Saturday, August 29

The Reading Nook ~ GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Lana Hamblin
Congrats and stay tuned for more great giveaways!
Guest Contributor, Fancy Nancy, is in the house...literally! Today, she's taking us to her favorite spot in any home...the reading nook.

"You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book." ~ Dr. Seuss

What (and Where) Are You Reading? (By: Fancy Nancy)

With summer winding down and school uniforms making their way to the ironing pile, I wonder what (and where) you read this summer? 

Is your nook by the water?
I was one of those strange children who actually looked forward to the summer reading assignment; it gave me an excuse to curl up for hours with a book and be transported to a faraway place. As an adult, it is a little harder to find a block of hours to indulge in reading. More often it’s done in an unconventional way, in small snatches of time and in some most unlikely places (on your Kindle app, waiting in line at the drive-in of the bank).

Do your little ones have their favorite spots?
When you get to be my age, reading horizontally is a treat (in bed), but I wanted to inspire you with some photos of reading nooks. Take a look around your house and see where you could create a quiet corner dedicated to reading, whether inside or out. That awkward corner that has been giving you a decorating twitch, turn it into a comfortable area for a little R&R. All that's required is a comfortable chair, light (natural is best) and a good book. A small table for a lamp (and drinks), comfortable pillows, and a throw for those chilly days, will complete your space. Maybe your reading place is an Adirondack chair on the porch, or a floatie in the pool (paperback recommended). Wherever your place, share it with us, along with what you are reading, or have read this summer.

Maybe it's your favorite corner of the house or in your favorite chair?
And remember, “A book is a dream you hold in your hands”.

Along with a few tips to customize your book loving space, she's also doing a GIVEAWAY!!!!! This genuine leather book bag will add a little pizazz to any book lover's literary haul!

Seriously...a more generous gal, you'll never find!

Monogrammed "I like big books and I cannot lie."
To enter, comment below with your answer to "What are you reading? What did you read this summer?" Inquiring minds want to know...and I'm between books at the moment, so I need some recommendations.

Winner will be selected on Saturday. Happy reading...and registering! (A BIG, Texas-sized, THANK YOU to Fancy Nancy!)

Friday, August 28

Motherhood is Kingdom work!

Super Hunk and I joke that we’re members of the Old Parents’ Club. No self-deprecation here, just simple facts. We waited until our pre-geriatric years to become parents.

We walk around with a “tired” that threatens to never go away.


Yaaaawwwwwnnnnnn. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

This week was Little Man’s first week of school. For a while, the anticipation of this milestone has been great. From the moment Nana sent the monogrammed backpack, we were counting down the days.

While my prayers have been for this new experience to be a positive one, I couldn’t help but have my fears.

Fear of the drop-off meltdown (which only mildly occurred), and the stares from all the “together mothers”.

Fear of the only child “yes, that too is mine” mentality and arriving to find my son in the corner with a mound of hoarded toys.

Fear of the peeing on the playground, while using a precious pair of pink sparkly shoes (attached to a little girl) as his target.

Fear of the classroom fish being “loved to death”.

You know, legitimate “boy mom” concerns.

But as God does, He patted me on the back and whispered, ever so gently…”I’ll be here with him”.

You see, motherhood is Kingdom work.

No matter if you're in the "I wear Ann Taylor and I just don't care" Club or if you sport the "twenties messy bun and yoga pants from Forever 21", we all share the same first week of school concerns. All the while, praying that God will keep them safe, form their young minds, and travel with them down this road of childhood.

Another "first" is behind us, well documented on every camera we own, and another illustration of how God always...every single time...carries us to the other side of the unknown.

Happy school year, friends...remember, motherhood is Kingdom work and our enemies are the matter our age.

Tuesday, August 25

Playing with rocks!

The older Little Man gets, the more expansive his world becomes. Cardboard boxes become spaceships, branches become boats, my good kitchen spoon becomes a shovel to dig for gold.

To spend each day with this little imagination is a pleasure and sometimes a laugh-until-I-cry…or pee…JOY!

However, with this newly developing independence comes a big ol’ bag labeled “My Ideas”. Mom’s cool factor has already begun to fade…yes, I even get an occasional eye roll. Yesterday was a “Whatever” like he’d said it a thousand times.

Oh, no you didn’t!

Because the only thing certain in parenting is change, I’m rolling with it and…like a bad pair of discount store thongs (and I’m not talking flip flops)…adjusting as needed.

Craft time is a standard part of our day. Routinely, the bin emerges from the closet and we create something exciting together.

Yesterday was different; he surveyed the spread, cordially declined, and scooted outside, with his bucket in hand.

Oh, no you didn’t!

I’ll admit, to say I was a deflated is an understatement.

But I made the appropriate adjustment to my big girl panties, grabbed my Sharpies and glitter (which he refused to let me use…rude), and quickly followed.

