretty exciting! And, it makes the living room feel so homey. :) Also, I found some beautiful wire ribbon at the dollar tree and re-did my large vases... I heart it.

But can you believe that in just a few weeks we'll be tearing all this down and getting out those tubs of Christmas stuff?! Good grief!!! And I'll now admit - I've been listening to Christmas Music for several weeks now... and loving every minute of it. :)

Well, happy Monday. But, one more thing before I log off... isn't my Ava girl adorable?
{and, what do you think of her shirt?! look closely...}

It's true! This May, Lord Willing, we'll welcome #2!
Brad is telling his co-workers tomorrow and then we'll be in the clear to tell the world ;)
I'm 12 weeks and starting to feel better... praying that if the Lord allows us to keep this baby - we'll treasure every minute. Like we have with our Ava. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christmas Shopping: Done

This weekend we picked up our last gift for Ava's Christmas. I think I'm more excited about it then anyone else...

I have been wanting to get her a little kitchen for SO long and didn't have any luck this summer @ yard sales or any of the goodwill/salvation army stops I made. I was seriously bummed to find out how much these things ran cost wise :( But, lo and behold, this week I got that target Christmas toy catalog and it was full of coupons. And there on one of the pages was an ad for this Step 2 kitchen- complete with coffee pot, pans, spoons and a phone! lol. And with the coupon it was under $65! So exciting! So we grabbed one yesterday {one of the two left on the shelf!} and headed for home.

This morning Ava went and sat in front of the big box and was telling me, "a kitchen, a sink, an apple" and all the things she could see. I don't think that she knows its hers.. but just watching how excited she was by just the picture on the box made me SOOO excited. I can't wait to see her little eyes light up when she opens it at Christmas time. Since we are going to Ohio this year - she'll get it a few days earlier - which means we'll both have time to play with it! :) What an amazing feeling to watch your children enjoy something.... it's priceless!

Now all we need is some pretend food and she's set. The cashier at Target told me to keep my eyes open, that in the next few weeks they'll have pretend food sets in the DOLLAR BIN! :)

Sa-weet! Now if only I can restrain myself from giving it to her... like today. ;)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So many reasons to THANK God

I had a really rough night from the hours of say, 11-2 and then 5-8am this morning. I've had this weird cough/phlegm thing going on for a few days now, only, it's not really days at all...always nights, always when I just want to crash in bed and drift off peacefully, always, always, always. So I hack and cough and make all sorts of hideous noises until my hubs says, "you ok? Need me to do anything?" And I sigh, "no" and wish there was something he could do. I roll over and think if I prop up a leeetle bit higher the pointless coughing will end... nope. So that was from 11-2am. Then, at 5:20 I hear a little girl talking in her bed. Ava ALWAYS sleeps till after 7/7:30. Dreaming? So I perk up and sure enough, she's kinda whining, talking and saying, "momma". So I ask Brad what time it is... 5:20?! NO way! I peek in and she's curled into a perfect ball with her hiney up in the air - arms tucked beneath her, shivering. Poor poor baby girl. I thought I could use her summer PJ's one more time. You know, the ones with a short sleeve t-shirt and silky pants. In a home where the thermostat is set to 64 tops! Wrong again. So I tucked her huge blanket up around her and she went back to sleep, whew! {still confused on how those kiddos can't stay under a blanket twice their size... but oh well} So, Ava was taken care of... but now I was fully awake and, yep, you guessed it, the coughing was starting up again. Rather then annoying my husband for the next two sacred hours of rest - I headed to the couch. And there I attempted to rest until 7ish when a certain little girl was awake again and a certain handsome guy was getting ready for work. NO REST FOR THE WEARY. I couldn't fathom moving off of that couch - did I even sleep lastnight? And, I have a very busy little one - who, if I don't get off of this couch - will take everything out of every drawer, cupboard and basket.

But, now, a few hours later while Ava is down for her nap and Brad is at work and I may {or may not} have Christmas music playing throughout the house... I'm just feeling thankful and its taken over my exhaustion. I have so many reasons to thank God today.

-my coughing is just a nagging cold
-my daughter is alive, healthy, and dependant on me
-my husband has a job to go to
-we have beds and couches to lay on when we are feeling ill
-I have a daughter
-I have a husband
-we have blankets and heat and a home, which is more then over half the world can say
and the list goes on.

