7 Awesome Things That Happened This Fall

We have had a big fall.

Both kids are in school full time! At the same school! It is the small things in life to get excited about.

Both kids played soccer at the exact same time. Literally the majority of Saturdays they played at the same time at fields that were on the opposite sides of park.

Then you throw in ballet and swim and tumbling and all I did was drive back and forth from home to town. Many days two or three 50 mile round trips. But swimming has been so worth it!

Boo loves it and has built up his self esteem. Now if only he would be able to drive himself to all the practices. But seeing the smile on his face makes it so worth it!

And in the midst of our craziness, we have taken all of our bikes to training wheel free status.

And of course we had to order her a new bike because cars and bikes don’t seem to coexist in our world. It seems stores don’t carry large supplies of 16″ bikes. So, thank you Amazon and your prime shipping!!

But just when we didn’t have enough going on, we moved. The people buying our house offered to lease our house from us. They got to move in sooner and we got to move closer to school sooner. Double win…except the two week window to move.

To cap off the crazy circus life, we decided to take the kids to a Colts game. Since the Colts are doing amazing with their new rock star quarterback, we figured now would be as good of a time as ever! We surprised the kids with new jerseys when we got out of Sunday School and told them we were going to the game. Excitement was so huge that Boo actually cried. Cried tears of happiness. It was better than Christmas morning!


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I am Failing as a Mother

Am I alone or do you feel like you buy 742 pairs of socks and instead of having any in your the top dresser door, they are just strewn about begging to be matched up with their long lost soul mate?

pile of unmatched socks

But instead of matching socks I spend approximately 264 minutes each week running my kids to dance and cheer leading…

little girl cheeringAnd swimming and soccer.

swimming practice

boy in swim cap

My efforts to reduce obesity in America. Actually, my kids feel like they spend so much time in the car they pretend we are living in the van.

sleeping bag in vanIt is as if the book, Sh*tty Mom, was written for me. Some days I wonder if they brushed their teeth, wore clean socks or the same pair they wore the last three days, and if we actually turned in homework or left it sitting on the counter. I am sure my kids look like there mother didn’t look at them before they jumped out of the door so she could race to her meeting 60 miles away more than I think.

girl dancing in the rain

boys dressed up for 80's day

There are days I am on policy conference calls while in car line at school or talking to the school nurse about some mysterious object stuck in my son’s ear during a business lunch. And when I can’t find my lipstick I should just check with my daughter, she probably has it one of her my purses she carries with her everywhere.

little girl putting on lipstickI swear my colleagues have to think I am lunatic. They are just lucky I am not taking notes with colored pencils and mechanical crayons…

colleaguesBut then I am reminded…dirty socks and crazy hair and lost homework and conference calls and business lunches really will not matter in a month or a year or even a decade. But making sure that my kids know they are loved by not only me, but a very gracious and merciful God is so much more important. And this weekend, it took my seven year old son reminded me of this.

He nonchalantly told me as he was trying to stretch the time before lights out that while he was playing football at our neighbor’s annual fish fry, he asked one of the boys if he believed in Jesus. The boy responded yes, but he doesn’t get to go to church a lot. Boo was relieved. The very next day as he was playing with a boy from down the road, he noticed a bible sitting in his room. He asked this boy the same thing. And got the yes reply. Once again he was relieved. I was shocked. Both of these boys are considerably older than my son. Both boys don’t go to school with him or even live next door all the time as they split time between their broken up parents. But, Boo didn’t worry one bit of what they might think of him or even that they would think anything of his question. When I asked him why he decided to ask them this question, his answer was simple. “Mom, I just want to make sure they believe that Jesus died for them so they can be in heaven with me someday.”

Let the children come to me...Luke 18:16Well, it doesn’t get anymore important than that. And while I will be hard on myself about my parenting flaws and guilty about not being everything I see other moms be, I can sleep a bit more sound at night knowing I have shared the love of Jesus with my kids and one day, hopefully not soon, they will be in heaven with me.

