Book In Review

Good Morning!  As I promised in my last post I wanted to share on a book I’ve been reading.  “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist.  I first heard of the book on a list of must reads via Pinterest.  The title alone seemed like it would be completely appropriate for me to read at the current place in life.  I will say this isn’t a book I sat and read from front to back in a few days as I have with so many books.  This is a book I have read while reading one or two of those books.  I have found this to be a book I’ve dog-eared pages and found specific chapters necessary for Joe to even read.  So let’s start there…

Joe is not a reader but many times as a business owner we need to recognize things. Specifically for my husband when it is the appropriate time to “put chairs up” as Shauna references in this book during a time when in this specific chapter the church pastors church is growing at a rapid speed and as to saying “no” I will stay small and only provide so many chairs the pastor continues to want to give and provide.  At some point in business we have realized that you can’t give and provide to everyone, all the time.  That at some point your life and your well being and the best you and not only your family but your clients is providing less.  Joe is realizing that it’s time to put chairs up.  Nourishing those relationships with clients we have and being present in our kids lives to not miss the “big” things.  S’s horseback riding lessons, and K’s stunts on his power wheels four wheeler.  I have a few other chapters that I feel strongly about having Joe read as well.  Looking forward to having him read and digest as I’m digesting so many of the chapters.

A friend recently said she was curious what my feeling would be on this book.  As she had a hard time getting past the feeling that all Shauna talked about was “how busy” her life was.  It’s funny as when she made this comment I was half way through the book and hadn’t felt that.  I found myself starting to analyze chapters ahead but then stopped and thought.  I’m not reading this book for that purpose.  I am reading this book to put it active in how things she talks about apply to me.  I too am a mom of two small children and married to a great man.  I too run a hectic life; no not one that has me traveling to book signings or running small group for a church but I do stack my day with more things than I should.  Which leads to things happening as did yesterday…K asked for milk with breakfast and I went to the fridge to find no milk?  Odd we just bought a gallon!?  I went to get a cup and say he will have to have orange juice as we are out.  Guess what was staring at me in the cupboard of cups?!  Yes, the gallon of milk half full that I put there after I gave the kids milk the night before for dinner.  This is not the first time I’ve done this and likely won’t be the last.  Last week it was the pretzels for S’s lunch that I bagged up and then never put in her lunch bag.  Before that it was my coffee cup I found in the laundry shoot.  To me these instances didn’t seem odd or not normal; ok maybe not normal.  But I pushed it off as a busy mom multi tasking.  After I read the chapter on “the word that changed everything” and this milk incident happened yesterday it clicked.  It’s time to start saying “no” and feeling ok about it.  I can’t do everything even though I want to.  Saying “no” is challenging for me as I think it is for many.  We want to help everyone even if it comes at the expense of over extending ourselves in a healthy way.  I think books as this one can be taken many ways.  I absolutely can see how one would read into it and feel like “ok we get it your busier than me.”  But I also think the book is meant to be taken for what it is and using the tools she suggests into your life however that may be.  There are chapters in the book that don’t apply to me but I’m sure they apply to someone.  We aren’t a religious family but the points she touches on in regard to religion don’t offend or affect me in a way that leaves me not interested in reading the book further.  There is enough religion in the book that made me stop and think about what she was sharing. Which I think is a good thing!

My overall opinion of the book is it’s a great read for everyone.  I think a few people that it would specifically be great for are (1) mom’s.   Weather you are pulled in many directions which so many moms/parents are or you like me think the crazy is norm.  This book can put some things in perspective and are good things to think about and consider.  I also think it’s a great book for (2) business owners/higher ups/those in intense roles for a company to read.  It’s a good reminder that life isn’t about what’s in the bank or what high you get from a clients positive words.  It’s about living the life that was meant for you and not getting caught up in these highs that are minuscule in the grand scheme of things.  There is so much out there to be appreciated and nurtured but we can loose focus of these things if we allow life to let it.

