Monday, October 27, 2014

Bye Bye 30's...Helloooooo 40's! Happy #FortyFabulous Birthday to Me!




Today I say goodbye to my 30's. My 30's was my favorite decade so far. I kind of like to think of it as the decade when "our" story began.

A few weeks after turning 30 I met my soon to be husband. Before he proposed in February of 2005, B then age 4, asked if it was okay to call him Daddy. That probably was the turning point in our relationship as I look back. B even went with him to pick out the ring. I said yes of course, after finding it in the bottom of a Walmart sack and we were married in May of 2005. In January 2007, Miss K was born. I was 32. The 4-Crows were complete.

In my 30's I said goodbye to a ten year banking career to say hello to full-time wife and mommy duty. Yes, it has been full of sacrifices, but I know in my heart that I have made the right decision with the choices we have made.

I began writing again in my 30's, I opened this blog on September 5, 2008. For eight years now I have been writing stories of living, laughing, learning and loving from our nest. I also was a founder of the blog The RHOK, a regular contributor at Oklahoma Women Bloggers, and have guest posted at several other blogs.

In my 30's, I learned just how competitive I really am. I learned that I am a coach in and out of the bleachers. I am a dance mom. I am a football/basketball mom. I am a volunteer. I learned that I have a voice that can and will make a difference.

I found a confidence somewhere in my 30's that never existed before. A confidence to stand up for what I believe in. To speak up when I feel something is not right. Sure, I still get knocked down at times, and my insecurities of my earlier years reappear. That's life. When things like this happen I just have to remember the cross. My savior went through so much more than I ever even can imagine before, during, and on the day he died on that cross. He died for me, and life beyond my 30's, 40's, 50's...is going to be unimaginable.

Hello 40's. I am excited to meet you. I look forward to all you have to teach me. I can't wait to embrace your decade and bring what I learn to the world around me.

Happy #FortyFabulous to me!

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Caramel Apple Popcorn


Miss K's Nutcracker program has a bake sale this weekend. Do you know how long it has been since I have been able to participate in a bake sale? Too long. Now I make, bake, and take all the time, but it's usually for teachers, friends or family. Never for kids and never for sale. School policies have ruined me.

For about a year now I have been on a huge popcorn kick. Not so much making it, but buying the flavored and eating it. But lately, I've been pinning popcorn- I even have a board called All Things Popcorn. On it is this pin, the original for the idea that is going to the bake sale this weekend- Caramel Apple Popcorn. I will tell you though, hers is much prettier than mine. Mine kind of wants to stick to the bag making it a bit cloudy. And her pictures are amazing. My kitchen lighting hates me, I had to turn my picture black and white and then bring out the green (they really aren't that fluorescent).  Kudos to LizOnCall.com, and much thanks for the idea.


So what do you need to make these fun treats? This is how I made mine. Miss K helped. It's always fun to have her in the kitchen. 

What You Need:
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
2 10oz bags Wilton Caramel Apple Candy Melts (Walmart)
3/4 pkg Kraft Caramel Bits
Wax Paper
Baggies
Scissors
Bakers Twine
Paper Straws

Directions:
Pop popcorn according to your corn popper's directions. Empty into a huge bowl. Be sure to get rid of the kernels. Melt the candy melts according to package directions, I used my Pampered Chef Batter Bowl. Stir well, the melts will be thick and smooth. Then pour over the popcorn and mix well using a spatula. Once mixed pour on to wax paper and spread out to cool. Sprinkle about 3/4 bag of caramel bits on top and around. 

Once cool, I broke up and took approximately 1 cup and placed in a sandwich bag, inserted a straw, shaped like a ball and tied a bow around it with bakers twine. This made 12 Caramel Apple Popcorn Sticks, and I have leftovers for the kids me to much on.

Not sure how they will do at the bake sale, surely they are worth a $1 for cuteness alone....

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Manic Drive CD Review & #Giveaway



There is nothing like a loooooong road trip over Fall Break to finally be able to get some good music bonding done! A full tank of gas, cruise control, and a paved road just calls for good tunes don't you agree? That is exactly what the kids and I did last week. One of the the CD's I threw in the travel bag was the just released album by Manic Drive- VIP. Our favorite Christian radio station loses its signal after the last hill before the toll booth on the way to Oklahoma City, I just hate when I am singing and praising and all of a sudden the beat and words fizzle out. This surely doesn't just happen to me. Does it? Anyway, the kids and I really got to jamming along with this Christian boy band. I honestly had never heard of them, but their music is fun, catchy, and I even let the kids turn up the volume a little too loud!

