Please Be Quiet!

We all know someone either personally or via friends that seems to enjoy the sound of their own voice, sometimes a bit too much!  Well guess what in my journey to recognize who I am as an adult, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and a friend I have realized this at times is ME!  I know how dare I go there about myself.  I mean we all have our flaws or character defects.  Sadly, this is only one of my many that are on the table to be chopped away at!

I thought the best way to start addressing things such as this flaw would be to say it out loud?!  Right?  I mean we all feel better when we talk about things good or bad.  Getting it off your chest so to speak!  Months ago a very important person came to me upset and said someone very close to them pointed out this flaw in them.  But when they were told this they were told in kind of a harsh way.  They were told that those around them think this too, but wouldn’t ever say it to her face.  I knew exactly what/when this conversation was about/from/had.  I’m able to be very open with this person and I know she is with me.  So after she told me and said “I know I do this I’m working on it.”  I said well I didn’t say it to the person who called you out but it has come up with others.  I know it’s a challenge for you, as it is for me.  I provided specific instances when she did it to me.  As sometimes I don’t think we realize what we are doing.  Weather it be over talking people, one up’ing someones story, or simply talking too much!  It was after this conversation I realized I 100% do this same thing.  I will admit I do all of the above😢.  The challenge in this is moving forward and correcting this flaw.  Ha now this is where it gets fun!  I’m soooo kidding as I suck at this whole changing thing.  I find myself sitting to talk to Joe about something and he is an AMAZING listener so I tend to own conversations at time.  By the time it comes his turn I’m burnt out by all I just shared and really don’t care to listen.  This is where I am completely wrong and where I find a part of me inside pissed at myself. What makes what I have to say more important then what he or anyone in my life has to say?!

So I have started to plan out things a bit.  I know your thinking plan out what you talk about?  Yes!  I have started to go into conversations with a little reminder to myself before they start talking to remember to shut up and allow it to be a conversation and not just me hearing myself talk!  Again, I’m still learning as I went walking with a dear friend recently and after we were done I wanted to talk more and at that moment it dawned on me.  I took over the talking in this conversation which lasted about 5 miles!  I have to say I don’t do it on purpose nor do I do it as I feel like my story that is similar is any better than theirs.  I guess its more of I can relate so let me share my experience.  When really sometimes people just want to be listened to.  They don’t care if you have had a similar experience or not.  So an opportunity to get fresh air, exercise, and be with another adult turned into me leaving feeling like a bad friend.  I’ve worked a lot on not overthinking things six counseling sessions and I can say that I have went from one of the biggest over thinkers you can meet to someone who has started understanding that over thinking isn’t a good use of my time or energy.  If I’m concerned about something address it and move on!

At this point becoming a better me is a work in progress.  Everything takes work in life including motherhood, being a wife, a great daughter, sister and friend.  But I know I will get there even if I trip a million times.  I will get to a point when I am the listener I expect out of those I surround myself with to be.  The struggle is real friends but until next time keep listening!  Cheers🍻

Desserts, Desserts…Who doesn’t love dessert!?

Hello!  Happy Monday to you all!  So this weekend was a busy one.  We celebrated K’s 5th birthday with family and his classmates on Friday after school.  Eighteen little kids, Darth Vader, A Nut Allergy, A Few Exhausted Moms, and DESSERT!  Ok so as I re-read this I think none of this sounds fun.  I instantly think of the saying “Not my monkey, Not my circus!” Then I realize no this was my circus and I loved almost every second of it.  All but one of these kids had never been to my house but every parent had no concern they were in any danger.  I say this as they were practically running back to their cars once we said our hellos!  I can promise you I don’t shame them for these actions I applaud them.  All parents need a break from time to time even if only two hours.  Those of you that stayed with me for the party I thank you.  Next time wear your gym shoes and run!! LOL! So the best part of K’s party was of course Darth Vader coming and playing games, doing Jedi training and going on a hunt for Darth Mal; which freaked the heck out of a few little girls!  The second best part for the kids was dessert.  I think the adults would have been happy with just dessert.  Anyway, I made a Darth Vader cake or I should say I attempted.  I’ve had cake orders weekly lately and K’s cake was one of three for this weekend.  I won’t lie this was the most challenging cake for me thus far.  It turned out OK I definitely know what I would do next time.  Live and learn and as S says “mom it doesn’t matter how it looks.  It just has to taste good!”  You know what S I wish I could take that spirit with everything in life.  I’m working towards that (see previous post for more on that.)

