Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day friends! I hope you all had a wonderful day celebrating however it is you choose to celebrate. Remembering to thank and pray for those around you who have/are serving.

We are incredibly thankful for each and every one of the brave men and women who have served-- we have several veterans in our family and could not be more proud of each one! But we especially remember and pray for everyone (and their families) who have given their lives.

We spent our day at home, we began to drain and clean the hot tub. We had every intention of getting it running and getting in it this evening with the boys (without the heat on) but we weren't aware that it takes such a long time to drain.... So project to be continued tomorrow. Leeland is exciting to get in "the pool". 

We also weeded the flower beds out back some. Some of the weeds were as tall as Leeland! We're still so new to this home ownership/yard maintenance thing. This is our first summer of keeping up with it all. Not to mention its difficult to maintain and make it all look nice on a tight budget. We've definitely learned that home ownership is a process-- there's always a running list of things that you need/want to be done, but its one step at a time.   

Then we had some yummy dinner and we all had Popsicles, the boys had there's in the wagon as we went on a little walk around the neighborhood. 

So, Happy Memorial Day!! And thank you so much to all of the veterans and their families. :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

NCHE Conference

"My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
-Colossians 2:2-3
Daniel and I had the privilege of attending the NCHE Conference in Winston-Salem the past 3 days. I say privilege because we were actually able to attend for free!  (You know I love free stuff.)  The NCHE organization offers the opportunity for parents of preschoolers to attend the full conference and book fair for free.  Going into the conference, with Leeland only being 3, we knew that we were a little ahead of the game, but we also have lots of decisions to make over the next couple years, and felt like we had a lot of questions to start getting answered.

So since several have found out we attended the conference, we've gotten the question, "So are you really going to homeschool?" And my response, "Do we like wasting our time?", or "Would we spend 3 days out of our lives at a conference if we weren't seriously considering it?"

.... So yes! Yes, we are in fact we are very seriously considering it!  Going into the conference I was on the fence, I felt like we were still weighing our options.  Homeschooling was very high on the list, but I had wavered back and forth a bit between it and a local private school.  Leaving the conference today, I felt energized, passionate and much more focused.  I want to homeschool.  I want to give it a whirl.  I still have all of these feelings of inadequacy that probably will remain, but I'm ready.  I've had my questions answered, I've seen real people with real lives who have homeschooled several children successfully, and I even got my hands on and explored curriculum.

Homeschooling isn't just about the education, it's a lifestyle.  A lifestyle that I want for our boys.  

I could not have been more happy with the workshops that we attended at the NCHE conference.  They were not only very informative and answered many of our questions, but each of the speakers also had a focus and a passion for the Lord that was contagious and invigorating.

We even purchased a couple of books to begin some homeschool preschooling with Leeland soon.  I'm excited! I know that it won't be an easy road, but it will be a road well worth the work.  

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
-Proverbs 22:6  

I also just have to shout out a special thank you to those who took care of our boys the 3 days that we were in attendance to the conference.  We truly appreciate your kindness and loved knowing that our boys were in good hands while we were away.

**If you would like more information on NCHE or homeschooling, you can visit their website at  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tie Dye Fun

What happens when you get a bunch of hippies together?  You tie dye things of course!  This was my first time tie dying since like middle school and it was a lot of fun.  I made each of the boys a shirt, Daniel a shirt, and a tie dyed a yard of cotton fabric for me.

Hard to tell in the lighting (it's been cloudy and rainy most days here) but the boys' shirts are blue, green and yellow spiral.  Daniel's is black and blue spiral, though the black is more of a charcoal gray, and mine had purple, yellow and blue.

The colors turned out a bit more muted than I would have liked.  The boys' shirts and Daniel's shirt aren't too bad, but my fabric has A LOT of fade and white space.  The white space is partly how I tied it, and after doing some reading up on tie dye I found that I probably should've prewashed my fabric and soaked it in the soda ash a bit longer to have the colors more pronounced.

