Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blessing #66 - Monkey

At Brandon's first birthday party, Brandon got a monkey from his Aunt Shannon. Soon afterwards, we noticed that B was attached to Monkey, and 4 years later, Monkey is still a part of our daily lives.

Because Brandon has to have Monkey to sleep, Monkey has traveled everywhere we have for four years. When we fly, Monkey is packed in my carry-on because we can't risk losing him. Sometimes Monkey goes to town with us. Monkey has been left at the library a few times, but fortunately the librarians know who we are and who Monkey is, and they always call me.

Last week, after running errands, Brandon realized that Monkey was missing. He panicked and cried, "Monkey is mad at me for losing him!" We had only been to my in-laws to water the garden and the post office. I called the post office first and said, "Excuse me, has anyone turned in a monkey...a stuffed monkey." The post office worker looked for me, but there was no Monkey to be found.

At this point, I realized I was feeling anxiety over the lost Monkey. All I could hear was that song from Toy Story 2 that Sarah McLaughlin sings when Jesse gets put by the side of the road. Suddenly, I felt the strong need to find Monkey. I wasn't ready for Monkey to leave us yet. Why? Look at this picture of 2 year old Brandon "reading" to Monkey.

{whimper} {sniff, sniff} I'm okay. I can do this.

Oh wook at his wittle feet!

Okay, I'm regaining my composure. Brandon is growing up so fast, and Monkey is that last piece that represents Baby Brandon. I was not about to let him go without a fight. I went to my in-laws, and walked around the entire house until I found Monkey sitting on the front porch steps. I was so happy to see his ragged little face, but I was even happier when I got to give Monkey back to my very appreciative B.

I realize the day will come when Monkey is no longer a part of our every day lives, but I'm just glad that day was not last week.

Just this week, Collin has picked his security item...Alligator. I can feel myself getting attached already.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blessing #65 - The old/new armoire

Remember the armoire Shad (a.k.a. Templeton) got off of Craig's List for FREE! Honestly, when he first brought it home, I did not know what I was going to do with it, but after a week of looking at it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Here is the step by step of what I did...

Step 1: I lightly sanded down the armoire.
I knew I wanted to distress it in the end so I didn't sand too much. The rough patches make it prettier when it is distressed.

Step 2: I applied two coats of paint to everything but the inside of the doors where I only applied one coat. I'll show you why later!

Step 3: I constantly had to push crawling Collin away from the paint, and I seriously wondered why I started working while he was awake.

Step 4: After the paint dried, I got sandpaper and distressed like crazy!

Before I distressed it, I did not like the way it looked at all, but as soon as I took some sandpaper to the paint and distressed it, I started to fall in love. In this picture the left side has not been distressed while the right side has been distressed. I know the inside of the doors look weird, but I had big plans for them.

And now for the big reveal...drrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Chalkboard Doors!!!! I would really like to paint an entire wall in chalkboard paint, but for right now this is a great compromise for us renters!

Step 5: I applied 3 coats of chalkboard paint to the inside of the doors!

Step 6: The entire armoire except for the chalkboards got a coat of polyurethane.

I love how it turned out! (Have I said that enough yet?) This is just what I had pictured in my head before I started!

The old hardware did not work, and Shad saved the day when he said, "I have some old glass knobs." They were throwing out some old cabinet doors at his work, and Shad had the smarts to take the pretty knobs off of them before they were thrown away! He scored major points with me for that one!

Brandon could not be more excited about the new armoire, but please excuse me for one second. I need to take care of something.

Yes Mom, I know he has on snow boots.

Yes Mom, I know it's June.

Now that that's taken care of, here is a final picture of the view as I walk into my kitchen (air conditioner and all!)

I'm linking this post up to some of my favorite link parties.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Curse #22 - Dada

Last week, Collin gave Shad the best Father's Day gift ever and said his first word, "Dada." Isn't that great?

Yep, his first word was "Dada" just like Brandon's first word was "Dada." Isn't that wonderful? Just wonderful.

No, I'm not bitter.

Do I seem bitter?

