Thursday, June 23, 2011

Three Things on Thursday

1. I went to the eye doctor yesterday. It had been NINE years since my last eye exam and my prescription reading glasses weren't working for me any longer. Neither were the non-prescription readers that I bought at Walgreens earlier this year. I expected to hear that my prescription had changed drastically because I've had a lot of eye fatigue lately and have found myself holding things at arm's length just to read them, but I was not expecting to hear the doctor say: You need bifocals. Sarah was in the exam room with me and she immediately started laughing. My first response was NOT laughter. I'm pretty sure I said a few choice words under my breath. As if the gray hair and the wrinkles and the creaky knees and joints weren't enough, now my eyes have decided to join the hey-you're-slowly-falling-apart-party. I found a cute pair of frames and ordered the progressive lenses. They come in next week and I'm excited to be able to see without straining! I'm also mucho thankful for good optical insurance.

2. I completely faked my way through book club tonight. I actually read the book a few years ago and intended to refresh my memory by skimming it before we met. Yeah, that didn't happen. I found myself remembering more and more as our discussion unfolded but I also did a whole lot of nodding and agreeing. It was a fun night (as usual) and I don't think they'll kick me out for not reading the book. Thank goodness we did a LOT more talking and laughing than actual book discussion!

3. This pizza looks delicious, doesn't it? I want to figure out how to make pizza on the grill. Have any of you done that? Do I need a special pan or rack for it? I suppose I could google it but I wondered if any of you had great tips to pass my way.

Thank you, Emily, for letting me steal your Three Things on Thursday idea!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tell About It Tuesday: Berries!

My family LOVES strawberries. I've been buying them at Costco lately (4lbs for $5) and we've eaten 16 (SIXTEEN!) pounds of strawberries in less than two weeks! I spend a ton of money on fresh fruit and veggies in the summer but I'm convinced it's money well spent.

ANYWAY, I can hull four pounds of strawberries in record time because of this handy dandy little tool that I have. 
I've had it for probably 10+ years. It's from The Pampered Chef and honestly, it has wrangled with my garbage disposal more than a few times and has seen better days. It's wonderful, though! (I just clicked on the Pampered Chef site and this tool appears to be discontinued. Maybe there's something similar at a kitchen store?)

I use it to remove the stem and any bruise spots from strawberries. I also use it to core tomatoes, and scrape the seeds out of bell peppers. It gets a LOT of use in the summer months. 

(Forgive my amateur photography skills.)

The only downside to strawberries is that they go bad so quickly. I'm fortunate that ours usually get eaten before they have a chance to go bad, but I read this great tip last summer for a quick vinegar rinse to kill the mold and keep your strawberries fresh a little longer.

I like to wash/hull my berries and store them in the fridge. I've found that it helps to get them completely dry before storing them. If they're wet, they seem go bad more quickly.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes with strawberries.

Smoothies (try pouring any leftover smoothie in popsicle molds for a yummy treat on a hot afternoon!)
Homemade strawberry ice cream
Skinny strawberries Romanoff 

I've been eating them plain because I'm still avoiding sugar. My family hasn't had to sacrifice though. I made this (super quick and easy) strawberry pie for them last week. It took every ounce of willpower not to give in to the sugary sweetness...they said it was good!

Who's hungry?

Friday, June 17, 2011


I took Will and Sarah to get their hair cut yesterday. It was a long overdue cut for both of them!

Sarah has been asking for awhile if she could get feathers in her hair. Is that the trend where YOU live? 

When we walked in the salon and saw the advertisement for them, the begging and the sad puppy eyes began. I said "yes"--partly to make my daughter happy, partly because I think they're kinda cute, and partly because they were actually quite inexpensive. 
Honestly, I say "no" a lot with my kids. No to certain movies and media and clothing styles that are ever-so-popular with their friends, and no to certain activities that I just don't think are wholesome or appropriate. I LOVE being able to say YES.

Doesn't that smile say it all?

PS: Sarah had a FANTASTIC time at camp! She's been so sweet since she got home too. She brought her little sister a special gift from the camp store (it was something Abbey had really wanted) and was SO excited to give it to her. 

