Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 2011

I would have to say that 2011 has been one of the better years that I have had during my adult life.  Nothing big or traumatic happened which is not something I could say for other years.  I wanted to remember some of my favorite moments of 2011 so I decided since this is my blog, I can list them here:)
1.  Rylee made the decision to be baptized.
2.  I started a new job.
3.  I also started a new and totally awesome business.  I feel so blessed to have this business!
4.  We celebrated 10 years of marriage.
5.  We became debt free thanks to my wonderful, dedicated and determined husband.
6.  Tegan had eye surgery....a somewhat successful eye surgery!
7.  Rylee started gymnastics and has finally found something that she loves.
8.  We had a great family vacation just the four of us. 

Those are just some of the great memories I have of this year.  We have had a year full of picking ourselves up by our boot straps.  We have had a better financial year than most but not b/c it was given to us but b/c of hard work and sacrifice.  We have been blessed with great health for all four of us.  We have everything we need right here in this house.  Though I am very happy with my life, I refuse to feel content and to become complacent.  I am striving for a another year full of more blessings than ever! 

I pray you all have a blessed and happy New Year.  I hope that no matter what this past year has brought your way, you can find a way to grasp a positive attitude and head in to 2012 expecting more and expecting better! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Etsy shop update

Paper Pretty Designs has really been such a blessing to me.  I just can't even believe how well it has been doing in such a short amount of time.  I hope and pray everyday that my business continues to grow and becomes a very stable source of income for us.  I tell you, it was very nice to not have to use our regular paycheck money to buy Christmas this year....Christmas was fully funded by Paper Pretty Designs.  While things are going great, it is still hard to predict how many sales I will have in a month and I am still learning so much about this business as I go.  I have a really big short term goal to hopefully expand my business even more so that things are going great by the end of May...when the kids get out of school:) 

I am working on lots of new invitations and cards for the shop but tonight I have freshened up the look a little.  It is always sad to me to take down Christmas decorations in my house and I have to admit, it is just as sad to take down all my Christmas cards from my shop along with my holiday header.  I created something simple and basic to freshen things up a bit.  I am tired of looking at lots of bright stuff all the time. 

I am so excited about the direction that my business is taking me in.  I thank everyone for your support so far and in the future.  If you ever need a card, invitation, cupcake toppers, party favor tags,etc...please check out Paper Pretty Designs.  Also, if you have a blog and would allow me to post the 2nd picture posted above on your blog that would link to my shop as advertisement, I would love you forever!

The Aftermath...

Santa was very good to the kids this year.  I am almost certain that he brought all of that awesome stuff to Tegan just b/c he felt bad for him.  Whew...what a great and cute little handful of a boy that I have.  Christmas came in like a tornado and is now behind us.  We had my family Christmas at my mom's on Friday night, lunch on Saturday with Paul's extended family, we went to Waffle House for supper just the four of us Saturday night (a new tradition of ours), did Santa Sunday morning, went to my MIL's for breakfast and then had my dad and siblings over to our house Sunday night.  Wow...what a crazy weekend.  It was very nice but man I was tired after it was all over plus I have been battling a cold for about a week and a half now. 
Things haven't really slowed down since and I have been having to work this week.  On top of all that, my etsy invitation/card business has been doing great.  Invitations and party planning must be on the mind of most.  For me...a slow day with nothing to do is on my mind.  I guess a girl can dream.  We have done a little after Christmas shopping with our gift cards...My husband can shop when he really wants to:)

On a different note, I am trying to get the house put back together and even trying to organize it a little better than normal....That is a battle that I am presently losing!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

What did she forget....Christmas Part 1

We started our Christmas celebrations tonight.  We always have to do my side of the family early or late b/c with five of us kids(all married with our own kids) it can be hard to find a free moment on the actual holiday. 
I worked hard today making some yummy treats that I found on pinterest.  They were a huge hit.  In fact, everything that I took got wiped out!
 This was my yummy sweets tray!
 These little pretzel snacks are the perfect combo of sweet and salty.  I found these on pinterest and they are so super easy to make.  You use mini pretzels, Hershey kisses and m&ms.  Just place your Hershey kiss on top of each pretzel.  Place in the oven at 275 for just a few minutes.  Remove and push in the M&M.  Easy and awesome is totally my style:)
I also got the idea for these brownie bites off of pinterest but I think I didn't do them the way they said.  That didn't really matter though b/c everyone loved them and I am pretty sure my niece Addison will be up with a belly ache tonight b/c she probably downed about 5 of these things!  All you do is use a regular box brownie mix.  Don't cook completely....just about 15 minutes.  I cooked them in a mini cupcake pan.  When the toothpick in the middle trick comes out still a little wet, just take a butter knife and put a small slit in the top.  Melt regular peanut butter for 45 seconds in the microwave.  Take a teaspoon and ooze a little peanut butter on top.  Then top with peanut butter and chocolate chips. 
I had to put both of these desserts in the refrigerator for just a few minutes so that the chocolate would set and not make a huge mess. 

