Friday, February 22, 2013


Welcome to week two of pictures from my week! I'm so glad it's Friday and yet it still feels like it is Wednesday. Which makes me excited when I realize it's actually Friday! 

This week started off on a, ummm, slimy and sleepless note. Then it quickly filled with time with friends, lots of school, and the arrival of next year's curriculum and my new toy with which I'm sure to die. This weekend I'm looking forward to seeing all three of my favorite sisters, time with HH, time with nieces and nephews, and the possibility of more projects being accomplished. Sounds like a great weekend to me!

My washing machine before HH fixed it and we cleaned it up. So many loads of laundry have been done this week and it takes way less time than before. I'm a Desperate Housewife turned Happy Housewife. That's the best kind.

What they tried to wear. Well, the Fluffy blonde one still made it out of the house in her miss-matched outfit with mis-matched socks pullled over her leggings and up past her knees. But the "The shorter the dress, the better" Curly haired one had to change. It's official. HH is now monitoring what they wear out of the house. It's starting so early, :)

Pizza night! Friday night is usually pizza night at our house and  we never get tired of it. 

Jackson likes a little pizza with his ranch!

I asked HH to stop and get some ice cream...P.S. If you have a Haggens store near you go right now and buy their rocky road. Seriously. It's the best. Creamy chocolate ice cream (with no soy), chunks of almonds and marshmallows, and a swirls of gooey caramel. The. Best. So you need to go. Now. Really.

Meal planning! The top list is the foods that I had /have in the freezer. The bottom list is the meals we've been eating this week. Under it all is my calendar so I know when to plan easy meals and what events I need to work around.

Every Sunday night I "shop" from my freezer for the week. I bring a bag of the meals I've chosen in from the deep freezer and stack them in my indoor freezer. The month is almost over which means I'm working on my shopping list for next month. This way of cooking is so nice and helpful. Our evenings have been so much more enjoyable because I'm not stuck in the kitchen most of the night.

Jackson wasn't feeling well last Sunday night. These next three photos were taken  between 2:30 and 3 a.m. He was more happy running around playing and he wasn't screaming so I was fine playing with him and enjoying his cuteness. He's so cute with his magna doodle. He concentrates really hard on what he's drawing and loves to show me his work. Even if it's just a tiny dot.

Working on his architectural skillz.

Finally taking a moment to rest. With laser eyes.

Finally getting  some sleep Monday mid-morning.  He's so sweet. Even though he pooped, puked, and peed on me just the day before.

Amelia is in "pretty" school this year and just this last month she's gotten the hang of  writing her letters. Now we are working on writing her name. She is so proud of herself.

I'm linking up with Life Rearranged.

  life rearranged

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You know you're a mom...

I mentioned my crazy Sunday in my post on Monday. We had be having a productive weekend that I was going to share with you all and then Sunday happened.

Our weekend started Friday morning when HH got home from work. We hung out around the house visiting, doing school, and making plans. Friday afternoon and evening ended up being a date with the kids in tow. We made some fun purchases and did some errand running. To me running errands is a love language of it's own so I was elated. Especially since this was weekend #2 of errand running.

Saturday I started my day with brunch with a friend in a quaint town nearby. We talked marriage, kids, and life and I left encouraged, convicted, and inspired.

When I got home HH decided to pull our washing machine apart to replace some parts since it had pretty much given up on spinning clothes dry no matter how small the load. This is what we learned about our washer when he took it apart:

I was beyond disgusted. I use my washer ALL the time! How does it have time to mold and build up gunk like that?! Anyways, I googled it and apparently it is semi-normal and you just clean it out and run a load of bleach water once a month. This is forever on my to-do list now because eeeeew! Gross!

HH ran out to look for parts and didn't find them locally so we had to wait until the next day to finish the repairs. We got up Sunday morning and rushed out the door. This is what the girls tried to wear:

HH said en emphatic NO! about the outfit on the right. Teehee! We took the kids out to breakfast and had a great time. Then we headed into "the big city" to run more errands and get parts. I'm gonna condense this part by saying: it took a sweet forever! But we accomplished most of what we set out to do. By 4 in the afternoon the washing machine was back together and running like a pro.