This is definitely an album that I want on my kids iPods. My favorite song on the album is "I Hide You Seek." 

Check out this video out of their title track, VIP.


ABOUT THE BAND:
Manic Drive has been widely known as a Canadian band who always delivers a great show, but over the past few years and project releases, they have added to their extensive touring of Canadian and US markets multiple Billboard Top 10 & 20 singles on CHR & Christian Rock Radio. Manic Drive is clearly very intentional about reaching their generation and inspiring them to pursue a deeper walk with Christ and to get involved in changing the world they are inheriting. And they are uniquely equipped to do so. The band members, all in their early-mid twenties, have made sacrifices to pursue God’s call on their lives. Their life experience, spiritual maturity and ministry have opened doors to speak into the lives of their own generation and that is perhaps the most defining characteristic of this group of guys. 

Be sure to check Manic Drive out on all their sites. This is definitely a band to follow!!

Official Website
YouTube Channel
Official Twitter
Official FB

One of my blessed readers is going to get their very own copy of this CD, who wants it? All you have to do is tell me who you will listen to this CD with. Bonus entries are available.

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Filling the Bus

The annual school sit and cheese pics have been brought home. The bus collages that hang in my hallway have had another picture added to it, leaving one less space to fill as my babies move up in their school years. I have been very, very vocal about how much I detest these particular pictures. This year they aren't so bad. These particular ones serve their purpose. They fill the bus windows.

This year though it hit me. 

Did you count the blank spaces left in the above picture? Go ahead. Count. FOUR left! He hasn't changed that much. Just lost his baby cheeks, added glasses for two years, and has now found contacts. His style hasn't changed much either. Hair or clothes. His face is longer, shoulders broader. And his height, that can't even be recognized in such pictures as these. He now towers over me by almost 4 inches at 6'1". He is in his first year of school ball- basketball! Obviously I am the mother of a rapidly growing man child. 




Miss K became a mini me in the past year. I blinked. Her hair isn't so curly anymore, with the help of product we can still make it pretty wavy. She is sassy and crafty. The girl can scream and throw drama like nobody's business. No one will ever mess with her. She always has to be busy. Her imagination is infinite. She is still dancing and even has a part in the upcoming South Tulsa Children's Ballet's Nutcracker performance.  I still have ten spaces to fill in her bus. I have a feeling I will earn my head of gray while filling these seats.

Like I said above, this year filling the bus seats hit me, hit me hard. The school day memories that have been made and will be made are memories to treasure forever. The education they receive now will prepare them for adulthood and for their future careers.

Education, a lot of prayer, and a solid faith in Christ our Savior.

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png



Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Book Character Project: Birthday Elf on the Shelf

It's October and pumpkins are EVERYWHERE!!

Miss K's school decided they needed to bring pumpkins into their classroom for some reading fun. At parent/teachers conference last Tuesday I was given a sheet with the following instructions:


  • Select a book and read it together.
  • Focus your discussion on the characters in the story.
  • Pick one character and create them on a small pie size pumpkin. (the student had to be able to carry it to school)
  • Decorate it, paint it, glue things on to it, and just get creative! (Please don't carve it though.)
  • Complete the attached book report.
The pumpkin, book report, and book was all due by October 22. The students will read their stories and talk about their pumpkins October 29-31. 

We knew immediately we had to get to work, we were leaving town for Fall Break and wouldn't be back until the evening of the 19th. Our school/activity/homework schedule gets kind of crazy during the week so, with only two school days before the project was due, we knew she needed to bring it to school on the 20th. 

So what book did she choose? The Elf on the Shelf®: A Birthday Tradition. My girl is crazy about her Elf on the Shelf, and loves that she gets to pay birthday visits other than just at Christmas time. She has a special request in to Santa for Malia Peppermint Pattie to visit for ALL of our birthdays. 


Items used:
1 pie pumpkin
1 piece of red felt (arms)
2 pieces of white foam (hands and collar)
Acrylic Paints, foam brushes and cotton swabs
Pencil for drawing on details
1 piece of white card stock
1 piece of yellow scrapbook paper, cut into strips and accordion folded for hat.
Hat template
Hot Glue



As you can tell from the pictures, Miss K had very little help from me on the project. I was just the hot glue, paint corrector/mixer, and direction giver. 

Hmmm...I wonder if I will have a visitor on my 40th birthday? Only one more week!

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Souper Recipe and PINK Hair!

Hi y'all! Yes, it's been a while since I wrote here, but no worries, I am still around. Be sure you are following me on all my other social media sites (click on the icons to the right folks) to see the snippets of what is going on in and around my nest. It's CRAZY, I tell ya. Today I have a boy with pink hair.