Any who...we are a family of 26 strong when we get together.  This is just my Mom, step dad, siblings and their families.  It is loud, chaotic and crazy but we have fun no doubt.  My main finger food dish aside from sweet stuff was crock pot cheese dip.  I got all the way over to my mom's when I remembered that I didn't bring chips for the cheese dip.  My sweet husband made a quick Walmart run which was totally crazy being a Friday night before Christmas weekend at 6:00 PM.  I double checked all my stuff but the chips never crossed my mind.  The food got all ate up, the presents for the kids were exchanged and lots of fun talk went on.  I didn't hardly get any pictures at all b/c for the first time in a long time I just wanted to sit back and enjoy being with my family. 
I packed everything up to leave, checked to make sure I had every thing and we headed home.  Half way home I remembered that I had taken off my wedding rings while washing the dishes and I left them by my mom's kitchen sink.  I am not usually the dish washer over there and I had to laugh and say that I was being punished for trying to help out a little more this year:)  So we turned around and headed back.  Tegan's comment was that we were about to have to start all over again. 
Everyone is in bed and knocked out at my house right now.  Tomorrow is another big day with a lunchtime family gathering and then our own family of four adventure before preparing for Santa to come.  No worries....I'm keeping my finger food contributions simple tomorrow so hopefully I will be able to remember everything.

But I Love Her!!!

Tegan's all time favorite hobby is to drive his sister bonkers.  Rylee spends most her days at home in her bedroom b/c Tegan is going to aggravate the pee out of her without a doubt.  It must be a boy thing b/c I don't remember doing this at all to any of my older three siblings but I do remember my brother, the youngest of five, doing it to me:) 

He is known to be sitting still watching TV and notice that Rylee isn't paying attention to him, that is when he makes his move.  He will sneak right up with the remote in hand and BAM....knocks the crap out of her.  I can't tell you how many times I have chased him down after he has done something like this to her.  He is a runner for sure!  Poor kid doesn't know that running makes me even more mad!!!

His latest attempt to drive his sister crazy is by invading her bedroom.  You see, ever since that kid could crawl we have had a baby gate up at her door.  I guess that when your mischievous child is over four years old and in the 85th percentile for his height, a baby gate will no longer stop him.  He scales that thing like a cat climbing a tree.  Funny thing is that he doesn't do it while she is in there.  He sits back waiting for her to leave her room.  I mean, the girl has to eventually come out for a bathroom break.  He pounces and grabs every opportunity that he can find.  Then it starts...."GET OUT OF MY ROOM", "MAMA HE WON'T GET OUT", "STOP TOUCHING MY STUFF", etc...  The only response he has is "BUT I LOVE HER AND WANT TO BE WITH HER".  Seriously, how in the world do you argue with that.  I will tell you look at your mom with your big brown eyes and say "DON'T LET HIM BUTTER YOU UP.  JUST GET HIM OUT."  Oh me, I still have many years ahead of me in this department but for now I think it is time to burn the baby gates:)


Thursday, December 22, 2011


I let Rylee play around on my computer for a little while today.  She had been typing something but I didn't think anything of it.  Well when I sat back down at my computer a little while later this was typed in word and left on my screen...

Rylee Taylor Minish

I am Rylee Taylor minish and I am so excited about Christmas. There so much I really want. Can you guess what I want the most? Well it Has many keys that have letters on them. You can do so much with it. You can get on many web sites with it. If you guessed a lap top then you are right!

There are so many reasons why I want a lap top. I can get on a lot of web sites. And I can do a lot on it.






Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Christmas Card...

Next year I plan to put a little more thought in to my Christmas card.  I know, it is crazy that I own a little card business and wasn't very happy with my own card.  I was so busy doing for others that there was just not much time to come up with something original for myself.  We had some really awesome family pictures made this year.  I loved them so much and wanted to put some family shots on our Christmas card.  Well my dear husband was determined that he wasn't going to have a picture of himself on the card.  He hates having his picture made but does it for me.  Apparently he draws the line at plastering it all over lots of Christmas cards and mailing it out for others to see:)  He threatened to never agree to have his picture made again if I put him on the card.  So this is the Christmas card I sent out....
Albeit cute, just not exactly what I was going for!

This is the Christmas card that I begged and pleaded with him to let me send out...
I lost! But he didn't say anything about me not posting it on my blog:)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

One More Week!!

It is so hard to believe that pretty soon I will be thinking of all my goals and resolutions for the year of 2012.  It is so true that the older we get, the faster time goes by. 

Today has been a great and calm day.  Besides a few gift cards, all the Christmas shopping is done.  I am slowly but surely cleaning up the house and getting it in order.  That has been pretty hard to do b/c my husband is working on a project in our bathroom so there is a mess going on in there and in our bedroom.  I am also taking my time and wrapping a few presents here and there but I seem to be making lots and lots of progress.  School is out for the kids until after the first of the year.  All the Christmas program practices at church are behind us....and the program its self.  The mad Christmas card rush in my shop is slowing a little although the shower and birthday invitations seem to be picking back up. 

