Friday, August 29, 2014

TGIF - Friday Favorites!

TGIF....nothing like the Friday on the first week back to school!  I'm linking up for Friday Favorites with Andrea of Momfessionals and Erika of A Little Bit of Everything and Narci of Grace and Love.


I have been watching this top for the past several months at Nordstroms and this week it went on sale!  I received it yesterday and it is so adorable.  This will definitely be making a lot of appearances this fall.  There are several colors and patterns to choose from and I think it will be perfect under jackets as it starts to get cooler.  I have found this brand runs a little big and I have sized down to a small in every shirt I have ordered.  On sale and a size smaller....that my friends is girl math and you have to have it! 

Top here//Necklace here//Jeans here

Here is another find for fall that popped up on the Loft sale this week.  I think this jacket is so cute.  It has that military feel and the cut would be flattering. It is 50% off right now!  

Jacket here

Our bedroom has been a work in progress.  I painted probably two years ago but until last night had not hung a thing on the walls.  I totally copied this exactly..and I mean exactly....from a friends house I visited last week.  I can't quit walking in my room to look at it!!!   Random fact...I had never noticed that our "married" initials are the same letters as my maiden initials....meant to be!  All letters are on sale this week at Hobby Lobby too so this was a win all the way around.  

Have a great weekend! 

Be Blessed, 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

His Baby Girl

Today is a milestone I wish I was not hitting.  Ten years ago today my sweet daddy left this earth after a short battle with colon cancer.  He was 58 years old. 
This is one of my very favorite pictures of my dad because this is truly how I remember him the most.  He loved to drink coffee morning, noon and night and he always had a smirky smile.  In my mind he was such a big man even though he only stood 6' 3".  He always gave me a big side hug and patted me on the bottom and called me baby girl.  That is what I miss the most.  

Our family growing up was a living example of dysfunctional.  Dad was a pipeline welder which meant he was gone six to nine months of the year.  My mom ran the household when he was gone but as soon as he returned he wanted to be in charge and it always created so much friction.  He drank...alot.  Countless times my parents sat us down in tears to explain how they loved each other but just couldn't live together and would prepare us for a separation only to be back in love again a few days later. My brother and I really had no awareness that my dads drinking was an issue most of our childhood. As I became a teen, however, the economy hit a slump and my dad had a hard time finding work.  He was home for an extended period of time which meant he was able to show up for my sporting events.  Basketball was his favorite sport and he loved to show off his moves and tried so hard to teach me some skills at home.  At games, however, he would show up after drinking all day and try to coach me from the stands.  It became obvious he had a problem and after we had all had enough and confronted him one night he moved out.  He tried to stop drinking on his own and realized he could not.  Thankfully my mom had been attending Al-anon meetings and new exactly how to respond when he asked for help.  She provided a number and he called and checked himself into rehab.  That was it...when I was 14 my dad stopped drinking and he never touched it again.  When he died he had been sober for twenty plus years.  It was his proudest accomplishment.  

For those of you who have watched someone battle with an addiction you know it is not just as easy as quitting. Addiction is real and it is a disease and you have to separate your love for that person with  your resentment for the addiction.   My dad admitted that there were times he thought about having a drink again just to see if he could but he didn't trust himself.  During his recovery I know he leaned on a "higher power" as they refer to it in AA.  He knew that he was not strong enough on his own to stay sober.  

A real turning point for my dad happened when I was a sophomore.  I was playing basketball in a town close to home and knew he was suppose to come.  The game was more than half over and he showed up.  It had been storming outside and his pants were soaked.  I'm not going to lie, when someone is recovering from an addiction it is hard not to speculate they may faulter and that night I was definitely thinking he was late because he had stopped to drink. Instead, on his way to my game as the rain fell down, he saw a little boy in a drainage ditch with one arm in the water and the other waving for help.  The little boy was holding onto his friend who had been swept by the water into the drainage pipe and my dad stopped and pulled him to safety.  My dad truly believed that God put that situation in his path to show him that staying sober was the right answer.  He knew had he been drinking the outcome may have been much different as he may not have even noticed the situation. 