YES, I said PINK!!! But before I get into that story, I'm sending you all over to Oklahoma Women Bloggers. Today I am posting the following recipe. Everyone needs to make this recipe this weekend. It's Souper Comfort Food for the rainy, chilly Fall weekend we have ahead of us. Yay for Fall!!!



Now the Pink hair story.

It's #PinkOut day here in Broken Arrow. His middle school is going all out. I even heard that his National Junior Honor Society was doing some kind of contest. This is just plain awesome to raise awareness for breast cancer and any type of cancer for that matter.

I am so proud of this boy. He always has had such a fighting and supportive spirit toward any type of cancer. Today he wears a medal that he received in a 5K for a recent loved one who passed away from esophageal cancer, he even stepped out of his comfort zone and dyed his hair pink. I never thought my son would raid my closet for all of my pink gear. He did it for 5 family members in 5 years, one being his own grandfather. At 13, he gets it.


Do you Pink Out where you live? 

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Harvest Time with a Slow Cooker Red Gold Tomatoes Recipe from Me, Plus a Giveaway

I think I forgot how hectic Fall is, and we are still FIVE days away from the official calendar date. Anyone who knows me knows that my crockpot aka slow cooker is one of my favorite meal makers. I own three.

"The company, Red Gold-- is focused on slow cooking this Fall, and encouraging families to have a hot meal waiting after a busy school/work day.  Getting back into the Fall schedule is always busy, and slow cookers make mealtimes easier. What's more, in most families there's usually some delicious leftovers to freeze and reheat on another busy night! Using tomatoes in soups, stews and casseroles may also offer more nutrition: when tomatoes are heated, the antioxidant lycopene (linked to several health benefits) is released. Red Gold also will be hosting a promotion on its Facebook fan page starting today, September 17 during which they will give away two slow cookers a day for three weeks — that's 44 Crock-Pots. Just go to this link to fill out an entry form."

Red Gold recently sent me a variety-pack of tomatoes plus an apron, wooden spoon, and recipes. The kit contained 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of diced w/ green chiles, 1 can of diced with lime juice and cilantro and 1 can of diced with garlic and olive oil. The recipes are absolute must tries, Pulled Pork Sliders, Sausage & Sweet Potato Chili and Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese. Yummy! You can find all of Red Gold's slow cook recipes here.



I actually used the can of diced with garlic and olive oil and another I had in the pantry last week in my slow cooker. Have you ever had Macaroni Grill's Pasta Milano? Well, this recipe is like that, only its not. It has the chicken, tomatoes, and bowtie pasta, not the butter, the heavy cream sauce and a few other things. My family says it's a MAKE AGAIN!!



Let me know what you think!


Now, which one of my readers would like to receive their very own Red Gold Tomato Kit? All you have to do is enter on the easy Rafflecopter entry form below. Bonus entries are available!

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Red Gold for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. This Giveaway is open to U.S. only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering and Recognizing


September 11, 2001, the day our nation came under attack. Thirteen years ago today, it seems like only yesterday. The second time in my lifetime that our own soil was attacked. I do not know any other way but to teach my own children who live in this post 9/11 era to not take their freedoms for granted. Especially now, just last night on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary. The President announced the possibility of a third war as he vows to target terror groups. 

I personally knew no one in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or Flight 93, that was crashed into a field.  But I knew them all. They were my fellow Americans. 

My baby boy, Braden was one day away from being nine months old. I was living with Moma and Daddy in Wilson, OK. My Moma called me that morning and said turn on the TV. I just sat there holding Braden tight, tears streaming, asking God "who, what, why" is this being done. What kind of world is Braden going to grow up in? How can terrorist hate us so much that they are willing to commit suicide in order to kill innocent people? That was the first time I saw gasoline prices soar, the pumps said $1.85-$2.00. It was considered price gouging. Of course today a gallon of gas costs $3.16. Crazy huh?

Today, as I have for the past 13 years, I am saying a prayer for those who have lost loved ones in these attacks, I am praying for our country to continue to rise up and prepare for the prevention of further attacks. I am praying for our nations leaders and future leaders. I pray for our military as they continue to defend and prepare to defend against these new terror groups. I pray that they recognize more than ever the need to place God into their lives and make wise decisions. 



God Bless America!

