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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Catching UP with Us Meyer's

Catching up with us these days is getting harder and harder. Let's see if a brief synopsis will suffice for the past few months as an overview.

July: Mom went to IL for an extended trip. My Aunt Janet (Dad's sister) passed away and Mom made the trip to Massachusetts for the funeral and then back to IL. Dan left for an extended work assignment in Iowa and will be gone somewhere between 8-12 MONTHS. (don't ask) He got to pop over to IL one of the weekends and surprise his mama and brothers at the Walter's Family Reunion.

August: Derek turned 10 and joined the double digit club. Dan and I celebrated (separately) our 19th wedding anniversary. Mom returned from IL just in time to welcome Uncle Jerry and Aunt Marion for a quick visit in Cruces and then joined them for a visit to Idaho. Once she was finished visiting the family in Idaho, she drove through Cali on the way home to visit Dolli, RyRy and Wyatt. Tony Bean got married, and even after we'd said we couldn't come, Dan made it to the wedding and had a great time.

September: I spent 8 glorious days in Iowa with Dan to actually celebrate our anniversary. 8 days + hunky hubby + no responsibilities + first kidless week together in 18 years = BEST VACAY EVER. Period. Mom stayed with the boys (thanks Mom!) Mom them packed up and moved back to IL. I miss her desperately. We purchase Dan's plane ticket home for Thanksgiving. Pat and Derek start school.

October: David turned 18 and joined the newly adult club. (Mama K has feelings about that) Pat and David seriously consider a trip to Iowa but determine that now is not the best time. Joshua turns 27. David quits second job in favor of taking on more hours at first job. Fall Festival (I did a trunk this year) is a smashing success serving more than 8,000 people from our community. 

November: Renaissance Faire comes to Las Cruces. I opt to only volunteer one day so that I can enjoy the Faire for one of the days. Our church again does Feed My Starving Children Manna Packs. David moves out of our house and into Jay, Rachel and Maddie's apartment. Pat signs up to get his driver's permit. Hannah Ruoss comes to visit for 5 days. Patrick decides to get baptized the weekend that Dan is home for Thanksgiving...in the Rio Grande. (Brr!)  Kimberly makes plans to come visit in December. Dan decides that for Christmas, he will drive home and take Pat back with him (hooray for online school) Mama K opts for a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal of Dragon Soup, green bean casserole and pre-made pies so she can spend the extra time with Dan while he's home for Thanksgiving. Derek and Mama start making holiday plans and switch to Unschooling until after the New Year. 

See what I mean? I thought having a house full of littles was tiring and super fun. And it was. But in a completely different way than having a house full (and now not so full) of BIGS can be exhausting, exhilarating and exciting all in one day.
Thanks for trying to keep up with us. Goodness knows I can barely keep up and I live here. :)
Oh, and one more thing. For those of you not on FB (but isn't everyone these days?) my hair has undergone a small transition since Dan's departure in July. In July my hair looked like this.

In August and the first part of Sept, it looked like this.

In late September and October, it looked like this. 

And now in November, it looks like this. 

And Just Like That... {Week 18 Update}

Dan is gone.

This is hard. Hard to do on my own. Hard to process. Hard to handle. Hard to keep my head above water some days. But it's a season of growth/change and I'm trying to embrace it. I'm learning more than ever that I must take care of me so I can continue to care for others. I am learning that it's OK to put off housework and even schoolwork occasionally in the name of a much needed visit from a friend for some chatter, some tea and some prayer to keep me fighting the good fight. I've learned/remembered that I like pretty nails. I've also remembered that proper sleep habits are essential to keeping myself emotionally on an even keel. (still working on this one) Healthful eating also helps, but at the end of the day, here is my version of reality.

Dan has been gone 18 weeks. (Say that over again to yourself, really slowly and let it sink in)

Eighteen weeks.
126 days. 
3024 hours. 
181,440 minutes. And every single one of those minutes felt like a short eternity.
Now that you know I'm the most pathetic woman alive, let me tell you what else you should know about me.
That I CAN do this. That God is holding my hand and leading me down this path. And that the very same God that is holding my hand and giving me strength is also holding Dan's. We are all together on this journey. Hopefully someday, we'll be able to look back at this time that feels like a big fat mess right now as a period of immense growth. Not only in our journey as a married couple, but as individuals growing closer to our God. God is so good. He's protecting us (sometimes even from ourselves) as we jumble and stumble and bumble our way through this world. Separately for now, but soon enough back together again. May he continue to weave our hearts together in the combined pursuit of His glory.

Not as lonely as I thought in NM,

Saturday, October 24, 2015

And Just Like That... {Week 14 Update}

Dan is gone.

