Saturday, July 30, 2011

Process of Parenting

(photo by Lauren)

I feel like I should start this post about parenting with a huge disclaimer about not really knowing what I'm doing.  Our boys are Ben and Will and they are 2 and 4 1/2 years old.  So, it's more than fair to say that we're still rookies at this whole parenting thing!  Like most parents I know, Mark and I are just trying to do the best we can.  With all that said, here are the things that I think have helped me the most since we have had children. 

We're not perfect. That's always good to remember when I make a mistake (and I make plenty) and when my children make mistakes.  We're all works in progress.
Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Proverbs 22: 6.  If not, here it is.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
I've heard that verse all my life.  Obviously it took on a new meaning when I had children.  Training up a child is a process. If behavior needs to be changed it doesn't happen overnight.  It takes time.  I know this sounds so simple, but it's so true.  Think about training anything in your life, other than your children, and you realize that it take patience and time.  It's not always easy.  I gained a better understanding of this verse and what it meant this spring when I heard a lady, Brenda, who had grown children talk about it our ladies Bible study.  I'm so thankful she shared her insight and wisdom.

My kids aren't robots. This advice came from my friend Shana in a Bible study class we were in together.  My children have personalities that make me love them, but at the same time those personalities can be what get them in trouble.  I believe each person has free will and that's very clear with my children even at such a very young age.  I can already see them make good decisions and bad decisions.  Now it's my goal to encourage them to try to always do what's right.

I've also been told with young children that the two hardest things in dealing with children are when they are sick because you feel helpless and discipline because it's hard to know how to handle it appropriately for each situation.  Thanks to my friend Jami for sharing that with me.

My friend Jami and my sister-in-law Andrea also gave me good advice about how to treat your husband once you have children.  They both said to never criticize your husband's parenting.  I think that's priceless.  My husband and I are definitely a team when it comes to parenting and we are united, but I do some things differently than him and vice versa.  It's okay for us to do things differently.  Different doesn't mean it's wrong.  Being critical of each other is not a good example for your children and it's not good for your relationship with your husband in general.

Mark and I have been blessed with godly examples for parents and more than anything I think that's the best parenting advice.  Look to those who seem to have Christ-centered homes, who love the Lord and strive to serve Him.  No one is perfect, but those are the families that Mark and I observe and emulate when it comes to parenting.  And, of course, our Heavenly Father is the ultimate example of love, patience and sacrifice.

Sharing my humble thoughts at

Friday, July 29, 2011


InstaFriday has become one of my favorite days of the week.  It's fun to share the random moments.  It's also less pressure because all the photos are taken on my camera phone, which is so handy.  I use the hipstamatic app, but I know a lot of people use the instagram app.  Both give the photos a retro/vintage look.

We went to the lake to feed the ducks.  We had the place to ourselves.  It was about 102 degrees so we only stayed about 10 minutes.

Will was trying to coax the ducks out from the shade but they wouldn't budge. 

Ben wanted to feed the ducks, too.  The fish ended up surfacing and eating what was meant for the ducks.

Just going for a stroll.  Did I share this photo last week?  I can't remember.

Will had fun painting.  I'll share more about this on Monday. 


Mark and I had a teacher training workshop this week.  We attended with a few other teachers from our school.  Mark and I attended for a day and a half, but they had to attend an extra day and a half because of the subject they teach.  I felt bad that they had to stay extra so the second day I took them snacks.  Snacks make everything better.  Have you seen the Scrabble Jr. Cheezits?  That's what I took them.  To entertain us during a break one of the teachers spelled her name with the crackers. 

During the summer we always try to visit my grandparents as often as we can.  I'm so glad that Will and Ben are completely comfortable in the nursing home.  They are friendly and talk to the residents.  Here they are with my grandparents.

This is really random, but Will brought in a menu and is reading it to Mama Winnie.  He's asking her if she wants bacon or sausage with her pancakes.  She's playing right along. 

The cat at the nursing home.  This totally freaks Ben out.  Ben's not afraid of all of the old people, but he's terrified of this cat.  The cat is friendly so I'm not really sure why.   

McAlister's Deli gave out free sweet tea yesterday.  Texas is southern enough that we still drink a lot of sweet tea here.  McAlister's has some of the best. 

 Sometimes I let the boys ride in the coin-operated cars (helicopters, trains or space shuttles) outside the grocery store.  I pay the 50 cents and they have a minute of fun.


This is NOT the grocery store with coin-operated cars in the photo above.  We went to Dallas last night to run some errands and we stopped at Central Market on our way home.  Dallas has a variety of grocery stores that carry local and organic produce and more specialized products.  Central Market is like a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. 

