By the Numbers.

April 27, 2016

5 – episodes of Suits I watched last week.  What can I say, I’m addicted.  My SIL recommended it and I’ve been hooked since episode 1.  At least I force myself to eliptic-ize while I watch!  Harvey is awesome.

7 – the magic hour that I need my kids to sleep to.  8 would be awesome. But I don’t mind 7. (Particularly because Dean is usually the morning riser.)

3 – number of meds Brooks is currently on for his allergies.  Poor guy.

6 – number of house projects on my priority DIY to-do list.  Finish crown molding, re-do kids toy cubby, hang new bathroom fixtures, make shelf for B room, hang curtains in bedroom, paint half bath.

37 – number of tshirts I own. How do I know this? Because I just had to fold each one of them to transfer to a new dresser.  At least 10 are Elevation Church shirts! Hoarder.

5 – number of tomato plants in our 2016 garden (so far).  Three of them came up on their own from last years tomatoes that dropped into the soil.  I’m guessing we might get 1 or 2 more that come up on their own.

0 – number of squash plants this year.  They weren’t a hit last year:)

11 – number of birthdays/holidays that fall between Feb 26 and Father’s Day in our family.  And some of these dates require multiple gifts (i.e. Father’s Day means gifts for Dean’s dad, my dad and Dean).  That’s a lot of gift giving in 3.5 months.





April 26, 2016

Today, I’m thankful for:

  1. Great doctors and readily available, affordable medicine.  After Brooks’ breathing episodes this weekend due to allergies, I’m so thankful for quick care and that he’s on the mend.
  2. A working body.  Yes, my knees sometimes ache and my neck can get tight, I’m not as spry as I once was.  But I have a body that can lift and run and work – every day.
  3. Cameras.  I just love looking at past pictures and remembering special moments.  A silly smile or fun backdrop immediately bring me back to that moment.  As my brain can’t retain it all, I’m so thankful for those sweet images.
  4. My dad.  He’s celebrating the big 5-5 today and I’m so thankful for him.  He is always nudging me to be better.  And he’s probably my biggest cheerleader.  I’m thankful for his example.  He works so hard in many aspects of life and I appreciate how much he’s taught me.  (Which is a lot given we work together every day:) )
  5. Dreams.  I love that Dean and I get to think about our future and dream about places we want to go, things we want to achieve and what we want our family to be like.  I love that we have so many freedoms and options in this life and I am so thankful God continues to bless our little life.

And a quick highlight from celebrating dad this weekend:

dad bday 55

Thankful for the confidence he always puts on display:)  What a performance!!


Brooks stories.

April 20, 2016

Walking by the playroom, that looks like a toy bomb exploded, on his way to his bedroom. Brooks talking matter of factly…

“Mom, this is a mess in here.  I’ll clean this up with Landon tomorrow morning, ok?”

Trying to teach my kids the importance of recognizing others in need and giving to them.  We’d just given some money to a man on the corner with a sign.

Brooks:  “Mom, why did you give him all that money? Don’t worry, I can give you some of my money at home.”
Mom:  “That’s ok, baby, we are giving it to someone who is in a hard situation and needs money to buy food for his family. We have to look for people out there who need money more than we do.  We have more than enough so Jesus wants us to look for others and give to them.”

Two minutes later, we drive into the Walmart parking lot.
“Mom, looooook! ANOTHER ONE WITH NEED!”  Brooks says as he points out another man across the parking lot holding a sign. “We gotta give him some money. He’s in need.”

Brooks gets the benefit of his big brother, Landon, learning things and teaching them to him.  Recently we were in the car and Brooks starts rattling off some math problems.
“3+1=4, 5+2=7, 2+2=4…”
By the third one Dean and I look at each other shocked that he knows how to do addition.
Brooks, sensing our surprise pipes up, “Mom, I’m using my fingers to do math.  Landon showed me. You know… addition is where you combine things.”

At bedtime, Brooks often wants me to make up a story – he usually wants trucks, dinos, whatever his latest love is.  The other night I decided to mix it up and tell him a true story about when I was a little girl.  When I finished…
“That was a good story, mom, but tomorrow I want you to tell me one with dinosaurs.”

Every day I have moments where I think, seriously, who is this kid?! And how did I get to be his momma?



Recipe: Meatball Sub-oli & Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette Green Beans

April 13, 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog.  Partially because I’ve cut back on how often I post. Partially because I’ve been in a little bit of a cooking rut and haven’t tried many new things lately.

Well this was a brand new meal.


First up, Meatball Sub-oli.  Part Meatball Sub, Part Stromboli.  I choose to make this because my kids always pick the meatball sub when we’re at Subway, so I decided to make something similar.

Meatball Suboli
Frozen cooked meatballs
1 prepackaged pizza dough (the pop-tube kind, where you get the Pillsbury premade baked goods – biscuits, croissants, etc)
Premade spaghetti sauce – I had Ragu Meatball on hand. How fitting – meatball sauce for a meatball sub-oli
Pepperoni Slices
Shredded Mozzarella
Parmesan Cheese
Italian seasoning and garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400°.  While the oven is preheating, throw your frozen meatballs in a skillet and start cooking. It’s good to get them nice and browned on the outside so they have some color.  I had them cooking on med high heat and just kept stirring them as I prepped the dough.

