Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Supper Revisited

Pumpkin Soup Tureen and Bowls, Pottery Barn

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Halloween. The weather was less than cooperative here in The Bluegrass State-rainy and extremely windy, followed by some strong storms overnight. But we managed to have a good one despite the weather. Since we live out on a country lane, we get very few no trick or treaters, and it’s very hard for the girls to go house to house. We usually meet up with our friends C and L in their neighborhood and we all walk around their neighborhood to trick or treat.  It was just a misty rain when we started out, so instead of walking we drove around and let the kids get out at different houses, then we made stops at the grandparents’ houses, and finished the night at a trunk or treat event at church. By the time we made our way home, the wind and rain had really picked up so we were glad to call it a night when we did. Once we got home, the girls counted their candy, took a quick bath, and headed to bed, while Kevin and I settled in on the couch with the fire roaring and the rain blowing outside. A pretty cozy way to end Halloween!

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, followed up by Christmas! Where did October go?  I’ve spent part of the day on Pinterest looking at ideas for Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday, and although we have it at my brother and sister in law’s house in Nashville, Kevin and I help them with food and decorations. So I’m looking for some ideas for centerpieces and decorations. Lots of good ideas out there!

School is out tomorrow, so the girls and I have a three day weekend-woohoo! I had all sorts of plans for these three days off, but on Friday afternoon I started feeling like I’d caught some sort of bug. Not really sick, just kind of achy and having little energy. So I’ve spent the better part of my weekend at home taking it easy. I’ve finally gotten a little bit of energy back, so it looks like tomorrow is going to be a busy day catching up on things. I’m just thankful for the extra day; otherwise I’d be stressing about heading back to school tomorrow.

Long, long ago before I turned into such a bad blogger, I used to post recipes on Sundays and call it Sunday Suppers. I have several recipes to share, so I thought I’d share one today. This is a recipe for White Chicken Chili that I received from a friend of mine a couple of years ago and it’s one of my favorites. Enjoy!

White Chicken Chili

Three large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

2-3 chicken bouillion cubes (optional, I always add them when boiling the chicken to make the flavor more rich)

One 32 ounce carton chicken broth

Two 14.5 ounce cans great northern beans

One cup uncooked rice

One can cream of chicken soup

About 1 cup of green onions, chopped

1 can Ro-tel  chopped tomatoes and green chilies

1 tsp minced garlic

½ tbsp. salt

Black pepper, to taste

Sour cream , grated cheese, and additional chopped green onions for topping

Put chicken breasts in a stock pot and cover with enough water to remain covered while boiling. Bring to a boil, add bouillion cubes, and cook until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken to a plate to cool and reserve broth. Reserve one or two cups to cook the rice in and pour the remainder of the broth into a crock pot. Cook rice according to package directions in reserved chicken broth and set aside until just before serving. When cool, tear chicken up into pieces and add to crock pot. Add carton of chicken broth, beans, cream of chicken soup, onions, Ro-tel, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Add rice just before serving (if you cook it all day in the crock pot, it becomes really mushy). 

To serve, top with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a few additional chopped green onions.

I made this on a day last week that we had school/work, followed by a home visit/meeting with our case worker. I planned it because I knew that I would need a quick dinner after our case worker left, but it also made the house smell yummy and homey too-a bonus when you are having your house inspected! : )

As I was fixing dinner tonight, Big A noticed these sweet deer outside near our woods. Even though we see them quite often, we always stop to admire them. Even Miss Sunny behaved and didn’t scare them away. She’s pretty used to them now, so we all just took a moment to look at them.

And Sunny was rewarded for her good behavior with a hot dog. Here she is waiting patiently...

Such a cutie!

Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fall Break

We’ve been on fall break this week and it has been wonderful. I think that I received about 8 emails total this week, and most of them were junk emails or mass emails that I didn’t have to act on. Heavenly! Thanks to Mr. P being on a big project right now, we were unable to go on a trip like we had planned, but the girls and I enjoyed a stay-cation nonetheless.

On Monday, the girls had a doctor’s appointment, so we were up and on the road bright and early. After leaving the doctor’s office, we ran a few errands and then came home for the rest of the day. The girls relaxed and played while I did some things around the house.

