Thursday, December 8, 2011

11 and counting...

Today Matt and I are celebrating our 11th Wedding Anniversary...I cannot...CANNOT believe it's been 11 years. Time flies when you're having fun! Thought I would share a little bit about what Matt and I have experienced over the past 11 years counting from 1 to we go, this may get cheesey! :-)

ONE - We have one kitty, who was a wedding present actually... She's still kickin'!

TWO - The number of beautiful babies we share - when you marry someone you don't necessarily think about how you are going to enter parenthood with that person and man, Matt Murray has certainly impressed me!

THREE - The number of places we have called home, each one with A LOT of memories.

FOUR - Four weeks is the longest we have gone without seeing each other as a married couple. I was knee-deep in Grad School projects in Illinois and he was working hard in Missouri. Definitely tough to go that long and definitely have a new appreciation for married couples who have to spend a long time apart.

FIVE - The number of years we have spent in our marriage as parents. Jey celebrates his 5th birthday next week...which is pretty unbelievable too. While kids are super fun I treasure the six years we spent learning about each other prior to learning how to be parents.

SIX - The amount of time it took to drive between Bloomington, IL and Springfield, MO - after living apart for 1 year, we could make that drive in our sleep...and sometimes were able to make it happen in 5.5 hours. ;-)

SEVEN - The time at which our play "The Christmas Story" starts where we are going for our Anniversary date! :-)

EIGHT - The day in December that we got married, which really didn't have a special meaning when we chose it but it definitely does now!

NINE - The number of cars we have owned since we've been married.

TEN - The number of acres we are currently trying to buy. :-)

ELEVEN - The number of years we have spent far. ;-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The 24 Days of Thanksgiving

This year, a few of my facebook friends have been posting things that they are thankful for each day of November leading up to Thanksgiving. I have loved reading them and have learned a lot about people through reading these posts. Because I haven't been participating I thought I would make one big list and use it as a blogpost.

I will preface this list by stating the obvious ...this is by no means a comprehensive list and some of these are supposed to be a little facetious. :-)

1. I am ever so thankful for my family - from the youngest (Ava) to the oldest (I think Papa - Matt's grandpa is the oldest at the moment?) and EVERY SINGLE person in between.

2. I am so thankful for my friends and very thankful that my family are some of the best friends I have.

3. I am thankful for my church - not the biggest church with the fanciest methods but you will NEVER EVER find a group of people more loving, giving, and committed to the Lord than those at Glidewell Baptist Church.

4. I am thankful for my job. I have come to appreciate it more now knowing that so many people are desperately seeking a job and can't find one.

5. I am thankful for social media. Sure it can suck up a lot of time but it also keeps you closer to people you wouldn't otherwise get to speak too. Love keeping up with my missionary friends!

6. I am thankful for choices. I know, I know, if you know me you know that I am not overly effective when needing to make a choice but the fact that I HAVE a choice about where to live, work, worship, how many kids to have, what to eat, where to go, ect, ect is pretty great.

7. I am thankful for crockpots...what time savers.

8. I am thankful for marriage...what an amazing thing God created!

9. I am thankful for hot water heaters...especially when they work.

10. I am thankful for kids' health.

11. I am thankful for technology...these are getting shorter!

12. I am thankful for the people in my Sunday School class, that they challenge me and make me see things from a different perspective.

13. I am thankful for a garage to park my car in rather than running through the rain to put my babies in the car.

14. I am thankful that both mine and my husband's grandmas are all still living with good health - it is an awesome experience that my kids know all of their great grandmas!

15. I am thankful for my son's preschool and what they have done for Jeremiah - I watch him grow in amazing ways and know that a lot of it has to do with his education from UCCC.

16. I am thankful that I can carry a Bible and pray wherever, whenever I want.

17. I am thankful for the right to vote.

18. I am thankful for my Tivo. :-)

19. I am thankful for $2 Happy Meal Tuesdays at "Hot Donalds" as Jey would say.

20. I am thankful for modern day conveniences...Starbucks, $3 car washes, microwaves, ect.

21. I am thankful that I am not hungry right now, that I had a choice of what to fix for dinner, and I have food in my house for tomorrow's meal-S. There are a lot, I mean A LOT of people...children...who do not have this luxury and will not have this luxury.

22. I am thankful for time off for National Holidays.

23. I am thankful that I learned how to use coupons correctly - I'm amazed at how much money I WAS spending of food and how little I have to spend now.

