Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pantry Purge Update: I think I need a blowtorch, ya'll.

Seriously. A blowtorch. Maybe an outdoor storage shed? (But then again, the latter wouldn't exactly be me purging or using stuff. It would be moving it from one location to another).

I think this project deserves more than a week. Because holy moly, do I have a lot of stuff.

I have way too many:

*jars of peanut butter
*bags of rice
*open bags of pasta with maybe a handful left at the bottom (but they're all different shapes)
*cans of green beans
*cans of sweet peas (how the heck did I get so many?!)

and then there's the odd stuff:
*2 gigantic cans of pinto beans
*Campbell's tomato soup (I'm sure I got that in a swap because I never eat canned tomato soup)
*way too much oatmeal for any of us to humanly eat for breakfast (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?)

So, if any of you lovely blog readers could help me with recipes/anything, please do! Ella and I are already planning on using some of our peanut butter surplus to make pinecone bird feeders.

Tonight's dinner helped me get rid of two cans of green beans. PROGRESS!!!

After some creative organizing, my formerly horrific kitchen shelf looks a bit less horrific.

I'm working on it, ya'll! Will check in again in a few days. In the meanwhile, I need suggestions for what to do with any/all you see on my shelf. Hopefully, I can get organized with minimal blowtorch use!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Evil hair vs. the Flexi. (an overdramatized true story)

Once upon a time, there was a lovely girl named Ella.

And Ella had very, very long hair. It was so long and slippery and un-cooperative that it often made her swoon.

One day, Ella came upon a lovely invention called the Flexi-clip

So...the flexi went to battle against Ella's difficult and unwieldy hair...

Flexi wins! Happy dance!!!!

Meal Plan Monday and A Blog Mini-series

Do ya'll remember when I cleaned up my kitchen shelves?

Now they look like THIS again. Maybe slightly better. VERY slightly. Maybe.

In an effort to save more money and clean up my pantry, I am starting the Pantry Purge MiniSeries. I'm going to try and shop very minimally (I'm talking, milk, eggs, and bare necessities) and use up what I have in my fridge and freezer. I'm doing it to save money, to get out of a cooking rut, and to save my sanity. I'll try and update every day with what has been used as well as a final before and after pic of the kitchen shelves, and some (hopefully creative) recipes.

Wish me luck, and please, pray for me!!!! ;)

Now that I have that out of the way, here is this week's Meal Plan

Monday: Sausage, pepper, and rice casserole
Tuesday: Ham, potatoes and green bean meal
Wednesday: Chicken pot-pie
Thursday: Pork Chops, macaroni and cheese, and veggies
Friday: undecided. It's my birthday, and it's anybody's guess whether I'll want to cook ;)
Saturday: Potato Soup
Sunday: Spaghetti

Girls and Pearls: September 2014 Edition.

This was a little bit different, because Ella wanted a pajama party type thing. Who wears pearls with their pajamas? We do.

We went outside and played with sparklers and then came inside and had hot chocolate. Nothing fancy but hey, it was great fun :)


39/52: We had our Girls and Pearls day this Saturday night. Ella chose to do a pajama date with hot chocolate and sparklers. Because why not? ;)

39/52, Sunday: She is so pretty it's insane. And we have less than 3 weeks til she gets her hair cut!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fridays with Ella, on a Saturday: Quality Time

Yesterday, I didn't post on here.
My Mom didn't either.

Instead, we hung out together around the house. We did schoolwork, played with kittens, watched TV, hung out with my Dad and thought about everything but posting on the blog.

Dad had a day off from work yesterday and even though he isn't feeling good and was trying to relax, he still spent time with us and showed us that we were loved.

When Mom was studying a Sunday School lesson, Dad took me to buy dinner and we bought a brain mold for the freezer. Dad said it was something for us to do together.

I played in the backyard until late while Mom and Dad sat on the deck and talked and laughed.

To most people it probably doesn't look like we did a whole lot yesterday, but to me, we did. We took time to slow down and spent quality time together. My Mom went out and ran errands extra early so she would have time to spend with us. My Dad took me with him on all the errands he had to run so he wouldn't miss out on time with me. And then we all hung out together. I would rather have that than a rushed vacation somewhere.

Tidbits from this week...a day late.

Why am I late? Because some days simply move way too fast for me to blog. Family time becomes more important.

Fall is here: Literally. In full swing. Leaves falling. Cooler weather. Awesomeness!!!!

And Speaking Of... We got our first pumpkin of the season, courtesy of Grandpa Bruce. Ella picked it out, of course :)

This is why neither Ella nor I blogged yesterday:

Two words: Family Time.

Not really an update, but.... I love working for Lilla Rose! I finally have a hair accessory that doesn't fall, slip or slide out of my hair. Not to mention, it actually makes for MORE family time with Miss Ella!

This is not easy to write: It's also the first time I've done this. After three years, I left the church I attended here in NC. It's the first time I'd ever been in a church this long, not counting the church I attended as a kid in Poland. It's also the first time it hurt my heart to leave a church. However, after much prayer, I know that God is leading me where He wants me to be. We are currently attending another wonderful church with lots of sweet fellowship and are very happy, even though we miss many friends.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Happy Fall, ya'll!!!