In the course of the previous busy week and the weekend of plumbing issues we had used up all but two towels in our house. We had lots and lots of laundry to do. Thankfully my washer is running better so loads take less time to dry. This makes me so many kids of happy. HH is amazing.

Sometime after coming home Jackson needed to be changed. In a smelly kind of way. Never in his life have I experienced what I did when I quickly took his pants off. Poo everywhere! All down his legs. On me. On the floor. On his diaper bag.

I cleaned up as much as I could with wipes and then got both of us into the tub. We took a bubble bath together and came out smelling much better than when we got in. After that I went on a mini cleaning spree and picked the house up and mopped the kitchen. Being pooped on has that kind of affect on a person.

HH left for work around 7 that evening and shortly after that Jackson and I were playing together in the kitchen. He kept coughing and I was a little concerned. I knew he had a small cold but he hadn't been coughing so much. Suddenly he gagged and started throwing up. All down my shirt (inside and out), leg, and foot. All down himself. And all over the kitchen floor I'd just mopped.

I stood frozen for a few minutes unsure of how to handle this situation exactly. Hazel and Amelia were loudly letting me know there was puke on the clean floor. I couldn't ask Abiah to help me because throw up makes him throw up. I thought about calling my mom who's 5 minutes away but figured I could think of a way to take care of it by myself  as long as the other kids cooperated.

I quickly stripped Jackson to his diaper. I wiped me feet on the kitchen rug. It needed washed anyways, I'm sure. I headed to the bathroom while asking Hazel to run and grab my robe from upstairs, Amelia to grab pajamas for Jackson, and Abiah to get me a clean diaper for Jackson. I also threatened the bedtime of any child who dared walk into the kitchen. Hazel is really into being a big helper and all I could picture was her smearing the puke all over the floor in a sweet attempt to help mommy.

Once again we were in the tub but this time we were taking a shower. I got us both all scrubbed down and cleaned up. Again. Hazel brought me a robe, but it was a short robe. Meant to only cover a person down to their hips. Not gonna work. The kids finally got my long robe and Hazel brought it in to me and absent-mindedly laid it on my pukey clothes. It would have to do. We had other problems I had to figure out.

Since HH had showered before he left for work we were down to one towel. The one Jackson and I had used after our bath earlier. I decided to stand Jackson in the tub while I quickly dried myself off so that I could then dry him off and get us dressed. While I was drying myself off I had on foot in the tub and one foot out. Suddenly I felt water dropping on the foot that was still in the tub. Not only had Jackson managed to poo and puke on me in one day. Now he was peeing on me!

Thankfully I was able to see the humor. I got cleaned up and we were done. I got the kids to bed, relaxed by watching a few shows and was in bed by 11.

Jackson then woke up at 11:45 with an ear ache. I think his cold turned post-nasal and was bugging his ears. We were up most of the night. He was happiest down stairs playing.

He slept the longest from 3:30-6:00 and then we were up for the day. I felt so bad for him. Ear aches are no fun especially when you can't understand things that will help like laying on a heating pad. Monday mid-morning I rocked him to sleep and took a nap myself.

He rested for 45 minutes that time but later slept for 2.5 hours and 11 hours that night. I'm so glad he's feeling better.  It's amazing that you can love someone so much even when they've pooped, puked, and peed on you all in one day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

'Til My Sides Hurt: The Girls

Abiah had stolen a bracelet away from Hazel and thrown it into the family room. Amelia followed him and with a stern look and hands on her hips she told him, "Abiah, dat is not how you tweat a Lady."


Coming down stairs "just one more time" after being put to bed to tell me she was sweating, Hazel reassured me with, "It's ok. In 20 years I'll be better."


Abiah: What's 8+8?

Hazel: Ummmmmmm....

Abiah: 16!