My dad taught me that working for what you want is worth any price.  He sacrificed time with his family to provide for his family.  There were many times in my life when I resented his choice to work away from home and miss so many special occasions.  As a parent myself it is easier to look at his choices and know that he was doing the best he could the best way he knew how.  I hate that my daddy had to die so soon and I hate that the last 60 or so days of his life he was in so much pain.  Having the chance to spend those days caring for him and telling him how much I loved him just the way he was and how much I would miss him are priceless.  I knew he loved me beyond measure and never doubted how proud he was of me. I knew in the end he knew how much he was loved too. No matter what I would always be his baby girl.  
If you are reading this and you have someone in your life who has reached their 50th birthday please, please urge them to have a colonoscopy.  The 50 and older age group represents the age at which 90% of new colorectal cancer cases occur.  By doing the following you can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.  

Regular Screening 
Maintain a Healthy Weight 
Be Physically Active 
Consume a Healthy Diet
Limit Alcohol Consumption 
Get Enough Calcium (mainly through food sources)
Avoid Tobacco 

If you know someone suffering from an addiction, tough love is hard.  Learn what you can do to best help that person and reach out to Al-anon.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Recipe Club - Healthy Chicken Salad

I'm linking with Andrea of Momfessionals for Recipe Club! 

I typically try to pack my lunch each day for work and am always looking for something quick and easy but also satisfying and healthy.  This healthy chicken salad is super easy and so yummy and can be eaten on bread or served on a bed of lettuce.  I had mine on Ezekiel toast.    

 4 oz Rotisserie Chicken (mine was leftover from dinner)
6-8 Sliced green grapes
2 tbs Chopped pecans
1/4 to 1/2 Avocado depending on size
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Be Healthy, Be Blessed,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesdays Favorite Things Party

Linking up with Andrea and Erika for a Favorite Things Party today! 

I just finished reading The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle.  You can find her fun blog,  Big Mama,  here.  I loved this book for so many reasons and felt myself identifying with her over and over again!  If you are looking for a fun read about marriage and love a Texas girl married to a good ol' boy then this is a must read.  It will keep you laughing.  The Kindle version at Amazon was under $10!

With school getting started and still adjusting to the new puppy there have been several weeks of little sleep!  This Cover Girl Smoothers concealer has been my friend!  I have tried so many different types of concealers...some way more expensive.  Many times they are way too thick and end up showing every single line I have!  Others look great when they go on but by noon I'm back to seeing the dark circles. For under $10 I'm sold...and I think I've had my current tube for like five or six months.   

Under Eye Concealer | CG Smoothers
Shop your shade here

I workout typically at 5am so I'm not getting up any earlier than I have to.  In fact sometimes I sleep in my workout clothes!  I do not do well on an empty stomach, however, and these Quest Bars are my go to.  They provide just enough calories to allow me to get through a tough workout or a run without making me feel weighed down.  I love Cinnamon Roll, Apple Pie and Vanilla Almond Crunch but they have lots of fun flavors.  

And my very favorite thing this week was free!  Seeing my babies excited and happy to start a new school year is definitely one of my faves this week.  I can't believe they are growing so fast! 

Back to School

Have a great week! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Queen's Chronicles

The week before the first week of school officially wore me out!  

On Monday morning the PTO kicked things off by providing a breakfast for the Creek View teachers and staff.  I'm always really jealous when I get there and see all the yummy food everyone has taken time to prepare!  This year I made this sausage breakfast casserole recipe compliments of Mix and Match Mama.  Thinking ahead I made an extra for one of our dinners this week and the hubs gave the thumbs up! for me!  I actually had assistance from this little man who doesn't like to eat much but seems to love helping me make things if it involves cracking eggs.  