I'm not, but since we are on the subject...

I birthed his 10 pound self. I change his diapers. I get up with him at night. I feed him baby food. I take care of him when he's sick,and I said "Mommma" to him over and over while Shad was at work, and after all that he says, "DADA" first?

Now when I say "Mama" to Collin, he looks me straight in the eye and says, "Dada." The nerve of that kid!

Soon enough though he will figure out how to make the mmmm sound, and "Mama" will follow. For now, I can wait, but his first sentence better be, "I love you, Mommy!"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Give Me Five Friday- {the five dadas}

Last week, Collin said his first word, "Dada." Because his vocabulary is only one word, Collin has to use "Dada" for many things. Today's five is a glossary of Collin's dadas

the five {dadas} of Collin

1. dada (with high pitched squeal)- This means "I love this. I want more of this."

2. ah dada - This is the dada he uses when he is feeling cool. I think he is saying, "I'm the man," when he says, "ah dada."

3. dada (with clenched fists)- This happens when he is frustrated. It is usually accompanied by a cry so high that he would make Mariah Carey jealous of the note he is hitting.

4. dada (while looking at one of us)- When he looks at me and says, "Dada" that means "Hi Mom." When he looks at B and says, "Dada" that means "Hi Brandon." When he looks at Shad and says "Dada" that means "Hi...Dada"

5. daaaaaaaaaadaaaaaa - This is when he is really concentrating. Usually when he says this dada he is trying to figure out one of life's great mysteries like, "Why isn't everything edible."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blessing #64 - My "garden"

I have wanted to have a garden for the past three years, and this year I got my chance.

Because we rent, I don't have a place to plant anything at our house, however my in-laws have a garden this year, and they let me have some space in it.

I have a tendency sometimes to go overboard, but for my "garden" I decided to set a budget of $20. Honestly, anything I have ever planted has died...DIED! So I was a little cautious when I planted my "garden."

For $20 I got two tomato plants, 2 bell pepper plants, 1 jalapeno plant, 1 cucumber plant, and 2 tomato cages. That is why I call it my "garden" because it really is only five plants, but in my book, it is a garden.

Here are my babies...I mean plants as I was planting them.

Here they are my girls...I mean tomato plants when I first planted them.

My cucumbers died...DIED! I mean nothing was there anymore, but my mother-in-law said, "Just keep watering it. You never know what will happen." What do you know those cucumbers came back! I call them my resurrection cucumbers.

I have loved having a "garden"! Maybe it's a victory over my black thumb. Maybe it makes me feel like I'm on Little House on the Prairie (I've seen every episode). Maybe I watched Brandon's farmer dvd one too many times. For whatever reason, these five little plants have really brought lots of fun for me.

Here are my little guys...I mean jalapenos right now.

One of my big girls...tomato plants.

Some of my tomatoes just waiting to be picked! Take that black thumb!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blessing #63 - Hydrangeas

When I was in college, I worked for a woman who worked out of state, and she was gone most of the week. My job was to take care of her flowers and gardens. Now I know that sounds like an odd job for me with my My Black Thumb, but I loved that job. On my first day of work, I didn't know the difference between a flower and a weed, and on my last day, I could name most of the flowers in her garden and when they bloomed.

When I first started working in her gardens, I noticed bushes with sheets wrapped around them to protect them from frost. This woman was serious about these plants. She told me they were her favorites, her hydrangeas. Although I thought she was crazy at the time, as soon as I saw the first bloom, I completely understood her.

Now, hydrangeas are my absolute favorite flower! Roses smoses, just give me hydrangeas.

I love to have flowers in my house, and as soon as I saw this crate, I knew it would make a beautiful hydrangea "vase." Here is how I quickly arrange my flowers.

Step 1: Make sure you flower head is larger than the lip of the vase.

Who has time to mess with floral foam and things like that. If the flower head is bigger than the lip of the vase you don't need any of that. With my milk of magnesia bottles, I can use smaller flowers because of it small lip.

For the crate arrangement, I just used my old mason jars as my vases.

