Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Before It's Too Late"

(by the Goo Goo Dolls)

"I wander through fiction to look for the truth
Buried beneath all the lies
And I stood at a distance
To feel who you are
Hiding myself in your eyes

Hold on before it's too late
We'll run 'til we leave this behind
Don't fall, just be who you are
It's all that we need in our lives

And the risk that might break you
Is the one that would save
A life you don't live is still lost
So stand on the edge with me
Hold back your fear and see
Nothing is real 'til it's gone


So live like you mean it
Love 'til you feel it
It's all that we need in our lives
So stand on the edge with me
Hold back your fear and see
Nothing is real 'til it's gone


On somewhat of a monumental birthday (or at least half-way between two of them!) & inspired by my friend Laura's Livin' Large List, I decided to make a list of 35 things I'd like to do before I die. As I accomplish these things, I will blog about them & add links, of course! I may even add to this list as things come up, because I don't want to limit myself! OH THE PLACES I WILL GO:
  1. Visit our friends in England
  2. Go on a cruise with my mister
  3. Take the kids to Disney World
  4. Re-visit Los Angeles, CA
  5. Enjoy a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity3 in New York City
  6. Smell the wonderful scent of chocolate in the air at HersheyPark
  7. Meet Amos (the child we sponsor in Kenya)
  8. See the Grand Canyon
  9. Drink coffee at Cafe Du Monde (French Market location) in New Orleans
  10. Walk where Jesus walked in the Holy Land
  11. Go to a luau in Hawaii
  12. Take the family to White Sands & Carlsbad Caverns (like I did every summer as a kid)
  13. Drive to the geographic center of Texas
  14. Stay at Brooke's rental cabin in Tennessee
  15. Take my whole family to India
MORE BANG FOR OUR BUCK: (Yes, this looks an awful lot like Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps):
  1. Pay off ALL of our remaining debt (medical & taxes ~ ugh!)
  2. Build up our 3 to 6 month emergency fund
  3. Invest 15% of our income
  4. Open up 529s for the kids
  5. Pay off our house
  6. Be free to give generously to organizations like the Oasis of Hollywood when they have a need
  1. Learn to make some cool jewelry
  2. Get caught up on my scrapbooks
  3. Refashion that t-shirt that Jana told me about
  4. Make a quilt out of my high school t-shirts
  5. Make another quilt out of some special items (it'll remain a secret until it's done, 'cuz it's a surprise gift!)
  1. Paint a decorative vase at a pottery place
  2. Decorate my bedroom
  3. Extend my garden across the remainder of the fence line
  4. Replace my much-loved & very worn out living room furniture
  5. Make my mister's office look great (& somewhat professional)
  1. Get a REAL camera (instead of just a point-and-shoot)
  2. Take a refresher course in Spanish & learn to speak it fluently
  3. Participate in a walk benefitting Ocular Melanoma research
  4. Reach the point that I've been with my mister longer than without him
  5. Learn to play the piano
  6. Cook up the perfect brownie recipe
  7. Watch a rocket launch live (preferably when my friend Misty is an astronaut)
  8. Play hide-and-seek in a corn field

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Chocolate Chip Cookies"

(by the Wise Guys) Chocolate

A few weeks ago, my friend Laura mentioned a cookie that she ate while on vacation. It sounded so good, that I knew we had to find a recipe & have a baking date! Yesterday, we finally got our chance to make chocolate chip cookies + sea salt!! I'm sure you could use any ol' chocolate chip cookie recipe & add sea salt on the top, but ours was super yummy & super easy!

I had heard of making cookies out of cake mix, so I decided to look on my trusty recipe site: allrecipes. I love that site because of the many different ways you can search (by looking through their popular collections, typing a title or by ingredients), then you can sort by title, rating or relevance. I also love the fact that you can read reviews ~ with the most helpful ones generally at the top.

OK, OK, stay on topic...