From Tractor Pulls to Swimming Pools

Summer is flying by…between the drought and the activities for the kids, I feel like I need another summer vacation!

County fair season is drawing in for a close for us. We have activities at three county fairs between here in Indiana and back home in Illinois. As if I don’t have enough going on, I might as well have commitments at three county fairs. Here in Indiana our State Fair starts next week. We have been to three county fairs and had some fun with pedal tractor pulls. The Princess even managed a full-pull!

Watch her in action too. Click on the link to see her video. Princess going for the full pull in pedal tractor pull

It’s hard to believe the amount of time we have spent at the pool for Boo’s swim meets and practice. In one meet he managed to finish first and last! I think he is loving swimming. Even though the season is over he still is practicing in our pool.

Boo Swimming 50 M FreestyleWatch him in action doing the 25 M indoors last week! Boo Swimming 8 and under Freestyle

Did I shave my legs for this? Big Splash Groupon

Are you one of those people who checks out Groupon on a regular basis but don’t buy much or at least much that puts you out a lot of money? Yeah me too.

But when I saw the Groupon deal for the Big Splash Adventure in French Lick, IN I decided it was worth the risk of purchasing. What did we have to lose?

Since we cancelled spring break, we had promised the kids a stay in a hotel with an indoor water park. Well, it didn’t happen during spring break week so Easter weekend turned into a perfect time for a quick get away.

Might as well have a reason to shave my legs.

And a cheap one too. Thanks Groupon!

It was the perfect size for our kids.  They of course had differing ideas of what was fun.

They both loved the Lazy River.  Tubes were optional I guess though.

Boo loved hiding and jumping up to see if I was quick enough with the camera to catch a shot of him.

While the other one practically posed in the water for me.

They had some fun slides too. Especially if you have your dad sitting the back of the tube to help you pick up speed.

But not everyone in our family thought they needed to go down a slide that big or fast.

The great thing was that regardless of what they preferred, we were able to easily be within a few steps of both of them at the same time. The night stay, hours in the water park along with some snacks and arcade equals a great buy for $160.

Thanks Groupon!

Redneck Spring Break

What a difference a year makes! We had planned to be basking in the sun of Panama City Beach again this year. Because of my crazy travel to India and then DC for work, I couldn’t afford to be gone again. So, we canceled five days before we were to leave to have the redneck spring break instead.

two kids standing on a wagon with muddy feet in summer clothes.

Thanks to some unseasonable Indiana weather, my kids didn’t notice they were not at the beach. Especially when they put on their swimsuits and went to the sand cage!

girl buried up to her waste in sand.

We took our lap dog mudding.

muddy small lap dog

We even went over to Illinois to visit our cousins. Of course we took our classy attire on the road show…

But had a lot of fun none the less.

We got to meet the new baby in the family, too.

Not this baby. This baby became a big sister the week before spring break. We had to get our baby fix while we were in Illinois.

And then we squeezed the baby one last time and headed back to Indiana.

And spent more time in the sand.

Enjoying the random bon fire thanks to daddy burning brush around the fields as he was getting ready to plant soon.

And spending plenty of time being silly with each other.

What memories did you make on spring break?

Ranch Oven Fried Chicken

Oven Fried Ranch Chicken is a super satisfying fried chicken recipe without all the grease.In honor of my princess’s birthday, she got to pick dinner out last Monday. She was very, very specific…chicken legs, mashed potatoes, corn and green beans. Gotta baby. Your wish is my command.

It is so hard to believe that my baby is 5! Because that means I am on the brink of having two kids in school full-time. I feel like I should be in school full-time still. How does this happen? So, I interrupt this recipe with some birthday love for my baby.

She had quite the birthday and finally got the doll all little girls await…the American Girl doll.

I didn’t want the big old grease mess of making fried chicken, so I decided oven fried would have to work for the birthday girl. I must admit, when a girlfriend at ballet said just drive through KFC, I was tempted. I am glad I didn’t, because now I have a 5 ingredient oven fried chicken recipe that is fantastic!