Step 2: Put 1-3 flowers in your vase. Make sure the height of your stem is shorter than the vase height.

Step 3: Clump several vases of flowers together.

I love how this crate turned out, but I made this arrangement for the horse farms guest house that I clean. I just used glasses, and it turned out simple and nice. (Yes, those are coasters under the glasses.)

Post linked to Works for me Wednesday Feature Yourself Friday, The Shabby Nest,and The Tidy Mom.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blessing #62 - Being put in my place

Just when I feel like I arrived, like I've finally got it together, God has a way of putting me in my place.

About a year ago, one of my facebook friends, Anna posted a status that said something like, "I feel like life is on pause." Immediately, my heart went out to her because I have known that feeling.

For four years we have waited and prayed for a church for Shad to pastor, and I THOUGHT that was exactly what Anna was experiencing as Anna's husband wanted to be a pastor.

Reaching out, I sent a nice e-mail to encourage Anna, and I was feeling like an all around good person, but soon my pettiness showed.

Just a few short weeks later, Anna posted that her husband was now the pastor of a church. When I read that status, I, being the mature adult that I am said...

Are you kidding me!!!

While I was excited for them, it just didn't seem fair that God made things so easy for some and so hard for us. Rather than being encouraged by God blessing someone, I pouted like Brandon does when he doesn't get what he wants.

Did God know what we were going through?

Did God care about us too?

Eventually, I worked through my feelings, I remembered God has a plan for my family, and I soon forgot about the entire ordeal.

Last week, Anna had started her own blog, and I read everything that was going on in her life when life was "on pause." You can read the post by clicking here.

Go ahead.

I'll wait.

After reading her blog, and seeing her full story, I was reminded of the pity party I threw for myself last year. Just when I feel like I have arrived, I see myself for what I really am, a little girl throwing a tantrum because God doesn't work on my schedule, and I am reminded once again of how much I need God.

Ironically, the day before I read her blog, I told Shad, "I really try to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Teaching has shown me you never know someones full story." Yep, I ate those words, but it was a good lesson, and one I hope not to forget.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturdate with Southern Plate: Texas Caviar

This week I made Texas Caviar. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

I love this dish.

(crowd yells) How much do you love it?

I love it so much I had it at my wedding reception. Seriously. At the time, I hated black eyed peas, but I still loved "Texas Caviar."

I have always used shoepeg corn in this recipe, so that is what I used when I made it this week. The Southern Plate recipe uses regular corn, and I'm definitely trying it that way next time. I think regular corn would add a sweetness to it that would be nice. This is such a great summer recipe.

And just for kicks, here is another link to a copy kat recipe for Chili's salsa. I love Chili's salsa!

(crowd yells) How much do you love it?

I love it so much, I could swim in it...sorry...oversharing.

Anyway, you can find that recipe by clicking here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Give me Five Friday - {five things my dad loves}

Father's Day is this weekend, and in honor of my dad, I thought for this Give me Five I would share some of my dad's favorites. He guestposted for me here and explained why he comments on my blog as #3. If you want a sweet a touching comment, you just need to read his comment underneath Blessings #60.

Five Things My Dad Loves

1. barbque- I have talked about his love of barbque before. Honestly though, he's an expert.

2. Old Cars - Some people rescue animals, but my dad rescues old cars. He has the crowded driveway to prove it. He and my mom both have always gone to car shows, and thanks to them, I can identify the make of most classic cars which really impressed Shad when we started dating.

3. Local culture- He loves...LoVeS...LOVES to visit new places and find the best place to eat, or a unique local store. He loves to find out what makes a town special.

4. His motorcycle- Because he loves local culture so much, he loves to take his motorcycle out on backroads and discover new things.

5. ME! - From as early as I can remember, I have known that my dad adores me. I guess I've always known he was wrapped around my finger, but I never used that to my advantage...{much}.

Now as a parent myself, I'm paying for my "abuse" of him DOUBLE by being wrapped around the fingers of my two little boys. There's your father's day gift dad, from me to you...I am reaping what I sowed...DOUBLE!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blessing #61 - Yard Sale Finds

The Nester is sharing her best yard sale finds ever. I could not help but join in on the fun.