Ben and Will walked up to the giant fruits and veggie outside the entrance and "took a bite".   Chomp!

 My very favorite tea.

Any Seinfeld fans?  My husband is a huge Seinfeld guy.  I'm more of a Friends or Sex and the City fan, but he's loyal to Seinfeld.  I had to watch episodes so I could get all of the inside jokes that make reference to the show.  Here's a black and white cookie. If you've watched Seinfeld, then you get it. 

 I was in TJ Maxx and saw these.  What can I say?

 It's been so hot.  I try to keep the bird bath full of water so the little birdies can get a drink.

That's all folks! 

Have a great weekend!

InstaFriday at life rearranged
life rearranged

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Salad Swap

Oriental Cole Slaw

1 head of cabbage (I like to buy pre shredded cole slaw for convenience.)
3 green onions (optional)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 package slivered almonds (4oz. or 1 cup)
1 package chicken Ramen Noodles
3/4 cup oil
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoons soy sauce

Break up and separate Ramen noodles. Brown sesame seeds, slivered almonds, and Ramen noodles in oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes, check frequently to avoid burning. Remove and cool before adding to cabbage. Chop cabbage and green onions. Add toasted sesame seeds, almonds and noodles to cabbage; stir together.

Mix oil, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and chicken flavor mix from Ramen noodles. Mix ingredients well and add to salad about 10 minutes before serving. If you add the dressing to the salad and it sits too long it can lose some of its crunchiness.

Here's the "Pioneer Woman Shot" of all of the ingredients.
The bag of slivered almonds that was available was just a little bigger than the normal amount I use, but I added them all to this salad and it was just fine.

Toasted sesame seeds, broken Ramen, slivered almonds

Maybe the secret ingredient, this little packet adds a lot of flavor

Oriental Cole Slaw

Crisp, crunchy, tangy and sweet.  Enjoy!

Thanks to Mel at The Larson Lingo for hosting the fun salad swap!

What I Wore Wednesday {July 2011}

What I Wore Wednesday {July 2011}

I'm not really sure what day I wore these clothes or what I was doing the days I was wearing them.  One of the wonderful things about summer is I don't have any concept of time.  I usually don't know what day of the week it is.  That's why I labeled this July 2011.  Another valid reason these are out of order is that my camera started over on its numbering the images on my SD card.  I've taken over 9999 photos on my DSLR.  Wow!  I know the photos are dated, but I admit that I'm too lazy to go back and check the date to organize them. 

I can tell you that these photos were taken in July, that's about it :)

LBD outfit
black sundress: Old Navy
silver flip-flops: Gap
earrings: Ike and Co (my new favorites!!!)
Love the color and they are so lightweight.

Favorite shorts outfit
I could wear these shorts every day.
gray/blue shorts and bird shirt: J Crew outlet
striped layer tank: Gap outlet
sandals: DSW
sweet little birdies

Ruffle tank outfit
Ruffle tank and Bermuda shorts: Gap outlet
layer tank: Old Navy
Family tree necklace: Lisa Leonard
shoes??? It's summer
I've never met a ruffle I didn't like ;)

Skinny jeans outfit
skinny jeans: Target
tunic and sandals: Gap
earrings: Old Navy
When I bought these I had no  idea they would go with so many different outfits.

Flower appliqué outfit
flower top and Bermuda shorts: J Crew outlet
sandals: DSW
necklace and earrings: Ike and Co 
Love the colors in this jewelry

Let's try a new layering thing outfit
brown top and beige layer tank: Gap outlet
skirt and bracelet: Old Navy
sandals: DSW
I like the crochet detail on the brown top.
I didn't know what jewelry to wear so I added this big bracelet.

People from Georgia stop me and talk to me outfit
t-shirt: UGA bookstore (from my visit with Katie)
shorts and socks: Nike

Church outfit
Dress and sandals: Gap

pleated poppy

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

Make sure you come back in a couple of weeks for my first ever giveaway.  I think you'll really like it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let's Celebrate

Yesterday, we celebrated Mark's birthday...

 at a teaching workshop.  Woo Hoo!  Not so much!  It's exactly how he did NOT want to spend his birthday, but luckily we had a couple of teacher friends who attended, too.  It made it bearable.  We even all went to eat lunch together at one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants so that was fun.

After our teacher workshop we ate pizza with Mark's parents and had cheesecake for dessert.

