Monday, April 6, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 4.6.15

Oh behalf of mothers everywhere, let me joyfully announce....
This may not apply if you are a mother who works outside of the home. I don't know. But what I do know is that I will be so thankful when the battle of waking at 5:45 each morning, begging the almost-5-year-old girl child to brush her teeth, put her socks on, put her uniform on, put her dirty clothes away, etc. and so forth can end for a few (short - oh so short) weeks.
That said, I'm not really here to analyze summertime.
It's Monday, an that means Menu Plan Monday!
I'm linking up again with Organizing Junkie, so head over and check that out ofr some great inspiration!
Monday: ham steaks, homemade mashed potatoes, lima beans
Tuesday: biscuits and homemade gravy (I'll hare the recipe if it turns out)
Wednesday: sandwiches (easy because we have church)
Thursday: frozen pizza (late doctors appointment)
Friday: fried salmon patties, roasted cabbage and green beans
Saturday: we have two options - if we go out of town to a birthday party, we'll eat there; if we stay home, we'll pick up something to grill
Sunday: spaghetti - easy after church
I hope ya'll have a great Monday!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Menu PLan Monday 3.23.15

Hey ya'll! Today I'm linking up with Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday! This week is a little different because it's spring break for my girls and we are trying to do fun things every day - which means I won't necessarily be cooking dinner at home every night because we may not even be at home, lol.
Monday: eating out at a local restaurant called Elmer's with family. Personally, I'm getting the fried green tomatoes!
Tuesday: we will be at my mama's, and it will be something easy like grilled cheese and carrot/celery sticks and cucumber
Wednesday: red beans and rice with sausage and cornbread
Thursday: Mike and I will eat out - my mom will have the girls (I have an appointment in Atlanta)
Friday:  fried fish (caught by my hubby), cole slaw, hush puppies, roasted zucchini and squash
Saturday: zoo day with family! PIcnic or eating out
Sunday: bbq pork in the crockpot, leftover coleslaw and mac & cheese
I hope ya'll have a great week!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bone Marrow Biopsy Results!

Okay, so today I TYPICALLY would be putting up a "5 on Friday" post that you could link to with a few other bloggers.
But...not today.
Because I'm not typical.
(Did ya'll hear that huge roar of AMENS from my family and friends?!)
No, today I've got some news for ya'll!
Big news - amazing news!

So, picture it.
East central Alabama, 2015.
I'm standing in my kitchen.
I've got spaghetti and meatballs going on the stove,
two little girls singing in the shower, washing their hair,
and my husband is playing the Wii-U, laid out on the couch like a boss.
(Please tell me I'm not the only one who gets the Golden GIrls reference...)
Mike's phone rings.
He answers.
"It's the transplant doctor," he says with a surprised, uneasy look on his face.
Oh, no. Oh no oh no oh no oh no!
I take the phon. My voice is shaking and I'm trying not to cry.
I just know it's not good news.
My BMT doctor has never called me personally before. was good news.
The final report from my last biopsy came in, and this chick is still 100% leukemia free!
After I scolded the doctor for scaring the cotton picking mess out of me
(it's okay - we have that kind of relationship!)
I cried. The tears flowed. But they are happy tears!
13 months cancer-free without chemo

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pinspiration Outfit #5

My Pinspiration for this week was this lovely pink and floral number. I feel like it's so fresh and springy - and I can not WAIT for the warmer weather to get here and stay!
This is my version:


(Sorry for the horrible lighting - it's HARD to take pictures of your own outfit!) 
 And this is the actual Pin:
 Shirt is from the BX (Base Exchange), $18, last month
Skirt is from the BX, $18, last month
Shoes from Goodwill, about $3.99, 2014
I hope ya'll have had a great Thursday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What's In My Bag?

Hey ya'll!
Have ya'll ever seen those "What's In My Bag" post floating around?
You know - the ones where ladies show you all the deep, dark innards of their handbags?
Well, I'm revealing my innermost craziness today...
...the inside of my purse!
I didn't clean it out beforehand, so there's some...interesting...things in here, I'm sure.
Read on to see what I'm hoarding in there!
First off, here is my purse. It's a Vera Bradley, I don't know what style name, though.
Mike got it for me for Valentine's Day.
I love it! It's very spring-y, very bright and colorful, very ME!
IT has long straps and is the perfect size to throw whatever I need in there, including an iPad and snacks/things for the girls. we go?

