Sunday, September 26, 2010


Here's the monster blog post about my OCC (Organizing Crafting Craziness), and also a few random updates about the boys and me. So take a deep breath and get ready for the plunge!


1) Do it yourself Fall Decorations --
The bowl in the picture is the wooden one I bought from Goodwill for $1.50 and then spray painted. LOVE it. I bought this fabric and used my mom's sewing machine (thanks, Maw!) to make the runner. Altogether, bowl and pumpkins included, the whole table ensemble cost me about $8-$10, and you just can't beat that.

2) Spray painted shoes --
These shoes cost me $1 apiece at a thrift store. I've been wanting red shoes SOOOO badly and since I've been on a spray painting kick, I wondered if spray painting a cheap pair of shoes would be possible. Sure enough, a few days later I saw a tutorial on how to do it.
If used shoes gross you out, you can sanitize them, but if you still can't get past it, this probably isn't the craft for you. I personally don't have foot issues, so it doesn't really matter to me. :)

P.S. One pair worked, one pair totally didn't, but I figure the learning curve was worth the $1 loss.

3) Spray painted knife block --
Call me crazy, but my knife block looked nasty and old and not-fun. I saw another blog post from a girl who actually spray painted hers, so I decided to do the same. Yet another thing that makes me smile just looking at it now :)


1) Updated cook book (and other binders) --
I used scrapbook paper (idea taken from the CleanMama link you see on my sidebar), placing it in my main dividers, and making tabs from the paper, my new LABEL MAKER (that I'm in love with!), and clear packing tape. Now I have all my favorite recipes (and a bunch I haven't tried yet) in one cookbook. I got rid of everything else except for a couple of specialty books I won't ever throw away, mostly because of sentimental value. I did three other smaller binders the same way for other purposes, including a "Home" binder that includes cleaning printables (that I purchased from CleanMama - LOVE this lady!!), menu ideas, To-Do Lists, coupons, etc.; a binder for Bennett's school work that we're doing here at home (to be talked about later on in this post); and a binder that's organized by season, for seasonal ideas to do with the family, seasonal decorations, fun crafts to try, etc. All of these binders are papered and tabbed the same way. LOVE it.

2) Closets --

I have completely revamped the coat closet into a schooling/kids' craft/projects closet.

I've also completely redone my own closet. I bought a book shelf from a thrift store and used it as shelving to organize all my newfound projects and craftiness, and gutted the whole space before putting things back in, in an organized, clean, happy way :)

I did the same to Bennett and Jasper's closets, but I didn't take before and after pictures, and their closets are still slightly less organized than my own (as in, I still couldn't tell you exactly everything that's sitting on their very top shelves).

3) The kitchen --

I reorganized and rethought every cabinet and shelf in my entire kitchen, which isn't a gigantic project considering how small our kitchen is, but I'm still pretty proud of it because everything now has its own place, and each of those places makes sense now.

I also re-labeled and re-distributed my spice rack, and that could be a whole post in and of itself. It's spice rack L-O-V-E, people. Just look at the picture. Can you blame me?!

4) The laundry room --

I relocated ALL of my cleaning supplies to the laundry room in organized baskets and containers. It's all accessible and makes my new cleaning schedule more friendly (as friendly as a cleaning schedule can be) and easy to follow. I also emptied out all the shelves and reorganized them like I did the kitchen.

5) Our bedroom --

Reorganized every drawer in my nightstand and dresser and put everything in it's proper place. Again with the smiles, just from opening's a beautiful thing :)


1) The boys' Halloween costumes have already been ordered off of ebay. Bennett asked to be a pumpkin (repeatedly and very insistently!), and Jasper is going to be a spider. Both costumes are from Pottery Barn and were bought at a third of the price. SWEET.