We purposely didn't plan anything this weekend b/c we figured that we would be going last minute Christmas shopping but this determine lady has defeated the shopping this year and I'm pretty proud of all my loot.  So today has been one of getting things done around the house and taking our kids to the movies.  I awoke to a nice quiet house.  I haven't felt all that great and my body appreciated the sleep.  My sweet husband had gotten the kids up at 7 AM and taken them for doughnuts and to pick me out something for Christmas from them.  Very sweet of him!
This was Tegan's very first movie theater experience and although he did great, he didn't get the concept of why he couldn't talk really loud during the movie.  All he wanted to do was ask questions about the movie but he is a loud child.  We went to see Aurthur Christmas.  It is a super cute Christmas movie, I highly recommend it.  Rylee was so excited and she said that she enjoyed our first ever movie experience all together.  She is so funny b/c Paul and I hadn't even realized that usually just one of us takes her to the movies while the other one stays behind with Teg.  She has had a rough past two days and seems to be needing some affirmation again about who is there for her.  She wants all of us to be together.  So you can imagine she didn't like it that we split up after the movie, she went with her daddy and I took Tegan with me.  She had bought Teg something for Christmas with her own money so Teg was asking me to take him to get her something from him. He did a great job picking it out and Rylee was so glad to see us make it back home so quick.  Poor little girl. 
 I am just hoping that tomorrow will be another day of getting things done around the house.  I would like to have the whole house cleaned and all the presents wrapped by bedtime tomorrow night.  I work three days this week and would love to just relax and enjoy Thurs and Fri off with the kids. here are a few pictures I have to show off from the Christmas program.  Both kids did great!  As always, Rylee didn't hold back when singing and did great.  I just have to brag about Teg also...he did wonderful for a four year old little boy.  He wasn't shy about standing on stage and singing.  You could hear him over all the other kids in his age group.  I was a very proud mama!!!

 To top it off they got to see Santa at the end of the night! 
It was a great program and all the kids did so good.  Poor Rylee was so exhausted b/c we didn't have a free second all that weekend.  She couldn't even make it to school on Monday.  She woke up with a little cold but I think mostly she was just to tired to do anything.  After a day of rest she was good to go.
Of course now I am having some sort of crud/sore throat thing going on.  I made fun last night with my facebook status saying that I was keeping with Christmas tradition by being sick with just enough time for me to get better and for my kids to catch it and be sick on Christmas.  I really hope that is not the case and hope we have a healthy Christmas.  But if we don't, we will still have fun!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Ribbon Wreath

I was wanting something simple for my front door and saw some cute ideas while searching on the Internet.  Of course I found what I was looking for on pinterest:)

Let me just say that making this was easy but I did end up with a whole lot of hot glue on my finger nails.  I have a love/hate relationship with a hot glue gun:) 

I had lots of ribbon laying around so I didn't have to go buy any but it took a lot more ribbon than I thought it would.  I saw a way on pinterest to get a super cheap wreath form using foam plumbing tubing from Home Depot.

After lots of HOT GLUE and burning the tips of my fingers up, I got this

Then I felt like it needed a little something more so I added a dollar tree bow to it:)  I think I am going to make me one of these for every season!!!
I love Christmas and all that goes with it!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gearing up for Christmas....

Oh my....I have shopped and shopped and shopped and am still not done but boy have I had fun!!!  My husband and I have been married for nearly 11 years and during that time he has always bought pretty much all the Christmas gifts that we have ever given.  What can I say, I'm not great at saving up money like he is:)  He hates to spend money so it seems that having to buy all the presents leaves him acting like a bit of a scrooge.  Well this year my goal was to change that.  My little invitation business has been doing pretty good and has pretty much funded Christmas this year.  It has been awesome to take that stress off of my husband and even better for me....the girl who doesn't have to ask her husband for shopping money:)   Since Christmas is my absolute favorite day ever, I hope my husband can now enjoy this day with me instead of dreading it!

I got a pretty slow start on my shopping.  Both kids have asked for at least one pretty expensive but yet small in size item from Santa.  As always, it has been way to easy for me to shop for Rylee and now I am having to stop buying her gifts and catch up on Tegan.  I am so close to the finish line but then someone has to wrap all these presents!!!

I have probably went a little overboard this year on my kid's Christmas.  We usually set a budget but this year I just didn't want to do that.  When I think back over the last several years, there hasn't been much buying of extras for our children.  Yes, we always give them what they need but we haven't exactly been in the position to buy them things they long for.  In fact, other than clothes at season change, I can't tell you the last time I bought a fun item or toy for my kids.  We are also going to do a few fun Christmas and other activities with them over the next couple of weeks....again this is something we haven't had the luxury of doing pretty much since I went out of work when pregnant with Tegan. 

Don't get me wrong, things can still be pretty tight and we aren't going crazy but just trying to enjoy the season and make memories with our babies while we can!  I don't think I have ever looked so forward to Christmas in my adult life as I am this year!  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back to Basics!!!

I love creating personalized party invites and decorations!  It really is so much fun to do and has become a huge addictive creative outlet for me.  I decided to start working on a more basic and affordable type of party package for those who want all the WOW but without all the crazy cost.  So a new little section in my etsy shop was born....Back To Basics.  The idea is that these are designed and ready to email to you in less than 24 hours.  You fill in your invite and thank you cards.  I plan to make lots of different packs of these to offer. The best part about these is that they are cheap and you will be able to print as many as you want and/or need.  The invitations alone are only $5.  A party package that includes the invitation, thank you card, party favor tags and cupcake toppers is only $10.  I am very excited about creating a whole different section while still creating new personalized party invitations and decorations! 

