Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Thought this one was too cute not to share. Love this girl and it's my prayer that the words she is singing will ring true in her life!

"Every move I make I make in you, you are my way, Jesus! Every breath I take I breathe in you!! Waves of mercy, waves of grace. Everywhere I look, I see your face. Your love has captured me. Oh, my God, this love - how can it be???"

Monday, May 22, 2017


I used to post a lot of the things Kate said when she was younger and called them "Kateisms".  Sadly, I just haven't kept up with this as well as I hoped. At the end of each year I print my blog into a book using Blog2Print and my blog book becomes somewhat of my kids baby book.  Soooo.... I definitely need to do better about sharing things that I want to make it into the book!

Here is one of those memories that has to be in there...

Since the weather around here has been pretty awesome in the evenings lately, the girls and I have started taking walks after dinner.  We typically walk over to a nearby neighborhood, walk through the neighborhood, and then turn around and go home.  As you come out of our road, there is an area where a ton of wild daisies are growing.  Lately, Kate has started picking the wildflowers and bringing them with us until we get to the neighborhood.  Then she has been leaving flowers on people mailboxes "to make people smile when they check their mail". There were LOTS of mailboxes, so she made sure to just leave one flower on each box so that she could give them to as many people as possible.

Oh this girl. I love her sweet heart for others. 

The book called The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, talks about the different ways that people really hear "I love you".  There are many iterations of the book.  Some versions are written specifically for marriage relationships and one version is written specifically to children. However, in all versions, there are 5 different ways that people "show" and "hear" love:
  • Words of Affirmation 
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
Typically you know what your own love language is by the way you would naturally "show" someone that you love them.  For example, if my natural way to show Kate that I love her is through spending time with her (taking her to Target, watching TV with her, coloring with her, etc), then that would indicate that MY love language is Quality Time and that I would feel most loved/appreciated if others spent Quality Time with me.  Gary Chapman's theory is that a person naturally gives love in the way they would prefer to receive love. The book is very interesting, and I do think it is very helpful to learn what type of love language those that are closest to you are, so you can know the best way to show them love and appreciation. 

Anyway, I said all of that to say that I've always thought that Kate's love language is Receiving Gifts, and as she gets older, I definitely see this more and more.  Even as a toddler, she would pick a handful dandelions and joyfully present them to me. She is constantly drawing and coloring pictures for special people in her life. Judging by the way that she shows love/appreciation to others through giving gifts, my guess is that this is her love language. :)  

As a kid, you're often very self-focused and completely wrapped up in your own world. This was definitely one of those proud mom moments, as I got to see Kate being a cheerful giver, and focus on bringing a smile to other's faces. 

Note - Amazon Affiliate links used above. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Meal Planning - 2

It's Sunday meal planning time.  I actually stuck to our meal plan pretty well last time, so I'm going to try this again. Not quite as many recipes, because I'm banking on a few of these lasting for more than one dinner. :)  Nothing better than leftovers, right?  Here's what's on the menu this week!

Kristi gave me this recipe years ago and I still make it regularly. I like to stick a few boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot, with chicken stock or broth, a day or two before we plan to eat this. I'll cook the chicken on low all day and it makes the chicken SO easy to shred. Since I knew we'd be busy this week, I went ahead and made the filling for the pot pie, and it's sitting in my refrigerator so all I have to do the day of is just roll out my pie crusts, drop in the filling, cover with the other pie crust, and then cook. Easy!

This is a new one for us. I've made similar things in the past but don't think I've ever used this exact recipe. It looks yummy though so we'll see how it tastes!

Tacos are a staple in our Mexican-food-loving household. I also picked up chips and salsa. We've found a new salsa at Target that's soooo good - Corn & Black Bean Salsa, by Archer Foods.  The girls will often skip the chips and eat salsa by the spoonful.  Told ya we like Mexican! 

I made a big batch of this to bring for lunch at work and it's so good!  I used three-cheese tortellini and Olive Garden Italian dressing. Throw in a side of some sliced fruit or a green salad, and that's good enough for me for lunch. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Day & Last Day

Karsten started preschool (Mothers Day Out) back in September and this Tuesday was her very last day.  "School" got off to a rough start, and there were lots of tears involved during drop off time. However, Karsten quickly caught on to how fun her class is, and fell in love with her teachers.  She only went on Tuesdays but if we even remotely started driving into the direction of the church where her Mothers Day Out program was, she would get excited and say "We going to my school? We gonna go see my friends?" 

This girl had a great year, and looking back, I can't even believe how much she grew and changed.  Y'all. This is only EIGHT months ago! Look at that baby!

I sure do love this girl. Her smile lights up her entire face.

Year #1 is in the books, and what a year it was. Can't wait till next year!  Now excuse me while I go console myself that I officially no longer have a baby.  :) 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Summer Reading List 2017 - Kelley

Reading is probably one of my favorite hobbies, and probably the one I spend the most time on. I've always been a reader, and I remember getting in trouble when I was a kid for turning my light back on after I was supposed to be in bed.  I definitely got caught a few times reading until well after midnight.

I'm not someone who is picky about what I read on either.  I love real, paperback books.  I had a Nook for a while and loved to read on it. I'll read on my iPad, or on my phone.  I have to say, that I do  really enjoy reading on the iPad or phone because of the simplicity of the OverDrive app.  Have you ever heard of this?

Basically, it's a Library app.  You download the app on your device and then input your library card information. This gives you access to your library's electronic copies of books. SO easy. You "check them out" for two weeks at a time, and the app automatically returns them for you.  I can't even tell you the number of books I've read on that app.  Love it.