This was a full and busy week. Not that most aren't, but this one even more so due to birthday party invites, being sick for 36 hours, and back to back weekends of Magic Tourney/TV series marathon. Good stuff, but lots of work. This mama is worn OUT!
In the good news department, this means I didn't have time to miss Dan because I was a headless chicken for most of the week.
In the really good news department, Dan has lost so much weight that he has dropped a pants size and is looking A-MAZ-ING! All you ladies stay away from my handsome hubby!
In the bad news department, this means I didn't have time to miss Dan. And any day that I don't have TIME to miss my husband is a day that is too full. Period.
In the worse news department, I am starting to feel a bit distanced from him. Like he's gotten on with the business of living without me as a daily part of his life, and like I am doing the same. Some of this is natural, because we ARE apart and we have to still function. But when the wound doesn't hurt anymore, it's not a wound...it's a scar. And scars don't heal. :(
Please pray for us that the lines of communication will stay open, that he will continue to fight to stay part of our lives, and that the desire to once again be a complete family unit will stay strong.Thanksgiving can't come soon enough.
~Lonely Only in NM~

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Look What I Did!

So, this happened. :)
Yep, I joined Planet Fitness this weekend. Dan is a member and totally loves it, so I figured I would give it a try. Pat will be my normal workout buddy, and we will go as often as we can when David is home. When D can't make it home at a reasonable hour, I'll have to go by myself or find another buddy to take, but it's a start. I'm too cheap to let my whole $20 go to waste, so that is just extra motivation, right?
 I've decided that I will never be good at working out at home. And that's not a character flaw, I'm just busy and often distracted, and always interrupted, so if I need to join a gym to get my workouts done, then let's do that.
We've been a few times already and I"m really enjoying it. I'm trying ALL. THE. THINGS.
Treadmills? Check
Ellipticals? Check
Stair Climbers? Heck NO
Weight lifting machines? Check
30 minute cardio circuit? Check
Hydro-massage? Check
Recumbent Bikes? Check
Total Body Enhancement thing a ma bobber? Check
I'll keep you posted on the long term results  :)


Saturday, October 17, 2015

And Just Like That... {Week 13 Update}

Dan is gone.

This week has hurried on by in a flurry of activities and I didn't have time to dwell on missing Dan as much as I have been recently. A had 2.5 days off of school meaning I worked many extra hours, Columbus Day happened (upsetting my routines) and DT had a play date with a friend. DT and I worked hard on cleaning up the yard Tuesday evening, which also was a great night for a bonfire and s'mores with the BIGS. Sister-Girl Night was changed to Wednesdays in addition to Youth Group and Zero Gravity for the BIGS. DT and I started small group on Thursdays. Game Night on Friday, followed by a middle of the night trip to Wal-Mart that resulted in some new friends. And today we had Gym Magic, a haircut for ME, some random errands, a fun late lunch with the boys, and playing outside together. AND...Pat and I joined Planet Fitness. Phew. 
In the midst of all that; we included a breakfast with a friend, haircuts for EVERYONE ever, I read 2 books, kept up on a few cleaning/organizing challenges in the homemaking arena, had pizza and movies together, looked at apartments with DK and tried to get back to a good sleeping schedule (but I failed miserably on that point this week).
Overall, I think it's reasonably safe to say that while I continue to miss Dan, we have hit our stride. The ache is still there, but we are both learning to deal by making new friends or reconnecting with old friends, and staying busy.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
        ~Lonely Only in NM~

Saturday, October 10, 2015

And Just Like That... {Week 12 Update}

Dan is gone.

This week was weird for me. I had lots of feelings, and many I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I was lonely and bored and irritable and overtired and well, I was actually a little angry at Dan this week. I KNOW that this isn't reality, but sometimes it feels like he's off on some vacation type thing. Practically no bills, no chores, no kids to parent, no wife to deal with, all while I"m here slaving away and doing EV-ER-Y-THING while he's away. Now, before I start getting lectures, I KNOW that is not reality. I get that he's working 60 hours a week, and on his one day "off" he's driving an hour to attend church and then helping a new friend build a house and he's completely exhausted. I KNOW that he's missing home, our friends, the boys, and even crazy old me. BUT, that's just how I felt this week. Also, Dan is a helper. So as he's calling me with helpful advice that I SHOULD appreciate, I find myself feeling micro-managed and even a bit like perhaps Dan thinks I can't do this on my own. (The irony is not lost on me that several times a day *I* wonder if I can do this alone but that is not the point. *ahem*)
I was also still processing the whole My-baby-is-now-a-MAN thing and that brought feelings that I would have really liked to share with Dan in person, not over the phone.
On the whole, in the practical areas, I feel like I'm getting the hang of this and I can do this for the long haul (Come quickly, summer of 2016) but I just miss him. I miss hanging out on the couch with him after dinner, I miss laughing over the antics our boys share with us, I miss snuggling together after a long day of parenting this brood and the several others that claim us as parents or long term care givers. I miss making his lunch in the mornings and sharing 5 whole minutes of child-free time with him each day. Blah. Being a grown up stinks sometimes. ;)
However, as I am often found to be saying, "...and it came to pass...". Someday, this season of change and growth will be but a distant memory.
Until next week,
    ~Lonely Only in NM~