Also, don't forget that if you haven't already found your perfect Christmas card design at least look through all of my Christmas cards that I have spent hours and hours creating:)  You can find a full list of them at Paper Pretty Designs.

Also become a fan of my Paper Pretty Facebook page for great deals, giveaways and freebies!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Wow!  That is all I can say about black Friday shopping!  I have never really went Black Friday shopping.  I'm not sure what made me decide to do it this year but I have to say that I LOVED it!  Crazy isn't it!!!  My sister got to my house around 8:45 and we headed out to meet two of my friends in Athens.
We were really stupid for deciding to head in to the thick of it at Walmart....but we did it anyways.  It was packed.  The worst part was that even though the sales didn't start until 10:00 and 12:00, they had already let people load up their carts with stuff but just not check out.  They had also given out all of the tickets for electronics by the time we got there.  I was on the hunt for a good deal on a big ticket item b/c that is on the top of my daughter's Christmas list.  Well...that idea was out the window once we walked in to Walmart.  But we didn't let the madness stop us.  We walked around and grabbed what we could.  Eventually we had to head to the laundry baskets to get them to use to carry our stuff b/c all the carts were being used....every single one of them.  We got some really good deals there, checked out quick and darted off for Target.  Target didn't open until 12 but when we got there the line was across the entire front of Target, all the way around the parking lot and down the driveway to the main highway.  We decided to get in line but it really wasn't that bad.  We stood there about 30 minutes but once they started letting people in, it took no time. Target was WONDERFUL compared to Walmart.  It was very organized and not all that crazy stuff going on in there.  Even though 100's of people went in before us, we were still all able to get our hands on pretty much everything we were going for.  The line to check out was super long but they had it all figured out and it took no time to get to check out and be on our way.  We headed to a couple of other places in Athens but there wasn't much luck.  Then my sister's phone started ringing at 3:00 AM.  When she got off the phone she said her daughter just told her that the Walmart in a near by town had about 36 of the electronics that had been sold out at the first Walmart we went to.  She said they were just sitting in the back near the layaway area.  We took off for Commerce.  Walked right in to a very dead Walmart and were able to get our hands on two of the awesome electronics that people had been waiting hours for earlier in the night.

One thing I learned is that there is no way you can go do this by yourself.  We would all mention a few things to each other that we wanted and we would try to grab it for each other.  We would all share one cart so that we weren't battling to get four carts through the crowd.  Teaming up is the only way to get your hands on the things you want.  The second biggest thing that I learned was that if Walmart is starting their sales at a certain time, I will go 3 to 4 hours later b/c when we walked in the dead Walmart at 4:00 AM it pretty much looked like lots of stuff had been restocked.  They said it was super crazy at that Walmart earlier but when we got there, they still had tons and tons of stuff.

I think I was to nice of a black Friday shopper b/c I would say excuse me, please and thank you but it made for a much better night for me!  I went on this little shopping trip with a positive outlook and didn't care if I got my hands on any of the things I had in mind. I refuse to fight over stuff.  Instead of being grumpy, I stayed happy and ended up getting exactly what I went for.  I am very excited and can't wait for next year!  This is my new tradition!  I will be dragging these ladies back out again next year but I may just sleep until 2:00 AM and then get a start....let the crowds go ahead and kill each other before I get in the mix:)

After shopping from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM....I was so tired but that won't stop me from looking forward to it next year!!!  Happy Black Friday!  I hope you are all in the Christmas spirit.  When shopping this holiday season don't be rude, grumpy and in poor spirits.  When you are positive and happy, you will enjoy it more and you might just get super good deals on exactly what you need or want!!! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I have been watching people on facebook count their blessings this whole month.  These days I am pretty much thankful for any and everything!  But most importantly I am thankful for my family....
I hope you all have a very blessed and full (in many ways) Thanksgiving with the ones you love!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Turkey Week!!!!

I just love the holidays and to me Thanksgiving day is the big kick off.  The same old song and dance has been going on around here....we are running from one place to the other and never ever relaxing.  I was so looking forward to Thanksgiving week b/c it was suppose to mean that I would have 4 straight days off of work and be able to have some down time.  Um, not so much.  Thursday will be spent at cooking and going to one and hosting another Thanksgiving meal.  Then I will be heading out for a night full of shopping with two of my favorites....or as long as my preggo friend can make it:)  I'm sure she will last longer than my tired behind.  That means that Friday will consist of lots of sleeping and then I will be putting up the Christmas tree with the kiddos.  My husband usually just watches that part!  Then Saturday is a full day of photo sessions.  I will be starting at 9 and going through 3.  Then I have to rush home, fix more food and head over to my Mom's for our late Thanksgiving.  Then Sunday there is church, more pictures and hanging of the greens at church.  I am so tired just thinking about the next four days but I'm sure I will survive.  There are a whole lot worse things in life than being busy!!! 

This brings me to another point.  I have a friend that could really use lots of prayers right now.  She has been diagnosed with a terrifying disease just a few short weeks after delivering her third child.  Her and her family could really use lots of prayers and lots of lifting up during this time!!!!

