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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Louisiana Cajun Chicken Pasta

I made this last night and just had to share it with y'all.  It's called Louisiana Cajun Chicken Pasta and I found it on Pinterest.  Apparently it's a copycat recipe from something at Cheesecake Factory.  Anyways, it is ridiculously delicious.  The only bad thing is it was a lot of moving pieces at once - working on the sauce while working on the chicken and oh yeah, I'm supposed to be boiling the noodles kind of thing.  It was well worth it though!

I cut this recipe in half and it was still too much for two people - leftovers are always a plus though!


Ingredients:
Cajun Sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 small onion, chopped
3 whole garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I used cayenne pepper)
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup low sodium chicken broth (I used regular)
4 Tbsp fresh basil (thinly slice)  (I used the dried chopped basil)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12-oz package bow tie pasta

Chicken
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Creole seasoning (Tony's)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (I crushed up Italian croutons)
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
1 cup milk
4 Tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:
Cajun Sauce
1. Melt butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add yellow and red bell peppers, and onion to same skillet, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
3. Add garlic and crushed red pepper to skillet and sauté 3 minutes.
4. Add whipping cream and chicken stock.
5. Simmer until sauce re-heats and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
6. Add basil and Parmesan cheese to sauce, stirring to incorporate.
7. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, simmer; sauce will reduce and thicken. (It took a long for it to thicken- almost the length of time until the remaining steps were complete.)

Chicken
8. Wash and drain chicken breasts. Season chicken with creole seasoning.
9. Pound until very thin (the thinner the chicken breasts the better).
10. Mix breadcrumbs, flour, and Parmesan cheese together.
11. Place milk in dish for dipping.
12. Dip chicken in breadcrumb mixture and then in milk and then back in breadcrumbs.
13. Place in fry pan that the oil has been heated and fry at medium high temperature until golden crisp and cooked through. Add more oil as needed.
14. Remove and drain chicken; keep warm.
15. Meanwhile, cook bow-tie pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite.
16. Drain and return to pot.
17. Add sauce and toss to coat.
18. Place pasta with sauce on plate, and top with chicken breast.
19. Serve, passing additional Parmesan separately.



Enjoy!

Jewels*

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Always

You must watch this video: "Always" by Building 429

I think the biggest challenge of having faith is consistently having faith.  It's easy to have faith when our kids are healthy, money is plentiful or careers are skyrocketing.  It may be a little harder when we lose a loved one, we have to deal with an unfaithful partner, money is tight or our health is not good. 

Here is the way I look at it.  If God never leaves me why should I leave Him?  He is with me in my darkest hours, right by my side.  When I sin it is Him that is the first to say He forgives me.  When I fall it is Him that is the first to pick me up.  Life is not perfect and it's not always fair.  God doesn't do these things to us.  As I have said many, many times... we live in a broken world and we have choices.  We choose how we deal with life's circumstances.  We choose our actions, behavior and attitude every day.

My in-laws kept the boys on Christmas Eve day because I had to work.  Garrison was exhausted from not getting enough sleep a few nights in a row so I wasn't surprised when I went to pick him up and he basically had a meltdown over nothing.  He was pretty much complaining about anything and everything and told me this was not going to be a good Christmas.  I told him he had been so good all year and didn't want to get on Santa's naughty list on Christmas Eve.  Garrison said he wanted Christmas to be bad.  That may sound ridiculous but I totally get it.  You know when everything just seems to be going wrong and you almost wish for bad things to keep happening?  It's like you just want to wallow in a sea of self pity.  After giving him a huge hug (because that's just what we all need sometimes) I looked him right in the eye and told him he didn't really want to have a bad Christmas.  I asked him who the only one responsible was for him having a good or bad Christmas and he pointed to himself.  I asked him who the only person is that decides if he's going to be happy or sad.  He pointed to himself.  Maybe we all need to do that sometimes.  Just look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we and we alone are responsible for the choices we make.  We are responsible for our attitude and deciding whether we want to have a good day or a bad day. 

God is ALWAYS with us, no matter what life throws at us.  We just have to have faith and choose to see Him or find Him in everything.  And in the midst of hard times it is our responsibility, and ours alone, to keep trucking through this crazy life.

We had a wonderful Christmas, even though Daddy had to go to work for a few hours and missed lunch.  Ethan also had a great first birthday.  I think his best gift was seeing snow for the first time.

