Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Family Photos

Pictures say it all!  I have what I've always dreamed of "A Family", one that's all mine!  They may drive me batty at times, but I wouldn't change a thing about any of them!!! HUGE thanks to my Sister-in-law Ruth, over at Bella Angelo Photography for these beautiful shots!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Season of Hope!

Life is hard.

Your hard may look like paradise to me, but truth is...

Life is hard.

Our "hard" looks different from each other. But hard is relative.

This Christmas season, usually my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE time of the year, I've not been "myself".

I've been dragged town physically with this stupid hand. 

I've put on 15 pounds this year that has completely depressed me.  

I took on one of the BIGGEST roles to date with homeschooling my 3 children.  

Chris's schedule has been more intense, keeping him away more than either of us would like.

My mom has been sick with this heart condition that we are still just WAITING around before we can move forward with surgery and on to the Pulmonary issues.

Our household has lost 3 streaming income sources and our expenses have gone up.

Did I mention Homeschooling?

It all just seems so hard.

My mood is gloomy.  My energy levels are down.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm human.

Life is hard.

I was reminded this weekend while volunteering at our local Orange Santa Food/Toy drive, that it's hard for EVERYONE!  Well, at some level or another, it's hard.  My main duty on Saturday for the 2 hours I was there was to smile, greet the families and give them a little bit of hope with my positive energy.  This is WAY different from the role I had in the past with Orange Santa. (it was wonderful!!!)  But this year, I was called to look the moms in the eye and hope they felt my heart when I wished them Merry Christmas.

My friends, new and old have given me hope this past weekend.

My sisters (Beni and Ruth) have listened and loved on me during one of the hardest seasons in my life.

I am always the "leader", the  "fearless", "can do anything" girl.

But I've been knocked to my knees and what better time than during this season???

The season of Hope!

I'm putting this out there to remind me as I move forward TODAY, that each day is a gift.  Life is supposed to be hard, it's finding the beauty along the way that makes it all worth it!

So, I said to the kids, "Pack up the school books".....we are on VACATION for the month!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This mama needs it!

Menu Plan Monday

Chris is traveling most weekdays this month until his vacation starts in the 21st so I haven't done much "planning"! Our menu it's looking like this until then. I'm making small changes each week, but here's the idea.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jibby Returns

One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is play with our Elf on a Shelf, Jibby! This is our third year and the kids LOVE it!! Who am I kidding?? I LOVE IT too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

They were surprised with their "North Pole Breakfast" and goodies that Jibby brought them when he arrived in his air balloon, lol.

I have learned to do what I can do without killing myself! I wanted to do the donuts as snowmen, snowman pancakes with bacon scarves but just didn't want to get up at 6am to do it today and guess what? THEY WERE STILL THRILLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I sat this afternoon and worked on a calendar to save myself time this year...

Tonight we start our Advent Calendar and Jesse Tree!  While I LOVE having fun with the *magic* of Christmas, it's also important to focus on the reason for the season!!!

Have fun this month my friends!!! Lower your expectations just a tad so you can kick back and enjoy it all!!!!  I know I am!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan

Sorry this is a day late and no graphics, lol.....I'm blogging while at swim with Christopher!! Hoping I get this cast off tomorrow morning so my life can get back to normal!!!

Mon: Meatloaf, baked potatoes, asparagus

Tues: Hot dogs, fries and carrot sticks

Wed: Greek salad with chicken

Thur: Thanksgiving at my in-laws.

Fri: Homemade pizza night

Saturday: White chicken chili

Sunday: Linguine and clam sauce

Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Ahhhh.......2 MORE WEEKS with this dumb cast!!!   It's *seriously* messing with my mojo!! :o)

Nothing Fancy.....

  • Monday: Pan fried Pork Chops, rice and veggies
  • Tuesday: Meatball Subs with leftover Sunday Sauce and pasta ~ Sofia's pick
  • Wednesday:  Taquito Enchiladas  (double batch-freeze one!)
  • Thursday: Quinoa, veggie platter, Cheese,crackers and fruit salad
  • Friday:  Burgers and nachos ~ Christopher's pick
  • Saturday: Homemade Chicken Tenders and steak fries ~ Anna's pick
  • Sunday: Fettuccini Alfredo

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ choice all week! Mama's off again, LMAO!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

This one handed living is for the birds!!!!'s to another week keeping it easy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Screw the Menu Plan!!

