Love Story

Friday, March 25, 2011

Waking Up...

It's that time again...Five Minute Friday. A little late this week as I both forgot and spent must of the day on the couch sick. This weeks topic is Waking Up.

Ready? Here goes:

"Waking up is so hard to dooooo!" Okay, maybe that's not quite how the song goes but it sure sounds good to me. I know that I have never been much of a morning person. I remember in college thinking that it was ludicrous that they even had 8 o'clock classes. 'Who comes up with this?' I would wonder. Needless to say more days than not I was barely making it out of bed for lunch. What with all that late night studying and all (insert wink here).

And then I had kids. And life as I knew it changed in more ways than one. Waking up past 6:00 am was a thing of the past. I literally cannot remember the last time I truly slept in. Probably almost 5 years ago. But you know really isn't all that bad. Getting to wake up with the sun, sip my coffee while the birds chirp. And some mornings I just lie in bed listening to the chatter of my children. Nothing like a 4 year old's logic to give you a good giggle first thing in the morning!

I guess waking up isn't all that hard anymore. I do have 3 mostly chipper faces to greet me when I get up. And each day is truly a new adventure. I can't help but think of all the things I missed out on by wasting away my mornings back in the day. Then again, sleeping past sunrise sounds appealing every now and again!

DONE! You know what, this time 5 minutes actually felt long. I went into it remembering how short the time felt last time and expected to the timer to go off at any second. Actually, I had plenty of time to write this week.

Want to join in on the fun? Go visit The Gypsy Mama to get the rules (if you can even call them that) and to link up with the other participating bloggers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Konami Play Experience Giveaway

This is another one for my Seattle area readers:

On Thursday, March 24th, KONAMI will host a special event to showcase Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 2, which will hit retail stores nationwide in April exclusively for Nintendo Wii™.  In addition, other KONAMI games, including the brand new Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D for the much anticipated Nintendo 3DS™, will be shown at the event.

What:               KONAMI PLAY Experience
When:                  Thursday, March 24, 2011
Time:                    Doors Open 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM
**KONAMI representatives will be available for interviews, beginning at 6:00 PM**
Where:                Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum at Seattle Center
325 5th Ave N
Seattle, Washington 98109

Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 2, will be available in retail stores nationwide on Wii, beginning April 5th . Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 2 includes scenes from season one of the popular hit show, GLEE! and allows players to sing along smashing hits such as Bad Romance, Gives You Hell, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Like A Prayer, Dream On and more. 

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and will be available in retail stores nationwide on Nintendo 3DS beginning March 25. Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is also available on PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, Wii and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system

* I have been given the opportunity to offer 10 of my readers free tickets to this event (1 for you and 1 for a guest).
**How to enter: Leave a comment saying you want it! First 10 to leave a comment get it. Simple as that! I have to submit the names by tomorrow morning so your name can be added to the guest list so I am closing this tonight at midnight. Make sure you leave contact info so I can let you know you have won. If you don't live in the Seattle area but know people who do and would be interested in attending this event, pass the info along.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

These are the times I cherish

I was thinking this morning how ironic it was that Friday's five minute writing prompt was on waiting. Right now we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our newest niece and the anticipation is driving me crazy! But I love it all at the same time.

You see I live for times like this. My parents are in town, my sister-in-law is texting me regularly with updates and there is just a general buzz in the air as everyone waits. While it is nerving wracking at times I actually think the waiting is what makes it all worth while. There is something to be said for this time where we all are checking in with each other often, guessing when and how the baby will come and trying to plan around the what ifs. It's exciting and it is the stuff that makes life worthwhile.

And then before we know it the moment we all are waiting for will actually arrive. The phone calls will be made, everyone will rush around to fulfill their designated duties and the wait will be over. We will huddle around in the small hospital room gazing for the first time at the newest blessing. Everyone will be smiling ear to ear, trying to decide who she looks like and playfully arguing over who gets to hold her next. There will be rejoicing as the long wait will finally have come to an end.

I am trying to soak it all in while we are in the moment because before I know it the dust will settle and life will return to normal. We will go about our day to day until the next big celebration is announced and we start the dance all over again. But for now...we wait. And it's all good!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Taking part in my first 5 minute Friday over at The Gypsy Mama. This is the place where once a week we take the chance to just write, and not worry if it’s just right or not. For five minutes flat. Here’s how the game works: you simply stop, drop and write. Set your words free. Don’t edit them, don’t fret over them, don’t try to make them perfect. 

