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Are you busy? Has meal planning fallen behind?  I know it has here!  That’s why I was SO excited to find Busy Girl Meal Plans, you can also find them on Facebook!  If you love to cook, but find that you just don’t have time during the week this plan might be for you.  They focus on easy meals during the week and more gourmet faire on the weekends:-)  When we have more time to get all fancy.

True to form, I use this plan as a starting point, but so far everything I have tried has been a hit with my family, and I have been able to incorporate my haul from the garden into the meals.  I can’t wait for Septembers plan to come out, which will include weekly shopping lists!  I love that I can make real food for my family on the weekdays and still have time to get my work done;-)  I haven’t really been photographing food in our small house, except with my phone.  BUT hopefully soon I will be back with beautiful, worth drooling over food images:-)  In the meantime, hear are a couple from my instagram feed!

These beautiful peppers came from my garden.  Aren’t they beautiful?  I actually made PHILLY CHEESESTEAK CALZONES:-)  We had some extra homemade pizza dough, and that way I didn’t even have to head to the store! They were SO yummy!



For this I did make the pulled pork sliders, again we had some rolls left over, SO perfect for small sandwiches.  I ate this sans roll with some of my homemade sauerkraut, OH MY yummy!

mealsblog__2So if you have been lamenting dinner lately, or given up and taken the take out route, check this plan out!  It’s free and yummy!  AND sign up soon, as the September plan is ALMOST out;-)  You don’t want to miss a day…haha, though if you know me, I don’t ALWAYS follow this plan, but I LOVE LOVE the starting point for me.  After all, I NEVER make the same meal twice according to my family:-)



The day was here, I had been excited, anxious, and dreading it all at once.  School was starting.  And that means everyone is a YEAR older, AND my BABY was going to go to Kindergarten, 5 days a week.  Every emotion surfaced.  I was anxious for how he would do.  He is our hardest to get to try new classrooms, he is still definitely a mama’s boy.  We went to meet the teacher the day before, and he was fine with holden in there, and he eventually warmed up enough to talk to the teacher.  It was NOTHING like Holden’s meet the teacher.  But, he was SO excited on the days leading up to school, I got caught up in the excitement.  Everybody woke up early, got dressed quickly and had everything packed EARLY.

THIS is the sweetest thing ever…Holden reading to Daniel. He is not always willing to do it, often complaining that reading out loud hurts his throat.  But today he was TOTALLY willing.


Of course we got the obligatory First Day of School pics, some alone, and some together.  And then we headed off to school.

FirstDayBlog_3FirstDayBlog_2FirstDayBlog_1Daniel shot out of the car, and ran down to the classroom, BUT as soon as he came to the door, he backed away, and dug his feet in.  I tried to talk to him, he was having none of it.  So the teacher pried him off of me, and I left, tears running down my face.  Holden wanted to know why I was sad, so I explained to him how hard it was to leave your child when they were sad even though you knew they would be very happy once they were in the classroom.

Daniel’s class starts at 8:15 and Holden can’t be on campus until 8:30, which means I get at least 15 minutes with my oldest.   I am soaking up the time with him.  We have had some fun conversations already!  When the bell rang we went to his class, and he was a little anxious when he realized that who he thought was his teacher wasn’t in fact his teacher, but true to his nature he went right in and had a GREAT day.

Both boys had fun first days, and although Daniel said he was excited to go the next, he had the same reaction at the door the next day, and the next.  BUT we are now a couple weeks in, and he just told me, “you can just stay in the car, you don’t have to walk me.”  To which of course I said, “No Way!”, but he is happy to kiss me and say goodbye at the classroom door and go right in.

I have already signed up to be in the boys classrooms regularly and I am looking forward to another GREAT year!

