Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Favorites: Easy Livin'

***These reviews are not paid or sponsored! Just my personal opinions***

I've been so out of the blogging loop. My computer had a few viruses so I haven't been able to get on it much. Thankfully, we've got it fixed...for now at least! I've been working on this post on and off for awhile and I've been wanting to start a "Friday Favorites." Well, it just so happens today is Friday :) Here ya go!

There are things around my house that I use every single day. There are other things that I don't use every day, but I'm thankful to have when I do use that item. I began thinking about these items I thought, "These items aren't exactly necessary to maintain life. This stuff just makes life easier or a bit happier!" Here are some of my current favorites!
Mr. Coffee Iced Tea maker
The Mr. Coffee Iced Tea maker is a jewel! We drink gallons of sweet tea in our house. At my house, growing up, we would just make tea on the stove or run in through the coffee pot. Obviously a tea MAKER seems like an obvious choice :) We got this when we got married and we use it all the time. It's pretty neat because it is seat up with line labeling the side of the pitcher of how far to fill it with water to fill it. Those lines are great and all, but I never use them all. I just fill the pitcher to the first water line and make the tea. Then we add the sugar and water to whatever "level" we want. I love that we use this pitcher for tea and only tea. Everyone needs to get one!

Slow Cooker
I love my slow cooker. I'm not partial to any particular brand. Actually, I have two slow cookers and both of them are different brands. As a mother of a 7 month old, sometimes a dinner cooked on the stove just doesn't happen. Slow cooker meals are just as good or better anyway!! I think a slow cooker is a must have for any household with busy people who are "on the go!" Plus, it's fun to see what all you can throw in the slow cooker and/or try new recipes and see the results. There's just something impressive, to me, about a meal made in one pot!

basic laundry basket
I seem to have an overwhelming amount of laundry baskets at my house. More importantly I have many uses for a laundry basket. Anyone else? Well, it's no secret that I hate doing laundry. So, of course, many of my baskets are filled with laundry for many days ;) But I also have been finding new uses for my baskets. One basket now resides on the fireplace in our living room filled with some of Hadley's toys. Another basket resides outside of Hadley's room and is filled to the brim with comfy cozy quilts. This basket serves as a little "bed" for Hadley to lay in while she watches me get ready in the bathroom. LOL. Call me crazy, but she loves the little spot. Many, many uses I tell ya...

Summer Video baby monitor

This is a picture of the exact baby monitor we use. WE LOVE IT! This picture on the monitor really is as clear as indicated above. This monitor is very slim, not bulky like most. The screen is very large for a clear picture. The speaker catches every little movement. It really was worth the extra money. Another cool little feature is that when it's day time or the nursery light is on, the picture is color. At night, the picture is "night time" quality. (Not necessary, but neat!) I love this because Hadley is so good about playing in her bed by herself. Sometimes I will need to shower, fold clothes, make the bed, etc... and I am able to lay her in bed while she play, yet still keep an eye on her. SO handy! 
Scentsy Pot Warmers

This is a Scentsy pot and scent block. I'm sure everyone knows what a Scentsy is now. They are "all the rage." LOL (do people even say that now? ha!) I have one Scentsy pot in our front room and I have one in our living room. The one in the living room is a knock off Scentsy. I believe it is a Better Homes and Gardens brand? I'm not sure, but either way it works just as well. Recently, I also gave in to trying out some scents that were also knock off and they work just as well, too! These make the house smell fresh and feel homey! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

7 months: little love letters

Hadley Ruth,

You're getting so big and I'm loving every minute of it. Most Mommy's start to get sad when they realize their baby is growing up and moving towards a new "stage" in life, but not me! I love watching you change and watching your little personality develop. You're so independent and nosey. You like to do things on your own and make sure you don't miss a beat. You are so active and keep me and Daddy on our toes! We love you so much little girl.

-Growth: You didn't have a well-child check up this month. You won't have another one until you're 9 mo.
*You are weighing 16 lb. 5 oz.
*You are still wearing 3-6 months clothes and the occassional 0-3 months.
*You are eating only about 3 bottles a day now.
*You are really starting to enjoy more foods. You don't really enjoy fruits as much as you do veggies.
*We introduced you to Strawberry / Apple "Little Puffs." You love them!! You're still working on your fine motor skills of being able to pick them up between your index finger and thumb. You're getting there.

