Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year, or Not...

Just in time to round out 2012...

Really?  And, of course it is for a week where we are already scheduled to fly out on Friday!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013~

While most are reflecting on projects completed over the course of the past year or making New Year's resolutions...I decided I really needed to think of something that would make my life easier in the New Year.  While I have completed quite a few projects and accomplished more than I ever thought I would, I knew I needed to come up with something that would help me keep things in check (simplify and quality-my words for 2011 and 2012).

Hence...this came to mind:

Santa makes his list and checks it twice, so why not?  I have never been much of a list maker.  With that said...I do tend to think out loud (drives hubby crazy), but never put my thoughts on paper.  And, therefore my peri-menopausal brain forgets what I just thought about an hour ago!  

So this year, I have decided lists it is!  And, I have already started one.  A "kitchen" list...a list of things we either need to replace, upgrade, need (round cookie cutters according to my child who loves to bake but is away at college most of the year, LOL) or want (non-essentials, things that we save for).  

And, I think I may enlist the help of my Best Friend, MS (okay, I'm exaggerating...while I love her, she has no clue who I am) to get the job done.  Her products at Staples are awesome! Just saying...

Here's hoping for a less stressful, more organized, less forgetful New Year! (okay, at 44 the last is inevitable!)

Friday, December 28, 2012

An Ipaw for Christmas~

Dear Santa,
All I really want for Christmas is an Ipaw, so I can be hip and cool like my human family.

Looks like someone was a very good puppy this year!  Kylee is already enjoying connecting with her furry friends via Face Bark, checking out Apps at the DDD store, viewing videos of her friends antics on DogTube and surfing the net on SaFurri.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas and Childhood Memories~

Praying everyone had a wonderful and joyous Christmas with family and loved ones.  We were thrilled to have both of these beauties to spend the day with...

Having both girls home was the best gift of all!  However, I do have to say...Elie made and gave some of the best homemade gifts (homemade bath salts, scrubs and candles-thank you Ashli, you taught her well ;) and Kate braved airport security with a few priceless treasures.  Yes, she was fearful they were going to confiscate the present she was bringing home for me...a beautiful Willow Tree figurine...guess it looked a little suspicious via the xray machine! LOL

However, the most priceless minute of the day was when baby girl opened this present from her big sis and I...

Okay, I know what you are's a pillow, it is a pillow in a very childish pattern...she is 19 for heaven's sake!!!  What???

Long story short...she had a pillow as a toddler/ the same fabric (Mary Mary by Laura Ashley) was a VERY VERY loved pillow (trust do NOT want to see the original!!!)  Her sister and I have been hunting for years on Ebay to find the fabric to make a new one.  Imagine my surprise when a month before Christmas I stumbled upon someone selling the fabric by the yard, brand spanking new!!!  Yes please, and thank you!!!  I had two pillows made (yes, this momma is all about having a back up).  We had NO idea we would get the reaction we did on Christmas morning when she opened that gift (truth be told, I had kinda forgotten about wrapping it and for the life of me could not understand why she was screaming and crying at the same time!) LOL  As they was PRICELESS!  It really is the little things...

Bringing back fond childhood memories.  I pray each of you stopped to take the time to create those with your little ones.  You won't regret the extra time spent!!  

Trust me...this 19 year old had all of us crying!

God Bless each of you in the New Year!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Around our House~

Wow, I cannot believe how fast this month has flown by.  Between planning the women's event at our church, shopping, welcoming home our youngest from college (and sharing a car), I have run out of time!!

Ready or not, Christmas is here!!  (I would be ready if the story of our Christmas this year weren't "back-ordered or "order in process" or "delayed due to midwest snowstorm")  It will all work out in the end.

Thought I'd share a few pics from around our house these days.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Christmas Song~

A very dear friend of mine sent me this link along with this story...

About the Song

While at the mall a couple of years ago, my then four year old nephew,
 Spencer, saw kids lined up to see Santa Claus. Having been taught as a
 toddler that Christmas is the holiday that Christians celebrate the birth
 of Jesus, he asked his mom,

  "where's the line to see Jesus"?

My sister mentioned this to my dad, who immediately became inspired
 and jotted words down to a  song in just a few minutes. After putting music 
to the words, and doing a quick recording at home, he received a great response
 from friends. He sent the song off to Nashville without much response, except for
 a Christian song writer who suggested adding a bridge at the end of the first chorus.
 My dad  then asked if I wanted to record the song to see what we could do with it.
 I listened to the song, made a few changes to the words to make it flow better,
 and we headed to Shock City Studios. 
It was at the studio where Chris, owner and
 producer, rewrote the 2nd verse and part of the  chorus... with goose bumps and 
emotions high, we were all hopeful and felt  like we had something special. The demo
 was recorded in just under 2 hours and sent off again to Nashville... still no response.