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#DolphinTale2 in Theaters September 12 with a Giveaway! #WinterHasHope


We are SO EXCITED for next weekend! In case you haven't heard Winter the famous dolphin is returning to the big screen!! We have kind of missed our family movie theater time since the summer program ended and have already planned a family date night. Do you have such a tradition in your household? One of these days we plan to visit Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. Several of our friends have been and I even have a reporter friend with WTSP 10 in Tampa who visits him often. 


About the movie:
Inspired by true events, Dolphin Tale 2 continues the story of the brave dolphin Winter, whose miraculous rescue and recovery—thanks to a groundbreaking prosthetic tail—made her a symbol of hope and perseverance to people around the world and inspired the 2011 family hit movie “Dolphin Tale.” This film reunites the entire main cast, led by Harry Connick Jr., Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and of course, the remarkable dolphin Winter as herself. Champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, who has been an example of courage, also appears in the film.


It has been several years since young Sawyer Nelson and the dedicated team at the Clearwater Marine Hospital, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett, rescued Winter. With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who developed a unique prosthetic tail for the injured dolphin, they were able to save her life. Yet their fight is not over. Winter’s surrogate mother, the very elderly dolphin Panama, has passed away, leaving Winter without the only pool mate she has ever known. However, the loss of Panama may have greater repercussions for Winter, who, according to USDA regulations, cannot be housed alone, as dolphins’ social behavior requires them to be paired with other dolphins. Time is running out to find a companion for her before the team at Clearwater loses their beloved Winter to another aquarium.


Group Resource Website: http://www.homeschoolmovieclub.com/homeschool_day
Official Movie Website: http://www.dolphintale2.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dolphintalemovie
Twitter: @dolphintale
Watch and share the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMDymk_gx3A

In celebration of Winter's return to the big screen and the continued story of this dolphin, one of my blessed readers is going to receive a Dolphin Tale 2 Prize Pack: tshirt & sunglasses! Who wants this prize pack?

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. This Giveaway is open to U.S. & Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

The 4-Crow'sALS #IceBucketChallenge #ALSIceBucketChallenge #StrikeOutALS


Obviously the power of social media has shown its face over the past month. I applaud this challenge of awareness and raising funds for research of any disease. This particular awareness began in the sports world, has spread to celebrities, former presidents and people like my family. 

What exactly is the Ice Bucket Challenge? You are publicly challenged via video by someone you know to either douse yourself with a "bucket" of ice water or make a donation to ALS or an ALS charity of choice. One that we are looking at donating to is ALS Guardian Angels, they actually take every dollar donated and spend it helping ALS patients, family members, and caregivers. The suggested donation if you do not do the challenge is $100. It is also suggested that if you do the challenge to donate at least $10. I mean come on, why wouldn't you?

ALS is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide, and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are affected. Men are affected more than women, and the signs are often overlooked.

After all challenges were given and accepted, all FOUR of us ended up getting soaked. Here are our videos. 

Here is mine. I was challenged by Heather Davis aka Minivan Momma as part of the Oklahoma Women Bloggers. I called out my cousin Shelly (who gets some time on this because I just found out she is very SICK) and my friend and Happy First owner Debbie Vinyard. 

Braden was challenged by his friend Peyton. He called out Miss K, Evan, and his friends Oriana and Haley.


Miss K was challenged by her big brother. She gladly called out her Daddy.


Jason was challenged my Miss K. He gladly accepted, and learned the real meaning of a cold shower. LOL! He challenged both of our mothers, Belinda and Betty. I cannot wait for those challenges to be accepted.


Did you do the #IceBucketChallenge? I want to see it. Leave me your link in the comments. 


 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School Teacher Gift with Printable

It's Meet the Teacher day at my daughter's school. We are so excited about her teacher this year. Actually, the entire second grade team at her school is awesome so we would have been happy with any of the teachers. I seem pretty stuck this year on chalkboards, having a ball in class, and cake balls so I messaged her teacher on FB to be sure that there were no allergies or hating on chocolate.

As I suspected, chocolate is one of her faves. So of course, I etched a glass container with ABC & a ♥- oh how I love me some contact paper, my Cricut and some Armor Etch. I then filled the container with chocolate cake balls, added some bakers twine, and the printable below.



I made the printable in PicMonkey. I even included the blank copy above so that you can download and add your child's name and year. I saved mine to my iPhone and sent to Walgreens to print off as a 4x6 picture. If you do this, be sure to hit crop and look at your aspect ratio in 4x6 to be sure you don't cut anything off.






This will also be a great Teacher Appreciation Gift, so get it pinned now. Have a wonderful 2014-15 school year. Don't forget to volunteer and join your local PTA chapter (of course I had to get that plug in).
 
 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png