Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mini-version of the best BLT....E.V.E.R.

this is from the archives, but I was craving this yesterday and decided to give it a little twist by turning it mini....aka: bite size (well, maybe double bites unless you have a big mouth...)....

Follow the recipe below- but buy you a crusty baguette (sliced on a pretty diagonal) and drizzle with olive oil for toasting, change out your lettuce with arugula, cut your avocado smaller, and crumble your bacon on top.  And you will come out with these pretties......

Enjoy this Summertime BLT!


you're welcome.

If you don't try this, then you might be crazy. If you do, then you will thank me for the rest of your life........

The best BLT...... E.V.E.R.

first step...... my SIL's inspiration...

your mayo. scoop about two spoonfuls of mayo in a small bowl. add your basil (chopped...I used about 8-10 very small leaves).....

 give it a whip, add plastic wrap to cover and pop in the fridge until serving....

my kiddos eat these cherry tomatoes like candy. We buy multiple packs per week. Take 3 large handfuls and if they are this large, slice in half......

Add them to a small skillet, sprinkle with salt and crank the heat to med high for about 4-5 mins..

Let me introduce you to my friend.....

I bought her on accident, and I will admit, it was the best accident I ever made; besides the one when I got preggo with my second child when my first child was only 8 weeks old......
 add about 1/4 cup of my friend to your tomatoes, and let it hang out on a simmer for about 3-4 mins..

okay people, BLT's on white bread only. I'm sorry, only sour dough can substitute in my book. This is my Nana's braided bread recipe. Maybe one day when I feel really adventurous I might blog the process of making it. I finally mastered it, and smells of sweet memories fill my home when making it. Slice it up and lightly butter for the toasting....

Your kitchen will then be the popular hang out spot, because it will lure every living creature within smelling distance because of these....

bacon, oh bacon, how I love you. we've got different opinions in our house. Crispy crunchy, fatty, a little of both. Make it the way you like it...(I vote a little crispy)

toast these guys under your broiler.....

and you are ready to plate!
spread one side with the basil mayo.....

Add a big scoopful of tomatoes....

 we add avocado slices, because......well, do I even need to say why ;)

top with a couple slices of bacon....

and your lettuce...

No picture of me adding the top slice of bread. As you can see it is stacked pretty high. The next part is the best, but not the prettiest. Add your top slice, smash and devour this yummy goodness.

Seriously, your sanity will be questioned if you don't try this.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

For you Dads out there.....

I love words. I guess you can say, it's my love language.

I don't think it always has been that way. Maybe so. But the older I get, the more I realize that words are what shaped me...

The ugly and the beautiful. Both.

You can hardly get on social media, turn on the television or walk into any retail store this week with out visiting that relationship with the person that helped with that shaping....

your Father.

Some of you reading this, post pics of your Father with awesome tag lines on who he is, or who he was and how much he influenced your life. And how could you not? I 100% agree with you.... the significance that a father's role plays in your life strongly comes out later....if you can post those pics when you are in your 30's,40's and 50's, there was something to be said about the love he gave you.

I've read a few articles floating around Facebook on fathers this week. I've read of Dads stepping up to the plate anywhere from changing diapers to playing ball with a kid that wasn't even their own.

In the early stage of our marriage, Tim was in school at Auburn. I walked down to some building on campus that had a large bulletin board full of job offers to students.

I grabbed a number off the board that was advertising a nanny position for three children.

Tim and I headed down together to meet a single mom of three in need of someone to care for her children while she worked full time.

Within about 15mins of conversation, the police showed up with her 7 year old son. He was the cutest little blonde wavy haired little boy. He held a cold, tough look on his face as the police officer brought him to the door way and shared with his mom about the current theft he and his friend just did at a local convenient store.

When the officer left, she looked at us and said.... "meet Scotty..."

And that was Scotty. A seven year old little boy, no bigger then a five year old, desperate for any attention. When Scotty was five years old, he and his older sister found their father hung from a tree. That story didn't come out to us until later. For at that moment in their living room, what seemed like it could be "the worst babysitting job ever", we looked at that mama and told her I would start working the very next day. Don't give me a pat on the back. I was much too young and naive to see this situation to the fullest. At that moment, I saw a tough job but a paycheck. I was raised with four brothers and figured I could handle tough. It was later I saw the situation for what it was.

