It’s The Little Things…

I’ve been MIA for a few months and that’s for good reason. For the past 6 months (6 LOOONNNGGG months!) we’ve been in the process of buying a house and land. To say we’ve run into a few road blocks is an understatement. If you want to see people with bad luck, just take a look at my husband and me! I won’t go into details but to sum it up we had problems with our loan, getting the property prepped, delivery of our home (we purchased a modular home), electric installation, utilities, a very long punch list (a list that still isn’t complete!), and now outside trim work. It rarely rains in West Texas but every time we had the big projects scheduled, IT! HAS! RAINED!

So, onto my topic about the little things…We’ve done the RV living thing for almost 2 years. We packed everything we owned except for the necessities and put them in storage. Everything has been done on a MUCH smaller scale. We did this to allow us the opportunity to travel with my husband to his different job locations and keep our little family together. We always knew that the time would come when our son started school that we would need to settle down somewhere…so that’s what we did. Anyway, yesterday I was able to actually spend a decent amount of money on groceries and purchase enough groceries to last 2 weeks…a luxury I didn’t have in the RV due to space. It was so nice to have somewhere to put the 72 items, so my receipt says, in a specific place. 

Other “little things” I’ve started to enjoy again….a dishwasher, washer and dryer, my king size bed, regulated temperature control, a bath tub, full size garbage can, full size oven, having the ability to cook an entire meal at one time rather than in stages, hanging pictures back on the wall, having a craft room, having a water heater that holds more than 11 gallons of water…the list could go on and on! I have to tell you, unpacking boxes was like Christmas for all of us. We found things we forgot we had! It was amazing!

I still have a ton of work to do, my husband has big plans for landscaping, decks, and fencing but we’re HERE! We have space! We have separate rooms! We have the little things…

P.S. I haven’t forgotten to post my final blog about my daughter’s wedding. I’m waiting on the photos from the photographer so I can share some of those within the post. And yes, I planned a wedding 1,000 miles away while trying to buy a house. It’s been a crazy few months.

51 Days To Go!

Official countdown/stressing out has begun! Invitations have been sent out. RSVP’s are on their way back to me (I hope!). Now it’s time to make some final decisions on decor, flowers, music, attire, wedding vows…oh goodness…now do you see why I’m beginning to stress!

Thankfully I have a very low maintenance daughter who is happy with pretty much anything. That being said, I purchased invitations at Hobby Lobby and printed them myself. If you don’t have the Hobby Lobby app on your phone, GET IT! The ability to have a 40% coupon that can be used once a day is an awesome deal. When it’s all added up I think I spent more on postage than I did on the invitations. 

Gray invitations were printed in purple and wrapped with purple tulle bow.

Gray invitations were printed in purple and wrapped with purple tulle bow.

We’ve also finalized the menu for the reception. I’m holding my breath on the RSVP’s because I think we’ve over invited folks. We’ll just see how it plays out. No RSVP received = No seat at the reception. 

I purchased all the materials needed to make the boutonnieres today and thanks to Hobby Lobby’s 50% off sale on wedding items, I can make all 8 for $2.00 each. Yay!

In other news, the bride and bridesmaids have GOT to get together and pick out dresses!!!! (hint hint…I know you’re reading this bride to be!) Yes, with 51 days to go they haven’t picked out bridesmaids dresses! 

I’m off to work on boutonnieres and get those done. Mother of the bride and mother of the groom corsages will be done next. Busy busy!!

OK, Now What?

On February 12, 2014 I made a life changing decision. I was baptized. I buried the old me and a new me rose in it’s place. It’s truly an amazing feeling. In the month that has passed I’ve really stepped back and taken a look at my feelings, my behavior, and how I’m viewed by others. I don’t want to be one of those Christians that others look at and say “She certainly isn’t acting like a Christian.” Trust me, people do that. I’ve done it!

In January 2014, as I was praying one evening before bed, I made the decision to go to the church affiliated with my son’s school. Not knowing if my husband was working or not, I told him that our son and I would be attending the morning service. That’s when my transformation began. A beautiful young lady (who happens to be the pastor’s grand daughter) gave me the book Muscle And A Shovel to read. My husband intercepted the book (he was able to attend church with me that Sunday) and read it first and it was life changing for him. He insisted that I read it and in doing so I learned more about the Bible and the church than I had in my entire life. He chose to be baptized first and after I finished the book I did the same. I had always known that I needed to be baptized but never knew WHY. Now I knew. My heart was ready.