Here is my baby boy the morning of Christmas/his 1st birthday!  I think he knows he's one!


And some more Christmas Day fun!



 


Jewels*




Monday, December 24, 2012

Dear Ethan...

I have a horrible memory.  Because of this I hope to one day print at least portions of my blog to share with my boys as memories.  Too bad I accidentally deleted about 40 posts a while back. 

Tomorrow we will not only be celebrating Jesus' birthday but my little miracle Ethan's first birthday as well.  I thought the best way to share my thoughts with a one year old who won't quite understand them now is to write them down.


My Dearest Ethan,

I cannot believe a year has already gone by.  It seems like just yesterday Daddy and I were praying about bringing you into our family.  It seems like just yesterday God gave me the confirmation that you were brought into this world to be our child.  It seems like just yesterday we walked into that NICU and met you for the first time.  And it seems like just yesterday when I watched your daddy pick you up and hold you in the palm of his hand.

So tiny.  So beautiful.  Such a miracle.  You were only 2 lbs 15 oz when you came into this world one year ago on Christmas Day.  I am convinced you were born on such a special day for a reason (two months before you were supposed to be here).  I am certain God has such special things planned for you and your life.  I can already tell you are going to be a funny, spirited, and probably sometimes stubborn, boy. 

I wish I could put into words how much joy you have brought Daddy, Garrison and me.  You are truly our gift from God and you have made each of our lives better.  You are the happiest baby I have ever seen.  People will stop in the store just to say Hi to you or smile at you.  I can already see how much joy you will bring to everyone in this world just by being you. 

Never forget how much we love you.  Never forget what a miracle you are.  Never forget that you have a purpose in this world.  My prayer for you is that you always trust Jesus and let Him work in you for His glory.

I  love you so much E!

~Mama


















Saturday, December 22, 2012

Get Your Dip(s) On!

I recently made two dips and they are both amazing so I had to share!  Both are perfect to take to parties or just to snack on during an afternoon football game.  


This first one makes quite a bit so feel free to cut in half.  The instructions say to chill for at least 24 hours before serving but it is definitely edible right after you make it (ahem, not that I know from experience).  It's just that it thickens the longer you let it sit, in the fridge of course.  Remember to DRAIN all canned items before mixing.



Fiesta Dip
 
Ingredients:

  8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  16 oz. container sour cream
  11 oz. can sweet yellow and white corn, drained
  15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained (original Rotel)
  1 1/2 Tbl. taco seasoning mix
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
  Tortilla chips




In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except of course the chips.  Cover; chill at least 24 hours before serving.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Serves 10-12.




Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese (light is fine)
1 (1 oz.) packet dry buttermilk ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
4 green onions, thinly sliced
5 pieces of bacon, fried and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped black olives, optional
pecans or almonds, finely chopped for coating



1.  Mix together cream cheese and dry ranch seasoning packet.  Stir until smooth.  Add cheese, onions, olives (if using) and bacon.  Stir until well combined.

2.  Shape into a ball.  Roll in nuts to coat outside.  Fix shape if needed.  (You can make one big or more smaller) Store in refrigerator.

Serve with crackers. 

I spread almonds on wax paper and rolled on that to make it easier.

 

 Here is a picture of mine - not bad for my first ball, cheese ball that is.





 Here is a picture of the inside from Pinterest.





Enjoy!!!


Jewels*  


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Somewhere in the Middle and Family Pics

This song has really been speaking to me lately ~ "Somewhere in the Middle" by Casting Crowns.  Watch it by clicking on the below picture.



I so often feel like I am caught in the middle.  These are some of my favorite lines and why.


Deep water faith in the shallow end
I feel like sometimes I have this really deep faith but I am restricting it by staying in the shallow end of the water, where it's safe.  I am so scared to venture out and use that faith for His glory.

The God we want and the God who is
Do you sometimes try to make God who you want Him to be?  I have heard so many people say that our times have changed so we should change with it.  God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

Would we trade our dreams for his
This really hits close to home for me.  I had always dreamed of having a second biological child (and possibly a third).  So when Garrett first told me he didn't want anymore children after Garrison I was devastated and felt like my dreams had been shattered.  But I continued to trust God and His dream for us.  He knew what He was doing when He gave us Ethan.  His dream was so much better than mine.