I found this old crate and a set of vintage pyrex in the same week. Nothing brightens up cooking more than opening up my cabinet and pulling out a bright blue mixing bowl!

I put two of my old crates together in our living room. Five minutes later, Brandon filled them with his favorite books and toys. He kept saying, "Mommy, will you pleeeeeeaase leave it there?" So, for now, my old crates house cars and books.

I can't forget my lamps!

This table and everything on it is my favorite find right now! Everything on the table except the black verse plaques are from yard sales (the verse plaques are from dayspring). Let me give you the run down.

table and chair - I got them for $14

candle holders- $2

lamp- $2

lamp shade- the trash on someone's curb. It was on a lamp and when we drove by I thought, "That's the perfect shade for my lamp." No shame. No shame.

shadow box - $5

mason jar- I just stuck that in there. I think I paid $1 for that, and I just put a vinyl L on it.

That makes the total for my entire entryway table total $24, and that's why I love yard sales.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Curse #21 - The boy in the hooded sweatshirt

I've explained before that Brandon has a unique fashion sense. I still choose my battles and clothes is still not a battle I am willing to fight with Brandon, but yesterday Brandon tested my rule.

Yesterday, I told Brandon to get dressed and he decided that he wanted to wear a hooded sweatshirt...IN JUNE! I told Brandon, "Hey, you don't need that sweatshirt. It's hot." Brandon being the logical thinker he is answered, "The jacket will keep the hot off of me." I knew I could argue with him, but I figured he would catch on soon after we left the house.

We went to my mother-in-law's to water the "garden," and he still wore his sweatshirt, zipped up and with the hood on his head.

"He'll catch on soon," I thought to myself. Then we went to the post office and he still wore his sweatshirt with the hood still on his head. An older lady looked at Brandon like he had something wrong with him.

"Any minute now, he's going to break," I thought, but as we walked into the library he still had the sweatshirt on with the hood still on his head. To make matters worse, we came during a kid's program, and there were several mothers waiting in the main library for their kids. In walked my boy with the sweatshirt with the hood on, and they all looked at him like he had leprosy. I've heard these moms talk before, during kids program. Most of their conversations involve how smart and talented their kids are, and there I was in a stand off with the boy in the hooded sweatshirt.

He never broke! He only took his sweatshirt off after we got home! (If you are keeping score that Brandon-1, mommy-0) I should have known it would end that way, that boy inherited my stubbornness.

Blessing #60 - Someone in my Corner

Once a month, I sing with a group in our church during the service. Yesterday, as we sang, I had a solo during the song for the first time. As I was singing, I looked out over the crowd, and one face stuck out to me, Shad's.

He did not stick out because he was so ruggedly handsome...although he is (I had to throw that in there). His face stuck out because I could clearly see that he was routing for me. He didn't stand up and say, "You can do it!" He didn't need to say anything, his eyes and smile spoke volumes. The singer beside me even noticed Shad routing for me.

I never really thought of that aspect of marriage until yesterday. Although yesterday he was just cheering me on during a simple song, it's good to know he's there for the bigger challenges we face. Pass or fail, victory or defeat, I'm so glad I've got Shad in my corner cheering for me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Give Me Five Friday: Five of my favorite blog posts

Last night, I worked on a project (I'll talk more about that in a few weeks). Anyway, I got all the way done, and it was BEAUTIFUL! I just stared at it with a smile on my face, but then after about a minute, I noticed two letters were separated more than they should be and the dot over the "i" was not in the right place. Unfortunately, this was not a quick fix, and I had to start all over again!!!

For this reason, my mind is gone this morning. So for today's five is five blog posts I love. (Click on any of the titles to go to the post.)

1. Confessions of a Reluctant Renter - I am loving the new decorating site Content to Rent. This post is exactly how I feel. Some women get "baby fever" where they want to have a baby, but I get "house fever" where I want to buy a house, more specifically a tan house with black shutters and a red door. (I've had some time to think about it.)