Hazel: I was almost gonna think of that!

Life with girls is a fun ride. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Meal Plan for February

I was going to begin this post by telling you about our lovely, productive weekend. I've felt like I've been so business-y here lately and our weekend was turning out to be a really nice thing to share. Then yesterday happened. Not only am I not ready to talk about it, but I've not had the sleep (or coffee yet) to aid in the words putting into sentence doing. Also, I think that yesterday's events really don't belong in a post about making nummy food. Because then you won't wanna make the yummy food. Anyways, my weekend recap may come mid-week.

Ok. Here it is. My meal plan for this month. I will link to all meals so you can check out the individual recipes. In a few days be watching for my "this is how I made all of this in one day" post.

My approach to meal planning this month was to try more crockpot meals, only do real cooking once a week, and repeat meals for convenience. I'll list the side dishes that I planned as well. Those usually get made in the few minutes to hour before dinner time.

Freezer Meals for the Crockpot:
All my crockpot meals come from They are new to us and so far we are liking most of them.

BBQ Spare ribs w/ baked potatoes and veggies x2

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken w/ roasted potatoes and veggies x2

Cilantro Lime Chicken Burritos x2
This is a recipe we didn't mind but I like my crockpot chicken better.

Black Bean Taco Soup x2
This was delicious! I will definitely make this again!

Freezer Meals for the Oven/Stove:

Pizza x4

Stroganoff w/steamed broccoli x2

Italian Pie w/ veggies x2

Sausage Lasagna w/veggies x2

PW's Chicken Spaghetti w/ veggies x2
I don't make this exactly the same way PW does. I use 2-3 cooked chicken breast diced into bite sized pieces instead of a whole chicken, and veggie broth instead of chicken broth. Still good. Just saves a few steps.

Meals for My Cooking Night:
I love to cook so I reserved one night a week for making a meal. All the other nights I used the freezer meals. It worked out really well for me and I think I'll continue this for awhile.

Doro Wat & lentils w/Injera & kale x2
We are studying Africa this month in our homeschooling and so we decided to make some of our favorite food: Ethiopian! I used some recipes in a seasoning sampler my BFF gave me. If you are super interested in making Ethiopian food we can talk recipes some time. Let me know in the comments.

Orange Chicken x2
I LURV Orange Chicken but I can't get it anymore because of the soy thing. HH and Abiah are addicted too but rarely get to enjoy it out of respect for me. And maybe because I have forbidden that they taste the sweet/tangy nectar of orange chicken since I can't. Maybe. When I saw had a few recipes I decided to try them both to see if we should add it to our monthly meal plans for good. The guys were pretty excited. 

Our first time around we tried the orange chicken recipe from this post. Mine looked NOTHING like their picture. It had a strong ginger flavor but was strangely still very bland. I added salt, sweet chili sauce, more salt, and more sweet chili sauce and it just didn't get better. The kids loved it so they ate it. I won't use that recipe again.

The second time around we tried this recipe. When I first found the recipe I was super excited because I love orange chicken and this one sounded like it would be good. And then I read the comments. And I wasn't so sure anymore. So many people said they threw it in the trash! Ugh. Anyways, I decided to give it a try but give it a twist. I decided against using the crockpot and just made this one on the stove. It was super simple. The changes I made were: add seasoning salt, garlic, and ginger to the flour mixture and add grated orange peel to the sauce. It wasn't Panda Express good or our favorite  Chinese resturaunt good, but it was good. I'll make it again. We all loved it. And it only took about 1/2 and hour to make. Super easy, ya'll.

Pan Nachos x2

If you have any questions let me know. Enjoy!

Friday, February 15, 2013

My First InstaFriday

I love reading Jodi's InstaFriday posts. So this week I decided to join in on the fun. Since I'm fairly new to Instagram and this is my first InstaFriday I decided to post my favorites since I joined.

Oh how she melts me. 

Such. Stinkin'. Good. Truth.

Schoolin'. This fella sure is silly. And absolutely adorable.