So anyway, I'm listing a few books that are on my reading list for this summer.  I jokingly say that the list is for the summer, but I'll likely get these read in the next month or so.  I told you I love to read! (Plus, I'm a relatively quick reader. I'll get through most books in just a couple of days.)

If any of YOU have read books lately that you've enjoyed, please share them in the comments! I'm always looking for more to add to my list!

I'm going to go ahead and preface this by saying, I typically love to read fiction over nonfiction. So this one may take me a bit longer to get through. When I read anything nonfiction, I like to just do a chapter or so a day so that I actually absorb what I'm reading and let it sink in. What better thing to take my time on than something that will (hopefully) help me learn how to practice more patience and give more grace to my kids.  In the craziness of parenting, it is always great to be reminded that we should shift our focus off of "being good" and more towards God's redeeming grace. 

Oh my.  Just based on the title, I don't really think there could be a more perfect book for me than this right now. I love my job, and I love being in the workplace, but it is TOUGH y'all.  Finding that balance and keeping your priorities in order, without being overwhelmed, is a challenge. I'm looking forward to this one.  

Nicholas Sparks. Enough said, right? I mean The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle....  I've missed his books the past few years since he's apparently been super busy writing film scripts.  I'm excited to check this one out. Hopefully it lives up to the high standard he set for himself! 

If you love John Grisham, you'll probably enjoy Robert Whitlow. I have read quite a few of his books and enjoyed them all. They are fiction, but really make you think about ethical situations. I've added this newest one to the list for summer. 

And lastly is a book by Francine Rivers.  Her book Redeeming Love is probably one of my all time favorites.  Since reading that one, I haven't read much by Francine Rivers, only because I was sure nothing else could live up to my expectations!  Bridge to Haven was first published in 2014, so it's not new, but it is new to me. I'll let you know what I think!

That's it! Like I said, if you have any "must read" books to add to the list, please let me know! 

** Please note that affiliate links are used above.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

Today is a day to celebrate MOTHERS and I have some pretty special moms in my life...

To my mom: My mom's mother died when my mom was a small child, so she didn't necessarily have a role model to learn the whole parenting thing from.  Somehow she figured out how to do the mom-thing with grace and beauty all on her own. I'm so thankful to have her influence from my own childhood to help guide me in being a mom to two little girls. I thank God for the mama I needed as a kid, and the mama that grew into my best friend. 

To my girls birth moms: These two special women made what was likely one of the hardest decisions of their life, and through that, I get the gift of being a Mama. Their sacrifice was one of my biggest blessings, and I will never be able to thank them enough. I thank God each day for bringing THEM into our lives, and for bringing our girls into this world. 

To my friends: Thank you for being there as we go through mommyhood together. Thank you for being someone to bounce late night texts off of when I can't decide if my kid is sick enough to warrant a doctor visit, or to just laugh and reminisce about the wacky things our kids have done that day.  Or even just to send a Meme to try to prompt a laugh after a long, hard day.  It takes a village, right? Thank you for being a part of that village! 

Today I got to celebrate my SIXTH year of being a mom.  While we were in the waiting stages of our first adoption, I knew this day would come at some point, but I had no idea when.  I look at each one of these pictures, and know how special each one is. (And also, I told Kevin that I am going to be extremely sad when it comes time to take a Mothers Day picture, and both of my girls are too big to hold!)

Being a Mommy is one of my most precious titles, and I don't take it for granted or take it lightly. I pray each day that I can be the mom that my girls need. I pray that I can teach them, and guide them, and along with Kevin, give them a godly foundation for them to build their lives on, just like Timothy's mother and grandmother did for him.

"I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother, Lois, and your mother, Eunice.  And I know that same faith continues strong in you." 

- 2 Timothy 1:5

This morning, Kate woke me up with a poke in the arm, followed by a kiss.  Then she stuck a card in my face and said "Happy Mother's Day!" She was so proud of her "cursive" handwriting, which was really just writing in print without lifting the pen, but I'll never tell her that!

These two girls are truly one of my biggest blessings. They are sweet, kind, funny, imaginative, CRAZY, a little bit wild, caring, and so very loving.  I treasure (almost) every moment with them! Thank you, God, for letting me be their Mommy!

And on a different note, Kate has taken an interest in my camera and BEGS me to let her use it each time I pull it out.  I'm not-so-secretly loving it.  I think this girl has some talent, no? I may have to hire her!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fidget Spinners

** Affiliate links included below.

A week ago I had no idea what a Fidget Spinner even was.  And now, they are EVERYWHERE. Seriously. We were eating dinner at a Mexican restaurant the other night, and looked around and 5 different kids were all holding and spinning these things.

So anyway, Kate came home from school last week and kept telling Kevin and me about these fidget spinner things that her friend Kahlil had, and asked if she could get one.  I had no idea what they were but she said they sold them at her school store. So, I told her to find out how much they cost and we would see.

Well, of course she forgot to check on the price (and I kinda doubt they actually sold these things AT SCHOOL), but a week later she was still wanting one.  Kevin promised to buy her one off of Amazon, but then couldn't get the transaction to go through on his phone, so he gave up. We had no idea where to buy one in person but we figured this would be the kind of thing that the mall would be selling at a kiosk in the middle.  And you know what?  We were right!

So this kid took her allowance money and bought herself a multicolored cheetah print fidget spinner.  And then we had to buy Karsten one too, because in Kevin's own words, "even if Kate got an amputation, Karsten would have to have one too."  Karsten is definitely a little copycat.

If you DON'T know about the fidget spinner craze, here are some links to a few. Kate's school allows kids to have them at recess, but otherwise they need to stay in their book bags. Tons of schools in our area are just flat-out banning them. That's how big they are. Craziness.  (Though I will say, they are kind of entertaining to play with for a few minutes.)


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