My friend (and cousin-in-law), Aaron Murray, taught our Sunday School class this morning and shared a quote with us (which I probably won't quote correctly). Basically he said, "What if you only had the things today that you were thankful for yesterday". I can't seem to get that off my mind. I am thankful, I am and I tell God what I am thankful for when I feel thankful. However, busy schedules, stressors in life, and other lame excuses cause me to forget to say "thank you" to God. Could I really live today with the things I only "remembered" to be thankful for yesterday? Not on your life! So, lastly to finish this list leading up to Thanksgiving, the thing I am MOST MOST MOST thankful for....

24. God's grace. That He chooses to bless me in spite of me.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

What you get when you have a girl...

Well we can add a couple of words to the list of things Ava says...

Shoes, Socks, and Hats

She is definitely going to be a girly-girl! I caught her and my neice the other day trying on all of Ava's socks and hats followed by her shoes. Here we go...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ahrg! Post me on the blog, mom!

Jeremiah needs some blog time...So here he is! The cutest little pirate I've seen all year! We went to Jey's closet and pieced this outfit together for his costume for Halloween 2011.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


"Gibber, Gabber, Mama, Gibber, Gabber, Gibberish"
That is what Ava says most of the time and let me tell you, she says it ALL the time. This girl is a talker although it's taking her a while to say actual words. Because I want to remember, here is her current word list...
Jey Jey
"Tank Tou" (Thank you)
Wuv Woo (Love you)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1 month, 2 weeks, and 6 days

That's how long it has been since I last posted (until yesterday). It is certainly NOT because I don't have anything to say...I have A LOT to say actually and no time to say it! Perhaps I'll catch you all up soon...and for my own personal journalling. :-) Meanwhile, enjoy a picture of my cute little family as we enjoyed a fun fall day at the pumpkin patch with the kiddos and my neice, Zeda.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago and 10 years from now

Perhaps it's a little cliche to write a 9/11 blogpost. But considering that this blog is more for ME than anyone else who may read it, I've got something to say. The picture chosen for this blog may not have been expected but honestly when someone asks, "Do you remember where you were on 9/11" I often think of where I was just 9 months before, which was enjoying NYC at Christmas time with my husband on our honeymoon in the Presidential Suite at the World Trade Center. While I do remember where I was on that day, I think about who may have been visiting the WTC on their honeymoon or vacation on that day and how their lives may have ended and definitely changed forever.

In Sunday School this morning our lesson was on hope...not sure this was actually planned as a 9/11 lesson but that is what we talked about. My good friend, and teacher, challenged us to look at how life has changed over the past 10 years and to mark today as a day of moving forward to the next 10 years. In 10 years when someone asks me, "Where were you 10 years ago today?" I was worshiping...that's what I was doing. This day has been a full, full, very full day. And while I could complain about how full my day was and how tired I am, I think about those families who lost loved ones in 9/11 and would give anything to have another "full day".

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cross Stitch it on a Pillow, Vol. 5

You may have tangible wealth untold,
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,
Richer than I you will never be,
I had a mother who read to me.
~ Strickland Gillilan

This week, I attended a seminar presented by the Green County Libraries regarding reading readiness for kids. I was absolutely amazed at the information I gained in one hour and very glad I went. This quote was used in the presentation and I love it. I remember the books my mom read to me and even in the tone/voices she used to read them. I am hoping my kids will grow to love the time I spend with them reading books - I know I sure do! Any chance I can get to hold those busy babies close just for a minute makes this momma VERY happy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Work at Work and Home at Home

I have tried working towards this goal a couple of times in the past and it never seems to work out but this NEEDS to happen for me...and my family. I am so blessed to have the job I do - I never, never, never thought I would teach but I really love it! I love food and nutrition (and to talk) so getting a chance to talk about nutrition every day and getting paid for it is great! On a different note, I really, really, really love my family and when I am at home I want to do stuff with them and do things for myself like read a book, try new recipes, take my kids to the zoo, and on and on and on. What seems to happen...especially in the heart of the that I bring work home. I don't necessarily push the kids and hubs aside ALL the time to do work but staying up very late to accomplish everything makes for a very tired momma and then very little gets accomplished at work AND at home. So, new plan for Fall 2011...I will work at work and do home at home. So far, one week into the semester, it's going great (the grading hasn't started yet...). There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done for work so at home I have been tempted to work on work but simply put it on the to-do-list for the next day in the office. Then, I do something at home that I've wanted to do like pull out some stored toys for Ava, build a lego city with Jey, try a new DIY project and so far it has felt G-R-E-A-T. And at work, I've been super effecient working off of these to-do-lists that were created at home as things come to my mind. :-) I'm hoping I can keep this up! Any tips from you working moms out there would be much appreciated!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cross Stitch it on a Pillow, Vol. 4

"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11

This verse touched me for the first time when I was a sophmore in highschool and has been of utmost comfort to me ever since.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This Homemade Stuff Has Gone Too Far!

