Saturday, January 16, 2016

Foster Family Christmas

Casa Bonita is "our place"! 

It's where we go with out of town company, to celebrate special days, and CHRISTMAS!!!! 

Our foster agency puts together a fabulous night!
Bags of tokens to use in the arcade. All you can eat dinner with sopapillas, and SANTA!!! 

It's no exaggeration, our children talk about how fun it was for months, and as school starts in the fall they start the countdown for the next time we are going! 

This year the volunteers and staff of Kids Crossing really outdid themselves!!!! 

In September they ask us to come up with a list of the kiddos in our home, ages, sizes and "wishes".
Then they work together with families in the community to make Christmas spectacular!!!

I wish that I knew each family by name so that we could thank them individually, but I realize they are giving these gifts from a generous and anonymous place in their hearts.

Our home supervisor promised to pass along our gratitude though, and any pics I wanted to include here. :-D

The reviews come back varied about the food online, but personally I'm a fan.

Everything our little man received was MINION. 
Makes him happy, happy, happy!!!

Miss Diva LOVES her new clothes!!!
She also received some crafty things, which we are loving working together on.

Benji got this "retro" game, and anything that makes memories instead of messes...
I'm ALL about!

14yr old and 7yr old brothers.
Coolest jackets ever!!!

Benji is our little engineer, and someone gave him TWO sets of minecraft legos.
He sat with those instructions and trays full of pieces ALL day, and I've caught him several
times sitting and looking at the finished product on his dresser.

We didn't know it at the time that the pic with Santa would be one of the last we would take of our little guy before he went home to his family. 
Christmas Eve morning I got an e-mail from his social worker telling me to make the transfer happen that day.  :-(  We returned him to his parents before heading to our mimi and papa's house.  We had to stop twice on the way to pull over, and cry.  Holding each other, and texting his parents little last minute messages. 
If you think about it, please pray for Abi, she is still waking up tearful with bad dreams about his leaving.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ham and Cheese Oatmeal Bread

If you make this recipe, you might eat the entire batch in one sitting.
Eat with a friend.
Or 5.
I have no idea who to credit for this amazing recipe.
It was in the recipe box at my momma's house, and I copied it.
So, thank you Momma.
My hips and thighs and their extra 5lbs of "fun" thank you too!
Oatmeal Dinner Rollls
2c water
1c uncooked quick oats
3T butter
1pkg active yeast (1/4oz)
1/3c warm water
1/3 brown sugar
1 1/2t salt
4 1/2 to 5 1/2c all purpose flour
Boil water butter and oats together for one minute.
Remove from heat, let cool.
In a separate bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
After it starts to foam a bit, add oat mixture, sugar salt and 4c of flour.
Mix until a soft ball is formed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead 6-8 minutes.
Cover and let rise in a bowl until doubled in size
(about an hour)

At this point I flattened out the little dough bits and stuffed them with cheese and ham with a
smidge of mustard!

Back to the recipe:
Place balls an inch apart to allow for more rising, cover and let rise until doubled again.
(45 minutes)
Bake at *350 for 20-25minutes.
(or until brown and wonderful)

I hope you love them as much as we did!!!
Look at that little bitty hand... He INHALED 3 rolls by himself!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Our little Mister C

Valentines day, 2015 we got the call to come pick up a baby from the Dpt. of So. Svc. He was a tiny little thing.  At 4mos old he was just 11 lbs. and still in 0-3 mo. clothing. 
We brought him home and completely fell in love with him.
He was used to sleeping in his car seat, and had a really difficult time laying flat, on his back, or his tummy.  But after a few weeks of co-sleep-training, feedings every two hours and lots of swaddle time, he began to get the hang of it. 
Therapy started almost immediately.  His little muscles in his legs and neck hadn't developed properly from all the car seat time, but eventually even that got better.  Sensory therapy has helped his circulatory system regulate and speech therapy has really helped develop an interest in being more social.

That's our latest baby.  We've had him for nearly 10months, and I wouldn't trade a single minute of it!! 
He is a joy, and it has been our absolute pleasure and privilege to be his foster family.

A week ago I received a call from his Social Worker, he was going home.  :-( 

I know, I know, this is how it works.  This is what we signed up for.  But it's NEVER easy. 
His parents have WORKED their program.  They've attended all their meetings, found housing, and rarely missed a moment with him. 
^^^All that said^^^ I knew it was coming, so I started making him a blanket.  Something he could take home with him.  Something that smelled like us, reminded him of the love and security that we provided. 