My pre-baptism days consisted of poor decisions, bad behavior, negative energy, and just overall sin. Speaking of sin, yes everyone sins. It’s up to us as Christians to avoid as much sin as we possibly can. Our pastor just spoke of this last week in church…we are all slaves to sin. It’s our job to do what’s right. Sure some people sin without knowing it but others know that what they’re doing is wrong, yet do it anyway. You don’t just sin “a little bit”. I’ve learned that sin is sin regardless of how big or small. I’m working every day to be a better person. Some days it’s a struggle to not revert back to my old way of thinking. I’ve seen others very quickly fall back into their old ways of thinking and doing and it’s so disappointing.

After baptism some people say “Ok, now what? I’ve been baptized so I’m good for eternity.” **two thumbs up** I don’t believe that’s true. I believe in faithful study of God’s word, faithful attendance at church, showing your faith (James 2:17-24) and trusting in God in everything in your life. I’ve learned that you’ve got to make baptism STICK.  You’ve GOT to do the work. Saying you’ll do it and actually doing it are two different things. I know people are watching and waiting to see what God does for me. Maybe they’re on the fence of making the decision to commit their lives to God. You can’t convince someone of how wonderful this gift is if you’re sinning “just a little bit” here and there. What kind of example is that for others?

I’ve taken my baptism very seriously, much to the dislike of others. I guess I’m cramping their style. Oh well!  I’ve attended church every Sunday, I now attend a ladies Bible study on Wednesdays, and I’ve attended a few Wednesday night services. I admit I should be more active in my attendance on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights and I’m working on that. The ladies Bible class that I attend is full of inspirational, Godly women. Women that I look up to and hope to be one day. They’re all beautiful, amazing women of all ages and it’s truly an honor to study with them. There’s a sense of love and unity as soon as I walk into the room and when I leave I am uplifted and in such a happy place.

I guess the purpose of this post is to just speak and reflect on the changes in my life. I want to work diligently every day to become a better Christian. I want my kids to look at me with a new respect. I hope that my path can be an inspiration to others. If people wonder why my viewpoints have changed, why my posts on Facebook are a little more kind towards others, and why I’m not encouraging some of the inappropriate behavior of others, it’s because I put my faith in the forefront of my life. I don’t feel like I’m now better than anyone else, but I do feel like I’m in a better place. I’ll end with my favorite scripture:  

Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. ~Psalm 103:2

You can find the book Muscle And A Shovel at http://michaelshankministries.com/  It is also available through the Kindle store on Amazon.

Introducing the bride and groom!

Since I’ll be sharing this journey of my oldest daughter’s wedding I thought it would be a good idea to begin with introducing everyone to the bride and groom.

Kayla and Stump's Engagement Photo
Kayla and Stump’s Engagement Photo

Kayla and Stump met in 2010 through mutual friends.  They consider August  14th their official anniversary date. Of course, her dad didn’t like him and his mom didn’t like her and like most young couples they struggled with this.  Of course they had some bumps in the road but they made the most of their situations and this has made their relationship stronger. In September 2012 they found out Kayla was pregnant and their first child, Kaiden Daniel, was born May 6, 2013. Even though they are very young, they are excellent parents to their son and I couldn’t be more proud of them. 

Kayla was born on November 10th and is the oldest of my 3 children. When she was younger she cheered with the Lynn Haven Raiders, where almost every year she was awarded the Best Sportsmanship award. She was always the sweetest, always concerned how others were, and most tender hearted girl.  Later on she played softball and this was really what she was meant to do. She was just awesome at it! She and her younger sister, Jaymee, drove me nuts fighting all the time and I’m sooooo thankful that they’ve grown past that!! I’m so incredibly proud of the woman she’s grown up to be. 

Stump was born on November 2nd (can you imagine how crazy it gets in their home when it’s birthday time!).  No, his legal name is not Stump! His name is Jeffrey Daniel, a name that Kayla likes to call him just to tease him. He was nicknamed Stump because as a small child every time he would get in trouble he would hide behind a tree stump in his family’s back yard. When he was younger he played football and baseball and also loves to play basketball.  When Stump was planning how to propose to Kayla, he enlisted my help in picking out the ring. It was rather comical to be honest. He would sneak Kayla’s phone because she had pictures saved then text them to me and delete the texts. All while Kayla was thinking he was just playing games on her phone. 

