Friday, October 31, 2014

Our Halloween in Photos

JB was supposed to be out of town for Halloween. But recognizing that he had been working a lot and we were really missing him, he cancelled his Permaculture trip and stayed home with us!

What a fun day we had. We started by going to an indoor water park about 45 minutes from our house. Then we went to Chik-fil-A for lunch, and a Science Center we are members of. Then we came back home and got ready for trick-or-treating.

Here is our night in pictures:

This is me calling her name repeatedly. She REFUSED to turn around. She was so mad at me.

Here I am sneaking around to the other side to get her picture.

She does NOT like Cinderella!

She wanted no part of the costume or the pictures.

Abigail came over to try and cheer her up.

Here is Hannah pushing her big sister away.

Next we got the big kids dressed. It was absolutely frigid (in the high low 40's but 30's with wind) so we tried to dress in layers. We did our costumes out of whatever we already had at home. Isaac chose "Optimus Prime with Light Sabre". Abigail chose "Barbie dress with fairy wings and black tights" and Sidge chose "Iron Man with cape so my name is Missile." And, since we had to take the Cinderella dress off of very angry Hannah, we decided to just put the dress in the picture and skip trying to get Hannah in the photo.

My attempt at a successful picture. I was seriously BEGGING for just one good one.



I love this picture!

It was then time to dress Scrubby up. We decided to make him "Optimus Butterfly" this year. (Don't worry. We only put this on for a foto and immediately let him out of this!)

"This is so embarrassing." 

Optimus eating his snack.

After tossing off the mask.

"Pink wings on a boy dog? Seriously!"

Before we got dressed, we decided to carve pumpkins. Each kid got to pick what they wanted their's to be. Isaac's was a silly face with the top as the nose. Abigail's was a princess (look closely to see the tiara), and Sidge's is Spider Pumpkin -- which is much easier to see when it is dark out! JB is quite the great carver!

Favorite Halloween Candy

Friday Funnies

My Mom and Dad are preparing to come up here for Thanksgiving. They wanted to pick a perfect lego set out for the boys. So while JB was reading the kiddos a story at night, I got on the computer to look around for the perfect one they could order and bring up here for the boys. I remembered the boys saying something about really wanting "Lord Business' Office" from the Lego Movie (which is a really great movie by the way!) So I started looking for that.

Those little stinkers managed to see what I was doing. Later that night as they were getting in bed, the following conversation ensued.

Sidge: "Why were you looking at Lord Business' Office on the computer?"
Me: "Well, I just like looking at legos?"
Isaac: "You do?"
Me: "Yeah."
Isaac: "We do too."
Me: "I know!"
Sidge: "Next time, could you please invite us to look at them on the computer with you?"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My first and best cooked meal!

Newflash: I cannot cook.

Actually, this is not a newsflash to anyone who knows me. 

My husband cooks. And he is not really a cook. He is a chef. He's the type of guy that could truly go on one of those cooking shows and do well. He knows how to take all kinds of things and make all kinds of things and make them look pretty and the whole thing.

That is not me.

But suddenly, I find myself with a husband who is not home for dinner half the week. He works shift work which means he is working 7am-7pm or 7pm to 7am. So he is either home way after dinner or leaving right before dinner.

My mother-in-law lives with me, and she is a great cook. But eventually, she and my father-in-law will have their own home. If JB is going to be working shift work, and I am going to be home with four children, I need to be able to cook SOMETHING.

A friend of mine gave me a suggestion. Blue Apron.

It is not the only company of its kind, and the idea is fairly simple. They send you EVERYTHING you need to cook a real meal. They actually send you three meals in one box for the week on the day of the week you choose.

It isn't cheap. But it is definitely cheaper than eating out. And for someone like me, with no cooking experience, it is so confidence-building. You know you have the right ingredients, and you know you have the right amount, and you know if you do exactly what the recipe card says, it is going to taste good.

It also isn't easy. The meals take about 1 hour to prepare and are about 500-700 calories per serving. We got the one for 4 people. We are giving a little bit of each portion to each of the children and supplementing their meals with kid-friendly-fare. 

Here is the prep work I did for my first meal. I am very proud!

And here is the finished product on a Greek Braised Chicken dish. It was scrumptious! This is truly the best thing I ever made.