I’m looking forward to starting one of Shauna’s other books “Bread & Wine” excited to try some of the recipes she incorporates into this book as well!  Speaking of food next time we chat I will share a few new recipes I’ve tried out!  Until then be well!  Cheers🍻

We Are A Team

Happy Thursday Everyone! It has been a whirlwind of a 24 hours here.  But in that 24 hours I discovered a few very important things.  Things I’m working hard to notice/appreciate/love.  Stay tuned for my post about the book I’m finishing up “Present Over Perfect.”  It’s a start at working on all of the above in a life that sometimes demands more than we can or should give.  Anyway, let’s go back a few days…

Tuesday night all is great in the Lisenby home.  Family snuggles before book reading and bed.  (Insert sigh here) you have made it through another day as momma bear!  Then it’s 115am and you hear little feet shuffling to the bathroom, flicking the light switch, then sobbing.  Two things happen here; before the sobbing I think “yes they made to the bathroom, I will just stay cozy.” Then, the sobbing and I feel an instant feeling of sadness for our little one as I have no idea what’s wrong. Shuffling I go!  K is so sad but can’t tell me much. So I’m asking assuming his tummy hurts. Wipe his tears and tuck him back in.  135am blood curdling screaming between a sound that is the farthest thing from music to any persons ears.  K is full throttle throwing up all over his bed. Now my thought is “why couldn’t he just have pee’d the bed!” I fly in there and do all I can to keep my composure as I’m not great with smells but I know if Joe comes I will have to clean it up for two.  So I’m yelling for a bucket and bath started.  After K takes a bath and Joe shockingly doesn’t throw all the bedding out starts a first load.  Yes, Joe does so bad with smells that last time K had the flu the entire full size mattress was heaved  over our bedroom balcony and brought to the curb the next day! No joke!  K being the sweetest little guy looks at me and says “momma I think I just ate too much dinner.” Covering his bed in towels and setting him up with a bucket this dashing in his room went on the rest of the night every 20-30 minutes.  He at one point said “momma when will it be morning so I don’t feel like this?” I prayed that when it was morning he told be done.  At one point I finally fell asleep and woke to Joe telling Kole “we are taking shifts, momma is sleeping.”  I felt bad as I didn’t hear him wake but also an appreciation for my husband for taking “a shift” and not bothering me.  Now here is what I realized in these six hours…Our son is still so young and innocent and needs us.  His vocabulary lately has increased to words like inappropriate and annoying but still slips out shit here and there but he’s still just four.  Many days we are going so fast that I don’t take the time to recognize just this.  The other thing I realized is that when it matters most Joe and I are one heck of a team.  I don’t mind being at the forefront of our kids disaster especially when I know he’s right beside/behind me to get everything and everyone back on track.  The turn around time from disaster in K’s bed to completely back in order including the floor washed was of record speed and I realize I can’t do this or do I want to do this alone.  My appreciation for Joe is so different these days as to ten years ago.  Slowly I’m learning to appreciate all those in my life and make them aware of it.

S woke up by 645 Wednesday and heard Joe so she went down as she loves her daddy time before the day begins.  But quickly I heard her coming to my room. She climbed in bed and said “mom, dad said K has the flu.” I said “yes, he’s been sick for many hours.” She said “I’m sure he’s not going to school today then.”  I say “no, I just want to sleep for a few more minutes.” S says “mom what about your doctors appointment?” I said “I will have to cancel.” She says “yes I think this is best so you can take care of K.” I was up then as first how does she remember my appointments when I barely can. Second she was genuinely concerned for all as she knows my doctors appointments are important but also knew her brother genuinely needed his mom today.  She was to have a sleepover at my parents after school but I wasn’t sure I could get there without a disaster in the car and part of me worried if she might have. I did as I always do when not sure.  I called my mom, yes I’m 36 years old and I call my mom for just about everything.  She may not always think it’s necessary but sometimes I need the assurance that I’m making the right decision. Mom first said umm I think I won’t come up today as planned I catch everything! I’ll just get S after school I said here’s the thing.  Well 45 minutes later S had two bags packed and was on the road with Grandma and Papa with no plans of returning anytime soon!  She had a day and night of creating horse corrals and managing all of Grandmas technology devices and I had a day of cleaning and disinfecting!  K thankfully had his last round of being sick at 10am but was exhausted and laid in bed watching movies.  It was a whirlwind of a morning as one call to my parents and they were up to help.  Stopping for essentials at the grocery store for me first.  I recognized in this morning window that I have a passionate daughter who truly loves her brother.  Sometimes I take her passion for more than simply what it is.  I think we all sometimes are in the moment and jump to conclusions especially with our kids.  I 100% do and I realize I need to nurture my daughters passion and not be so quick to suffocate it.  I also recognize that I have the best parents.  Who truly love me and my family and will do anything for us even at the risk of bringing a flu bug to their house.

