Thursday, March 31, 2016

Friday Favorites...with Jess

Before I start, let me just recap the week for you, because I posted four times this week.  That's a record for me!  Thank you to those of you that read every post (Hi Mom).

Monday: Cheesy Pesto Chicken (This one was popular, check it out!)
Wednesday:  What's Up Wednesday
Thursday:  The Guy Behind the Blog

Now, on to Friday...

You know the drill by now.  It's Friday and I'm sharing five of my favorite things from the week...with a twist.  I had a complete post dedicated to Kendall's Sweet Sixteen birthday, Jentry "guest posted" for me a few weeks ago, so today's post is all about Jess.  That kid is witty and smart!  He keeps us on our toes, for sure  So, here you have it; five funny things Jess did this week.

Easter bunnies everywhere!  Last Saturday morning the kids were playing upstairs, when it got quiet...then I heard giggling.  Jess giggled the whole time he walked down the stairs!  Apparently, he went through Jentry's closet and found the bunny costume Jentry wore for Halloween when she was ONE.

It fit Jentry a little different when she wore it.

Jess found this bugle in Mark's parents garage Saturday afternoon.  He actually caught onto it pretty fast.  It occupied him for a good twenty minutes.  Thank goodness it did not come home with us, though.  Those are good things to keep at Grandma's house.  

I took this picture of Jentry that same day and thought she looked so cute, then I noticed Jess...doing yoga or something in the distance.  What?  It was the day before Easter, though, and his shadow does make a perfect cross.  Maybe he was just reflecting on the resurrection.  

Yesterday we had a Mommy & Jesse day!  He had a field trip in the morning with his preschool, that I tagged along on, then we spent the afternoon together...just us.  We started with a picnic in the park.  We were trying to decide what to do the rest of the day when Jess said, "We should go to every park in the town!"  So, we did (thank goodness we live in a small town).  Who am I to stand in the way of a little boy's dreams?  

 My cousin bought my kids these nifty eggs for Easter, that you soak in water and then a toy baby chick or rabbit "hatches" from the egg.  When Jess' hatched he said, "Oh man, it's a girl. I wanted a boy!" I hesitantly asked him how he knew it was a girl...hoping this wasn't the start of an anatomy discussion and he replied, "because she totally has girl eyes!"  Whew, that was a close one!

Speaking of eggs...that moment your dad gives you a hard boiled Easter egg and you bite into it thinking it's candy.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with these fabulous bloggers....

The Guy Behind the Blog

The Man, The Myth, The Legend...My Husband.  Today I am linking up with Laura Jean and Betsy for a fun post called The Guys Behind the Blog.  I emailed my husband the questions (in bold print & italics) and his answers follow in regular print.  He's not too keen on blog appearances, but I think he did fairly well for his first attempt at blogging...with the exception of the second question, that was a bit dramatic.  Without further ado, meet the guy behind my blog...

What are you looking forward to most about Spring?

Playing with the kiddos in backyard while I grill out.

What are you dreading the most about Spring?

Yard work! My wife yells at me when I take too long.  She expects it done in a timely manner and thinks I am trying to have time to myself by taking so long and not helping out with the other house work.  I take too long because I am horrible at edging and my equipment constantly breaks down because I am a horrible handy man and can't repair/fix anything.  I waste a lot of time sitting in my messy garage secretly crying.  I tell my wife it's sweat if she ever asks.   

(Wow...let it all out, Mark. I thought you'd say seasonal allergies, but tell us how you really feel.)

Let's change subjects:

How do you think the Rangers look this year?

Good!  I am excited about the pitching.  Odor cranked one the other night against the Dodgers and I hope he gets a hold of a bunch this season.

What is the most memorable baseball game you ever attended?

A Wild Card game with my wife, the Ranger vs Orioles.  Yu Darvish pitched but the Rangers lost.  The atmosphere was electric and the brisk fall weather was amazing as well.  It is the only time I ever wore jeans and a sweatshirt to a baseball game in Texas.  Its usually about 105 degrees when I go.  

Who is the cutest date you have ever taken to a baseball game? 

Emily #greatestbloggerever

(That was a test.  You passed.  When did you learn to use hashtags?)

What is your favorite baseball park to visit?

The Ball Park in Arlington of course.

Who is your all-time favorite baseball player, and why?