*You start winding down at night and get ready for bed about 8 pm. You usually sleep until 8:30 am the next morning.
*You usually take a small morning nap in your swing.
*You like to take your longer afternoon nap about 1 pm or 2 pm.

*You are officially saying "bye bye." You said it for the first time on Jan. 11, 2011 and you haven't stopped since :)
*You are sitting up on your own now too.
*You're still crawling (your own version) really well. You're getting up on your hands and knees and rocking more often. I think it's a matter of gaining enough strength for you to crawl on your hands and knees.

-Play time:
*Your favorite toys right now are your stack of rings (particularly the blue ring) and the rattle phone that goes to your toy table.
*You mostly say "bye bye" while your are playing. You crawl around and play with toys and say "bye bye bye bye bye" all day long.

*You had your first trip to the doctor this month for being "sick." You've had a cough for about a month. We wanted to take you in to get checked out and make sure it was nothing. Luckily, you are just fine and it's just a little cough. So thankful for your health!

-Funny / Cute Moments:
*Since you've started crawling well, you are getting pretty fast. You are so ornery. You like to explore the entire house. When you see me coming to get you from somewhere you shouldn't be you take off even faster and laugh. You're such a stinker!
*One night, Daddy gave you a bath and was rocking you to put you to bed. He rocked and rocked and rocked. He tried to put you to bed for thirty minutes. All you did was scream the entire time. He gave up and just laid you down hoping you would just go to sleep on your own, thinking maybe you were just restless. Well, you didn't. You stayed awake and played. He went back in there and tried to rock you again. And again, you cried and cried and cried. Daddy insisted you were looking for me. I came in, sat in the rocking chair, and he handed you to me. The minute you hit my arms you were OUT LIKE A LIGHT! Apparently, only Mommy is allowed to put you to sleep. Daddy thinks its because I hold you differently and I sing to you. I loved this and thought it was adorable. You made me feel so special and happy. I don't think Daddy would agree that the crying fits were as cute as I think they were!

I'll love you forever and ever. I promise, baby!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I know I'm way behind on posting about my New Year's resolutions. I think that mostly is because I had not a clue what my resolutions were going to be this year. And by this year I mean ever ;) I never make New Year's resolutions. I don't really have a reason as to why I don't, I just never have before. I thought I'd "give it a go" this year.

When thinking about resolutions I Googled synonyms for the word resolution. This is what tells me: (the ones that stuck out to me, at least) Resolution - aim, boldness, declaration, fixed purpose, intent, stubbornness, & willpower.

I decided that I wanted to have a few resolutions this year - for myself. I want to have realistic expectations. I know a lot of people make resolutions and then fail at them on January 3 and they give up from there. I think that's the "mindset" of all resolutions. Maybe that's the way of thinking attached to the word resolution itself - "do well everyday or fail and give up"???

So here are a few of my goals.

1)Be healthier.
This goal encompasses a couple different things. My aim is to start making healthier decisions with food and working out. Such as, I'd like to drink less pop and more water. I think it is unrealistic for me to say I'm going to stop drinking pop because I don't see that happening :) My real goal is to start a couch to 5k program and become a runner. If you know me well then you know I've always desired to be a runner. But the truth of the matter is I'd rather pull each of the hairs on my head out one by one. I hate running. But now that I've had a baby - I need to be healthier. I don't want to say I want to lose X amount of weight in 2012. I just want my goal to be to be healthier than I currently am now.

2) Read my Bible more often.
I've never been good at this one. It's terrible of me to say but at least I can admit it. I even have a Bible for Hadley laying out thinking I'll read her a story every day, but I even forget to do that. I need to just start making it a part of our morning routine.

3) Blog more often.
I want to blog more often because I feel better when I do. I feel like things I've been thinking or things that have been bothering me are suddenly gone. Everyone needs some sort of a escape or release. Some people's escape is exercise. Some people's escape is working / their job. Mine seems to be writing things down. I always feel clear headed when I press "Publish Post."