Somewhere between my faith and my plans
I have always been such a planner.  I am still to this day working on letting my faith be bigger than my plans and trusting Him instead of myself.

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control
This would go a little something like this...
"Take control of everything in my life Lord but don't take my boyfriend away from me.  I need him."
"I ask you to transform me...except don't let me lose any of my friendships I have had for so long."
"I know it's wrong Lord but I'm only human.  After all, we are all sinners."

This one is really hard for me to hear because it is like a dagger to the heart.  When I wanted to take the easy way out of marriage I shut God out of my life.  I didn't want to hear Him tell me that I needed to stay no matter how hard it got.  When Garrett felt called for us to adopt Ethan I was so fearful to ask God what He wanted for us.  I was scared of and selfish about so many things and didn't want His confirmation that this was meant for us.  But when I let go, completely let go, and gave these things to God He transformed me.  He transformed my life.  His plans for us have been SO much bigger than ours.  And that brings me to my favorite line in the song:

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle

Even when I doubt Him, even when I shut Him out, He is there.  He still loves me.  He is so incredibly patient with me and never leaves my side.  Thank God for that!


Family Pictures

My amazing cousin, Kaitlyn, took our family pictures this past weekend.  She did an incredible job!  The fact that I am super picky (and critical of myself) and still liked over 60 of them says a lot!  She is a grad student and does a little photography on the side.  Check her out on Facebook if you are interested - she is tagged in our Family Pics album.  Here are just a few of my favorites:










Jewels*

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hold Us Together and Sour Cream Bacon Crock Pot Chicken

I was listening to Matt Maher's song, "Hold Us Together" this morning - listen to it by clicking on the below CD cover.


It seems like every time something really tragic happens in this country most Americans unite. I realize that there are a lot of debates going on right now over gun control and violent video games but for the most part I have seen an outpouring of love and prayer for the victims and families in Connecticut.

We need to remember that love really is what holds us together in difficult times.  I look to Jesus to see how to model love, unconditional love.  He gives me the ability to love others even when I don't want to.  He is a living example of unconditional love.  That being said, whether you are a Christian or not, you have the ability to love.  No matter what your life experiences, you have the ability to love.  Whether you are in a good place or bad place in your life, you have the ability to love.

I think the Christmas season is an especially important time for us to demonstrate love for others - families, friends and even complete strangers who may be in need during this time of year.

My prayer today is that God hold us together, no matter what our beliefs or our background.  Keep love and hope alive!


Sour Cream Bacon Crock Pot Chicken
Another Pinterest recipe.  I liked it okay but my husband really loved it.
 
Ingredients:
  • 4 bacon slices
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (10 oz) cans roasted garlic cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 
Instructions
  1. Wrap one slice of bacon around each boneless chicken breast and place in a 4-5 quart crockpot.
  2. In medium bowl, combine condensed soups, sour cream, and flour and mix with wire whisk to blend. Pour over chicken.
  3. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken and bacon are thoroughly cooked. You may want to remove the chicken and beat the sauce with a wire whisk so it is very well blended.
  4. Pour sauce over chicken.

Jewels*

Monday, December 17, 2012

Life is Short and Bacon Jalapeno Cream Cheese Chicken

I have always believed in God but there have been several points in my life where I have not focused on my relationship with Jesus.  My husband and I had always been looking for a church home but it never seemed like a real priority until a couple of years ago.  Before that I would say that I had Jesus on the back burner.  Sure, I always believed and knew he was there and I would pray when I really needed or wanted something.  But I never put any time or energy into my relationship with Him.

I know there are so many people out there who are at that point in life.  You may be a believer.  You may have been raised in church.  Or maybe you are on the fence about whether you believe in Him or not.  You may think you have plenty of time to "get right" with God before you die.  You may think, like I did, that it's not that important to have your kids in church until they are older when it "really makes a difference".  You are so wrong about that and so was I.

Life is short, sometimes shorter than we would like.  The events this past Friday are proof of that.  I am so thankful we have a God that loves and protects the innocence of our children.  If any child, ANY child, were to die today I am absolutely certain they would be in heaven with Jesus.  Unfortunately, us adults do not have that luxury.  We are told that we will be judged.  We have to face Jesus when we die and answer to Him for how we chose to live our life here on earth.