The next few months were filled with everything you could imagine. Scotty would often call me from school as he didn't "feel well". We attended field trips, did homework with them and would keep them weekends at a time as the Mama went out of town.

Once Scotty called us and told us his mama wouldn't wake up and he had to be at Soccer practice. Upon arriving, we found her passed out drunk on the sofa, naked and with a blanket on top of her that her son provided.

It was only about 6mos, but the impact Tim had on Scotty's life was something I can't even describe. Scotty pushed us away, but at the same time, longed for love from us.

The day we said our good byes before moving to Connecticut was one of the easiest and hardest days ever.

What I mean by that, is that the mom had basically given us her three children over this time period; one of which was only 3 years younger then myself, and I was a baby at a whopping 18 year old. She was newly pregnant, and the once carted weekly modeling appts, soon turned to her OBGYN visits. The mother was never home...Tim and I in our very young newly wed state, needed a break from parenting her children, but at the same time feared leaving them.

Scotty was mad at us, and didn't speak to us or look at us days leading up to that goodbye. His hard heart and cold face turned into smiles and giggles as Tim would play video games with him, hunt for his lost snake that escaped from his tank, and teaching him how to fix things around the house made him feel so special.

As we were leaving their home, Scotty was still locked up in his room, shunning us for leaving him. I remember his mom saying "they're leaving..." and as we were walking out the door, he came out of his room. Just like something you would see in the movies, he embraced me. But what at the time didn't impacted me like it did later, was he embraced Tim...and cried.

I have tears now thinking about that moment. I'm not quite sure Tim even remembers that day. It's possible he doesn't remember how tightly that little boys arms were wrapped around him. Because Tim was just being Tim. But I remember; because that moment has played out multiple times in our marriage as I think about him fathering our own children.

We talk about mothering as being such a selfless act, and no doubt we lay down our own desires and wants everyday. We kind of have too....I mean, a mama just knows and has to do. We carried those babies nine months and felt their every move. They heard our heart beat, knew the sound of our joy, pain, stress and peace. They were born knowing we were for them. That comfort was found in our name. We know when they need changing, we know their feeding schedules.... they can just lay in our arms and feel comfort. We know what makes our teenager tick. We can feel their struggles and we can see their pain. We provide what they need before they ask, and we do it over and over again. It's a natural thing.....

But a dad....well that's something different. Babies know their voice if they were around. They feel their Daddy's comfort on how they made their Mama feel or how many times they were embraced. How they made their "home" feel. Dad's know their children's schedules by learning. They know their pain by asking. They know their character because they helped shape it. They know how their teenager's tick because they were there through the tock. And they know what brings them joy and pain because they were present. They were there.

I guess you can say, in most cases being a mom is natural, but being a dad is intentional.

John 3:16

New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

our heavenly Father was intentional. How much more intentional can you be, then for Him to give up His only Son to have a relationship with you. That's what you Dads do when you are intentional. You tell your children you want a relationship with them, and they feel the depth of what that means.

To Intentional Dads-

Thank you for coming home from work and playing with your children. Thank you for changing that diaper, even if it was only one that day. Thank you for waking up during the night to put the paci back in; and for feeding that bottle, for wiping that nose. Thank you for asking hard questions and listening to drama. For saying" you look nice today", or "I like your hair, it's pretty.."; or telling your children you are proud of them. Thank you for whispering in their ear that they are important. Thank you for throwing the baseball and fixing the dryer with them. Thank you for encouraging your children during their triumphs, but especially during their struggles. Thank you for giving them smiles and laughter. Thank your for being silly and playing water balloon fights with them. Thank you for loving other children like your own, and stepping in to the fatherless. Thank you for loving your wives. Thank you for serving others. Thank you for praying for your children, and sharing your struggles with them. Thank you for showing them how God is faithful and how he will always provide. Thank you for making them feel safe and wanted. Thank you for apologizing to them when you mess up. . Thank you for being intentional..... you are demonstrating how to love. They see Jesus in you. They see the sacrifice our Heavenly Father made for them......They do and they will.

Thank you Tim for being you. Your love is felt deeply by many, and it will not stop at this generation. I am so thankful for you.