Josh Hamilton, I like his story from coming back to baseball after hitting rock bottom.  His home run derby performance was epic.  I like that "Hambone" wears his feelings on his sleeve as I think I do that as well.  Some people may think that is a flaw, but it's just who he is.  What I like best about Josh Hamilton is the fact that he acknowledges he is a sinner, like the rest of us.  Josh professes his faith in Jesus Christ and trusts in his Savior.  We both want to live with Jesus forever!     

Who is your wife's favorite baseball player? 

Nolan Ryan or Mike Napoli

You know me so well!

Thank you to my sweet , although dramatic about yardwork, husband for agreeing to take over the blog for me today.  Maybe, just maybe I'll get him to agree to do it next month, too...


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

The last Wednesday of the month, a couple of my favorite bloggers, Sheaffer and Shay, host a little link-up called What's Up Wednesday.  I'm excited to be a part of it this month!

What we're eating this week:
Last week I made this tasty Cheesy Pesto Chicken, it was soooo good, I've been dreaming about it all week!
Monday: Friendship Casserole from Mommy's Kitchen (I used Dream Fields Pasta to make it THM Friendly)
Tuesday:  Baked Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli
Wednesday:  Swiss Steak from Mommy's Kitchen, with a few THM revisions (more on that later), with mashed garlic cauliflower and green beans.
Thursday:  Chicken Soft Tacos
Friday:  The Kitchen's Closed! #TakeMeOut

What I'm reminiscing about:  
We are big time Texas Ranger fans in our house!  This picture was taken on Jentry's first opening day on March 30, 2014.  She was five months old.  I love looking back on baby pictures and remembering those days, but I wouldn't go back for anything!  The older they get, the more their unique personalities develop.  I love who my kids are becoming!

What I'm loving:  
Jen Hatmaker's video series, "Brave Girl."  If you have access to RightNow Media, I would definitely recommend it.  It is geared towards teen girls, but I think everyone could take something away from it.

What we've been up to:
We have been busy bee's lately.  Kendall just wrapped up her Winter Guard season.  She is preparing to take her test to get her driver's license, so we've been letting her practice driving when we can.  We have  been enjoying the extra hour of daylight by playing outside when the weather cooperates.  Mark & I have been doing a little spring cleaning and organizing.  Being an adult is fun!

What I'm working on:
I am still working on my dining room renovation.  I bought a table and china hutch for my dining room from an an online garage sale sight last summer, and have slowly been working to redo it.  Before I started the project, I spent a lot of time just looking at it trying to determine what I wanted to do.  This fall I decided to stain the stop of the table and paint the legs and chairs with a white chalk paint.  The chairs took much longer than I anticipated, so I put the project on hold until after the holidays.  My goal for April is to stain the top of the buffet and hutch.  It's a slow process, but it'll come together eventually.  

What I'm watching/reading:
I am still obsessed with The People Vs. O.J. Simpson.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I was in high school when the trial happened, so I vaguely remember it, but I love seeing the details unfold now.  Although, my husband keeps reminding me that it is a TV Drama...I'm sure there are some similarities, right?  

What I'm listening to:
As if you couldn't tell from my post The Soundtrack of my Life, I am a musical hot mess.  Mark & I popped into Half Price Books a few weeks ago and came out with an Aerosmith & Jimmy Buffett CD.  We're getting ready for a Jimmy Buffett concert in May and need to brush up on our Parrothead tunes.  Other than that, I am still listening to God's Not Dead over and over again when Jess and Jentry are in the car.  I also took a suggestion from Beth and started listening to All Sons & Daughters.  I told you, I'm everywhere in my musical tastes.  

What I'm wearing:

Oh, goodness.  I am not a fashion blogger.  Here's a picture of what Kendall and I wore for Easter, complete with the links on where to buy it.  How's that for trying to be a fancy fashion blogger.

On a side note, I normally don't stand like that for pictures...I was mocking all the cute teenage poses.
Also, I just realized I never put my wreath back on the front door after I took the Christmas wreath down.  Oops.

Kendall's Dress/ My Dress

What I'm doing this weekend:
As of right now, we have no major plans.  We "Eastered" too hard last weekend, so I'm looking forward to a slow weekend...maybe I'll get my hutch stained!  We also need to do some spring cleaning and work on the yard and flower beds (Mark, that's all you), clean out the garage, organize some closets and our bathroom needs its annual mopping.  I'm kidding, but in all seriousness, how many of you put off your bathroom as he last thing that ever gets clean, because no one sees it?  Yep, me too!