One of Jackson's favorite play areas. The tupperware cupboard. I've long since given up the hope of perfectly stacked tupperware. HH doesn't deal with it as often so when he does he usually fixes everything. If the cupboard starts to bug me I ask HH to put something away in hopes that he gets frustrated enough to sort and stack. No joke. He still hasn't caught on to this little trick. Let's keep it 'tween us. M'kay?

This little fella figured out how to scootch his chair across the room while he's still buckled in. At first I found him next to the towel drawer emptying the contents onto the floor. Then he found the fridge. The fun never ends.

His and Hers coffee. Running errands with HH and the kids has it's perks. See the cigar in the background? That's been in my van since hunting season. It was supposed to be a victory smoke but there was no victory. But why is it still in my  Mommy Mobile?

The fun never ends I tell you. 

This is Jackson buckling his high chair...while laying on the table. Buckling his seats is a new hobby. One day I should count how many times I get him down from the top of the kitchen table. Dude climbs fast!

We made tortilla snowflakes! They were nummy and easy. A perfect snack/project combo.

"Guck!" I'm the mean mom who takes pictures of her kids being stuck before she helps them out. This child has the most "stuck" photos yet. 

Heart. Melting. She's so much fun. And so perfect. Sometimes such a little girl and then suddenly so grown up.

Yummy Taco Soup. Yummy.

My Love bringing me Love on V-day. He spoils me.

How was your week? Got some pics to share? Join me in linking up. And find me on Instagram: @pistolsnprincesses.

life rearranged

Thursday, February 14, 2013

He's My Valentine

Sometimes I yell at HH. Sometimes I don't really like him for awhile. Sometimes I say too much. Sometimes I'm mad at him. And sometimes he deserves it.

Sometimes, as in almost never, HH yells at me. Sometimes I'm sure he doesn't like me all that much for awhile. Sometimes he says too little. I know there are times when he's mad at me. And I know that most of the time I deserve it.

HH and I, we have this marriage. And the thing is, neither of us has been here before. Neither of us know how to do this thing called life together. We've had examples. Some really good, and some really bad. But sometimes marriage is like trying to follow a recipe with only a picture of the finished product as your guide.

Sometimes, as in often, we are floundering. Fish thrown on dry land, gasping for air and struggling to find our way home. And sometimes we are floating. A steady, gentle current is carrying us along, easing us around the bends.

I read recently that some are questioning the value that Christians place on virginity in marriage. Reading through the long list of comments I kept wanting to add my own. But there didn't seem like a safe place.

When HH and I said "I do" to each other almost eight years ago, there were many firsts for us. For us both. First "I love you." First kisses. First...other things. First Valentines. Lots of firsts. And, yes, I did have romantic ideas of fairy tale living, but I also knew that what we were really saying yes to was all those amazing firsts and many more amazing moments...and a lot of life. Hopefully lots and lots and lots of life.

I found a safety in that. I found safety in knowing that we were walking into our life together, with the knowledge that we would learn how to figure out life together. I found safety in knowing that he is the only one who knows all of me. There is a venerability in knowing only one person so well.

There have been times when I find fear creeping in. What if he hurts me? What if he lets me down? In those moments I'm taken back to the wise words of a woman who encouraged me to "Put my trust in God who is in my husband" instead of placing that on HH shoulders.

There was a time, around ten years ago, when a man asked me and my friends what we were looking for in a spouse. My 22ish year old self was taken over by my 5 year old self, and I boldly stated, "I wanna marry my dad." My five year old self had no idea how prophetic she was being in that moment.

The man chuckled and warned, "Remember, it has taken your dad 40-something years to become who he is today."

There are times when my thirty-something self has lamented the fact that I wasn't more specific. My five year old self was spot on.

But the beauty isn't that I married a perfect man. It's that I married a man who is perfect for me and we get to grow in perfection together.

