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!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Menu Plan Monday!

I'm quite lazy today and in a bit of a time crunch.
I've got a sick little one at home
(ear infections are no fun!)
and I'm itching to go sew. you go! The YouTUbe version of my Meal Plan Monday!
Ya'll have a great Monday!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another Day

I have a horrible sleeping pattern, so I'm usually up around 3 or 4 am.
Most mornings, you can find me on the couch with a cup of coffee and my Bible,
waiting for everyone else to wake up.
And most mornings, I get to see the beautiful sunrise through the front living room windows.
The sun rises so bright towards that wall of the house
that sometimes I have to shut the blinds.
The other morning it struck me how beautiful it really was.

This is my dining room, seen clearly from my semi-permanent perch on the couch.
Clean. Bright. Clear. Fresh. New.
Just waiting on what the day holds.
It's kind of like new life, every morning.
In the mountains and in the valleys to, my God is so great and merciful.
Every day brings a new chance to change something if it's not working for you.
Don't let that chance slip you may not be here again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Little Things plus a Meal Plan

Happy Tuesday to you, blog friends!
Sara ended last week on a great note!
She write her first book report on Maya Amge;pi and got an A!
One proud mama here. :)
We had a really great weekend, and I hope you did, too!
First of all, we celebrated Valentines Day here at the house on Friday.

That afternoon I had an infusion appointment, then we picked up the girls from school and headed the hour and a half west to drop them off with my parents.
They stayed Friday night with my dad (and we enjoyed a steak supper at Bush's!), Saturday with my mom, and my dad picked them up again Sunday.
So....this meant a kid-free weekend for us. I didn't know what to do with myself!
So....I slept a lot. And it was amazing. We shopped. We ate a ton of great food.
But I missed my girls - even though I knew they were having a blast.
I was more than ready to go get them yesterday afternoon and get home and back in our routine!
Saturday night, instead of fighting the obnoxious Valentine crowd,
Mike opted to go into Fresh Market and cook something delicious at home.
Ribeyes, bacon wrapped scallops, twice baked potatoes, roasted asparagus and cherry tomatoes, and rosemary sea-salt bread. YUM! He did good!
He also brought me home an orchid - it's so pretty!
He did this for me on Valentines when I was expecting Sara.
Brings back good memories. :)
So that was our weekend! I didn't get a chance to post our meal plan yesterday because we were either at an appointment or in the road all day, so I'll share that now. Nothing exciting this week because I feel like I'm working a full time job with the appointments I have going on. I have infusion 3 days this week, Atlanta one day, two Bible studies (which I'm NOT disappointed about!) plus all the toher regular things. I tell you, working moms have my hand clap. They deserve it.
Monday: scrambled eggs, bacon, jelly biscuits
Tuesday: steak burgers with the fixings, pasta salad
Wednesday: homemade bbq chicken pizza with mozzarella, black olives and mushrooms
Thursday: chicken alfredo and salad
Friday: ribs on the grill, bacon wrapped green beans, mac & cheese
Saturday: baked ziti, salad
Sunday: Greek tacos
I hope ya'll have a great Tuesday and I will see you again soon!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pinterest-inspired OOTD #2!

This was the Pinspiration for the week:
What I like about this outfit is the wide stripe of the dress, the denim vest,
and I like that she paired it with an updo and big sunglasses.
I don't have a wide-stripe maxi dress (or even a wide-stripe skirt),
but I did have a plain black long-sleeve shirt and a plain black maxi skirt.
Obviously, I don't have enough hair for an updo (one day!)
but that's probably what I would have done.

First of all - excuse the bad lighting.
I took this after church with poor living room lighting. :)
Also, excuse my squinty, swollen eyes.
They are getting better Slowly. :)
- long sleeve black shirt, Ross, $8
- long black maxi skirt, Dollar General, $12
- denim vest, thrifted, $3
- red Jessica Simpson flats, Dillads, $25 (2010)
- black and red scarf, gift
Here's a close up of the shoes.
I love them!
I hope ya'll have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

GVHD of the Liver - UPDATE!!!!!!!!