On Tuesday, I took the girls for their first-ever manicure, then we went out to lunch and did a little shopping. I stopped in at a local store called Caught Ya Lookin’. I had heard of this store, but I had never stopped in to see what they had. Little did I know how cute it was…and turned out that the owner and her daughter are people I know. I hadn’t seen her in years, but it was great catching up with Rose and seeing the shop.  I was at the Leitchfield store, but they also have a Lexington store too. All of the items are so adorable, and I’m thinking this is where the girls Christmas dresses will come from. They are also featured on Zulily . The girls each picked out a bow, and what cute bows they chose! 

Here is Big A’s bow-the owl clips off to wear separately or attach to another bow.

Little A chose this bow, and the ladybug also clips off to be worn differently too. 

After we got home from out mani/shopping/lunch expedition, the girls went over to play with their cousins at my mother in law’s house, and I did a little shopping on my own. I picked up a few items for myself, including two cute dresses at Gap. I’ll do a separate post for them, along with my birthday goodies from last weekend.

On Wednesday my cleaning girls were coming, so we had to vacate the house by 8 a.m. We went to school for a little while so I could take care of a few things, then we met my friend R and her three boys at the park to eat lunch and play on the playground.  The girls love playing with R’s boys, and I enjoyed holding and playing with R’s seventh month old daughter. She is such a cutie!

Yesterday, we met my mom in Bowling Green for a girls day out. The girls proudly showed off their manicures to “Granny” and we all enjoyed lunch at Chuy’s, followed by some shopping.  We ended the day by stopping by Riley’s Bakery for some goodies. The girls each picked out a treat (brownie for one, iced sugar cookie for the other) and I picked up some of their famous bite-sized tea cookies. The girls also chose a treat to take home to Mr. P, a strawberry cupcake. 

Today was a pretty low-key day for us; we stayed home all day. The girls played in their rooms and in the playroom all day (and got along pretty well all day too!) and I did some things around the house. Mr. P finally got off work early, so we all went out to dinner tonight. We just got the girls to bed and now we are settled in with some coffee, ready to watch Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods.

Have to end my post with this little surprise I received today-

Sunday was my birthday but the weather was yucky and I didn’t feel well, so overall it wasn’t one of my best birthdays. That, coupled with the fact that I was disappointed that Mr. P had to work and we didn’t get to go on a trip for Fall Break put me in a little funk all week. I’ve also been battling a horrendous migraine this week too, so I haven’t exactly been in the best of moods. Mr. P sent me these with a sweet note about how sorry he was that we had a rough week. So sweet!

Tomorrow is a busy day for us-soccer in the morning, followed by our church fall festival, then tomorrow night is our annual church hayride and bonfire, hosted by us and my in-laws. Busy, busy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Follow Your Heart

Warning: Long post ahead…. in fact, I grabbed two of these and some coffee before I started writing. You might want to do the same!

Hello all, your intermittent, rarely shows up with a post, slacker, misses you all dearly blogger here. Wow, it’s been almost 3 months since my last post and a lot has happened in our little household. Nothing that should excuse my long absence, but I’ll tell you the tale anyway. In my last post, I said that I was pondering some big decisions…

As you all know, last summer we were given the opportunity to foster two beautiful little girls in our home. It has been 15 months now, and we still have them. We love them so much and thank God every day for bringing them into our lives. Last summer, although we had been through the months of training, home studies, and paperwork, nothing prepared us for instant parenthood. Don’t get me wrong-it was and still is wonderful but it was a shock to us all the same. 

When we got the girls, I was heading into my fourth year as an elementary school principal. Thank goodness it was the summer so I could adjust to being a working mom at a time when my schedule was fairly flexible. By the time school started, I felt like I was somewhat in the groove of juggling the roles of wife, principal, and now mama. And I did manage it (very well, I might add) for the whole school year. I couldn’t have done it without my wonderful husband, Mr. P though. He is an amazing husband (always has been!) and an awesome daddy. You should see him with these girls-he jumps in and does everything, and they adore him.

My school was about 45 minutes away and in another time zone, so on a good day we got home from school around 6:00 p.m. Most days, it was closer to 7. Some days, Mr. P would pick the girls up from school for me and bring them home, but then I still wouldn’t get home until 7:00 or 7:30. By then, he would have homework done, usually baths done, and the girls were headed to bed. And on the days I had meetings or events, the girls were in bed before I got home. Told ya he was an amazing husband and dad!! And as much as I appreciated everything he was doing, I still felt guilty for not being there, not to mention the fact that I wanted to be home. On the rare days that I did get home early, I savored the family dinner and family time together.