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For K’s cake I did a chocolate and yellow cake with buttercream frosting.  The requests for frosted as to fondant covered cakes has definitely increased lately which is much harder for me but I’m grateful to those that challenge me.  As practice makes perfect; right?!  So some things that challenged me in doing Darth…I should have colored my fondant when I made it but didn’t so getting it to the shade of black I wanted was a task!  Then when I built the cake I didn’t follow too many directions and found out later I should have done a bowl cake for my top.  So this challenged me as I was layering very tiny pieces of cake.  Last, I ran out of buttercream in order to get a nice crumb frosted base below the fondant.  I decided to do chocolate over which was very silly.  Your saying why didn’t you make more buttercream?  Well it was Friday; day of the party and I had no time so I thought I would compromise a bit I mean I knew the taste would be great.  It just was NOT smooth what so ever.  Again, haven’t worked with this method enough to have mastered.  Silly, Silly, Amanda and a bit stubborn.  We all know there’s a youtube how to video for this!  But no!  I always have had to learn the hard way!  Now I was ready to roll out the fondant and starting with the face it was laying great then I went to press the eyes and nose/mouth area to the frosting.  Well remember the non smooth surface the chocolate created?  Ya well it came through my fondant like razor blades.  This is typically when I take a deep breath and say “Amanda if it looks like doo-doo, there are always cupcakes at the store.”  So I used small strips to reinforce the areas I knew were sure to push thru.  Then went back over with a large piece of fondant and this worked!  K at this point said this does not look like Darth Vader it looks like a dog!  I said well doubt all you want you will see Darth in some way or another when I’m done!  The rest went ok the helmet I struggled at getting it just the right length’s on the sides but doing much longer I would have needed to set on a different surface for presenting.  So here is the final result and guess what.  One of my friends who hadn’t had one of my cakes before said “Amanda this is really good!” I instantly thought “DAMN S is such a smart kid.”  It’s about the taste so if you ever get the urge to try your hand at your kids cake I say go for it!  If not give me a call I’m happy to give it a whirl!

Next cake up was for a family that their little boy is in kindergarten at the same school as S & K!  They had me do their daughters Anna/Elsa cake a few weeks ago.  Her husband requested my yellow cake with buttercream frosting for his 40th birthday last weekend and then for their sons birthday they asked me to do a construction cake very simple using buttercream.  I requested the use of Oreo pieces and the little guy said yes that would work! This cake was a breeze compared to K’s Friday challenge but I think it turned out great and just like his sister he was appreciative.  His sister provided potentially the best reaction I’ve ever had to one of my cakes.  She went absolutely bananas over her cake!  Huge eyes, and a lot of cheering.  Three year olds innocence is something that needs to be bottled up.  I will also provide that the other side of a three year old you know the tantrums, NO’s, leave me alone’s that well… that can stay as far away as possible!  Anyway, this cake was fun to do and I’m glad this family has trusted the desserts for their celebrations in me.

Last I had received an interesting text or not really interesting as to unexpected!  It started “Hi Amanda!  This is Ricki’s dad and I wanted to see if you could do a cheesecake for my birthday this Monday?” Now I say this was unexpected as this family I did their daughter’s birthday cake last weekend and his wife text me after.  She said her son called this cake “definitely a wedding cake.” So four tiers can be more than we expect.  Yes I could have brought them two tiers but then I had two others that would be thrown out.  We all know you don’t throw away dessert!  So I said what the heck their getting all the cake!  For their daughter I did chocolate and yellow cake, cream cheese frosting, fondant, sixlets for beads and buttercream flowers.  Back to dad I say yes I would love to.  So I gave him options of what I do best.  He went with the turtle cheesecake which is always a good choice I mean who doesn’t love a turtle then you add some cream cheese and pretty much your result is dessert heaven!  Cheesecakes don’t typically give me any challenges its more in watching it in those last ten minutes as it’s all in the jiggle.  All cheesecakes have a different jiggle when looking for the perfect doneness!

