thankful thursday: merry Christmas

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I Am.

———

Can you imagine? What Mary must have felt to know she would give birth to the Savior of this world! And He entered this world as a teeny, wrinkly newborn, just like PB. How crazy is that? I wonder if He cried a lot? Slept a lot? I wonder if He went through teething? And I wonder when He learned to walk? To talk? It’s nuts to think of Him as a baby.

Today is Thursday, and I am thankful for that Sweet Baby that entered this world as our Savior. Thank you Lord for sending your Son to live and die for me. 


And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”


-Luke 2: 9-14 


I hope you all have a very blessed Christmas.

I’m planning on spending lots of time with my two boys and my family and friends for the next several days. Between the cooking, eating, driving, eating, wrapping presents, eating, and unwrapping my presents under the tree and then re-wrapping them before anyone finds out, I’ll be a busy gal. So, I’ll be taking a few days off from blogging.

I hope you all get to spend lots of time with your loved ones. I hope you get to eat good food. And I hope you tell Jesus ‘Happy Birthday’. He is the Reason for the Season!

And so, I’ll leave you with last year’s Christmas portrait. It’s really iconic for all things Christmas for us last year. The tree, the lights, the warm and cozy fire, the hot chocolate, the snow, the presents under the tree, the sleep deprivation, and the screaming baby.

Feliz Navidad!

P.S. Am I the only 25 year-old who still unwraps her Christmas presents under the tree and then rewraps them before anyone finds out?

Have a blessed Thursday and a very Merry Christmas!

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an unorganized list.

1. A little part of me wants pajama jeans for Christmas. Not all of me, but a little part of me does. I saw them at Walmart the other day, and if those dern things hadn’t been boxed up, I would have went and tried them on. It’s so tempting, you know.

2. I’m crawling out of the house this week. My baby is finally feeling better, praise the Lord! He was actually feeling better late last week, but we didn’t want to get him out for fear of infection in his blisters. He had some nasty blisters. But this week? Katie, bar the door. We still haven’t seen the man in red. He’s on our agenda this week, along with Chick-fil-a waffle fries, and Target.

3. Ben doesn’t read my blog. Like, ever. In fact, if I didn’t remind him, I don’t think he’d know the web address. So, I think it’s pretty safe to discuss sensitive matters here, with confidence that Ben won’t read it. And by sensitive matters, I’m talking Christmas presents. The man is hard to shop for. For a man who says he doesn’t want much, he’s very specific about what he does want. Right now, he’s trying to outfit a weight area in my parent’s basement, so thus, he wanted weight things for Christmas. I would like to say I had a fabulous time dropping a 30 lb. dumbbell on my left foot in the middle of Dick’s the other day. I’m tempted to stick some money in a card and call it quits.

4. I’ve not been in the Christmas spirit this year. I know exactly why. This weather. It has been in the 50s here, most every day since forever. The 50s! I walked outside yesterday in a t-shirt. This isn’t supposed to happen at Christmas, people. No snow. No cold weather. It’s really bummed me out. I’m a winter gal, as in it could snow 360 days a year (need a one week beach break) and I would be thrilled.

5. I force my poor mother to wrap my Christmas presents every year, even if I pick them out while shopping with her. I still make her wrap them so I can open them on Christmas morning. And none of that bag junk, either. I want my presents wrapped in paper. I’m a diva like that. I get a thrill ripping through the paper.

6. I’m wondering how we will explain Santa and the chimney to PB in a few years. We have a gas logs and a mantle. No fireplace. No chimney. Santa crawled up through the gas log pipes? Santa opened a window and punched through a screen?

7. Baking soda takes the vomit smell out of carpet. No joke. I learned this last week.

8. My best friend will be having her baby any day now, and I can hardly stand it.

9. I feel like I went on a weird vacation last week. I didn’t cook much, didn’t clean much, didn’t sleep much, or doing anything much except take care of a sick boy. I felt strangely disconnected from the world. And it was kinda nice. Not the whole ‘sick baby’ part, but the disconnect from the world part.

10. My friends and I played ‘Saved by the Bell’ when we were younger. We always fought over who would get to be Kelly. Usually, we assigned our roles based on hair color. For one time in my life, I was actually proud of my hair, unlike this time:

Read more about my troubled hair past here and here.