The secrets to this out of the world oven fried chicken…

I started by crushing up 3 cups of rice krispies.

Then I added 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese to the rice krispies.

I added half of the 1 ounce ranch dip mix envelope to the cereal and cheese.

Mix it all together.

But the crispy has to stick to the chicken. So, I mixed one cup of mayo with the other half of the ranch seasoning.

Now you are ready to get the chicken coated. Begin by spreading the mayo/ranch mix all over the chicken and then toss with the rice krispy mix.

I then placed in a cooking stone casserole pan.

I baked it for about 45 minutes on 350 degrees.

Oven Fried Ranch Chicken is a super satisfying fried chicken recipe without all the grease.

The result was golden deliciousness. The birthday girl had two chicken legs she liked them so much! We had some leftovers that also made some yummy suppers that were quick and easy to make.

Ranch Oven Fried Chicken
This Oven Fried Ranch Chicken is super satisfying without all the mess of grease when you are craving fried chicken.
  • 2 pounds of chicken pieces
  • 3 cups of rice cereal, crushed
  • 1 envenlope (1 oz) of ranch salad dressing seasoning
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  1. Combine the mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning and spread on chicken. Spread with a brush or put in a large sealable bag and shake the chicken with the mayonnaise.
  2. Combine the cereal, cheese and remaining ranch seasoning and coat mayonnaise covered chicken pieces with the cereal mixture.
  3. Place chicken in baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes on 350 degrees. Chicken needs to reach 165 degrees and juices run clear.

Can’t wait to see what you have baking up this week. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!

How to get great family photos

So, you are contemplating getting pictures taken but just don’t know if it worth the time and money? Well, I think you need to every few years just so you have something to remember you all by. If you are like me you have tons of photos but none with you in them. I wanted some pictures with my kids.

My advice, start with a great photographer who is great with kids. And we hit the jack pot folks. Angela Jackson Photography, out of Columbus, Indiana, met us one evening with her teenage daughter, Shelby, in tow. Thank goodness too. She not only helped her mom with props and lens changes and lighting but also with kid entertainment and smiles.

Take a look for yourself at the final results…

Now, sometimes the kids’ behavior can be less than desirable and involve tears, pouting and refusal to smile. At this point, don’t be afraid to bribe for the sake of beautiful pictures.

The clothes…came from mainly two places. My outfit is entirely from the Buckle with boots from Nine West. The hubbies jeans and t-shirt are from the Buckle and his button down shirt is from Gap. The kids’s outfits are from the Gymboree Outlet store except from Boo’s jeans which are Lee’s. I had about 72 outfits laid out on my couch for a week trying to decide what matched without looking too matchy. Everyone got a little voting, but of course I had veto powers at all times.

I am not sure how I am going to choose. Most likely I will spend way too much on pictures. But the decision is going to be made this week. So, tell me which poses you like!

The new teddy bear…puppy

Yes, I have officially lost it. I have yet another live being in my house that I have to clean up after. But who could say no to a face like this.

The little princess in our house turns five in a few weeks. Both of the kids have been better than expected with the chores associated with their cats. So when the opportunity arose to adopt a teddy bear puppy from a friend of my husband’s who had a litter he was giving away, I just knew a little girl would be over the top.

The transfer of ownership took place this morning. It was simply priceless. Daddy came in with the little critter under his jacket.

It was love at first smother.

We, of course, were not prepared with anything for a little bitty puppy. In case you are wondering, Teddy Bears are a cross between a Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu. Late this afternoon, I finally trekked to town for some goods for Mister Puppy, despite the insanity of doing this on Black Friday.

And we are now those people. You know, those people who put a sweater on their puppy.

We have officially ticked off the cats.

But the kids are in love.

And we have one tired pup.

Now, we just have to name the little guy. Any suggestions?

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