I encourage you to stop putting off your relationship with Jesus.  Stop putting off getting your kids into a good church with a good childrens'/youth program.  Your children will grow up one day and there will come a point where they have to decide, on their own, how they feel about Jesus.  There comes a point where all children are no longer innocent and have to make tough choices and develop a belief system.  Give them the gift of knowing that foundation now.  It is your job as a parent to guide your child and demonstrate faith.  None of us know how long we have on this earth. 

Regardless of what you think or what others say we do have a purpose here on earth.  We are not here for self fulfillment.  Living life that way and teaching that to your children is so detrimental to your and their future after our lives on earth come to an end.  There is something so much greater after this life and we have to be prepared for that.

I often ask myself these questions: If I were to leave this world tomorrow am I convinced I would go to heaven? Do my friends and family know what I believed and who I was? Have I done everything in my power to teach my kids about Jesus? Have I shown love and compassion (aka Jesus) to strangers?  If the answer to any of those questions is "no" I realize I have more work to do.


Bacon Jalapeno Cream Cheese Chicken
I made this recipe up last week after taking an inventory of my fridge and trying to decide what to make for dinner.  It's super easy and Garrett and I loved it!  (Too spicy for Garrison.)

Ingredients:
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (thawed)
Chopped pickled jalapenos (quantity depends on how spicy you want it)
1 small container cream cheese
4 bacon slices
Pepper
Toothpicks


Directions:
  1. Thaw and trim fat off chicken breasts.
  2. Slice chicken breasts in half length wise (thins them out).
  3. Spread generous amount of cream cheese on each breast, chicken breast that is.  Haha!
  4. Top with chopped jalapenos.
  5. Roll chicken so mixture is on the inside and wrap with a slice of bacon.
  6. Put a toothpick through each breast to hold together.
  7. Bake on 375 for approximately 30 minutes, or until juice runs clear.
  8. Broil for approximately 5 minutes to get bacon crisp.



Jewels*

Friday, December 14, 2012

Praise You In This Storm

The headline just keeps running through my mind:
20 children dead. 
20 innocent lives taken.
20 futures stolen.
20 families going through unimaginable grief tonight.

Unfortunately there are some extremely sick people in this world.  And unfortunately those are the ones that are headlined on the news every day.

I have to keep reminding myself that the majority of this world is filled with good people. 
  • People that are heartbroken over today's tragedy and are praying for those children and their families.
  • People like the principal of the school who turned on the PA system in an attempt to forewarn teachers.  
  • People like the 1st grade teacher at that school who immediately rushed her entire class to the bathroom and barricaded them in with a storage shelf.  She had students sitting on the toilet and climbing on top of each other just so they would all fit.  She told them she loved them and was proud of them all. She told them that if they believed in God to pray.  When these children told her they just wanted to have Christmas she told them they would.  
  • People who left work early today just to pick their kids up from school and hug them tight.  (I have never seen Garrison's school as crowded as it was today.)

Cancer, children being molested, children becoming terminally ill, abortions, children being abused... we can ask God why bad things happen but I am certain God does not make or allow bad things to happen.  We live in a broken world.  We have free will.  We are human.  It truly is as simple as that.  

I keep hearing people say that if guns were banned this would not have happened.  If gun owners were all asked to turn in our guns tomorrow do you really think the criminals would be first in line?  And most of the crazies or felons out there already own guns illegally or will find a way to get them if they are banned.  I refuse to give up my right to do everything in my power to protect my family against the evils of this world.  And I have to say I would actually be in favor of an armed officer, principal or designated administrator in every American school being allowed to get their CHL and carry a concealed weapon while on campus.  Gun Control is not the answer.

Jesus is so much bigger than the evil in this world.  Our faith is tested every day and I choose to praise Him through this.  I choose to let my faith be bigger than my fears.

I am comforted by knowing that those children are home with Jesus tonight.  I picture these beautiful children laughing, dancing and singing with the angels.  The best thing we can do is pray for all that died today and their families.  Pray that Jesus will make himself known to all that are suffering.

Life is so precious.  Let us not take it for granted.  Make your time here on earth count and use it for His glory, always.

This is one of my favorite songs and it is so perfect for how I feel today.




Jewels*







Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is There Hope?

Casting Crowns - "Every Man"
 
 
 
 
I love this song.  It reminds me that I need to see Jesus in every person I come in contact with, no matter what their past.  I need to remember that some people have been through so many terrible things and have no hope. 
 
