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🍻

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!🍻

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…

 

Red, White &…GREEN!

Hello All!  Well this last week has been a doozy!  Filling you all in on our 4th of July celebration went to the wayside and I’m so sorry as it was a fab party!  As you all know this is the one celebration come hell or high water we make happen!  It’s the celebration of so many things!  For many it’s the obvious appreciation for those fallen soldiers, those past soldiers and those current soldiers who are and have fought for our freedom.  As Joe, his grandfather and both my grandfather’s served we honor the day for them and those friends we know who have and are serving.  It is also the day we celebrate Joe’s grandfather’s birthday!  Lastly, it’s a time that we get to get together with friends and family to celebrate life and how lucky we are to have those we do in it!  So this year we decided to run with Joe’s heritage and do a Mexican Fiesta theme!

Most important was entertainment and food…at least for me!  So good Mexican food was the start and typically we try to hire a chef to come cook at the event.  This was tough which I hadn’t expected.  So I spoke with a few friends and they highly recommended a grocery store/restaurant a few towns over.  So we had steak and chicken burritos, Spanish rice, black beans, enchiladas, and tamales!  For dessert we had strawberry filled tamales, churros, cupcakes, fresh fruit!  For drinks we had a variety of Mexican beer and of course a margarita machine!  For the kids we had fun flavored drinks and blue raspberry slushies -a must for all parties that contain kids!  My kids are rarely affected by sugar so it was a double thumbs up for us…I’m sure other parents were not thinking the same.  But it’s a party so we all have to have fun!  For the kids we had horseback rides and a small petting zoo which included an alpaca, two sheep, and two goats.  We also had bounce house with a slide and for the adults we had a band.  I would have loved to hire a mariachi band but the cost just wasn’t in the budget this year.  Honestly, the band we had was amazing and was a perfect fit.  They played music of Santana, La Bamba, as well as a Mexican Polka that was perfect for the Piñata breaking!  They also had my nephew who is taking guitar do a couple songs with them.  Overall, the food and the entertainment all worked perfect!  Sometimes plans do go as you initially envision but in the end the results are better than you could have imagined!

Next up we headed to Hayward while Joe went to a desolate island with his brothers for a week in Canada!  With us arriving in Hayward on the actual 4th we got to enjoy a fireworks show that was honestly one of the best I’ve seen in years!  I didn’t capture a ton with the camera but what I did are here for you to enjoy!  It was a great night!

I look forward to sharing the rest of our Hayward trip with you later this week!  As I was there I got to work on some refinishing and refreshing projects for my in-laws and I can’t wait to share those and the other fun stuff we got in to while up there!  Until then Cheers🍻

 

 

To Be A Father

Well my title is a struggle because I am a female so I don’t know the challenges of being called dad,daddy,pops,father.  But I do know the genuine joy that is felt by being called Mom!

I think fathers or at least many fathers challenges are those of being a superhero! Having a wife and kids expect things from you including financially, emotionally, and physically is different then being a mom.  I should mention I say this from my perspective.  As personally I know mothers that are the only superhero in their kids lives.  Those moms I applaud daily.  I don’t know how I would do all the things that two toddlers throw at me in a day alone! So to you moms who are both roles awesome job!!

To those dads that choose to not be active in their kids lives I’m so sorry for you.  Such a loss it is for you.  Missing seeing a child to show you all the joys their life brings including first steps to becoming an incredible baseball player.  There’s even those times when they need their dad to help them as challenges arise for them as being a kid at times can be rough.  A dad’s perspective is sometimes different from mom’s.  Frankly, dad sees things differently then our mom’s like sports or learning to ride your bike.  Maybe it’s that physical aspect.  No doubt those father’s that have chosen to be transparent in their children’s life I’m sorry!  If you are reading this there’s no better time than the present to make a change.

Those dad’s that are rocking this whole daddy thing or at least giving it their all; hats off to you!  I grew up with my dad in my life and yes I have memories with mom but I have very specific memories with my dad.  Him calling my sister and I his pumpkins after kissing us goodnight.  Or he and I dancing in our living room to The Allman Brothers Band on Friday nights!  That embarrassing nickname he gave me but deep down loved that I had.  Dad’s just are different in their relationships with their kids.  Joe may not have nicknames for our kids yet but he always kisses our kids goodnight no matter how late he gets in.  He once a week surprises them with a special note and a donut for breakfast.  It’s the little things that kids remember.  Celebrating dad is such a great day that many times seems like it’s pushed to the wayside.  Not celebrated as Mother’s Day is.  Don’t know exactly why but I hope those of you out there made yesterday extra special for the man your kids call dad or the man you call dad.  As mom’s always seem to cover the big stuff but dad gets the joy of celebrating the small moments they create!