Stump proposed to Kayla on their 3rd anniversary. Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant helped out by putting her ring in her dessert. Kayla was in complete shock and beyond excited. If you know Stump then you know he doesn’t show much excitement about anything so I didn’t expect any jumps for joy when she said yes. 

The Proposal!!
The Proposal!!

And so begins our journey to happily ever after for Kayla and Stump! Stay tuned!

Ready! Set Go!

I have totally been slacking with posting on my blog. I’ve done a lot of updating on my Facebook page and tend to forget about my actual blog. With that being said, I’ve created a new category within my blog titled “Mother Of The Bride”. My goal is to document all the happenings, stresses, joys, and most importantly the excitement of planning my oldest daughter’s wedding. Thankfully I have 8 months to plan and of course PAY for her wedding. 

For anyone planning a wedding I strongly suggest downloading the app from theknot.com. My daughter, Kayla, and I both have downloaded hte app onto our phones and my iPad. It helps us work on the guest list, budget, to do list, and basically keep us all organized. LOVE IT! 

Before we could officially get started with the planning I had her pick 3 dates then we set out to find a location. We spent an entire afternoon going from one side of the city to the other looking and gathering pricing lists. The first place we visited ended up being her choice and from there we could confirm their first pick in dates. Yay! After having to find a member to sponsor the event, she turned in the deposit for: http://www.stabyc.com/ and the date is officially set for

July 26, 2014!!!

Oh, did I mention I’ll be doing all this planning from 1,000 miles away?! Yes, I’m in Texas while she’s in Florida so needless to say, when I’m back home visiting we’ll be getting in as much planning as possible. Yikes! While I was home visiting we also went dress shopping with my youngest daughter who will also serve as her maid of honor, Jaymee. Just like the wedding venue, she fell in love with the first dress she tried on! Double yay!! Yes, there was the moment that all of our eyes filled with tears at the reality of the moment but so much excitement filled the room as well. Her gown, veil, and sash is sitting on layaway at http://www.shopdreamgowns.com/. The dress fit her perfectly and will not require any alterations. It was meant to be!

One final thing to do before I left was to get engagement photos done. Here’s where I get to try out my awesome, new DSLR camera! I love love love taking photos and of course my kids are always my guinea pigs. We went to Oaks By The Bay Park in St. Andews, FL for photos.  Jaymee picked out and purchased their attire for the photos and she did a wonderful job. 

So, from here I’ll be gathering addresses and logging them into theknot.com app and ordering Save The Date magnets. By the way, how clever are Save The Dates?! I love the magnet idea because who doesn’t love a magnet on their fridge. The Save The Dates are especially important when you’re planning a wedding this far out and you have out of town guests that will need to plan time off work, travel, etc. 

Stay tuned for more news! I can’t wait to share the next few months with y’all!

Just In Time For Summer~Fresh Broccoli Salad

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As much as I would like to take credit for this recipe, I have to give all the props to my dear friend Lorie.

This broccoli salad is a fresh addition to any meal but make sure you make a bunch because it will get gobbled up quickly!

Broccoli Salad

2 bunches fresh broccoli, chopped (or 1 lb pack fresh florets)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 c sugar
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 c raisins
1 c mayonnaise
10 strips crisp fried bacon (or 1 small pack bacon pieces)
8 oz pack almond slices

Mix together sugar, vinegar, and mayo in small bowl until well blended. In separate bowl add broccoli, onion, raisins, bacon, and almonds. Pour in dressing mixture and stir until well coated. Allow salad to sit for several hours or overnight for the flavors to blend. Serve cold.

Pizza Buns

Do you ever have those super easy snacks or meals that make their way off rotation? I’m sure some folks have made these before so it’s not a new “invention” but it’s something worth being reminded of if they’ve made their way off your meal list.  This is also great if you have left over pizza sauce. 

Hamburger bun pizza
A quick alternative to pizza!

Pizza Buns

2 Hamburger buns, open faced

Pizza sauce

Italian blend shredded cheese

Pepperoni

*Feel free to use your favorite toppings. Have fun creating your personal pizza!

Butter each bun then add sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. Bake at 425° until cheese is melted and bottom of bun is browned.

Told you it was easy! Enjoy!

Monkeys Everywhere!

After months and months of sitting at my little table in the RV making monkeys, invitations, and banners, the day finally came to display all my hard work. My daughter’s baby shower was absolutely perfect and she was so incredibly excited to celebrate the day with all of her friends and family. 