11. I’m not going to lie. I still watch ‘Saved by the Bell’. It’s still one of my favorite shows. I think I’m stuck in the early 90s. It makes me a little sad that Zack and Kelly aren’t married in real life.

12. Thanks for coming back today to the ole’ blog after my hiatus last week. Y’all are legit!

Have a blessed Monday 🙂

thankful thursday: ole’ viruses

We’re still here, y’all!

We’ve been battling a nasty virus at the house this week. My poor boy is the sickest I’ve ever seen him. It breaks my heart to see him like this. Last night as we were driving back from the doctor (for the second time), I looked back in the rear view mirror at PB. He had finally fell asleep, clutching Elmo in his little swollen hands. I felt helpless.  
But…..
We brought him home last night. We played as much as we could with him. And we got to put him to bed at the end of the night in his crib, knowing that, as bad as he looked and felt, this was just a virus that would go away eventually.
Ben and I could do nothing but praise God last night before we went to bed. As sick as PB looked and felt, he was okay. This virus was nothing compared to the illnesses and diseases that some kids face. We had been complaining for the last three days because we felt helpless. We were frustrated, exhausted, and our hearts broke for him. But, this was just a virus. How minuscule this was compared to things other parents and children face! 
So today is Thursday, and I’m so very thankful that we are dealing with a stupid virus at my house as opposed to something else. Sometimes, I’m guilty of whining and complaining about the dumbest things. And then I look around and see others that are really suffering. And I feel like a big terd. 
This was the first real sickness that PB has had. So naturally, as first time parents, we freaked out a bit. But in the big scheme of things, this is nothing. Most of our so-called problems in life are nothing. I was feeling frustrated and angry because there wasn’t anything I could do for my son’s virus. Imagine the helplessness that a parent of a St. Jude’s child feels. Our problems really aren’t that big.
I’ll close this today by asking for prayers for kids dealing with problems bigger than ole’ viruses. We’ve got a local gal in our community battling sickness at St. Jude’s. She needs our prayers. Her family needs our prayers. 
It hurts to see my boy sick. But, in the midst of his sickness, I can’t help but think of those who deal with illnesses on a St. Jude’s level. As weird as it may sound, it makes me so very thankful for a virus.
Maybe that’s how God humbles us. 
Have a blessed Thursday 🙂

the cheap wreath challenge

Way back when I first began blogging, I met a gal named Charlotte. I don’t know how I stumbled across her blog, but I did, and I’m very thankful I did! Charlotte’s blog, Living Well on the Cheap, is full of DIY and thrifty goodies. Over the course of the last several months, Charlotte became one of my dearest blogging friends. We’ve exchanged emails and even took our relationship to the next level by exchanging digits and chatting on the ole’ telephone. She doesn’t know it yet, but her house is on my ‘to crash’ list, when Ben and I finally decide to follow a goal of ours and visit every SEC football stadium. We set lofty goals. Anyway, it just so happens that Charlotte and her husband Nick live within spitting distance to the LSU stadium. Cha-ching!

A couple of months ago, Charlotte and I thought it would be a neat DIY project to challenge ourselves to make the cheapest Christmas wreath we could. A couple of emails and calls later, we put our challenge into action.

So today, we’re both sharing our cheap wreaths. Here’s what I came up with:

The grand total for my cheap wreath: $1.38

Whoop, whoop.

Here’s what I did:

Ben has drawer full of old t-shirts. And every couple of months, he gets a wild hair and cleans out his old t-shirt drawer. I save the old shirts and use them as cleaning rags. So after his last wild hair, I saved a few plain white shirts to use for my wreath.

I ended up only using one plain white extra large t-shirt. I cut the shirt into 1×1 inches squares.

And then I used my new favorite wreath designing method (that I detailed here). Basically, you take a small screwdriver (I use a flat head) and punch the fabric square into a straw wreath. That’s it. It’s crazy easy.

I did leave the plastic cover on the straw wreath to eliminate some messiness. Plus, I spray painted the wreath white just in case I had any bare spots after I punched my fabric. A few punches and several cookies later, and I had this:

I like it plain. It looks so clean and simple. But I decided to add a little ‘umph’ since it was a Christmas wreath.