You may have remembered me talking about my homeade laundry detergent, which is great by the way. I thought I would give homeade dishwashing soap a first attempt did not go well. The second recipe seems to be working much better! Thanks to my bestie, Amber, for sharing!

1 cup of borax

1 cup of washing soda

6 packets of unsweetened lemonade flavored kool-aide

Mix all ingrediets together and use only 1 Tablespoon per dishwasher load.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good-bye Summer, Hello School Year

My mom always told me that the real world didn't have summer vacation, spring break, 3 weeks off at Christmas, ect...but as it turns out, my real world does! And I am ever so greatful. I've had a fantastic summer with my kids; full of trips to White Water, swimming, Discover Center, movies, "Hot Donalds" as Jey calls McDonalds, among other fun things. This week is the first week of school so it's back to work for me but looking forward to cooler weather and fun fall activities with my kiddos! Here are some of our summer highlights!

Ava checks out the fireworks that Bubba picked out.

Daddy and Ava at the Duck Creek family picnic.

A fun family weekend in Branson for the Fourth of July!

Annual picnic at Paul Sloan's farm

This is the first year Jey is big enough to ride a "big boy" roller coaster. This is a picture of Jey and daddy riding Thunderation at Silver Dollar City.

A much needed summer of course we had to dance in it!

What would summer be without a trip to the Ozark Empire Fair?

Ava's first time doing the Duck Pond at the Fair.

The record breaking heat this summer called for a new slip-n-slide.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Say Y-Y-Y-Yes to V-V-V-VBS

One of my favorite summer time activities is Vacation Bible School. It's SO much work but SO worth it! It blesses me tremendously to see a group of people who love the Lord so much work together to make sure kids see and understand the love God has for them. Here are a couple of my favorites from this year's "Big Apple Adventure" Vacation Bible School at Glidewell.

This year, our mission team at church took on a project to help out with a Vacation Bible School with a Hispanic church here in town, Iglesia Cristiana Casa de Oracion. A group of us took on the craft rotation and had a great time. The people of this church blessed me so much. We had fun doing crafts, playing in recreation, and learning the "Big Apple Adventure" song in Spanish. Jeremiah even joined us a couple of nights for "EBV", although his new Spanish speaking friends intimidated him a little, he had a GREAT time!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cross Stitch it on a Pillow, Vol. 3

"You're the most awesome-est mommy I ever had"

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think someone would say this (or think this) about me. Parenting has to be one of the hardest, most rewarding things that I have ever experienced in my life. Not sure what I did to deserve my babies but I'm so glad they're mine. These words (from my son who is 4) motivate me to keep trying my hardest to be the best for him.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of keeping my niece Zeda while her momma and daddy spent a weekend away in Branson. Needless to say, it was a fun weekend! Zeda and Jeremiah have a relationship just like a brother and sister - they are super excited about each other and then once they are playing they bicker and fight over toys. But these two love each other that is for sure! One night at dinner, they decided...okay...JEREMIAH decided he wanted to wear pants on his head. So you know what happened next...Zeda decided she needed pants on her head as well. This is what they did, sat all the way through dinner with pants on their head. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cookin' with Kohlrabi

Okay, I know you are all probably so sick of reading about produce but I can't help it! Produce is my life these days - trying to keep up with my CSA!!! One of my favorite things about participating in the CSA is that I have brought home foods that I probably would never purchase otherwise, exposing my family to new and interesting foods. One of the foods that we have had A LOT of is kohlrabi, which is a type of German Cabbage. To me, it tastes a lot like cabbage with a hint of turnip flavor - very interesting. Because I have never purchased these, eaten these, or even seen these before we've tried a few things with them including roasting, kohlrabi soup thanks to my friend Amy (it's very similar to potato soup), and kohlrabi coleslaw thanks to my friend Foodie Rachel.

Have you ever tried kohlrabi? What is your favorite way to prepare it?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blessed with Basil

I wish, wish, wish, there was a way to upload smells because the smell of my kitchen would make you so jealous right now. But right now, in 2011, you will just have to look at this scrumptious picture of basil and take my word for the wonderful smell. We have gotten more basil than we know what to do with and I love it! I've used it in salads, made (and froze) pesto, spaghetti sauce, and tomato basil soup. If you have any other suggestions on what to do with this basil bounty I would love to hear it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cross Stitch it on a Pillow, Vol. 2


Kill em' with Kindness, Baby!

