Sunday, May 31, 2009

Our weekend...

We had a great weekend with some fabulous weather (finally!). We blew up Tay's swimming pool that Gran gave her for her birthday. She had a blast playing in it. I must admit that I splashed around in it a bit, too! Saturday morning it was so nice before it got too hot.

Saturday afternoon I had a training for my new job. I'll be working a few hours a week at the Watermelon Patch! We've made a plan to go to Disney World in November seems a long ways a way, but I know it will be here before you know it! Tay can hardly wait--she can name all the characters on Disney Playhouse. So, my bit of extra income from the Watermelon Patch will be just fun money and also go towards saving for our big vacation! Tay actually starts Summer Camp at the Watermelon Patch next Tuesday and I know she'll love it.

We had a great morning at church. Bro. Fred preached on "Priorities"--God first, family second, work & other relationships are third. These are based upon God's law as stated in the 10 Commandments--1. have no other gods before me 2. honor thy father & mother, do not commit adultery 3. do not covet, do not steal (honesty & integrity are what God calls us to). It was a great message and something I will consider regarding all areas of my life and how things are prioritized.

After church, Tay went with Scott to eat lunch at Gran's and Ella and I spent the afternoon at Mawmaw & Pawpaw's (with my parents & Mimi, too). My Pawpaw is doing so great after having surgery just 5 days ago--it's amazing! Between my Mimi, Mawmaw, & Pawpaw, I have the best grandparents! I think Tay & Ella are pretty lucky with such fabulous grandparents, too! :)

I will include a few pics from the weekend. The first is a picture of Taylor with a really cute purse & matching hairbow from Gran. (By the way, Gran is selling these if you know of any girly girls that would like one! She has the purses & bows in different colors (the bows have 3 different color ribbons--Tay's is blue, pink, & yellow--it's hard to tell in the pic) and I can send more pics if interested. They are $8 for the pair.) The second is from lunch today at Mawmaw & Pawpaw's house. The third one is actually Ella sleeping when she about 3 weeks old. The final one is from yesterday as I watched Tay swim--see how much she's grown!!
I hope everyone has a great week!! more thing, if you happen to read this before tomorrow (Monday, June 1st) at noon...head on over to Dori's blog to register for a giveaway of Jennifer Rothschild's book Self Talk, Soul Talk. Just leave her a comment & let her know that I referred you there. I found Dori's site through her comment to a post at Beth Moore's blog. Dori seems to have a great blog titled "Your Word is Life to Me". Check it out! :) Maybe, you'll be a winner of the book!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bible study update

We'll be beginning Beth Moore's newest Bible study on Esther--"It's tough being a woman". We'll start with the introduction video next Sunday night, June 7th, at 5:30 pm at my house. We'll have a potluck dinner for our first night, too. Go ahead and purchase your workbook by next Sunday night. You can pick them up at Lifeway Bookstore. I'm thrilled to be doing this study and am excited to get started. Please leave me a comment if you plan on joining the Bible study! :)

Some pics for my Mimi! (To be fair, I have to post a pic of both Tay & Ella...though, Tay looks like she has bunny teeth in her pic!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Checking in...

Wow...who knew keeping up with a blog would be harder than I thought! Well, I'm back and just have a quick update before bed. We're all doing good around here. I can hardly believe Ella will be 4 months old next week. And, guess who's wearing 6-9 month jammies already! Yep, my cutie patootie Ella is growing at a rapid pace! :)

We plan on having Ella and Taylor's pictures taken this week. Looking back at Tay's 3 months pictures, Ella and Tay really do look quite a good bit alike at this age. It's hard to remember Tay's personality at this age. But, Ella is a very smiley baby and loves to snuggle. She makes all sorts of sweet and funny coos and noises.