Then 2 weeks before Christmas last year, my cousins Greg and Robbie decided to do
 a video to see what we could accomplish on YouTube. The first day we had 3000 hits
 and it soared from there. We received e-mails, phone calls, Facebook messages from 
people all over asking for the music, CD's, iTunes, anything... we had nothing. 
After a couple of meetings with Chris following the amazing response,   we got serious.
 We headed back into the studio this past spring... this time with guitars, drums, bass,
 pianos, choirs... the real deal.... and here we are today.

Getting iTunes set up, a website put together, and loving that thousands upon thousands
 of Christians have come together... remembering the true meaning of Christmas.
  Out of the mouths of babes come profound truths that many adults can not  understand. 
Hopefully Spencer's observation will cause people all over to  reflect on the love of Jesus,
 and that one day we will all stand in line to  see Him. 

We are most thankful to our Heavenly Father to have this chance to  share our music 
with you. Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Reason For The Season~

This year I am really trying to focus on the true meaning of the season, rather than getting caught up in the modern day frenzy.  Taking time to slow down, enjoy things, rather than rush through and find myself on January 1 wondering where all the time went.

While most of our Christmas decorations are up, I haven't taken many pictures yet.  And, the tree remains to be decorated.

I have spent the past month or so organizing a women's ministry event at our church to be held this coming Sunday evening.  A lot of time and planning has gone into this event.  A lot of hours, and a little stress as well.  Over 200 women will be in attendance, and approximately 30 men will help prepare the food and serve that evening.

The one thing we will all have in common, we are coming together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.  For 2 and a half hours we will step out of the modern day frenzy!

I want to encourage each of you, to take time out.  Kids grow, toys are forgotten or break, that perfect sweater shrinks, loved ones are sometimes lost.  But, memories are forever.

Blessings for a Wonderful Christmas Season!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's for Dinner Wednesday~

Chicken Piccata
Cooking Light Ultimate Chicken Cookbook

One of my husband's all-time favorite things to eat is Chicken Piccata.  And, while he has tried the dish at many of our local restaurants, he was eager to try his hand at it in our own kitchen.

This recipe was easy to prepare and delicious.  And yes, my husband prepared it.  I know, shoot me!  I have a husband who loves to cook.  I however, am known as his sous chef and clean up staff (he hates that part).  So, it really is a win win situation.

Hands-on time: 31 min.
Total time: 31 min.

Serve with mashed potatoes, orzo or angel hair pasta (we love it with the pasta).

4 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
2 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tbs butter, divided
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 c dry white wine
3/4 c fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth, divided
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs drained capers
3 Tbs Tbs coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Place 1 teaspoon flour in a small bowl, and place remaining flour in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour in shallow dish, and shake off excess.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; saute` 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots to pan; saute` 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add garlic; saute` 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup broth to reserved 1 teaspoon flour; stir until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Stir in flour mixture, and cook for 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, juice, and capers. Serve with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4 (serving size; 1 breast half, 2 tablespoons sauce, and 2 teaspoons parsley)
Calories 365; Fat 16.3 g (sat 6.1g, mono 7.3 g, poly 1.5g); Protein 41.1g; Carb 9.3g; Fiber 0.7g; Chol 118 mg; Iron 2.1 mg; Sodium 574 mg; Calc 41 mg

Bon Appetit`

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paying it Forward~

It is a proud day when you watch your child take a former passion of theirs, and turn it into a reality for the next generation.

When our oldest daughter was in middle and high school, she cheered on both a spirit squad and a competition squad.   She loved being on the sidelines, cheering at football and basketball games (it didn't hurt that her high school boy's team won three consecutive state titles), and loved performing at competitions.

She was truly passionate about cheerleading.  As her parents, we knew just like when she was little, there were always younger impressionable girls in the stands watching her every move.  She was their idol, their hero, they wanted to be just like her someday.

I found this poem years ago and shared it with her.  It stuck. She realized the magnitude of her actions and the affect it would have on those young impressionable eyes.

Little Eyes Upon You

There are little eyes upon you
and they're watching night and day.
Take in every word you say.
There are little hands all eager
to do anything you do;;
And a little girl who's dreaming
of the day she'll be like you.

You're the little angel's idol,
you're the wisest of the wise.
In her little mind about you
no suspicions ever rise.
She believes in you devoutly,
holds all you say and do;
She will say and do, in your way
when she's grown up just like you.

