Sunday, September 30, 2012

hello fall!

We celebrated the beginning of a new season with a beautiful day at the Zoo. It was our third trip there this year and just as rewarding as the first.

Look at this beauty, isn't he just majestic??

Clairsy wore her zebra ribbons to match her favorite fuzzy friends.

see those "I'm only smiling because I know she won't give up until we do" grins? lol

Did you know we have wolves in FL?? FLORIDA!? crazy. She is called a red wolf but kinda looks like an overgrown, prettier version of a coyote.

This sweet baby giraffe was rubbing on his mama. so cute.

She decided daddy's shoulders provided the best view for the day. Good job, Daddy :)

About half-way through, the sun was beating down pretty hard and we found a fountain to dip our feet in. Clairsy dipped a little more than that.......

Ryder enjoyed the freedom from his stroller....

The lions put on a good show for us...

Sweet moments like this are just too precious for words...

goodbye summer, you were wonderful.
and hello to fall! we are looking forward to all the memories you will hold.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Avocado plants...see how we've grown!

Remember my tutorial on growing avocados? Well here is an update on how these babies are doing!

Aren't they just lovely??

They have almost outgrown their home. (see that cute red birdhouse? I found th

Roots are strong and growing like crazy. Its almost time to be planted in dirt :)

So have you had avocados since reading the tutorial? and tell me, did you pop those pits in some water??

Happy Saturday, friends. Go plant something.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Our September family birthdays were concluded with my awesome brother-in-law's 20th! Woop Woop!

This is coming a little late but, Happy Birthday Kartwright!
(sorry for the stolen pic)..ha

Kartwright is my Hubby's brother. And his twin. not really. but he could be.

He is funny.




He loves his family.

Almost as much as he loves his Jesus.

I can't wait to see what the Lord has for him in the next few years. Kartwright is ambitious, bold, and unashamed of the Gospel. Wow. What God can do with a heart like that is so exciting!

Keep up the good work, Kartwright! Thank you for being a man of God. Thank you for your laughter :) Thank you for your kindness to your niece and nephew. They LOVE their uncle K! And so do we.

Happy Birthday Kartwright! Glad we were able to celebrate with you over a yummy meal.

oh..and sorry we lost your presents :( ....long story people.

well, i guess not really. left the presents on top of the car. drove away. end of story.

Friday, September 14, 2012

last minute summer dress

I had such very good intentions this summer to make Clairsy lots of fun dresses to wear in this Florida heat. Unfortunately, life got busy, other more important and some not-so-important things took priority and it just didn't happen.

But I did whip this one up a few days ago because how can you go a whole summer with a 3 year old girl, Hobby Lobby minutes from your doorstep and 3 wonderful sewing machines and NOT make a dress?!

note the giant plastic ring on her finger! she was determined to wear it ;)
The more I look at this fabric, the more I love it! The sweet little birds and birdcages, the contrasting colors, and polka-dots in the blank spaces....just lovely. AND I got it on clearance!

I was fortunate to find the coordinating green fabric on a separate visit! I'm so happy with how well it matched up.

I'm sure we won't get any REAL fall weather for another month or two, giving her plenty of time to prance around, like she loves to do in dresses, and get some good use out of it :)
I guess I should start thinking of some Fall Wear to make.....hmmmm? any thoughts? 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

to-die-for cherry cheesecake

This recipe has been passed down three generations now in my family. First my grandma, then my mom, and onto me. Now I will break the "family secret recipe code" and pass it to you....because its just THAT good!

It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare and a couple hours in the refrigerator and voila! Cheesecake that will knock the socks off all your guests! With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching I thought now might be a good time to add this to your pie repertoire and give you the opportunity to wow your family.

So here it is....

1 8oz. block of cream cheese...don't use the light or fat free stuff. just don't.
1 8oz. container of cool whip. again, no fat free.
1 can of sweetened condensed milk...not sure what size that is but...the small one!
1/4 Cup of lemon juice
1 can Cherry pie filling...not the sugar free kind. come on people, its supposed to make you fat! that's why it tastes so good!
1 large prepared graham cracker crust. (I use the one with 10 servings).

*make sure your cream cheese is room temperature when you use it. this is important. it takes about 2 hours on the counter.

*also, go ahead and stick that cool whip in the fridge, not freezer when you take the cream cheese out.

Once the cream cheese is soft and room temperature, combine it with the cool whip and sweetened condensed milk. Using a hand beater, whip until nice and creamy...about 2 minutes.

THEN add the lemon juice. don't do it before! It will almost instantly change the texture of your mixture! mix until fluffy. again..about 2 minutes is plenty.

Pour that fatty deliciousness into your crust. Throw it in the fridge along with your UNOPENED can of pie filling.

It will set enough in an hour to eat it, but if you have a few hours or overnight, that's when it really tastes best! Once its set, pour the cooled fruit filling on top.

Now invite some people over or your may be danger of eating the whole thing in a day ;) Hope you enjoy it!

*Note, my mom always made it without the cool whip and added a teaspoon of vanilla. both are equally as good! I think I love how thick and fluffy the cool whip makes it, but feel free to try it the other way...its also slightly less fattening :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No way, I said.

I was recently approached by a woman in the store. She was complimenting my children on their cuteness and good behavior. She proceeded to hand me her card. She told me about her daycare center and how wonderful it was. She asked me if I had a job and that if I sent my kids to her I would get that time away from the kids that she just KNEW I was wanting. I accepted her card politely and wanted to just do what I normally do in situations like this and just pretend to agree, hoping that would get me out of the conversation quicker. But I decided to say something this time. Not anything offensive. Nothing to put her down. Nothing to turn her away from Jesus or from homeschooling/stay at home moms.