I had an idea that I loved, from this blog.
But I HATED the idea of piecing it all together. 
I have an incredibly talented aunt that quilts. She can put pieces of fabric together that will BLOW your mind, and we are so blessed to have a special quilt for each of our children that she sent us last Christmas. ANYWAY, I appreciate that kind of talent.... BUT I DO NOT POSSESS IT! ;-)

So, I loved the idea, but I am TERRRIBLE with creating a "random" holes ALL OVER a 4ft area! I tried.  I mean, I gave it a solid college try.  But no matter how valiantly I pushed ahead with the "random" idea it was just not meant to be.

I didn't follow the pattern at all, but I love how it turned out! 
The paint splatters were another matter, they "LOOKED" so much easier than they were....
(isn't that how it always goes??) 

After I had the body together I really wanted to bring it all together with a fun border.  Something colorful, and different.

It's a step by step, (a million pictures worth) and so easy to read and understand!

Here is the final blanket.
I know he will love it, because I had to keep scooting his little fanny off of it the WHOLE time I was trying to add the paint splatters. ;-)
They were the most time consuming part of this project, but I LOVE how it turned out!
We are praying for his family, as they begin the process of coming back together, and we would really covet your prayers as well.  The house is going to be very quiet, for a while. ;-)


Monday, October 12, 2015


I can not believe its been 4 months since my last post!!
Things have been so busy around here!
There are going to be some amazing changes around here in the next few weeks.
With everything going on, we were dire need of some COMFORT food!!!

This soup is a conglomerate of about 4 recipes I found online. 
I didn't mean to mix them up.... I would happily share their original posts, but seeing as I have BUTCHERED their original recipes, it really is just better to take the blame for this FORTUNATE mishap. ;-)

For my little family I have to usually triple or quadruple the recipes so I'll just give you what I did, and you will probably want to pare it down a bit.  For our family of 10, the pan was SCRAPED CLEAN, and they are already asking me to make it again for tomorrow night. :-D

  • 10 potatoes scrubbed and diced (they were small, so they came out to about 8c of diced potatoes.  Also, we like the skins, but you COULD peel them if you have the patience of a nun!)  ;-)
  • 1 lg onion diced.
  • 1 stick of butter 
I put these in the bottom of my huge pan and fried them up a bit.  I wanted the potatoes to still pop a little when you bit into them, and there is NOTHING worse than raw onion. :-P

 I moved this into the biggest soup pot I have and added
  • 1 lg box of chicken stock
  • 2 blocks of cream cheese
  • 8 strips of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 6-8 stalks of chives, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Monday, July 27, 2015

***WARNING*** It's about to get real.

When I was a young adult, I knew EVERYTHING about what I wanted out of a marriage.
When I was a young mother I knew EVERYTHING about being THE BEST parent.
And all along I thought I had a good handle on the rest of the stuff.
Now, here we are, I'm 30 something (hint: It rhymes with heaven)
I grew up with parents that had it all very together!
Great job, beautiful home, wonderful marriage.
Our church life was equally great! 
Inspiring pastors, loving people, and the music....
It made you want to clap and cry at the same time.
So when did it all fall apart???
How did I go from the person who "had a good handle on stuff" to
a person that constantly questions every decision?
As children we think that things will be JUST LIKE this, wherever we go.
Our marriage will be like our parents, (I happen to have a great role-model here!)
That our sibling relationships will always be as fun-chaotic-loving-there as they were.
That our social world will keep spinning... (ours was a church that we adored)
That our children would grow up with grandparents that worshipped them, like ours did!
But then, we grow up.
Our mate turns out to be as human as we are.
A sibling is taken from life far too soon.
A church friend says something ignorant.
And grandparents die without ever having met their grandchildren.
I need refuge in a life that it turns out, I DON'T have a handle on.
I am asking people I love, and trust, for advice, encouragement, direction.
One of my favorite people in the world recently passed away.
I was so grateful to be able to go through her room, touching things that were precious to her.
Looking through her books, I found one by Beth Moore that she had started.
I've heard great things about this particular author, and I'm really hoping to glean a little...
This is my new motto

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Working From Home" the dream!