This week's topic is waiting. So here we go....

It seems that from a very young age we are forced to wait. Starting with our parents telling us, "Wait until your older," or "Wait until I'm done!" This continues into our teenage years when we are waiting for that cute boy to ask us to the dance or the college of our dreams to send an acceptance letter. As an adult we anxiously await our wedding date, due date of our baby, that call saying we got the job.

It is no wonder most people have grown to hate waiting. It is often seen as a bad thing. But as I have gotten older I have come to realize that there is a reason that we spend so much time waiting. It is what we do with our self during that time that defines who we are and how we are going to fare in life. Do we get impatient, try to rush things along and make them happen in our own time? Or do we practice patience, busying our self and learning what we can from the process? I think the answer to this depends on where you are in life. Age, wisdom, situation and faith all play a role.

BEEEP. Yup, time's up. I never thought 5 minutes could go by so fast!! It really makes me realize how long winded I am as I have at least two more paragraphs rolling around in my head. Anyway, this was a fun exercise. If you would like to give it a go you should hop on over to The Gypsy Mama and link up with the others who have taken 5 minutes to write about waiting.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Famous Footwear Grand Opening

This one is for you folks in the Seattle area:

There is a great event happening in your area this Saturday, March 19th at the Seattle Grand Opening of Famous Footwear at the South Sound Center, 711 Sleater Kinney Rd. SE in Lacey from 10 am to 4 pm. I have been given the privilege of passing on to my readers an exclusive discount coupon to download and bring with them to the Grand Opening Event. You can find this coupon online at  The first 100 shoppers to present this coupon in the store will also receive a handbag that’s stuffed with fun goodies.  There will also be tons of fun activities on-site for moms and kids alike, and multiple chances to win prizes - including FREE SHOES!

I am bummed that I am on the other side of the state and won't be able to attend the event myself but look forward to hearing about it from any of you who decide to attend!

**There are also discount coupons available to those of you in Rochester NY, North Haven CT, West Valley City UT, Syracuse NY, and Woodbury MN. Just use the link above and choose your city!

Monday, March 14, 2011

You learn something new everyday...

This is so true. Especially now with the amount of technology we have at our disposal. It's probably more accurate to say, "You learn 10 new things everyday." Let me see if I can think of 10 things I learned today:

1. You have to pay for all day kindergarten. Maybe not true for every school district, but true for mine.

2. When you have a friend whose name sounds like Santa, you need to be careful having a conversation with her within earshot of your children!

3. You can receive a wake-up call from your utility company if you report a power outage. This blew my mind and is actually what sparked this post.

4. March 14th is both the Man version of Valentine's Day and Pi Day. I knew this information separately but never put it together that they fell on the same day until today.

5. When you leave a 3 year old alone to take his fluoride tablet it may end up being ingested through the nasal cavity rather than by mouth. (This one I could have done without ever knowing!)

6. Even babies are fascinated by newborns...our 9 month old was going crazy over a baby we spent time with today who was less then a week old.

Okay...hitting a wall here. Maybe this was a 6 new things kind of day. But that's not bad. If I learned 6 new things everyday for the rest of my life I would be pretty knowledgeable!

What is something new you learned today?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm Facebook official!!

Okay, that's really lame, I know. But I finally started a page for my blog on Facebook and now that I have more than 25 people who "like" me, I have my very own username. As simple as that sounds, it is enough to excite me!

So for all of you who like to keep up with your favorite blogs on Facebook here's where you will find mine:

Friday, March 11, 2011

The family that cooks together...

If you have been following my blog for awhile you know that I have been enlisting my kids help in the kitchen lately. From meal planning, to grocery shopping to cooking the actual meal. It has been such a positive experience in our house that I think I could go on and on about the benefits. I will say that what I love the most is that I get to spend some quality time with my boys.

Tonight it was Nathan's turn to be my sous chef again so we prepared oven-fried chicken strips. I thought this would be a great meal for him to make because he absolutely LOVES chicken strips. I was uncertain whether or not he would participate in handling the raw chicken in order to bread it (you remember how the spaghetti and meatball dinner went!), but he dove right in and did a great job. The best part was that I had the opportunity to talk to him about the value of making our own favorite foods at home from scratch. I explained that when we make it at home we get to choose exactly what goes in our food so that we know it is healthy. I went on to tell him that while having these things once in awhile when out to eat or prepackaged from the store is okay, it is so much better to make it yourself. And it saves us money which is a bonus!