2) Bennett's school work: He goes to his little school on T-Th, and on M-W-F, I do a bit of school work (I use the term loosely) here at home. On Mondays we do language arts, fine motor and community. On Wednesdays we do math and science, and on Fridays we do our craft that ties in with the bible story we've been working on all week, along with learning a new game or sports skill. Here are pictures of the three bible crafts we've done so far (the rainbow was done after studying Noah, the tree after Adam and Eve, and the family/people collage after Abraham. We also found acorns outside and drew faces on four of them to represent our family when we were studying Abraham. Alas, Jasper got a hold of two of them, thus there are only two left.
Bennett really enjoys doing his "fun work," and I'm enjoying watching his progress and excitement grow. It also gives me a more structured time to spend time with him one on one, and goals to be working on.

3) The book -- Oh, the book. I heard back from one out of ten agents, who still has my manuscript and has yet to read it, and I will be submitting to ten more agents by the end of October. If by the end of this year, I haven't heard back from anyone who's really interested, I'm strongly considering starting up a whole new blog linked to this one that is purely for my writing, and posting the books I write a chapter at a time for anyone to read who wants to. The purpose of writing A Fat Girl's Revolution was to bless and encourage other women, but how can it do that if no one is reading it? It can't. So it is quite possible that these works will become offerings rather than an occupation, which I'm fine with as long as the glory goes to the One who deserves it.

4) I also bought a fabulous black winter hat at Goodwill for $1 - ONE DOLLAR!! (again, you can wash it if the thought of wearing another person's hat makes you squeamish). I'm not generally a hat person, but found this little gem sitting in the dressing room all by its lonesome. Tried it on just for fun and it fit me perfectly. You can't really tell in the picture, but it's winterized perfection, and though I used to avoid them at every turn, I have been officially converted to Hattism.

4) Random pictures of the boys:
(first day of school)

(small group fun)

(eating cookies)

(Sunday best with a smile)

Wowzers. If you're still here, I applaud your stick-to-it-ivness. You have the gift of perseverance, no doubt. So that's what I've been up to, and it's nothing to sneeze at - this chica has been B-U-S-Y. But it's all been worth it for the past 2-3 weeks, because now I'm kicking back and enjoying my clean, organized, decorated house (and my snazzy red shoes, and my winter-licious black hat)! I've got a few more projects waiting in line, and a thankful heart that I have the time and energy to complete them!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Jasper's surgery took place right on schedule at 7:00am this morning. The surgery itself took only 20 minutes, and the doctor met with us to tell us how successful it was shortly after. After that we hit a bump in the road that I'm glad I only knew about after the fact.

Apparently red heads are particularly different when it comes to narcotics and anesthesia. They are either very sensitive or very resistant to it in most cases. In Jasper's case, he was very sensitive, so when he came out of surgery, he wasn't breathing on his own (his whole body decided to relax, including his respiratory system). The nurses had to administer a reversal medication called Narcan to get him back on track, which happened quickly. So about 20-25 minutes after talking to the doctor, we got to go back and see him. He was sleepy and just wanted to snuggle, which we did for the next two hours with an IV still in his foot so they could monitor his stats and make sure he was still doing well. We didn't have anymore problems and got to go home around 10:00 this morning.

Since then he's had a long nap, he's eaten and he's played as usual. Aside from being a little bit of a grump-pot (which is completely warranted under the circumstances), everything is pretty normal around here.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support. We had people visit us at the surgery center, text, call and comment like crazy, and bring by offerings in the form of Starbucks and dinner for our family. God has shown me what loyal, wonderful friends our family has, especially in our church, and what the body of Christ is supposed to look like. So thank you all again for rising to the occasion and showering us with love. It eased our stress and fears and brought the comfort of the Lord in physical, tangible form.

Here are some pictures of our morning (especially for family and friends who live far away):

In the waiting room (gotta have our cars).

Getting ready for surgery.

Playing silly games while we wait.

Blissfully unaware after getting the nasal spray (um...could we get some of that stuff for home life with our three year old, too? hehe).

The doctor's initials on the left eye. I'm SOOO glad they do this!

