Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Today we celebrated Lana's half birthday with her class at school!
We had Krispy Kreme sprinkle donuts and Capri Suns -
which has been her choice for several years now.

Every year we celebrate her half birthday at the end of January.
That summer birthday means she wouldn't typically get to celebrate in her classroom with a birthday treat, and that's just too darn fun to miss, so we sneak it in there on January 30.

Little brother was so proud to celebrate with his sister - he insisted that we scoot his chair right up to her desk, and when I asked them to lean in for a picture, he grabbed her by the neck and pulled her close.  She has no idea how much he adores her.

Tucker loves Mrs. Moorhead's lego table,
and snuck in some quality building time with Daddy before preschool.

We're halfway through our second year at our neighborhood elementary school,
and I am so thankful that I get to be involved in ways that mean I am becoming a familiar face there.
We are thankful for Lana's school, her wonderful teacher, and that we're halfway to 7!

Monday, January 28, 2013

New favorite:

Meet my new favorite beauty product:

This stuff is awesome!
I have never found an eye makeup remover that I love.
I have to be pretty picky:
I wear contacts, it must be oil free, etc.
The problem with most eye makeup removers that I've tried before
(and I've tried lots of them, including Mary Kay)
is that I have to rub. so. hard. to actually get the eye makeup off.
I just KNOW that I am pulling at that tender skin around my eyes
and making it saggy saggy saggy.  Ugh.

I just happened to pick up this Maybelline Clean Express at Walmart, 
but I didn't have my hopes up very high.
Let me tell you -
I actually gasped when I took my eye makeup off with it last night!  
No rubbing, just a gentle wipe with a cotton ball and 
the mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow were all gone!

And with a price tag of under $5,
I'm a fan.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chicken pot pie

My dear friend Melissa Black shared this chicken pot pie recipe with me several years ago, and every time I cook it, it's a hit!  This is a go-to recipe when I want to take a meal to someone who is sick, grieving, etc.  It's just good comfort food, and it reheats really well.  Not to mention, nearly everyone who I've delivered it to asks for the recipe!  Because the recipe calls for a complete cooling, it's easy to make ahead - which is always a plus!

1 can all white-chicken, drained
1 can Veg-all, drained
1 can cream of mushroom
1 tsp minced onion
2 cups grated cheese
2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
salt pepper
1 box refrigerated Pillsbury frozen pie crust (don't substitute brands - this is the secret ingredient!)

1.  Mix all ingredients except for the pie crust in a large bowl.
2.  Unroll and place 1 pie crust in the bottom of a pie plate or tin.
3.  Spoon filling onto crust.
4.  Top with 2nd crust, pinching edges to seal.  Slice 3-4 vents in the top crust.
5.  Cook at 400* for 40 minutes.
6.  Allow to cool completely to thicken and "set."  Reheat individual portions and serve.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Throwback Thursday: High School 10 year Reunion

I don't know why I didn't blog about our fun 10 year high school reunion in the summer of 2009, 
during which I was hugely pregnant with our sweet son.  

Here are a few fun pictures:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Favorite black bean salsa

We have been eating so much of this yummy salsa lately!

2 cans black beans (15 oz.), rinsed and drained
2 cans corn, we prefer shoepeg
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 vidalia or red onion, chopped (we prefer vidalia)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
a little jalapeno pepper, if desired  (we usually leave it out because of the kids)

1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3-4 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs EVOO
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Mix first group of ingredients together in large mixing bowl.
2.  Whisk sauce ingredients together, pour over veggies, mix.
3.  Refrigerate and let sit at least for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
4.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The kind of children I hope to raise:

‎I hope I raise children who say 'thank you' to the bus driver when they get off the bus, 'please' to the waiter taking their order at the restaurant, and hold the elevator doors when someone’s rushing to get in.

I hope I raise children who lose graciously and win without bragging. I hope they learn that disappointments are fleeting and so are triumphs, and if they come home at night to people who love them, neither one matter. Nobody is keeping score, except sometimes on Facebook.

