When daddy's away, the girls will play!

Cabin fever has set in. We've been in the house since Thursday. I just couldn't stay in any longer, especially since I am playing single mom for the weekend. Brian left this morning for Miami to run in the ING Miami Marathon for Team World Vision. Oh and I am totally not jealous that he is in 80 degree weather right now. Nope not me. This Cali girl loves freezing her tushie off and loves the snow. Yep. Let's just say I love to look at the snow from the warmth of my house and sipping on a cup of hot cocoa.

I decided I had to get out of the house today. My sweet dad came over and picked me and the girls up. He was born and raised in Chicago so snow is no biggy to him. He knows how to drive in it. Me on the other hand, would be in a ditch for sure. The snow has turned into ice. It was a little scary getting out of the driveway. We almost slid into a parked car across the street. Thankfully we made it the 15 miles to my sisters house.

The girls are now sipping on their hot cocoa and waiting for the brownies to come out of the oven. Then we'll settle into a mean game of dominoes before the girls have to go to bed. Then the adults can play.
I love winter nights with my family. I just wish Brian were here to share in it with us, but I know he's having fun stuffing himself with pasta as he carboloads before the big race. Did I mention he is also going to the Probowl tomorrow too. Lucky guy. That's ok I get my girl weekend next Friday at Blissdom. Can't wait.


Wow is all I can say. We surpassed our giving goal of $2,010 for the people of Haiti. As of today we stand at $3560.00 with still more being donated. What a blessing. Thank you Lord!

Let me back up and tell you about how this all came about. Sometime around Christmas, I asked Brooklyn one day what she wanted to do that day. I thought she would say, "Go to Target (she loves to go there as much as her mama does), go visit her cousins, do school, etc. Instead she said, "Mommy I want to help sick kids who don't have any food". My eyes filled up with tears. I called Brian at work and told him what she had said. We immediately thought of ideas about how she could go about doing that. Brooklyn loves to draw more than anything, so we decided we would make cards of her drawings and sell them to raise money for kids in another country who need food, clothes, and toys. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. Brian took Brooklyn into our classroom in the basement where we have a huge giant wall map on the wall. He asked her what country she would like to help and she pointed to Haiti and said, "Here daddy", I want to help Haiti". That was 3 days before a massive earthquake struck and killed over 150,000. I marvel at how God works. He put it on Brooklyn's heart to help the people of Haiti before the need was so great.

After Brian's dad passed away, we decided to combine it with a memorial for Steve Lord. It's a great way to honor his life and help continue to help Brooklyn help Haiti. If you would still like to donate you can do so by visiting the website we've set up here. Again, thank you for your prayers and your gifts. On behalf of my family, I thank you again.

Tuesday's Tip-Keeping Warm

This is a simple and easy tip that I just love to do especially at night after the kids are in bed and the hubby and I settle onto the couch to catch up on our shows that we've DVR'd. I grab our oversized fleece blanket and stick it on high in the dryer for about 5 minutes. While it's in the dryer, I get my snack ready, which is usually some popcorn and a glass of water and then grab the blanket when it's done. It is pure heaven. I wrap myself up and park my bootie on the couch. It keeps me nice and warm and is a great way to relax. I haven't given in to the lure of the Snuggie yet, but if you have one I am sure it would work well in the dryer too.

They are calling for snow and ice on Friday so I might need to put a couple more blankets in the dryer. Stay warm and safe everyone.

A little bribe won't hurt anyone, right?

In an effort to keep my blog honest and real, I'm going to admit that I used a little bribery today with my girls. I was in desperate need of some alone and quiet time, so I bribed my kids to get it. I told them that if they took a nap, they could make brownies when they woke up. Now I know this is not something that is advocated by psychologists and hopefully it won't scar my kids.

It definitely felt like a Monday today. It was cold and dark and I was tired. I think I am still trying to recover from last weeks events. Some of it is still hard for me to wrap my head around. Anyway, by 2:00 I was needing a break. The girls were a little wired so I didn't even know if the bribe would work. It took about 20 minutes and then they were out. I was able to get some things taken care of for my book and catch up on a few blogs I like to read. I was renewed and refreshed when they woke up.