I hope all you Father’s out there had a great day!  As a mom and daughter I thank you for all you do!

Lisenby Week In Review

Hello Friends!  Well where do I begin things have been completely crazy around here. Between Joe working 10-15 hour days and the kids starting tumbling, soccer and cooking class!  YES, cooking class!  I’m all over the board these days not sure if I’m coming or going and as they say this is just the beginning for my journey of chasing from sport to sport!  I actually enjoy seeing them at these activities the timing isn’t always convenient (right at dinner) but we are figuring out these minor details!

Let’s quick chat about Joe as I haven’t really seen him in a few weeks as he’s been jumping between jobs like a mad man!  If you remember he did a salon last year.  This year they asked him to do their new bathroom.  So this meant late nights which would be fine if that was all he was doing…LOL not my husband still up and out around 630am and off to a residence then heading to the salon in the evenings until between midnight and 2am!  Then back at it the next day, I’m not sure how he did this for a day let alone three.  Then it was on to getting a home up to speed and finishing up another home and another fireplace as well as completing a outdoor spa.  So the long days continued but not until 2am closer to 11pm.  His final big project he is working feverishly to finish up is a home’s fireplace.  Joe was asked to look at this fireplace as the homeowners thought the original mason’s may have as they put it “put too much sand in the mortar mix”.  Joe went to the residence having no idea what he was getting in to.  After sharing three videos of homes that ranged from theirs 8 years old, to a 30 plus year old home and a three month old homes mortar and seeing within seconds of gently scratching the joints with his chisel it was crumbling off Joe knew this was more than a too much sand in the mortar issue.  This was a safety issue the fireplace was not structurally sound.  As he showed the owners the other two homes which took much more time to even get a small amount of mortar to come off from the joints.  They were as expected disgusted but wanted to have it done right.  This was poor masonry at it’s finest.  Joe had to make a decision if this was a job he was willing to take on.  As there is risk setting up scaffolding and beginning to remove stone what if the wall crumbles taking down his scaffolding and those on it.  Joe also felt terrible for these homeowners that someone would provide such poor craftsmanship.  As you might have been able to tell by past post’s Joe is VERY passionate about stone and the craft of masonry.  He wanted to fix it for them.  A few things that also went along with it.  They had a three week window as they were hosting a party at their home.  But within that three weeks they have to also live at the residence first and foremost, next they have to still replace carpeting, deep clean and have the house ready for this event.  So really Joe had two weeks to tear the entire inside fireplace down which is 22 feet tall using care as they wanted to use the same stone to re-do it, fix any issues within the fireplace, then put all the stones back up the right way.  As the saying goes when it rains it pours!  Once they got into the it they discovered a few problems…the hearth was pretty much set on a pile of sand!  Yes, as to concrete placement the amount of sand used under the hearth was so much that the concrete literally crumbled at the touch.  The stones when tapped with the chisel had all mortar drop off them; which I will say made the cleaning of them much quicker than expected! Then for the final NO WAY when the gentleman came to check the gas line he revealed that the line wasn’t put in properly and had been leaking!  Joe said in his career he has never seen a fireplace like this.  He plans to have the inside done by Sunday leaving the homeowners two weeks to get the inside back in order.  Then next week he will move to the outside which is 40 feet tall.  Who knows what this will bring as it has faced the elements of the midwest.  So, Yes Joe has been busy as everyone has a deadline and these one’s all happen to be within a week of each other.  If anyone has discovered how to re-create a person so they can do their exact talent please let me know as I need three Joe’s right about now!