Alongside the little lessons that are being taught in the kitchen I feel we are also creating the opportunity for natural conversations to take place. I think some of the most important life lessons we teach are children are in these moments when we are just doing life together. I can only hope this transfers into their teenage years when I know it will be impossible more difficult to get them to open up. I like to envision a time later on where my tall, sweaty, squeaky-voiced boys are in the kitchen preparing something hearty and big enough to feed an army, all the while filling me in on what's new in school and sports and life. Maybe it won't happen that way (a mom can dream, right?) but I would like to believe that we are making it a possibility by being available.

What everyday moments are you finding yourself including your kids in? Do you feel like it helps set the stage for you to continue a close relationship down the road? I would love to hear what it looks like in your house so feel free to share a story.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Crabby Mom

I have to confess that I have been one crabby mom today. Short tempered, not very patient, and just plain grumpy. I begin to feel guilty about it halfway through the day and then quickly felt justified as I remembered that I had been up since 5 am. Surely someone who had to get up that early has every right to be crabby, right?

And then it hit me. That nagging feeling that I knew was about to stir things up and remind of something I needed to work on. That feeling was quickly followed by the thought "Jeremy gets up every day at 5 am to work. When he comes home crabby you don't let his wake up time excuse him from that kind of attitude." Aww, man...busted.

The truth is grumpiness is one of the number one things that I get on Jeremy about. I can't stand it when he is in a bad mood and I usually don't cut him much any slack. As I am battling with letting lack of sleep get the best of me, I am hoping that that is good enough reason not to give my best. Shouldn't I allow that in him as well? "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift."(Ephesians 4:7) It is that same grace that Christ has freely given me that I should freely bestow upon my husband.

 And if I am so quick to find that attribute frustrating in him, shouldn't I find it unacceptable in myself as well?
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:3-5)  I hate when that plank in my eye gets in the way of me seeing things how they really are!

Now to get past my pride and apologize to my husband for my hypocritical behavior. Not because he will know the difference, but because I will. Fixing it in myself is a huge step but taking it one step further and owning up to my mistake is the real key to growth and peace. Lucky for me I have a husband who is full of grace and mercy and will certainly give my his forgiveness without a second thought.

Sometimes I wish that the tapping on my shoulder, whisper in my ear, tightening of my heart didn't happen. Then I could go about my day merrily without having to change my way of thinking or acting. I wouldn't have to ask for forgiveness for what I've done. But then I remember that those feelings are from God and they help me to walk the way He wants me to. Lord knows I would be lost without the guidance! So for that, I am thankful.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Let's spice things up!

It has been months...I think about 9 to be exact, since Jeremy and I have gotten to go out by ourselves. It is kind of hard to round up a babysitter for 3 kids 4 and under. Our nearest family members live over 45 minutes away so that isn't usually an option either. But we don't let things like that get in our way!

We both think it is incredibly important to make time for us as a couple. This is why our kids are in bed by 7:30 every night (with some exceptions) because it guarantees us several hours of time to ourselves without interruption. There is some sacrifice in this, as they are all usually up by 7:00 am, but it is worth it. The other way we make time for ourselves is date night. I know you are thinking that I just said we hadn't been out in a long time, and that is true, but we still make date night happen even if we can't get out. It had been awhile since we had a date night in so I was glad my husband suggested it this week because it was enjoyable as always and much neede. In fact, we are reinstating a weekly date night in and hopefully once in awhile we will even make it out of the house together!

Here is what our date looked like this week (the PG parts anyway!). We fed the kids and put them to bed and then spent time in the kitchen making our dinner together. Cooking with your spouse can be so much fun and we don't get to do it often because he is either at work when I am making dinner or he is keeping the kids occupied. Now this is where we spiced things up....remember, I said PG so I am only talking about the food here! We decided to make Cajun Chicken Pasta, which happens to be another Pioneer Woman chicken recipe, so I will share that with you as well.