We've got another Vera Bradley pouch, my eye glasses case, a pink baseball cap, earbuds, wallet, checkbook, random change purse of June's, pens, coupon fild holder thingy, Marc Jacobs change purse (mine), and random receipts.

In this pouch I typically keep chapstick, hand sanitzer, hand lotion, eye drops, Certs or something similar, earbuds, nail file, nail clippers, etc. I've had this thing since Sara was a baby and I got it on clearance then for $10. I love it!

Marc Jacobs coral-peach colored change purse that I got at thrift store for $.50. Score!
But I don't keep change in it - I Have library cards, random gift cards, etc.
2 checkbooks - blue one is a generic one from the bank, black one is a Coach checkbook that I got a t a thrift store for $1.00.

Lastly is my wallet! This is a cream colored wide-puckered Jessica Simpson wallet.
It's actually my sisters, but we swapped out. :)
I think it is so feminine and pretty, and it holds everything I Need it to!
So - let me know if you have a What's In Your Bag post!
I love to see what ya'll carry in your bags. :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Favorites (with a Linky)

 I'm linking up with Grace and Love this week for a Friday Favorites post! You should head on over and check her out - she's amazing - and let me know if you link up! I'd love to read what your Friday Favorites are. :)

#1: I've been enjoying June's sweet artwork she's been bringing home.
Her little hands printed on paper - that will be something I treasure forever.
And she says she's ready for summer, because she can swim in the pool!
(Mama's ready, too!)
#2: Something else I've been enjoying this week is the beautiful sunshine that decided to appear.
For us, sunshine means lots and lots of play time outside (aka no one feels cooped up and there are not so many negative attitude moments!). I enjoyed a piece of said sunshine the other day for a full hour on my back porch, just relaxing and thinking.
Maybe I'll get rid of some of this pasty white skin in the process...
#3: This week, I have started back walking as many days a week as I can. I was not able to go Monday and Wednesday due to infusions, but Tuesday and Thursday both provided opportunity for nice, 1-2 mile walks that I thoroughly enjoyed. And sweated through.
#4: So as you can guess, with the return of exercise I have also been making more conscious choices of what I put in my body. We've always eaten a fairly healthy diet, but I am definitely more aware of the fact that we need to clean it up a little. Not going vegan or vegetarian or crazy here, but just the little htings. Number one is way less eating out! And so far, that's been successful. :)
#5: Board games really are the best, aren't they? We have enjoyed Candyland multiple times this week. We'll bring out some more this weekend, I have no doubt. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Went Away Full, and Came Back Empty.

Have you ever felt like you have lost so much from a certain event in your life?
To the outside peering in, you had it all, but yet you felt you  still didn't have enough?
Still didn't have inner happiness?
 It was always seemingly just out of reach.
Your arms were continuously outstretched, hands displayed, trying with all that was within you to reach the ever-unattainable goal. And while you were striving to reach what you THOUGHT was your mark, you were actually sliding backwards. Further and further away you slipped, until  said goal was only but a small, distant memory and a glimmer on the horizon.
I came in full, but He brought me out empty.
A few years ago, that was me. How did I overcome? How did I find the inner happiness I was so avidly searching for?
God blessed me with leukemia.
Yes, I said God. And yes, I said blessed. And I said it brought me inner happiness and peace.
Because when God gave me leukemia, I found God.
For many years, I ran from God.  Then, for many years, I altered what Ithe Bible said to fit what I wanted to do and how I wanted to live at that time. I found a church that practiced these same "beliefs" and "standards" so that I could essentially do what I wanted to.
You can't do that. That's not Biblical. And I believe it's playing God.
The Bible is not open for debate or up for negotiation.
You can't pick and choose what you want to believe in or obey.
It will catch up to you, I promise.
It's black and white. Sin is sin.
However, that doesn't give us the right - as Christians and humans - to judge.
I find it ironic how folks always say, "God is love! God is love!"
Yes - He is. He is love. But He's also just.
He is the only Judge that will ever matter.
I'll stand firm in my beliefs and convictions, whether that be doctrine or personal.
That weeping, sad, urgent voice of someone I I love dearly, who was desperately seeking God on behalf of my lvery life,  filtered through my coma-laden brain and because of it...and because of God's never-ending mercy and grace...
I found God, and I am full.
Ruth 1:23
"I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spinach, Shrimp & Tomato Pasta in Garlic Butter Recipe

A while back I found this>this recipe on Pinterest and last week, I decided to make it. It was SO good that I wanted to share with ya'll!