So with all this said I completely understand why my grandfather a very wise man used to say “you always start with dessert, as you don’t know when your going to go!” On that note have a great rest of your Monday and until next time!  Cheers🍻

Buttercream Frosting Recipe: http://www.chef-in-training.com/2015/10/perfect-buttercream-frosting/

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe:http://thecakeblog.com/2014/04/marshmallow-fondant-recipe.html

Turtle Cheesecake Recipe: Turtle Cheesecake-WoodenSpoon

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 🍻

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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!

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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.

http://www.toneupgirl.com/single-post/2016/1/26/Stuffed-Pepper-Soup-21-Day-Fix-Approved

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.

https://www.tastemade.com/videos/potato-chip-crusted-spicy-mac-n-cheese

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!

https://www.tastemade.com/shows/healthy-af/one-pot-chicken-rosemary-goat-cheese-pasta

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🍻

It’s A Wrap!

No pun intended with the title but it does ring true on a few things in our home and I’m sure yours too!  Holidays are wrapped up and all signs of them are now packed away for another year!  Holiday break for the kiddos have wrapped up; we made it safe and sound through that!  I have wrapped up a few more pieces of furniture and have brought new pieces indoors to get my undivided attention!

Let’s start with a few pieces my dad helped me accomplish!  We had requests for bedroom pieces.  My dad is great as I have mentioned before with wood projects.  Give him guidelines and he can make it happen!

We had a request for another sofa table but different dimensions and dark waxed as to stained.  The piece is done in my made white chalk paint and Annie Sloan dark wax.  It’s dimensions are 10.5W x 25 3/4H.

Moving on we are having a great time doing a master bedroom re-do!  Two of the three pieces for this space have been completed.  We started with a headboard which we did in cedar we really wanted to get the rough look but didn’t want to do too much distressing after it was painted.  So it was sanded a ton and then painted with our white chalk paint and then lightly sanded just to take some of the starkness away.  I’m in love with how this turned out!  It looks so great with the colors of the bedding and window treatments!  This was done for a queen size bed.

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The side tables we wanted them to go with our headboard but we didn’t want them to be matchy-matchy!  (I love saying that!)  But I also truly don’t like to have things let’s say it again matchy-matchy in my own house so I tend to convey this to those that ask for my help within their homes.  I think not matching everything lends you the flexibility to move and change things often.  My mom is a prime example of someone who does this well! Likely who I learned it from!  She is always changing things up especially in their living room.  Weather it be something as simple as a wreath to a table to throwing a bit of color on an existing piece and having it tie in by adding touches of this color in other places of the space.  Anyway, for the side tables we needed them to be taller as they wanted them bed height.  There wasn’t a need for drawers so keeping it simple was the direction given. We used pine which kept cost down.  Dimensions of these were 19L X 15.5W X 28H.  White chalk paint was used for surrounds and legs and Early American stain for centers.

The dresser is the last piece to be completed for this space.  I’m pretty excited to get working on this in the next few weeks as I have some barn wood that I have sanded down and going to use it on the top of the dresser!  Stay tuned for pictures.  I have also re-done my kitchen and two dressers for another clients little boys new big boy bedroom!

I wish you all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2017!  Cheers🍻

As always let’s make sure we give credit where credit is due.  Even though we tweaked these plans we did use the basic guidelines in creating these pieces.  We thank those of you that shared your ideas so we could use them towards creating our pieces.

http://www.ana-white.com/2012/05/plans/rustic-x-console

https://diyprojects.com/diy-rustic-pallet-headboard/

http://rogueengineer.com/diy-simple-square-bedside-table-plans/?mc_cid=e399f77d10&mc_eid=f3dc121068

 

Tis’ The Season

Good Morning Friends!  Well the season of happiness is upon us.  Happiness as this time of year brings joy to so many in different ways.  In our home it is the wide eyes seen from two kids from just the thought of decorating the house.