We had a good Memorial Day weekend, but didn't get to do all the fun things we had planned because it rained off and on all weekend long. But, we grilled Saturday and today and had great food. I love the smell of the grill. Tay is getting good riding her new bike that she got for her birthday. She has a bit of difficulty with watching where she is going though because she is looking and concentrating on her feet so much! Unfortunately, we didn't get to blow up her new pool because of all of the rain.

Tay has also learned how to push her step stool over to turn the light off & on in the bathroom. Yay! This is a big time accomplishment. It gives her a lot of independance which she loves. She really likes to do things by herself!!

Tay LOVES going to Sunday School. It makes me so glad. She's come so far from screaming and crying when we drop her off to running down the hall when she sees her teacher waiting to greet her! Oh, I love it! She talks about Sunday School all week and is very quick to correct me when I slip up and mention church. She says, "No, Mommy! YOU go to church; I go to Sunday School!!"

Ella still hasn't rolled over yet. I say it's because she never lays on the floor longer than a few minutes. This gal likes to be held...all.the.time.!! The batteries on her swing died (again!) this weekend. I thought "Oh, No!!" That's the only way I get a break from holding her during the day!!

We're definitely hoping for better weather this week so we can spend some time outside. Whew, we've been cooped up in the house for too long! I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 05.18

So, I took the week off last week from blogging. Sorry! Once I got so far behind in the week, I just figured I would start over today. Here's what we'll be having for the next 2 weeks. Again, if you see something you would like the recipe for, just leave me a message. And, you'll see some repeats from my previous menu because we didn't get around to cooking every night because of things that came up at the last minute. The beef, tomato, & cheddar mac was a HUGE hit with Tay--she had THREE helpings the first night and asked for it for lunch the next day! So, I'll go ahead and post that recipe at the end of this post. It's so easy to change it up to with different type chopped tomatoes & shredded cheeses. I may do it mexican style next time with rotel and monterrey jack. Yum!

Monday--Lemon Garlic Tilapia, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables
Tuesday--Homemade Pancakes, Sausage Patties, and Scrambled Eggs
Wednesday--Creamy Italian Chicken over Rotini Pasta, Salad
Thursday--Chicken Pot Pie (I'll be making an extra to take to a friend), Crescent Rolls, and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Friday--Grilled Pork Chops, Baked Potato, Sweet Peas
Saturday--Beans and Cornbread (from Pioneer Woman's website)
Sunday--Quesadillas, Chips & Salsa
Monday--Steak, French Fries, Salad
Tuesday--Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Salad, Garlic Bread
Wednesday--Tacos, Spanish Rice, Refried Beans
Thursday--Creamy Chicken Noodle Bake, Banana Pudding
Friday--Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Saturday--out of town
Sunday--out of town

Here's the Beef, Tomato, & Cheddar Mac recipe:
Tomato, Cheddar and Beef Macaroni
~*~Sandy~*~ from's Cooking for Your Family Board

1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 can (14.5-oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
1 cup water
1 cup elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef with the onions, drain. Stir in the tomatoes, water, and macaroni. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until tender; stir in cheese and serve.

- ground turkey, onion, plain diced tomatoes, chicken broth, whole wheat rotini, and Irish Cheddar cheese
- ground venison, plain tomatoes, smoked paprika, garlic

Friday, May 8, 2009

Favorite Friday

I know I've been going on and on about how great Beth Moore's latest Bible study on Esther is. I've also been following her blog recently and it's great, too!

For the past two weeks, her youngest daughter, Melissa, has been blogging while on a trip with Compassion to Calcutta, India. It has been absolutely amazing & eye-opening to read about her experience there. No lie...I've cried every single day I've read an entry she's written from India! It's just incredible to read about how the rest of the world lives while I feel bad for myself that I can't afford something as small as a pedicure or as big as a vacation or a new car. For goodness sakes, these people are starving, without power, without homes, and without knowing that someone loves them. It breaks my heart. So, I encourage you to check out the Living Proof blog. You'll have to go back just a little ways to start reading about Melissa's trip.