My last recognition of how a 24 hour period starting in fresh hell made me recognize many positives in my own life. At bedtime K wanted to sleep in our bed.  Mind you Joe wasn’t getting too close as he reminded us he still has the bug even if he hadn’t puked in hours.  He immediately denied the bedtime request where I was ok with it. Joe said how about I sleep in S’s bed and you sleep in my spot.  He truly can’t get sick and will do whatever to avoid it. So we set him up with towels and a bowl just in case in our bed.  Within 5 minutes he was sound asleep.  I looked over and felt such a love for this little guy.  I went and got joe as he too needed to see what I was seeing.  Such innocents these little ones bring to our lives that as the weather warms and seasons begin to change I don’t want to miss these moments; all of them.

I’m happy to report K woke up this morning at 6am and said “mom when its morning can you make a cup of coffee and let me have some?”  My child is back to normal! Ahhhh!

Have an amazing day! Until next time.  Until next time, cheers 🍻


Kid Tested, Mother Approved-FOOD!

Hello Friends!  So I thought it had been a bit since we have talked food!  Out weather here in Wisconsin has been all over the board!  We were at 50 earlier this week and today I think we have a high of 24!  I know we are so ready for spring heck I’m ok with jumping straight to Summer!  I thought I would share some recent recipes we have made that have received thumbs up by the two biggest critics in our house and if you have kids I’m sure you agree.  If the kids like what you cook it can make dinner more enjoyable!  I will also mention we did do “Hello Fresh” for a few months and absolutely loved the variety and the quantity was perfect.  It got me out of my funk of feeling like I was cooking the same things each week.  Plus, it had all of us trying new things and again the kids really liked I would say 98% of the dinners we made.  So if you haven’t tried it I would recommend it as I think they are still offering a first week free.

Let’s talk soup as Joe loves soup and I like making them for a few reasons.  Many times the recipe makes enough to freeze and have another meal next month.  The Chicken Tortilla Soup was the first recent one I tried.  Everyone enjoyed it we added Frito’s to it as well as cheese and Joe and I added jalapeños!  It was filling and there was an entire second meal to freeze with the left overs!

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup was the next soup we made!  I honestly had no intentions of making this soup but realized I had to bell peppers in my fridge that were about to be expired.  I hate when I buy food and forget about it or why I bought as I’m sure I saw a recipe I wanted to try.  But then life happens and there went that idea!  This soup wasn’t an all day process it took me about an hour and a half from start to finish as it simmers for 30 minutes.  Joe loved this soup as he said when we have stuffed peppers they can be a pain and sometimes there is more bell pepper than you want and not enough filling.  With it in soup form you decide the balance.  Flavors of this recipe were good we added cheese.  The kids aren’t big bell pepper fans so they ate the filling only.  Which I am fine with as they ate what I made and a side of bread with butter.  We are a big dipping family so bread and butter is often on the table at dinner time!  This one had leftovers too but I decided to enjoy this for lunch for a few days as to freezing.

For those of you that aren’t in soup mode I recommend trying Potato Chip-Crusted Spicy Macaroni and Cheese.  We love a little spice in our life so I knew this would be a hit.  S is the only one that prefers things a little more bland so I didn’t put as much jalapeños in but still but a good amount.  You can always add spice but can’t remove.  This was a quick recipe and again all the ingredients were on hand.  The portion of this was maybe more enough for a family of 6.  Or of 4 with kids that have larger appetites.  This too was lunch for me for a few days.  I will also say I’m not a macaroni leftover kind of person.  I just think something happens when they get cold that just doesn’t make them work the day after.  But I think there is enough going on with this recipe that I was happy to eat it as leftovers.

Last is the recipe that I LOVED but I am a goat cheese fan.  The creamy deliciousness of this cheese is just so good to me.  Joe is not a huge fan of goat cheese he’s definitely the less adventuress, more traditional one when it comes to food.  But I will say he did have two servings so you decide how much he really didn’t like it…I think he secretly loved it.  Ok so the recipe is One Pot Chicken Rosemary Goat Cheese Pasta.  Oh ya I am not a huge rosemary person so I eyed my portion as in everything but know I did a bit less than recommended.  Yes, all the magic happens in one pot who doesn’t love this?  After a good meal who wants to be doing a ton of dishes?!  Not this girl!