I am looking forward to a great and healthy holiday with my family and my husband's family!  I haven't gotten to see all of my siblings and their little ones that much lately so I am ready for that.  I have lots to be thankful for and excited for all the things to come!!! 

Happy Turkey week to everyone!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This picture says it all....

This boy loves his Mama!

We had family pictures made today and I am so excited to see all of them.  The above picture was just my teaser along with two really awesome pictures of Rylee!  I can't wait to see them.  Oh and don't worry, I got a special picture made with Rylee also.  Although I am very excited about all the family pictures we took, I am most excited to see the pictures she did of just Paul and I.  She did several of us which isn't something we have really had done since our wedding day.  I will post more as soon as I get the CD with all of them on it!  She was so great and made the whole "picture process" so much better for my husband whom hates to have his picture made! 

Hope you guys are having a great November.  Time is just slipping away from me and I can't keep up.  I'm sorry, I promise to update more even if it is just short little post! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

This Little Girl of Mine...

My little girl is so sweet.  She is very different than most other 8, almost 9, year old kidsthat you will meet.  She is level headed, very compassionate to others and never gets in trouble.  This time last year she was having a rough time.  She seemed uncomfortable in her own skin.  She seemed a little lost and was terrified that something bad was going to happen.  She could see that she was losing her grip on a relationship with someone that she cherished.  More recently she went through a rough patch with some girls at school.  Her tender heart has a very hard time with what she feels like is rejection.  

But lately I have saw something different.  She is really growing up on me.  She is still the same levelheaded, tenderhearted, strong and compassionate girl as always but she seems to be learning how to appreciate her relationships.  For a while she seemed to blame a big change in her life on us, her parents but the reality is that we had nothing to do with it.  In the past month I have watched her realize that we are here and never ever going to leave her.  No one will ever step in front of her and Tegan.  She has stopped questioning us and started talking to us.  She tells us how much she appreciates us and the things we do for her.  She leaves little notes for us around the house all the time.   
I told her the other day to never stop doing this! Whether it be for me, her daddy, her brother, her future husband, her own children....  These little notes mean so much to me! 
She is comfortable with herself again but most importantly she knows that her and her brother will always be first in our lives and we will never let anyone take that away!  She has decided that if people don't want to be close to her then that is their loss and I couldn't agree more b/c this little girl is special.  She is going to do great things!!! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cheater, Cheater, Potato Soup Eater!!

Let me start by saying that if you are a self proclaimed kitchen queen (unlike myself), you may want to stop reading here. I have been trying for YEARS to make potato soup. I have been a huge failure at this over and over again. It is either too thick, too thin, nasty tasting, scorched the bottom of my pan, etc …..
Last week I was at the grocery store and I remembered my coworker talking about a crock pot potato soup that she had found on pinterest. I text her to get the ingredients while I was at the grocery store. As the text came through, the list seemed long and I could see so many ways that I would screw this up. Not to mention it was going to kill my shopping budget. I was standing on the soup isle and look up to see dry creamy potato soup in a bag. I was very very hesitant to buy it but at a little over $3, it was totally worth a try. I was definitely sold on it when I read that all I had to do was add water. I mean seriously, it would be very hard for me to screw this one up.
Tonight was the big night to try it. It totally helped that the same coworker that made the Crockpot soup and had raved about it, had been raving all morning about finding this soup in a bag and kept talking about how awesome it was!
I have to say that this one was a WINNER!!!! I will forever have a bag of this brand soup in my cabinet for those nights that I don’t feel like cooking a huge meal. It took 15 to 20 minutes at the most to make. I only had the one pot, a few bowls and a few spoons to clean afterward. This is my kind of meal.
I’m not sure if every grocery store carries it but I got mine at Ingles. It has to be this brand soup…
They also have other choices like chicken noodle, broccoli & cheddar, cheesy potato soup, and more that I plan to try. I didn’t get the cheesy b/c my dear husband isn’t crazy about a lot of cheese. So I thought I would just get the creamy kind and add my own shredded cheese to it once I had dipped up my bowl. I had some real bacon bit pieces in the refrigerator so I added those to my bowl of soup. Let me just say….I am in LOVE!
Here is the deal….you bring 8 cups of water to a boil, whisk in the soup, lower heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. I had to stir mine pretty often b/c it kept getting a film over the top of it if I didn’t.
There is just nothing better than a super easy, super quick, super cheap and super yummy meal!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Newly Recovered Old Loveseat

My addiction to pinterest is a great one!  It is very inspiring and has me cooking different things, wearing different outfits and creating a few things also.  I saw a post on reupholstering a couch recently on pinterest and it totally inspired me to possibly do this for my own couch or love seat.   So I went to Home Depot and bought two big drop cloths at $10 each.  I came home and stood there scratching my head trying to figure out where to begin while my husband looked at me like I had gone crazy for attempting this project.  I dropped the whole staple gun idea and went back to my sewing roots.  After spending every free minute of my entire weekend, almost admitting defeat and having a near meltdown....I did it!  Let me just say that this wasn't easy at all.  It is very far from perfect ....very far!  But it makes me happy!  I still have to get some snaps to tighten up the back of the cushion covers but I wanted to go ahead and show a picture of the transformation.....
I left a flap on the couch cushions so that I could remove the covers and wash them if I need to but that is making them move around a little so I am going to get some snap closures to hold it tight on the back.  I just love it! 
At one time I had some very dark brown slipcovers on both the love seat and the couch.  Then I took the cover off of this love seat and just had it on the couch b/c my couch and love seat totally do not match.  Now I am able to finally get rid of the couch slipcover b/c it has the same cream colored base as my new drop cloth covered love seat! 
I don't think you can beat a $20 furniture makeover!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Still here!