S is in love with the decorating of the season as much as I am.  Each day since we have come back from the Thanksgiving holiday she has decorated a different space.  Her bedroom tree went up first with her snow babies set up on her dresser from her grandma and great grandma. The white garland hangs over her vanity mirror and she’s looking for more to detail her space with.  Next up was her decorating our entrance tree!  Last year I let her decorate our big tree and honestly her placement was perfect and she hasn’t let me down on this years entrance tree; it looks perfect!  K loves to get involved as well but with S managing him he slowly eases himself back to building lego’s!  That is one area of this house he has complete control of his creations.  We decided for his room tree this year we are making it a Lego tree.  Making our own ornaments with his thousands of Lego’s!  For others it’s the memory of the joy the holidays brought to them when they were celebrated with those now watching them from above.

I was at the grocery store this week and an older lady stopped and asked if I had seen the rolled cookie dough.  Being it was Aldi I told her it was probably seasonal and either they wouldn’t have this year or they hadn’t gotten in yet.  She then began talking to me about the cookies she was making.  Leading to her handing them out to all her neighbors as this was her second holiday without her husband as he passed last December and her son was killed in a terrible car accident last July.  My heart cramped as I couldn’t imagine she told me she has their pictures on her mantle and each day let’s them know that it’s crap that they left together and didn’t take her.  I asked what other family she had she said a daughter and she has two granddaughters.  I said this is why you are here they need you and I’m sure your neighbors adore you too.  She smiled and said her granddaughter was to go out of town for Thanksgiving but when she knew grandma would be alone she cancelled her plans and told her grandma she wouldn’t let her be alone and the two of them enjoyed the holiday together.  Your probably reading this and thinking this is all great but why are you sharing a story about a complete stranger.  The reason for me sharing this is because what I didn’t say at the start was that I was in a terrible rush I had only an hour to get my shopping done and make it back to get K from school.  But there was a reason why we crossed paths and a reason she stopped me.  During this holiday season remember take a minute to be kind to others.  You never know what has filled another’s day and what their going through.  So take a minute even when you don’t have it to listen to others and be kind.

Before I let you go and enjoy your Sunday and as the first snow falls and we head to cut down our tree!  I have many projects to share as I mentioned before Dad has began assisting in the furniture business.  I look forward to sharing the couch tables, end tables and headboard he has recently completed.  I’ve also purchased Annie Sloan’s recently released black wax.  I will tell you it’s fantastic and am working to finish a second piece with it.  More on all this very soon!  Until then enjoy this holiday season!  Remember all those that cross your path weather a bright eyed little one or an elderly stranger smiles are free and can change the day of someone.  You know how good it makes you feel when a stranger or a loved one smiles at you…

 

The Struggle is Real

Ok I love this saying it just cracks me up!  My siblings and I use it often when referring to just about anything that affects us as adults.  You know making creative dinners, being a disciplinary to our kids when that’s the worst part of being a parent, when jobs have us pulled in more directions than we know what to do!  I’m sure all of you have said or felt this at one point or another?  The struggle for me clearly is sitting myself down and sharing my struggles with all of you!  Things have been absolutely bananas over here.

When the kids started school and S started full day and K started half days I had so many amazing plans!  I was going to have all this free time for myself that I wasn’t going to know what to do with myself!  Well that is a total joke!  I find myself accomplishing less.  I had planned to run daily or at least three days; nope isn’t happening.  Planned to make one day for just working on our business; that’s not happening.  I also thought I would have the cleanest house you could imagine without extra hands messing everything up three steps behind me;  umm now they are just a few hours behind me doing it!  Last I thought I will be hanging out at the local coffee shop with my girlfriends discussing all the things are little ones had us stressed about over the days up to our coffee clutch; this I have completely mastered some times its alone but do you know how enjoyable it is to go into a coffee shop ALONE and get a delicious pumpkin spice latte and not share it!  I do have to say other things have come in to play in which my “other” plans haven’t quite happened.  Most of these things have been positive with a few negatives.  But no one says being a wife, a mom or business owner was easy or always going to be lollipops and gum drops!