4) Clean some part of the house at least once a day.
I'm a messy person. No surprise there! I get things out and I don't put them away. When I change clothes I throw the others on the floor. When I take off my shoes I leave them wherever I take them off all over the house. It's a problem - REALLY! I need to get this under control. My house would be neater on a daily basis if I would just put stuff away :)

5) Fold & put away laundry daily so it doesn't pile up.
Laundry! UGH! Laundry is the biggest thorn in my side. I despise it. I despise it so much so that I won't fold or put it away for weeks days. Yes, I am admitting this on the WORLD WIDE WEB! My problem with household chores is anything that is a multi-step-process. Laundry is a FOUR-step-process. You have to wash the clothes. You have to switch the clothes to the dryer. You have to fold the clothes. Then you have to put the clothes away!! And you have lost your ever lovin' mind if you think I iron them! I mean COME ON! By the time I actually fold "Gibson clothes mountain" it takes me about two hours or longer to fold it all and put it all away. I'm not even lying. Just thinking about it crawls all over me. My goal this year is to do it little by little. I always tell myself I will fold the clothes as soon as they are dry so they don't pile up. Yeah - never happens! But this year I'm really hoping to change that problem. I can't live like this... LOL!

Well, since this post has now turned more into a confession list than a resolution list - I'm done. Who knows what I'll say at this point!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hadley's first Christmas - 2011

Holidays are such a whirl wind. They get so busy and then we rush to break down decorations and get the house back into running order. This holiday season in particular seemed extra crazy. So crazy that I just now realized I haven't posted about Hadley's first Christmas!!! How did I miss this? Let's start at the beginning.

We had family pictures done this year to give out as Christmas gifts. We kept them a secret until Christmas, hence why we didn't send out Christmas cards. Please, don't be offended that you didn't get a card this year. We enjoyed getting everyone else's cards, though. Hoping to send them out next year! :)
Lee's grandparents on his Dad's side celebrate Christmas the weekend before (12/17/2011) Christmas every year. They do a big breakfast and the whole family comes over all day. We eat, open gifts, and play dominoes. Well, I don't play dominoes. I don't really understand the game. But everyone else plays, if they want to.

Since Lee's schedule, with Paramedic school, has been completely all over the place he did not get to come to the big family Christmas that Saturday. We planned to RE-celebrate with his grandparents on the following Monday (12/19/2011). This is the day Hadley was able to open her gifts from Nanny and Papa.
Hadley digging into her stocking with Nanny Wanda & Papa Ronnie
Christmas morning was so exciting this year! Hadley was very excited too. She always seems to know when something is "up." That morning I got up and made breakfast. We ate breakfast and right as we finished Hadley woke up. We went to get her from bed and we all came in the living room to open gifts. 

Hadley Christmas morning - 2011

Hadley enjoying her Christmas gifts from Santa Clause, Mommy, & Daddy.
After we opened gifts we got ready for the day. We headed to church for the Christmas service that morning. After church we headed to Lee's parents house. We opened gifts there then we headed next door to his grandparents house for lunch and more gifts. 

Hadley in her Christmas dress - 2011
Hadley opening gifts. This is a baby doll she got that laughs. It's very cute. I'm not sure what she thinks of it.
The next day Lee had to go back to work, but he got off work at a decent time. We went to my grandparent's house to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family that night.

Hadley opening her big gift from Grandma and Punkin - an exersaucer. She isn't too sure about this yet, since she is really into crawling right now.
Lee's Great - Grandmother had her gallbladder removed about three weeks before Christmas. The surgery did not go well. The family was given bad news and everyone played it day by day. Grandmother made it through Christmas, but she ended up passing away Dec. 29, 2011 about 10:30 am. She lived a long, good life. She lived 97 years. Luckily, we were able to go over to a few times to see her and spend time with her before her passing. We got a few pictures of her and Hadley together. What a treasure these pictures will be for Hadley when she is older.
Hadley & Grandmother - 3 weeks before her passing.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Slow Cooker BBQ chicken and cheesy bacon potatoes

I found a recipe for slow cooker steak and baked potatoes. I tried it out and it was amazing!! It was so easy and so yummy!!!!