Talking it out after surgery. One of my best friends, Terri, made a surprise visit that I was so thankful for. Our children's minister also came and prayed over us. We have a wonderful church family who has taken such good care of us through all of this. We felt so loved today.

Snuggling for a couple of hours after surgery while waiting to go home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Tomorrow is the day. Jasper's eye surgery is scheduled for 7:00am. If you read this in time, please say a quick prayer for my baby. For more info on his condition and the surgery itself, go HERE.

Yesterday I took him to his pre-op appointment and since then I've been nothing but a bucket of tears. The stress that has built up over this little fella is finally starting to overwhelm me and overflow (so some added prayers for peace would also be appreciated!). It has been such a long road with my little one, wanting so badly for him to be all better and not have to make so many doctor's visits for so many different reasons.

I know the Lord holds Jasper in His arms and that He has unique and special plans just for him, but as his imperfect mommy, it's easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged and to feel like this is a never-ending road, though I know it isn't true.

Jasper is the sweetest, most easy-going little thing and I love him to pieces. I can't help but want all good, wonderful things for him. But I also know that God will bring things that will challenge and strengthen him (and me, as I watch helplessly from the sidelines!), and I have to remember this as he grows and becomes the man God intends him to be.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and encouragement to our family during this time. We are storing it all up in our hearts and are overflowing with gratitude.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The Backstreet Boys have seen a revival in our house thanks to my Benito. He's decided that there's nothing better to jamming it out to their theme song ("Larger than Life," just in case you've forgotten). Their CD has made a comeback in our house (oh, the joy of it). For your viewing pleasure, here are some of my little man's moves...

P.S. The glove on his hand is our little tool for cutting down on the finger sucking. As long as Mama remembers to put it on him, it works pretty well. I took a regular little mitten and cut all the fingers out, except for the two he likes to suck on. I think it makes him look a little ghetto-fied with all his cool-dude dance moves :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I followed a recipe for chicken enchiladas that'll make you wanna slap yo mama , no lie (no offense, Maw). They taste really yummy (not like restaurant, blow-your-mind quality - let's be realistic considering there's only a 5 minute prep involved) and are so fast to put together you'll be wondering where this meal has been all your life. This meal is definitely going down on our family's list of favorites! Here it is:

Easy Chicken Enchiladas:

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes @ 350*

*2 cans cream of chicken soup
*1 can Rotel tomatoes
*5 oz. sour cream (yes, five, not four)
*1 large can chicken (Swanson or Hormel is what I use, but you can also cook your own)
*10 flour tortillas
*shredded cheese

1) Mix 1 can cream of chicken, Rotel, 4 oz. of the sour cream, and can of chicken together.
2) Fill 10 tortillas with the mix. Roll and set in a greased 9x13" dish.
3) Mix other can cream of chicken and 1 oz. sour cream together and pour on top of the enchiladas.
4) Cook for 40 minutes @ 350*. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and cook for 5 more minutes.

I like to serve these up with tortilla chips or Mexican rice (the boxed kind, of course).

Genius, I tell you. After you try it, please send my apologies to your mom for the slappin' action coming her way.

P.S. Up next in Blogland is a glimpse of glory thanks to the Backstreet Boys, and then a few pictures and details on the cleaning/organizing craziness I've immersed myself in over the past couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


My Jasper John is 18 months old today. This is a milestone I've been waiting for for a very long time for several different reasons, and I am so thankful the day is here, and for how far the Lord has brought me and my little pal.

When he was four months old, we found out that Jasper had a condition in his neck muscles called torticollis. At four months old, he still wasn't holding his head up, and wasn't propping up on his arms yet either. From there I found out that it would take months and months of physical therapy and doctor visits to strengthen his neck, arms and back muscles. We were told that he should be good to go by anywhere from one year old to eighteen months old.

Since then, we've realized that the torticollis itself was pretty easy to get under control (easy meaning daily exercises at home and bi-weekly trips to the doctor for about six months), but that it delays milestones significantly, so we've been playing catch-up ever since. I don't generally consider myself to be an anxious, stressed out kind of person, but I've worried over my sweet baby ever since, struggling to give his conditions and "issues" over to God. And God has taken such good care of both of us.