Ultimately it didn't really matter how our tie dyed items turned out, it was more about the company and the kids having a good time.  But I have been bitten by the tie dye bug now!  The past few days my mind has been running, thinking up all the neat things that I could tie dye and make.  I think we're going to have to order a family kit soon and maybe have fun together making some more stuff tie dyed.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mother/Son Date Knight

Every year Chick-Fil-A puts on a big to do of Mother/Son date "knight".  (They also do a Father/Daughter date night earlier in the year.)  Leeland and I went last year and it just came at the absolute perfect time.  He was feeling a bit neglected after Hayden was born and it was a joy to get some one on one time with my first born.  This year date knight snuck up on us a bit but we were still very excited. (We sure do LOVE Chick-Fil-A!)
 Getting ready to head out with my little love.
 Decorating a shield
 Dinner at Chick-Fil-A on a plate! With waiters and waitresses, candle light and a table cloth, how very fancy of them!
 Amazingly delish cobb salad with avocado lime dressing. Yummy!

 The balloon man asked Leeland what his favorite color was, and he said pink.  He then showed him the 30+ balloon colors he had and said, pick one and Leeland pointed straight to the pink.  Pink balloon sword it is!
 A balloon corsage for me.

 .... And free dessert after dinner! Cookies and sundaes.

The local college fencing team (or part of the fencing team) was outside and Leeland got to learn a couple fencing moves after dinner.

Hope my little man had as much fun as I did!  I guess date knight will be our regular thing.  I need to come up with something to be a regular thing for Hayden and I too though.  I'll think on it some more-- it's really nice to spend one on one time with each of them. 

And a special thanks to Daniel for helping make it happen by staying back with the Hayden meister at home!

Strawberry Picking

Me and the boys went strawberry picking the other day.  We had planned on going as a family of 4, but our schedules have been so crazy busy when Daniel is off work, and I was feeling the pressure that if we waited until everyone was free at once, that the strawberry season would be over.

Strawberry picking this year was definitely different from picking last year!  Last year, sweet little Hayden slept in the Boba the whole time, and Leeland was so good about picking his berries and putting them right into the basket.  He waited until literally seconds after I paid for the berries to dive into them last year..... This year, Hayden kind of wondered and people watched from our row where we were picking, he picked a few blades of grass and a couple leaves off the plants (oops!).  And Leeland, rather than placing the berries in the basket, was shoveling them into his mouth.  I was trying my hardest to keep up with his demand and fill our baskets quickly.

Definitely a yearly tradition that will stick around.  The boys have a good time, and the fresh fruit is SO delicious!!

 When we were done picking, we enjoyed a picnic lunch (and some strawberries) with friends.

This year we bought 2 gallons! At first I felt a little like I had strawberries coming out of my ears, but they are quickly dwindling down.  I've hulled some and put them in the freezer for future endeavors, I made a few dozen strawberry muffins, the boys have nibbled them here and there with their lunches and dinners, and I made a delicious strawberry quinoa salad yesterday.  Now I'm more of the line of thinking that I wish we could go back and get 1 more gallon. 
Happy strawberry picking to you and yours if you plan to go! What do you do/make with all of your fruit loot when you get home?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Police Appreciation Week (And "The Modern Knight" poem)

This week we celebrate Police Appreciation week, and I just have to say how incredibly proud I am to be married to an officer.  Daniel and I got married young (compared to the norm these days), found out we were pregnant with Leeland after only being married 8 months.  I had just graduated college, Daniel was still going to school and working two jobs.  He graduated from college, got into the police academy, studied hard (including through sleepless nights after Hayden was born), and graduated.  The police academy (or even college) isn't easy for a single person, in fact there were several that didn't make it all the way through, and add to the stress of it, the pressure of providing for your family, a wife, a son, and a second son on the way....  I could not be more proud of Daniel!

And now we're over a year out from his police academy graduation, and I watch him put on the uniform every workday, not knowing what he might encounter that night.  That's all part of the job-- in some ways I'm sure it's a big part of the appeal of having the job, not the same old thing everyday.  But in a lot of the ways it's part of the fear too, always being on your toes because you just never know who or what you might encounter.

Worse than those fears is that, it's a completely thank-less job.  Even our own family and friends whine and complain about cops and the tickets that they've gotten.... No one ever says, thank you officer.  Thank you for the speeding ticket, or thank you for the wake up call that I shouldn't be driving that fast, especially with my kids in the car....