Ok well here are a few recipes to get you warmed up!  Have a fantastic weekend and until we meet again, cheers!🍻

Snuggle Up to A Good Read (part 1)

Hello Fellow Book Worms!  I laugh every time I say this as I think of the current book I’m reading with a little green inch worm snuggled up between the pages!  I know I’m odd but oh well.  So for about the past year and a half I have gotten back into reading daily.  There are many reasons why I got back in to reading.  But the most important being I had to own something.  As all moms know once you have kiddos you loose control of just about everything.  I am no different, previously I owned my diet coke and coffee.  Well, I can remember exactly when I lost both of those.  K was 8 months old and we were down in Georgia for Thanksgiving at our night before dinner at the local Mexican Restaurant.  Well K was being needy and Grandma G at that time only saw the kiddos twice a year.  So she was happy to take him so I could have an adult conversation and margarita!  Well very quickly K was quiet and I looked down the long table to see Grandma letting him enjoy her Diet Coke!  He was instantly the happiest baby around!  I picked my jaw up and said “Oh well that’s what’s great about being Grandma and being on vacation!”  K’s Diet Coke addiction hasn’t stopped except for the fact that I stopped drinking it last October so it’s never around for him to sneak sips of!  In regards to owning my coffee each morning, well this is a similar story.  K was out helping me in the garden one summer morning two summers ago so he was three years old.  I went to go add the grape tomatoes to the bowl and K was standing there sipping my coffee!  Coffee lost ownership by me or Joe or heck my mom has been over and she drinks her coffee black and K has asked for a drink and LIKED IT!  Now please know one thing I don’t allow my child to order DC or coffee on his own nor do I open or pour a cup for myself with plans for him to enjoy with me.  This is more of a sneak and enjoy process.  My daughter on the other hand thinks both are absolutely disgusting which I did too until I had kids!  Ok let’s get back to the subject at hand…reading and why I’m loving it again as an adult.  I will say when I read I am a 100% book in hand person.  I have tried to do kindle and other smart device reading and just can’t do it.

I started a few years ago on the Janet Evanovich series with Stephanie Plum.  I was given one and was reading them after I put the kids to bed to relax my own mind.  I became obsessed and was reading a book every few days.  The series was gone through very quick and I realized this is something I CAN OWN!  No One Can Take This From Me…at least until they are adults!  Then I moved on to the Fifty Shades of Grey series which I know had a ton of controversy over.  All I can say is I again was hooked and read the series in a week and a half.  It was definitely a book that made me say WOW but I couldn’t stop reading it!  Next up a friend recommended I start the series by Sandra Hill they are funny and Cajun spicy!  I will say these books for me read very similar to Evanovich’s but I just wasn’t as hooked as Evanovich’s series.  As they say different strokes for different folks?!  These past few months I’ve stopped with doing books in series and really relied on recommendations of Fall/Winter/Spring MUST READ LISTS.  So far, the ones that I have read have been really good.  I’ve also started taking the kids to the library every Wednesday for story/craft/snack time at which time I sit and read and our librarian makes new book recommendations.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell was one of the first books on a list I picked up.  As the saying goes everyone has someone or many people in their family that’s let’s say has their quarks.  As adults we often meet families that do things differently then maybe we do or would do in our home.  The family in this book I feel like I knew from somewhere.  Life in this house is one that provides many things and at times you will see maybe so much so that it overtook what was really needed by mom herself.  Resulting in many ups and downs for this family.

I don’t know exactly why as my mom’s family didn’t live this life exactly, but my grandmother was a woman that surrounded herself with children as to things.  Many that “needed” her and she became someone who needed to be “needed.”  At the end of the day my grandparents had ten children and I can’t even tell you how many foster children along the way.  Six of the ten of these children found this life not one they were passionate about.  One leaving the day after they graduated high school and the others quickly moving on to start their own families.  Unfortunately my grandmothers need to be needed didn’t set the other children up for success.  One you may remember me talking about last year dying in his early thirties of heart complications due to obesity.  Others were still needing my grandmother until she passed last February.  Sadly, they never gained the necessary skills to know how to live on their own.  Now that my grandmother has passed they have been forced to learn these so important skills as adults.  Again, this book touched on many things that I think are realistic in many peoples lives indirectly and directly.  I highly recommend this book; it was a great read and tough to put down as I couldn’t wait to see what madness was going to happen next in their house.