She told me she couldn't find something at the camp store that she was really looking for--a copy of My Utmost for His Highest. Evidently, her uber-cool camp counselor uses that book for a daily devotional and Sarah wanted to give it a go as well. I laughed because we have that book on a shelf downstairs. John helped her find it and she read about two sentences before deciding it wasn't really what she was hoping. I took her yesterday to the bookstore and we picked out a very hip, teen devotional that she's much more pleased with! Yay!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I like to share!

I want to share a few links today!

I'm always on the lookout for fun summer boredom busters and I love these ideas:

Liquid sidewalk chalk. My friend, Kendra, made this with her boys and now I'm dying to try it too!

Design-Your-Own-Sprinklers. I saw this link on my BlogHer sidebar the other day. WAY fun!

Rainbow cookies. This is right up my girls' alley.


We bought a new grill a couple of months ago and are enjoying it SO much. Here are two yummy recipes for grilled chicken:

Chicken Bryan (like at Carrabbas). Delicious and decadent.

Mexican Chicken Salad (it's rare for me to find a recipe I don't have to alter with all of my current dietary restrictions but this one fits the bill!)


My husband has been consumed with a book project for a really long time. Things are finally wrapping up for the book's release this fall. John posted the video trailer on his blog yesterday if you want to take a peek. It's good--really really good! (And it's only 1.5 minutes long.)

Also, he wrote about shopping for swimsuits with our girls last week. It's a very sweet post. Maybe one of my very favorites. My girls are so lucky to have him as their daddy, and I am so very grateful for the way he loves our three children.

Happy clicking!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Today I am thankful for...

Lilacs...oh my word...they smell soooooooooo delicious. I clipped some and brought them inside so it can smell as amazing inside as it does outside!

For kids that love each other...

For a girls-night-out last night with good friends!

For a husband who works hard so I can stay home with my kiddos!

For gorgeous weather outside this morning!

Life is so, so good.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thirty Days

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Save February, with twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine each leap year.

I remember my nana teaching me this poem when I was very young.
I also learned to remember which months had more than thirty days with the alternating knuckle count. Anyone else learn that?

Too bad the fine folks at Stein Mart didn't learn either of those handy ways to remember how many days are in each month.
Either that or they know something the rest of us don't. Smile.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Makes me smile

I took this picture when I went to wake Abbey up for church yesterday morning.
She slept on her bedroom floor in her sleeping bag (so she wouldn't have to make up her bed) and Jack-the-beagle snuggled close to keep her from being too lonely while her sister (and roommate) is away at camp this week.

I just walked past her room and saw the same exact thing this morning and it makes me smile. That girl loves her dog and I love that girl!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Things I've realized lately

1. It's very easy to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day when water is all you can drink! No soda, no coffee, no tea for me. Just agua.

2. There is a BIG difference in what boys and girls pack for a week of camp. Oh my word.

3. Our house stays a lot cleaner during the school year. A whole lot cleaner. And the fridge and pantry stay fuller longer as well. Still, I wouldn't trade these summer days with my kiddos home for anything!

4. Tweens/teen girls really just want to hang out together--all day everyday. It doesn't matter if they're doing anything special or not, they just want to be together. And it helps if you feed them. I've said yes to lots of togetherness this week and it makes me happy that they seem to want to hang out at our house.

5. Manners matter. Maybe it's my southern roots but kids who have good manners are so much more enjoyable to be around than kids who have none at all.

6. There are very few good summer movies to look forward to this year. Harry Potter is the only one I'm really excited about.

7. That's all, folks. Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Loves of late...

Some things I'm loving these days...

This blog. Oh my word. I totally relate to her on the teenage boy front. Plus, she's witty and just downright fun!

My Chaco flips. I've tried the toe-strap Chacos but just can't stand the way they feel on my foot. The flips are perfect! (I got them for free with my REI dividend! Woohoo!)

This salad and salad dressing. I can't have any kind of vinegar these days so this is my go-to salad. I omit the feta (can't have dairy either) and the black olives and add whatever veggies I have on hand and it's soooooooo good.

My iPhone. Duh! My kids have dozens and dozens of apps for their iPods so I haven't really bought much anything at this point...what are some of your faves??? I'll share mine soon but I'd love to know which ones you love!

This moisturizer. It's just the right amount of light, non-greasy moisture + sunscreen. I have sensitive skin and I've found this stuff to be excellent!