  • August 28, 2014 - 6:47 pm

    Jo little - Omgosh so reminiscent of my girls early years . My Hannah pried from me and me crying all morning . Now a sophomore in HS it passes fast . So glad Daniel is adjusting ❤️ReplyCancel

July 4th…the day America celebrates her freedom.  I am so thankful for those who serve our country, and for the freedoms we have, but that isn’t really what this post is about.  I could totally just talk about the pictures below, and paint a perfect, fun-filled day for you.  You would all appreciate it and go on with your days.  But, that wouldn’t be the whole story.  I believe God wants us to share our stories, because it’s then that you can truly see HIS glory, HIS rescue, and the freedom that a life with HIM gives us.
You see, July 4th in our house started like most days, Tom worked, the boys and I had breakfast, I tested out a new lens on my favorite subjects, and then I had work to do.  The boys played well for a bit, but then there was the need for movie time.  And then the lies began to bombard me, and I forgot God’s truth, and I started to believe them.  Believe that I was stealing July 4th from my kids, believe that since we didn’t do parades, and events and, and, and. That somehow we weren’t a family and our kids weren’t getting to be kids.  I believed that because I have been in a rough spot, and have to take supplements everyday, to regulate how my body and mind work that I am sick, and somehow a burden to my family.  I suddenly forgot about vacations we have taken and we will take, I forgot about the days I spend completely devoted to them, the dinners we share, the words we read together, I forgot the things that we do as a family…this all happened before lunch!
I let the enemy in and he attempted to steal my joy and my day.  But thankfully I have a husband, who cares, who listens, and who is faithful in pointing out to me when I am listening to lies.  Telling me to read God’s words to me, and to remember HIS truths.  And as much as I don’t like it at the time, pointing out when the words I am speaking contain ABSOLUTELY NO TRUTH in them.  
I sat on my bed and cried, and prayed.  I wanted to hole up in my room and be by myself in my misery.  But thankfully that whisper, soft and steady from a GOD who loves me too much to let me sit in that place said, “Don’t waste this day, see what I can do.” So I grabbed my camera, and headed with my boys to our neighbors pool.  And slowly it happened…I could feel the freedom within, the freedom to be who I am, who God has made me.  I could feel Him lifting my eyes to see HIS goodness to see the beauty in our life, the blessings I have before me. And I captured that with my lens, with my eyes, with my heart.
So yes today was about freedom, the freedom we enjoy because of the country we were born in or now live.  But for me and my family today was a reminder of a different freedom.  The freedom we have in Christ, the freedom to be exactly where HE has us, to understand that HIS works are MARVELOUS, that we are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made. In Christ we are free from our sin, free from this world, and free to live and love, fully as God intends.  I am so thankful for this journey HE has me on, for the doors HE has opened and the ones HE has closed.
I encourage you to remember the words of Jesus in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Now I invite as you look at the pictures below, to see them for what they are…a reminder of God’s love, His promises, His grace and mercy, the freedom found with Him, but most of all His GLORY.
These are the lens testing shots:-)  Did you know you should ALWAYS test the sharpness of your lenses, it’s true, sometimes you get a lemon, and WHAT.A.BUMMER to find it out with a client, or on a super special day!
These show you the differences in the boys personalities, they look a lot a like but they are SOOO different.  Even though Daniel is our more volatile one, he is generally the sweetest kid you will know, sensitive in nature, but can be SUPER grumpy too!
 Holden on the other hand is FULL of personality but generally even tempered agreeable, and calm…until you point the camera at him:-)
Their daddy, strong and steady, lover of a nap:-)
This, this warms my heart…some days it is constant fighting, bickering, and I spend my entire day as referee, and telling them to separate!  BUT then these moments come, and they work side by side, loving, and patient…and I try to imprint these moments on my heart, so I can remember when the days are long.
Water, the elixir of life, the washer of dirt, the symbol we use of cleansing our sins away.  Somedays it washes away the fighting, the depression, and fills up the empty with joy, laughter and fun!
Daniel suddenly remembered he could swim!  Now he is diving for darts, and we can’t get him out of the water, even when his lips are blue!
This kid is a fish! The first one to jump in and the last one to get out.  He swims, dives, jumps, and today he encouraged his brother like I have never seen.  Super positive, helping him place the rings…encouraging him each time, such a sweet moment!
Synchronized jumping:-)
After swimming we had family jumping time on our neighbors trampoline (they were out of town, we had the run of the place…)  I am not sure I have laughed that hard, or acted like such a kid in a LONG time!  It was definitely medicine for my soul, and I am SO grateful for those moments!
Holden asked for fireworks, we realized we have NEVER taken the kids to show, then we looked up the info, and we knew why.  The show doesn’t start until 9:40PM….um…thats 2hrs and 10 minutes past their bedtime!  SO with all the swimming and jumping, we didn’t have dinner until 7:30, and by the time we were done and ready to leave it was 8:45! So we headed downtown, got some frozen yogurt and started to look for a place to view the fireworks…as we drove by the high school we saw a big crowd of people so we figured they must know what they were doing and parked and waited on the bleachers…
For 30 minutes before they started…the longest 30 minutes of our lives!  Holden was simply talking to keep himself awake, I am sure of it as he didn’t even take a breath for the entire 30 minutes, peppering us with questions and observations, I wonder where he gets that???:-)  Daniel on the other hand was just moving constantly so he wouldn’t fall asleep…
When the fireworks started we could hear them but not see them!  Everyone in the bleachers jumped up to find a better view! Luckily it could be seen within just a few steps…it was not the greatest view but the kids didn’t care.  We watched and Holden kept saying, “This is awesome!  Thank you so much for bringing me!” While Daniel kept making exploding sounds with the fireworks, and declared, “I like the lights, but not the boom”:-)
Next year I will take my tripod and hopefully catch some cool shots, this year, this was the most interesting one I caught.
To God be the glory for saving this awesome, fun-filled day of freedom!
  • August 28, 2014 - 6:50 pm