I look forward to talking about my next read which was “The Glass Castle” in my next post.  If you are thinking of picking it up I will say do so and see if you enjoy as I did when we meet again!  Until then Cheers!🍻

S is SIX!

Hello Everyone!  Well this past week S turned SIX!  I can not believe that we have a six year old.  Then again most days I’m shaking my head as it seems more like I have a twelve year old.  There are honestly days it seems she’s driving the bus around here!  This past year she has grown so much.  Having her reading words everywhere we go.  Reading step one books on her own.  Last night she wrote her note to Joe and I on our valentines wall by herself!  Her math skills have the potential to surpass me if she keeps at the pace she’s at. She can be super thoughtful & encouraging over the smallest things; K why don’t you have a few chips of mine?  K your heart is getting better by the end of the month you are going to be doing them perfect! Ok so I know your probably now thinking I get it your kids pretty great let’s get to the party!  I just had to go off on that little tangent as I rarely do and I’m really proud of her.  This year S got Lea Clark for Christmas from Grandma and Papa, if not familiar she was the American Girls Girl of the Year in 2016.  In the book about Lea she and her family go to Brazil.  So S decided she wanted her party around this and she wanted live animals!  Always up for the challenge I got to planning and researching!

First I went to Etsy I always find great party invites, etc. here and at an affordable price.  I typically print my own or have them printed at the local print shop.  One Love Designs, LLC. is who I used for this party.  She had the cutest sloth watercolor amazon looking invites and thank you cards among other items.  I have a secret obsession with sloth’s don’t ask questions because I don’t have an answer! LOL! But S really liked them so we ran with it as I do know one thing she is a direct take charge girl but she unfortunately has the indecisive gene from me.  When she does decide on something we run with it!  Next we had to figure out entertainment!  She wanted live animals so I went to a site that I have grown to LOVE!  Gigsalad where you can find anything in regards to party entertainment needs.  We used this site for Santa this past Christmas as well.  We used the company The Animal Express out of Illinois.  They were so great and easy to work with.  They brought seven different animals including a red fox as well as a hedgehog, a skunk, a albino snake, a tortoise, tarantula, and a ferret which we joked was google mapping its location trying to find an escape route!  The owner did a great job telling the kids about each animal and letting them hold, feel and touch them.

On to decorations for the party!  With Lea heading to Brazil in her story we tried to create the feel of amazon/jungle/rainforest for the girls to enjoy.  I think we did a pretty good job I had a vision of animals swinging from trees by vines as well as a waterfall.  Nothing a bit of tulle, a sound machine, craft and construction paper can’t recreate; right?!  S was awesome at helping cut out all the leaves.  Joe was great at hanging in high places.  K was great at testing the swinging capability of the vines!  Our friends are HUGE Jimmy Buffet fans and they borrowed us a parrot the size of our front door for guests to arrive to!  The library rocks in our town and they allowed us to borrow as many of their large stuffed animals for our decor as well!  Point being use your resources!

Now we had to add in a bit of the American Girl side of things as we seemed to have covered the amazon side.  So the girls moved to our kitchen where we did pictures of them as American Girls in a cut out from tri-fold foam board and painted dollar store stars with each girls name printed on them.  At the table we had the girls set up to make bead bracelets for their dolls which they brought!

Last was dessert!  S wanted a jungle theme for her cake and Lea Clark for her cupcakes.  What my girl wants is what my girl gets!  I’m again not nor do I claim to be the cake boss but I do try my best when requests are made.  As far as the Lea Clark side of things I again went to Etsy to Edible Party Images and ordered edible cupcake toppers with Lea’s picture on them and they said Happy Birthday Sidnee.  They were perfect!  I unfortunately did not take a picture of them😥  For party favors I found cute little bags in S’s favorite color Aqua at Target.  We put fun colored clip in hair, adventure note pads and pens as well as S made each girl a bracelet from beads with their name on them!

Well there you have it another successful party at the Lisenby Mad House!  Remember birthdays are the one day a year that usually is only about you (unless a twin, triplet, etc.)!  So make the day as memorable as you can no matter what your budget the smallest thing can make the day the best one!  Cheers🍻