Back in July, we also discovered that Jasper has an eye condition called Strabismus, which requires eye surgery (next Wednesday...please pray!!) to correct.

All in all, my little dude has had a rough-edged start to life, but I can't begin to describe what a perfect fit he is in our family, and how blessed I am to be his mommy. My heart overflows. The Lord is using Jasper to teach me what it means to give something over to Him that I instinctively wanted to hold tightly clenched in both fists. He's taught me the beauty of growth and development. He's shown me the true miracle it is to have a healthy, whole child - the way all the parts of our bodies work together to heal, restore, grow, improve, etc.

And with this introduction, and the thanks and praise that are due, written above, here are the physical, measurable results of the my growing, thriving 18 month old:

1) Jasper is one curious little kid. He feels the need to understand how things work and what their function is, big time, and how to make it do what it does again and again. This includes the buckles on his car seat, any door knob or lock, elevators, phones, the DVD player, using a fork, unrolling toilet paper (joy), flushing the toilet (or just touching the toilet water - double joy), taking things out of cabinets and (sometimes) putting them back in, stacking different kinds of objects, wheels of all sizes, etc etc. I think he has the mind of an engineer, like my Grandpa. It's really cool to watch, because Michael is more this way, but Bennett and I aren't at all.

2) He's my little helper. If I need the door closed, he wants to be the one to close (or open) it. If I need a lid put back on a container, he wants to do it. If I want to brush his teeth, guess who wants to give it a go? He's already pretty good about picking up toys and putting them back in their buckets - especially at his age.

3) He's still my cuddly mama's boy, and I love it. We're at a good place with this now. Before, it could get wearing throughout the day, because it was hard to leave the room without him fussing. But now that he walks/fast crawls (depending on his mood), and is far more verbal, this has greatly improved, and we're at a really fun, pleasant place with this. Now he just stops occasionally during play to come give me a hug and a kiss, and he snuggles with me right before bed, and (unlike another little boy I know) he lets me hold him in my lap while I read him books. Our relationship has evolved into something pretty special and unique, and I love it.

4) His vocabulary has exploded over the past couple of months. He doesn't say as much or talk as clearly as Bennett did at his age, but the verbal stuff has always been B's strong suit, and Jasper's strengths lie in other areas. The beautiful thing is that Jasper is right on target - right where he's supposed to be/needs to be, which is WONDERFUL. His favorite words are those that have the hard /c/ sound at the beginning or end, like car, lock, knock, stuck, yuck, and also words that start with the /h/ sound, like hot, hat, or head. The funny thing about this is that these were two of Bennett's very last sounds to make. Kids are all so different!

5) Whoa, my baby is one picky eater. And I surrendered any judgmental attitude I may have felt toward other mommies who fed their kids junk food and unhealthy stuff a LOOOOONG time ago. Jasper is on the small side and he prefers carbs and sugary things (always has) to anything else. He flat out won't eat anything else without huge strides and efforts and games on my part, which I do a lot, but sometimes the time and effort and energy it takes just isn't realistic or possible, and I plop my kid down in his high chair with sugary cereal instead of sliced cheese (that he absolutely would not touch with a ten-foot pole), because he needs to gain weight, and he needs something in his tummy. All that mumbo-jumbo about kids eating when they're hungry flew out the window for me months ago. It's just not true. When Jasper is hungry, he cries and wails miserably until he's offered something he'll actually eat. He can wait me out for meals at a time, and at his size and developmental rate, that's not something I'm willing to do. Applesauce and yogurt are major staples at our house for this little fella. Just telling it straight up like it is. Judge if you must!