So I took some red spray paint and sprayed the whole wreath. Then, I added snowflake ornaments from my Christmas tree. I’ve had these ornaments forever, but I got them at an after-Christmas clearance at Target.

And then with just one snowflake:

I attached the snowflake with a sheer piece of ribbon, so I can take it off when I feel like it. It probably wouldn’t have hurt for me to go back over the wreath with another coat of spray paint. There’s a little bit of white peeking through. But I’ve only got so much time to spare during baby naps 🙂

So there she blows, my ‘cheap wreath challenge’ project.

And here’s my cost breakdown:

Straw wreath: $1.38 (courtesy of the 40% off Michael’s coupon)
1 extra-large men’s t-shirt: free
Spray paint: already owned
Ornament: already owned
Ribbon: already owned

For a grand total of: $1.38

I love the versatility of using old t-shirts like this. You could so easily do a neat school spirit wreath using  your old football shirts. Or, you could just spray paint your white tees. Or you could use your old socks. Or your super skinny jeans that you can no longer wear but hold on to just to prove you were once that size.

What?

Be sure you hop on over to Charlotte’s blog to check out her creation. We’re thinking this cheap wreath challenge could be an annual (or even semi-annual) thing. And maybe we’ll issue the challenge to our reader-friends, too 😉

Have a blessed weekend, y’all 🙂

thankful thursday: a good reminder

A couple of nights ago, I planned to do some ‘serious’ Christmas shopping. I was already in town, and was by myself (!), so I thought I could knock some shopping off of my list. I have completed about .0128 percent of my Christmas shopping, so I was ready to batten down the hatches and get serious. I put my night vision googles on (not really) and headed into the mall.

And then I ran into my mamaw.

Let me tell you a little about my mamaw first. She’s my momma’s mom. And she is a hoot. She’s 67 years old, going on 21. She’s got more energy and spunk than most teenagers. And she’s the most giving person I’ve ever met. She would literally give you the clothes off of her back. She’s always thinking of others. I don’t know a more good-hearted woman.

My mamaw is single, and has lived by herself for years. I’ve always wanted her to find someone because I didn’t want her to grow old by herself, but she seems to be content where she is. That doesn’t stop us from ‘babe-watching’ at the mall together though 😉

When I first saw her at the mall, my inclination was to run before she saw me. Not because I didn’t want to see her or spend time with her (she lives next door for pete’s sake), but because I had ‘serious’ shopping to do, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it done with her. Anyone who knows my mamaw knows she loves to eat. The woman can eat more than Ben, and she has the body and figure of a 20 year old. It’s ridiculous. I knew if I stopped and talked to her, she would want to take me to eat. I didn’t have time for that. I had ‘serious’ shopping to do, people!

But I felt a little tug at my heart when I saw her at the perfume counter by herself. So I went up and poked her on the shoulder. She turned around and squealed. She asked me what I was doing at the mall (I don’t know, herding elephants?) and then she said, “let’s go eat!” See? I told you.

I told her I would just have a quick snack, but then I needed to go because I had some ‘serious’ shopping to do. She said that was fine, we’d just grab a quick bite so I could get on my way. So we headed out through the mall to find some food.

“Let’s just run in here at this shoe store real quick, I want to find some black boots. It will only take a minute”, she said.

“Okay, but make it quick, I need to hurry”.

She tried on every pair of black boots in the store. And they weren’t ‘granny’ boots. They were really cute shoes, ‘teenager’ shoes if you will. She said she didn’t see a pair that she liked, but she thought, for sure, the store at the end of the hall would have a pair of shoes.

“Okay, but really, this is the last store. I need to go”.

As we were walking down the hall together, she turned to me and said, “it’s so much more fun to go to the mall with someone. I like having the company”.

And then it hit me. She didn’t care for boots. She just wanted some companionship. She just wanted someone to shop with.

It made me stop and think about what Christmas is really all about. Here I was, so concerned with material shopping, that I was putting my mamaw’s needs aside. Sure, my mamaw didn’t need me to stay and shop with her, but she was sure having fun with me. And she could have shopped by herself, like she does most times, but I think she enjoyed having the company.

