Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekend Progress and Recipe

 I'm making some progress on my to-do list, yay! 

Last night Jeffry and I put together the bookcase for Caleb and Trace's room. 

It was a lot bigger than I expected! It fits perfectly right next to Caleb's dresser. Here it is:

(the pic was taken from my phone so it's kinda grainy)

And another project I forgot to add to my to-do list (but I will just so I can cross it off)- 
my Valentine wreath! 

I'm so in love with how it turned out! I want to make another one for Easter in maybe light yellow or pink...I'm full of ideas for this! 

And I've probably done 4 loads of clothes. Making a dent. Do you realize how many clothes big boys and little boys can wear in a week? Bray and Caleb wear uniforms to school so they may come home and have to change into another outfit if we are going somewhere that night. Trace is a 2 year old so he's just messy anyway. Jeffry is no exception. His stain of choice is grease or...well, we live on a farm so just use your imagination. I won't spell it out. 

I made this chicken pasta last night and had to share with you. Sort of like chicken floretine but I did it my own way. 

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 bag fresh spinach
1 container fresh mushrooms
4 roma tomatoes diced
8oz sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
chicken broth
1 package medium egg noodles

In a large boiler, heat several cups of water for your pasta. Be sure to salt the water. Once water is boiling, add egg noodles til al dente. Drain and set to side. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken to the pan and season with Lawry's and black pepper. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, set it to the side in a large bowl. Add a teaspoon more olive oil to the skillet and turn the heat down to just under medium. Add the bag of spinach and the entire container of mushrooms. Once they have started to cook, go ahead and add the diced tomatoes. Let these simmer until spinach is wilted and mushrooms are golden. Add sour cream, and cream of mushroom soup and mix together. Add chicken back to mixture and stir. Add chicken broth to thin the sauce to your desired consistency. (I added maybe a 1/4 of a cup.) Add salt and pepper to taste. 

I mixed the noodles and chicken sauce mixture together in the large bowl I had put the chicken in. 
My family loved this pasta! It's a great way to get some veggies could add lots of them. Also, I used fat free sour cream and cream of mushroom soup and low sodium chicken broth. Still plenty of flavor but better for us! Hope you try this sometime. 

Off to finish my laundry so I can pick my 30 for 30!

Friday, January 28, 2011

This Weekend

will be spent:

* Doing all the week's worth of laundry that I have neglected. Mainly folding clothes. Cuz let's face it, the washing and drying part is not hard...just the folding and putting away. Are there machines for that too?

* Taking down the cowboy themed curtains and hanging blinds in Bray's room. He got a new USM comforter and sheets for his new room. Which is still dark brown and clashes with the bedding...oh well, one day we will paint it gray.

* Putting together the $70 Target bookcase I got from Dirt Cheap for $14! So proud of myself! I'm NOT a Dirt Cheap shopper. After I put it together, I'll be going through our multitude of books we have for the little boys. Hopefully getting rid of some!

* I hope to carve out some extra time this weekend for songwriting. I've got the urge.

* Making my list of picks to remix for the 30 for 30. Gotta get that post up before Tuesday! I'm excited!

* Being Mama to my three favorite people in the entire world. Cherish the time you have with your family! The other day I was unloading groceries and Trace was playing in the yard. He picked up his bouncy ball and said "throw ball, Mama". In my head, I was thinking...I need to get these groceries inside, get dinner going, put on a load of clothes...but my heart said no. So I stopped what I was doing and threw the ball with him for a few minutes. It wasn't long before he wanted to go on to something else, but it meant so much to ME. Just a little challenge to me and you!

* Leading worship Sunday at church. Well, I do this every week. But we are playing a new song this week which is always fun. Check out Yahweh from Hillsong.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


...because sometimes it just feels good to lay it all out there.

* I overuse exclamation marks. Even in professional business emails. Oops.

* I really hate lotion unless it's thick like a body cream. As in, if I have to use regular lotion, I end up wiping half of it off because I don't like the "feeling".

* I'm probably the nicest person you will meet and would never say anything ugly to you. I can't be mean to people. Like the other day when the waitress totally got my order wrong, did I complain and get a new dish for free like my husband, my mother, my mother-in-law other people? No. I sat there and ate it. I don't like people to feel bad.