Hit a cookie sheet with cooking spray and then unroll and spread your dough across.  I tried to make mine fit the entire length and width of a medium size sheet.  Then down the middle longways, I spooned spaghetti sauce – a little more than a cup – but you decide how saucy you like it, then topped it with some extra pepperoni slices I wanted to use up – I had about 15 slices.  Then I covered that with a cup of shredded mozz cheese and a sprinkling of parm cheese and Italian seasoning.  By now, my meatballs were cooked through and browned on the outside.  I spooned those on top and the covered them with a little more spaghetti sauce.  I then folded the sides onto the top of the meatballs to make a nice long pocket.  On the outside of the dough, I spread some EVOO and hit the outside crust with another sprinkle of Italian seasoning and garlic salt.

Bake for 20-25 mins until its golden on the outside and fillings are heated through.

Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette Green Beans
There were some fresh green beans for sale at the grocery store this week so I decided to get some. I’m usually a canned green bean girl, but I was feeling crazy!

Here’s how I prepped them.

I used the skilled that I cooked the meatballs in because it already had some cooking grease in the bottom of the pan and some flavorful scrapings on the bottom (if you didnt have some grease, I’d just start with a little EVOO or veg oil). I cut the stems off of several handfuls of fresh green beans and put them into the skillet.  I cooked them on Med High for about 5 mins and then I added 1/4 c water and covered so they would start to steam in there.  I left the lid on and cooked for about 5 more minutes until they were al dente.  Then I added a generous tablespoon of minced garlic and cooked a minute or two more.  While they were finishing, I had the last bit of Girard’s Champagne Salad Dressing Vinaigrette in the fridge that I wanted to finish up, so I squeezed about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard into the dressing bottle and shook together.  (There was probably only about 3-4 tablespoons of dressing left.) Then I plated the green beans and topped with the mustard-dressing sauce. I love recipes with less than 5 ingredients!

Here’s to hoping for more inspired dishes to come this spring and summer. With our garden plants going in later this month, I should have no excuse to try some fun salads and recipes with my garden fresh ingredients!





A boy and his bat. (And the man behind it.)

April 11, 2016

Landon started t-ball for the first time this spring and he’s doing a great job.  I’ve had several parents and coaches come up and tell us how great his swing is, or they’re impressed with how well he throws and catches. And I sure am proud of this boy.


But he’s not the only boy who worked hard on those skills.

Behind that swing, is a daddy whose spend no less than 200 hours in the backyard over the past two years tossing wiffle balls to his 4 year old (at the time) son.  A daddy who oiled a new glove and taught him how to cock his arm to throw.  A daddy who chased down foul balls and fetched balls out of bushes.  A daddy who wiped tears from a little boy who got frustrated (or hit by a pitch!). A daddy who wouldn’t let him quit after a few bad attempts because he was teaching him how to work through adversity.

I’m so thankful for the daddy that’s raising my boys. I love that he’s an encourager. He’s patient. He shows them how much he cares about them with the quality time he spends with them.  And they adore him.

And I am infinitely proud of this kid, whether he’s got the skills or not, because I see him try his best every practice. He takes the critiques and puts them to work because he wants to be better.

I love seeing the true joy in his eyes when his daddy is out back tossing balls to him. And the smile on his face when he gets a hit in a game.


I love your hard work.

April 8, 2016

Dear Landon,

I love your hard work.  You are one of the hardest working little boys I know. You’re always quick to help mom or dad without complaint.  If the playroom needs a cleaning or if the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, you jump right on it.

I love the example you’re setting for your brother and others with how hard you try.  When it comes to sports, you spend hours each week outside of practice working on your dribbling, catching, rebounding, and swing.  At home, you’re on top of it with your homework.  You love getting better and working hard to do it.

Too often, kids get blasted for having bad attitudes or a lack of work ethic.  But not you.  You pride yourself on earning chore stickers each day. You love the accomplishment of rocking out your reading assignment or nailing your sight words lists.

You’re the best little assistant – running errands, helping with chores, doing house projects and more.

I hope you never lose your desire to work hard and be better.  It’s going to serve you so well when you become the man of your own house one day.  I love the energy you bring to our family and your hard work makes me want to work hard, too.

I love you baby boy.  (times a million bajillion).



I love your confidence.

April 7, 2016

Dear Brooks,

I love your confidence.  You show me every day that it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does – you’re ok doing it your way.  It doesn’t matter if other kids are all inside coloring – if you want to run circles outside, you’ll do it.  It doesn’t matter if they are dressed differently – you’ll wear slippers to school if you want.  It doesn’t matter if I tell you that your sentence doesn’t make sense, you’re running with it.  And if there is a chance to stand up in front of the group and give your opinion, you’ll do it.

You don’t get swayed when the big kids come and tell you you’re too little to play, you think you fit right in. You don’t care that you haven’t mastered a sports skill yet, you still think you’re the bees knees out there.  You know who you are, what you want and what you care about.  And I love that.  I see other kids getting swayed by what other people say or do and I love that you follow your heart.

I wish I could have 1/20th of the confidence you portray every day.  Thanks for the example my sweet boy!

Love you (times a million bajillion),



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