If you know of an intentional Dad, encourage them; not just this weekend, but always. Their role is bigger then the now..... it will impact generations to come.

Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ramblings of a tired Mama....

I've realized that the social media of Instagram and Facebook is where you will find me if you are looking for me on the screen. Blogging takes up entirely too much time.... where the latter, I just hashtag my thoughts through a single picture for updates.

But then I realize, that blogging is SUCH therapy for me. I end up regurgitating thoughts, struggles, fears, hopes and dreams onto a completely blank white 8 1/2X11 screen like this......

and I feel so much better. I guess it's like the hour "venting" phone call to your BFF.  Something about saying your thoughts (or in this case, typing), just makes them so much more real. Then you realize the depth of who you are and where you need to go....

So here's the update on life.....

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I sound like a broken record everyday with the words... "I NEED A VACATION..." Seriously, Tim and I usually take a sabbatical (if that's even possible) once a year from parenting for say....maybe a few days. Our 15th wedding anniversary was last September and for the first time didn't go ANYWHERE to celebrate it. It was one of those times where we really felt like we were suppose to save all our pennies for an adoption we had know idea when was coming.....low and behold she came 2 mos later to the day.

And the rest is history.

On Saturday morning, Tim and the girls decided I needed to take a "day off"....how sweet. That only translated to me as..."we're not sure we want to be around you today, you are so stressed out...."

Perfect timing as I received a phone call minutes later from a friend feeling the same "AGGHHHH" I was feeling.....I stopped the convo and suggested us seeing the movie "Mom's Night Out" that I had heard such great things about.... it was perfect timing as Hope had been sick all week with her first fever, Tim had been gone to Texas that week, contractors were in our home re-gutting our unwanted bathroom remodel from last year(too much for one post), and I hadn't slept in 6 1/2mos..... but I think it was the 7 times getting up the night before with Miss Hope that DID.ME.IN....I didn't even want to be around myself.....

At 3:40pm we went off to see it..... after watching 30 minutes of previews, my phone rings during the first lines of the movie...It was one of my children....asking me where one of my other child's phone was......yes, that happened......

A lot of  you just held your own breath for me.....I know you can relate. I think my calming words to my child was....."I AM AT THE MOVIES. ISN'T YOUR FATHER AT HOME?!?!?!?!"

Thankfully, I was able to sit the next hour and a half laughing, and also panicking through the movie, and thankful I wasn't the only one that feels like a failure of a mom, even if it was a red curly headed actress proving it....

All this to say, I'm not sure I want to blog saying..."God has you right where you're suppose to be. Being a Mom is the greatest thing in the whole world. Oh, you haven't slept in forever...no worries, it's only a season. You'll sleep again one day."......First of all, if you have adult children, how can you even SAY that to someone.......did you sleep right through your children's teenage years. Ha! So, I'm not going to say those things, because frankly my dear when you're in that moment...they don't mean a damn.

Instead, I'm here to tell you mamas that......I LOVE YOU! That you are a rock star and that parenting has been and is the hardest thing you will EVER do. And that it is okay to wish that your shoulder could be more of a part of your body that your husband caresses, instead of a human tissue. And it's okay to wish your home smelt like Mr. Clean instead of the whiff of poop as you hunt for the unattended hidden poopy diaper. It's okay to want to get a shower before 3pm. And it's really okay if you have a glass of wine at 4:42pm because you held out as close to the 5 o'clock hour as possible....It's okay!! Okay, okay!!!

But, I wouldn't be helpful to you or myself if I didn't say, that yes, it is okay to wish for these things....long for these things....hope for just one of these things to happen throughout the day. But, I have had a major perspective issue lately. I've had entitlement issues over these things and I find myself  not okay when I don't get one of them. I'm in constant battle with my flesh over the poop smells, the fact I hang out in my sweaty workout clothes that stay on my body until I can hop in the shower during Hope's first nap time, and when two missionaries show up at my door after a day from hell already, I find myself saying "why me, Lord...why me...".....

World English Dictionary
perspective  (pəˈspɛktɪv) 
— n
1.a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance
2.the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity: try to get some perspective onyour troubles

importance. There it is. What is important? Well, the shoulder was needed for Hope to wipe her nose on...at least I got to work out today...yay for poopies!! her bowels are working just fine....would you like to come in and talk with me about Jesus......