I made Mark a healthy version of the Cheesecake Factory's chocolate raspberry cheesecake.  I'd link the recipe, but I didn't find it online when I did a quick Google search last night.  The recipe is from RedbookRedbook as in the Redbook that you'd see at your mom or grandma's house and the doctor's office.  I don't remember ever ordering a subscription to the magazine; it just started showing up at my house.  Strange.  Does that happen to you guys too?  Anyhow, there was a recipe that looked fairly simple and much healthier for the cheesecake so I tore it out and saved it for Mark's birthday.  I'm glad I did.  I probably won't make it ever again, but since raspberries are easy to find and reasonably priced at this time of the year it was a nice treat.

Once we'd celebrated with Mark's parents, we went home and crashed because we were exhausted from the teacher training.  Boy, I forgot what a full day of work felt like.  I didn't have any energy to clean house or do laundry.  I'm glad the teacher training workshop only lasts a half-day today.

That concludes the wrap up of Mark's birthday with a little more info that you probably wanted to know.

Will, Mark and Ben pose for a photo for his 38th birthday

The boys, Mark and his parents, Carol and Jerry

*If you noticed a couple of pieces missing from the chocolate raspberry cheesecake, it's because we ate them on Sunday night. It was supposed to chill overnight and we just couldn't wait.  We ate a couple of pieces fresh out of the oven.  It was good but I admit that it was better once it chilled and had the chocolate drizzled over the top.

Monday, July 25, 2011

38 Is Great!

Today Mark turns 38!!!

38 things GREAT things about Mark

1. Mark is a great husband.  That sounds so cliche, but he is.  You'll see why if you read on.

2.  He's an amazing father.  He makes our family a priority and makes sure we spend quality time together.

3.  He's the only person I know who wants to talk about all of the goofy stuff our kids do as much as I do.

4.  Mark is smart.

5.  Mark is humble.  He'd never tell you he's smart.  He doesn't ever brag or boast.

6.  He watches the boys while I'm at ladies Bible study.  This isn't an easy task because they both pitch fits when I'm gone.  Ben usually wanders around the house aimlessly crying Mama.

7.  Mark has a good sense of humor.  He does stuff all the time to make me laugh. 

8. He's witty and sarcastic.

9.  He is handsome. 

10.  He knows all sorts of random facts and trivia. 

11.  He didn't care when I started a blog and has even encouraged it.  He even reads it sometimes.  I'll have to make sure he reads it today since this post is for him.

12.  He listens to me when I talk about my blog friends and actually tries to figure out who I'm talking about. The conversation usually goes something like this: 
Me: "Katie's mom is sick."
Mark: "Katie in Georgia or Katie in California?"
Me: "Katie in California"
Mark: "Oh, ok."

13.  He has a phenomenal memory.

14.  He's frugal.

15.  He's not frugal when it comes to me and the boys, only himself. 

16.  He totally indulges me on clothing and shoes.  Sometimes he'll say, "another pair of flats?"  but he doesn't complain if I buy them anyway.

17.  He doesn't care if the house is dirty or clean.  This is huge during the school year because it's tough to keep up with working full-time and the demands of home.

18.  He changes the baby's diapers.

19.  He helps with the laundry.  He's never messed up any clothing in the last nine years of marriage.  He's pretty darn good at it. 

20.  He's well read.

21.  He has a nice voice.  I'm tone deaf so I hope our boys get his ability to sing.

22.  He's nice to people.

23.  He's not a pushover.

24.  Mark works hard.

25.  Mark has a really impressive knowledge of the Bible, and he's a strong Christian.

26.  He's a role model and example to our sons.  They are lucky to have them as their dad.

27.  He has a sweet tooth.  He'll never turn down a piece of chocolate cake.

28.  He loves to travel.  He's up for any adventure.

29.  He has a phobia of blood, doctors and hospitals, but despite that he was with me every step of the way when I had both of our boys.  He never flinched in the delivery room.

30.  He goes grocery shopping with me.

31.  Mark takes out the trash and will clean the bathrooms-my least favorite chores.

32.  He's athletic.

33.  Mark's very nice to my grandparents.  They are old and can be difficult and he's very patient with them.

34.  He's good at cooking on the grill.  I'm terrible at it.

35.  He humors me when it comes to family photos.  He hates having his photo taken, but he does it anyway because he knows it's important to me.

36.  He will eat at La Madeline or Panera Bread just because I want to.

37.  He watches chick flicks with me.  Obviously it's not something he enjoys.  He takes one for the team on that one.
38.  Last but not least.  I love him and think he's great because he chose me.

Here's the love of my life in October 2010.

Mark and Ben
January 2011

Mark and Will
June 2011

Happy 38th Birthday, Mark!


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