2. Crate Stairs by Funky Junk Interiors- I'm not quite as "junky" as the writer of this blog, but I love...LoVe...LOVE how she incorporates "junk" in her house. I have a big weakness for old crates, and I love how she made her stairs look like them.

3. The Jesus Juke by Stuff Christians Like - You may read this, and not like it or be offended. However, this is a phenomenom that used to annoy me so badly. Jon Acuff put a name to it for me. I get really bothered by fake spirituality, but that another rant for another day.

4. Bassett Hounds Running: Northern Oklahoma Edition, The Pioneer Woman - If you can read this and not laugh, you are much stronger than me.

5. How to Be a God seeker, Ann Voskamp - I love this post, I had to read it a few times to get it (I'm not very deep) but I love this post. I read it over a year ago, but it often pops up in my mind as I go about my day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blessing #59 - Templeton

Have you ever seen Charlotte's Web? (I didn't see it until I was in my twenties.) There is a rat in the movie name Templeton, that scavenges to find words for Charlotte. For about a year, Shad has earned the nickname Templeton because he is constantly scavenging for things.

Templeton (a.k.a. Shad) loves to get things for free. He has no trouble stopping and looking through someones trash when they have good items on the curb. He has no trouble pulling over, walking up to someone's door, and asking if something in the person's yard is for free.

Here are some things he has gotten for free over the past two months...

1. two side tables (which I needed)
2. plastic storage drawers
3. small drawers from ikea
4. a lampshade
5. 10 old windows
6. an antique table
7. an old amour

8. a plastic lawn chair awesome 70's desk chair
10. a razor scooter
11. a dresser I'm using as my tv stand (It's my next project)

12. 8 picture frames

A few weeks ago, someone put out several items on a curb on trash day. Shad and I both got out to scavenge through (he is rubbing off on me). Shad started to open up a trash bag. Now, that is where I draw the line...I will not open up a trash bag.(I have standards you know) Anyway, Shad opened up a trash bag, looked at me, and disappointingly said, "Oh...It's just trash." I had to laugh at him.

I don't complain about Shad and his Templeton ways. I love projects and fixing things up, and he is providing me an endless supply of projects...I just need more storage.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Curse #20 - Brandon Dialing

Friday, the worship leader from our church sent me a note on facebook about a song a group I'm in is singing this month.

At the end of the note he included:

"Also, were you aware that you butt dialed me awhile ago? I didn't realize it was you until my wife and I were listening and she was like that's totally Steph. I guess you could hear the kids in the background and you were practicing "Glorious Day." Lucky for you, that's all we heard!

After I read this, I immediately knew what happened. I know that I did not butt dial, (that is when you accidentally dial a number on your phone when it is in your pocket) because my phone locks when it is not in use. I must have Brandon dialed.

When Brandon gets a hold of my phone, he likes to "pretend" that he is calling people. He has called my Mom, my Dad, and he's even left a thirty minute message that I didn't know about at the place where I tutor.

Here's the reason I sometimes wonder if Brandon is a GeNiUs. It's embarrassing to call the worship leader on your mom's phone. It's embarrassing to call someone while your mom is practicing singing, but it's soOoOoO much worse when you call the worship leader and his wife, who are both amazing singers,AS YOUR MOM IS PRACTICING SINGING!!! (WHO DOES THAT HAPPEN TO!) Brandon is definitely gifted when it comes to embarrassing me.

I must have told Brandon he could not go outside that day, and he decided to get back at me. Well, Brandon it worked. You win. Game, Set, Match! Checkmate! Now if you will please excuse me I have to go hide my phone.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturdate with Southern Plate: Sweet and Sour Green Beans

This week I decided to try sweet and sour green beans. You can find the recipe on Southern Plate by clicking here.

If you don't like green beans you definitely need to try these green beans. I knew it was going to taste good when the recipe's instructions included, "Place green beans in bacon grease."