Saturday, October 3, 2015

And Just Like That... {Week 11 Update}

Dan is gone.

I can't believe it's already been 11 weeks; 5 more than Dan has ever been gone for work, and 4 more than our time apart when we moved here. We are adjusting...slowly (especially me). But, things are improving. I am learning to set my boundaries without being a jerk about them. (In times past, I just let Dan set the boundaries and without him around I spent several weeks being a spineless sap) I am remembering skills I used to have that have been out of practice for 20 years. And I"m learning new skills, like how to trim the rose bushes that have been intimidating me since Dan left. I've trimmed them 3 times, and I think (I HOPE) I'm getting the hang of it. Pat and I have several 'successful' chats a week now, shoot, sometimes we have more than one a day. *grins* I am sleeping through the night on a regular basis, even though I'm still staying up later than I should. However, I think part of that is just to carve out some time for just me, since I"m the only one parenting these days and I NEED some child free time each evening. Overall, I think we are getting the hang of it. Dan has a roommate as of this week and I think he's not as lonely, at least that is why I'm telling myself he isn't calling quite as often. I am setting up some 'Daddy's Gone Traditions" like the boys and I go out to dinner on Thursday night, so that we all get to the table together once a week. We're still doing our pizza and movies on Sundays but that is pretty flexible and sometimes it just doesn't happen. So we're enjoying Thursday nights out to laugh and talk over a delicious dinner made my someone besides me. Having hilarious, handsome dinner dates every week doesn't hurt my feelings at all.
The biggest highlight of this week concerning Dan was we bought his plane ticket home for Thanksgiving so that is a FOR SURE visit coming up. Woot!
Biggest bummer concerning Dan this week is that today is David's birthday. His 18th birthday. Now, in case you don't know, David hates any attention that he doesn't intentionally invite, and birthdays are a HUGE no-no in the attention department. There is no celebration, no singing of the birthday song, no balloons, no gifts and in fact, he's working 11 hours today, so it's not so much that Dan being away will affect David's day so much. But our first child is becoming an adult today, and I can't share that with Dan. So boo to that.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. I'm growing so much it seems and blogging about it feels like the right choice.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pumpkin Patch 2015 (pic heavy)

 Ahh, the pumpkin patch.
Our favorite field trip of the year.
Our annual FIRST field trip.
Where Mama K takes the picture for our annual (or sometimes annual) Christmas cards/letters.
The boys always have so much fun, even the BIGS.
Mama K always has so much fun.
Good stuff.
Very Good Stuff.

Our local pumpkin patch, Lyle's Family Farm/Mesilla Valley Corn Maze is a family owned and operated charming place to spend a day. Hay rides, huge slides, panning for gold, rubber ducky races, enormous hamster wheels, cotton candy, and oh yes...pumpkins. And once you pay admission, nearly everything else besides the food is free. You can play all day and never get bored. At least my boys certainly can. :)
This year was no exception. David took some time off of work to join us which I thought was fantastic since he missed it last year. We met up with our local homeschooling group and enjoyed spending the day together. Miss Kathi was there with her kids and Little Carissa, and that was an added bonus. We had a ball.
I know you are all here for the pictures, so I'll stop waxing nostalgic and get on with the good stuff. LOL!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

And Just Like That... {Week 10 Update}

Dan is gone.

Dan recently purchased a new iPad Air 2 and is delighted with it. He bought it so our skype sessions would be easier to manage and in better quality than we've previously had. To that end, this happened this week...


...a 2 HOUR skype chat. Be still my heart indeed. It may have been the longest conversation we've ever had. EVER.
Good things are happening at the Man Crew House, not the least of which is improved communication between Hercules and myself. I am content. If I remember nothing else from this week, or even this grand 'adventure' we are currently enjoying, I'll remember this picture and the amazing talk we had. Good stuff.