Oh, y'all, it's amazing how fast my vision can fog. It's amazing how selfish I am. I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father that forgives me when I don't have perspective and can change it for me when I need it so badly. All of life is a season, an ever changing season. True we can say, "this is just a season", but the reality is...a season will always stay the same to you where ever you are if you don't change your perspective. Seasons will change, but your approach to life will not. It will feel like you are constantly drowning and there is no hope. I've been there. I've been in that place where you feel completely helpless and that nothing will get better. I can't tell you it will get better. That's not my place, because you have that choice. You are the only one that can change your perspective and ask God to give you a new breath of air and strength to conquer the next challenge. You're the only one that can change, "okay Lord...WHY ME?", to "how do you want to use me, Lord???".... I'm not a believer in "God doesn't give you what you can't handle...", because this chicka wouldn't need God if I could handle it all. And trust me, I need Him. What I do believe is this...

Hebrews 13:20-21

20Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,21equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."


Ephesians 3:16-19
 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

So, I know He equips me with His spirit to fight. I know that I need Him to guide me and I know I need to surrender my entitlements and my twisted perspective. I'm kind of at that place. I'm tired. But instead of longing for sleep, I need Jesus to fill me with rest. And there is sweet rest in surrendering my will. I'm just so stubborn. I want sleep. No really, I have times when I wake up, I search my schedule for the next available "rest" time....just 5 mins....that's all I need....

 I have two girlies headed off to Northview Highschool next year, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to waste their summer with a bad perspective on my end. I NEED to change my perspective on this season, because the next season is right behind this one, and I know it. And I know I don't have any idea of what it holds except that if my perspective doesn't change, then no matter what it is I will feel like I'm drowning.

Perspective Peeps, Perspective.....

SO....... here's to poopies, green snot, sleepless nights, bathroom re- re-models and teenagers!

Besides, how could this face not wipe away all your troubles.....

Happy Tuesday, Peeps!

Friday, May 2, 2014

because it's a favorite :)

 I'm digging this post out from May 2012, because I just made this dip a few minutes ago, and I can't tell you how many times I get asked for the recipe on this. So here you go!


This is what you will need....

once again, I smile thinking about how she arranged the cans, and tilted the bowl. I think, the merchandising, "shop baby" is coming out :)

Open your Black Beans, drain and rinse.

Add your two cans of white shoe peg corn (drained), black beans, and 2 Tablespoons (heaping) of Sugar to a bowl.

Add 5 Green Onions (chopped), 1/2 cup of Balsamic Vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil.

Mix together.....

Then add 8oz of Goat cheese in large clumps. (you can add feta, but I recommend goat) very gently fold in, so you don't completely smoosh all the cheese....

Refrigerate before serving. Serve with Frito's, and even the people that don't like goat cheese, tell me they love this!

and remember this dip??? Yep, it's totally awesome this way as well!

Happy Weekend Y'all!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

clothing yourself for worship.....

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.- Colossians 3:12

note- all images taken from Google Images- via the web

have you seen one of the latest articles floating around social media on "stop dressing tacky for church".... you can check it out by clicking here. 

I'm not here to jump on my soapbox about that article and say right or wrong on the matter. Only that since attending Wiregrass Church, a branch of a "mega come as you are church", I will share what God has taught me about clothing myself before Him in Worship. 

Over 2 years ago, Tim and I joined the Guest Services Team at Wiregrass Church. That is a team designed to serve in our church any way that would be fitting for Guests. Whether it's preparing coffee, greeting incomers with a hello, showing visitors around and the like. 

Tim and I received "front door duty" a lot and it allowed us every Sunday to see the familiar, and the not so familiar faces grace the church doors. 

When we first started attending Wiregrass, we had heard the rumors and read the bumper sticker alluding to the casual dress attire. 

I won't lie, the first Sunday, we dressed casual. I hadn't yet broken out the jeans, but at first it was nice to not have to iron down the lace just so on the girl's dresses, find matching socks and heaven forbid a matching ribbon tied for the hair, after all....Satan tries to keep us from worship every Sunday, why let him use that pink satin strand to do it.....We simply walked through the doors, were warmly greeted and simply worshiped our Maker....simply.