I promise I am still alive and kicking.  Things have just been super busy and I have been making a sad attempt to stay off of the computer during certain times of the day....pretty much once my kids are home from school, until they go to bed (I am a constant failure at that).    Anyways, until I can get on here and really do a post, I want to share this article that I saw posted on facebook by a friend.  It is very touching, heartbreaking and totally eye opening. 
 Just click right HERE!

Hope you are having a great week as I am rounding out a very crazy past two weeks!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

They call it the Kestenbaum Sugery b/c it is the BOMB!!!

Ha....that title could mean so many things.  The surgery that Sweet T recently had is called the Kestenbaum Surgery.  As most of you know, it is a double eye turn surgery.  In one way it was not the bomb but like a darn boom.  Poor little fellow really struggled for a few days after having that surgery.  But in so many other ways I would say the surgery is THE BOMB!

On Thursday we headed out to Atlanta to see Teg's doctor.  Even though I was a little anxious (just b/c that is what I do whenever I am leaving my house:), I was very at peace b/c I knew that there was going to be nothing but great feedback from her. 

Tegan's eyes are still bloodshot and probably will be for a good while.  She said that hopefully they will be cleared all the way up by February....WOW!  When she measured his head tilt before surgery, he was turning his head 35 degrees to the left side.  That is a very huge head tilt and one that would lead to a very painful neck problem in his future.  As of yesterday he is measuring at a 10 to 15 degree head tilt.  That is a significant difference.  It will make a world of difference for him pain wise and socially!  To be honest, I don't notice him tilting it a lot so either a 10 degree head tilt isn't that much or he doesn't do it all the time.  She said that for right now, that is as good as it gets because of his age and how short the eyes muscles are at this point in his life.  She said that she couldn't have asked for better results.  When placing his muscles back to his eyes, she went as extreme as she could and so far so good.  Although I was terrified, Dr. Amy Hutchinson at Emory has been such a blessing.  It is hard to trust the judgement of others when it comes to your child...especially his eyes.  When researching her and getting a second opinion before surgery, we were pretty much told that if we were going to let our son have this surgery, she is the one to do it.  I have been so thankful that in the beginning of this whole process, 4 years ago, the hand above placed us in the perfect place for our son to get all the help he could. 

I'm not sure I ever want to watch Tegan go through something like that again but so far I am glad we did it.  His eyes will continue to heal and hopefully continue to improve for a very long time.  In the words of Dr. Hutchinson, "this surgery is a really big surgery and a really big deal".  Since there is so much more healing to do, I really do believe that Tegan's nystagmus and head tilt can completely go away but if not, I am just praising God that he can see, walk, run & play!!! 

Much love to all of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the prayers for my little man!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Forever Changed....

On this day, five years ago, I said hello and good bye to my precious baby boy. Today I feel peaceful, sad, blessed, and raw. In the past five years I have been up and down. I have been in and out of every emotion you can imagine. Time may have helped me learn to deal with things but time sure hasn’t made me forget!

Today I am experiencing some sort of writers block.  My flow for words, especially on this subject, seems to be totally blocked.  I have prayed hard for the past few days for a peaceful and numb day today...I think the good Lord gave me exactly what I asked for.  Yes, I have cried, hurt and been sad but I have also laughed, worked and went on with my normal everyday stuff.  My God has blessed me with exactly what I needed today! 

Dear Cohen,

Today I am closer to seeing you again than I have ever been before. Today is my day to cry. This is the time that I let myself go back and remember every detail of the worst week of my life. I still ache and long for you every day. When I close my eyes I can see you, smell you and feel you! Most importantly today I want to tell you that you are one of my biggest blessings ever. All of my kids have taught me things but the wisdom I have gained from your tiny little life….that wisdom overflows all other.  You forever changed me and I continue to learn from you daily!  I have found peace with your passing but that hasn’t taken away my hurt for you.  Today I am fine with the fact that you are celebrating on the knee of Jesus instead of my own.  Today I love you as much as I ever have.
Love, Your Mommy

Cohen Minish, Oct .04 2006
by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though often My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."
 I wouldn't change a thing and couldn't imagine my life going any other way! 
 He knew exactly what I needed in this life....all three of my children!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Paper Pretty!

As I have said before, I am venturing in to a totally different type of business these days and so far I am LOVING it!  It gives me the chance to still be creative but not have to run all over town (30 minutes from my house) collecting supplies like sewing did.  I didn't think I would ever say this but I have gotten burnt out with sewing.  I still love it and still plan to do little stuff here and there but that will mostly be stuff for myself, family or friends, not for business purposes.  With being back to work there just isn't enough time to run around buying supplies every other day & then making the item.  I have actually been posting lots of my sewing stuff on ebay.  Most of what I am posting is fabric that I bought a long time ago and have never gotten around to using or all the embroidery blanks that I have but will also probably never use. 