Have you ever met someone that just seems empty and hopeless?  There are so many people in this world who don't know Jesus and don't know the power He can have in their lives.  It makes me so incredibly sad and frustrated to know that their lives could be so much better if they just let Him in.  And then there are others whom, from the outside looking in, we may think they have it all...  but without faith, hope and love they have nothing.
 
If you put all your hope in people or things of this world you will be disappointed.  People are not perfect and we live in a broken world.  I am not saying you can't find any happiness or peace in this world.  I'm just saying that when your hope is in Him you will find a joy and peace that surpasses everything else you have ever known.
 
I choose to put my faith and hope in the one who sacrificed everything for me (and you).  Jesus gives hope to the hopeless. He gives rest to the weary. He gives love to the lonely. He is all we need.  
 
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life."
~ Proverbs 13:12
 
 
Jewels*




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Slow Fade

I have been listening to my Casting Crowns CD a lot lately so expect the next few posts to be inspired by their songs.  This is such a powerful song and video.  You can watch the official video here. 

My favorite line in the entire song is "Families never crumble in a day."  Isn't that the truth?  It's a comibination of choice after choice or lie after lie or broken promise after broken promise that crumbles families.  It does not happen in a day.  When you are a husband, wife, father or mother every single choice you make affects everyone else in your family.  Maybe a husband/father thinks it's okay to look as long as he doesn't touch.  Guess what?  Eventually he is going to want to touch.  Maybe a wife/mother feels like her husband doensn't find her attractive anymore so she seeks attention elsewhere but justifies it by saying it's harmless.  Guess what?  That attention will eventually lead to some type of affair, whether it be emotional or sexual.  I am not only talking about being faithful.  How do we treat others?  How do we process conflict?  What we do with our money, time, and attention (priorities)?  All of these things ARE important and our children are watching, whether we want them to or not.

I am by no means a perfect mother.  I often slip with my language or my patience in front of my kids.  But when I do wrong I don't pretend like it didn't happen.  I apologize to Garrison and tell him my actions were wrong.  I think it's okay for our kids to know that we make mistakes.  I think it's okay for them to see us cry sometimes so they are not afraid to show emotion.  I think it's okay for them to hear us have an occasional disagreement with our spouse (yes, occasional and yes, disagreement - not screaming match). 

I have shared before how funny I think it is that Garrison picks up on song lyrics so quickly.  Last night he came into the kitchen singing.  He wasn't singing about motor boatin' this time.  He was singing a Christian song.  I can't for the life of me remember which one it was but it was the sweetest sound I have ever heard.  It never even occurred to me that when I have the Christian station on in my car Garrison would really be taking in all of those lyrics but he is!  I am still a fan of letting Garrison appreciate all (or most) types of music genres so I guess it's a healthy balance for him.  After all, "Country Girl"  is one of his favorites too.  (Haha!) 

Our children are constantly watching us. That doesn't mean we have to be perfect. It just means we have to be aware that our actions have a huge part in molding them into the people they will become.  Constant justification of our choices can be crippling to our marriage and our family.  The bottom line is that every choice we make affects our spouse and affects our children.  Don't allow yourself to slowly fade.  God wants so much more for you and from you. 




Jewels*

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quit Your Bitching!

I had an awesome weekend in Houston with my family and especially loved getting to spend time with my precious nephews and niece. 


 
It was Ellie Day's 1st birthday on Saturday and I can say with absolute certainty that she is the most beautiful girl I have ever laid eyes on.  Tell me I'm wrong!


Oh, and I think she really liked her cake! :)


My sister continues to amaze me with her creativity.  She always throws the most awesome parties for her kiddos and Ellie's was no different.  It was a Raggedy Anne themed party and of course Ellie was dressed the part.  So cute!!!

Saturday night we were all exhausted after the party, although I'm not sure why since Kristin did all the work.  Haha!  We ordered pizza, relaxed and started watching Duck Dynasty (and couldn't stop).  I have watched a couple episodes with Garrett before but they were some of the first ones.  I thought they were funny but not funny enough to record them all.  I can officially say I am hooked now.  I was laughing SO hard!  Love, love love that show and I highly recommend it. 


P.S. Am I the only one that thinks Willie and Jase are pretty hot?