What is Christmas, if we aren’t thinking of others? Gifts are gifts. They’ll be tossed aside in a couple of months. It shouldn’t be about the gifts. It should be about spending time with people we care about. So today is Thursday, and I’m thankful. I’m thankful first, for Christmas, for the birth of my Savior. And I’m thankful for my mamaw, who reminded me what Christmas should be about. It’s so easy to get sucked in to the gift-giving hype of Christmas. I’m thankful for a reminder that it’s not all about the gifts. Jesus tells us to love each other and to care deeply for one another. 1 Peter 4:8 tells us ‘and above all things, have fervent love for one another.’ It’s about the people, not the gifts.

So we shopped the evening away at the mall, trying on every pair of black boots in that joint, and ‘babe-watching’ along the way. We bought nothing (other than some pre-dinner cookies) and then we had a nice dinner at Piccadilly.

As we were leaving, she said, “Piccadilly is one of my favorite places to eat. The only thing, though, I think its mostly for senior citizens. I always see a bunch of old people when I eat here”.

You know, because 67 isn’t considered a senior citizen.

Have a blessed Thursday 🙂

words i’ve ate as a mom

Ben and I have been parents for a little over a year now. A couple of nights ago,we were talking about how much our idea of parenthood has changed since we, gasp, actually became parents.

I still say there is nothing in this world that makes you feel more like a hypocrite than being a parent. Before I had a baby, I knew exactly how to be a parent. I obviously had a wealth of knowledge when it came to childcare. I would do this. I would never do that. My child would always be like this. He would never do that. This list goes on and on. 

Oh, friends, how I’ve ate so many of my words!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I’ve compiled a short list of “Word I’ve Ate Since I Became A Mom”.

1. “Can you believe what a fit that kid is throwing, right here in the middle of Chili’s? I mean there are other people trying to eat here, take your kid outside”. Chili’s seems to be the equivalent of the devil’s hell to PB. Every time we’ve been there, he pitches a fit. My instinct at first was to take him outside, away from all of the evil stares we were getting (I’ve been one of those evil starers before). But I soon realized that giving him his way every time wasn’t good for him or us. So now, we try to suffer through the restaurant tantrums as much as possible.

2. “Ughh, that kid is so spoiled. Every time he doesn’t get his way, he cries. My kid won’t be like that”. Even sometimes when I don’t get my way, I want to cry. When we take something away from PB, he’ll usually initially fuss or cry. And then we redirect his attention to something else and he’s usually fine. At his age now, he doesn’t understand why he can’t have something, so when we take it away, he does the only thing that can release his frustration, to cry or fuss. I can’t believe I was so naive to think that you could prevent a one year old from crying when you took something away from him. They’re kids, not drill sergeants.

3. “She’s just a stay-at-home-mom, how busy can she be?” Oh Britt. First, if you’re a SAHM, please don’t get offended by this. This was my immature/delusional/spoiled brat thought before I had kids. I thought you got to lay around all day and watch soaps, bake cookies, and sleep late. I could not have been more wrong. I have gained an unbelievable amount of respect for SAHMs since I’ve been one for the last month. I have never had a more challenging job. There has never been more demanded of me. And I’ve only got one kid! I mentioned before that I had lost weight staying at home, and it’s true. I’m on the ‘go’ so much more now that I’m home. When PB’s awake, I’m chasing him around the house, making sure he doesn’t throw the remote in the toilet or eat candle wax (again). When he naps, I eat a quick lunch, wash our mounds of laundry, and pick up a never ending mess. It seems society kinda looks down on the SAHM now, like she’s lazy or doesn’t want to work, or has it made. But honestly, I really don’t think a harder job exists than being a SAHM. You work hard all day. Keeping a 1-year old from burning down the house isn’t easy (I can’t imagine what it’s like with more). You don’t get ‘paid’, no ‘raises’, no ‘days off’. But, I have to say, its probably one of the most rewarding, too.