They couldn't wait to make brownies. I had one box of Ghirardelli brownies left. Phew! If you've never made them before they are delicious. After they come out of the oven you spread chocolate all over the top of them. Heavenly. As you can see the girls love the process of making the brownies, probably even more so than eating them.

I love their aprons. I had a friend of mine make them and the girls just love to wear them. I usually wear mine, it's my favorite one that I got when I was in the south of France about 4 years ago, but somehow forgot to put it on until Sydney reminded me. Baking is one of my favorite things to do with the girls. It's such a sweet time and if it weren't for the calories and sugar, I would do it more often.

I'm Back

It's nice to be back in the land of internet. I only had my iPhone to keep me connected to the world and it's just too time consuming to blog from it. My fingers aren't that nimble.

I want to say a big thank you to all who prayed for our family. We felt them for sure. I had played all the scenarios in my head of what was going to happen and I can say that it was so much better in real life than in my head. There was a peace and comfort that I knew could only come from the prayers of His people. Thank You!

On Monday night we had the viewing from 4-8. My father-in-law was born and raised in a small town in Indiana his whole life. He never left. He spent 60 years on a farm and in a community of 3,000. He had hundreds show up for his viewing. I was in awe. I got to hear stories from guys who went to high school with him. Only in a small town would you get to experience something like that. I loved being near people that knew him and could tell stories about him. It brought so much comfort to us.

The next morning was the funeral. This was the final goodbye and I knew it would be tough. Brian got up and spoke on behalf of his family. I have never been more proud of my husband than at that moment. I know it was the hardest thing he's ever done in his life, but it meant so much to all of us. I kept telling him how proud and honored I was to be his wife and I meant it from the bottom of my heart. He was amazing last week. He had to mourn the loss of his dad and handle the affairs of the estate. He had alot of responsibility and handled it with class and dignity. I know it would have made his father proud.

We set up a memorial fund in memory of his dad. A few weeks before his death, Brooklyn had come to me wanting to help sick kids and daddy helped her pick out a country on the map where she could help. She has a love of maps just like her daddy and told him that she wanted to help kids in Haiti. This was just 3 days before the earthquake. Coincidence, I think not. God laid it on my daughter's heart even before the need was so great. You can read the story here and if the Lord lays it on your heart to give you can do so as well.

Again thank you for your words of encouragement, emails and prayers. We still have a long road to go, but I feel like the hardest part is behind us.

Going to Indiana

It looks like I will flying to Indianapolis Monday morning. The viewing will be on Monday from 4-8 and the funeral will be at 11:00 on Tuesday morning. Brian and his brother Eddy left to drive up there today. We would appreciate your prayers for travel mercies, decisions that need to be made and for peace and comfort. Other than losing our daughter Zoe, this is the toughest thing we've ever had to face as a couple. Brian is such a rock and I know in the next few days he's going to have to be that rock in order to handle "business", but deep inside he will be hurting deeply. I pray I can be that rock for him and be able to be strong when he needs me to be.

Brian wrote a tribute to his dad on his blog that brought me to tears. You can read it here.

Thank you for your prayers.

We'll miss you PeePaw

Today my husband received a call that no son wants to get. His dad passed away this morning of a massive heart attack at the age of 60. I don't think it's really sunk in for either of us. I know it will once we get to Indiana. The plan is to leave to drive there in the morning. We thought it would be best to leave the girls here with my family because there is going to be so much for us to do. Ugh I hate this. We haven't told the girls yet about their PeePaw. Not sure how you really tell a 4 year old and almost 3 year old. They loved their PeePaw.

I am so thankful we got to see him at Christmas time. We had such a great visit. For that I am thankful. We even made plans to go up in the summer so the girls could ride around on the farm and go swimming. Now the farm will be so different without him there. My heart aches for Brian and his brothers and sister. Brian will have a lot of responsibility as the oldest son so I would appreciate your prayers that wise decisions would be made and everyone sees eye to eye on what will happen going forward. Please pray for safe travels and that the girls are safe at home.

We will miss you Dad and PeePaw.