* I drank my weight in caffeinated beverages yesterday. And I liked it. Oh well, back to water today.

* I'm kind of OCD when it comes to certain things. Lots of things. More than I can go into here.

* I wear jeans almost every day because I work at a hardware store/lumberyard. Part of the reason I signed up for Kendi's challenge- to help me branch out!

* I'm pretty old school and love to read real books- as in ones on paper. I even print out emails sometimes if they are long because I prefer reading on paper than on a digital screen. But I did get a Kindle for Christmas and I am very much enjoying it!

***Tell me I'm not the only one who has some quirks they wanna 'fess up to? Comment with yours!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Let's Play Dress Up

So my friend, Emily, introduced me to Kendi Everyday

I have stalked this website up and down, and I love it.

Kendi has awesome style and mixes prints, colors, and textures in ways that I never thought of! 
So inspiring really. Makes me wanna wear more than jeans every day which says a lot. 

Kendi is kicking off her 4th session of 30 for 30 -Winter Edition; a blog challenge to readers to pick 30 items out of their closet and mix and match them into 30 different outfits for a month. Readers post photos of their outfits each day. 

(Umm, I'm already telling you, I know mine will not be daily. But I will at least get them on here!)

Sign up ends tomorrow and 30 for 30 officially kicks off February 1st. 

So come on and sign up with me and Em! Let's play dress up...

Monday, January 24, 2011


I LOVE Naked Juice

Have you ever tried it? 

A cross between juice and a smoothie. 

I brought home a bottle of Green Machine the other night, and my husband totally made fun of me. 

This convo is on the side of the bottle:

"Looks weird." Sip. "Tastes amazing." Sip. "Hey, 10 green turbo-nutrients?" Sip. "Still looks weird."

And it's very true. Looks nasty, tastes so yummy!

 I love that the exact number of fruits/veggies is listed on the side of the bottle. 

Today I downed a huge Mighty Mango with no shame. 

I've really been trying to eat healthier foods and make more intentional choices 
about what I'm putting into my body. 

And Naked Juice has been one of my favorite additions to my diet thus far. 

*Do you have any favorite healthy snacks you could suggest for me to try?

Last Week

*Monday was Martin Luther King day, but most importantly my Bray bear's 8th birthday! So hard to believe. He has truly changed my life for the better. We celebrated by staying at the camper all weekend and letting the boys ride their dirt bikes that they got for Christmas all day. They had a blast! We'd gone out for his birthday dinner at Red Lobster the Friday before. 

Our trip to Gatlinburg this year

In his football uniform after their state playoff game

Little cutie at Christmas 2005

Oh, and it also was my sweet IRL friend Em's bday; she was in my wedding. Go visit her here

*Tuesday was Caleb's day to bring snacks at school. I worked most of the morning, and then ran by Walmart to pick up some juice boxes and snack mix bags for his class. He was so excited that I brought them by and stayed for story time, ran by Bray's class, and then took them both home. It really is the little things we do that bring our kids so much happiness. I spent the afternoon baking birthday cupcakes for Brayden to take for his class the next day since it just so happened to be his snack day! 

*I let Bray take his cupcakes with him like a big boy. No need for Mama to pop in to his class two days in a row. Wednesday night I led worship for The Chamber which is our midweek prayer service. Our church is in the midst of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, so this worship time was especially exciting. 

*Thursday was Sales Tax day at the store. Blah. I have to do it once a month, but I never enjoy it. I mean who enjoys paying taxes? Usually my focus on Thursdays is more about what's coming up for worship team practice that night. I look forward to practice all week long; it's my passion! We just got an actual acoustic drum set! We've had electronic drums which totally work, but wow, a real acoustic set just makes a huge difference. Exciting stuff. 