Back to the kids and I!  S & K started playing soccer which S has always had a thing for the sport since I can remember we have been saying she will be a soccer player.  K well he’s getting there.  He’s enjoying running around and learning.  He was so nervous the first day saying “Mom it’s just practice not a game, right?” He was very concerned about this.  So each week I make sure to say we are heading to practice so we can get better and some day play a game!  Last week he said “I think I will stay in the car and watch a movie, I don’t want to play”.  I said “OK” we arrived and he got out sat down and ate an apple and drank water.  As soon as he heard the coaches whistle he jumped up and said “I have to go the whistle blew!”  It made me so happy as I don’t ever want to pressure my kids to do anything especially sports.  When I was a kid my parents didn’t and I tried stuff I stuck with what I felt I was good at and they supported me.  I think sometimes parents get wrapped up too much themselves and forget it’s not about them it’s about the kids.  Anyway, he’s getting the hang of it and last week one of his classmates was there which he thought was very cool!  So now he’s excited for this weeks practice.  S also started tumbling which we are on week two and I’m not just saying this because she’s my daughter but I can definitely see improvement.  She practiced everything she learned from week one to week two and I think that helped.  She so very excited as all she wants to be able to do is a cartwheel!  I’m thinking we will get there but the coach works a lot on form and being a disciplined gymnast.  Which I think is great as it’s a very easy sport to get hurt in.  I also think S loves the cute outfits!!  K will start cooking class tomorrow which he is sooo excited for!  He loves to bake and cook with me and when I saw that our local YMCA was offering this I had to sign him up.  He’s been talking about it for weeks so I will let you know what my little chef whip’s up!

Other than all this which after I read it I guess maybe it’s not that much.  It’s more the kinks of figuring out when to feed the kids dinner on sports nights as of course they are or when to keep the kids up late to visit with Joe.  As that is one thing we have gotten back on schedule with.  BEDTIME!  Joe almost always let’s them stay up later than I so since he has been working late bedtime is back to 7:30/7:45 and you know what they pass out in minutes and stay asleep until 7 the next morning unless of course S hears Joe then she sneaks down to have breakfast with him!  Or like last week we surprised them by getting up and all going out to breakfast together.  It’s the little things that matter and you really realize that when schedules in life get crazy.  I wish you and yours an amazing evening and we will talk soon!  Cheers

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One Grandma, Two Grandma’s, Three Grandma’s OH MY!

Hello All!  I hope your week has been great!  It’s been busy over here as the weather changes we are so happy to be finding ourselves outside ALOT!  Plus the kids started some sports this past week so life of doing as we please is now turned to doing as the coaches schedule!!  We will talk on that soon!  Last week we had quite the busy couple days with visits from all grandma’s!  S & K are super lucky to have not just two grandma’s but three!  As I’ve mentioned in the past Joe is adopted and his adoptive parents always allowed a relationship with his birth mom.  His birth mom lives about 3 1/2 hours away so not too far but her and her husband are crazy busy at a youth camp that they are the caregivers at so we see them usually twice per year.  Joe’s other mom and husband have been snow birds until just a few weeks ago!  Now we get to have them here about 6 hours away from us full time!  We see them a bit more.  Then of course my parents are 30 minutes away and they probably see us more than they want and my  mom comes up a couple times a week!  Last week just happened to work out that we saw all three!!!  The kids were ecstatic first up was Grandma Gail and New Papa!

They sold their home in Sunny Florida to live full time in the North Woods!  Their home sold much quicker than they had anticipated…1 DAY!  So, moving up happened a bit sooner than they planned so on their way up we were able to see them.  We did dinner at one of the kids favorite restaurants as there is a game area.  Grandma and Papa always come with a roll of quarters to play!  Air hockey is one of the games they all play against each other.  Papa and Grandma get quite competitive when it is their turn to play one another!  I love the seriousness when they play.  We also decided to celebrate Mother’s Day with her as we won’t see her on the day!  I decided to do flowers and a picture we had taken of Joe and the kids!  You might be thinking flowers WOW Amanda how creative of you!  LOL!  But these weren’t your everyday die in a week flowers.  We made hand painted bottles and construction paper flowers!  So these can go on a dresser or shelf to enjoy all year!  No water needed!  Sid also wanted to give Grandma Gail the previous project I shared with the egg carton flowers and pipe cleaners.  The visit was great and we are so very excited to have Joe’s parents back in the same state all year!  We look forward to heading up this summer for a vacation!!

Next up was spending the day with my mom!  You might be thinking you spend many days with your mom!  You are absolutely correct and we will spend Mother’s Day with her and her gift isn’t yet complete so when it is I will share.  We just enjoyed a beautiful day at the forest preserve hiking just under four miles.  Again, we weren’t celebrating anything it was just enjoying the day with another Grandma and Papa that we love!