What I'm looking forward to next month:
Jess has his Wee School Roundup, where we get to go watch them sing.  I'll probably get teary eyed, because apparently I am emotional now.  I use to NEVER cry, but in my "old" age, I am finding myself more and more emotional.  All those years I made fun of my grandmother crying about American Idol, and now look at me!  (I didn't make fun of my grandmother to her face, that would be rude...just behind her back.)

What's My Best Spring Cleaning Tip?
Make a list!  I feel so good when I have written my goals down on paper, BUT even better when I can cross something off.  In fact, I am probably going to start my list today.  I am hosting my monthly Bunco group in a few weeks, and I have a few things I need to accomplish before then.

Ok, friends, tell me what 's going on with you this Wonderful Wednesday!


Monday, March 28, 2016

Cheesy Pesto Chicken

Who's planning their weekly menu, trying to find something new to try?  I've got something for you! 
 One of the first recipes I blogged about was my beloved Foil Packet Salmon.  It is a favorite around our house, but I understand not everyone is a seafood lover like me, so I tweaked it a little and made a chicken version.  It was a hit among my little family.  Here's the good news: this is low carb and Trim Healthy Mama friendly, but like all my THM recipe, it doesn't taste healthy at all!  If you are new here and want to read how I lost seventeen pounds in three months, click here.

Let's get started!  You will need: boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cherry tomatoes (I'm not a tomato person, but trust me, it's good combined with everything), jarred pesto, shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  

I spooned pesto over the top of each chicken breast and sliced the tomatoes in half and spread them across the pesto.  Mark said he thinks the chicken would have had more flavor if we would have marinaded it before cooking.  I told Mark,  if he wanted it done that way to do it himself  we would have to give that a try next time.

These measurements are detailed and technical, so pay close attention (please, note the sarcasm).  I grab a handful of mozzarella and place over each chicken breasts, then lightly sprinkle a little bit of shredded parmesan on top of the mozzarella.  It's all very technical...

Then bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until chicken is done.  

It looked yummy when it came out of the oven, but I thought it needed just a hint of acidity to it, so I whipped up a balsamic reduction to drizzle on top.  I'm a HUGE fan of the store Oil & Vinegar, so of course, I opted for one of their yummy balsamic vinegars (No, this is not a sponsored post, I'm just slightly obsessed with their products).

To make a balsamic reduction, pour about a cup into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Once it is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes or until it is a syrup consistency.  Then drizzle over the chicken.  

I served mine over a bed of quinoa with green beans.  I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think!  

This week, I'm linking up with the following fabulous bloggers:

Tasty Tuesday at Barnabas Lane
Alesha & Mary at Delicious Dish Tuesday
Tasy Tuesday at Creative K Kids
The Bajan Texas at Pin Worthy Wednesday
Buns in My Oven for What's Cookin' Wednesday
Ashleigh at Wonderful Wednesday

Check their blogs out for more recipe ideas.  Have a great week!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Soundtrack of My Life

When I started blogging in January, I knew I wanted to do a post about how songs can take your mind back to a specific time in your life.  As Clint Black says, "Ain't it funny how a melody can bring back a memory!"  When I saw Andrea's link-up I knew I wanted to participate, and already had some ideas on what I would post.  I am so inner five-year-old is squealing! Eeek!

I am going to share a few different seasons of my life with you and what music I was listening to during that time.  It's quite the mix!  I don't remember what I was listening to as a newborn, but my parents took me to see Coal Miner's Daughter in the movie theater when I was a few months old, so maybe I was into country.  My mom listens to country and claims Johnny Cash & George Strait as a few of her favorites.  My Dad is more of a Beatles I listened to a variety of music as a child. (Kendall says it looks like I am accepting the final rose on The Bachelor in this picture).

Some of my earliest music memories are listening to records on Saturdays while we cleaned house.  I remember loving Take it to Limit by the Eagles, Uptown Girl by Billy Joel and Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper, and thinking I was big stuff listening to rock and roll.

First, let me say, this was NOT the picture I had in mind to talk about my early elementary years, but when Kendall and I were looking through pictures she laughed for a solid 15 minutes after seeing this picture.  I thought it was my civic duty to post this, in hopes it will bring a smile to your face (I honestly, have no idea why she thinks it's so funny.  It's like she's never seen a six year old with a perm, missing teeth, a Mexican dress and a strand of pearls).  Moving on, in elementary I vividly remember listening to Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On by Mel McDaniel and Let's Hear it for the Boy by Deniece Williams while playing musical carpet squares in the gym for P.E.

Also, in elementary school I fell in love with Amy Grant and could be found rocking out to Thy Word and El Shaddai on my pink jambox.