My anxiety was pretty high Monday morning which is really not my typical Monday.  I do not do well on little sleep and the new puppy has definitely cut into my zzzz's.   I also planned to take a few days off work this week to tie things up at home before school gets started but there were quite a few T's that still needed to be crossed before that was going to happen without more anxiety.  I arrived at work to find this yummy goodness on my desk compliments of a dear friend.  When I was pregnant with Carly we worked in the same office and every time we had a holiday his wife would make these.  Now every time she makes them he remembers how much I loved them and brings me a sample!  You have to love people like that....and it really turned my day around!  

On Monday evening we have been taking Dutch Buddy to Puppy 101 training.  Tonight was super special because we actually saw two of his sisters! We are partial and think we still got the pick of the litter..seriously...just look at this face!  

Tuesday I made myself a yummy breakfast and include some fresh kale my coworker brought me from his garden.  Seriously...I have the best coworkers right??!!  I use to be a spinach person until I tried kale and I love it so much more.  It has more flavor and it does not wilt like spinach.  

And I wore my sassy pants and denim jacket from my friends online boutique!  You can find her on facebook under Burlap & Pearls.  Cute clothes...even cuter owner!  I'm lucky enough to live right around the corner.  Shhh...don't tell the hubs. 

We finished off the day with a 7th grade football meeting and then my son went to TEEN night at a local game center.  I thought I was ready...but I'm rethinking.  

Wednesday morning I had to take Dillon in for a few shots or he was not going to be allowed to start 7th grade!  He is currently 97th percentile in height....and he has been drinking milk like crazy!  Mostly straight out of the jug because evidently his dad told him if he could finish it he could do that.  Really?  

Finally Thursday arrived and I had a day off work!  I started the day at the gym with my workout buddies.  Only leg day and these girls could make me get up at 5am on my day off! Finding a style of workout you love is important but having someone to workout with that will keep you accountable is even a bigger deal to me.  If I'm the only one that knows I'm suppose to be there it is much too easy to find something else to do!  

I actually took two different cars to the dealership for oil changes before taking Miss Carly for a much needed haircut!  Sweet girl has her moms unruly fine hair with just enough curl to make a mess but not enough to wear curly.  She was a happy camper after getting a few inches taken off. 

And then we took Dutch Buddy for his 2nd round of shots and I quizzed the vets like a first time mom!  All the excitement really wore him out.  

We spent the afternoon swimming with some friends before heading to Carly Jo's meet the teacher night.  It is always so exciting to find out who will be molding my sweet girl each year and we were definitely happy to find out we are on the Watson/McCallay team.  You really can't go wrong with the teachers at our school and thankfully my kids are very flexible.  

On Friday morning Carly, Dutch and I headed out for some Fuzzy Tacos while our cleaning service took care of our house.  Hiring someone to clean was really hard for me but I finally bit the bullet two weeks ago and I am so thankful I did.  It has really helped me to keep things in order and kept the load off my mind so I can focus on my family in more productive ways.  Carly said Fuzzy's has the BEST breakfast tacos.  

We also picked out faucets for the bathroom today!!  I'm so excited...I picked out granite about 3 months ago but have not had time to stop and look at faucets.  Craziness...the faucets really cost almost as much as the darn granite!  

Saturday morning the boys got haircuts and then we headed to Katy to Bass Pro Shop to stock up before dove season next weekend.  Hunting license is ready and I even picked out a new camo shirt.  When Keith & I were dating and early in our marriage I went hunting with him but have not gone for the past 6 or so years.  The kids have school on Labor Day but I took off work and the hubs and I are going to have a date shooting some birds! 

Dillon has been saving for a deer decoy to practice bow hunting so he is a happy hunter!

And no trip down 290 is complete with out icees from Buc-cees!

We started Sunday off right with a trip to Brazos Fellowship.  So blessed by this church and the new series Soul Mate is going to touch so many hearts.  I spent so much of my life expecting some other person to fill my heart and give me happiness, never realizing only Jesus could fill that spot.  I can always pin point when I start moving God into 2nd place and trying to put something or someone in 1st.  I start to get angrier in my marriage, more frustrated with my kids and with work.  The quote was used today by C.S. Lewis "Put first things first and we get second things thrown in; put second things first and we lose both first and second thing." I have come so far with my faith but still have so far to go.  Thankful for a God that offers lots of grace on my journey.  