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Lastly, Joe’s other mom (birth mom) Anne and her husband Brian were able to get away from the camp they are at for a few days.  Our house was the first stop on their trip down!  This was great as last time they visited was last 4th of July and that day is always crazy so I didn’t get to talk to them too much.  The day was beautiful so we had the sprinkler set up and the kids played in that with Grandma doing quick runs through with them!  They also enjoyed ALOT of time on the trampoline with both of them!  I made those fantastic skinny lasagna roll ups with salad and garlic bread.  It was great to sit and talk with Brian as I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to talk to just him.  Getting to know each other a bit better while Granny Annie enjoyed her time with the kids!  S had her doing everything from playing dolls, to watching her moves on the rings on play-set to flying with her down the slide.  They also discovered we have the start of a birds nest in the play-set!  The evening ended with Joe making it home to spend a little bit with them before they headed to their next stop on their trip!  We also gave Granny Annie her flowers and picture which she loved!

Overall, it was a busy couple of days but those are the best as a lot of new memories were made and as the kids get bigger they are remembering these moments.  I’m trying to be sure to get pictures as they are happening as they are so very important to all of us!

I hope you have a great Monday and we will meet back here again soon!  Cheers!

Lisenby Week In Review

Hello Friends!

I hope you are all having a great week!  It’s like once the kids got healthy it’s been a game of catch up on EVERYTHING!  Guess what I am still not caught up!  My house for starters needs a permanent housekeeper.  Joe called Monday letting me know a client would be coming to see the house at 2pm…this gave me two hours to have the main floor spotless or show ready as he says!  My dishwasher always seems to be blinking saying please empty me!  My office is a war zone; if you know me this is a struggle.  I have a slight 😉 case of OCD.  So this is a struggle but sometimes you just have to close the door and say filing, bills, and all other paperwork we will talk VERY soon!  Then there is the “L” word no I’m not talking about the warm and cozy word LOVE!  I have no love for the chore of doing laundry!  The first of the year I committed myself to doing a load a day to avoid the Sunday 15 load day.  Well I make my own detergent and last Wednesday I ran out!!!! So it sat and sat some more than I was able to make more on Sunday so today I’m ALMOST caught up!  Did I mention I’m trying to squeeze working out in to my daily routine?  Yes, I have been sticking to it; I’m shocked too!  Oh yeah and there are two little crazy children running around demanding just about anything and everything from me!  You know feed me, let’s make valentines, help me in the bathroom, MOM, MOM, MOM!  Where did they come from!LOL Then there are the crafts that need to be finished so I can get them to the shop mom and I have stuff at to make some moola!  So guess what this is bumped to the top!  Don’t worry the kids were fed and bathed!  And here I am blabbing to you about this. You are probably laughing but thinking isn’t this every mothers life!  It is I just needed to share!!

So our adorable bunny projects have been brought to the shop in time for Spring/Easter sales!  I love the fact that the shop Simply Marvelous here in Wisconsin has allowed us to expand what we bring in as we started with our furniture and now the owner has our seasonal items.  These particular seasonal items are really the only ones she will have for guests to choose from!  Which is great for us plus if you ask me they turned out so cute they are all any home needs.  Ok maybe a great wreath on your door too!

Last week I didn’t share details about our little princesses birthday!  Yes, the one of two above that is constantly needing things:) Ms. S turned 5 and as I shared we ended up having her birthday at an indoor amusement center.  We had 17 kids of varying ages so this location did seem to be very appropriate even though I was hesitant.  I will also say having no mess to clean up was FABULOUS!  The one thing I did do for her day was make her cake.  Since we were at a location we really did away with a theme except for this and her goodie bags.  She loves Littlest Pet Shop so she wanted that as her cake theme.  I ended up doing red velvet cake for one level, chocolate/white for the second and third with buttercream frosting and marshmallow frosting!  For goodies bags I struggled as I hate to just say here is a bag of sugar go drive your parents up the wall!  Again, not being able to do too much else as we were not at home I wanted to make them special.  So we for the girls we did puzzles, the surprise package with a pet shop pet, 3 pieces of candy.  For the boys we ended up doing teenage mutant ninja turtles as LPS doesn’t really offer a boy per-say surprise package.  We did TMNT puzzles, TMNT mini lego’s and 3 pieces of candy.  The older boys we gave them WWE playing cards and also gave them tickets to do bumper cars!  Overall, I think everyone had a great time!