A little less lonely this week, 


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


 I was challenged by a friend today to take the #100HappyDays challenge. Post of pic of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days. And I think it's exactly the distraction I need while Dan is away. Being mindful of little things that make life more pleasant, more enjoyable, more blessed is never a bad thing. Perhaps I'll do it not only on FB, but post it over here for my viewing and enjoyment once the challenge is over.
If you are interested and would like to play along, it can be found over here.

    Always more blessed that I deserve, ~K~ 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

And Just Like That... {Week 7 Update}

Dan is gone.

And so is this girl. Guess where I am right now? Go on, guess! I'm sitting in Dan's new apartment in Iowa, spending a whole glorious week with him! I've been here since Wednesday and we are having a ball! We spent the first day just soaking up the sight of each other. Dan has lost about 10 pounds and looks really good. (not that he ever didn't look good, but you know what I mean) He had to work on Thursday so I spend the day reading, enjoying the quiet and having lunch with my Internet Bestie Jen Hansen. She had to bring the boys to (ironically) University of Iowa Children's Hospital that--Lo and Behold--someone's handsome hubby just HAPPENS to be building. *grins* So we had lunch and laughs. Poor Jonah will never be the same after being stuck at the table with the two of us guffawing loud enough to break the sound barrier.
Dan surprised me by announcing that he had Friday off as well as Monday (Labor Day) so we spent the morning scouring through fantastic little thrift stores looking for kitchen supplies for the new apartment, doing some grocery shopping and wandering the local mall. Today we've just hung out at the apartment mostly, although we did take a trip to the phone repair store to fix Dan's speaker. We're enjoying Netflix, Pandora and games, and just being together.
If this is what being empty-nesters is like, I'm ALL ABOUT IT!! Dan and I have never spent more than a few days away from the children and even when we were first married, I was working with children full time, babysitting on the weekends and we always had my nephew Jayson around. This few days is the longest we've ever had together without children, ours or other people's, along with us. I was a little concerned that we'd run out of things to talk about, but so far that hasn't been an issue. Wooty woot woot! I could totally get used to this. NOW I know what Dan is talking about when he says that even though he L-O-V-E-S being a parent, he's not going to be broken hearted when they grow up and move out so we can have some US time. Seriously, I am enjoying myself like I haven't in ages. And that's saying something, because I KNOW what a blessed life I lead.
I'll head home in a few days to get back to mothering our little herd of boys and we will resume our watching and waiting for Dan's return to our beloved NM. But for now, I gotta go. We're watching like our 10th episode of Gilmore Girls. This man certainly does love me.
     Not Lonely and Not in NM,

Saturday, August 8, 2015

And Just Like That...{Week 3 Update}

Dan is gone.

I did paint my nails! I did! :) It was fun. I wanted to look cute as I was scampering about in the gym for DT's party on Sunday. So I painted my toes and fingers to match. And then I started thinking about when the last time I did that...and decided the last time I had matching finger and toe polish was probably when Karen got me a mani-pedi the day before DT was born. 10 years?? How have I let 10 years go by without treating myself this well? Craziness. Anywho, enough about my nails. Just an interesting aside. 
In other news, the party was fun. Even Miss TJ showed up with her duck named Booger. Everyone missed Dan, who is of course, way too much fun at the gym. At DT's last party at the gym, they were using the cheese mats to slide around the gym and seeing who could make their mat slide the farthest. Because everything is a contest when you're a boy. Or a man. ;) 
Umm, what else to share? Oh yes, well....well never mind about that. This is what's next. I've been dancing around this, trying not to say it, but it needs to be said and I might as well just say it. The loneliness is driving me crazy. I know I"m strong, I know I can DO this, I know all of that self pep talk stuff. But I miss him. ALL THE TIME. This week, all I want to do is sleep and cry. I know I CAN do this, but I don't know if I WANT to do this. :( He's still calling/texting daily and I'm trying to be brave and supportive and encouraging, but it's all I can do not to scream into the phone, "JUST COME HOME THIS MINUTE!!" I actually got really sad one day when we were talking and I just said, "I can't talk anymore right now. I have to go." And hung up without giving him even a chance to respond. I know, Wife of the Year award is coming my way any minute now. LOL!
In the good news department, Pat and I had a conversation today that didn't end with a door slammed in my face! 18 days, y'all. 18 days to have a decent conversation with my own child. Apparently right behind my Wife of the Year award is my Mother of the Year award. *le sigh* But, it is progress so I'll take it.
In the good, super fun, hilarious news department: Mom, Uncle Jerry and Aunt Marion were in town for 3 and a half days and we laughed like there was no tomorrow. Mom took right back over the kitchen, which was a blessing since I was working extra hours in anticipation of the B-Bunch's upcoming vacation next week. We had basically 3 Game Nights this week as people came over to visit with them each evening. There were many games played, MUCH coffee/soda consumed and MUCH laughter over old stories being told. I was quite sad to see them go, but was glad they took to the time to stop by on their way to Idaho to see their boys. Good stuff!
Thanks for taking this journey with me. I know it's an up and down hill roller coaster right now, but I'm hoping it will even out soon.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

And Just Like That... {Week 2 Update}

Dan is gone.

