Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Husband

Doesn't often get the credit that he deserves.
He can fix anything. And I mean anything. Not that my dad isn't handy, but growing up when something broke (washer, lawn mower, vacuum) someone came out to fix it.
If a room in my parent's house needed painting. Hire a painter!
Moving? That's what moving companies are for!
J grew up very differently. Afterall, the guys in his family pretty much built his parent's house. And it ain't small folks. Not to mention none of them are carpenters or architects by trade.
So what do you get when you put J and I in a house and the garbage disposal quits working or a bathroom needs painting? Two totally different ways of handling the issue.
I had all but the last digit of the painter's number dialed and the plumber's number ready after that.
J had his tools out and flashlight on. He told me to go buy the paint set where everything I'd need to paint comes packaged together.
Um excuse me? I'm going to paint the bathroom?
Well I did. And it turned out just fine. Minus one paint drop on the tile.
Turns out I'm capable of painting after all. And lifting the huge flat screen t.v. onto the wall mount that I'd never thought I'd be able to lift. And a huge list of other things I'd most likely have called someone else to do in the past.
And all those things I can't do? Or won't do because despite my best efforts, I really have no idea how to unclog a garabage disposal, J tackles those.
Some things we will never agree on. Next time we move, there will be movers. Lots of big, strong movers. But for everything else I'm so glad to have J. Not just because he fixes things around the house, but because he's a great provider for our family.
It's not always rainbows and lolliops and non stop I love yous. We don't always like each other or what the other does. But our love goes beyond those bad days.

Source: via Cortney on Pinterest
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DIY {Wedding Card Keepsake Book}

First, please excuse the horrible picture quality. I was all snuggled in on the couch with my materials laid out and didn't want to get up and get the big camera. Or apparently turn on a light.

Second, I made this with materials I already had on hand. Looking back I would have gotten some new scrapbook paper and stickers and made it a little prettier. Maybe one day.

Third, I completed this project back in June and am just now posting it. Awesome.


When J and I got married we got the sweetest cards with the most wonderful notes, blessings, and words of encouragement for our marriage. I wanted a way to keep all the cards together in one place and after browsing Pinterest, I came across this idea.

Start by printing off a cover for your book. I just printed our names, date, and who the cards were from on a piece of cardstock. I cut it out so that the cover was just a little bigger than the largest card.

Next, hole punch a card with two holes. Make sure the holes are about an inch in from the edge of the card to avoid the holes ripping.

Use that card as a template and hole puch all the cards. This is a beast and pretty time consuming!

Next, string heavy duty ribbon through all the cards. I used ribbon from one of our gifts. I first strung the cards through based on size, largest to smallest, but that looked funny so I randomly varied the size order of the cards.

Tie both the top and bottom ribbons into a bow.

And whalaa! All your wedding cards are bound in one spot. I put the book in a large hat box with all our other wedding momentos.

What do you do with your cards?
Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Bucket List {Paper Streamer Obstacle Course}

Let's see how we're doing on the list shall we?
  1. Glow in the dark sticks in the bathtub. This one is for Ben although somehow I think the kid inside of J might also want to do this.
  2. Go camping. Even if it's in our own backyard.
  3. Have a picnic. This one may need to be indoors if it doesn't get below 100 soon.
  4. Make an obstacle course out of paper streamers.
  5. Fly a kite.
  6. Paint with ice cubes.
  7. Have a spray water bottle fight.
  8. Go on a picture scavenger hunt.
  9. Go fishing.
  10. Relax. Let Ben stay up a little later. Enjoy quality time as a family.

Quite a few things are crossed off and we have a few more to go. I'm offically crossing off #10, but we'll continue to do this of course:)

The latest item to be tackled on our list was the Paper Streamer Obstacle Course. When I told J about this he seemed to think Ben would think it was lame. Boy was he wrong.

To create the obstacle course all I needed to buy was paper streamers. I made start and finish signs and got to streaming. I tried to hang the streamers so that Ben had to go over some and under some.
I set the course up while J gave Ben a bath. Ben was so excited he didn't even want to put his pajamas on. Luckily I convinced him it would only take a second or else you would have seen lots of naked bum pictures.

And he's off...

This was such a fun activity and Ben must have gone through it about 20 times. Whose lame now...:) 
Thursday, August 23, 2012

What's better than ONE nieces birthday?

Two of course!
That's right. Two of sweet nieces had their birthday celebration on August 11th at our local bowling alley. We had so much fun and I can't believe how big the girls are getting, especially my niece Hannah who is 13. How did that even happen?!

J and Ben getting ready to bowl.

I literally laughed out loud at Ben's face in this picture. I think he'd rather be playing with his cousin than have his picture taken.

I didn't get a picture with my other niece:( but she was having a lot of fun hanging out and bowling with her friends.

What a great birthday party!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

{Cheesy Brocolli Chicken Rice Caserole}

I know, I know. There are TONS of different casserole recipes that include these main ingredients, each varying a little bit from the last.

Let me tell you. This is the best one. Hands down. Even Ben requests this at least once a week. This is my go to recipe that I take when I'm bringing dinner to someone (baby, death, etc) and when someone asks me for a quick meal idea. It's easy, relatively quick, and it is great leftover-if there is any. It's that good.

What you'll need:
-1 can cream of chicken or mushroom (I prefer cream of chicken but for you vegetarians cream of mushroom tastes just as good)
-8 oz. Velveeta cheese
-1 cup cooked rice
-1 cup chopped broccoli florets (I use a little less than 1 bag of the broccoli steamers)
-1 cup shredded chicken (I use rotessaire chicken from the store)
-9 X 13 in. baking dish greased

To begin, chop the Velveeta into small chunks and place in a large pan along with the cream soup. It needs to be LARGE!