I simply said, in response to her saying I should get a "real" job..."no way! I wouldn't miss this for any amount of money or so-called "me"-time. The best job I could ever have is staying home and taking care of and teaching these babies." She smiled smugly and said if I changed my mind to give her a call.

I wanted to say so much more! I wanted to tell her that even if I had a REAL job, I wouldn't send my kids to her in a million years! I wanted to ask if her daycare children were so well-behaved in the grocery store? I wanted to say that my children weren't screaming in the store, had nice clothes on and their hair combed because I taught them better! Because I, their mother, brushed their hair and dressed them this morning! And I will be the one to feed them breakfast, lunch and dinner! I will there to witness their successes and be there to comfort them when they are hurt. And they behave because they love me and want to be obedient. Because they know me! Because I know them!

Why is full-time motherhood not considered a real job?? I get so tired of hearing that. Dakota does too. So many of his co-workers have asked him, "so you're wife just says home all day?? what does she do all day? why don't you make her get a job?" He replies with the obvious of, "well...she takes care of my children for one! she cleans the house, she does the shopping, she prepares meals for me every day! I don't want her to get a job! I am proud to say I am the provider for my family and have the amazing privilege of a wife who loves and cares for her family." They are left dumbfounded.

I do need to clarify one thing.....I know there are circumstances when a mother NEEDS to work outside of the home! I've been there! And I have the utmost respect for those single mothers and struggling families. I am not speaking to you here! I am speaking to the women who CHOOSE to be away from their children. Those who choose a career over their family. Those who willingly let someone else raise their children. Those who don't serve their husbands like they should. Those who "have" to work to make sure they have a new wardrobe every season, get that long family vacation they just can't live without, or to support some sort of bad habit.

Wow...this turned into quite a speech! Its my soapbox today. So if you stuck with me, thanks for listening. I am so, so, so thankful I have the privilege of staying home with my children. And I am sooooo blessed to have a godly husband who provides for our family and entrusts me with our children every day.

Thank you, Jesus for the strength you give me every day to be what You have called me to be. Even in my weakness, my stupidity, and my shortcomings, You are strong, You give me wisdom, and Your grace is enough.

I love these babies and wouldn't miss this for anything this world has to offer.

or this...

or this...
or this...

or this...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My favorite brother

September is another family birthday month for us!

Last Saturday, my brother Adam celebrated his 15th!

Isn't he handsome??
Adam is our only brother. Yes. One boy. Seven girls. And he has definitely had his fair share of torture from all of his sisters. BUT being the only boy, he also gets the attention of all his sisters :)
He is our favorite brother.
He is a man's man.
He is very athletic. I've never seen him try a sport and NOT be good at it!

 He is hilarious! Always has the ability to make me laugh.

He is great with kids!

He plays the drums...whaaat?!

He is a great testimony of Christ. Whether he's hanging out with a bunch of church-goers or on a baseball team full of potty-mouths, he does not waver. He does not comform to this world.

Thank you for being a man. This world needs more guys like you, Adam. 

Thank you also for your laughter and fun! You are such an encouragement to me.
Love you kid!! Happy Birthday! Wish were there to celebrate with you.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Julia, Juls, Julsie, Ann, Annie....

A few days ago, a birthday was celebrated. A sweet little girl turned 8! EIGHT!

Her name is Julia and she is my baby sister.

People say she looks like me when I was her age. I have to agree. We joke about our similarities and I call her my "mini-me."

She is spunky. Stubborn. Creative. Beautiful. Loving.

She loves Jesus and her family so much.

And boy do I love this little girl! Wish we could have been there to celebrate her birthday with her.

For some crazy reason, I have very few pics of her :( a problem which will soon be fixed!
She loves anything and everything girly!
She knows how to put on makeup better than I do!
She was born into a family of 4 older sisters and an older brother. She has always acted older than her age and I have to say its one of the things I love about her. She fits in with all her siblings friends and has always enjoyed being a "teenager."
From guitar playing at frontlines, and walking around Africa like she owned the place, to helping in nursery at her Dad's church and taking care of her younger sisters...this girl is a hoot and a servant.

We love you Julsie!! Happy Birthday sweet girl :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

yummy salsa

I hope you are all enjoying your Labor Day weekend! We certainly are. A relaxing day at home today, loving the company of my favorite peeps. A little weekend catchup and some Fall cleaning!

I have a great recipe for you today!

I love me some chips and salsa! And this recipe is soo different than any I've made before.

10 fully ripened Roma tomatoes
8 Serrano peppers
2 medium onions
5 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup, chopped)
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375.
Quarter tomatoes and onions and place on baking sheet, along with peeled garlic cloves. Cut caps off peppers (make sure to wear gloves!). I got scared and removed the seeds from the peppers, afraid it would just be too spicy! It ended up not being spicy fact, you could hardly taste the peppers. SO, I would leave at least half of the peppers alone and seed the rest.

Place in oven and cook until onions are translucent, tomatoes soft, and peppers beginning to char. Took about 45 minutes. Cool.

Now pull out your food processor and combine cilantro, salt and cooled ingredients. (I had to do mine in two batches)Pulse until it reaches a texture you like! I made mine restaurant style.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight is best! And serve with chips, on tacos, enchiladas, get the idea!

Happy Labor Day, Friends!!!!