No huge changes this week. Dan is settled in at the house he's staying at while he's gone. Found some old friends that he's worked with before, and made some new ones. The work is good he says, and he's enjoying the hustle and bustle of a BIG job again. I am still loving the fact that we are communicating so much! This is way more talking than we do even when we are together. Strange!
David is still working Eleventy Billion hours a week and I rarely see him. Pat and I have still not had a successful conversation. Derek is Derek and enjoying the extra Mama time. I am still not sleeping and becoming quite ungracious due to not enough sleep. I've got to find a way to sleep at the right time.
I have finished ALL the small 'back burner" projects from my to do list and may actually have time to do something like PAINT MY NAILS for the first time in 6 months. That would be fun!

In other news, Derek turned 10 today and has joined the double digit club. :) It was sad that Daddy missed it, but the party is tomorrow and they are going to Skype.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

And Just Like That... {Week 1 Update}

Dan is gone.

He's been gone a full week, and several things have already happened.
1. I am a big helpless baby after being married to Mr. Fix It for nearly 19 years. I can't do anything for myself anymore. This is both a blessing (hooray for a handy hubby) and maddening (I need help with EVERYTHING, and I don't know anyone else handy, because Dan does everything)
2. Patrick and I are incom-PAT-ible (no pun intended) We have not had one conversation yet that didn't end with him screaming and slamming the door in my face. Boo.
3. I miss him like crazy, which is interesting since we've been *enjoying* a small rough patch this past month or 6 weeks. Too much stress, too much work, too many people, too many responsibilities, plus not enough boundaries will do that to you. *sigh* At any rate, it's been great to actually miss him so much, as I sorta thought I'd just heave a sigh of relief that he was out of my hair for a few minutes. (not trying to be ugly, just honest. If you don't personally know Dan, let me just say he's simply amazing...my poor attitude about things is more about me than him.) So missing him, while painful, is actually a good sign. We're doing better than I thought.
4. Sleeping alone after sleeping next to someone for nearly 19 years is the PITS! I can NOT sleep until I am completely exhausted. So I'm falling into bed at like 3 am, which is not good for anyone when Mama doesn't get enough sleep. 
5. Dan has been calling or texting me every single day, which is outstanding growth on his part. I am tickled pink!
6. With all the *extra* time I have in the evenings, I've completed nearly everything that's been on the back burner of my to do list for the last 6 months. Not any huge projects, but the little things that linger and never seem to get done due to a lack of time...those things. Clean out the fridge, vacuum the air vents, mending my skirt, file your office paperwork, trim the roses, etc. So, I'll count that as a victory. :)
Overall, things are going as well as can be expected. P never does well with change, so I'm hopeful that this anger won't last forever. I will live and in theory learn to sleep by myself. I'll try to check in next week again.

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's the Little Things

I've discovered as I make this journey through life that it's not the huge things that make or break your day, week, month or life. It's the little things. So in honor of the little things, list a few with me that made your day, week, month or life brighter or sweeter.

  • It's an hour to blog after DT goes to bed. AND an hour to read if I want.
  • It's watching movies with the BIGS that we can all enjoy.
  • It's having time for the first time in 6 months to paint my nails
  • It's a dishwasher full of CLEAN dishes
  • It's a tween that willingly cleans the bathroom.
  • It's a teenager that reads his little brother bedtime stories is a silly French accent until they are both giggling like crazy.
  • It's pulling a loaf of home made bread out of the freezer and having the people that eat it all the time still ooh and aah over it and beg for grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • It's friends that offer to come to your house and make you dinner so you can relax a little bit. (Yes, I do know how ridiculously blessed I am)
  • It's new recipes from friends.
  • It's remembering that I was a person in my own right before I was married and before I became a mother, and nurturing that person isn't selfish or bad. (OK, so that's a bigger thing, but still) 
  • It's a pair of great fitting jeans.
I like the idea of this style of post. If you like it too, add your little things! I'm making it a goal to focus on the positive this year...Join me!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Happy Middle of July :)

Just waving a hand to all my readers. Welcome to those of you who are new, and hello to my long time friends. Because everyone who comes to this blog is welcomed with open arms.
I'm just feeling like I'm living the dream today.
Church with my boys, cleaning the house while the boys entertain their friends, and now just hanging out at home with DT while the BIGS are at the movies. A nice day. Un-rushed, no scurrying about from this place to that at top speed, and just enjoying being at home. Life is good.
So, welcome to friends new and not-so-new. Come, look around, read some old posts, dig through Wordless Wednesday pictures and enjoy yourself. Leave a comment if you're so inclined. See you again soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

And Just Like That....