I have used this phrase so many times in my life in different situations. It's a phrase that my dad said to me one time when dealing with a less-than-pleasant teacher in high school. It's not that this teacher was mean to me, personally, just a little difficult to deal with and therefore very intimidating. I told my dad about my nervousness in approaching the teacher to ask for help and this is the advice he gave me. He said, "if you are nice and they are not then you really can't do anything else to help the situation and it's their problem." I remember that conversation and the light bulb that turned on in my mind. Ever since then, I've used this motto and it's amazing how a little kindness will go a LOOOOOONG way! Thanks, dad!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cheaper than Couponing?

I have been wanting to try this out for awhile and I finally gathered all of the supplies to make my first batch of Homeade Laundry Detergent. You all know that I love finding good deals on laundry soap but my stash is running low and detergent coupons aren't that great. I found this recipe through one of my blogging friends, Foodie Rachel. I'm a little picking on my laundry soap but thought I would at least give it a shot. All of these indredients where cheaper than buying 1 jug of my normal laundry soap and the thing is I still have enough left over to probably make 2 or 3 more batches! Oh and did I mention that one recipe makes a 5-gallon bucket of laundry soap? Yep, I'm set for awhile. :-)

I highly recommend this recipe for homeade laundry soap....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I did it!

Last fall I learned something new, something I have always wanted to do but just had this preconceived notion that it was too hard or too time consuming. I learned how to make jelly, jams, preserves, relishes, ect AND the whole canning technique. It turns out that it wasn't hard or really that time consuming and it is actually quite relaxing! Because my husband is a fantastic gift giver and knows just what I would love even before I know it, he gave me all sorts of canning gadget-ry. And thank you to Farmer Curtis Milsap, I have a ton of produce to can! :-) This was my first attempt at canning outside of supervision...and it turned out great! And with the amount of peaches I have been receiving from my fruit CSA share, I'm sure there will be more Peach Preserves in the near future.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cross Stitch it on a Pillow, Vol. 1

Do you ever come across a phrase, sentence, Bible verse, words of wisdom, or simply words of advice from a friend and you want to remember it forever? I come across these types of words a lot; many of which I have written down, stuck on a post-it, written in a notepad, kept it in my mind, ect. I certainly cannot, nor would not, cross stitch them all on a pillow. In my attempt to "journal" (which happens to be on my New Year's list), I thought I would use this Blogspot to keep a collection of those "words" that I want to remember. Keep in mind that these posts are for me personally, but perhaps you will find encouragement in them as well. :-)

"Don't waste time trying to get rid of your weakness, using it as an
excuse, or explaining it away. Let's follow the lead of [the Apostle] Paul
and boast in our weakness so that the power of Christ may be reflected in it and
through it."

Anyone else feeling particularly thankful for their weaknesses these
days? I know I am not and usually am feeling embarrassed by them or
inadequate because of them. I guess there is just one thing left to do...
embrace them and fully rely on God for getting ANYTHING accomplished.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Because this is what we do on The Fourth

Sorry for the fuzzy picture but I had to post it. Some of my favorite childhood memories come from our culd-e-sac Fourth of July parties. From these super fun family parties, I claim The 4th of July as my favorite holiday. Since my parents moved from the house I grew up on at the bottom of the Pickwick culd-e-sac, we have been seeking other adventures to celebrate the 4th. My family, along with our Pickwick neighbors, have been hitting Branson for the big firework shows. It has sort of been a running joke with us because every year it is a flop! You would think this would ruin our 4th of July - absolutely not! We are all pretty easy to please so we laugh our way through it. At this's hard not to laugh! The first year we decided to do the fireworks and BBQ at the Chateau in Branson, we arrive already to celebrate to find that the celebration was really the night before and we didn't show up for our reservation. The next year we tried the Chateau again but had to sit in the car due to the heavy down pour of rain. One year we drove around looking for a firework show with no luck. This year, the kids were all dressed in their cute little 4th of July outfits for a picture, and this is the best I could do. We decided to watch the fireworks at the Chateau...again...but on our way there it started lightening very badly. By the time we got there, everyone was parking along side of the road near the Chateau so we followed suit. The winds blew at about 30 miles per hour, it was lightening, but we were NOT going to miss those fireworks! Then came the rain. We all ran to our cars and watched the fireworks/lightening show through the windsheild of our car...again. Ha! Gotta love it! What will Branson have in store for us next year?
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What to do with all of this Kale...