I hope I raise children who are kind to old people.

I hope I raise children who realize that life is unfair: Some people are born rich or gorgeous. Some people really are handed things that they don’t deserve. Some people luck into jobs or wealth that they don’t earn. Tough.

I hope I raise children who get what they want just often enough to keep them optimistic but not enough to make them spoiled. 

I hope I raise children who relish life’s tiny pleasures—whether it’s a piece of music, or the color of a gorgeous flower, or Chinese takeout on a rainy Sunday night.

I hope I raise children who are open-minded and curious about the world without being reckless.

I hope I raise children who don't need to affirm their self-worth through bigotry, snobbery, materialism, or violence.

I hope I raise children who like to read.

I hope I raise children who are courageous when sick and grateful when healthy.

I hope I raise children who begin and end all relationships straightforwardly and honorably.

I hope I raise children who can spot superficiality and artifice from a mile away and spend their time with people and things that feel authentic.

I hope I raise children who make quality friends and keep them.

I hope I raise children who realize that their parents are flawed but love them anyway. 

-adapted from Kara Baskin 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Look-a-like

This is my mom in 2nd grade.
I can see so much of her in Lana.

Tucker's baby quilt!

Several months ago, I found a GroupOn deal for a quilt made by Mominizer.
When Lana was 3, we had a quilt made from her baby things,
so I immediately snagged the deal to have one made for Tucker.

It came in today, and we could not be happier!
The quality is breath-taking: I really can't convey it in pictures.
The owner and staff of Mominizer are moms themselves,
each quilt is a labor of love,
and they are so professional and easy to work with.
(Not to mention you can't beat their prices!)
I highly recommend them if you're interested in having this done for your little one.
(And no, I didn't receive anything for promoting them - I just really love our quilt!)

We had it backed with Dan's baby quilt that his mom gave me several years ago.
This is so special.

Two of my favorite squares:
his first little pair of underwear and the hat that goes with the Baby K'Tan that I wore him in when he was so so tiny.

 They immediately wanted to snuggle under their quilts.
This lasted for about 4 minutes before they got wild
and I told them they weren't allowed to touch them again until they're 18.

We are going to hang them up for display in their hallway in the meantime.

Besides these quilts, we have these shadowboxes that we used to display some of their tiny little baby items, also.  So much better than having all of these sweet things stuck away in a box somewhere.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Tonight we went to the circus in Pensacola!
Nana and PawPaw and 2 of the cousins joined us - so much fun!

We got there as soon as the doors opened so we could be there for the preshow,
and we are so glad we did!  We got to sit around the arena and see all of the animals and acts.
Tucker loved the elephant, and said his favorite part was
"when the elephant ate the sandwich!"
(He got a loaf of bread as a treat.)

There was dancing and silliness and so much fun!

Then we found our seats, which were wonderful: 
just one row of people in front of us!

We loved the acrobats and the light show and the tight rope walkers and the clowns - 
it was all so wonderful!
Funny story: Dan and Tucker had gone to the restroom, and when they came out, the elephants were doing their thing.  Tucker said "Daddy, they are SO BEAUTIFUL!"  Dan replied "yes, buddy, those animals are so beautiful."  "No, Daddy!  Not the animals!  The GIRLS are so beautiful!"

We had a wonderful time at the circus, and can't wait until next year!

Videos of our 2 Smartypants

It seems like just over the past few weeks, Tucker has had a big learning burst!
Watch these precious videos:

I was videoing Tucker's smartypants self, and I had to sneak in a video conversation with the Original SmartyPants in our family.  Tucker didn't want to give up the spotlight at first:  the outtake

Away in a Manger

and no family video compilation is complete with our newest member's antics:
bird dogging

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pepper's first bark & first bath

It's so exciting!  
We heard Pepper's bark for the first time this week!
You can hear it, too: click here

Pepper got her first bath this week.
She loves playing outside and can quickly smell like a yard dog, 
despite the fact that we wipe off her paws and back and belly with a baby wipe each time she comes in from outside.