Dan is gone. He got into his little blue Honda and drove away this morning. 

Before you all freak out, he isn't leaving ME, he's leaving the state for a new job. This job will take him to Iowa for the next 8 months or so while he completes the addition on the University of Iowa Children's hospital. 

I am empty, bereft, void of feelings and a bit unglued at the notion of him going away for 8 months.
This is uncharted territory for us. We are rarely apart, the 2 longest times before this were the 7 weeks when he came to Cruces ahead of us to procure a job and a place to live 8 years ago, and then when he worked in Washington for a friend for 6 weeks 5 years ago. Both of which were torture. And the boys were much younger then, not even teenagers, so I am a bit nervous about parenting (largely) alone for the next phase of life.
I am excited about the opportunities that this job will bring him professionally, and for us financially as there is a decent pay increase and this job pays per diem (a daily pay bonus to cover food and housing, plus say thanks for being away from your family) Dan is busily making plans to pay off the Honda, plan his dream garage and possibly remodel the kitchen upon his return. Time will tell if any of those things happen, but it sure is fun to dream.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 2015 Goals Update

It's early in July, so it's time for a June update. Sorry I missed a few months, I'll have to see if I can go back and piece together a little something something. ;) Life happens, y'all. Even when the goals of the year are to simplify, streamline and enjoy life as never before. Hang on to your hats, here we go!
Personal Goals:
~Losing 20-25 pounds this year with portion control, walking/elliptical/cardio 3x per week, WATER every day and more veggies. (No real weight loss yet, but my clothes fit better and I'm getting stronger)
~Writing a letter a week. At least (39 letter written to date. I OWN this one!)

~Read a book a week. A book for me, not a read aloud with the kids, or an educational book, or a book I feel like I *should* read. A book that I want to read, for personal pleasure or a how-to book on a topic I am interested in reading. (I totally fell off the bandwagon here and am now trying to catch back up)

~At least once a month, do something just for myself. Take a trip to Starbucks to blog, get a massage, say no to an 'obligation' so I can goof off, go to the movies by myself, take a walk, browse the bookstore without the grabby monkeys with me, etc. Things that keep me centered, and able to co-parent the Man Crew and live this crazy life I love. (I've been visiting with friends this month as my ME time, and I'm loving it)
Spiritual Goals:
~Read through the Bible in a year (In progress)
~Be active in our BREAD group on Facebook (trying to post/comment every few days.)

~Be more proactive/mindful in my prayer life (yes!)
~Get more comfortable saying, "How's your walk with Jesus this week?" And, "How can I pray for you today?"
Couple Goals:
~Read a book about marriage 3 times a year (Yes!)
~Go on an actual date with Dan every 8 weeks (Yes!)

~Re-read The 5 Love Languages and become fluent in Dan's language.
(I am currently ordering myself a new copy since I lent to to a friend and never got it back)
Financial Goals:
~Stay on top of the bills (yes)
~Create an emergency fund of $1000 (Every time I get to $200 something happens. But, I'm grateful I had something saved up. I WILL get this done!)

~Complete the 52 week money challenge (Nope)
~Keep our grocery budget at $150 or lower each week, which will be a trick with our current household size of 7.
(Did a pantry challenge for the entire month of June and kept my grocery cost at less than $75 a week. Oh yeah!)
Schooling Goals:
~Finish the year on time...don't get bogged down by every little distraction (Done! Just summer camps and reading these days)
~Find ways to keep DT's interest instead of just slogging through the work each day (YES)

~Help D figure out what he's doing this school year (No comment)
~Encourage P to continue to be self motivated to get school done. He's managing his own schooling this year. I'm really pleased!
(DONE for the year)
Family goals:
~Reinstate FAMILY game night, not just 'everyone' game night. I'm missing homemade pizza and just my family around the game table. (Managed it twice this month)
~Watch less TV and do more activities together outside. (yes)

~Spend some one on one time with each child every week. (YES)