Am I tired? You bet. But, so many good reasons to be tired. I'm a blessed woman and so thankful today for all that God has done in my life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Before and After : Hair edition

I haven't had a good cut since Ava was born... well, before Ava was born. So if you are counting, that's about 2 years. It was well overdue.

Here is before:
The long, super thick, broken ends shot -

And, about an hour later and a wonderfully talented hairdresser:
The new look -

I love it! And, haven't had bangs since college... when it looked more like a tidal wave on my forehead rather then hair. ;) don't believe me? ...

Told ya!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pottery Barn - Schmottery Barn

Today was a good mail day... if, by good mail I mean, that you like looking through catalogs. I got two big ones - Target's Christmas toy catalog and Pottery Barn Kids holiday book. I always enjoy turning the pages and "ooohing" and "aaahhhing" the extremely well decorated pretend rooms in PB. I love going into the store and just imagining what it would be like to be able to just drop $4k on a set of beds... or a bookshelf. But you know what always, always, always happens moments after I step out of the store, or put down the catalog? That ugly beast of covetousness and "poor me" feeling begins to seep in and tempt me... and if I (with the help of the Holy Spirit) don't catch it... can take over my day, causing me to resemble an ugly beast by the time my hubs gets home. Because you know what? I WANT my girls room to look amazing, picture perfect and like pure, childhood, bliss. Take for example - this:What on earth? {if you have this...I'm not judging, btw - good for you!} I would LOOOOVE to have an all-in-one playhouse/bed/little girl dream world room. Can you see the complete pink kitchen set inside the house? Do you see the perfect chandelier and curtains?! Part of me wants to be 8 again and live right here.

But, it's not just kids room stuff that gets me. It's decor stuff... stuff I wish I could throw together and have my family love and admire. Like this felt leaf garland. How difficult could this be to make? But, it's $50 in PB! I'm seeing some ribbon and a bunch of cut out leaf patterns. Hmmm.

Anyway, Pottery Barn - Schmottery Barn.
So, I'm sure you are thinking, "look lady, if its that much of an issue for you.. STOP looking at it". True. And, sometimes I do. But, in a way this challenge is so good for me - though you may see it as unneccesary torture. Each time I open this catalog I remind myself of a few things:
-These things will not make you happy
-These things will not make Ava happier
-These things don't define you or who God wants you to be
God knows my heart - and He gives me my value. So, thankfully, most of the time I can put the book down and remember that... and praise God that though, yes, I do admire pretty things in this world - they don't define me or save me or make me ultimately happy (Eccl. 1:8). Christ alone DOES! I must find my satisfaction in Him. I must seek Him alone... for the desires of my heart. And, I know that as women we do struggle with this topic. So I hope today - in some round about way - someone was encouraged or challenged with my ramblings. Go hug your babies or husband and thank God for your life that is jam-packed with blessings!
"But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness,faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
I Timothy 6:6-12

Monday, November 1, 2010

Long weekend

Well, we just had a very full weekend. {sigh} Now it's back to reality... my house is a mess from all the weekend fun and I MUST get to the store at some point today.

My husband is amazing at planning family day fun. Friday is his day off and he is so good about coming up with ideas... this weekend was no exception. Friday night we went out to eat and then took a certain little girl to Living History Farms for their "non-scary family night". While we had a great time together - complete with horse drawn carriage ride and FREE popcorn - we agreed that we probably won't shell out the $15 to do that again... walking away with only 7 pieces of candy. Bah! But it was fun at the time! If you can't tell from the above pic, she is wearing a pink scrubs set. The back says, "nurse in training". It was cute :)

Saturday we joined up with the rest of the family and had a good night enjoying Papa Murphys pizza (my first time!) and taking the kiddos around the blocks for candy. That night our girlie was an OSU cheerleader - in unfriendly territory ;) Good thing she's cute!

So, today, Monday, we are all feeling a little sleepy and unmotivated. It's a laid-back kind of morning... :) November 1st already. I can't believe we are heading to FL in a few weeks. :)
I believe my coffee pot and peppermint mocha creamer is beckoning me... and the last few minutes of Sesame street with my little girl. Enjoy your start to November!