So I started learning as much as I could about different design softwares.  Digital backgrounds and graphics are like fabric for me...addictive!  It really gets my creative juices flowing and I love it.  I opened up a shop on etsy, Paper Pretty Designs, and started creating.  I have been so blessed that in the past two months I have had 83 sales.  Those sales don't include the sales I have had from friends and facebook!  You can like my facebook fanpage HERE!  Then suggest my page to others.  With all the facebook changes I think the easiest way to do this is just to suggest it one time as your status.  You can say something about it and then just put @Paper Pretty Designs and it should highlight it blue and link to my page.  Very simple! 

I have been working hard to create lots of Christmas cards.  I am very anxious to start listing them but I keep watching etsy to see if other Christmas cards are selling yet and they aren't so I am trying to time it just right.  I am doing everything from very simple and traditional to stepping outside of the box with very funky original cards:)
Below is just a taste of the Christmas cards I am working on!  You won't find these cards on the Walmart photo site:)

Get super cute and modern baby shower invitations!
Birthday invites to go with any theme plus you can get matching printable cupcake toppers, party favor tags, thank you cards, birthday banners, water bottle wraps, etc..

  LOVE my little business and very blessed to be doing something I love so much!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Random stuff!

Things seem to be moving right along.  Tegan went back to school this week.  His eyes are still a little pink but that is something they told us to expect for a very very long time.  It is still really hard to tell about the success of the surgery especially when it comes to him seeing far away but I can tell you that it is looking like it solved the problem of the head tilt which was the most noticeable feature of his eye condition.  It will be totally awesome if it stays like this and doesn't set him up for being picked on by other kids as he gets a little older.
The picture on the left was about 5 days after surgery and the one on the right was last night.  Huge improvement in the color. 
I continue to place him in God's hands and believe that everything is healing just like it should be and that he will be just fine!

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and bought me several healthy choices instead of my normal ice cream and chips for snacks.  I heart pinterest so much and have been pinning all types of recipes on there.  I had saw this a while ago and wanted to give it a try.  Of course mine didn't look nearly as beautiful as the one posted by KevinandAmanda that I pinned (you can click her picture below to go to see how she did it).
The one on the left is the one I pinned and the one on the right is mine:)

Of course I had to modify it for my taste.  I used the same granola that she used b/c it was on sale and was the cheapest:)  Of course I used strawberries but let me be clear...they were the most sour strawberries I have ever had.  So I ate as many as I could stand and then started eating around them.  She uses regular yogurt.  I am just not a regular yogurt person.  I have tried to like it but just can't.  So I used about a 1/2 of a cup of Mayfield's frozen vanilla yogurt and poured a small amount of 2% milk over it to make it softer. I poured it all in my cup and it was great!!!  Had my strawberries tasted better it would have been perfect!  I am not a granola person but granola on frozen yogurt is AWESOME!

Life is moving along as usual although I am very tired all the time.  Not your average body tired but my eyes have seemed so heavy lately.  I am pretty sure that I have went off to sleep at least 3 times in the past two days while driving down the road.  Maybe I have developed a bit of narcolepsy....whatever it is, I hope it passes soon.
Happy Wed. everyone...let us hope that the rest of the week is smooth and fast:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

What Should Have Been

I have a best friend named Larkin.  We became great friends during her senior year and my junior year of high school.  After she graduated we lost touch for a while but then I married a guy that went to the same church as her and her husband.  For years we have talked or sent rather lengthy emails to each other on a daily basis.  It is very rare for us to not talk to each other except when each of us are on vacation and even then we sneak in a phone call or two:)  So it would only be right to say that her joy is my joy and her pain is my pain. 

This past Monday my best friend was suppose to deliver her healthy baby boy.  Plans had been made and the c-section had been on the books for months.  Today, Friday, she would have been coming home with that healthy baby boy.  Tonight she was suppose to have a sleepless night while she was up and down breastfeeding her little man but instead she will have a totally different kind of sleepless night. 

What should have been....isn't!  This past Monday instead of celebrating new life she is in the throws of grieving one month since she was delivered a devastating blow.  It was the kind of blow that sucks the life right out of you and changes you FOREVER!  At 35 1/2 weeks pregnant she was told that her baby had passed away.  Two days earlier I had wrote this post about how I had felt like something was going to go wrong.  Since this happened to her I haven't had this feeling again.  I felt it coming before I knew it was there. 

That day she called me from a room in her Dr.'s office.  I still get chills when I think of her crying so hard that I was unsure that she had just told me that "He was gone".  I was shocked, sad, devastated and taken right back to what that feels like.  It is a feeling you can never forget!  That awful moment when they tell you that the life inside of you isn't perfectly healthy like it should have been!  That moment everything changes for the rest of your life!

The next day I was at the hospital with a pit in my stomach.  I felt every single thing she went through that day.  I felt like I was losing one of my own family members plus it took me right back to the day almost 5 years earlier when I had experienced my own loss.  I was so blessed that she allowed me to see her son after he was born.  There is only one way to describe him and that is absolutely PERFECT!  He was so perfect.  I cried for her.  I cried for him.  I cried for me.  I will forever be thankful to her for letting me be a part of that moment and for allowing him to be a part of my life.  I will never forget his face.