Overall, not too bad this month. I am pleased with my progress. It helps to have this to look out on the days where everything goes out the window, we eat out because I didn't have time to shop, let alone cook dinner, and I can't remember the last time I looked at a book. Thanks for keeping me accountable!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kristy's Favorite Crock Pot Recipes

For those of you who have asked for some of my fave CP recipes, I finally decided to corral them all in one place for ya :) None of these are MY original recipes, and I will give credit where I can. First up the super easy peasy ones I learned from Carrie Overmyer
BBQ Pork Roast
Place in slow cooker, one pork loin roast, top with thinly sliced onions. Cover with a mixture of 1 cup dark soda and 1 cup BBQ sauce mixed together. Cook on high 4-6 or low for 8-10. Shred with 2 forks. ENJOY
We eat this on hamburger buns, over noodles or mashed potatoes, on top of pizza, as a burrito...pretty much anyway we can get it to our mouths :)
Salsa Chicken
Place boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot (4-6 depending on size) and top with a jar of your fave salsa. Cook low 8-10 or high 4-6. Shred with 2 forks. DONE
We like this a lot. Again, very versatile. Over rice or potatoes, in burritos or tacos, on pizza, in quesadillas, in ramen noodle soup, with black beans and rice...the possibilities are nearly endless.
Taco Soup
This didn't start out as a CP recipe, but since I keep cooked hamburger in the freezer all the time, it was a cinch to 'convert'. It's pretty much an open and dump it in recipe, no fancy footwork required.
Into your crock pot, place
2 lbs cooked hamburger (if you don't have it already cooked, just brown it and drain before dumping in)
2 large cans *ranch style* beans
3 small cans crushed tomatoes
2 small cans corn
2 cups chopped green chile (MILD)
2 cups water
1 pkg Ranch dressing mix
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
Do NOT drain any liquids from cans...dump it all in there. Let it go all day on low and then ENJOY! This makes a TON of soup. As in will feed the entire Man Crew for 2 full meals and possibly some left over after that. It freezes well (if there's any left) and gets better every time you reheat it. Serve with or without any toppings you like. We like grated colby jack cheese, sour cream on occasion, sliced black olives, etc. Eat with Frito scoops for added flavor AND fun. If you want to convert it back to a 'regular' dish, just put all the ingredients in a large stock pot and let simmer for 1.5 hours. I make this when people move. It's hearty, filling, EVERYONE likes it and requires no 'babysitting' while we are working.
Clam Chowder
This recipe came from my dear friend Beccy Winn and it's everything a CP recipe should be. Fast, Easy and YUMMY~ since we originate from the cold northern USA, this is a fave for cold winter days.
1 Can clam chowder (New England style)
1 Can Cream of Potato
1 Can Cream of Celery
1 Can of minced clams-drained
I can of Creamy Onion (or a small diced onion)
1 Pint 1/2 and 1/2
1 pint milk
I generally make a double batch to feed the Man Crew, but this will be enough to feed a small family, or a larger one with the addition of bread or crackers. It's good stuff!
Baked Chicken
1 Roasting Chicken (3-6 pounds depending what will fit in your CP)
1/2 stick butter melted
a splash of Worcestershire sauce
Poultry seasoning (or thyme, savory, marjoram)
Garlic cloves (or garlic powder)
Remove giblets and gravy pouch. Rinse bird inside and out. Rub salt inside cavity. Place in oiled crock. Brush with butter, Worcestershire sauce and herb mixture. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8. The meat will be falling off the bone and OH SO JUICY!
This also leads to my next recipe...
.Chicken Stock
1 chicken frame, complete with extra skin, some fat and little bits of meat.
Add a few carrots, a quartered onion, some celery and a little salt and pepper.
Cover with water (about a 1/2 gallon) and let cook all night on low (8-12 hours) Strain solids out of stock through cheese cloth and let cool. If you want to skim the fat, let cool all the way and it will form a thick layer on top that you can pick up. However, much of chicken soup's magical healing powers are in the fat, so the choice is up to you. I take some off, leave some in. Can or freeze as you like. Use to make soups, stews, use for boiling rice or pasta, etc.
Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage
This recipe came also from a dear friend, April Rogers. It is SO good that the first time I made it, one of my boys licked his bowl after his THIRD helping. Seriously...it's that good. *winks* This finds its way into the CP at least twice a month, and usually more.
1 Large Can *ranch style* beans
1 quart stock (whatever kind you have on hand is fine)
1 Cup Brown Rice
1 lb smoked sausage (Dice smoked sausage and brown in skillet if desired.)
Cut the sausage into large chunks and drop right into the crock.
Add stock and beans, stir and cook on high for 1 hour. Stir in rice and cook for 3 more hours on high. ENJOY. This will feed the Man Crew one time with no leftovers, so I generally double it and we enjoy it as leftovers for a few days at lunch. So there you have it, my top Crock Pot Recipes. Hope you all enjoy them!
PS. I wrote this a while back on my FB page, and I can't recall if I shared it here. If I haven't, well...you're welcome. If I have, well it's so good it bears repeating. :)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