Since that day, the Sunday attire was never an issue for our family. Before that, meeting everyone's standards was tough.....it's dang near impossible.

In my 100+ days of hello's to incomers, I've never seen pajamas and slippers (unless it's pajama day...yes, yes, we have one of those..), like this CNN article even suggests. What I have seen are people. Hearts and Souls there to meet this person called Jesus. 

Some may not even know that yet, but as believers; we do.

What I have seen are women finding their way to worship from the House of Ruth, or the crippled man from the Rescue Mission, the Teen that hitched a ride because their parents were still wasted from the night before, and the child whose baby sitter brought her along because the sitter raved about how fun it was; all dressed in what I can't even remember, because it didn't matter....they were there. 

I've met smiling faces and faces so cold you wonder what could have happened for someone to carry that much of a hurt and burden on themselves....Faces that yet have found freedom in Christ. Have yet to feel the love poured out on them from their Heavenly Father...

And my sweet Ann Taylor, panty hose previous self, missed the boat on seeing the heart and fragile souls of God's people over the good ol' hurdle of southern etiquette' and pride.

When the words.."did you see what so and so was wearing?!?!" roll off your own or loved ones tongue or resonate in your heart...That was me.  My heart aches that I was so judgmental and over all unloving on this matter, and my children saw it....and I'm sure they weren't the only ones...because I had placed myself in a place of blindness, there is no such thing as being a "little" judgmental or a "little" unloving . After all, everyone looked like me before, and if they didn't, they weren't in my presence very long...how could they, why would they want too....I'm sure they didn't see Jesus in me.. and I'm sure they didn't feel unconditional love flowing from me....

I don't dress every Sunday as an excuse to to do less "work" in preparing myself and family to worship Jesus.... I dress every Sunday as an excuse for others to see Jesus in me. Because if we're being completely honest, I meet my creator in my nakedness. Scary huh- the outward clothes are for the man, Jesus sees us fully; and I'm pretty sure He's only concerned when we are not clothed in Colossians 3:12.

So whether you dress to the Nine's in flip flops or heels, does it really even matter as long as you don't forget to add the accessories of compassion, kindness, humility,gentleness and patience to the attire; because regardless of what you think, that is what people really see you wearing. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

more food....

I've mentioned briefly before, that I was on an "eat clean challenge", that started Feb 1st. I went off the challenge about 8 weeks in and decided it had already kind of taken over my eating habits anyway....

I started reading food labels more and realizing just how much "junk" gets added to our food....Like even a jar of Banana Peppers at the grocery store has yellow FOOD COLORING to make them....well, YELLOW...ugh.

I've had some peeps ask me what I eat so here's a VERY quick and easy, everybody will love, recipe!

You will need- 2lbs of stir fry meat  (or you can slice your own)

Let it hang out for a few in about-

1/2tsp salt
2 green onions chopped
1 jalapeno pepper (we like it hot, so I normally keep half the seeds
about 2 tbls of fresh Ginger chopped
2 Tbls of Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup of Organic Soy sauce

Start your boiling water for your Organic Whole Wheat Couscous (found at Publix..about $10 for a tub of it)...and boil as directed. I use 4 cups water and 2 cups Couscous and about 1 tsp salt. (I let the water get to a raging boil, whisk in Couscous, put a lid on it and turn off heat. Don't open lid or stir again until serving.) Takes about 5mins to cook

While the meat is "seasoning", get your peppers (I use about 4 sweet minis) chopped and in a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil and let them hang out for a couple minutes before the snow peas join them...

add your snow peas (a little less then a pound was used for this) and sautee' for about 3mins...

crank up the heat to the highest setting and add your meat mixture and ALL the liquid...It should sizzle when it hits the pan...

Toss for about 3-5 mins. Don't over cook. I like mine Medium Rare so meat isn't tough....

I've been trying to add extra protein where I can, so I add a can of (rinsed and drained) black beans at the very end and let them cook just a minute on high heat...

 Serve it up on top of your Couscous and Enjoy!

Serves 5-6

Happy Thursday, Peeps! Hope to see you around here again soon!
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