We went with this recipe. First, we blended one box of yellow cake mix with 1 stick of butter, 2 eggs & 1 tablespoon of vanilla. The reviews suggested using 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips (instead of the full cup that the recipe calls for). The only thing we did differently was stir in half semi-sweet chips & half milk chocolate (still a total of 1 1/2 cups). Then, I realized that I had forgotten preheat the oven to 350. No fear, though, because my gas oven heats up pretty quickly. Plus, Laura had brought some Trader Joe's coffee that we needed to prepare! {Sadly, the closest Trader Joe's is 685 miles away in Nashville! Brooke, I'm not sure how close you are to Nashville, but if I ever make it to that Trader Joe's, please meet me there!!}

Again, back to the cookies...

Using my Pampered Chef medium scoop (that holds about 2 tablespoons of batter), we dropped our spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet & baked them for about 13 minutes. Now for the sea salt part that we added, thanks to Laura's vacation indulgence! Immediately after removing the cookies from the oven, Laura sprinkled them with sea salt (also from Trader Joe's ~ & it only cost her $1!), & we waited for them to cool. They were so good that ate 3 of them before lunch! & totally worth turning the on the oven in the middle of the summer!

I didn't think to take a picture of Laura & me, but just imagine a couple of brunettes (one short & one tall) chowing down on some yummy chocolatey goodness {well, at least the short one was chowing down!}

This post is linked up with:
Go check out some great things that other people are loving!!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"You're Still the One"

(by Shania Twain) You're

14 years ago today, my mister & I said, "I Do"! My, how time flies!! It has gone by quickly, but at the same time it feels like we've been married forever! {& I mean that in a good way!} So much has changed since we were a couple of 20-year-olds living in our first apartment on campus. Over the 5114 days that we have been married, we've had 2 children, moved 5 times, owned two houses, cared for 9 pets (4 fish, 2 hamsters, 2 frogs & 1 dog), owned 8 computers, driven 7 vehicles, carried 12 cell phones, had 11 jobs, worn 14 hairstyles, & bought 1 TV. There are countless other things I could attempt to add up, but I'll stop there! Through it all, we have never stopped laughing with each other, kissed every day & sought to give God glory each step of the way.

I'm sure you've seen my "Through the Years" posts already, so I won't repeat myself on all that history! If you didn't happen to see the drawing from our first date, you should totally go see it! My mister & I are going on a date tonight, and hopefully I remember to get the kids to snap a picture of us!


Monday, July 26, 2010

"Boogie Woodie"

(by The Beach Boys) Boogie

We had such a great time in Galveston on Friday!!

We met up with everyone at the Rainforest Cafe to celebrate Aaron's 30th birthday!

Then we did a little body surfing & boogie boarding for a couple of hours...

The girls loved playing in the sand!

After swimming, we went back to Geary & Shelly's campsite for sandwiches...

Then we went crabbing {my first time} & there was only one minor injury! We went when it was almost dark, so I didn't take my camera. We didn't leave until almost 11:00, after all the regular coffee shops were closed ~ which is why I stopped by McDonalds for the mocha (that I mentioned on Saturday). It was a super great day with a super great family!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Deep Ocean"

(by Lovelite) Deep

This week I...

Babysat these cute kids:

Got this sweet note from one of the bosses' daughters:

Gave Cody "b-bangs"*:

Attended a family-style VBS-type thing at church:

Drove thru this awesome coffee place with my girl:

Paid off a credit card (10% of our debt)!

Saw this billboard with some BIG Texas hair:

Went to the beach:

{My mister loves up-the-nose shots! j/k ~> more actual beach pics to come!}

Waited over 20 minutes for this mocha:

{Notice the time? I went inside at about 10:45}

And for today's song, it has nothing to do with the fact that we went to the beach yesterday! We certainly didn't go very deep into the ocean! I recently discovered Lovelite (maybe from Cole?), & I'm liking them a bunch!