NO Pants April 2015: Day 30

NO Pants April Day 30. This is the end, folks :)
I know that everyone is probably tired of it by now, but I'm sold. S.O.L.D. Anywho, here I am rambling, and you just want to know what I wore that day.
Black knit tee with tan scroll work on it, and a long tan skirt with scroll work. A good combo. Piggietails, dangly ball earrings, and a silly grin for the last day of NPA 2015. Somehow I missed a picture of it, sorry.

MAKE UP: BB Cream, eyeliner, a bit of tinted lip balm, and a sweep of mascara. Boom, done!
Did I mention, BOOM! NPA 2015, I have enjoyed nearly every single second of you. I took care of my household, I lived, I traveled and I worked in skirts. No one died, I got more compliments in one month than I normally garner in a year, and I felt pretty. Not bad for this old lady. :) See you next year!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

NO Pants April 2015: Day 29

 OK, y'all. This is the final stretch. We're almost through April, and since you've all hung in there with me all this month, I won't bore you by waxing poetic about NPA 2015. I'll just post a picture and hush. Here we go.
Outfit: Long 2 tone green and brown gypsy skirt with gold beads and a brown knit tee. Dangly beaded earrings, and a bracelet. Probably my favorite NPA outfit. Ever. Comfy, stylish and flattering.

Make Up: BB Cream, Eye Liner, Mascara and Lip Balm. Out the door. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NO Pants April: Day 28 = FAIL

Hi friends! No, I didn't wear pants, but I somehow managed not to get a single picture of myself today. (My ego is ok with that. LOL) At any rate, know that I did wear a skirt, and do my hair pretty and wear a little make up. I just don't have photographic evidence of it. But I think after 7 years of blogging, I've earned a bit of trust so it's all good. Hope you're enjoying YOUR No Pants April 2015!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

NO Pants April 2015: Day 27

Here we are, almost to the end of No Pants April 2015. Have you been enjoying it as much as I have? I may stretch it into No Pants Life! :) Dan doesn't care much about NPA, per se, but is enjoying me wearing makeup, jewelry and doing more with my hair. So, we will see if I can manage to keep that going after April, skirts or not.
At any rate, you're here for pictures, not chatter this month, so here it goes.
Outfit: Brown Knit Sleeveless dress, pink t-shirt under it, pink Converse and no jewelry.

Hmmm, I'm not sure how I feel about this outfit now that I see the picture. I will have to think about that one.

Make up: BB Cream, shadow, liner, mascara and pink lipstick
Like my photo bomber? :)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

NO Pants April 2015: Day 26

HI friends! Just another day in skirt wearing paradise :)
Outfit: Teal and grey printed skirt, WHITE t-shirt, high heeled sandals and a pink matched set of necklace, earrings, and bracelet handmade for me by a dear friend.
Oops, I had already taken off my cute sandals.
Make up: BB cream, shadow, liner, mascara and tinted lip balm.

Too much flash. Note to self: When taking selfies, always turn off the flash.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

NO Pants April 2015: Day 25

I think I changed my clothes 6 times today. One outfit for work, one for the gymnastics banquet and graduation party, one for working at home, and one for lounging at home. And at least 2 wardrobe changes due to forgetting to take pictures in the right clothes. LOL! Well, at least I got my exercise for the day, right?

Outfit: Long tan embroidered skirt, black "Gymnasts" tee, and brown flats. I wore this to work. There doesn't seem to be a picture of what I wore to the banquet, so I'll just give you extras of my work clothes. :)

Make up: Just BB cream and mascara to work. Added a little more flair for the banquet. Washed it ALL off once I was home for the evening. Sorry honey!

Friday, April 24, 2015

NO Pants April 2015: Day 24

Well, it's official. I've taken my OWN picture so many times this month that my memory card in my most used camera is full. So now I've resorted to stealing the memory card out of my field trip/vacation camera. Oh boy!
Outfit:Long 2 tone green and gold gypsy skirt, brown t-shirt, brown flats. Curled bangs, and silver drop earrings, plus green and gold beaded earrings.
**Apparently, I forgot to take an outfit picture. Sorry. But it looked approximately like this.


This is a re-posted picture. But same outfit as today.
Make up: BB cream, tinted lip balm and mascara.

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