With summer approaching quickly, I started looking into babysitters or daycares for the girls because I had to work most days in the summer. And I realized that I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want the girls to have to get up every day in the summer for “school”; I wanted them to be able to stay up later and sleep in some mornings. I wanted to be able to go places with them in the summer. So I started thinking long and hard about what I really wanted to do with my career.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am a silent sufferer. I will be dying on the inside about something, but still put a smile on my face and get through the day. I only talk to my closest friends and family about my worries and stresses. Mr. P knows me well enough to know when something is wrong, but even he has to work hard to get it out of me sometimes. And I was struggling with this decision big time. I felt that if I walked away from this job that I would be a quitter…and I hate a quitter. 

I finally came clean with Mr. P about my thoughts and worries, and he was totally supportive. He said he knew I had been under a lot of stress, not only from trying to juggle family and school but also the stresses that come along with being a school principal. We decided to think and pray about it for a few days and see where God led us. I remember at some point during our conversation that day, I said “If I could have my pick of jobs, it would be at Great Elementary as either assistant principal or third grade teacher.” Great Elementary (pseudonym of course) is a wonderful school, 5 minutes from our house with a great reputation. I have always wanted to work in my neighborhood school and have our kids go there with me.

Well, the next week I decided to put out some feelers and see if there were any jobs available closer to home, and lo and behold, Great Elementary had some openings and one of them was third grade!  I truly felt that God was leading me to this position. It was a nerve-wracking month though...the job had to be posted for thirty days and over 100 people had put in for the position. In the end, I got the job so I am now teaching third grade and working very close to home. We just finished our first quarter of the year, and I am so unbelievably happy. I didn’t realize how much I had missed teaching until I was back in the classroom. I love being so close to the students and teaching again. I simply love teaching!! I work with a wonderful team of teachers, and one of my very best friends is on the third grade team with me. The girls and I are home before 4:00 most days. They are playing soccer and in gymnastics, and all us are enjoying more family time.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through all of this is to trust God, which is why I've interspersed bible verses throughout this post. I was certainly leaning heavily on them this summer. God has brought us through so many things, yet I still question and worry when things like this come up. And He still forgives me for this and continues to show me His great mercy and grace. We are always where He intends us to be…and the things that happen to us always happen for a reason. Don’t get me wrong-I struggled and still struggle with this decision sometimes. I feel like I walked away from a job that was not finished, I sometimes feel like I let a school and its community down by leaving with very little warning. But I also feel that I am in the right place for me and my family. I just tell myself that those doubts are just the devil trying to get inside my head, and my God is much bigger than him!

I’m hoping to blog more often now that we are settled into our new routine. Leaving one school and settling into another in mid-July made me feel as if I were playing catch up the entire first nine weeks. But I’ve settled into a routine and I’ve got a week off (it’s Fall Break) to get a little bit ahead with lesson planning and stuff. I’ll have to post pictures of my classroom sometime because I’ve really enjoyed decorating and getting my classroom together. There’s so much cute stuff out there! I’ll leave you with one image from my room. This is the wreath that I made (sort of) for my classroom. The webbed part was already done, I just added the H and the school things. But I’m still pretty proud of it!

I also want to close by giving a little shout-out to OneFabulous Mom. This sweet little blogger left me a very sweet and encouraging comment on my last post back in June that really hit home with me-it was like she read my mind. Thank you, thank you so  much for your kind words. : )

And thank you to everyone else for sticking with me through this entire tale. You’re the best!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Confessional Friday

Linking up with Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition

1.  We have absolutely nothing on the agenda for tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier. Can’t remember the last free Saturday that we have had.

2.  It is 11:00 and we are still in our PJs. I took today off and we are having a lazy morning. The girls love it. We are going to venture out in a little while. There’s a fundraiser/yard sale at a school I used to teach at, so I thought we would go visit and support the cause.

3.  I’m going to attempt a little DIY project this weekend…stay tuned for the outcome.

4.  Bought a new glue gun at Michael’s for DIY project and I’ve been having a little too much fun with it. Every bow that has come unglued in the past 6 months is now glued back securely, along with anything else I’ve seen that needs fixing. This may have something to do with how cute it is.
Who wouldn't want to get all crafty with this??

5.  I’m contemplating some big decisions right now and I alternate between excitement and stress. Leaning on lots of Bible verses and telling myself to listen to God and leave it to Him.

And that’s all I’ve got. Have a great weekend!