These men and women bravely put on the uniform each day to protect and to serve, they don't create the laws, they only enforce them.  They are REAL men and REAL women, who have hearts and families, they deserve much more appreciation than just a week out of the year!

In honor of Police Appreciation week, I put together a little something special for the guys (and gal) on Daniel's squad.  It's not the first time I've made them baked goods, and it won't be the last, but it's a little thank you for all that they do, for protecting me and my boys, and for having my husband's back in the field.

Each bag has a few peanut butter M&M cookies, a pen and a notepad because you can never have too many of them.  It isn't much, but it's a little way to show to them that I care.

And now for a really awesome poem that I found.....

"The Modern Knight"
By: Brian Bartelt

 The dragon, dark as midnight black,
Exhales a font of fire.
Who of us would e’er stand up
To face the Dragon’s Ire?

 When danger came in days of yore,
They’d order men to fight
But he that fights the beast of crime
Must be a modern knight.

Such knights, just as the ones of old,
Do don their sword and shields.
They fight their battle every day
And never will they yield.

They leave their families every day
 to answer duty’s call.
Knowing this may be the day
They’re called to give their all.

 Now Dragon strikes and strikes again
With anger, hurt, hurt and greed!
Whilst noble knight does parry each
and rescues those in need.

Not word, nor deed, nor blood, nor death
Will frighten him away
He takes them on and fights them off
To guard us every day.

 He takes abuse and scorn each day
From citizens that he loves.
They do not know the hurt they bring,
insulting what he does

 Then our knight with face so calm
Signs out at end of day
While another knight arrives in time
To step into the fray.

Now homeward bound our knight he goes
His war for now is done.
He opens door to the loving arms
Of his wife and his sons.

God go with ye, yon mighty knight
Where e’er the battle rage!
He’s promised to be with us all
“E’en unto the end of the age.”

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My House is a Zoo....

A month or so ago, our local paper asked people to write in (in 250 words or less) why they felt like their house was a zoo.  A winning write up would win 6 tickets to the NC zoo.  We've been wanting to go to the zoo, so I sort of figured, why not!?  This past week, one of the editors emailed me in reply to my submission asking us for a family photo.  It got me excited and had me wondering if we might be winners....  Today, I discovered that those submissions were published to the FRONT PAGE of the Life section of the newspaper.  Sadly we were not chosen as the winning submission, but it's still pretty cool that we were published!
It's hard to read, so here's what I wrote in....

"My house is a zoo because we have two wild boys who are close in age. (They are 22 months apart, age 3 and 1.)
I often feel more like a shepherd herding her sheep than a Mom.
My 1-year-old is my wild child. He is into everything, and I’m constantly chasing him as he runs all over the house, leaving a path of destruction and climbing all over furniture and up and down the stairs.
Though my 3-year-old is a little more calm, he demands lots of attention and is a bit of a drama king at times. I like to refer to him as my “threenager.” You never really know what mood he’s going to be in, and he asks “why” at least 100 times in a day.
In the midst of this craziness raising our boys, my husband is a Greensboro police officer and has an odd schedule. He works nights and makes us so proud as he protects and serves the city of Greensboro, but his schedule and sleep habits make it difficult and a bit crazy to have quality family time.
It feels a bit like a zoo many days, but being the zookeeper of this family is exactly what I was born to do!"

If you're curious about the winning submission or want to read some more submissions, they can currently be found online here.

Lemony Sweet Mother's Day

I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to make a lemon pound cake.  I've been wanting to try out some new cake recipes so that I have a few more options to offer when people order cakes.  I LOVE lemon pound cake, but just needed a reason to make it.  So with my family getting together for Mother's Day, that seemed like an appropriate time-- they could be my taste testers and for the most part, my family will tell me like it is.

It wasn't until Mother's Day came though, that I really got to thinking about the symbolism reflected in a lemon pound cake for Mother's Day.

On Mother's Day I have SO many things to celebrate-- I have two handsome little blessings from the Lord, I have a wonderful and supportive Step Mother, and I absolutely adore my Mother-In-Law, but amongst all of those wonderful things, Mother's day is still bittersweet missing my Mom.  A lot like a lemon pound cake.
(Clearly I've been having some more fun with the ombre effect.) 