*If you've never heard of b-bangs, here's a clip from Sonny With a Chance:


Friday, July 23, 2010

"Do it Again"

(by The Beach Boys) Do

The kids & I are meeting Uncle Dan, Aunt Sheryl, & their entire family at the beach today! I'm bummed that I didn't plan ahead so my mister could get off work! He's the only one {their only "son"} who won't be there! I know we'll still have a good time, though. I'll post pictures later!!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Hiding Place"

(by Starfield) Hiding

"In the shadows, I can hear Your voice
Singing to me
In the valley, I can hear Your heart
Reaching for me now
And I wait
Flooded with the strength of Your peace

You're my defender, the shield of my heart
You are my hiding place
When terror surrounds me
You keep me from harm
You are my hiding place

In the darkness, I can feel Your light
Wrap around me
In my suffering, I can feel Your joy
Rising in me now
And I wait
Flooded with the strength of Your peace

Here before You, Jesus
In this place
Here before You now
Face to face


Under the shelter of the Most High
Will I be saved, and will I abide"

I'm participating in:

over at Internet Cafe today!
Head over there for more encouragement from the Word of God!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"I'm Going to Make a Cake"

(by Phillip Glass) I'm

My bloggy friend Cole posted about cake balls yesterday, & it reminded me of a MIShap that occurred during my disastrous first attempt at making them! If you haven't had cake balls before, you simply must try them ASAP! They're a delicious & easy-to-make dessert that consists of boxed cake mix combined with a container of frosting that is rolled into balls & dipped in melted goodness! The recipe makes TONS, & they're just so good!! {For the step by step directions, check out Cole's post. Though I always make mine full of chocolatey goodness, I totally plan on trying them her way, too!}

Anyways, back to the fiasco that was my first attempt...

My friend Amy was over, & I thought cake balls would be a fun treat for us to make together. I didn't have the recipe, so I went off my memory of how my friend Jana had said to make them. I mixed the cake mix with the frosting, but it didn't have the consistency that I thought it should have. It was such a gooey mess & SO incredibly sweet! I tried to call Jana, but couldn't reach her. We rolled the mixture into balls anyways, trying to figure out what I could have forgotten. We stuck them in the freezer, hoping they would firm up so we could dip them in the melted chocolate chips. It just wasn't happening.

When I heard back from Jana, the first thing she said was, "You baked the cake, right?"

Oops! I'd say that's a pretty important step! Have you ever missed a vital step in the cooking process? I'd love to hear about your cooking fiascos!!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Dance Forever"

(by Allstar Weekend) Dance

Well, Dad & I went to see my baby brother today! Our drive was fairly uneventful, which is a good thing considering our last road trip! My brother seems to be doing well, and I think he took Dad's news well, too. If you think of it, please pray for him. He's not in a good place, & I'm concerned about how he'll handle this latest bit of news. The good thing is that I didn't cry when Dad told him, so I'm hoping he thinks I'm not worried about it! It's not that I want to hide my feelings from him; I just don't want him to worry!

There's no particular reason that this song was listened to the most {other than the fact that it makes me wish I knew how to dance!} We've listened to a lot of Radio Disney this week, or else my song would have possibly been more adult-like. Or maybe not. I don't think I have very mature musical taste, considering the fact that I still love me some 80's music, I absolutely love pop/punk bands, & I actually don't mind listening to Radio Disney! Speaking of "teeny bopper" music, I'm gonna go now, so I can listen to my boy sing some JoBros on Sing It! {Please don't tell him that I told you about that!!}

I hope y'all are having a great weekend!


Friday, July 16, 2010

"Random Thoughts"

(by Bop) Random

I totally stole this idea from Lauren ~ she posted this little fill-in-the-blank last week...