You'll also find posts from Beth and her daughter Amanda. They are sometimes thought-provoking posts, but often they are just laugh out loud funny! I just love this family--they are so REAL!

Anyhow, back to Melissa's trip with Compassion. Just this week, I was reading about Melissa's final day in India and crying my eyes out! Taylor asked me why I was crying and I showed her the picture of the beautiful children Melissa met. I explained to her their situation and that these children needed help. Well, truth be told, I often feel bad for those left fortunate, but never act on it...never really do anything to help. But, this hit me. That same day, as I was in another room I hear Taylor singing. As I near her, she is singing "Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world, Red & Yellow, Black & White, they are precious in His sight, Yes Jesus loves the little children of the world." Of course, I had to decipher a few of the words...but, you bet I got the message! Wow! We sing "Jesus love me" all the time, but I haven't sang this one to her in quite awhile. I was amazed at how God speaks through my own child...right then, I took Tay to the computer and we picked out a child from Compassion's website. We are now sponsoring a beautiful little 5 year old girl, Maher, from India. I anxiously check the mail each day waiting on my packet from Compassion with more information about her. I can't wait to mail her a letter. What a privilege!

Seriously, I am tearing up now as I type just thinking of them. Here's an excerpt from her last entry. If you don't feel compelled to sponsor a child, simply pray for them.

From Melissa:
After playing with our children for about an hour or so, I realized that our leaders were signaling some message to us. Our time was coming to an end. We had been so busy anticipating meeting our sponsor children that for some reason we hadn't even thought about the reality of having to say good-bye to them. As we hugged them good-bye for the last time my heart began to race and I noticed that Manot urgently kept saying something, the same line, over and over again to me. So, I beckoned the translator and I said, "Can you translate what he is trying to tell me?"

He is saying, “Please pray for us.”

Seriously, can one heart take it? That’s what nine-year-old Manot was trying to tell me. After all the gifts I had brought him. After all the food we had served him. After all the fun we had. This was his one urgent request:

“Please pray for us.”

I assured him through my tears that I would never ever stop praying for them.

That was the last verbal exchange we had before we said good-bye with oversized lumps in our throats and then we waved and waved and waved. I can’t count the times they looked back at me. They hung out of the window of the van, and we blew about a million kisses back and forth. As the van started to move, I felt my heart sink.

Will I ever see them again?

Will they make it?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bible Study

Sunday was our last week of studying Esther. Like I said last week, I've enjoyed it SO much! It's been quite awhile since a study has impacted me as much as this one has. The lessons were so practical and applicable. A few key points from it, I'm sure I'll remember always.

I spoke with one of the co-facilitators of our study about getting a group of young women together this summer to do the study. So, I've already put a call in to the church office to get the DVD lessons from them. I'm so excited to get started again...I'm having withdrawals!

I've spoken with a few friends who are interested in doing the study already. My hope is to start in June. So, if you are interested in doing the study with us, just leave me a comment! If you've never done one of Beth's studies, she can be in depth and there is a commitment to doing daily homework lessons--but, it is SO worth it!

Be praying for a location for us to meet for Bible study. I have a few places to check out before we decide.

Also, be praying about getting the word out for the study. The message of the Esther study is so great & I think that so many young women could really benefit from it. If you'd like to see what it is about, you can check it out at .

Weight Loss Weigh In

Well, I've only made it to the gym once so far this week. :( When I don't make it to workout, I automatically start feeling frumpy. It's amazing how exercise just makes you feel better about yourself whether you are losing weight or not. So, I hope to be able to go to the gym Fri. night & Sat. afternoon to make up for my lack of exercise this week.

Strangely, I weighed at the gym on Monday & was down 5 lbs., but weighed today at Mom's house...and I was up 2 lbs.! So, who knows! I wouldn't doubt that I was up 2 lbs. after celebrating Tay's birthday for about a week! We had pizza, cake, & then a big lunch after Ella's dedication. I've been eating more than usual with all the celebrating!