Ok so as promised we need to discuss some good eats over this past week!  There have been a few but the best and HIGHLY recommended one is going to be a pulled pork recipe! I did get this via Pinterest and I am so glad I did because it was amazing.  A few little side notes!  This is a plan ahead dinner as it is a slow roasting one which means prepping dry rubs and brining for at least 24 hours.  It is so worth it!  Also, she recommends using a disposable roasting pan.  I used mine and if you remember from above my dishwasher issues and catching up…well yeah this soaked for two days after as it was caked!  So do yourself the favor and grab a roasting pan they sell them at the dollar tree!  Or foil line your roasting pan.  Lastly, this recipe does not need any sauce but I know that some people have to have a sauce for EVERYTHING!  This was good with a honey bbq but again no sauce is needed.  There is a little kick to it!  The kids did not enjoy this but I’m sure if less spice they would have.  With these I also made baked french fries which yes the kids ate and asked for seconds!  Again, not planning well I had to juggle cooking these at a high temp while the pork was at very low temp but it all worked out.  So next time I will start my pork first thing in the morning as it takes all day this way I can take it out to rest while I make the fries!  So here you are, enjoy!!  Thank you to those that posted for us to enjoy as well.

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/perfect-pulled-pork-slow-roasted-seasoned-savory.html

http://www.layersofhappiness.com/extra-crispy-oven-baked-french-fries/

Well, I’m off to empty the dishwasher and fold my 368th load of laundry for the week! Lol!  Have a great rest of your evening.  Cheers!

Let’s Talk Food

Hello Friends!
I am completely exhausted after this weekend as Ms. S turned 5!  But I had to share some delicious recipes as last week was the first time I scored a thumbs up four days in a row from both Joe and the kids on dinners!  This NEVER happens in our house.  Its often a thanks but no thanks from Joe.  In my defense he is usually not eating what I make when it is done.  As he doesn’t get home at that time so he is re-heating and honestly nothing looks that great re-heated!  So in keeping this short and sweet so you can quickly do your grocery list and have your meals set for this week here we go!  I will mention all of these started at Pinterest but I tweaked a bit which I am making note of for you!

Let’s start with Day 1 where we had Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili!  This recipe was sooo easy as you just throw it all in the crockpot and let it go!  This does have a little kick to it just a heads up.  May want to substitute the green chiles.  It is nothing over the top but S needed us to cool hers down with a bit of sour cream.  The rest of us love a little spice kick!  Joe of course added jalapeños to it.  My sister who lived in India also told me that you can add plain yogurt  to food that is too spicy!  They recommend having this over rice but we chose to have it either on a tortilla or alone.  Otherwise, I did not change anything about this recipe it’s great as is!

http://rita-may-recipes.blogspot.com/2011/11/crock-pot-cream-cheese-chicken-chile.html

I love trying different types of meatloaf I know you are probably thinking REALLY?!  Yes, so this week I wanted to do one with ground turkey as we are kicking ground beef around here for a bit.  This recipe Joe told me was THE BEST meatloaf he has ever had!  YES!  We added a twist to it as we did not do spinach in it but did do minced garlic.  We also put ours on onion rolls with a slice of mozzarella!  Again, this was another quick, easy recipe that the ingredients were all standard in my fridge and pantry!  LOVE THIS!

http://www.4men1lady.com/foodie-friday-easy-turkey-meatloaf/

Now it is on to probably my favorite recipe we had!  Healthy Buffalo Chicken Wraps!  If you remember I have been working out and it’s going great but I also could not and have not committed myself to a crazy diet!  PORTION CONTROL is and always will be my issue but I have committed to this and doing great at it!  So back to this yummy dinner!  These wraps were so good I at them for lunch the next day!  The things I changed with this recipe was that I used Frank’s Red Hot Sauce as I didn’t have buffalo sauce on hand and I also omitted the celery as I just wasn’t feeling it.  For the kids I didn’t dip in hot sauce but otherwise built as directed.  We all came back for seconds on this one.  I cooked two large boneless chicken breasts on the George Foreman.  I will say the kids did have curly fries with theirs, I obviously skipped as the wrap was enough for me!