*I was so excited for Friday! I had a few things to do at the store before I got to leave to go to lunch with my Dad in Hattiesburg. He had to come down for a doctor's appointment, so we met at Newk's. After a great lunch, I had the shopping bug. I ran by Forever 21 and got a couple cute shirts. Then I went to GAP where I had a 30% off my entire purchase email! Let me tell you, I racked up on some sale rack deals in GAP. The two best buys were a thin gray sweater for $2 and a cute tweed skirt for $9. I still had some money left on a Belk gift card from Christmas, so I went there next. I grabbed up some super cute Jessica Simpson black suede boots at 50% off! I was so proud of my sale-finding self that day. :)

*Saturday was Brayden's birthday party at Gatti Town. All of our family came, and we invited several of Bray's friends from church and school. It was such a blast. The party "hero" (the Gatti Town worker) made balloon animals, painted faces, made an obstacle course for them, served the pizza, drinks, cake, and ice cream, decorated the room, and cleaned up afterwards. This was our first birthday party that wasn't at home and I must say it was SO nice to do nothing but sit back and take pictures. Speaking of pictures, there aren't any yet because I left my camera bag in my mom's car! :( I have to wait until I see her again to get it back...we live a little over 2 hours away. Stink. 

*Sunday was tremendous. I love Sundays because as a worship leader, they are what I prepare for all week long. We had a great set list including a new song to us called "Hallelujah" by Stephen Cole. You can find it on the Catalyst Music Project in iTunes. The sermon was so incredible though. So many people were touched that day. I left saying, "I really wish I could do that everyday". Maybe one day...

* What is your biggest passion in life?

* What's the best deal you've ever gotten on a piece of clothing?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You Can Thank Me Later

Yall, I have to share with you my latest favorite blog. 
(Besides yours of course!) 

Are you ready?

It's called... (drum roll)

It's one of my sweet besties IRL who has a hilarious sense of humor and shares it with us daily.

But better yet, she's a makeup artist. 

And today she's sharing tips on how to get cheekbones like J-Lo.

(Who doesn't want cheekbones like J-Lo?)

And she has the cutest tiny sweet baby who I think should marry one of my cute little boys. 

And she lucked out and got a hot hubby that smells like dirt

So why are you still here? Go see her! 

And tell her you hopped over from Morgan's :)

You can thank me later. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Storyteller, Part 3

I knew that I wanted to share our story on our blog because although a lot of you know us personally, a lot of you don't. And even those who know us may not really know the details of what God has done in our lives. So I'm starting at the beginning. Our story is real, raw, and unrehearsed. I hope you read with an open heart.

In September of 2007, we found out we were pregnant with our third child. We were so excited!  Instead of just calling and telling our parents outright, we sent them a bouquet of yellow flowers with a note that said "Congrats on Baby #3!" Our family's were surprised and so happy for us. We went to the doctor for our first ultrasound on a Friday in October.  We went into the ultrasound room and within minutes the technician told us she couldn’t find a heartbeat, and said she was sorry. She walked out to go get my doctor.  I had to go to the bathroom to get dressed after that, and I just broke down in Jeffry’s arms. My heart was broken again. I can't tell you how thankful I was that Jeffry was there with me and that I wasn't alone. I had to have a D&C that Monday so right after we left my doctor we went to the hospital to get my pre-admission forms done. It was one of the longest days of my life. The poor little man who was filling out my forms was making me so irate. He was trying to crack jokes and make light of things when I had just lost my baby. All I wanted to do was crawl in a hole and die. That night was a bad time for me. I wrestled with sleep; all through the night the Holy Spirit was singing in me that “Jesus’ Blood never fails me”. That Sunday, we went to church and I stood in the audience with my husband and my mom. It was so hard but I didn’t know anything to do besides praise my Jesus for whom He is and cling to Him. I’m not going to lie; I struggled with depression over the next month. I tried explaining it to my mom like this, "I felt like I had something on my back, pushing me down, but I never fell completely to my knees. I never fully gave in to it." I really think my battle with depression was a spiritual one. But I had a Savior who said He’d never leave me nor forsake me. He followed through. He carried me again.

It was hard for me to hear that other people got pregnant or had a baby after that. I was so sad about the baby we had lost that we never had the chance to meet. I think was such a shock because I'd had two perfectly normal pregancies with no complications at all. I cried out to God for another baby, and He answered our prayers in February of 2008. Trace was born in November 2008, and as most of you know, he is truly a gift from the Lord.