I was instructed to gather rocks and place them in the wagon.

Bossy! Or Assertive? Either way, I wonder where he gets it? Hmmmmmm?

When he was pleased with the haul, I was commissioned to draw.

I asked, ”What would you like?”

Emphatically, he answered, “Car, truck, and trailer.”

Duh, Mom…look alive!

With an educational twist…because I can’t turn it off…here is the result.

We selected ten rocks with the smoothest surfaces. My poor Sharpies would be a mangled mess if used on a few of those loofas.

Little Man decided on the vehicle and color of choice. We then added numbers.

Before he would put them in numerical order, he had to sort them by color.

Again, I wonder where he gets it? Hmmmmm?

After about thirty minutes, from start to finish…

The caravan was complete!

We combined his love of cars…rocks…and outdoors with my love of inspiring him…spending time with him…and just pretty much all of HIM!

Overall, rolling with it was a super duper success and another excellent life lesson for me.

Now, how can I use all this glitter? J

Tuesday, August 18

Toddler Crafting, In Real Life!

Let's face it, crafting with a toddler is like organizing an army of ants with apple pie remnants in the yard.

The blogosphere, with super shiny moms and their super shiny kids, don't help matters much.

Are you kidding me? How are they not about to lose it? :-)

All these Pinterest posts with toddler crafts that involve scissors, small beads, paints, and other objects that can be licked...swallowed...or nothing but increase my blood pressure.

Maybe I'm alone...

Maybe I need to lower my control freak expectations...

Maybe I'm the only mom that pre-screens every craft before actually sitting her toddler down to participate.

Tell me...

Do you spend 30 minutes "preparing" to craft?

Organizing each item on the table according to "spillability"? Which you do during the nap or early in the morning before they wake...because you know if they see you, it's a full on "Tasmanian devil" moment?

Do you take time to consider which supplies are acceptable in the "within reach zone"...and which should be far...far away from little the "supervision is crucial to our survival zone"?

Do you even designate zones?

I know, I'm the only one.

With that, I'll now retreat to my craft corner to reorganize my bins while I rock back and forth, sucking my thumb...while Little Man rests.

I know it's worth it because it forms his young brain but, seriously, what happened to the days of paper dolls?

Happy crafting!
(Here's an easy project that is adorable and won't make you cray-cray by the end!)

Monday, August 17

Fried Egg & Pepper Sandwich

My mom makes a mean fried egg sandwich.

Growing up, I’m convinced it was the only way she could get me to eat eggs…fry it in butter and slap it between two slices of yummy bread. I’ll take two, please!

Confession…I’d eat almost anything prepared that way. Ha!

Carrying on the tradition in my own kitchen, fried egg sandwiches are a staple around here.

Super Hunk’s breakfast of choice is a veggie omelet. (Mine is an ooey gooey cinnamon roll but opposites attract, right?) Since he’s usually up and out the door early, I wanted to give him something a bit more portable.

The Fried Egg & Pepper Sandwich was born…and it’s now a Mommy’s Kitchen Top 5 Most Requested.

(Yields: 1 sandwich)
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon cheddar cheese, grated
3 tablespoons mixed bell pepper, diced
1 Sandwich Thin of choice
2 tablespoons butter
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mayonnaise (optional)

Melt one tablespoon of butter on medium-high heat skillet. Crack egg (break yolk, if desired) and add diced bell peppers to skillet.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Cook for about a minute, flip egg, and stir peppers. That butter gives everything a beautiful golden hue.

(PS. No need to panic, you’re not seeing double. I’m making two…one for Super Hunk…1/3 for me…2/3 for Little Man…which pretty much describes all of our meals.)

Top egg with cheese. When fully cooked, place on plate to cool slightly. 
Butter sandwich thins and place on skillet until golden brown.

Assemble sandwich (Super Hunk likes a healthy portion of mayo…is that an oxymoron?) and ENJOY!

Feel free to use any veggies you prefer, there is NO wrong way so get creative!

Combine with chips and salsa for a little extra party in your mouth!


Thursday, August 13

Paper Plate Bugs

Today is a Favorite Things feature...hours of fun...the perfect gift for little people everywhere.

 Little Man received this box of goodness from his Aunt Rekah, supporting his new fascination with bugs.

From a crafting perspective...we give it two thumbs up. From a mommy perspective...I give it a "YIPPEE"!

While I enjoy gathering craft supplies and creating something unique, having a box with everything enclosed is a DREAM. If you have a toddler, you know how most of the "prep" for craft time ends up destroyed before it even begins. :-)
The fun box included five different kits, featuring an assortment of bugs.