Steve Lord
Dec 24, 1950-Jan. 15, 2010

The Prophet's Peril - book review

If you're a parent of an elementary school-aged child and live in the Nashville area, we'd invite you to go to Michael Norvell's book signing for 'The Prophets Peril' at Davis-Kidd Booksellers at the Green Hills Mall, tomorrow (Thursday) night. I got a sneak peak at the book last week, and its very good! 'The Prophets Peril' is the story of an elementary school girl who gets transported back to the Old Testament with the help of magic backpack, where she meets Elijah. She learns some valuable lessons from him about dealing with fear and change, and accompanies him on an 'adventure' in confronting King Ahab and his minions. What I like is that it will help kids better imagine what people in the Bible went through, what decisions they made, and how they can learn and use those lessons in their own life. Plus, since the book is relatively short and made for a younger audience, its a great first 'chapter book'. (B)

Tuesday's Tip-Water

Before I started doing this next tip, It was hard for me to get the 64 oz of water a day that my body needed. So here is what has worked really well for me. At night, I take my glass pitcher and fill it up all the way with water and stick it in the fridge. In the morning, it's all ready to go. Throughout the day when I am home I fill up my glass and drink. If I know I have to go out, then I will fill up my water bottle from the pitcher. At the end of the day, I know how much I have or haven't drunk. Make sure you use filtered water. We have a whole house water purifier so I use that. I know not everyone has access to one, so you can buy a water purifier that goes over your tap that filters out the impurities that you shouldn't be drinking. This is also a money saving tip that will save you from buying bottled water, less plastic too. A win win for you and the planet.
I like using a pretty tea glass to drink my water. It makes it more fun. I like water, but after a while it gets a little boring. You can also add a little bit of lemon and mint leaves to jazz it up a bit. This is how they serve it when you go to a really nice spa. So grab yourself some ice cold water and enjoy. Your body will thank you. Better go fill up my glass.


OK I happened upon this new website for interior design and I am obsessed. It is the greatest thing since sliced cheese, as my mom always said. It's called Houzz. Why is it so great? Well I'll tell ya. It has wonderful ideas which you can bookmark into your own folder online. You can also tweet and facebook pictures. Here are some pictures that I added to my idea book.

My brother in law is putting in a butler's pantry for me between our kitchen and our dining room. I am so excited. It will look like this last picture except for the cabinets will be black with an aged feel. I bookmarked this because I like the hardware they used.

If you like to design your house as much as I do, than this site is for you. Enter at your own risk and have fun.

Cousins gotta hug

Brooklyn & Sydney Kate with their cousins, Samantha (aka Sammie) and her older sister Maiya.

I LOVE this picture so much. Aren't they such cute flower girls? I know I am a little bias, but what cuties. This was taken at my sister Heather's wedding back in November. What this picture doesn't tell you was how crazy that day was. The girls did a great job walking down the aisle together and throwing their petals, but the fun stopped there. Once Sydney got down the aisle she laid herself out on the runner at the bottom of the steps. She was done. Did I mention the wedding was at 2:00. Yeah, nap time. I knew I was in trouble when I found out what time it was going to be. Sydney is almost 3 and she still takes a nap everyday, for her sake and mine. Well she started to cry so Brian had to come up and get her. She screamed heading out of the sanctuary. Thankfully my sister hadn't come down the aisle yet. Then Sammie decided she was done and wanted to take a nap too. She fell asleep on my dad's lap. So that left Brooklyn and Maiya (the older girls) up on stage with us bridesmaids.

I am dreading watching the video at this point because the whole entire ceremony (45 min) I was trying to keep Brooklyn still next to me in a short dress and 3 inch heels. I was constantly bending over, but not too far as to not give the audience a show, and trying to whisper in her ear to be quiet. It was craziness. I was exhausted by the end of the ceremony and don't ask me what the preacher even said. I have no clue. All I cared about was keeping Brooklyn quiet and still. She's 4, like that's even a possibility. All in all it was a great wedding and my sister is married. I guess that's all that really matters, right?

A Simple Thank You

Yesterday I took the girls and went to Costco to get gas. With this big snow coming (wink, wink) I didn't want to be caught on empty just in case. As I pulled up I saw a man at the next pump who was wearing a big heavy jacket. On the back of it, in big bold letters it read, AIRFORCE. Then I glanced down at his car and noticed his plates that said "handicapped, veteran." Something quickened in my spirit and I knew I had to tell him thank you. I don't think I had ever really done this before.