If it weren’t for Jesus, I wouldn’t be who I am today. If it weren’t for an intimate relationship with Him, I would probably be in a totally different place in my life. But because He has healed and restored my family, I can be real. I can show people who I really am because He has changed me from the inside out. If you don't know Jesus or if you're still unsure if He even exists, please feel free to contact me. I've shared how He has changed my life in the hopes that He will use my story to affect someone else. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Storyteller, Part 2

I knew that I wanted to share our story on our blog because although a lot of you know us personally, a lot of you don't. And even those who know us may not really know the details of what God has done in our lives. So I'm starting at the beginning. Our story is real, raw, and unrehearsed. I hope you read with an open heart.

But our story doesn’t end there obviously. Jeffry and I got married in June 2002 and had Brayden in January 2003. One of the hardest things we both ever had to do was to tell our parents, but they supported us every step of the way. What a blessing to have parents who loved the Lord to walk through this with us.

Over the course of our first year of marriage, we had Brayden, bought our first car, decided to open our own building supply store in Wiggins and bought our first house; most of these are things people do in the first five to ten years of marriage! We searched for a church in Wiggins and eventually settled down at one, but it just wasn’t what either of us were used to. It was small and just didn’t seem to be life-giving.  I think we both knew that I was a little more spiritually mature then Jeffry was, especially evident when he did not understand why I wanted to go to special things at church. He was a good guy, but he had a good time at poker night with the guys and wasn’t ready to change that. Jeffry remembers me asking him one night, “Why can’t you and your friends ever get together without drinking beer?” He really didn’t have a great answer; he just said “That’s what we do. It’s how we have a good time”.  Don’t get me wrong, I was not the picture of perfection either. I went to church more out of obligation because I grew up doing it and I knew it was the right thing to do. But we got to the point where church just wasn’t a priority any more. We would be up in plenty of time to get ready to go to a Sunday morning service, but it seemed like we could always find a reason not to go.

In February of 2006, we began attending Northwood Church. Jeffry was brought up Methodist and I was brought up Baptist, so we both had a lot of questions and were a little skeptical about Northwood because it was non-denominational. However, we continued to come to services, and we could not deny the power of God in that place. It was something we had been longing for and searching for when we really didn’t even know we were missing it. We loved the fact that the people at Northwood were REAL. We wanted Brayden and Caleb to grow up loving Jesus in an atmosphere like the one at Northwood.

We jumped in with both feet. We both attended an Encounter Retreat over the next few months, and then we started some discipleship classes in August 2006. We both grew spiritually by leaps and bounds during that period, and it was so great to do it together. Jeffry really stepped up as the spiritual head of our household. We really felt like we fit at Northwood and loved getting to know Jesus better with other people who loved Him and made Him their priority. 

In December of that year, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. He was supposed to be discharged from the hospital that Saturday morning, and my parents, my brother, and I were on our way to see him. He died before we got there. I was so mad at God. Why didn’t He give me the chance to get there and lay hands on my grandfather?  I could have prayed for healing! Why did I not get that chance? I never got to say goodbye. 

I felt like I just had my knees kicked out from under me. The day after the funeral I drove home and attended our church's Vision Convention that night. I remember singing, “You have turned my mourning into dancing”, and I just felt the release as I gave everything to the Lord.  It took time, but God carried me through that dark place.

To Be Finished in Part 3 Tomorrow...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Storyteller, Part 1

I knew that I wanted to share our story on our blog because although a lot of you know us personally, a lot of you don't. And even those who know us may not really know the details of what God has done in our lives. So I'm starting at the beginning. Our story is real, raw, and unrehearsed. I hope you read with an open heart.

There are probably a lot of you who think that Jeffry and I have it all together, that our lives look too good to be true from the outside. But it’s not. We are just as real as you are.  God has brought us through things that I never in my life thought I’d be able to walk through. 

Jeffry and I met in the fall of 2001; I was a freshman Music Education major at the University of Southern Mississippi, and he was a sophomore majoring in Business.  We both attended the Baptist Student Union on campus, which is where we met. I sang on with the praise team each Tuesday night. Jeffry came in late from work one night in the first few weeks of school and saw me singing on stage. He asked a friend of his whom I was and if he would introduce us. We met that night, but I really didn’t pay him too much attention. I thought he was a lot older than me and was just being nice! We sat together that Thursday at lunch at the BSU and he asked me for my number.  We went on our first date the following Monday night. From that point on we were almost inseparable. We officially started dating in October. Seeing as how school started in August, that was pretty quick! But I think sometimes when you know it’s the right person, you just know.