A wise man I know once said "relationships are messy." But I disagree...or maybe I've been taught the value of clarifying the definition of what one wishes to convey. I believe that people are messy. And messy people can cause messy relationships. But we're all messy. And this messy person loves her life with her messy HH.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WFMW: Freezer Meals: Rice

Last fall I joined my SIL and the gals from her church for their ladies retreat. We had a fantastic time of fellowship, worship, and the word. I took so much away from that weekend. This is one that I want to share with you. Freezing rice.

Deep. I know.

I'd never even thought about it. But it makes dinner prep so. much. easier!

It's as simple as making a huge batch of rice. Follow the directions on the package of whatever rice you prefer. When it's done cooking measure desired amounts into freezer storage containers or bags.

When it's time to use the rice defrost, heat up, and serve.

Making a big batch of rice on a slow day mid month will help you out so much on nights when you don't have time.

Sometimes I take slow days and do many pre-prep things: making beans, making rice, mixing up pie crust.

I'm linking up with We are THAT Family and WFMW.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Freezer Meals: Sausage Lasagna

Homemade spaghetti sauce is probably one of my favorite things to make. I don't know why exactly, but I love it. I also love that I can use the same recipe to make a delicious lasagna since HH gets tired of spaghetti. This recipe is easy to double.

To make the sauce I use:

One Pizza Sauce recipe
1 lb Italian Sausage
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup (ish) chopped mushrooms
1 cup (ish) shredded zucchini
1 cup (ish) sliced mini peppers
1 medium sized onion, diced
1-2 head of garlic, minced

Start by browning your meat. When it is cooked through add the onion and cook until the onion is clear. Add the other veggies and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Add the Pizza Sauce.

To make a lasagna I use:

16 oz of ricotta cheese
1 bunch of onions, sliced
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
1 pkg of no bake lasagna noodles or 1 pkg of bow tie pasta

Mix the ricotta, green onions, and mozzarella together.

In a 9x13 pan layer sauce, noodles, and cheese mix. You want to end your layers with sauce on top. Cover with shredded mozzarella and bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.

For the freezer I wrap each pan twice with saran wrap and then add a layer of foil to the top. You'll want to defrost for 24 hours before baking.


Monday, February 11, 2013

"Til My Sides Hurt: How Random

While I was putting clothes away in my room Hazel came to chat with me. She started the conversation off with. "Mom, do you know what I call Jackson? I call him Fat Baby. But not like fat fat. Just like chubby baby. I'm not being mean I just like my brother. I love him and I never get to be with him."

"Hazel, that's not true. You are with him all day every day."

"Well, 'sept when I'm in trouble."

"And why do you get in trouble?"

"When I'm dis'bedient. 'Cause guess what, Mom. You never wear dresses all the time. Like in the days when we are home you never wear dresses. Like today you won't even get dressed."

"Hazel. I've been working all morning and just haven't gotten dressed yet."

And then she got distracted by the pile of hangers on my bed.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Freezer Meals: Beef Stroganoff

I don't have any pictures of this recipe. It's easy and one that my kids LOVE.

You will need:
1 lb thinly sliced beef, cooked (I use 1/2 lb)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
10-15 mushrooms, sliced
12 oz can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of sour cream
2 Tbl ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire
1/4 cup water
One box of pasta, cooked (I prefer bowtie or penne)
1 Tlb butter

After the meat is cooked add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until the onions and mushrooms are tender. In a separate bowl mix together the soup, sour cream, ketchup, Worcestershire, and water. When veggies are tender add sauce. Add one box of cooked pasta and the butter. Mix well and serve.

You can also make the sauce portion of this recipe and freeze it until you need it. Defrost for 24 hours. Heat it up and mix with the cooked pasta and butter.

We really enjoy this recipe. I think we have it a couple of times a month. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Schooling with Fred

At the beginning of every school year I give you all a run down of my curriculum plan for the year, but I always fail to update you mid-year on any changes we've made. I'm not one to make changes often in this area because I like to be consistent, but there have been a few times when something is just plain not working. This year we made a change that is too good to forget to share.

