Petit Jean Mountain


I was feeling a bit restless the other evening, and what better than a dose of fresh air and sunshine? So, we headed to Petit Jean Mountain known for it's sprawling views, waterfalls (during rainy season), and hiking trails. It's also a booming campground during the summer and holiday weekends.


It's a bit of a drive, but it was worth the trip! The sky was so blue that evening, and the weather was perfect. I love seeing our state from different perspectives--and this one certainly did not disappoint.


This picture = my heart. And if you can't tell, they are both 100% daddy's girls. ;)


It's very serene and peaceful. A good place to clear your thoughts and of course, explore.


Josh wrangled the girls for a few minutes, so I could walk around to find different angles for pictures. So thankful for a fun hobby that always points me back to the awe struck wonder of our Creator. Isn't His work magnificent?




The sunset on the way home was fantastic, but I failed to capture it's beauty. Two little girls had had enough...so, home we went. ;)

Happy Wednesday!

Girl Mom and Chocolate Stains


The other day, as I was getting the girls ready for the day, I realized how much fun we have together. Evie is at the stage where she loves pretty dresses, and Ella loves getting her hair brushed. I have to say, being a girl mom is so much fun, right down to washing all their hair bows.


As I washed each bow and set them down to dry, I thanked the Lord for letting me be their mother. It is exhausting, but it is so rewarding. I love it. I love being a mother. I also love that their bows are crisp and clean, ready for more dress up times with my girls. ;) Yes, I'm nerdy like that.


Another thing I love, is learning great homemaking tips. I am the kind of gal who will read Heloise books and Emilie Barnes books. I love anything to do with keeping home. Which brings me to my point: CHOCOLATE STAINS. Ahem. I certain little girl I know had M&M's for the first time. Which was cute, but left chocolate on her dress. Anything I had tried in the past left the fabric dulled and in some cases, completely washed out. So, I tried a new trick. I soaked the dress in baking soda for about half and hour. Then gently rubbed a couple of dabs of Dawn soap onto the spot. The chocolate stain came right out, and you would have never known. Yay!

Linking up with A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 30


The weather...
It's hazy at the moment.

Right now I am...

Drinking my iced chocolate almond latte and trying to wake up!

Thinking... 
About recovering from a busy weekend. Getting the house back in order. 


On my TV...
I've been watching Friends, and Gilmore Girls by myself. Josh and I are watching Frazier and 
Escape to The Country on Netflix. :)

What I'm Reading... 

I have a stack of books that I'm plowing through this summer. I just finished Taken by Dee Henderson. 
It was so good!

On the menu for this week...

Summer Salad with Ranch
Hot Dogs and Chips
Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Salad and Sandwiches 

On my to do list...

Speed clean
Laundry
Make Bed
Tidy Bathrooms
Change out pillows in the living room

One of my simple pleasures...
Watching old I Love Lucy reruns. They always make me laugh, no matter how many times I've watched the episodes. 

Linking up with Happy Homemaker Monday!

Wednesday Ponderings...


“Today’s young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.” ~The Nightengale


Weekend Wrap Up


Our weekend consisted of food and fun...


We celebrated daddy with breakfast and new work shirts. And then I made dinner for my family on Sunday evening.


I also decorated the house for summer. I found several cute things at Target! I'll have to share a post on that, soon. :)

Happy Monday!

Just Like That


The other day, I was busy cleaning around the house when I noticed Evie toting her giant animals into the living room. She plopped in between them and hollered, "Mom, will you take my picture?"


And then she told me she wanted sissy in her next picture.


Then it was time for books. And I realized something...I don't have a baby anymore.

Just like that, I have a toddler, and a pre-schooler.

Slow down, time...You are rough on a mommy's heart.

My Favorite Kind of Weekend


Our weekend starts on Friday afternoons. Some weekends are jam packed with events, and others are laid back and low key...My favorite kind of weekend...and that's what we had. First up, was an iced coffee that Josh brought me from my favorite coffee shop.


Evie and I plowed through this stack of books after lunch. I love library books. Even the kid books. Also, if you enjoy reading sweet little books to your kids, I highly recommend The Jellybeans. I'd never heard of these books, and they were just too cute!


This was my stack of books for the week. I finished Deadly Pursuit late on Friday night. I just love Irene Hannon. She writes suspense/murder mysteries, and man do they leave me on the edge of my seat. I also love the fact she write very clean fiction.


While Josh helped his friend out with wood chopping, I spent some time outside in my rubber boots. The yard needed to be picked up and I cleaned up a few of the kids outdoor toys.


On Friday night, we had a date night at home. I made Butter Shrimp and Garlic Potatoes. I found that checkered cloth at the Dollar Spot in Target. It made for a fun little dinner. :)


Our Magnolia Tree is finally blooming!! We had wondered if it would...it seems our tree is a late bloomer, perhaps?