Spinach, Shrimp & Tomato Pasta in Garlic Butter Sauce
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, uncooked, shelled and deveined
  • 5 medium tomatoes, fresh, chopped into large cubes
  • 1 cup cooked spinach
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 small lemon
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more)
  • paprika
  • 10 oz fettuccine pasta
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
    1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until melted. Add fresh shrimp and half the minced garlic. Make sure shrimp is not crowded. Cook for 1 minute on one side until pink on that side. While it's cooking, generously sprinkle paprika and salt over uncooked side of the shrimp. Flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until pink on the other side.
    2. To the skillet with shrimp, add chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked spinach, and remaining amount of minced garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more). Mix everything well, remove from heat while you cook pasta.
    3. In the mean time cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent pasta from cooking and getting mushy.
    4. Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and vegetables with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the juiciness of your lemon, it could be 1/4 of small lemon or 1/2 lemon). Don't add too much lemon juice. Season with salt and more crushed red pepper. Warm it up on medium heat until shrimp is cooked through, and all ingredients are heated through.
    5. To serve, top with grated Parmesan cheese
    If you make it, please let me know in the comments how you liked it!
    I pretty much followed the exact recipe, except I used spaghetti noodles & a large can of diced tomatoes. It was still delicious. :)

    Monday, March 9, 2015

    Menu Plan Monday 3.09.15

    Better late than never!
    Monday: chicken pot pie
    Tuesday: pancakes and bacon
    Wednesday: bbq pork chops, rice, cheesy cauliflower
    Thursday: meatball subs (with veggies and provolone cheese), cheesy broccoli and rice bake
    Friday: No clue! Daddy's on his own with the kiddos while I'm at a ladies retreat. :)
    Saturday:  homemade pepperoni pizza
    Sunday: OUT! Between church services - mama Is tired of cooking!
    Friday morning until Saturday night I will be gone with some friends of mine, and Mike will be on his own with my kids and my friend Brittany's kids Saturday. He is so great with kids so I know he will do fine - and he's excited, too! I'm excited to have some mama time!
    In case you're interested, here's my YouTube meal plan video:
    Don't forget to head over to Organizing Junkie and link up!

    Friday, March 6, 2015

    Friday Favorites Linky!

    I'm going to link up again this week with Grace and Love for a Friday Favorites post. Head on over and check her out.
    Let me know if you link up!
    #1 -- This guy right here.
    He has been my rock and my best friend for almost ten years now, and I appreciate and love him so much. This was taken yesterday while we were on the way to have my bone marrow biopsy done.
    I couldn't ask for a better husband!
    #2 --  Dr. Seuss Week!

    Earlier this week they had wacky tacky day for June
    and crazy hair day for Sara.
    I think they both fit the bill! :)
    #3 --Thai food.

    I tried a couple new recipes this week, and this was one of them.
    I LOVE Thai, but I couldn't eat this dish because it was just too spicy for me right now.
    My kids loved it but didn't finish due to the spice.
    One day....
    #4 -- Exercise.
    It's small. But it's movement forward, and that's all I can do.
    #5 -- And lastly, THE WIG!
    With my hair at a super awkward stage right now, this thing will be making a regular appearance again.
    I can't begin to explain how different I felt when I put it on.
    It's crazy what having hair will dof or you!

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    Pinspiration Wednesday #4

    Hey girls! I'm back for another Pinspiration Wednesday!
    You can find the first three here, here, and and here.
    This was my Pinspiration for this week:
    And this is what I came up with:

    All items were already in my closet, per usual!
    Shirt: Ross, circa 2014, about $8
    Skirt: Ross, circa 2014, about $10
    Shoes: Thrift store, circa 2014, $.99
    I LOVE this outfit and for a long time last fall, I wore it to death. I even wore it in our family pictures! It is super comfy and can be worn to run errands, out to dinner, or even to church.
    Probably one of my Top 5 outfits, for sure!
    If you have a blog where you post OOTD (outfits of the day), or you are interested in creating one or sharing with my blog - please contact me! I would love to have a guest post every now and then and would love to collab with you. :)

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Week Recap: Yard Sale Update, Lazy Wii Play, and Budget Update