It's definitely that time of year....the time where my kid is going to look up and down every street until she finds a ton of buckeyes.

Without further ado....

Monday: (That's today, ya'll) Red-pepper Chicken Angel Hair Pasta (recipe to follow...maybe)
Tuesday: My Grandma's Veggie Soup
Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese
Thursday: Chicken and Potatoes
Friday: Beef Stew
Saturday: Chicken Soup
Sunday: One-pot Spaghetti

Have a blessed week!


38/52: She was trying out a ballerina bun for a Lilla Rose demo, and she had to (her words, not mine) do a ballerina twirl.

38/52, Sunday. Her kitty dress is one of her favorites. And that hair. Goodness, we have less than a month left!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fridays with Ella, On a Saturday: Homeschooled and Weird


I've been thinking about writing this for a while.

More than one person has asked me if being homeschooled is weird.

Do I have friends?

Do I ever get to see other kids?

Is it weird?

Maybe to some other people, it's weird, but this is all I know. I've always been taught at home, and I'm very happy with it. No, I'm not going to say that all children should be homeschooled. I think every parent needs to decide what's best for their child.

Just the other day, someone asked about socialization, and "do I ever see kids my age?"

Yes. I do. I have church friends and neighborhood friends and I have friends of all ages, younger and older than me.

I also get asked if all I do is stay home all the time, and the answer is NO. I'm always going somewhere, heading to do something...explore a pond, go on a hike, study a plant or animal.

I asked my Mom why she homeschools me and she told me that it is what she feels is best for me. Because she's my Mom, I trust that.

If I am weird because I am homeschooled, I am completely proud of it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tidbits from this week

IT'S HERE, IT'S HERE!!!!!: my Lilla Rose consultant kit, that is. I've already had two sales today, and more are coming through next week! Praise God!

The difference: I've noticed a massive difference in my outlook and attitude (for the better!) since I switched my Bible reading to the morning, from the evening. Now, I don't even check email or my phone until I've had my devotion time.
The Countdown in ON: As of this posting, Ella and I have less than a month until we cut our hair :)

An Unexpected Gift:  My awesome father-in-law, Bill, replaced my ghetto Blackberry phone with a non-ghetto Blackberry phone. Yes, I'm old school. No, I don't care.

Fall Pics!: I took Ella's fall pictures yesterday, on the cheap. (Because I'm CHEAP, with a capital C)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Meal Plan Monday and a Request

Ya'll, just pray.

Pray for a man I know who was in a car wreck today. He is currently in surgery.

Pray for my friend's father. They found more spots on his lungs.

Pray for one another. We all need it.

Pray for this country. The government. This world.

So much heartbreak.

But there is hope too.

A friend of mine is pregnant again after a series of miscarriages.

My father is cancer-free.

A sweet lady found love again after a horrific divorce.

There are moments like this....

Here is our meal plan for this week:
Monday: Pork chops, potato wedges, and a salad
Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner
Wednesday: Chicken and rice
Thursday: Macaroni and cheese casserole
Friday: Chicken and veggie noodle soup
Saturday: Potato soup and sandwiches
Sunday: Chicken spaghetti

That Hush Grief

There's nothing wrong. Except it's Fall, and everything is dying. 700 miles away, a cemetery is having fall cleanup and I am  not there. 700 miles away, early leaves are blowing across a tiny grassy plot and I am not there to pick them up.

That hurts.

I have this beautiful 8 year old girl. I love her so much, my heart hurts. I feel like I know every moment that I am missing with her sister because I am living it. I just want one day with both my girls. Just one. And that's crazy, because one day would never be enough.

I'm far enough out from May 17, 2005 that my grief is no longer the screaming, yelling mess that it once was. Don't get me wrong, I have days where I scream and cry. They are few and far between now, compared to a few years ago.

These days, my grief is quiet, that hush-grief that comes over me like a fog. I can be reading a book or looking at a picture and it will come, and tap me on the shoulder. So polite.

I don't mean to interrupt your day, but....

I acknowledge the hush grief, and most days it gives me my space.

Some days it seriously hurts.

Riley would be nine this year. I picture a serious-looking, dark haired child, with a smile that could light up a skyscraper.

I miss that kid.

She would be a kid now.

Not a baby. A KID.

A scraped-knees, riding her bike too fast, big enough to help with chopping veggies kid.

I miss that kid. I miss her every moment. In the screaming panic attacks, I miss her. In the quiet, reflective moments. Especially in the hush-grief.


Normally, I post these on Sundays but it wasn't happening yesterday. After church, I was DRAINED. So I'm posting now.

37/52: Ella on a shell-phone. She is such a lovely girl.

37/52, Sunday. The lighting bites, but she makes up for it :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fridays with Ella: The Grocery Store and the stuff you learn there

Sometimes, I really miss home. I was raised in the Chicago area for the first four years of my life.
One of the things that my Mom and I used to do there was to go to the grocery story together every Friday.