To put it all in the slow cooker you need to either spray cooking spray on the bottom or (like I did) lay a piece of foil on the bottom. Place meat on bottom. Then lay a piece of foil on top of the meat. Then wrap your potatoes in foil and place them on top. Put the lid on and cook ALL DAY on LOW.

The next week I started thinking about the same "concept" of that meal. I replaced the steak with some frozen chicken breasts and added BBQ sauce on top. Same meal - different meat! Also, instead of having baked potatoes, I cooked the potatoes the same, but I made them "chessy bacon potatoes." These are just a little concoction a whipped up one day. They are a mix between potato skins and cheese fries. They are not heart healthy to say the least so I don't make them often. But for the night BBQ chicken and cheesy bacon potatoes were a good splurge that night. Here are a few pictures of that meal.

This is how it should look all piled in the slow cooker.

Lee suggested this BBQ. It's really good!

Fried bacon for the potatoes

After the potatoes are cooked a spread a tiny tiny bit of butter on each half. Then I sprinkle each half with Seasoned Salt.

Add shredded cheese. We like them extra cheesy. Don't judge us!
I said it wasn't heart healthy!!!

Finished product! Soo yummy and so easy since it all basically cooks in the slow cooker.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Expressions of the heart

I've always been a writer of some sorts. By "writer" I don't mean perfect grammar and proper punctuation all the time. Maybe I should say journal-er? Is that even a word? I don't know... 

Anyway, I've always been comfortable writing. While in school, high school or college, I was never the student to complain of a writing assignment or essay of any sorts. It was something I was relatively decent at doing. I was always the nerd that loved essay questions on test because if you didn't know the exact answer you were at least given the opportunity to gain some points by writing what you did know, at the very minimum. 

When I was a Sophomore in high school, my mom became very ill. She was in and out of the hospital for months with phenomena. It never really seemed to go away. To make a really long story short she was diagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis. During those months she spent in the hospital my grandma kept a very detailed list of: medication she was given, doctors visits / diagnosis's, questions she had, improvements she made, or the times she got worse. She also kept a separate list of: people who visited, people who called, and people who brought food or gifts.

At some point in time and for whatever reason that I can't even remember now I began compiling and typing my grandma's personal lists into a "journal" to save to the computer. Many months later this journal almost became therapeutic for me. It turned into a place I wrote how I felt about what was going on at that time. It was an outlet I had to myself to express myself without feeling like I was going to hurt someones feelings. About two years later (2006) this personal journal became Fighting the Fight, to Finish the Race. My church decided to publish this book that I had written.

My mom was a big part of our church. She was the Early Childhood Director. She was the one who coordinated Benevolence Fund, which is now called Neighbors in Need. When she passed away there was a big piece of the church that was now gone. The church staff decided we should self-publish my book. They decided to sell the book during the annual Ruth Pope dinner at church and the proceeds would go to Neighbors in Need.

To many people who are "self proclaimed authors," self-publication is no big deal. It's nothing they really strive for in life. But the thing about me is, this is book is too personal. I bear too much of my heart to publicly publish something like this for the world to read. Self give a book to people who know me or knew my mom was different. It was enough.

Since 2006 I haven't written anything significant. I mean I've written some big time college papers ;) but nothing as raw as Fighting the Fight, to Finish the Race. But I find myself in that same place when blogging. I keep finding myself opening my heart wider and wider the long I blog. But I'm also finding that I feel better when I do. There are days that while Hadley is napping I have a list of 265 million things to do, yet I sit down and just start writing. Honestly, I will sit here for hours. Hours I will read blogs, comment on blogs, write my own, or jot down ideas for other blog posts. But these hours are hours I get to say things I would get to say or probably wouldn't say otherwise.

All of this to say, I'd like to start blogging more. A New Years Resolution perhaps?...Today is Jan. 1, 2012 you know! Maybe if I blogged more often I would spend less hours at one time doing it. I'll try for more, starting today. Even if it is 10:35 pm! :)

2006 - last picture me and my mom had taken together