6) Walking - oh, the big fat "W" word. Yes, Jasper is walking. But only when he wants to. Which is only some of the time. And almost always when he thinks no one is watching. I attribute this to his torticollis delays, and also to his personality, and I've made my peace with it. The dude is going to start running sprints when he's good and ready, and not a moment sooner, so I might as well save my furrowed brow, good intentions, and mommy expectations for someone who cares, and that someone is not a certain red-headed eighteen month old I know.

7) My second child has the patience of Job. He is the best errand-running kid I've ever known or heard of. When we're out and about, he hangs out in the shopping cart or stroller like a pro with no complaints. Truth be told, I have to be very intentional about making sure I talk to him and interact with him like he needs, because he just doesn't ask for/demand attention like another little boy in our house :)

8) His eyes are permanently the same dark gray-blue they were in the hospital, and his beautiful red hair is curling more and more the longer it gets, especially when it's damp. I'm thinking about putting some kind of light curling cream in it to encourage the curls. It'll be interesting to see what happens with it as he gets older and after his next hair cut.

9) Jasper is still very people-shy, although he's grown out of it some. He still doesn't enjoy going to the nursery at church initially and cries every time, but I'm told he has a lot of fun once he's with his other little friends :). He's also warming up to strangers more. If someone asks for a high five or "knock knocks" (bumping fists), they get one no questions asked. But someone else holding him is another story.

10) Some of he and Bennett's favorite games include Hide 'n Seek under Jasper's bed, playing with Bennett's cars and car garage (Jasper's FAVORITE toy, hands down), taking walks up and down our front sidewalk, "wrestling," building and knocking down block/car towers, and pretty much anything Bennett dreams up for the two of them.

I'm so proud of my little guy and how far he's come. He and I have experienced very real growing pains together, but it's made the months that much richer, and our bond that much stronger.

Happy 18 Months, Jasper John!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I have been in a mad frenzy, cleaning and organizing my house, and I'm just about ready to post some pictures of it all (for anyone out there who actually cares!), and then get on to the fall decorating! A lot of people do "Spring Cleaning," but I'm more of a "Fall Cleaning" kinda gal myself. For some reason it's when I get my "get-up-and-go-mojo" going. I feel like a nesting pregnant woman (no, I'm not pregnant), and I'm trying to take advantage of that, too. Anyway, I'll post the organizing pictures later, but for now, I leave you with two pumpkin decorations that I will absolutely be doing this year in our house.

The first is from THIS post, about a year ago. When I saw the idea, loved it, but mourned the loss because I found the idea too late to use it. But this year, it's definitely going to happen. Here's the picture in case you didn't follow the link:


(don't you just LOVE these? I found a wooden bowl at Goodwill for $1.50 that I'm going to paint and put my ribbon pumpkins in)

And the second thing I'll be doing, I found at THIS blog. And in case you don't follow the link here (although if you want to try them yourself, you really should, because she gives a great, easy tutorial on it), here's another picture:


(Scrapbook paper pumpkins - SO cheap, SO easy, SO cute!!)

And there's a sneak peek of fall at our house! Can you tell that staying home and spending more time being a wife and mommy is inspiring and energizing me?? Because I'm LOOOOVING it!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I discovered something fantastic this summer, and I simply must share it with the blog world:

Goodwill (the store) is a goldmine of terrific finds, deals and creativity. Over the past couple of months, I've bought several shirts, a skirt, and a pair of rockin' awesome jeans that fit me better than most pairs I've ever owned. The shirts were around $3, the skirt $4, and the jeans were $7 plus some change. And everything I bought is in awesome, like-new condition, and it didn't smell thrift-store-funky when I bought it, which tends to be a turn-off.

I've been reading a lot of crafty/project type blogs recently, and have become so inspired to do things around my house more cheaply and creatively (and I've fallen in love with spray paint). A lot of this involves scouring thrift stores for items with potential, and re-doing them to make them what you want.

It's official. I'm no longer a department store snob. I have become a Goodwill addict. Try it. You won't be sorry. And at the end of the day, your bank account will still be smiling. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


No rhyme or reason to the title, kind of like this post. Things I'll be covering: 10 year high school reunion (if I could figure out how to spell the slightly sarcastic, muffled sound that comes from my throat every time I think about it, I would...), my birthday, Ladies Bible Class, and Bennett's first day of school. So here we go!