It's no secret that I'm a Christian.
It's no secret that I love God and strive to serve Him daily.
Sometimes that comes off as holier-than-thou.
That's not how I want to be, but it can rub people the wrong way
 It's also no secret that I've been battling the largest battle of my life
- save for my soul -
for the past 3.5 years.
But believe it or not, there ARE some things I choose to keep personal.
I'm a pretty open book. I like to joke that I have what I not-so-affectionately call "verbal vomit".
So are you wondering what I DIDN'T tell you lately?
It was pretty big to me, even though I tried to downplay it.
I've been blogging about my (smallish) struggle with GVHD
 (otherwise known as Graph Versus Host Disease).
Google it. It still confuses me.
To sum it up, in case you haven't been following - for the past month or so,
I've been struggling with an angry skin rash. It blisters, it peels, it feels like the worst sunburn you've ever had in your entire life times infinity, it bleeds, etc. There are sores - sometimes up to 15-20 -
 in my mouth at all times.
(That should shut me up, but it doesn't!)
Both of my eyes have become severely dry and infected,
which has resulted in my vision decreasing to the point where last week I was told
by my eye doctor that he may have to pull my license.
Talk about a blow to the ego.
I'm only 29. I've got two little girls who NEED me to be able to drive them around!
My mama has been driving me around (she likes to refer to I as Driving Miss Daisy)
and I should be the one driving HER around.
So anyway, I've been going once a week, sometimes twice, to Emory University Hospital
in Atlanta, GA (about 2 hours one way) for checks.
The past 2 weeks showed that my liver enzymes, bilirubin, etc. were elevated.
The week before last, the BMT doctor mentioned hospitalization to get the GVHD
of what we assumed was the liver under control.
Last week, the levels were elevated even more.
They were now at a critical level.
Decisions needed to be made, and soon.
Doctor said - if the levels are not down by Monday (4 days time),
I'm going to order a liver biopsy.
Last Thursday was my last appointment. I went again yesterday, on Monday.
Friday and Saturday, Mike was gone off to a church thing overnight.
My mom and my cousin came to stay with me to help with the girls and in case I needed them.
Friday, I felt awful. Saturday, I felt awful.
When the pastors brought Mike home that evening, I asked if they'd pray for me.
I also called my uncle to pray, and he called some other friends of his.
Sunday morning at church, I got prayer. I felt better, but still not 100%..
Monday morning, we left out and drove up to Emory.
I wasn't nervous. I told Mike - I'm not nervous. I just don't want to be put to sleep for a liver biopsy!
But friends, prayer changes things.
The nurse practitioner came in and spoke with me while we were waiting on the labs.
Rash looked good, no yellowing of the skin, no apparent signs of GVHD.
But we had to wait for the liver count results.
And then.
God moved.
The NP bounced in my room and shouted,
I promise you, I had the biggest grin on my face that you STILL can't wipe off!
She pushed some papers in my face, rattling off numbers in an excited voice that only
a nurse practitioner could understand or even get excited about -
"LOOK!" She says. "Your counts were SO VERY high last week, and look at them now!
I don't know how they could have come down like this so quick!"
I do. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt.
This may seem minute to some. But it's not to me. This is my life,
and every victory is worth shouting over.

He does not continue to help me and deliver me  because of anything I have ever done
or will ever do for Him. He does it because He loves me (and you!) with all of His heart
and He wants to see us do the best we are able with what He gives us.
Thank you ALL for your thoughts and prayers.
I'll probably continue to thank you for the rest of my life -
and it would never be enough.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Samon, Sweet Potato and Broccoli Chowder

I discovered this recipe when my oldest was just a baby.
It was when I first got on my "eating better, cooking better" kick and I think one of the first recipes that I made that wasn't from a box.
I wasn't sure if we would like it due to the ingredients - but oh ya'll, let me tell you.
This thang is good!
Matter of fact, I have a cousin who doesn't even LIKE seafood - and she loved it.

Salmon, Broccoli and Sweet Potato Chowder

Cast of characters:
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. thyme
- salt ad pepper to taste
- 1 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into small pieces, cooked
- bag of frozen broccoli (or you can use fresh)

My sweet little helper. She loves cooking with mama!

First you cook the chopped onion in the butter until soft. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
Add the flour and stir until smooth.
(NOTE:: this is SO important! Last time I did not make sure I mixed the flour well enough and it was awful! I have the hardest time with making a rue.)
Add in the broth and milk, whisking steadily to smoothly incorporate.
Add the sweet potato and seasonings.
Bring to a boil, stirring often and simmer about 8 minutes.
Add salmon and broccoli and heat through.
Top with parmesan cheese and parsley, if desired.