While I am desperately in homeschoolmommy LOVE with the MFW curriculum, our math choice was the cause of much division in this Krooked Kastle. HH and I both grew up on Saxon Math so it was an obvious choice for us to fall back on. The thing is, Abiah hated it. Like slow and painful death, hated it. And he wasn't the only one being tortured!

This fall I sent a friend a flare text. One of those "help me now or I'm not gonna make it and I'm gonna take everyone down with me!" kinda texts. In glorious wisdom she told me to stop and take a break. I had exhausted all other ideas so I ran with hers. I spent a week enjoying my kids, namely Abiah. In that week my heart refocused and changed so much.

It's still hard to clarify exactly what changed but I can tell you, I remembered, or maybe understood what exactly I want for our family when it comes to homeschooling. I began reading For the Children's Sake, slowly digesting the gems of wisdom held within. Remembering and rediscovering my own heart for my children. I also reread through Ann Voskamp's post about Why Be Crazy Enough to Homeschool. But I needed help applying this directly to our lives, specifically when it came to Abiah's math.

He and I had a conversation about his school work. "Mom, I like all the things I get to read about, but I don't like to do all of the writing." While I know, and am trying to help Abiah understand, that we often have to do things we don't like or enjoy, I realized this was not an area where I needed to fight that fight. I want my kids to love learning for learning sake. I don't want them to just do school work so they can check it off of their To-Do lists.

Education shouldn't be a chore. It should be an exciting discovery. A treasure hunt. Not the drudgery that it was turning into. Ugh.

In a conversation about this with my above mentioned friend and her husband, he suggested we look into a math curriculum called Life of Fred. I've never been great at writing book summaries so I'll just let you follow that link.

 I will tell you this, I bought the first two books of the elementary series in November. Abiah had them both finished in three weeks. Then we took a Christmas break and he asked me multiple times through our break when we were going to get his new math books. I picked the rest of the elementary series up in the first week of January and he started school the 7th. Since then he has finished five or six more books. There are ten books in the elementary series and Abiah has plans (he made) to finish by the end of February.

"Look at all these books! I can't wait to get started!"

He LOVES math! I always knew he could, but didn't know how to help him. A few times my parents have come to watch our kids in the evening and both times when I tell Abiah he can stay up after the girls and Jackson go to bed he asks if he and Papa (my dad) can do Life of Fred. He used to ask to play video games!

I am beyond elated. As long as we see progress we plan to stick with Fred. I'm not sure how the other kids will take to it, but we're gonna give it a try. Hazel will start the elementary series beginning next year.

I'm so grateful for this recommendation. I know that a big portion of the change has been my approach not only to Abiah's school work but to my children in general, but this part of the change has helped. Listening to his desires and understanding his needs changed our days of fighting each other into an enjoyable experience.  He loves math and I am learning how to help him enjoy learning. Win win.

Have you made changes in your routine (school wise or not) with your kids that has proven beneficial?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

WFMW: Freezer Meals: Crockpot Liners

With all the crockpot meals I'm trying out this month I thought I'd do myself a favor and splurge on some crockpot liners. Friends, they are the best things ever!

You simply line your crockpot with one of the liner bags...

Dump in your crockpot meal... Cook it... Serve it.... Take out the left overs...

And grab the liner and toss it in the garbage.

I wash the lid off and put my crockpot way for the night. It's so easy. I love that an easy meal now has an easy clean up. You can find a box of these in the food prep isle of most grocery stores. Go get some. Now!

I'm linking up with WFMW at We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

'Til My Sides Hurt: She's Gone Country

Circa 2013
Hazel says to me the other day, "Mom, I need some new pants. I need some jeans. I need some cowgirl jeans. So when a cowgirl concert comes I can go. You can drive me there and then the Master will say, 'I pr'sent you Hazel Grace Arcouette Lou Hoo to do The Cowgirl Dance with a horse!' And then I can do a dance in front of all the peoples with a 'tend horse like on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

circa 2010