    Jo little - Loves this post. Sweet memoriesReplyCancel

Over the last week, Holden had to have 3 baby teeth pulled.  He was amazingly brave.  You love your kids, and you know they are amazing, but sometimes, they still make you say, “wow, he is really amazing, and brave.” Holden’s heart is so kind, but mostly it is so aware of God’s presence and His power.
When we got to the dentist, he admitted he was nervous and a bit anxious, so in the car we prayed before we went out.  We asked for peace, comfort, and God’s provision.  Instantly Holden’s demeanor changed, I mean he was still “nervous talking”, you know the constant no breath uttering of anything and everything, but he was noticeably calmer.
In the office the staff all commented on how calm and happy he was, how he was always smiling and ready.  How he didn’t seem nervous at all.  He really did great, I had no idea how they got those teeth out, now that I do…Let’s just say I hope we are done with teeth pulling. 
Afterwords he was smiley, and after the first appt, he was ready to go back for the second!  He especially loved all the prizes and attention he got, as well as the movie they let him watch, and the ice cream and smoothies we had after:-)  The second round was a little harder on him, but he did say he was disappointed no more teeth pulled for a while.  The Smile Gallery really knows how to give kids an experience that makes them LOVE the dentist!
It’s amazing to me how strong kids are.  I was SO nervous for him I felt sick to my stomach…Oh the difficulties of being a parent.


“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5
For MY transgressions, the one who is too busy to spend 30 minutes with Him.  The one who keeps him in a box.  The one who goes through her day and doesn’t think of Him or His sovereignty in her life once…somedays or most days.  The one who KNOWS His power, His goodness, and yet I leave Him out of decisions…I lack daily, hourly, by the minute devotion.
We have been studying ACTS in our small group, and what I have been struck by, as we study the early church, is that their daily lives look VERY different than mine.  They continued to go to the temple regularly, they lived together, with each other, and FOR each other, but mostly for the ONE GOAL of spreading the good news, of calling for the repentance that leads to freedom, they were DEVOTED in all things.  It is convicting to say the least…As we ponder the upcoming celebration of Easter, I pray these words soak into our hearts and lead us into a life devoted to the one who bore it all FOR US, the ONE who brought us PEACE, the ONE crushed so that we may LIVE…the ONE who died so we could draw NEAR to the Father forever.
*I wrote this April 9th, after the verse above was in my devotional…and here it sat for almost two weeks…