We got home yesterday evening and I was so tired from the weekend.  I had to do some laundry and the normal stuff around the house.  Ethan didn't sleep very well (hoping he's not getting sick) and I was up several times through the night to let the dogs out or check on him.  This morning I was exhausted and the worst part was I was running late so I didn't get coffee before heading out the door.  I'm worried about Ethan getting sick.  I'm worried about our tight money situation before Christmas, Ethan's birthday and our vacation.  I was just all around in a bad mood during my morning commute.

On the way to work I was listening to my favorite morning radio show (Kidd Kraddick) and they grant "Kissmas" wishes during the Christmas season.  Today's was about a woman who has been married to her husband for 20 years and they have two daughters, ages 15 and 3.  The husband has had a long fight with a rare form of brain cancer and they told him Thanksgiving would be his last major holiday.  It looks like he will now make it through Christmas.  I was listening to this story (and crying of course) on the way to work and I literally said out loud to myself, "Quit your bitching!!!".  Seriously!  How ridiculous is it that I am letting my day be ruined because I am tired?!  Shame on me!!!

I have a husband who works incredibly hard for our family.  He spent all day Saturday putting lights on our house to surprise Garrison when he got home from Houston (and it was SO worth it)!  I have two incredibly beautiful and healthy children who have everything they need and most of what they want.  I am so incredibly blessed to be able to work part time and have more time with my family.  The reason we are a little tight on money is because we are blessed enough to be able to go on a vacation to celebrate our almost 10 years of marriage that God has blessed us with.  I have awesome parents who let us ride with them to Houston and back and didn't complain once about a pit stop or a crying baby.  I have incredible family and friends.  And most importantly I have a God that loves me so much that He lets me be selfish from time to come and forgives me when I come back to Him and realize what is most important in this world.

Today I am grateful for all of these things.  I am grateful for grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.  I am grateful for family, friends, health and laughter.  I choose not to complain about the meaningless things in this world and I choose to focus on all of my blessings, because there are LOTS of them!

Jewels*

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Random Recaps

Day 2
For my Love Dare Challenge Day 2 yesterday (click here to see the post) I decided to get Garrett a card at the store.  It's a small gesture but something out of the norm.  I put it on his counter (yes, he has a counter in the kitchen that I REFUSE to clean so it just piles up like something in a Dr. Seuss book).  I digress.  Anyways, he came in from working on something in the garage and said, "Who is this from?".  I told him it was from me and he gave me this scared out of his mind deer in the headlights look.  I thought maybe for a minute he thought he forgot an important date or something, which never happens.  He said, "Are you PREGNANT?!?!?!".  Bahahahahahaha!  I laughed SO hard and then I realized that wouldn't have been funny if I was.  Not the reaction I would have wanted.

I guess giving him a card really was out of the norm since he thought I was using it to announce pregnancy.  I think he was super relieved to see this inside the envelope:


 
Hahaha!  I guess the sweet gesture worked because he grilled out steaks for us last night and I didn't have to worry about dinner.  Such a nice break!  And YUMMY steaks!
 
 
Pass It On
I looked on Facebook this morning and saw two status updates that said a stranger paid for their breakfast today.  This is why I love Christmas time so much!  I just wish that people could be this eager to show kindness to others during all other times of the year.  And if you don't have money to get someone's breakfast you would be shocked at how much a smile or a compliment can make a stranger's day.  Pass it on!
 
Ethan
During play time on the floor last night Ethan tried to pick up his shadow for about 10 minutes straight.  Yes, this is entertainment for those of us with young children.  He is getting to that stage where he laughs at me when I tell him no.  I haven't had to deal with this in a very long time (six years to be exact) so I'm trying to find my footing again with parenting an almost one year old.  He likes to flip himself over while I'm changing his diaper and when I tell him no he gives me this mischevious (and oh so cute) grin and laughs at me.  Lord help me because I think this boy is gonna' be trouble!  :)
 
Good Reads
I read some really interesting articles yesterday that I found on Pinterest and wanted to share the links with you if you are interested.  For those of you who follow me on Pinterest I apologize for the repetitiveness.  Just click on the title to take you directly to the article.
 
 
I agree with all of these except #8.  My advice is to never turn bad behavior into a game, no matter what the age.
 
 
 
Vacation
I can't believe our vacation is less than a month away!  I'm SO excited but also wanting to soak up as much time with my boys as I can before we are away from them for seven whole days.  This picture is very close to the vision I have in my head for what my vacation will be like.
 
 
 
Jewels*