Both of us were Christians, but like many college kids, we weren’t living daily as we should have been. We were both “good people”, we didn’t get in trouble, but we weren’t seeking God’s face in our day to day lives either. Christmas holidays we spent some time apart, but we each got the chance to celebrate with the other’s family. It was great. I loved his family, and he loved mine. I really knew Jeffry was someone special when he was the first guy that my dad never complained about. My dad was very tough to impress, but it seemed Jeffry had won him over the first time they met! That’s what worried my mom! Haha.

Things were great in our lives. On the outside we looked like good kids. School was good; we even took a class together that spring. I would help him study, and he’d go to my required music recitals with me.  We were probably living more like a married couple at that point than two Christians in a dating relationship. I honestly never thought I would see myself in that situation, but once you start down that slope it’s easy to keep sliding on down. In May, right before school got out for the summer, we discovered I was pregnant.

Talk about changing your world. We were both in shock. I can still remember being at the clinic on campus when the nurse came in and told us the test was positive. We both just started crying. Not really the way you want to find out about having a baby. Not really the way God meant for it to be....

To Be Continued in Part 2 Tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010 Favorites

Thought I'd share just a few of my favorite things from this past year with you...

1. Coach Poppy Perfume

Jeffry got this for me for Christmas, and it's fantastic! Jasmine, gardenia, cucumber, and candied rose petals. I'm not a gardenia fan but that doesn't come through to me with Poppy. My new favorite everyday perfume. Still loyal to my Coco Mademoiselle for date nights.

2. Tiffany Onyx Toggle Bracelet

Perfect addition to my everyday jewelry because I live in black and gray clothing. 
LOVE LOVE LOVE this bracelet. 

3. Kenra Platinum Boosting Spray Foam
This stuff is an amazing spray mousse. I love all of Kenra's products that I've tried from my salon and this one is no exception. The smell is so nice and clean. 

4. Secret Wonderland Triple Moisture Body Cream

So we all know that Bath and Body Works Body Cream is phenomenal for it's moisturizing powers right? Well mix that with a new yummy flavor, and you make my favorites list! :) 
Secret Wonderland is a combination of jasmine, strawberry and white amber. (Obviously I'm having a thing for jasmine right now??)

5. One Year Bible

I've always wanted to be "better" at reading my Bible; you know, more consistent, read ALL of it, not skip around randomly. Enter the One Year Bible. Our church began reading from the One Year Bible as a congregation a few years ago, and it truly has transformed my Bible reading. Not only do I read on a consistent basis, but I also read parts of the Bible that I would have skipped over before (hello, Leviticus?) Now I have a greater picture of who God is throughout the entire Bible. Not just God in the New Testament; because face it, that's usually where I ended up reading. It's exciting to be reading the same thing as my husband and friends because we can chat about things we read that day. 

6. Jesus Culture- Come Away Album

Please do not pass GO or collect your $200 until you BUY THIS ALBUM. Jesus Culture is a group of amazing worshipers, and I promise you will love their anointed music. Pinky promise. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas with my Hubby

I guess it's about time that I should post some Christmas photos! As I explained in my Christmas Traditions post, Jeffry and I always exchange our gifts to each other early. This year we exchanged gifts December 22nd due to the fact that I had worship team practice the next night and Christmas Eve was booked full! 

Both of the big boys were gone spending a couple of days with Jeffry's brother and sister in law, so we only had Trace. We went to Hattiesburg to get a last minute gift for the big boys and then enjoyed a quiet dinner at Bianchi's Pizzeria downtown. Their pizzas are amazing! After dinner, we headed back home to open our gifts. Here are a few photos I snapped that night:

 Jeffry excited about opening his first gift!

Which was a New Orleans Saints tshirt. We had to immediately "pause" our gift opening session so he could go put it on! At least he likes it!

John and Kira's Chocolates....

One of the best things you will ever put in your mouth. Notice my excitement.

I got a new little camera! (I still use my Canon Rebel XTI SLR for many outdoor and long range shots.) 
It's a Canon PowerShot SX210. Phenomenal. I used it for most of our Christmas pics. 

We get creative with our "To's" and "From's"

Jeffry opening another church shirt from The Buckle. 

We had a great night enjoying each other's company and a quiet gift exchange. The calm before the storm...