For our first creation, Little Man selected the caterpillar (in honor of our pet to come).
"Mom, I can't see". Goober!
With a quick lick of the glue stick (which was also handy), we were off. Following the specific directions, we glued....applied stickers...folded...and pressed.
Pretty soon, it started to vaguely resemble the photo...I was feeling pretty proud considering our usual creations begin as one thing and end up looking more like a tornado.

Tada! I think we did pretty well...and had a great time doing it!
I highly recommend the paper plate bug kit for any little one...any occasion! Thank you, Aunt Rekah!
Click here to order yours today!
Until next time...

Wednesday, August 12

Cowpoke Cookies

These cookies are a little bit like cleaning out the pantry. What else can I add? A little of this…a little of that.

 I call them Cowpoke Cookies in honor of the cattlemen in my life. They look good in cowboy hats but their duties include wearing many hats.

Ranching is the job title but the job description always ends up reading “a little of this (plumbing)…a little of that (carpentry)…and all the stuff in between (waste management, range management, gut management)”.  Their days are long and rarely go the way they planned. The least I can do is have cookies waiting when they arrive home.

Here’s to cowpokes everywhere!

3 sticks butter, room temperature
2 ½ cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups quick oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 ½ cups sweetened coconut
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 cup chopped dried cherries
2 ½ cups milk chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, stir until combined.

In separate bowl, mix together flour, oats, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add to wet ingredients. Use your “muscles” (as Little Mans says) and mix well.

Drop on baking sheet and place in 350 degree oven. Bake for 7-9 minutes (depending on your preference). Let cool on rack and enjoy! (Yields: 3 dozen)

Did you say cookies?

Excuse me for one moment…cookies are my guilty pleasure.

And then there were two!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, August 10

I've been disconnected!

Well, I've officially been disconnected.

With the move, and our temporary rural location, I have lost all internet and virtually all connection to the outside world.

For most, this seems sublime. For a Blogger, it creates a major case of ulceritis. (Is that an actual condition?)

To keep my sanity and continue my "I'm embracing what comes" attitude, I decided I would utilize the free wifi services around our tiny town until we were reconnected with sweet technology.

I prepared a post to share this morning and headed to town with a long list of errands. "Post blog" seemed like a simple enough task, labeled #4.

I was wrong.

It's been an hour...and I'm no closer to posting those delicious cookies than I was first thing this morning.

Apparently "free" is a relative term and I now have a crying toddler in the backseat because his shoe fell off. Don't ask...

So, this is the post today. I hope you're not disappointed. I'm still rolling with the punches, typing on my cell phone, while simultaneously trying to retrieve said shoe from under the seat. I still have six more errands to go!

Yes, the car is parked.

Better luck tomorrow! Wish me luck.

Monday, August 3

Delightful Dresser DIY

The moment I met Leigh, I knew (I hoped) we would be friends. She is genuinely SWEET, loves her hubby, and has three kids who are a joy to be around. That qualifies her as a first-class gal in my book. 
Not to mention, she's super CRAFTY and has mad DIY skills!
She's literally a friend jackpot and I'm thrilled to introduce her (and her many talents) to you.
Leigh's dear friend is expecting a big bundle of pink girly cuteness. To celebrate, she put on her painting hat and got to work. She took us along for a sneak peek and step-by-step dresser transformation. Here we go...
This is the dresser before. I wonder if it felt the way I do when I arrive for a day at the spa? If I ever actually had a day at the spa. Siri, search "closest spas to my location".
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is Leigh's paint of choice. For this project, she used two different whites (old & pure) and mixed to get the exact color she wanted. (You can learn more about Annie Sloan paints on her website or visit The Lady Butterbug Shoppe's website to purchase a can for your next project.)
To add a little extra detail, Leigh picked up a few of these wood appliques and glued them to each drawer (available at your local Lowe's Home Improvement store). Before beginning to paint, allow them to dry thoroughly.
There she is...all smiles...just painting away...main dresser first and then (after appliques dry) each drawer. You go girl!
Next, to seal the paint, comes the wax. If you're new to using chalk paint, visit the Annie Sloan link above for tips and techniques. Be sure to use the correct brushes, it makes a huge difference (also available at the Lady Butterbug Shoppe's link above).
Wax on...wax off...wax on...wax off. You're now doing the hand motions, aren't you?
Leigh works meticulously to cover every inch of the chalk paint...the circular motion is very important to the final finish.
A little sanding to create a distressed, antiqued look. Then one final coat of wax.

Finally, as the finishing touch, Leigh raided her stash of old knobs. Mixing & matching, she created an adorably unique accessory for her already lovely project.
Tada! Just like that, an old dresser emerges from her day at the spa...GORGEOUS!

I hope you're inspired, I'm off for a pedicure...maybe I'll emerge with mix & match toes!
Thanks, Leigh, we look forward to more ride-alongs on your DIY adventures.