http://www.thecreativebite.com/healthy-buffalo-chicken-wrap/

Last on the list is Crock Pot Creamy Chicken Ranch.  I will say I was nervous by this one for two reasons.  Joe in the past has made it clear that using the crockpot once a week is plenty.  The second the picture honestly doesn’t seem to enticing to me.  Well as the saying goes don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  My sister made this and said her whole family loved this including her two little boys who are VERY picky eaters.  I had an appointment and thought we would give it a whirl!  I’m very glad we did as everyone loved this.  S even asked for a second bowl of it!  Joe had multiple servings as well.  I again used to large boneless skinless chicken breasts.  At this time I will mention as I seem to notice many people have an opinion of what company has the best pre-packaged chicken. I used to ALWAYS get all our meat from a local butcher but lately I just haven’t made it to the shop so I have found myself in Wal-Mart.  Likely part of why we have kicked ground beef as the difference of ground beef there and at the butcher shop is seriously drastic! Back to chicken when I have had to buy in the past I have bought the organic brand they carry Harvestland.  The product has been good and price seemed comparable to the butcher.  But the size was noticeably smaller.  They recently started carrying Forester Farmer’s Market.  The size is a bit larger than Harvestland.  I guess what I’m getting at is if you can’t get to the butcher and Wal-Mart is in your path I so far have had success with both of these brands!  Ok back to the recipe.  I did not change anything on this one and I did make her dry ranch dressing mix!

http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/crock-pot-creamy-ranch-chicken/

There you have it a little food loving for you for this Monday afternoon!  I hope your family enjoys these as much as we did.  I thank those that created these recipes as well! Cheers!

Lisenby Week In Review

We are 15 days into 2016!  Can you believe it I feel like we were just toasting and saying “Happy New Year!”  With that being said lets review what’s been going on in our parts this past week.  If you read my last post you know that my blog alarm went off and I hit snooze three times!  But I’m here and so are you so that’s what matters.  So let’s get on with it!

Last week I mentioned K wasn’t feeling well.  WELL that turned out to be an understatement.  That evening he was soooo very sick.  That night Joe was up sick all night.  Wednesday morning S came to my room and within minutes I was rushing her to the bathroom avoiding projectile vomiting on my bedroom floor.  I felt like I had been hit by a bus but thankfully hadn’t gotten sick.  K woke up and was exhausted but was done being sick.  S was sick in every sense the entire day.  Joe was on the job thinking he was going to die.  He said “this is the worst flu I have had in my entire life!”  That evening we were all in bed by 730pm.  Bodies feeling like we were just beat up by someone triple our size.  My fingers are crossed that we are done with our round of the flu for the year!   Hey one can wish/hope/dream right?!

2016-01-05 19.51.06

I have been active and kept to my promise to myself to strive to feel confident in my own skin.  Sending pictures to my sister daily after I bust my butt with Jillian!  I just printed a 30 day ab challenge I am going to add to my workout.  Keep you posted how it’s going.  I’ve struggled a little with my meal plan but also know this is new and it’s going to take time to get my body acclimated to this new way of eating.  If you too are getting after a new you keep it up!  You can do it!! As you can see below some days are easier than others!  But after its done I know I’m doing something that will show results!

2016-01-04 10.11.35 2016-01-05 10.01.03-2 2016-01-07 10.01.44 2016-01-08 17.41.25 2016-01-09 09.39.37 2016-01-10 08.36.42 2016-01-11 10.12.15 2016-01-13 10.49.21 2016-01-15 10.30.25

Sid had her first social calendar event last weekend which she counted down to.  It was very cute and I learned quite a bit about being a mom to a toddler on the social scene!  One I may have mentioned I wasn’t planning to stay at the party as I had K and Joe was working.  Honestly, I was having a rough few days prior and just wanted to go with K and grab a Starbucks and digress.  We arrived to all the kids at the party with their moms there to stay.  Joe ended up getting done early so I called him and I ran and met him so K and he could go do boy things… you know wander around The Home Depot!  I don’t know if S even noticed I ran out and came back but it was good to talk to some of the moms I hadn’t yet met and get a feel for how the social side of classmates parents was going to be.  I may have mentioned we have open enrollment in Wisconsin so the school we go to is not in our town.  It’s one of the trendy towns among a few others competing to be the best within a county.  No joke we live in an area that is full of summer homes/second homes/etc.   So those that live within full-time have or sometimes can feel a need to be presented as better than the one next door.  It’s crazy to me as we chose the school as it is rated one of the top in the state and in the country.  I did worry about the social side of this choice as I came from a larger school.  Joe came from a very small school and this was his last worry.  As he said we are sending her for her education not to fill her social calendar!  LOL!  Anyway, back to it… almost all of the moms are new to school as I am so it was a very level playing field and felt great to get out and socialize with other moms.  At the end of the party one of the moms said “well here is the beginning of our little ones social lives blowing up!”  She meant it as three days later we received an invite to another party in a week!  One week after that is S’s 5th birthday! Holy Moly it has begun!