These green beans were a hit with my entire family. I mushed some of these green beans up and gave some to Collin. He does not like baby food green beans, but would you believe he loOoOoved these, but don't worry Mimi Manus he won't be eating these regularly. Even Brandon, my very picky eater, loved these, and Shad just saw that there was bacon in them and he knew he loved them.

When I was cooking this recipe, I realized that I have the exact same pyrex bowl that's in the picture of the cookbook. Did that make me excited? YeS! I first realized that I loved vintage Pyrex from the bowls in this cookbook. Now, after six months of searching and a close call in a Goodwill, I finally found a set for $2 at a yard sale.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Give Me Five Friday - {Pixar Movies Make Me Cry}

Cars 2 is coming out towards the end of this month, and it is kind of sad how excited I am about it. Every year, Brandon and I go and see the Pixar movie in the theater, and every year, at some point during the movie, I cry. I don't normally cry during movies. I didn't shed a tear during The Notebook (okay, I'm lying, I boohooed during that one). For some reason though, Pixar movies make me cry.

Every year, it's exactly the same...

Brandon: *whispering loudly* Mommy, are you crying?

Me: *hoOoOnk the nose* *sniff* *sniff* Brandon, just watch the movie.

Brandon: Are you crying?

Me: Yes I am. Now quiet Brandon.

Brandon: Why are you crying?

Me: Do you want some more candy?

Brandon: Candy!!!

{five Pixar movies that made me cry}

1. Finding Nemo - In the beginning, when Merlin's wife and gazillion kids die, my eyes got teary.

2. Wall-e- After he saved the world and Eva puts him back together, and he doesn't remember her and is just a robot and not sweet little Wall-e, I cried and said, "Why am I crying over a robot who doesn't even talk?"

3. Cars - When Sally tells Lightening about how the town used to be, and they sing that sad song and it shows the map and what the interstate did to the town, I cried and said things like, "Stupid interstates.I'll never ride on another one again!"

4. Up! - When they have a miscarriage, then his wife dies then he sits in his chair but she's not in her chair, and he's all alone, I boohooed, and fussed at Pixar for making me even think about all that during a nice happy movie. Squirrel!

5. Toy Story 3 - The part where they were all going into the fire and they hold hands made me cry. However, during a scene in the beginning that shows a picture of Andy as a little boy surrounded by all his toys, and then it flashes to him grown up, I wailed, and rubbed Brandon's hair and said things like, "You are growing up too fast!"

After the incident last year during Toy Story 3, I'm surprised Brandon's agreeing to go to another Pixar movie with me. I've seen the previews, and I'm really hoping this is a cry free movie for's Brandon.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Curse #19 - The drive thru greeting

I have come to really dislike ordering at the McDonald's drive thru. Is it that I have grown to hate eating McDonald's food? I have, but that's not the reason why. Is it that I feel like a failure as a mom for letting my son eat that stuff? No. I have grown to hate the pre-recorded intro greetings in the drive thru.

Let me explain. Here is an example of what a typical drive thru ordering experience is like for me.

I pull up to the speaker...

Man's voice: Hi, welcome to McDonald's. Would you like to try one of our new McCafe shakes?

Me: No thank you sir. I just need a large unsweet tea, a cheeseburger happy meal with no onions and a sprite to drink wi.....

Lady's voice: Hi, may I take your order.

That's the moment I realize that the first voice was a recording, and I just gave my order to the air.

You think I would catch on, but I fall for this about 80% of the time. The idea of having a little intro as you pull up is a great idea, but why...WHYYYYYY do they have to end it with a question...

Would you like to try our new angus burger?
Would you like our new strawberry lemonade freeze?
Would you like one of our tasty McCafe coffees?

Even when I realize that it's a recording, I always feel like I have to answer the question. I always feel the compulsion to tell the recording, "No thank you." Also, the southern in me says yes sir and yes ma'am to everyone...even the drive thru recording.

While I am ordering to the air, I am convinced that the actual drive thru worker is making fun of me. Why? Because I used to work drive thru and that's exactly what I would do.

Thanks McDonald's for adding yet another moment of awkwardness to my life.