    So, in my Five on Friday link-up post, I mentioned that I was getting junk out of my house to donate to the church yard sale. Well, we ran that yard sale on Saturday. When I got there a few minutes after 7, there were people waiting outside the dining hall, ready to go in and get their shop on!
    It was a steady flow for several hours.
    We were a little worried that we wouldn't do well, because we had just had one in October and we didn't THINK we all had that much stuff to get rid of.
    We were overflowing with things!
    The church is doing something called "talent dollars" where each woman takes a certain amount of money ($10 in this case) and develops it into as much as she can, which is then donated to the church building fund - which (I believe) is going to be used to build the front of the church.
    We ended up raising a grand total of....
    ....drumroll please...
    I mean, ya'll1 That is God right there. I believe we made somewhere in the ballpark of $300-$350 last October, so in 4 short months the ladies raised about $550 with two yard sales.
    Yes, I prayed over that yard sale - I ain't ashamed.
     And it wasn't just because I didn't want my junk back, either!
    (Although I sure am glad those 10 Wal-Mart sacks are gone, gone, GONE!)
    ((Even though I have another started already. But I digress.))
    When I finished up with the yard sale, I came home to this:

    A whole bunch of relaxing goin' on - and a little Wii-U, too!
    Even this guy got in on the relaxation. :)

    And this morning, after a lazy day yesterday (I had infusion and just wasn't feeling 100%), it's back to "work" for me. But I enjoy blogging and YouTubing, as well as taking care of my home and raising my children, so I don't think you can quite classify that as work. I am so blessed to have the life I do!
    By the way - I filmed a budget update and an update to my Coin Challenge over on YouTUbe.
     You can see that video here:

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Menu Plan Monday!

    Our meals for this week:
    - sweet Italian chicken sausage, mashed potatoes, english peas
    - thai basil sweet chili chicken, steamed broxxoli and jasmine rice
    - shrimp, tomato, & spinach pasta in a garlic butter sauce with salad
    - pancakes, eggs, bacon
    - chicken pot pie
    - brown sugar pork chops, roasted cauliflower, green beans
    And I left one night open for leftovers or a quick Birds Eye Voila meal.
    Head on over to link up with Organizing Junkie to link up and get some meal-planning inspiration!
    Also - here's my YouTube video for the meal plan:
    Hope ya'll have a great Monday!
    Ya'll have a great Monday!

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    Five on Friday (with link-ups!)

    I've often read the "Five on Friday" and other posts from The Newly and The Farmer's Wife, but I've never linked up....until today!
    I'm joining in, and you should join in as well!
    1 - Junk Leaving My House!
    You have no idea how happy this makes me.
    10 bags total - woohoo!
    2) made-From-Scratch Dandy Cake.
    Essentially, Heaven on a plate.
    Chocolate, peanut butter, and chocolate chips.
    Need I say more? I didn't think so, either.
    3) McDonalds Sweet Tea.

    For $1, you can't beat it with a stick.
    4) Max.
    Otherwise known as Maxie-Waxie. :)

    This boy is spoiled rotten, and he knows it!
    5) Cabinets, Fridge & Freezer FULL of Food.
    Even if you spent a small fortune and wore yourself out doing it!

    It just makes my heart so happy!
    Go here to link up!"/>>

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    Pinspiration Wednesday: OOTD #3

    Here's my Pinspiration for this Wednesday:
    (And sorry I missed last week!)
    And here's what I came up with out of my closet:
    I've worn the jean jacket and shirt before in a previous Pinspiration OOTD found here.
    But I'll tell you again where they're from.
    - jean jacket, Factory Connection, 2013, around $15
    - black and white striped pocket 3/4 length tee, Charlotte Russe, 2013, about $10 or $13
    - black maxi skirt (shown my latest clothing haul on YouTube - go check me out under Stephanie O'Neill!), last weekend at the BX (brand is JW), for $6.36.
    - Shoes are Madden Girl, found at a thrift store a few months ago for $.99.
    I hope ya'll are having a great Wednesday! I had infusion this morning, then my dad and I went to Target and had lunch at Cracker Barrel - where some lovely person paid for our meal unexpectedly. I am always blown away when that happens. People can be so kind. This week my mission is to find a way to pay it forward to someone else!
    Go enjoy your life, sweets!


    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    7 Tips for Gentle Parenting - Remember, They're Human, Too!