I am so psyched about this idea that I really wanted to share it with others. If you are a good cook, this isn't the plan for you. But if you are clueless (like me!) it's really a cool thing to try. It will stretch our grocery budget a bit, but I feel like getting to try new things, not having to plan and shop, and being able to eat something a bit more "tasty" when my husband is gone, is worth it to me.

Oh, and there is no commitment, and you can cancel any week (with enough notice) that you choose. So if you are going on vacation, no big deal!

Just wanted to pass this good idea onto others. It isn't offered everyone in the USA, and obviously won't work for my friends overseas, but for those in a prime location and a prime need, it might be just what you need to pat yourself on the back a bit!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why I don't take more pictures

While I was managing this photo:

My one year old managed to commit the following page-ripping atrocities:

That's a book on the left and a spelling sheet on the right that she tore down off the wall.

Deidra's Story

The following piece was written by an amazing woman named Deidra. Deidra worked with my husband at Turkey and was truly one of his very favoritest people that he has ever had the honor of working with. (She was also one of the best at her job -- truly made my husband's life so much easier.) 
Deidra recently shared something on her own Facebook page that I asked her for permission to reprint because I thought it was that amazing. I encourage you to share it with others who may need to hear the words she wrote.
If you haven't ever met Deidra, let me paint her for you. She is truly one of the happiest, smiliest, kind, loving women you will ever meet. She makes you laugh so hard. She brightens up your day. And she is a single mother in the Air Force working hard for two boys.
May her story touch you ...


Alright Family. God gave me an "assignment". And I've been going back and forth in my spirit asking God if we could maybe do this on a much smaller level so that I wouldn't have to EXPOSE myself so much. But he quickly reminded me that it's not about me! My life and my struggles were not just designed to be my testimony, but they are to be used to TEACH and help others. My prayer is that what I'm about to say not only helps someone but I pray that it helps you to HEAL. Here goes….
Most know me as a silly, crazy, LOUD, love to eat, hard working individual. Some judge me without knowing me simply off my facial expressions. But there's a side that very few know. 

I lost my biological mother, My father fell to life's stressors and began to use drugs for most of my childhood.

I was molested for years by a family member, and when I finally got up the courage to tell someone, I wasn't believed by the person I loved and trusted the most. 

I was then raped by someone I trusted. 

I was in an abusive relationship where I was beaten up which felt like for his entertainment, and pregnant all by the age of 17. 

Now, I tell you all this because this was designed to destroy me. And for many of my adult years, it almost did. Folks question my "smile", but most days it was hard enough to get outta bed let alone pretend to be happy. 

Let me explain something about my smile ... it's REAL! There is so much hurt, disappointment, and pain that I live with that my smile can only be just that ... REAL! My happiness is genuine and it comes from a real place! So when you see me smiling….. you can bet that it's for real. I have been through too much to pretend. I won't smile just because you think I should. But I will smile when I think of the goodness of GOD and what he's done for me. And when you don't see me smiling, please know that it doesn't mean that I'm sad. I may just be having a moment or being taught a lesson myself which requires not only my attention but my silence.

Understand that when you are raped or molested, that changes who you are, but when you are taken through that as a CHILD it stole who I wanted to be. It replaced my confidence with fear. It shook me to the core and remodeled my life without my permission. 

I tell you all this because I'm not ashamed of my past. God has kept me and blessed me in more ways then you know. But I want to speak to that young girl or women that's living with this same secret and it's eating you up on the inside. It's not your fault! Your experience is NOT who you are. Don't be bound and defined by your emotions. Let me tell you something, FORGIVENESS is a serious thing. And I won't even pretend to act like I don't struggle with it everyday. But I try. I put forth effort to be a better person and to be a good example. I know I had some prayer warriors on my team because I wasn't suppose to be here. But I'm here for a reason and so are you! 

I almost allowed what I went through to define me. And for many years I dated and wanted to be with the most emotionally damaged men I could find. Because I figured I was damaged, so let me get somebody else that's damaged and we can just be damaged together. If you didnt know, you attract what you are on the inside!! To me, Love = Hurt! If he didn't hurt you, cheat on you, beat you, use you ... chile' he doesn't love you! Yep! It sounds crazy ... but look what "love" had shown me as a child. I "loved" my family, and I was betrayed and hurt in the worst way. I "loved" this boyfriend of mine and he raped me. " I "loved" another boyfriend and he beat me. So I grew up thinking that pain was love.