Jeremy cooked the pasta and prepped the vegetables:

I cooked the chicken, veggies and sauce. The seasoning called for a Cajun spice mix which I didn't have on hand so I used 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper, 3/4 tsp Paprika, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. It had the perfect amount of heat for us. I didn't get any more pictures of the process as it went fast and we were trying to enjoy the time spent together, but check out the original recipe for ingredients and awesome step by step photos. Doesn't this look delicious?:

We paired this with some french bread. I roasted some garlic and threw it in the food processor with butter and Parmesan cheese and gave it a good whirl. This made a perfect topper for the bread and was especially good when we popped it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Cue candlelight, a little Nora Jones in the background, and a glass of wine or two and we had the perfect dinner date. It was absolutely interruption free which wouldn't have even happened at a restaurant, so I would say that this was even better than getting out!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Butter Chicken and Lemon Garlic Broccoli

As promised, I am going to cook my my through our 40 lbs of chicken using recipes from The Pioneer Woman. Now technically this first recipe isn't from Ree Drummond herself but it is on her cooking blog, Tasty Kitchen so I think it counts (and really, who is going to argue with me?).

Butter Chicken caught my eye because well, it had the word butter in it! But actually there is very little butter and instead it is an Indian recipe. Here is the recipe as the author wrote it. I will say that while this was delicious, I would make some serious alterations to the recipe myself. Everything involving the chicken was great. Great flavor and easy to throw together the night before. And the sauce tasted good but there was such an overabundance of it that I would change the proportions next time. My suggestion is to omit the can of tomato sauce all together and use about a cup of cream. I am guessing this would be a more accurate sauce to chicken ratio.

If you are a rule follower, like myself, and must follow the recipe as written the first time through I can offer a tasty solution to the excess sauce problem. We refrigerated the sauce and the next day for lunch tossed it with a box of cooked penne pasta and then topped with cheese and baked at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. So good!

All in all I would give this recipe a positive review as it was really delicious and I was able to make use of the extra. After serving this atop a bed of brown rice I quickly steamed up some broccoli which I tossed in butter, garlic and a splash of fresh lemon juice. Definitely a flavorful and filling meal!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Protecting Your Marriage

Insurance...we all have it. We insure our cars, our houses, and even our health. Yet we often don't take the time to insure one of our most valuable commodities. Our marriage. The truth is that there is an urgent need to take up arms and secure ourselves against the enemy who is trying any way he can to make us stumble and fall. One of the areas he loves to attack is marriage. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8

I think that the first step to protecting marriage is to invite Christ to be the center of your union. When this relationship is given over to Him and decisions are made based on His will, it builds a strong foundation for the marriage to stand on.

Secondly, we need to guard our marriages. This means being careful about what you take in with your eyes. Temptation is everywhere these days and it is so easy to fall into the mindset that "just a little bit" is okay. That is a lie that Satan wants you to believe so that he can lead you into deeper areas of temptation and sin. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)

It also means protecting your special relationship with your spouse by not trying to recreate it with another person. When we begin to share intimate details about ourselves and our marriage with a person of the opposite sex we are sharing a piece of ourselves that is only intended for our spouse. This can lead to an emotional affair which is often just as damaging as a physical affair. Another important aspect of guarding our marriage is through regular intimacy with our spouse. I have talked about this subject several times before, but I think it is worth repeating. God has created us to be intimate with our spouses. Men especially are designed to be sexual beings and one of the best ways to protect them from the temptations that bombard them daily is to make sex a regular and important part of your marriage.

Finally, stick to your commitment. Do not let divorce have a place in your vocabulary. Sadly so many people enter marriage with divorce as a back up plan. That day that you stood before your friends and family to take your vows you also stood before God and promised to love and honor "until death do you part." Too often people have translated that last part to be "until things get rough" or "until it doesn't feel good anymore." The truth is that it isn't always going to be easy and it isn't always going to feel like it did in the beginning. The true test is working through those low points. This is done through prayer, through counsel from other Christian couples who are further in their marriage and their walk with God, and choosing to do your part. The turning point for me in our marriage was realizing that it wasn't all about what he could do for me. When we both focused on meeting the other persons needs we found that we were both getting what we wanted and were happier for it. That's the way it is intended to be!

Let me close by urging you all to invest in insurance for your marriage. The cost is hard work and diligence now but the payoff is priceless in the end.
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