The highlights:
1) Sat with some fun people that I haven't seen in a long time and haven't talked to in even longer.
2) Got to observe and laugh at the fact that not much has changed in ten years (make of that statement what you will).
3) Thought it was funny that almost everyone is doing about the same thing as everybody else :)
4) Had one guy (who I've never spoken a word to directly, not even in high school) tell me how awesome I looked and how I'd really taken good care of myself and blah blah blah. He slurred, he rambled...he was clearly drunk. Nice.
5) Watched other people get drunk and think they were really awesome and grown up. Sad.
6) Ate the best tamale I've ever had on the rooftop of the Reata in Ft.Worth. I really liked it, which is saying something since I don't usually like the things at all, and the atmosphere of the place was cool.
7) Felt very thankful for my husband and our family, and for the way I was raised by my parents, who made me very confident in my beliefs and in who I am.
8) Michael was asked to get down off a ledge he was sitting on (apparently the manager was afraid he'd fall or jump, especially since he didn't know whether or not Michael was one of the "special" ones who drank too much) - HA!
9) Got my ears blown out by the DJ whose goal it was clearly to scramble our brains to the point of no longer being able to construct a simple sentence with old friends.
10) Ate some good cake.

So I'm 28 now, getting closer and closer to "rounding the bend," but I realized something on my birthday this year (which was very restful and relaxing, by the way - just what I needed!). The truth is, I'm glad to be where I'm at in life. I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned that have taken 28 years to get me where I am today. I thought I would feel old, but I don't. I have almost as much energy and stamina as I did when I was younger, but everything is done with more of the Lord's wisdom, with a firm knowledge of who I am and what I stand for and what my purpose is, with a deeper relationship with God, and with lovely, amazing, loyal friendships that I've been blessed with just over the past 3-5 years. Can't complain about any of that now, can I? So here's to 28 years, and a big fat THANKS to all the crazies who wished me Happy Birthday on facebook, because that just made me smile.

I'm excited about the study itself (on Tuesday mornings), I'm excited about the ladies in my group, I'm excited about the free child care once a week when I get a break from both of my kiddos, I'm excited about seeing faces I don't usually get to see every week, and I'm excited about having plenty of time to commit to it. That said, I won the "Mother of the Year" award on Tuesday (our first time to meet). Jasper had been fussy that morning, and I noticed he was a little snotty, but I was scrambling around getting all three of our bags packed and Bennett ready for his first day of school, and getting breakfast down their hatches. He felt cool, so I chalked it up to allergies and him being annoyed that he couldn't breathe, and off we went. The nursery pager went off about an hour into the study, and the ladies there (who are luckily friends of mine) informed me that he had a fever of 101.4. Awesome. That's awesome. I can't stand being the mom that brings their sick kid and makes the other kids sick, but there we were. Yuck. On the bright side, things should go a lot more smoothly next week.

He LOVES his new school, and my heart is filled with thankfulness about it. Last year Bennett had some struggles discipline-wise, and it was so frustrating for both of us because I couldn't understand why. He is such a loving, charming, energetic, compassionate thing (if I do say so myself), but the stigma hanging over his head became extremely negative last year. Because of a few things he's said about this new school, and the schedule there (he doesn't have to take a nap while there, he waits until he gets home), I really think a HUGE part of the issues we had were his frustration and anger over being forced to lay on a nap mat for an hour in the dark every day. I know he was little, and that little kids need their naps, but this son of mine never went for doing it under those circumstances. He was THRILLED that he just got to play and learn the whole time at his new school, and he loves his new teachers and friends. He gave me a total run-down of the day as soon as I picked him up :) I'm happy that he's so happy. I'll post a first day picture at the end of this post once I get it uploaded.

And that's a wrap on the randomness.