"Best Friends Forever!"

Ella loves sitting up like a big girl in her Bumbo seat!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Toddler Tuesday

Whew, we had a busy couple of days!

Last Friday, we took a trip over to the Dauphin Island Estuarium. We're so fortunate to live so close to beautiful sandy beaches, though we rarely go. I had connections through one of the great nurses I work with to get us a special tour! We went with a few friends from our playgroup and had a great time! The kids loved it. We saw fish, baby alligators, turtles, snakes, octopus, crab, frogs, and lizards. It was a great learning experience, too. The kids got to "pet" the snake, turtles, and crab. We also got to see many of the animals being fed, too. It was a great trip. Tay loved being outside there, too. The weather was beautiful and she definitely wants to go back to the beach sometime. For a day trip, Dauphin Island is a great place to go.

Saturday was Tay's birthday party at the Watermelon Patch. Oh, we had so much FUN! It made me so happy to see her so happy! Nana, Poppy, Mimi, and Gran were there. Aunt Ashley, Seth, and Cruz attended. Aunt Shelli came and brought Emma Kate and Hadley. From our playgroup, Miss Hannah came with Parker and Miss Julie brought Cole. The kids wore themselves out! :) I promise I'll get my pictures developed soon & will be able to post pictures.

Sunday we had baby dedication at Luke 4:18 Fellowship. It was a very special morning. We were so honored to have Mawmaw, Aunt Cheryl, and Uncle Harold drive over to celebrate with us. The poor nursery workers probably had their hands full with Tay, Cruz, and Emma Kate all in there together! :) Mom & Dad, Ash & Seth, and Shelli & Mrs. Robinson attended church with us. There were 3 other babies dedicated in the service. Though Ella was the youngest, she certainly wasn't the smallest--love my chunky monkey! Ella did great and didn't fuss or cry at all during church. Afterwards, we had a delicious lunch at Mom's house. What a great day spent with family! I'm so thankful for them.

We were exhausted yesterday after a weekend full of activities! So, we've taken it easy so far this week. Tomorrow, we'll be going to the Exploreum and have a playdate planned with a few friends on Friday.

I'm really enjoying the time I have to spend at home with my girls and doing all sorts of fun activities together!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Menu Monday 05.04

In the past, I shared my weekly menu plan with you. Typically, I don't do it this way. I prefer to make my menus from paycheck to paycheck. This way, I spend all I need to in 1 trip with only an occasional trip back to the store for fruit, milk, bread, etc. So, here is our meal plan until next Friday. :)

Monday--leftover rotisserie chicken & potato salad, with a garden salad
Tuesday--mini taco bowls with chips & salsa (for Cinco de Mayo!)
Wednesday--barbecue chicken in the crockpot with coleslaw and corn
Thursday--pancakes, sausage, and scrambled eggs
Friday--grilled pork chops, baked potato, sweet peas
Saturday--out to eat
Sunday--dinner at Shelli's for Mother's Day
Monday--hot dogs, french fries, coleslaw
Tuesday--beef, tomato, and cheddar macaroni with green beans and garlic bread
Wednesday--red beans & rice with sausage, corn bread
Thursday--beef stew with biscuits
Friday--lemon garlic tilapia, mashed potatoes, salad

If you are interested in any of the recipes above, just leave me a comment! The lemon garlic tilapia will be a new recipe for us to try. The beef, tomato, & cheddar macaroni is a great kid-friendly meal that you can put together quickly and uses ingredients that I usually have on hand. And, I love the red beans & rice recipe--one of my favorites! I'd be glad to share if you'd like, it's just too time consuming to post the links for all of the recipes. Sorry! :)

I can't wait to post tomorrow's "Toddler Tuesday". We had such a fun (but busy) weekend with Tay's 3rd birthday party & Ella's baby dedication at church. I'll try to post some pictures this week, too. I am AMAZED at how fast Ella is growing!