My list of things I'm loving wouldn't be complete without mentioning SUMMER! I love days with no where specific to be. I love the sun. I love the warmth. Love the green grass and the flowers. Love the smell of sunscreen. Love the plentiful fresh fruits and veggies. Love throwing dinner on the grill and eating outside. Love hearing my kids play together. Love saying yes to all kinds of fun. Love love LOVE it.

Anything you're loving lately that is too good not to share?

Monday, June 06, 2011

Monday's this and that

I'm feeling listy and random today....

::: We sent Will off on his confirmation trip yesterday after church. He's going with the nine other kids who were confirmed with him on a fun trek all over Colorado this week. They're accompanied by our pastors and I think they're in for a super fun week! They'll do different service projects, have focused Bible time, and they have some awesome hiking and fun planned as well! I already miss him like crazy but hope he has a great week! I realize I still haven't blogged about his confirmation (and I intend to!) but John posted his thoughts here.

::: Within a few hours of his return, Sarah leaves for Younglife camp. I'm only going to have two kids at home for the next two weeks. That is so weird.

::: Speaking of Younglife, John and I recently agreed to be on the Younglife committee for our area. We're looking forward to serving with a lot of great folks!

::: My yard sale weekend was a success. I made more money that I thought I would and had a BLAST hanging out with some of my favorite neighbors! I also have cleaner closets and MUCH less junk. Win-win-win!

::: Abbey has a yucky summer cold. It started as a cough and progressed into a full blown cold. Poor thing. It's no fun to feel bad in the summer!

::: Since Will is gone this week the girls and I have some girly shopping days planned. Sarah needs a few things for camp next week and they both need a new swimsuit. I'm kinda dreading the swimsuit shopping a little bit...but shhhhhhh...don't tell them that.

::: We're getting excited about going to Arkansas in July. My brother and his wife are expecting a baby girl in mid-July and my kids are anxious to meet her! They're also excited about seeing their other little cousin (he'll be ten months old when we're there), and of course hanging out with their two cousins who are much closer in age. Sometimes I feel sad that we live so far away from our families.

::: Some of our other vacation plans are still coming together. Looks like John and I are going to get away alone for several days and we are both excited about that! :)

::: I'm considering turning our AC on today. It's supposed to get pretty warm. Isn't that just comical to those of you who live in the south and have been running your air conditioner since, ummmm, February? Can I confess that the one part of our Arkansas trip I dread is the suffocating July heat and humidity?

::: That's all I've got today, folks. Hope your Monday is happy!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


It's been a week since I've blogged? Really? Where has my blogging mojo gone?!?

Well, we're still here and still enjoying summer. It feels like everyone is easing into a nice, slow pace and a daily routine around here. I especially love the quiet morning hours. John and I get up early and our kids get up late and it just makes for some peaceful time together in the morning.

We had a really great Memorial Day weekend. It feels like our warm weather might actually be here to stay! Hooray for summer!!! I love holiday weekends but man, I am so thrown off when the week starts on Tuesday. At least this week will be short and the weekend will be here before we know it.

I turned forty-one over the weekend and my family spoiled me rotten! I'm really not a big birthday person. The older I get, the less that kind of stuff matters to me, BUT I've got to admit that it was fun to be pampered! Last Friday afternoon, John took me to get a pre-birthday gift: an iPhone! I realize that "stuff" doesn't fulfill you, but my phone does make me ridiculously happy! Big thanks to Will for giving me his upgrade. They also took me out to dinner which was kinda hard with all my dietary restrictions right now, but I found something I could eat that was DELICIOUS! They also took me to buy flowers for the planters on my porch and patio. Flowers make me ridiculously happy too! It was a great birthday!

In other news, I'm eating crow.

After my last yard sale...probably 10 years ago in Arkansas...I swore up and down I would never have another one. Too much work for too little profit. I find it's easier and much more enjoyable to give things away. HOWEVER, I succumbed to neighborhood pressure and am joining in with some fun neighbors this weekend for a multi-family yard sale. My pickins' are slim since I just donated a whole bunch of junk to the Younglife fundraising yard sale in May. I'm quite surprised though by the amount I've collected by cleaning closets and rooms in the last week. I've got a couple more areas to go through today. If I can make enough money to buy a steam vac, I'd be happy. We'll see!

Alrighty. Must get moving! Happy Hump Day, peeps.