See how deep it goes? How it can become a cycle if you don't allow God to come in and help you? Let Him help you. It took me YEARS and I still struggle with it today to realize my worth! To look in the mirror and be proud of who I see. This is going to shock many of you but that's a good thing because you know what? I'm human too. So when you go to judge, criticize, or belittle someone just remember they too have a story!! You have no clue what that person has been through so stay humble and kind no matter how they may come off to you. 

And ADULTS ... LISTEN and pay attention to your children. One thing I've learned as a mom is that the younger they are the more honest they are. They have NO REASON to lie about abuse. Take them seriously! They depend on you to protect them. It's our jobs to do just that. Talk to them. Ask the questions. 

I hope this helps someone today that may be going through something similar. I'm not perfect, and I'm still being worked on daily but I'm STILL STANDING! I'm here because I'm supposed to be. But I couldn't have done it alone. So now that I've put y'all ALL UP IN my business, I'll leave you with this ... 

No matter what you've been through or what you're going through God ALWAYS creates an exit plan! Your pain is not in vain. You just have to humble yourself to receive his word! I pray this helped someone today….Love y'all.

Monday, October 27, 2014


I just found out this evening that one of my favorite former students passed away last night. He was 30 years old -- which shows how young I was when I was his high school teacher at Franklin-Simpson High School in Kentucky, as I am 37.

He was one of those kids that just stuck with me. He was far from my best student. He honestly didn't care much about school. But he was my teacher's aide and in one of my English classes, and he was just one of those kids you couldn't help but like.

I'm sad because his death was lost to a battle with addiction. I'm sad for his family losing out on such a personable and kind guy. This is the third student (that I know of) that I have lost -- and all three were to senseless deaths.

Thinking and praying for his family this evening ... just feeling sad.

20 Quotes From Children’s Books Every Adult Should Know

Below are 20 quotes from children's books that all adults should know and remember and share with the children in their lives. Do you know what book they were taken from? Click here to find out how many books you were able to connect the quotes to!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Grandma Gatewood's Walk

I just finished reading: Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery. This book was a quick and easy read. It wasn't written incredibly well, but was inspiring and informative -- really shedding light on domestic abuse, our country before highways, and what you really need to accomplish a goal. 
In the spring of 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood left her home in Ohio, telling her children she was going for a walk.
What she didn't tell them was she was going for a walk on the Appalachian Trail- all 2050 miles from Georgia to Maine.  
When she finished the following fall, she became the first woman ever to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, or "the AT," as hikers refer to it.
She did it with a homemade sort of backpack, wearing tennis shoes and with about 200 dollars in spending money.
She is forever known as "Grandma Gatewood," through appearances on the Today Show, the Groucho Marx Show, the Art Linkletter Show and in articles in dozens of local newspapers and Sports Illustrated.
And she is revered in hiking circles as the grandmother who helped save the AT by generating much needed publicity through her exploits on the trail.
But, in researching his new book, "Grandma Gatewood's Walk," Tampa Bay Times reporter Ben Montgomery learned that Emma Gatewood's life before her hiking adventure was far from a walk in the park.
Gatewood had spent 30 years in a physically abusive marriage before she tackled the Appalachian Trail.
"What I came to understand about her is that I don't necessarily think she was walked towards something, walking toward a goal," explained Montgomery. "I think just as much she was walking away from 30 years of abuse. And saying 'Look, I'm an independent woman and I have legs.'" Her children think that she wanted to be the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. I'm not sure there's evidence to suggest that's the case.  I think that she was just walkin' and she just happened to be 67 years old."
And Emma Gatewood just happened to be part of the last generation that walked - instead of drove - pretty much everywhere.
"She never drove a car. so it was nothing for her to walk 13, 14, 15 miles to visit a friend and she did that all the time," Montgomery said. "So it wasn't all that unusual for someone like her to always be on foot."
At the time Gatewood first set foot on the Appalachian Trail though, America's love affair with the automobile was coming into full bloom.
And "Grandma Gatewood's Walk" is a reminder of all the physical, mental and spiritual benefits we miss when we choose four wheels over two feet.
"It's our first nature to hop into a car and drive somewhere," Montgomery pointed out. "I think there's something missing in this lifestyle where we're so dependent on the automobile.  We're missing this slice of American where you test yourself against the earth, where you just get out - you and your own two feet - and take a walk."