2016-01-07 14.06.08

With S’s birthday on the brain we had to decide our plans for that.  If you are a longtime follower of my blog you have read my birthday posts.  I take birthday’s very serious!  Joe thinks I might take it a bit too serious but I don’t care.  It is a special day we all have once a year to celebrate just us!  Yes there are millions of others that were born on the same day but not often do you end up friends with one of these people.  It’s a day everyone let’s you know you are special weather by calling with birthday wishes, texting, e-mailing, or sending a note.  Yes, I did say a note as one of my mother in-laws sends us a special letter each birthday sharing why our day is special.  It’s very sweet S’s arrived just the other day.  I will hold on to it until her day!  On this day Joe and I like to do a little special thing for each of the kids too.  On S’s birthday I purchase a card and write her a note reviewing the past year and her accomplishments, challenges, changes really how she has grown.  Joe does it for K.  They each have a box that we place them in.  When they turn 18 we will give it to them on their birthday to enjoy reading.  I make notes throughout the year when the kids say funny things but I don’t typically place these in the card though this year I may have to.  These two have said some pretty darn funny things!  S had asked to have her birthday at Chuck E Cheese this year and I cringed.  In years past it has been at our home and I go all out with the theme of the party from decorations, to food, to entertainment!  She said “I want to have it at a place everyone can have fun!”  She has only been to Chuck E Cheese one time but it clearly had an impression.  Joe laughed at me and said “it’s her birthday, not yours.”  I believe my mom had the same response when I went to her for sympathy!  As I did research I ended up finding a place that was more than just games.  So we have decided on this location which they will do games, a two-story ballocity climbing, and a heist; having them go under and over lasers to capture the gem!  Followed by pizza and juice.  Way cooler than just games.  I should note at this point I’m not bashing chuck E cheese at all.  But again as a mom who is used to doing it all for the special day it was a little crushing to have her daughter not want that and want GAMES over what I was planning.  I will also say having a party at the place we have chosen over Chuck E Cheese was cheaper and offered more overall.  So that’s the plan; oh ya and S has requested I throw in some Monster High details of course!  This girl!

On my note of humor and these two I think sharing a bit of their humor would only benefit you.  If you are a mom you LOVE and NEED these moments.  If you’re not a mom I’m sure you have heard little ones say things that make you laugh inside!  Like I said as soon as they say something or as soon as I can get to my phone I pull up my notes and plug it in!  So here you go, enjoy!

Oh No the Honey!  (me) But the honey’s not important mom!  What is? (me)  The Bears Are

-S at beginning of Paddington

K farts and says Mom I’m just like a gas tanker, I have a tummy full of gas and I fart!

-As we are driving behind a gas tanker trunk.

Santa please do you hear me?  Please give us our toys back!

-S after both kids lost two favorite toys each for hitting.  In the middle of the grocery store

I know you guys are up to something…what are you doing?  

-S busting Joe and I in the act! YIKES

I don’t like that word you just said.  What word?  BALD!  I say well how do you think Papa and Uncle Robert feel they are bald?  She says terrible!

-S as we are discussing a baby picture of her and the fact that she has no hair.

“We can’t put out peanut butter cookies for Santa” says K.  I say “why?”  “He’s allergic, I know that!” Who told you that? (me)  “Oh I just know” says K 

Now that my kids have provided you with a few LOL moments I will reserve the rest for another special day!

Lastly, Joe and I shared/celebrated our six-year anniversary yesterday!  We have been together nine years and it has been one crazy ride!  Started out with me dancing on a speaker as he was the bouncer at a local bar!  Yes I have a bit of a wild side.  But so does he just doesn’t display as much as I!  All resulting in two beautiful kids, two beautiful German Shepherds, a beautiful home and a life I wouldn’t trade for any other!

On this note I wish you all a beautiful weekend with your loved ones and heck go get a little wild!  Cheers!