The girls thought the Magnolia blooms were fun!

And that was our weekend in a nutshell. Happy Monday!

I Want to Remember


These are the moments I want to remember:


Evie, who takes her playing very seriously. She organizes her toys while she plays. Just like I did.


The girls learning to play together. Oh, they fight over toys. But, they also play. It's so, so cute.


Ella and her silly faces. She's a ham!!! She loves to make people laugh.

These are the days, aren't they? I am so thankful for every little memory with these girls. Being their mother is the sweetest gift.

Life After (Couldn't Put It Down)



"Did that really just happen?"

I asked myself that question when a VERY unforeseen twist took place within the pages of Life After.

I've read a couple of novels by Katie Ganshert, and one of the main reasons I'm drawn to her writing style is that A) She doesn't mind getting gritty dirty with her characters and B) Her character development is phenomenal. You feel what they are thinking and saying. You think about their life and then remind yourself that they are just fictional characters.

Twenty-Two lives are lost during a train explosion. One sole survivor find herself deeply steeped in both survivor's guilt and a desperate need to know everything there is about the victim's (former) lives.

Then, when her life takes an unexpected tangle with a victim's husband she is completely unprepared for the emotions and web of deceit she will soon face.

A million thanks to Waterbrook Press for allowing me the privilege of reviewing "Life After" by Katie Ganshert. All opinions are mine. 

Easy Sprinkle Cookies



I *love* sprinkle cookies. I can't remember where I had them for the first time, but they've become a staple at our birthday parties and small get together's with friends. I like them soft and with lots of sprinkles!!! So, I thought I'd share my favorite recipe (so far) of this yummy treat!

Easy Sprinkle Cookies

1 Box of Cake Mix (The kind with sprinkles in the mix)
2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Cup Sprinkles
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Eggs

Topping:
1/4 Cup Sprinkles

Pre-Heat Oven to 350. Mix ingredients together until a soft dough forms. Roll into balls using a teaspoon and *very* lightly flatten. Add additional sprinkles to the top. Bake for 9 minutes, then pull them out and let them sit in the pan for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the cookies have set. Transfer to cookie holder.

Enjoy!

A Peppa Pig Party!


I knew that I wanted to plan a Peppa Pig party for Evie. She LOVES Peppa Pig! It's her favorite cartoon, and she loves wearing her yellow rainboots (just like Peppa), and often repeats quotes from the cartoons. So I bought the girls matching Peppa Pig outfits, ordered a Peppa Pig Cake, Oh, and I bought Peppa Pig Bathing Suits. When she wore her bathing suit for outside water time, she cried and cried and cried when it was time to take it off. ;)


When I showed Evie her cake, she sat in that chair for a good 20 minutes. When guests started to arrive we asked if she wanted to go play with her friends...and she started BAWLING. To the point she hid under the table and kept crying. I finally got her calmed down enough to realize she didn't want to leave her cake. HA! I reminded her about opening gifts and THEN she would get to eat some of that cake. That worked. ;)


I even found little favors that matched our theme, and made homemade sprinkle cookies (with extra sprinkles....recipe coming soon!). I just wish I had leftover cake. It was lemon cake with buttercream frosting. Delicious!


For the cake toppers, I just purchased a Peppa Pig set, and added the Happy Birthday Banner (from Target). A perfect cake for our three year old!



Just me and my girl! She's a mess. But, goodness does she bring us joy. <3


And then she was THREE!


We celebrated Evie's 3rd birthday! I am in denial. She should still be my teeny tiny baby. But, she has grown into the sweetest little firecracker. She loves her momma and daddy, her grandparents, her sissy, and going shopping. She also loves her yellow rain boots and jumping in muddy puddles (thanks to Peppa Pig!). Her favorite thing to eat right now is french fries, cake pops and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She loves to learn and her favorite color changes daily. We love her so much.

 I'll share pictures from her party soon!

Southern Hydrangeas


When I was a little girl, my parents let me plant a small garden beneath my window. I was so excited to visit the plant outlet, and pick out my plants. I remember one of the workers helping me pick out ones that would do well in the shade. It made me feel so grown up.

My grandma was also a master gardener. She had all kinds of plants, shrubs, and a plumb tree on her tiny piece of property. She passed away when I was 15, and more than anything, I wish I had gleaned more wisdom for her on her love for gardening.

Alas, the only thing I've planted and done well with would be pansies and strawberries. But, now that we are a bit more settled, and the "hazy days" of newborn days are behind us, I've taken more time to read articles and learn more about plants.