Stir continuously until smooth. Make sure to keep the heat low. You don't want the mixture to burn.

Next, add the cooked rice and stir throughouly.

Add chicken and brocolli

and stir until everything is mixed well. Try to avoid eating it straight out of the pan.

Spoon mixture into a greased 9X13in. pan (mine was dirty so I used 2 round ones). Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Something to Remember

Hopefully you were able to catch up on our Branson trip this past weekend here.

In that post I let y'all know how awesome Ben did on the car ride down. No crying, yelling, fusing, a sweet little angel. He was actually really good all weekend. That is until it was time to make the almost 4 hour trip back home. That experience was the complete opposite of our ride down to Branson. I think God likes to remind us that just when we think we've got everything under control, we need a little test to humble us.

When we got home from the trip, we were exhausted and I was feeling defeated.

I've been thinking a lot about that trip home. The excitment of going on a trip was gone. We were all  tired, and my patience tank was nearing empty. Was it too much to ask for a little quiet in the car? Couldn't Ben just sit and be still? Take a nap even? And then, instead of thinking about how Ben acted, I looked at my own actions. Were my requests reasonable for a 3 year old?

Car rides are a great time to reflect, listen to music, and think about things on your mind. For a 3 year old, any long car rides are the most.boring.thing.ever.

I think the reason our car ride back was less than stellar was because my expectations were less than stellar. Out of line perhaps. I chose to fight every battle in that car on the way home. And when that happens nobody ends up winning. Why should I care if Ben wants another drink of water? Or if he asks me 50 times if the Onceler is bad, or if he wants to use another wipe when he's already cleaned his hands 100 times. In the grand scheme of things, IT DOESN'T MATTER.

Ben wasn't actin a fool just for the sake of it, he was bored and wanted my attention. Positive or not. And even when it feels like you have nothing left to give, being a parent means you sometimes have to muster up all your energy and play I-Spy just to make it another 10 miles down the road.

From now on, before I get on to Ben I'm going to check myself (before I wreck myself) and my expectations. I'm going to make sure that what I'm asking him to do is reasonable. I have high expectations for Ben. I want him to do and be the best he can be. But I also want him to look back on his childhood with lots of fun memories.

There will be times when I loose my cool and make mistakes. But being a parent isn't always easy or pefect. You strive to be a better parent everyday. At Paw Fish's funeral, J's grandma reflected on their family and their life together. She said something that has stuck with me ever since. "It wasn't always perfect, but we had lots of good memories. The good sure outweighed the bad."

That's my wish for Ben when he looks back on his childhood. It may not always be perfect, but hopefully it's filled with lots of good memories.

And you know what? I'd say we're doing ok so far. Even with a few car ride disasters.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Disney World of the Midwest

Or at least that's what I call Branson. If you've never been to Branson, MO you have to go. Young, old, kids, no kids. If for nothing else to at least say you've been.

I love Branson. I've gone several times with family and friends and always have a blast. In fact, Mrs. Bojangles and I took a few trips to good ole Branson way back in the day. Ahhh to be young, care free, and childless again. Or maybe not:) But I will always look back on those memories fondly.

A few months ago my work had a fundraiser and I won a Branson package in the silent auction. Ben was so excited to go on a little mini vacation and what better time since Summer is slowly coming to an end. J stayed behind to finish up some work and house projects so my parents tagged along and off we went.

We left Friday afternoon and made the nearly 4 hour car ride down to Branson. Ben was sooo good in the car. We watched the Lorax and took a little nap.

Before we knew it we arrived at the hotel and of course had to test out the swimming pool. 

After swimming we all got ready to head to the Branson Landing. The landing has shops, restaurants, and play areas for kids. It's all outside and only pedestrians are allowed to walk through the middle of it. It sits right along the river and is beautiful!

What a handsome stud!

Love him!

One of the play areas at the landing

Saturday morning was the day we were all so excited about, Silver Dollar City. Ben had been talking all week about how he wanted to ride the roller coasters.  Turns out he doesn't really like them after all. I pretty much forced him to ride the rides, which he was not thrilled about. Afterwards though all he could talk about was how cool or awesome the ride was.  Morale of the story? When you see the mom at the amusement park forcing her screaming child on the ride, don't judge. Maybe the child just needs a gentle push nudge to realize they might like it if they just try it. 

So excited after riding the raft water ride.

After SDC we got ready for dinner and Ben played mini golf for the first time. Mini golf went over much better than the roller coasters.

After packing up and checking out of the hotel Sunday morning, we made our first stop at Krispy Kreme donuts. We watched how the donuts are made and then got to try one fresh of the line.

After a little sugar we made our way over to the fish hatchery. The hatchery grows thousands and thousands of trout and releases them into the river.

Inside the hatchery were large aquariums. 

Outside were tanks full of fish that you could feed with food you bought at the hatchery. Notice the damn in the background?

I have never seen so many small fish in such a close space before. They created quite a splash when food was thrown in.

I love this picture of Ben and my dad.

We stopped at Lambert's for lunch since my parent's or Ben had never been. Lambert's is best known for their "throwed rolls." Just don't let your 3 year old catch one with his forearm. Those babies are hot!

They're also known for huge servings and salads the size of your head.

By this time we were missing J quite a bit. He decided to met us at a kids play place about an hour from where we live on our way home. We played games, rode the bumper cars, and Ben convinced him to ride the Ferris Wheel.

Branson was a success and it makes me even more excited for Disney this November. Here's to hoping Ben will grow to love roller coasters a little bit more before then!