There's a wide-eyed little girl
who believes you're always right;
and her eyes are always opened, 
and she watches day and night.
You are setting an example
every day in all you do;
For the little girl who's waiting
to grow up to be like you.

This past weekend we had the pleasure of watching our oldest daughter coach her Minor Competition Squad in their final competition of the season.  They took 1st place 3 times, grand champion twice and won the choreography award this time.  The love those girls had for her and the head coach was evident in their smiles and hugs a million!  We are so very proud of her for not only setting a wonderful example to those who watched her cheer through middle and high school, but for those she had the pleasure of coaching this year.

We always told our girls, at some point you need to pay it forward.  Both have.  Both have used their passion for volleyball and cheerleading and have been wonderful role models for young girls. 

We couldn't be more proud to be their parents.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's for Dinner Wednesday?

Scallops with Hazelnut Browned Butter

We prepared this dish last week and it was delicious.  The hazelnut browned butter is the perfect compliment to the scallops and the arugula salad.  The recipe is from Everyday Food Light.


6 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 C hazelnuts, toasted to remove skins (see below), coarsely chopped
2 tsp white-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb large sea scallops (about 12), tough muscles removed, halved horizontally
1 to 2 bunches arugula, preferably baby (about 1/2 lb total), washed well and dried


1. In a large skillet, cook butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, about 4 minutes.  Immediately transfer to a small bowl  Stir in hazelnuts and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.  Cover hazelnut butter to keep warm.

2. Wipe skillet with a paper towel.  Pat dry scallops and season generously with salt and pepper.  Heat skillet over medium-high. In two batches, cook scallops until browned and opaque in center, turning once with a thin metal spatula, about 2 minutes.

3. Divide arugula among plates; top with scallops.  Spoon hazelnut butter over scallops and serve immediately.

Removing Hazelnut Skins:  Preheat oven to 275* F. Place raw (shelled) hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until skins crack, 25 to 30 minutes.  Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and roll up.  Let steam for 5 minutes.  Rub the nuts vigorously in the towel until most of the skins have come off.
***we were able to purchase blanched hazelnuts at Whole Foods in the bulk section, so we could eliminate this step.

Serves 4, Prep Time 25 minutes (less if you find prepared hazelnuts), Total Time 25 minutes

Per Serving:  311 calories, 22.6 g fat (11.3 g saturated fat); 217 g protein; 6.1 g carbohydrates; 1.6 g fiber

I am hoping to make What's for Dinner Wednesday a regular weekly feature, as we are always trying new recipes these days and I love to share the ones we love.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Baylor Homecoming & Blogger Meetup~

If someone had told me this time last year that I would have made 5 trips to the great state of Texas by year's end, I would have laughed.  But, we have made 5 trips since last February!  Waco, Texas has become our 2nd home.

This past weekend we attended Homecoming at Baylor University where our youngest daughter is a freshmen.  The only thing missing was her big sister (she had to work, and the cheer squad she coaches had a competition as well-they won 1st place for the 2nd time!!).

The homecoming tradition at Baylor is the oldest in the country.  And, when they say things are bigger in Texas...I can tell you after witnessing the events first was BIG!!

Friday night started with the traditional pep rally and bon fire.

I know some bloggers would be disappointed to see that many pallets go up in flames.  Have you seen all the ideas floating around Pinterest using them for home decor projects? CRAZY!!

Torch bearers.  Four of them are representatives of their respective class, and are honored because they represent what it truly means to be a Baylor student.

Just getting started.  And, that is only about a 10th of the crowd there that night!

You could roast hot dogs and marshmallows from a mile away.  The heat was intense!

Saturday morning brought a light drizzle, but not anything to stop the parade (just made for a bad hair day).

I cannot imagine the number of hours that the fraternities and sororities put into each of the floats.  They truly were works of art!

The best part of the parade however was getting to meet up with sweet Michaela.  If someone had told me a year ago that  I would get a chance to meet her in person, I would have been skeptical.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that her brother would be attending the same university as our youngest daughter.  They actually ended up in the same Psych class too!  So, needless to say...she and I have been planning this meetup for awhile now.  I only wish all of you could meet her in person...she is such a genuine, sweet young lady.  I would be proud to call her one of my own.  Actually, it is funny because she is a lot like both of our girls.  

We had a fantastic weekend, and are settling in back home.  I will be happy if I can adjust to the time change.  We gained an hour flying out, gained an hour Saturday night, then lost an hour flying home.  

Can't believe Thanksgiving is two weeks away!!

Side note:  Please take the time to vote in today's elections!!!  May God continue to bless our nation.