This cute cake was baked at our local Walmart bakery. Although it was originally intended to be a gender reveal cake, a few changes in the design transformed it into a cute monkey cake. The cake topper is actually a night light that was purchased at Babies R Us. The light can be reattached and used in the nursery.

These personalized water bottle labels came from Hobby Lobby. They were an inexpensive but cute touch to the beverage table.

These personalized water bottle labels came from Hobby Lobby. They were an inexpensive but cute touch to the beverage table.

These party favors were a huge hit! The banana runts were purchased online through amazon.com and the "Ready To Pop" boxes were filled with caramel popcorn.

These party favors were a huge hit! The banana runts were purchased online through amazon.com and the “Ready To Pop” boxes were filled with caramel popcorn.

Green and yello pretzel sticks

White chocolate dipped pretzel sticks with yellow and green sugar sprinkles. Yum!

Back by popular demand, strawberry cheesecake bites.

Back by popular demand, strawberry cheesecake bites.

Who knew serving veggies was so easy!

Who knew serving veggies was so easy!

This banner was hung over the crib, which was used to hold all the gifts.

This banner was hung over the crib, which was used to hold all the gifts.

We love baby gifts!

We love baby gifts!

welcome baby banner

These little guys tried my patience but they sure are cute!

These little guys tried my patience but they sure are cute!

Over 50 handmade invitations were sent out for the event.Over 50 handmade invitations were sent out for the event.

Baby Kaiden will have plenty of monkeys to play with.Baby Kaiden will have plenty of monkeys to play with.

One of the activities was called "The Gift Of Advice" in which the guests wrote a piece of advice for the mom to be while the gifts were opened. I wrote mine ahead of time knowing that I would be way to busy to do so during the shower. Little did I know that once I looked at my daughter and started reading these words that the tears would begin to flow uncontrollably and by the end of my pieces of advice there wouldn't be a dry eye in the room. This is the front side of the card.One of the activities was called “The Gift Of Advice” in which the guests wrote a piece of advice for the mom to be while the gifts were opened. I wrote mine ahead of time knowing that I would be way to busy to do so during the shower. Little did I know that once I looked at my daughter and started reading these words that the tears would begin to flow uncontrollably and by the end of my pieces of advice there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the room. This is the front side of the card.

Back side of the "Gift Of Advice" card from myself to my daughter.

Back side of the “Gift Of Advice” card from myself to my daughter.

In addition to the photos above, we also had a couple of games/activities for the guests. We started off the shower with the baby sock match up. Each guest was given a baby sock and was instructed to walk around and meet other guests and find their match. This activity not only served as an ice breaker for some but also allowed the mom to be the opportunity to rack up lots and lots of socks for baby.

The next game was the thank you card game. Each guest was given the envelope to the thank you cards the mom to be would be sending out. All guests filled out their address on the envelope and an envelope was drawn and door prize given to the winner.

The most entertaining game was the Mommy & Daddy quiz. Myself and the Daddy to be’s mom combined really cute questions and multiple choice answers in quiz form and had each guest answer the questions to win a prize. Telling funny stories about the mom and dad to be brought a lot of laughs for all the guests.

The biggest gift was given for the diaper raffle. Each guest that brought an unopened box of diapers was entered in the raffle and the mom to be helped draw the winning ticket.

Beautiful gifts for all the prizes were found at Hobby Lobby.

We are truly blessed to have this beautiful little life join our family and I look forward to many more parties to plan for our little monkey.

Mama S’s Squash Patties

One of the first times I went to my husband’s parents house for dinner he had asked his mom to fix him some squash patties. I didn’t know what in the world they were but I knew if it had squash in the recipe it had to be good. OH MY!  This is all things Southern! It’s yella (that’s yellow to y’all city folks) squash, onions, salt and pepper, and it’s FRIED! Oh yeah! You know we love our fried foods in the South! This is too good not to share!

Squash Patties Prep

Mama S’s Squash Patties

4-6 grated yellow squash

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp pepper (or more to taste)

6 T flour

1 egg, beaten

Combine all in bowl. Heat cooking oil in frying pan then add squash mixture by the spoonful to oil, flattening out mixture to form patty. Fry until golden brown. Place on paper towels to soak up extra grease then sprinkle with additional salt to taste.

Fried Squash Patties