We did lots of prepping for the week in hopes of making our first week back to school an easy transition.  Items for lunches have been packed individually so the kids can easily grab and go and Keith and I can as well.  I also made some egg muffins in hopes it makes breakfast for Keith and I a little less intensive but still somewhat healthy and a good start for the day.  

Meals for the week are also planned and hopefully there will not be any need for me to hit the grocery store!  I also created chore charts for the kids.  We will see how this plays out but I really think if they have a visual reminder it may help.  I found these cute printables on Pinterest and had them laminated.  We used dry erase marker to write the chores for the week and I used command hooks to hang them with a clipboard on the kids bedroom doors.  We will see how this works.  My kids of course immediately asked how much they would be paid.  I totally believe in giving kids responsibility with money but I also am just not going to pay them for doing things they should be responsible for doing around the house.  I always point out that I allow them to live here for free and provide all their meals and they always roll their eyes.  I would be happy to offer a monetary reward for other chores that would help out the family but are beyond their norm...maybe washing the car, cleaning out flower beds, etc.  

And finally....a little something for Carly Jo's teachers tomorrow.  I will send gift cards from Walmart or Target in the near future for Dillon's way was he taking some crazy Pinterest inspired gift for his teachers tomorrow!  

Looking forward to a great week!  Sleep Tight!

Be Blessed,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Being a "Big" Girl

Healthy Living
Yesterday Dillon had a well child checkup and the doctor provided the usual growth percentile information.  He is 12, starting 7th grade and was in the 97th percentile for height and 66th for weight.  They even told me his BMI was excellent.  Obviously he is taller than the majority of his classmates which brings back memories so I decided to do a little comparison.  

I whipped out my scrapbook when I got home...and yes I really do have my height and weight documented from kinder through senior year...and as I was beginning 7th grade I was in the 94th percentile for height and the 79th percentile in weight.  I was a "big" girl for my age.  You see, I was always taller than the majority of my classmates from the time I was 3.  Over and over throughout my life I can remember people saying "wow, you're big for your age".  Not too harmful at 3 but once I entered about 5th grade and could no longer shop in the young girls section I really began to notice how different being a "big" girl was. Let's just say it wasn't a positive in my mind.  Of course it didn't help matters that braces and glasses also entered the picture at this time and I became extremely self conscious about the number on the scale.  It's crazy how we have become so driven by a number on a scale and on comparisons to others.  As early as 7th grade I specifically remember ordering a book off the weekly reader list about health and beauty and it gave so many suggestions on how to cut calories from your diet.  I really don't think a day has passed since that time that the amount of calories I'm consuming doesn't cross my mind.

Here I am at 13 years old, midway through 7th grade....I look at this picture now and I just see a young athletic girl (with a bad hair style).  Nothing about this girl looks "big" to me. 

It was about this time that the crazy cycle began.  For the next 7 or so years I battled between starving myself or participating in a bulimic lifestyle just trying not to be what I saw as big.  I was athletic and played volleyball, basketball and softball.  I enjoyed being active but I just could never seem to burn enough calories to be the size I wanted to be.  When I graduated from high school I was 5'7" and 120lbs....what I wouldn't give to see that number on the scale again!  But was I healthy?  Absolutely not...not mentally or physically.

For years in my 20's and 30's my battle with the number on the scale continued. I saw it go up and down with pregnancies, divorce, more babies.  I have tried many quick fixes and fad diets but at some point my perspective shifted.  Would I love to be a size 6 and never have to worry about wearing my yummi tumi panties to hide my muffin top?  Absolutely!  Is it realistic to think I will ever see 120lbs on the scale again?  Not really.  I am 44, have blood pressure that averages 110/65, super numbers for cholesterol and blood sugar and my average body fat is 22.8%.  What about the number on the scale? I would lie if I said I didn't have a clue but I will say it is not the number I focus on anymore. The scale was put away as I began to focus more on the numbers that really matter....the ones that measure my health.  