Having a cast means very, VERY basic menus over here!!! I mean SERIOUSLY, I have type with ONE HAND!!!!!!  We relied on freezer and quick meals last week and are doing the same this week!

Chris made a couple trays of ziti for the freezer and I still have a couple of crockpot meals in there too, THANK GOD!! My friend Heidi dropped off dinner last night so between Halloween (Mummy Dogs for dinner) and Selena Gomez concert Friday night (staying in San Antonio for the night, YIPPEE!!!) I have NO PLANNING to do...YAY!!!

I'm trying VERY hard to keep a good attitude but I really feel like this on the inside!!!!

Only I could trip over my own two feet right at the END of my run and am STUCK like this for SIX weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carry on little warrior, carry on....

Monday, October 14, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday!!!  Here's what's cookin' in our home this week!  We are finishing studying Mexico, hence the themed dinners! :o)

Uncrustables, chips
Muffin Tins
Mac n Cheese
Protein Pack Plate
Green Smoothies and Blueberry Bagels

Monday:  Chicken Pot Pie & Split Pea Soup
Tuesday:  YOYO
Wednesday:  Freezer Meal
Thursday:  Quesadillas
Friday:  Tortilla Soup
Saturday:  Mexican Pizza
Sunday:  Pasta Primavera

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thank you God for Rainy Days!

There is something SO magical about the rain!  I don't say that because it hardly EVER rains here and we really do need the rain, I do love the rain for my yard but, I love it for SO many other reasons!!! 

cuddling on the couch with my lovies
reading a good book
watching an old movie
baking something
wearing cozy socks
fuzzy blankets
it's all so surreal!

I was sitting outside sipping my coffee looking over this week's lesson plan, writing my shopping list and thinking about a the menu for the week.  It's all very routine for me to do on Sundays, but today was a nice break in that routine because I was sitting alone in the rain. It was peaceful, it was beautiful!  I feel well rested and felt so inspired by a special friend this week, her words lingered in my mind...

You are a Warrior
You are Strong
You are Beautiful

and a little whisper from God during my morning prayer.....


A wonderful way to kick start my week! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

13 *almost* PERFECT Years!

13 years of marriage.....longer than either of our parents made it, that alone is success!  Chris and I both come from broken homes, heartache and painful childhood memories, BUT we are making our *own* story, moment by moment, forgiving during the tough seasons, growing TOGETHER as ONE, and celebrating each year that passes by (often way too quickly!).

Life is busy, kids grow too fast, time FLIES, and while we do the best we can to be still in the moments, appreciate them while we can, marriage is still HARD.  It is a sacrifice, it is learning to love SELFLESSLY and GIVE without expecting anything in return.  We vowed 13 years ago to honor and cherish each other through it ALL and today I am every so grateful that in spite of the breakdowns, the temper tantrums, the frustrating/emotional moments (I'm talking about myself and not the kids, LOL), he is still here, loving and supporting me, NEVER walking away.  I thank God for him!!! 14 years ago Chris came into my life like a true night in shining armor and rescued me, no doubt. 

Today, I celebrate the love of my life.  He truly is my better half.  The LOVE given to me has QUADRUPLED since I met him over 14 years ago!  I never imagined the love I felt that was given to me would be x4 13 years later! We have a beautiful family together and while life is HARD, this family we made keeps me joy filled!

Thank you for the life you've given me Chris!!!!!
Happy Anniversary my Love!!!!

My DREAM come true!

We celebrated thanks to my sister in law and brother in law watching the kids on Saturday, and Chris's Marriott points!!!!  We went to what was THE most GORGEOUS resort we've been to so far (well, besides our honeymoon!) J.W. Marriott in San Antonio!  Dinner, coffee, snacks, a relaxing go around the lazy river over and over WITHOUT kids!!!!  I even snuck in a nap by the pool!!! The gorgeous weather held out for us, cold front came in that evening while we were having coffee!  It was PERFECT!!!!!!!!

I'm looking forward to MANY more anniversaries and am excited at the possibilities our future holds!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Yep, this was me yesterday.....NO CLUE what to put on the menu this week!!  I am *trying* to cut back on those carbs, increase my veggies and just say NO to the extra sugars! LOL  We are also studying Mexico this week so I wanted to tie that in with lunches and/or dinners too.  Those that know me know I do NOT really like Mexican food.  I know, pick your jaw up from the ground, everyone in Texas seems like they love Mexican. NO, I'm NOT a Chuy's fan either....gasp....I could take it or leave it! HA!