I watched as she held her little boy, Landon.   I watched her in an out of body kind of way when she was taking her finger and following his face over and over and over again.  I could feel it b/c I did the same thing.  I think as moms it is a natural instinct to memorize our precious angels during that brief time that we can.  I watched them bring her the very same things that were given to me after my own experience.  I couldn't believe this was happening. 

All those years ago when God brought Larkin in to my life he already knew that this day would come.  As I have talked to her for hours and walked this walk with her, I have ached for my own son and for her son.  While I have hurt, I have also felt some peace.  I pray nightly that Larkin will find her peace in a much shorter amount of time than I found mine.  Finding peace doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt but on that day my peace came in the form of  "if this happened to me so that I could be there for her, I'm OK with that".  For five years I have walked a very lonely road.  Yes my husband has been there and others have been there (including Larkin) but for the first time in five years when I talk about a feeling that I remember having or may still have, someone knows exactly what I am talking about.  Before she can complete a thought about how she feels, I can finish that thought for her b/c I know.  I desperately wish that I was still walking my lonely road.  I had gotten use to being there and was fine with it but now I have company.  

Even though she has me, I'm not all she needs.  She needs you to mention her son.  She will probably cry when she talks about it but just remember that you didn't make her cry, the death of her son is doing that to her.  She needs you to not be afraid of her.  Yes she is fragile but she is already broken.  I promise you that you can't break her anymore than she already is.  She needs you to know that all because she looks OK doesn't mean she is.  All because she laughs doesn't mean she isn't feeling the pain.  All because life goes on for you doesn't mean it will ever fully go on for her ever again.  She needs you to know that this is a process and she may be angry or she may be short with you but just remember that grief beats a person up from the inside out.  Most importantly she needs you to love her, pray for her and remember that Landon was real.  He was so real and so perfect in every way. 

I wrote the above for anyone who knows someone that is going through this or has experienced something like this.  My heart has never healed from losing my own son.  It doesn't matter how far out I get from my own experience and my own raw emotions, something can take me right back to that moment in a heartbeat.  This has definitely done that to me but that's OK.  I'm OK!  Everyday she will get up and beg for God's mercy while she grieves.  Then one day she will wake up and praise God for giving her that mercy.  I don't think you ever get over something like this but you do get use to it and learn how to cope with it.  I am so very blessed to be this person in Larkin's life and I plan to carry her for as far as she lets me or needs me to because I know that getting over what should have been is virtually impossible!   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One week later...

I am happy to report that Tegan is recovering awesomely (is that a word) from his surgery.  It has been one week and I am so glad to see him improving everyday.  He has spent the last 7 days resting & laying around a lot but his spunk is starting to return. 
I can tell a difference in his head tilt already but it is still very hard to tell if we got the results we wanted from the surgery.  I guess we can't rush it b/c she did say that it can take six months to a year to fully recover from this surgery.  The plus is that he isn't tilting his head to the left at all anymore.  He use to have a pretty major left side head tilt to see well.  The negative to this is that it seems to me that his vision isn't as good as it was before the surgery.  Now I don't want to jump the gun on that b/c it can take up to 3 weeks for the brain to adjust and relearn what it should see from the new position but I'm just a little worried about it.  He just isn't seeing very well when things are far off or directly on the ground in front of him.  I have also noticed him tilting his head to the right a little which is totally not what we want and will defeat the whole purpose of the surgery.  Well actually, we don't want the head tilt or the vision loss! 
I'm just trying to stop testing him daily and just give it some time but it is very hard to do.  It isn't everyday your kid has his eyeballs turned to a different direction!!! 
He is eating, drinking and playing again.  His eyes are wide open.  They are still very red but nothing compared to what they were.  In fact they have improved a lot over the last 24 hours.  The only real trouble we seem to be having is in the mornings when he wakes up his eyes are somewhat stuck to together and it takes him a while to get them open.  Plus he is sensitive to light in the mornings but after about an hour of adjusting and getting his eyes open...he is good to go! 
Here is what his eyes looked like last Friday....
And this is what it looked like yesterday....
Sorry for the bad quality, he wouldn't let me use the flash. 

I took him yesterday to his school to see his class.  I did it to somewhat ease the blow for him just in case his eyes don't improve.  As kids do, most of his class was shocked to see his red eyes but it didn't seem to bother him.  However it did bother him when we were leaving and ran in to my nephews kindergarten class.  My nephew asked what happened to his eyes and that prompted the entire class of strange kids to turn around and start making comments about his eyes which it totally normal I know.  He got really shy, asked me to hold him, and buried his head in my shoulder.  He kept asking why everyone was looking at his eyes.  My prayer is that they clear up a whole lot over the next 4 or 5 days before he goes back to school.  His pre-k teacher is really awesome and has showed lots of concern for him.  She has also been great about preparing the class for Teg's red eyes and talking to them about him.  I really do love that she seems to already care a lot for Tegan.

Hopefully by next week things will get back in to their regular routine around here.  I don't know about you but I thrive on routine....even if I hate it!!!