These days I eat "real" food the majority of the time and while I am conscious, I do not let the food rule my life.  I work out not to cancel out the food I'm eating but to improve my strength and my mood.   In my mind I will always consider myself a "big" girl but I've learned to embrace my height and my curves for what they are.  I am exactly the size God wanted me to be and my job is to take care of this body the best I can and be the very best me I can be! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Queen's Chronicles

Taking a quick look back on my week running in between! 

My week started with a trip to my hometown.  After spending the night with my mom and settling Carly Jo in for her week with Nana, I picked up my Mamaw Dorothy for a trip to visit her neurologist..  It is not possible to travel anywhere with this girl without a little pit stop for some shopping!  We popped in Palais Royal and JC Penneys before lunch at the Olive Garden and she was a happy camper! 

If you have a chance to drop a prayer in for my grandmother I would sure appreciate it.  She is almost 88 and all of her children have already joined Jesus so my brother and I are all she has.  She definitely has lots of sadness and my prayer for her is that she is able to trust God again and find some joy every day.  

On Tuesday I saw one of my favorite girls in the world as I contemplated Fall hair color!  

Karly has put up with me for about 13 years...blonde, brunnette, long, short...I can never make up my mind!  Having hair that works for me can make or break my day so having someone I can communicate with and who is willing to try new things even when she knows it may mean I will cry is isn't she the cutest darn thing?!!

Wednesday seemed to be the day for volunteering.  First,  I volunteered to work the annual Feast of Caring event held by the Brazos Valley Foodbank.  Volunteering at your local foodbank is a great way to help your community and you will be paid back tenfold in the way it makes you feel!  After work I attended the kickoff meeting for the PTO Board supporting my daughters elementary school.  Getting involved in your community can be exciting, rewarding but also stressful if you do not pick wisely.  I will have a blog post soon addressing my view of volunteering and how I'm handling my commitments this school year.  

Thursday I sauteed some of the yummy fish my boys caught and created a super yummy dinner of fish tacos!  This has quickly become one of our favorite meals the past easy and delish.  I use chili powder and cumin and a little salt and saute the fish in a little olive oil.  Simple! 

Friday could not have arrived fast enough....and I needed a little something to take the edge off.  A friend told me about Deep Eddy grapefruit vodka a few weeks ago and I've been hooked ever since. Love that this is a Texas based company too!  

And my new purse from Sole Society arrived which always gets the weekend started right! 
Purse found here

On Saturday Dutch Buddy (aka spoiled pooch) and I headed down to Wharton to grab my sweet girl.  I was so happy to see her smiling face and spend a little time with my mom and my brother's little family.  

Sunday morning I was up early before church to run with these girls!  I have just recently added running back to my workout routine in preparation for a 1/2 marathon in December.  I'm so grateful for the support and encouragement I've received from these ladies....would not have done it alone.  

After church we attempted breakfast at Hullabaloo Diner which has been featured on Diners & Dives.  Really fun place to eat, great atmosphere with live music even at brunch on Sunday but we ended up ordering to go so we could get back home to the pooch (will I ever have a life again??!!)  I enjoyed the Kitchen Sink Omelet....holy moly it was amazing and was enough to serve as my brunch and dinner! 

Carly Jo and I then headed out for school supply shopping.  Thankfully we have a new hidden Walmart in town that is not so centrally located and the drive was worth it!  Score school supplies with no crowd and only one item that could not be secured!  We then ventured over to Target....where we found all the people who were not at Walmart.  The joys of living in a college town...the students come back and we all retreat to our houses looking forward to the next time we can dine out at Christmas break! 

Yummy Green Tea Peach Lemonade makes me happy! 

For 7th graders list had 16 glue sticks listed! 

Looking at the calendar it appears this week will find me in between back to school activities but I do have 3 vacation days later this week and visions of a home project or two are dancing through my mind!  

Be Busy....Be Blessed, 

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