    I came on here intending to look up a "motivational" picture on Pinterest, - hoping to find one where it talked about even when we have bad days, we must press forward and just SMILE.
    And just GET IT DONE.
    Because that's the day I'm having. There has been a major miscommunication between my doctors office and my pharmacy, and I have been off steroids since Saturday.
    A big no-no. So what does this mean?
    My mouth is on FIIIIIIRRREEEE.
    And it hurts. Really bad. To the point I cannot eat or breathe or even think straight.
    But then I found this little gem:
    Whew buddy. If this doesn't put you in check as a parent (especially if you parent a difficult child), I'm not really sure what will, to be honest.
    June is my "difficult" child. When I say difficult, I don't mean all-out bad.
    I mean, I just don't know how to deal with her. She is very independent, very headstrong, and she doesn't exactly clearly understand what we ask of her 100% of the time.
    I imagine if I took her to the doctor and pressed the issue, the first thing they would say is - she has ADD/ADHD, she needs to be on meds.
    Well, that is just not going to happen. I understand that some children DO need this medication for a very valid reason/diagnosis. I'm not here to debate that. But I feel that with consistency, prayer, and a few techniques that we have developed (and still are continuing to develop and learn over time), June will reach her full potential. So, I thought I would share them with you.
    Please remember that I AM NO EXPERT. I haven't even read that many parenting books.
    Most of what I picked up is from various articles that I can no longer remember the source of and watching other parents, usually with more children than me, raise their children.
    And trial and error....LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of trial and error.
    #1: Remember your child is ever changing
    - so your artillery of techniques must be ever-changing, as well.
    I don't mean you have to sit and read parenting books 24 /7/365.
    Just practice "continuing education" when you can. Sometimes the best sources to glean information are the most unexpected.
    #2: Don't expect too much of your children.
    I frequently forget that my children are ONLY 7 and 4 years old.Sometimes I treat them like mini adults. I forget they need fun, and I need to strive to make their chores fun. I don't need to be such a stuck-up mama. Because I can be.
     Remember there's a time for seriousness - but the rest of the time can be silly!
    #3 Get down on their level.
    Literally! I learned this when teaching pre-school. When my girls do something that they're not supposed to, I literally get down on their level when I'm reprimanding them. For instance: if I ask Sara to put away her shoes that are by the front door, and she throws them in her closet floor instead of  putting them away on her shoe rack. I will either bend down or kneel down (kneeling is best, I find), and make her look me in the eye, and say, "Sara, you cannot throw them in the floor. Remember, one mess leads to another, and soon you won't be able to walk on your floor. It's also not safe for mama/Mawmaw/Pawpaw to walk with things littered all over the floor (my dad has one leg and I have a bad leg as well, not poor vision). We must remind ourselves to put things away."
    And it's like - OH! There's a REASON I can't do this. Not just because mama and daddy keep telling me no! It's kind of funny how quickly it clicks in their heads.
    #4 Make them look you in the eye.
    Whenever we ask the girls to do something, we try to make them look us in the eye. I"ll say, "Sara/June, I need you to look me in the eye so I know you are listening, you hear me and you are paying attention to me." That way, if they don't obey, I can remind them that I KNOW they heard me because they looked me in the eye!
    #5 Stop threatening.
    Oh, I am so bad at this one. I used to threaten all the ever-loving time. But I have consciously been trying to NOT threaten lately. We have instituted the "rule of 3" in our house - and this especially works well for church. They do something wrong the first time - tat's 1. Second time they do something wrong - that's 2. You get the idea. On the first time, we tell them what the consequence will be if they get to 3. Well, if they get to 3, that consequence happens. We use the phrase "To every action there is a reaction" a LOT over here.
    #6 Be consistent.
    This one is pretty self-explanatory. Consistency is key, it really is.'
    So those are my few little tips for parenting a difficult child...or even parenting in general. Again, this is just what works for us and you will probably need to tweak it for each of your childrens individual personalities. Please let me know if you have any tips that work for you that I did not mention - especially if they relate to the lying phase. Because Lord knows we are going through that...double time. And I'm at my wits end!
    I hope ya'll hav ea great Tuesday! Take a moment this evening to stop and enjoy your children. Dishes can wait til they're in bed, even though you'll be exhausted. It's okay if your house isn't spotless. However, if you find the miracle for that, please be sure to let me know!