Hence, we found out this spring we had hydrangeas! A family member told us to prune it back, and so Josh did. And now we are reaping the beauty of giant southern hydrangeas! They are mostly blue and purple ones. I just love them!


 I'm thankful for the simple things today.

Simple Crustless Quiche



I have developed a bad habit over the year: skipping breakfast or worse...eating junk food.

I know, I know. It has been one of my goals this year to start my day off with a healthy, filling breakfast. I've been doing good now that I learned an easy trick: Bulk Cooking! The idea is to make meals that you can eat off throughout the week. For me personally, this only works for breakfast.

One day, I decided to try Crustless Quiche and I fell in love. I tweaked the recipe so that it would be a) clean eating, and b) THM friendly. While I don't follow Trim Healthy Mama to a T, I do follow some of their basic guidelines.

This meal is perfect because it is packed full of protein AND it's such a simple way to get a good dose of greens every morning. You can also tweak the recipe yourself to make it even more enjoyable to your own taste buds. It takes only a few minutes to prepare, and BAM: You've got breakfast for the week ahead.

Simple Crustless Quiche

8 Eggs
1/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (I like a mixed cheese blend)
1 Cup Fresh Spinach
Seasoned Salt (to taste)
Optional: Add cubed ham or crumbled, cooked sausage

Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Just until it starts to golden on top. Serve with sour cream or extra cheese!

Our Cottage Farmhouse Kitchen Tour: Before & After

Before!

When we bought our house, I originally planned to stick with the oak cabinets. We did however plan to take down the wallpaper and replace the counter tops. The counter tops were Formica and had been painted yellow. The yellow and oak clashed a bit too much, and I just wanted something much more neutral for the center of our home.

We found ourselves with an extra week before we were to move in due to a hang up with the flooring crew. So, Josh decided to charge ahead and renovate the kitchen. The cabinets were really well built and solid. But, the varnish had started to wear off which lead us to the decision to repaint the cabinets!

I had fallen in love with the all white Cottage Kitchen look and Josh was really drawn to the more Modern Farmhouse style, so we combined our tastes and went for it!

It took us about two days to sand down all the cabinets (with an electric sander), then Josh and our parents primed the cabinets, then painted them with three coats of pure white.


A good friend of ours did the white on white subway tile for us. We also replaced our kitchen sink with a deep double sink, a hook faucet, and my favorite addition: our vintage replica light over the sink. It has a rubbed copper look which we both love! We tied in the modern farmhouse look with over sized silver drawer pulls and a modern kitchen light. You can see those in the video below.



We also replaced the dining room light with a farmhouse fixture. I love it! We found it at Lowe's, and it was such an awesome deal. We were both impressed with the lighting options there.

Here's the link to a full kitchen tour if you are interested:

Savoring Spring


A few pictures from around our yard...


I planted tomatoes this year. They seem to be doing well. A bit too well, because a certain little girl thinks it's fun to pull the tomatoes off. I have to move the planters farther from their play area, I guess. Ha ha!


I'm having fun watching my rose bush take off! There are so many blooms, now. If only I could get our front yard roses to bloom again. They were doing well, but the blooms fell off after a rough storm. I'm not familiar with raises roses, so any advice? Maybe they will come back.

Hope you enjoyed our little backyard tour. Happy Wednesday

The Weight of Grief


A few months ago an acquaintance posted an image titled "the weight of grief". As I viewed it, then, I didn't connect with the power of the image. It was that of a man weighted down by a heavy cloak.

Fast forward a few months, and that image keeps coming to mind.

Over the last two years, I've become acquainted with grief. It has come like slow billows, tiny waves, etching away at pieces of my heart. 

It wasn't until the other day, as I cried, really cried, for the first time in a long time, that I realized, grief has weighed me down for a time now. It has come in many forms, but mainly through the losses that life has thrown my way.

The loss of friendships. Even at 32, those losses never come easy. I have found myself wondering about the "could have been's" and the "why's". But, life, just happens. People move. People change. And one day you wake up and realize that once was is no longer. It's bittersweet.

The loss of my Mimmie. This year, I found myself at odds with Easter. It's normally one of my favorite holiday's, but it hurt. I would rather have had her here, watching my girls grow up. Needling me about my girls sleeveless dresses (she much preferred they wore sleeves and sweaters!). I know this is purely selfish--she is no longer in pain. But, still. The loss is so deep. Much deeper than I had ever imagined. And if I am being honest--I wish I had spent more time with her that last day. If only I had known--but, I didn't know.

And that's the frailty of life. Here one minute, gone the next.

I've questioned myself a bit about the fleeting-ness of life. Am I really living the life He has called me too? Am I dawdling too much? Do I tell my loved ones how much I care? I have so much work to do on this little 'ol heart of mine--rather--he has so much work left to do on me.