I don't remember a whole lot of that time, because I was so little, but I remember going through all the aisles with my Mom and waiting in line to buy chicken meat for fajitas. Mom usually made fajitas on Saturdays. I asked her if she remembered today, and she was surprised that I remembered.

Lately, Mom does the big grocery shopping by herself, because it's her break time. Her alone time. I come along on the little trips, usually. But, today, I missed home and I missed those trips she and I would take to the store. So, I asked Mom if I could hang out with her today and if we could go to the grocery store.

I wrote Mom's list for her today, something I couldn't do when I was little. It was nice to wander around the store, with no big hurry to get anywhere. It was nice to eat free sample watermelon, too! That's one thing that Mom and I have in common. We always get the free sample watermelon.

Mom and I walked around the store and bought all the things on our list, and some stuff that wasn't. A song came on and Mom told me about how it made her cry when she was younger. I asked why and she told me it was because she dated a really mean guy and the song made her think of how mean he was, even when she was dating him. I'm glad she married my Dad, and not someone mean.

We met a man at the store who spoke some Russian and Mom was able to have a short conversation with him. He knew some French words too, including the names of vegetables, and I know those, too.

It's amazing what you can learn, even at the store, if you just stop and pay attention.

What Ella wore:
tunic top: Thrifted
leggings: The Children's Place
purple flip flops: Osh Kosh

Tidbits from this week

Dear Lung Virus, You can bite me: I'm on the mend, but my goodness, has this been a miserable week. I can finally talk without coughing...mostly. The "best" part about this virus? It has to "run its course" bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh.

Great News:!!!!! Dad had two doctor's appointments this week. They both went so well! He is 100% cancer-free!!!! He's also gained 15 pounds and is looking great! His next appointment with his regular doctor is in December, and the radiation doctor doesn't want to see him until APRIL! whoot whoot! Go Dad!!!!

Something New: I've been working since literally the day we moved to North Carolina, but I feel like it's time for me to contribute to our household more. So, I'm stepping out on a bit of a limb here. I signed up with Lilla Rose today! You can find my website here. I'm still doing some work on it (like the image won't upload, grrrrrrr, but feel free to order!) Every penny helps my lovely family (and our journey back up to the great white North). That said, I do love my Lilla Rose flexi clip.
Ella does too, and it's the only thing we've found that will comfortably keep her waist length hair up. They're made of music wire, so they're really sturdy. And they're so darn pretty too!

God Answers Prayers: For the past year, I've been asking God to bring Gabe back to church. This Wednesday, God answered! Here's our little couples selfie before church :)

How Far He's Brought Us: Today, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in over 2 years. She remarked about how happy I look and was I still with my husband? The last time she saw me, I was talking divorce. I informed her that yes, Gabe and I are still together and this is the happiest we've ever been. God has brought us so far from the couple who looked good on the outside, but were a total mess behind closed doors. My husband is my hero and my protector. If you were to tell me two and a half years ago that I would be typing those words, I wouldn't have believed you. Praise God, with Him nothing is impossible!!!!

Monday, September 8, 2014


Is there anything better than a pumpkin patch?


Ella and I wandered around someone's impromptu pumpkin patch. In the middle of town. Nobody else was there, so we walked around and looked at pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. God's blessings abound :)

Meal Plan Monday and a gushy love post

Friends, before I officially start this post, I'd like to ask for some major prayers. God knows what's going on in our lives and what the needs are. He's bigger than any situations and I've been having a pity party for myself and I shouldn't be. He's in control, not us (it's better that way!) and I need to learn to trust Him more than I trust myself. Ugh.

Ok, that said....

today is Gabe's BIRTHDAY! Don't tell him I told ya'll, but he is 39 years old. And he doesn't look it, not at all, despite what he thinks.

Gabe was born nearly two months before his due date, and he had to spend some time in an incubator ("with the other little chickens", he says). He was adorable as an infant, and Ella's infant pictures are so much like his, you couldn't tell the difference.

 He has the best sense of humor of anyone I've ever met in my life. He constantly puts others above himself, and more often than not, I run into people in town who sing his praises.

Gabe was the first Bible-believing Christian I met besides my grandmother. We didn't have a church wedding, so faith actually didn't come up until Ella was almost two. I remember that he asked me when the last time I looked at a Bible was. I replied something vague, and mentioned an age in the single digits. He's the person who gave me the push into a relationship with Christ.

If I've ever doubted that God has an ultimate plan, Gabe's my proof that He does. We've had some rough times in our marriage, and most of it has been my fault. When I wanted to throw in the towel and give up, Gabe is the one who showed me that our marriage is worth fighting for. He's the quiet calm to my loud stressball. I can seriously sit on a couch with him for hours and laugh and laugh and never need anything but his company.

So, a big fat, gushy happy birthday to my husband, my love, my better half, the father of my children!

That said, here's what's in store this week.

Monday: Baked Potato Bar, because it's what the birthday man wants :)
Tuesday: t/b/a or Chicken Tacos
Wednesday: breakfast for dinner, it's church night
Thursday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup
Friday: Homemade assemble-your-own pizzas
Saturday: Cheeseburger Soup
Sunday: Chicken and red pepper spaghetti

Have a blessed week, everyone :)