First things first being a wife…We’ve touched on this before Joe has crazy hours and the biggest heart of anyone I know.  He wants to help everyone from the smallest things such as offering to build a barn wood partition wall to big things like renting a lift to try and help a client fix a problem on their home that a different masonry company created.  Then there are the things I require you know be home at a time that the kids can enjoy you before bed.  Dad reads books way better than mom does!  Then I have questions about the business.  Usually at this point I’m not sure he’s even coherent as exhaustion is on strong! But there is one new thing we incorporated into our family.  It is the addition of Hello Fresh being delivered to our door each Tuesday.  This has changed our life in a few ways.  The biggest pertaining to Joe and I is we are having date nights.  Yes, I have been cooking our meals so it is ready when he will get home.  This way we can sit down together and talk about the kids, work, life just as we do when we go to a restaurant and spend triple the amount of money.  For the kids yes it has pushed dinner back for them on some of the nights and also has them in the kitchen cooking with me!  If it is something I know they will be in udder disgust over I plan accordingly by cooking something else for them weather it be chicken or pasta.  The overall experience has been very positive for our family.  So I do recommend trying Hello Fresh out!  Now let’s talk being mom…

I wish I could say things have been easy but until last week the mom role was quite challenging.  I was struggling with a VERY strong willed little girl that was challenging everything.  Meltdowns over small things were happening daily and some days multiple times.  Going wild when she was asked to do anything from take her bath to eat dinner to lastly homework.  S is a very smart kid and she kept telling me about things at school but most ended with “I’m Bored”.  I had to do something quick as Joe was ready to seek outside help and honestly I was at my wits end.  After speaking to a few people I learned of the Love and Logic methods.  I went to the library and checked out the book that seemed to pertain to what we were going through.  The biggest change in our home was the removal of ipads.  Yes, our kids were turning into raging lunatics that’s lives were being controlled by mind craft and youtube!  As discussed with my brother my kids were suffering from the ipad hangover.  They NEEDED it to feel content, they just needed to see one more how to video or build one more room.  If they didn’t get it they were total wackadoos!  At school they have started a color behavior chart which in speaking with S’s teacher we have begun at home for both kids.  Ipads were just reintroduced this past weekend for a short time.  Lastly, I have used the love and logic options method.  So far both kids are making the right choice.  Kids like choices as they like to feel like they are the ones in control.  It’s such an easy concept in almost every situation I give them two options; they have to choose one.  I will say I have not finished the book yet but the bits and pieces I have been using I think are so easy and I wish I would have started them years ago.  Oh well better late then never, right?!  I’m happy to report S has ended each day at school in either purple or blue which are the two highest behavior options!

Last lets talk about being a business owner.  This time I’m not talking about my husband!  Mom and I have been full swing with finishing furniture.  We were just asked to sell our items in a new shop near me.  Last week I was hired to come to a clients house and teach her how to refinish her 16 person dining room table!  We have brought my dad on as part of our team too!  Dad has done a beautiful cedar headboard which I finished with chalk paint and light distressing.  He also has built a few couch/entry way tables for clients.  Next endeavor will be for him to do some night stands!  I truly think he is loving it.  He and my mom are retired and this gives my dad something to do which he loves and also make some extra money!  We all loved to be appreciated and my dad hearing the wonderful feedback of those that have bought his stuff has been great!  Mom and I have been working on a few things.  I unfortunately have been sick with a few different things.  My migraines have come back in full force which have had me in bed for a week at a time resulting in an upcoming neurology appointment.  I went in to have a better look and hopefully remove any endometriosis found.  Which I was diagnosed with a year ago.  My results came back that they were wrong and I didn’t in fact have endometriosis so I had a urology appointment this past week which we did discover that I have Interstitial Cystitis which is the cause of almost all of my abdominal pain as well as overactive bladder.  Hope with meds we will have luck in getting this under control.  We are giving it a month then we will move to the next steps.  Lastly, I was moving furniture with my mom yesterday and lifted a heavy piece up which provided the pop in my back and I fell over immediately.  ER doctor told me thankfully nothing is broken I pulled it and its spasming which is causing me to not be able to walk upright.  They gave me two shots a pill and sent me on my way.  With this last little hiccup I’m thinking I will take this week off from rehabbing anything; or maybe just do some things while sitting😁

Well it’s been far too long and I promise not to keep you waiting to hear from me again!  I look forward to showing you the new dressers we are doing as well as end tables and holiday items!  Oh ya my good friend and I are doing a vendor fair in November and mom and I were asked to participate in one December 1st!  So the holiday juices are flowing and you will be the firsts to enjoy all we have come up with!!  Until then have a wonderful Monday and remember lift with your legs not your back!  Cheers🍷