Ok, I have a little confession to make.
Working from home IS WORK.
Everyone has that friend that works from home, that posts exotic pictures followed by, "The view from my desk".  ;-) 
Doesn't that look amazing?? 
Don't you wish you were working from the beach??  I know I do!! 
Drink in hand, sand under my feet, and a gentle breeze.... Mmmmmmmm
That's one perk of the work from home lifestyle.  A GREAT PERK, but it's really not a fair picture of how life goes.
I started working from home, because I have lots of little people that need me.   They need me to be there for their therapy, and their successes.  They want me to watch them at dance class,
and take them to the park after school.  I have children that still struggle with reading and can only get through the lesson without tears if I make a little snack, and we have a "SHAKE IT OFF" break!
A few nights ago my team had a meeting scheduled to start at 7pm. 
In my mind I had it all planned out. 
My hubby was gonna make dinner, so all I had to do was get it all out, and ready, he would grill,  bring it in, and I would have everyone happily eating and I could retreat, warm meal in hand to run the meeting online from the back bedroom.
What's that saying?
 yeah.... ^^THAT^^
I should be reminding myself of this one instead.
Well, things started off great. 
We even took a little selfie out by the grill, ready to go, with plenty of time allotted.
Aren't we cute?
RIGHT after we took that picture, there was a RUSH of terrible gas smell, and then,
Just like that my plans were out the window.  We had to bring in all the meat. I had to dig through the cabinet and find my BIG HUGE skillets.  Next came an army of little people bringing in meat, parking their little fannies UNDER MY FEET and the whining started.
Hungry, angry, little people. 
HANGRY is what my sister calls it.  ;-)
Meanwhile the clock was marching forward.  It was 6:50 when the stovetop got heated up.  At 7 O'clock I was up to my elbows in hamburger and bacon grease, smelled like onions, and I had baby formula dripping down one leg from where the baby had thrown his bottle at me to signify his displeasure at having to wait.
This is working from home.
But so is this. 
And this.
I am so blessed to be a work from home mom.
And I will NOT apologize for bringing my phone with me to the park.
I am grateful to be present while they are playing, and teach them that this is how we
are investing in our future.
Work is work.
BUT, I  get to "work" with my little people around me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


One year ago today I decided to join a company that both my sisters had joined.
They were having great success with it.  I talked to my daddy who is infinitely smarter than I am,  and he said,  "Try it!  If you don't you'll always wonder what could've been."  He also told me that it was a sound business model and thought it was more than just "a fad".
I joined under my baby sister,  and started off on the road of small business owner,  Visions of vacations and new cars dancing in my head.
Friends and family were supportive,  some even joined under me!   The first 6 months were a whirl wind of promotions and bonuses!   By Christmas my bonus checks were as much as my husbands checks from his full time job!
Then in January the real work started.
I had a team of 60 ladies (and a few gentlemen) under me and things were still coming along at a quick pace but I felt like I had hit the ceiling.
There's a spot between two levels where you need to work more on keeping your "downline" promoting AND  keep your own numbers at peak volume.
I was burning out.  I wasn't seeing the progress,  or the bonuses and was feeling the pressure. Why wasn't my family taking those vacations?  Where was our new car?
As my "Anniversary" drew closer I was feeling more and more disillusioned.  Then there are the comparisons.  People that I knew had less time in "the business" were doing better than I was!
But here's the thing.
God is not interested in sending us on vacations, or in giving us cars that we are proud to drive.
He doesn't care that our clothes come from the goodwill instead of the mall.


Recently He has brought in some major miracles, and some hope for some amazing changes in our lives!  (Stay tuned for details)

I am going to keep working my business.
Not because it's a get rich quick scheme.
It's not a lottery ticket.
As I celebrate my Anniversary, I'm choosing gratefulness,  for the treasures it HAS brought into my life.

Here are a few.

My team; we call ourselves a family.  And that's what they are to me.  Sweet family members that I truly love serving and getting to know!

The dream; I'm not a big dreamer by nature,  but this "job" has taught me to dream big,  work hard, and sow seeds.

We have not "arrived" yet.   We still have goals that have not been met, they are printed out and taped on the wall.
But we are committed.
We are passionate about being able to provide a few of the "things" for our family.
We are grateful!

To my sweet family,
Thank you for bearing with me as I reach for my dreams.   For putting up with me constantly holding my phone in my hand,  for the long hours and the Saturdays I am gone.
Thank you for dreaming with me, and being my cheering section.

With so much love,