Did you know that Pizza Hut is the largest consumer of kale? They use it to decorate their salad bar. Well, we're going to eat it! Farmer Millsap has been supplying our household with plenty of kale this summer. It's a pretty thick leaf, much different then the salads we are used to but I have found a couple of things to do with it. Millsap Farms has a great blog, full of ideas on what to do with the produce they give us. One of the recipes that caught my eye was Massaged Kale. Basically, you use a salad oil, rub it into the leaves and let it sit for about 30 minutes. I happen to have Blood Orange Olive Oil and Tangerine Balsamic Vinegar so that is what I used and it was AMAZING!!! Put a few strawberries, almonds, radishes, tomatoes, mandarin oranges and whatever else I could find to make this super yummy lunch. Definitely give massaged kale a try, you will not be disappointed!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thank you, Curious George!

Jeremiah has been OBSESSED with radishes this year! What 4-year-old do you know is begging his mom to buy radishes!?! There is a Curious George epidose that Jeremiah absolutely loves (any other PBSkids lovers out there?). The episode is basically about George wanting to make his own juice in his new juicer...he picks out all different kinds of "red" foods to make a special treat. One of his red foods was, you guessed it, radishes.

This all started last fall, Jeremiah wanted a juicer so bad. He even asked for one for Christmas! Thinking that the obsession would pass and that he probably wouldn't be overly excited about opening a juicer on Christmas morning, I asked for the juicer and Santa Claus delivered. Once Jey realized we now had the capability of making juice he was ready to buy radishes. I thought, really? We are going through with this? But I went along...So after buying him a bunch of radishes at the store, I let him taste one knowing he probably wasn't going to like it. They do have a very intense flavor after all! Of course he didn't want to chow down on them, he wanted to JUICE them! We did and the craze still hasn't died down. I can't keep buying we decided to plant some! I have never seen a kid so excited about growning radishes in my life. Here is Jeremiah with his first radish harvest (and some strawberries - we ate them, they didn't make it into the juice). The creative juice he came up with included 4 apples, 4 strawberries, 2 carrots, and 2 radishes, 3 drops of lemon juice - all Jeremiah's idea and he loved it (so did mom and dad)!!! How can I say no to that?!?

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's that time of year again!

You know me and my, Love, LOVE them! We picked our first batch a couple of weeks ago and I am sure we'll be back before the season ends. You think this is a lot? It's only about half of them...Ava ate the other half. That girl is just like her momma! Save some for the rest of us, Ava!

You may remember me talking about Pappy's last year, here and here. We love pickin' blueberries!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

When God gives you a rainy day - dance in it!

It's the middle of summer now but this past spring was a WET one! I happen to LOVE rainy days!!! A couple of months ago, there was no playing outside because it just rained all the time. But I'm here to tell you - you CAN have fun in the rain and that is just what these two full-of-energy-I'm-bored-inside-and-want-to-play-outside kiddos did! It was starting to rain pretty good so I didn't let them get too far. Jeremiah is trying to teach Zeda how to do the robot...she is definitely a free spirit and wanted to bust out her own moves! :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My students would appreciate this...

So for those of you who don't know.... I teach in the Dietetics Program at MSU and one of the things I teach is a Food Preparation course - so basically I teach people how to cook. I get so inspired by all of the food/cooking blogs that I read and the pictures are always so appetizing but you never see the imperfections...the things that didn't rise or those things that burnt. So here you go!

Yes, even this food prepapation instructor, can burn a batch of cookies. What are burnt cookies good for? Dipping in coffee, of course! Just pretend like you meant to burn the cookies!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not just another CSA post

I know you have all heard about my CSA share for the year and quite frankly, I could talk about it all the time. I absolutely LOVE it! We are definitely bringing foods into the home that you wouldn't normally find at the store and that I probably wouldn't buy anyway (does anyone else get stuck in cooking ruts or is it just me?). The reason that this CSA share is so neat is that I harvested some of it myself! Yes, ME, out in the feild at Millsap Farm cutting down the Bok Choy and pulling the beets. How cool is that!?! To be a part of the CSA you have to...actually, you "get" to work out at the farm for one day. My sister and I signed up to work together and it was SO MUCH FUN! We laughed our way through the day, harvesting veggies, eating lunch with the farmer and his family, cleaning the produce, squashing bugs...well, sort of, and at the end I got to take a huge sack of yummy looking food home with me. Poor sister wanted some but it was my week to pick up...sorry sister. :-)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Garden 2011

Our garden is a little slow moving this year but we are still getting some nice produce. So far we have gotten lettuce, spinach, strawberries, beets, radishes and a few carrots (probably sounds more impressive than what it really is). We are waiting on brussel sprouts, zucchini, green beans, edammame, tomatoes, and cucumbers. We decided to plant a few more seeds and thought the kids could help. Boy did they ever love it! Perhaps a little too much...