I will say that this Mother's Day weekend was most definitely a good one-- It started out Saturday night when we surprised my Mother-In-Law with dinner.  My Brother-In-Laws and their wives, (and all the kiddos) we all showed up with baked spaghetti, salad and garlic bread.  It was yummy yummy, and it was a nice treat to all get together and catch up.

Then Sunday we went to church as a family and headed over to my Sister's house to have lunch with my family.  Grilled chicken, salad, baked beans, lemon pound cake and homemade Oreo ice cream. 

And my wonderful husband and little boys showered me with a couple gifts and a super sweet card too.  I got a plate and 2 charms for my Origami Owl necklace and a navy blue maxi dress.
Have you seen Origami Owl?  It's so adorable and so personal.  My plate says "Blessed" and then I have the large locket with 6 charms in it-- both boys' birthstones, an "I Love You" sign language hand, a vintage cross, a coffee cup, and a police badge.  I LOVE it!  If you are interested in Origami Owl, check out my friend Kendra's page, she'll help you order and answer your questions.  There's SO many charms to pick from, it's kind of addicting.

And here's some photos of the two little reasons that I even get to celebrate Mother's day as a Mother.

Hope you all had a fantastic Mother's Day!  Happy Mother's Day to all of my Momma readers! 

Nest Egg Cake

Some photos of a cake order from today for a baby shower.  The cake is white by request with a nest made of chocolate covered chow mein noodles and the eggs are blue hard boiled eggs.  I originally made blue candy coated chocolate truffles to act as eggs, but there was a little bit of a melting issue and "real" eggs became the back up.  I was a little sad that the truffles didn't work out, but sometimes you gotta think on your feet.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What I love right now--

It's been since January since I've done a "what I love" post.  I like to do these periodically, just to remind myself and list out all the things that bring a smile to my face.  Here's the last one from January in case you're curious, but here goes my list in random order...

-I love the smile on Hayden's face every time he climbs the stairs and that when he reaches the top, he shouts "Ta da!"

-I love that Leeland is VERY into gardening and praying over our garden.

-I love that Hayden asks for Leeland when he wakes up, and if Leeland wakes up first, he asks for Hayden.

-I love to hear Hayden try to say Leeland's name, he says "eee-yen."

-I love that Leeland drags his "star blankie" everywhere.

-I love that Leeland can quote most of the movie "The Lorax", maybe not necessarily a parenting win, but cute regardless.

-I love that Daniel has the magic baby voodoo and can get Hayden down for a nap in less than 5 minutes most days.

-I love that I'm about to celebrate my third Mother's Day!

-I love that Leeland's first reaction to his superhero cape shirt was a deep concern that even though he was wearing a cape, he still couldn't fly. (I told him to keep practicing.)

-I love that 4 years and 2 kids into our marriage, I still get giddy like a little school girl when it's time to pick Daniel up from work.

-I love peanut butter fudge milkshakes with Oreos mixed in from Cook Out!

-I love that Leeland LOVES to play outside, and even more than that loves to picnic for lunch outside.

-I love that I told Leeland ONE TIME that "sucks" is a bad word, and now if me or Daniel happens to accidentally say it in conversation, he calls us out for it and tells us over and over that it's a bad word.

-I love that both Hayden and Leeland love to go to church and have so much fun playing in their classrooms.

-I love Hayden's fluffy red hair.

-I love the sound of the rain on the roof at night when I go to sleep in our bedroom.

-I love our house!

-I love that the boys think Lilly (the dog) is like the funniest 'person' ever.

-I love drinking coffee in the morning (or afternoon) with Daniel.

-I love baking and all the challenges that go along with cake decorating.

-I love my Shark steam mop.

-I love that Hayden wants to talk so bad but doesn't quite have the words yet and just banters on and on and on.

-I love to hear Leeland sing in the car.

-I love that both Hayden and Leeland are incredibly ticklish and have the most infectious laughs!

........ We have a lot to be thankful for!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Our Superheroes

I feel like I should preface this by saying that it's incredibly difficult to capture a photo of a superhero, much less two superheroes.  I mean, how many reporters and journalists tried to set up batman to be exposed? (I'm gonna be honest, I haven't watched Batman in YEARS, I have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm just trying to sound like I know what I'm talking about.)

But for your viewing pleasure-- here's our wild at heart, little superheroes.