I got out of the car and peered around my pump to where he was pumping gas into his car and said, "Sir thank you for serving our country". He looked at me with the biggest smile on his face. He was overjoyed. He said, "Ma'am, thank you. You don't know what that means to me. You see I served in Vietnam and there was a time I never heard those words". We had about a 2 minute conversation that day. I went on to tell him that I had just been watching CBN that morning and they had interviewed a war veteran who was homeless and trying to stay warm in this cold weather. He went on to talk a little bit about homeless veterans and about how many of them were forever changed by what they saw and the chemicals they were exposed to. He was one whose life was forever changed and who is dealing with sickness due to his time in Vietnam. My heart just sank. With tears in my eyes I told him thank you again for fighting for me and my girls. He waved as he left the station.

I have been thinking about this encounter for a day now. I owe so much to the men and women who have fought for my freedom. I don't say thank you enough. You know I think all the veterans want are more thank yous. That's it. They just want to know that people care about what they did and what they are doing. I'm convicted as I sit in my nice warm big house, with my girls and my husband by my side, that I often take all of this for granted. There are wives missing their husbands tonight, kids missing their daddy's and mother's grieving the loss of their son or daughter. These young kids decided to put their life in harms way because they love their country. Wow that boggles my mind. I can't say that I could do the same. To be honest, I am almost sickened by the fact that we care and know more about the affairs of Tiger Woods than we do about the young soldiers that have died. To me that's a travesty. I'm talking to myself here because I was one of those that just needed to know what happened to Tiger and his wife. After talking with this man, I am praying that my heart would be changed. That I would truly care and have compassion for our military men and women and for what they have done. So today this blog entry is dedicated to the the men and women who have bravely fought for our country. I can't thank you enough. Thank you to their families that wait for their loved ones to come home and for those that unfortunately, wait no longer. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! May God BLESS you!

Finally, thank you to the man that opened my eyes that frigid afternoon at the gas pump. I know you will never read this, but I thank you for taking the few minutes to talk with me and most importantly thank you for your service. It does not go unnoticed. I pledge to you from now on whenever I see a service man or woman, I will take the time to go up to them and simply say "Thank You."

Tuesday's Tip- Taco Chili

Since my Switcheroo Sunday was taco seasoning and because it's like freezing here in the south, and pretty much everywhere, I thought I would post a yummy chili recipe for my Tuesday's Tip. One of my best friends made this for us when my husband was recovering from surgery a couple of years ago and I had to have the recipe. It was so delicious and so easy to make in the crock pot. I can make it in the morning and keep it on low or warm until dinner. I usually make it with chicken breasts but you can make it with ground beef as well.

Taco Chili:
1 lb ground beef or 3 cooked chicken breasts shredded (if you are in a hurry you can pick up a rotisserie chicken from the store and just pull the chicken off the bone and stick it in the crock pot.)
1 ranch dressing packet
1 taco seasoning packet
1 can of black beans (undrained)
1 can of kidney beans (undrained)
1 can of pinto beans (undrained)
16 oz of Rotel or diced tomatoes
1 can of white corn
1 Cup of water

Let me know if you try it and like it. It also keeps well in the fridge and can be reheated the next day. Here's to keeping warm!

Switcheroo Sunday-Taco Seasoning

My switcheroo for today is taco seasoning. Most taco seasoning's have MSG (monosodium glutamate) in them. I have talked about MSG before, but you want to try everything you can to avoid it. It is really harmful to your body. Some people even have allergies to them, like my two younger sisters. MSG can even cause seizures for people with epilepsy. MSG can sometimes be easy to find when it's written write on the package, or it can be masked under the word "Natural Flavors". You can read more about the effects of MSG here. So I switched from this:

To this:

If you have a Publix in your area you can buy their brand of taco seasoning, which is what I do, for .79 cents. I stock up because it's cheaper than any other name brands out there.

Daddy Daughter Saturday

Most every Saturday, Brian takes the girls on a daddy daughter date. Today he and Uncle Eddy (his youngest brother) took the girls to Opryland Hotel to see ICE. The girls were so excited. They went last year when the theme was The Grinch. This year it was Charlie Brown. They couldn't wait to go back again. They had a great time. Everything you see in these pictures is made out of ice. It's unreal.

Uncle Eddy with his nieces.

Brooklyn sliding down the ice slide. Her backside must have been frozen.

Isn't this Nativity scene beautiful?


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