I am trying to build up my freezer meals over the next couple of weeks and am bringing a meal to a family on Friday so I'm going to be making a triple batch of that one for sure!  It's late, I'm tired so here you go....

Monday: Turkey Meatloaf, pasta & beans, green bean salad (cold with garlic, O&V, my fave!)

Tuesday:  Pizza at Sam's Club since we are going right after swim and will be there during dinner time!

Wednesday: Tacos (taco salad for me!)

Thursday: Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken from freezer

Friday: Chicken Alfredo Bake (x3, eat one, give one, freeze one!)

Saturday:  Split Pea Soup, homemade bread

Sunday:  Lasagna

I let the kids pick the lunch each is what they have to choose from, always with carrots, cucumbers, celery sticks or salad w/ranch:

Leftover Spaghetti
Homemade Uncrustables
Muffin Tins, their choice (usually has a hard boiled egg, veggies, salty and sweet treat
Homemade Mac n Cheese

Have a GREAT week!!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Week 4 IN THE BAG!

The last three weeks of school have been great!  Well, let me rephrase that, with the meltdowns and "real life" stuff, we've had an AWESOME few weeks!  This is not an easy journey but fulfilling in ways words cannot describe!  We explored all the continents and oceans in Geography, moving right on to memorizing all 50 states!  The kids learned about different types of maps, all about the globe, animals all over the world and just SOAKED UP everything we learned about the US!  I am AMAZED at my little Geography nerds....LOVE it!

I'm really enjoying teaching My Father's World ECC and they are having a blast learning!  I supplement alot with FUN activities and skip over some of the stuff that I know won't interest them.  The JOY of homeschooling!

We've hit some bumps in math with Christopher but we are trying out something different for the next couple of weeks....we'll see how it works!  Seeing him super frustrated to the point of wanting to cry is NOT cool!  I am researching, seeking advice from fellow HS moms and teacher friends too!  THIS is my job!!  I fall more and more in love with it as time goes on!!

Here are some pics of the past few weeks...
After finishing our first week of studying the continents and oceans, we baked a world cake!

This was a surprise I came downstairs to one morning!

First Day of Fall.....crafts, pumpkin muffins and FALL books!

Nature Journals ready for some exploring!
Celebrating the First Day of October! Pumpkin English muffins for breakfast!
Candy Corn Math Drills
First Day of October fun!
Scarecrow Multiplication Drills
She still LOVES to work with flour!
Yay for October!
Fall Art on display

Just a snipit of the funny moments at The Auditore Schoolhouse! LOL
FUN U.S. Puzzle!
Finished our United States Study with cooking from our US Cookbook for Kids!
Adrianna made the pumpkin cake for us! LOVE my little baker!

Does it get ANY better than this????!!!!  Moving on to studying MEXICO next week!  So excited!!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Yay for Mondays! My goal is to spend under $150 for groceries this week so I'm doing the best to economize the menu! Here goes nothing....

Monday:  Turkey Burgers
Wednesday: Tacos
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: OVERNIGHT Date Night for Anniversary!
Sunday:  Spaghetti and Meatballs 

Protein Packed Muffin Tins
Mac n Cheese
Pasta and Beans

I will also make bread, biscuits, cinnamon twists, cookies and brownies this week!  The only snack like food I'll buy will be pretzels and ritz crackers to make peanut butter crackers.  I *will* finish in UNDER budget this week!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan 9/23

With all the stuff we've been going through with my mom, it's been a whirlwind month and I'm SO thankful for the dinners and freezer meals we received!  It is now time to get back on track and try to do some freezer cooking too!  I know it's a day late, but here we go....

Parmesan Encrusted Tilapia
Bubble up enchiladas
Crockpot Roast

English Muffin Pizzas
Dinner Leftovers
PB&J sandwiches
Muffin Tins
Fruit, Nuts, Cottage Cheese Plates

We are *really* trying to get back on track!! LOL  We had a busy weekend that I'm STILL trying to recover from with the realization that I simply cannot keep the speed I once used's CRAZY!  It took a few years of saying my word of the year was "Simplify".....well, 2013 has most definitely proved to be my year of SIMPLIFYING things, no doubt!