4. “My house will never be that messy when I have kids.” This thought may sound silly, but it was a serious subject to me. I’m obsessed with cleaning. And I say this in a not-so-joking way. I really am. And its something I’m not really proud of. Sometimes, it consumes me. And its stupid things, really. For instance, I can’t stand dirty floors. So I’ve had people come to my house to visit, and I can’t pay attention to anything they are saying because I’m staring at the piece of grass that fell off of their shoe. I tried to get better at this, to no avail. And then I had a baby. And my house hasn’t been the same. I will say, in my opinion, its practically impossible to have a spotless house with a kid. There is just no way. There’s food in places it should be. I find matchbox cars in the kitchen cabinets. And tiny little socks in every corner in my house. But it’s okay. And sometimes, it’s kinda cute. Instead of freaking out like I would have in the past, I find myself giggling at finding cheesy puffs in the bathtub. (Of course, I laugh and then go scrub down the tub- I said I was better, not cured 😉

5. “My kid will be well behaved in church.” Impossible. Utterly impossible. At least at certain ages, it is abso-stinkin-lutely impossible.

What about you other moms out there, what words have you eaten as a parent? And those without kids, am I the only one who ever thought these things?!!?!?

Have a blessed Wednesday 🙂

caramel pecan cookies by jen

I’ve got another treat today. I’d like to say it was a treat for you, but its really, honestly its just a treat for me. But I’m sharing it with you to pretend its a treat for you. Okay? 

Jen, my sweet and pregnant blogging bud, is taking over the mic today to share the most ridiculously good-sounding cookie I’ve ever heard of. If Jen makes it, its good. It’s really good. I’ll be making this bad boy soon. Take it away, Jen!

Do you like parties? Do you like cookies? Do you like Christmas cheer?

Of course you do. 

These are all of the reasons I love cookies exchanges. 

Cookies + hen party + wine + samples = Christmas heaven.

Some ladies are better at baking than others, but you get all these different sorts of treats, without baking for days upon days. 

I usually participate in at least one cookie exchange, this year I have two because at 30 weeks pregnant, clearly I’ve lost my mind. But I always make the same thing. Actually, I tried to make something different this year and the cookie exchange hostess told me I wasn’t allowed.

These cookies are award winning people. 

Caramel pecan cookies. A butter cookie base, covered in homemade caramel, chock full of pecans and butter, baked to an ooey, gooey goodness. You will be invited back, year after year if you make these. Guaranteed.

They are great to make for cookie exchanges because they are a bar cookie, so you can cut it into pieces as big, or small as you need. Also, they are crazy simple to make. Don’t be scared of the homemade caramel, it doesn’t require a candy thermometer, just a good stirring arm.

Caramel Pecan Cookies
 [ from epicurious ]

cookie base:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

topping:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups roughly chopped pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each end. Grease the foil with butter or non-stick spray, set aside. 

To make the cookie base, whisk together the flour, being powder, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Turn mixer down to low and add the egg and vanilla, beat well. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until cookie base is golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes. Leave oven on.

While the cook base cools, make the topping. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan heat the sugar over medium heat until it starts to melt. Do not stir!

Once it begins to melt, stir occasionally with a fork, until no large chunks of sugar remain and it looks deeply golden. Being very careful, tilt the pan to the side and slowly pour in the heavy cream. It will bubble vigorously and be quite a danger, make sure there are no children around. Cook and continuously stir over medium-low heat, until there are no large chunks of caramel remaining and it has all been dissolved. Remove from heat, stir in the butter until completely melted. Add the vanilla, salt, and finally the pecans.

Carefully pour the topping over the cookie base, spread out to distribute evenly. Place back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until the topping is bubbling. 

Remove from oven and let cool at least for 3 hours before slicing. I typically like to wait overnight, but after 3 hours you should be good. Store in an airtight container, separated by sheets of parchment between the layers.



Jen is a 27 year old with a passion for all things butter and sugar. When she’s not making croissants, cinnamon buns, or home-made pasta, she’s taking pictures and videos of her cats and cheering on her beloved Vancouver Canucks. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two crazy, unstable cats.

Wow. Just wow. Doesn’t that just sound ridiculous? Jen’s got an awesome blog where she shares more of her ‘wow’ recipes. Seriously check her out. You won’t be disappointed. Thanks so much for sharing, Jen!

P.S. Can I round up a few friends to do a cookie exchange next year?!? I’ve never even heard of that, but how much fun does that sound??!? Seriously, would anyone be interested? We could share the cookie AND the recipe. I’m getting excited.

Have a blessed Tuesday 🙂