I'm still new to this and messed up and didn't get a final picture with the toppingsa and broccoli.
But hopefully you get the idea!
I served this with rosemary and herb rolls and it was so good!
....even if it was burned just a little.
I'm not perfect. :)

Hope ya'll have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pinspiration Wednesday - OOTD #1

So I've been getting into pinning OOTDs on Pinterest lately.
(That's Outfit Of the Day in case you didn't know!)
I love these because it gets me out of wearing the same old same old, day in and day out.
I'm a pretty boring girl but I don't want to be THAT boring!
I came across one and realized I already had very similar pieces in my closet
so I decided to copy the "Pinspiration Wednesday" phase that once took over Blogger.
Does that still go around? It used to be really popular but I am just getting back into reading blogs on the regular and haven't seen it again lately.
So anyway - this is my first attempt, so be kind. :)
Here is the Pin (you can find me on Instagram here: @sweetteaandsunshine)
And here is my personal version:
Jean Jacket: Factory Connection, circa 2013, $14
Black and white striped shirt: Charlotte Russe, circa 2013, $10
Hot pink skirt by Cato: Thrifted, 2014, $3
Boots: no-name, from Bealls Outlet, $29
I'm not sure how I like the boots with it - what do ya'll think?
If you have any Pinspiration outfit ideas, please let me know in the comments!
I hope ya'll have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

One Year.

Happy Tuesday to you!
Today's post is just a bunch of random thoughts dumped out....sometimes I come on here to blog with no rhyme or reason as to what I'm going to say, and I just let it spill on out. IT's kind of therapeutic that way, I think, and most of the time it works in my favor. :)
Today I had a lot of errands to run. Mike took a ay of leave so that he could drive me - I had an eye appointment that my eyes were going to be dilated at so I needed my chauffeur.
 I rewarded him with a herry limemade.
(Okay, okay - it was really for me!)
I had to run to the library, grocery store and post office - you can check out my grocery haul from Publix here if you'd like! We did not need much this week, just a few staples and sale items.
My family goes through string cheese and fruit like you would not BELIEVE, so I had to stock up.
But most importantly, I wanted to say that on Sunday, I realized...
I've been in remission
And that's all, folks. Happiest week of my life.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekend Update and Menu Plan Monday!

Hey ya'll! Did you have a good weekend? We did. It was SO relaxing. In my old age (haha), I have really come to appreciate and enjoy weekends like that. Weekends where you can just do whatever it is that you want to do, and whatever pace you'd like to do it at.
Except when the weekends over, reality is back and your house is a mess.
But I digress. :)
Well, to start with, Sara brought home her first note from a little boy.
An early Valentines Day note.
And he wants her to come for a "date" at his house to play Wii-U.
 I'm not ready for this.
Friday night we rewarded the girls with ice cream - they don't get rewards often, but we had made a deal with June that if she did not cry at drop-off at school all week long, and she practiced really hard at listening and obeying the first time her parents ask her to do something - that she could get ice cream on Friday night. Well, you know my 4 year old loves her ice cream and she was REALLY good all week long - so out we went!
Except....when we got there, Sara was the only one who wanted ice cream.
June preferred chicken strips from Arby's, and then she fell asleep before she got to eat them!
Saturday we let Daddy sleep in and we were lazy, too! Did some chores, played a lot.
Then Sara and I had a "mommy daughter date" at the mall - she request these every once in a while
and I am happy to take her up on them. I love it just as much as she does!
So we got all dressed up and headed up. She got her a new pair of shoes at JCP ($5.97 - SCORE!),
I got a new dress at JCP ($11 - SCORE!), she picked out a super adorable scarf at The Childrens Place, June got some much-needed new uniform skirts and I also cashed in a gift certificate at Sephora for Prada Candy perfume. (Smells SO god....thank you Mike!) She was able to ride the motorized animals around....heaven help me when she turns 16!
That evening, we had friends over for a while and then went out to eat! :)
Sunday was SUPER lazy and full of church, just the way I like it. Here's a little OOTD of the girls & I from our morning outfits. We actually had a few minutes to spare before running out the door!
Now - our menu plan for the week!
I am SO ashamed to say we did awful last week. We ate out FOUR TIMES.
Which means we're carrying over a ton of meals this week.
I'm challenging myself to cook supper EVERY SINGLE NIGHT this week.
I'll report next Monday. :)
Monday: Herb Roasted Chicken, roasted potatoes/carrots, and corn
Tuesday: chicken noodle soup (with the leftovers & broth)
Wednesday: Minestrone, rolls
Thursday: garlic chicken (old WW recipe, in the crockpot), cowboy beans, turnip greens
Friday: pancakes & sausage
Saturday: leftovers/clean out the ridge/easy night
Sunday: lunch will be cheese tortellini with spinach and diced tomatoes in alfredo sauce, salad
Supper will be tacos (1/2 ground chuck, 1/2 black beans), yellow rice
It's also been requested I make cupcakes, so those will be coming up as well. :)
Ya'll head over to Organizing Junkie, check out the inspiration and don't forget to link up! Ya'll have a great day!