It was a warm day, and we were playing outside, 
so we filled up a dishpan with warm water, and Lana was thrilled!

Pepper, not so much:

 She did like lying on her towel in the sunshine drying off, though.

Pretty and clean!

Monday, January 7, 2013


I wouldn't have ever said that I struggled with what others think of me, or "fear of man" as the Bible calls it.  (Proverbs 29:25)  I've always been fairly comfortable in my own skin, and more and more confident as the years have passed of the giftings that Lord has given me and how He intends for me to use them.

But as I look over the last year of my life, I see that I have struggled with it.
And it's changed me.

I think sometimes me....the true me, the one when I'm walking in step with the Holy Spirit....
is too much for others.  Sometimes.

too bubbly.
too bold.
too happy.
too black and white.
too excited.
too enthusiastic.
too sincere.
too passionate.
too firey.
too loud.
too determined.
too overwhelming
(and some other too's that I'm sure they've thought and not said out loud.)

and I can see how I've tried to dim myself so that others hurts to even write that others would "like me more."  How middle school am I?!  In my own defense, I had no idea at the time that I was actually doing that mess.   

But I wanted to absorb well into this new chapter of our life,
and I wanted to somehow find a place in a place where everyone has known everyone forever,
and they're all related and they're so so nice
and I just wanted to find my niche
and I want to be a good pastor's wife
and I don't want to overwhelm anyone....
so I can see in hindsight that I have, little by little, 
dimmed my light so that it wasn't shining in their eyes.   

And in doing that, I have put off having life abundantly (John 10:10) and put on things like bitterness and confusion and resentment, and I've directed those sinful things at other people and at myself and I think I've just lost my way because I took my eyes off the One who made me to live in step with him, the One who created me to BE for Him alone.  I glanced to the side at what others thought I should be and how they thought I should be and then I ended up knee-deep in fear of man.

Now, some of those "too's" aren't good fruit, and they should be put off.
But I wasn't putting anything off or dimming anything because of what God thought.
Slowly but surely, I dimmed the Light inside of me because it made others uncomfortable.
I cared more about what others thought than what God thought.

Sin is so sneaky.

In 2013, I'm putting off the dimness.
By the power of the Spirit that is within me, we're turning back on the high beams, friends.

Daily, my God is restoring to me the joy of His salvation and granting me a willing spirit to sustain me.  (Psalm 51:12)

I'm doing a word study on JOY as a fruit of the Spirit in Scripture.
And one on LIGHT - as Jesus is and as I am called to be.
(And I just can't imagine that our light is ever supposed to be on low-beam as believers, you know what I mean?!)

I'm making a point to seek out what joy looked like even in times of difficult or slow work, like the people who were rebuilding the wall in Nehemiah, and king David as he was in his dark times.

I'm reading Feminine Appeal: 7 Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney, recentering my heart on the calling he's put in my life as Dan's wife and Lana & Tucker's mama.

I'm studying Ephesians 4 and meditating on its implications and begging to be more like Him.

I'm cleaning my house less and inviting people over more and this.....
I am overlooking the drama because love overlooks a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) 
and instead of being sucked into that.....
I'm going to love those in my house and outside of it wildly and extravagantly,
the way that Jesus loves me.
for no reason at all, and for the best reason of all: for the sake of the gospel.

And I'm writing all this down because Dan has taught me the Biblical model of change from Colossians and Ephesians -
that we should identify what we want to put off (sin) and what we want to put on (godliness) and what steps we are going to take to change.  So here it is in black and white.

Another year of putting off sin and putting on more of Jesus and, for the first time in a long time....I'm giddy with excitement about the hard places He intends to round off in my heart.  And I'm strictly and utterly amazed that the God who created the universe even cares about all this going on in my heart.  But He does.  And He draws me toward Himself, without growing weary of my nonsense, but loving me too much to leave me there.

This is the good life, folks.

You make known to me the path of life;
in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 (ESV)