Maybe I should stop whining about stuff!
I love hearing my kids laugh with each other.
People would say that I'm quirky.
I don't understand why some people claim to love Jesus but live in a way that turns people away from Him.
When I wake up in the morning I have a cup of hot tea as soon as possible!
I lost my mind...just kidding!
Life is full of chances to make memories.
My past is full of pain, good times, sadness, laughter, questions, the faithfulness of God.
I get annoyed when people drive slower than the speed limit in the fast lane!
Parties are fun when they're with great friends &/or family.
I wish I had more patience.
Tomorrow I am going with my dad to see my baby brother.
I have low tolerance for people who are constantly making excuses for their behavior.
I'm totally terrified of my husband's cancer spreading.
I wonder why I God blessed me with such great kids.
Never in my life have I been completely happy with how I look.
High School was filled with goofy times with my friends!
When I'm nervous I talk. A lot. About really random stuff.
Take my advice: don't try to go through life without Jesus.
Making my bed makes me feel like the whole house is clean!
I'm almost always in the mood for chocolate.
I'm addicted to caffeine.
I want someone to find a cure for Ocular Melanoma.

For more caffeinated randomness, check out:

I hope you have a super great weekend!!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"You'll Always Be My Best Friend"

(by Relient K) You'll

"I wish I knew you
Way back when
Before you were part of my plans
I think that we would have been friends

There's only time to live our lives
And you'll be the one who's by my side
And I can promise you then
You'll always be my best friend

'Til the end when we part
I will give you my heart
And I'll promise to love you with all that it is
And I'll promise to be there whenever you need me
Because you'll always be my best friend

You'll always be my best friend..."

Today is my mister's birthday! He has been my best friend for the past 15 years. He really is the best ever!

Happy birthday, Mistopher! & I pray that you'll be my best friend for another 60 years or so!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"9 to 5"

(by Dolly Parton) 9>

I'd like some tips from those of you who hold down a job & still manage to keep your house in order!! I've been very blessed to be able to work a couple of days a week lately, but I've come to find that it's really hard to balance things! I don't mean to come across as some spoiled housewife or something, but I really don't know how to work even a very part-time job & still manage to go to the grocery store, do the laundry, clean the house & have clean dishes for dinner. I still have several days a week that I'm not working, but I just want to hang out with my kids & do stuff with friends ~ not have to run errands & do housework! Before kids, I used to do it all, including a 40-hour work week. But since kids, I just can't seem to juggle it all.

For the record: the lyrics of today's song are not at all how I feel, it just seemed like a fun song to post. I am very grateful for the opportunity to bring in some extra cash! Throughout my years as a mom, God has literally dropped jobs in my lap numerous times. They have usually been fairly temporary & have always come at times when we needed some extra money. Currently, we are viciously attacking our debt, so I am ecstatic about the chance to pay a chunk of it off this month! Plus, it's actually somewhat fulfilling to use my mad typing skills to earn some moolah! It's just the whole balancing act that I haven't quite figured out. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can do it all? Do I just need more discipline or what?


Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Hello Sunshine"

(by Barlow Girl)

Hello Sunshine (Album) by BarlowGirl on Grooveshark

I'm really loving today's song, & I'm surprised it hasn't ended up on here before. I think it's quite appropriate since we've finally seen the sun around here the past couple of days! It's also very fitting for my life right now, spiritually speaking. As you know, I've been in somewhat of a funk this week, and these words really hit home with me:

And how much have I missed
'Cause I've been focused on everything wrong?
This road just felt so long
I forgot to lift my head to see You

I really am feeling better about things now, & I appreciate your prayers more than you know! The situation is still the same, but I have a better perspective. There really is nothing I can do but pray, & that's what I'll do! So this is the deal: my dad has to have a kidney removed because of stupid cancer. His surgery is scheduled for next month. By removing the kidney, he shouldn't have to go through chemo. I think his prognosis is good, I just hate that someone else that I love is having to deal with cancer, & it stirs up the fears that I already battle. Then there's my step-sister Tiffany who found out she has breast cancer. She's a fighter, and she's ready to kick some butt! If you'd like to check out her blog & leave an encouraging word, that would be awesome!

In honor of Codeman's 1/2 birthday, here's a picture of him doing the Robot at a wedding 5 years ago:

{Thanks for the pic, Freddy!}