Later, in elementary school, I think I wore out my Wilson Phillips tape rewinding Hold On over and over.  I remember thinking I Saw Him Standing There by Tiffany was the coolest song ever and couldn't figure out how my Dad knew it.  #BeatlesRemake

Fast forward to junior high.  I really wanted to skip the poofy bang, over curled hair picture, but sadly every picture I have in the early 1990's had poofy, curled bangs.  I am so thankful that trend is dead.  I hope it never returns.  Junior high had some great music!  There are certain songs that just remind me of a middle school dance; Rod Stewart and Bryan Adams singing All For One, Bon Jovi Always, and of course Salt N' Pepa!

In High School, the songs I remember are connected to the people I was cruising around town with.  If I hear Lauryn Hill's Killing Me Softly, it immediately takes me back to driving around Wimberley, eating snow cones with my BFF, Jacy.  
(I just want to take a moment and let all my high school friends know, that you all should be thanking me right this minute for not posting some of the less flattering pictures I found while going through old albums.  It took great restraint).  

Every time I hear Point of Grace or DC Talk, I think about my friend, Allie, and all the summer camps and youth rallies we went to!  We both strongly disliked Carmen, but as all 90's church youth group girls did, we adored Stephen Curtis Chapman, Audio Adrenaline, and The Newsboys...

Did someone say Newsboys...

And, every good Christian girl, cried the last night of church camp while listening to Michael W. Smith sing Friends Are Friends Forever.  Oh, hey, Michael!

Because of Dance Team, every time I hear the song God Bless Texas I almost break into a high kick routine.  Probably because we performed that high kick routine, no less than 9,956 times.

I was also a huge George Strait fan back in the day and always loved seeing him in concert with my friends and our moms!  Like most Texans, Amarillo By Morning is my favorite George song.

In college, I started listening to Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen, David Allen Coe, and the Dixie Chicks.  I guess that's what happens when you go to college in west Texas.  

I'm going to awkwardly transition into my time as a single mom now, and completely bypass any other significant events, like my first marriage, in order to...well, in order not to talk about it.  Moving on...

I looked in Kendall's baby book to see what I had written as a popular song when she was born, and it was Amazed by Lonestar.  Obviously, that is a couple's love song, but since Kendall made me a mommy, she has AMAZED me every day!

Mark and I have never really had "a song" so when we were thinking about our first dance, we had no idea what it would be.  One day, I heard Don Williams I've Been Loved by the Best on the radio and knew that was it.  That song says exactly how I feel about Mark, and it's simple and to the point. 

One musical memory I will always have, is our road trip to Disney World with Kendall when she was nine years old.  We listened to Rascal Flatts song Backwards, from the Hannah Montana movie, over and over.  She loved it!

But, God knew our family wasn't complete and gave us Jess to keep us on our toes.  Before we had Jess, we had a couple of miscarriages, and I thought we would NEVER have a baby.  One day in church we sang the hymn Have Faith in God.  If you're not familiar with the song, it says, "Have faith in God when you prayers are unanswered; your earnest plea He will never forget.  Wait on the Lord, trust His Word and be patient.  Have faith in God, He'll answer yet,"  That song spoke to me in what I was dealing with.  I ripped the words out of my church bulletin and stuck it by my bathroom mirror, and it is still there today.  God may not always answer when we want, or even how we want, but He does answer.  We just have to trust and be patient.  In 2011, we welcomed this sweet, little boy to our family.  

But, again, God knew we weren't meant to be a family of four...

In 2013, we welcomed Jentry to the mix.  I looked in her baby book to see what I had written as a popular song when she was born.  NOTE...I said "popular" song, not what I was listening to.  One of the songs I listed was Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball.  I found it appropriate, because Jentry does enter the room like a wrecking ball.  We're still developing her grace.

And, here we are today.  The song that most adequately describes us right now is God's Not Dead by our beloved Newsboys!  Not just because my little kids have been making me listen to it over and over for the last three months every time we are in the car (and no, it's not a new song, just new to them), but also because it is Easter season and in a few days we get to celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior.  Most importantly, that song is important to me because the one constant in my life for the past 36 years, is God.  Through my perms, my curled bangs, my rap phase, my country phase, he's the constant; my cornerstone.

Thanks so much for taking a stroll down memory lane with me and reminiscing about the plethora of music that makes up the soundtrack of my life.  

 I am linking up with Andrea and Beth this week.  Check their blogs out, too!


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