the orange creature on the kitchen floor.

We moved into our apartment last Friday. Already we are ready to move out. It’s just kinda stale and bland here, and the constant stomping coming from above is getting really old. Of course, it also makes us aware that we may be stomping on our floor, too. (So sorry people downstairs!)

A couple of nights ago as we were having dinner in our little kitchen, Ian noticed something.

“What is that on the floor?”

I got up and went to the area across from the sink. There, on the floor, was a small orange creature. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was… Was it a lizard? Or a weird salamander? Or HALF of a salamander? Whatever it was, it was gross. It jumped.

OH, MY GOODNESS! IT’S GOLDIE!!! Jack’s beloved Beta fish! I looked up into his bowl on the counter above. No Goldie in there.

“THAT’S GOLDIE!” I heard my own high-pitched hysterical voice. The kids froze.

Ian, being the calm and awesome one that he is, said, “Pick him up and put him back.”

I pondered that for about half a second and replied, “I can’t. I just can’t.”

So he got up and grabbed a paper towel. He carefully laid the paper towel on Goldie, who was now squirming, and tried to grab him.

I looked away.

But then I just had to look. I had to see what would happen.

I saw Ian try once, and fail. He tried again, and didn’t grab him that time either. I started to wonder if I should try to get Goldie myself. After all, I’M THE ONE WITH FINGERS.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to. Ian finally grabbed Goldie and quickly dropped him back into his bowl. We all gathered around and watched to see what would happen next.

“He might not make it, guys,” I said. “He was out of his water too long.”


Let me just say, Goldie is a miracle fish. He jumped out of his bowl somehow and landed himself on the floor. Then, he was out of his bowl for a while… I’d say at least a minute or two. Then, he was grabbed/pinched/squeezed and thrown back in his bowl. And he survived it all.

My kids were really concerned for Goldie. He wasn’t swimming as quick as he did before. When I dropped some food in the bowl he seemed to be swimming in the wrong direction, maybe like he couldn’t control which direction he was going. The boys insisted on praying for Goldie so he would get better. Thankfully two days later he is still alive and looking good. 🙂

What a story to tell! Does anyone have any other funny, silly stories like this? Share away!


where I’ve been lately.


So I’ve been a little absent lately. Life is busy around here. Soccer has started again. Our oldest just completed her first science fair project. And on top of it all, we’ve been busy selling a house. Wait. What?

Yes! We sold our house!

We are actively, aggressively, passionately (insert any other adverb that means urgent) searching for a new one. The perfect one. Because we are homeless. Our house has sold and we have to be gone in 6 weeks… I mean 5 weeks. Yes, its 5.

All of that to say, please pray that we would find a new home in the next week or two. This is the biggest purchase we will ever make, and we want to be wise in our decision. We want our home to be a place where we can gather family and friends, where our kids can invite their own friends, where we can make memories as wonderful as the ones we have made in our sweet first home. There are so many feelings associated with leaving this first home. Sadness to be leaving it, but also gratefulness for all the good times. We brought all three of our children home here. We brought Ian home after his illness here. So much life has happened in these walls. It has been as close to perfect as it could be. Now that the time has come, we pray for the next one to be just as perfect for us.

I’m excited for the next chapter for us. Will you keep our house hunt in your prayers?





25. What to do with those old bananas.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? Soooooooo, when life gives you bananas, make banana bread!


My family always has bananas on hand. They go with everything. The kids eat them with their breakfast, I can throw one in their lunch, and they are an easy and quick snack. Every once in a while, however, a few of our bananas end up overripe. That is, we don’t eat them fast enough and they are softer than we like. For a long time I would just throw them out. Then, one day, a friend of mine suggested freezing them.

“You can use them for banana bread,” she said. “Good idea!” I thought.

I figured I would give it a try. After all, there was plenty of room in the freezer and I could decide what I wanted to do with them later. I could throw them away now or throw them away later.

A few months ago, I had more than twenty bananas in my freezer. One day I decided to finally try them in my bread recipe. To my surprise, the bread was delicious! I was so glad to finally have a use for all those old bananas. (For anyone who wonders if they taste different than non-frozen ripe bananas, I wondered too. So I tried making a loaf with bananas that had not been frozen and there was no difference.)

This is the recipe for banana bread:



3 or 4 ripe bananas

⅓ cup melted butter

1 cup sugar (can reduce to ¾ cup)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 ½ cups all purpose flour


No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture over a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for one hour.

*** I make mini loaves for neighbors at Christmastime. Bake these for 30 min.

(recipe from


So, from now on, don’t throw those overripe bananas away! Freeze them and bake some banana bread instead. Happy baking!


This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life

22. letter to my oldest son.


My dearest first boy,

I love you so much. For several years I’ve felt guilty about you being the middle child. The one who is left out. The only one who will never have time with just Mom before you started school. Now I know that you were born at the perfect time. God knew you would be the one who would do great without it. Your sister is more sensitive and needed the attention, while your younger brother is more active and needs a bit more guidance than you did. You, my middle child, are amazing. And, actually, I was reminded by a friend that you are not a middle child, but rather, the first son. I love that! You are my oldest son. That makes you so special.

You love to run. You run around the house. Really. Just take off and run. Down the hall, around the kitchen, anywhere you can. Your daddy and I love it. We wonder if you’ll be a runner as you get older. Your favorite show is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I personally think its too scary, but you insist it isn’t. “The good guys always win”, you say. You are going to dress up as the silly ninja turtle, Mikey. He happens to wear the orange mask, which is your favorite color. And he is always funny, like you, which is something I love about you. You’ll do anything to get others to laugh. Even your kindergarten teacher admit you like to be the comedian in your classroom. (I just wish it wasn’t by talking about poop and boys’ bottoms.) 🙂




You are learning to read and you are great at it. Just last week you read your first book all by yourself, Go, Dog, Go by PD Eastman. I was so proud of you! So excited I even ordered your own copy of the book to keep forever. I plan to write a note inside saying it was the first book you ever read by yourself. And speaking of reading, today as you got in the car after school you announced, “Mommy, we learned a new high frequency word. Guess what it is.”  “What?” I asked. With a smile across your face you said, “The word is but. B, U, T, but. Not like the bottom though.”


One day recently you just came out of your room dressed like this. “Because super heroes wear their underwear on the outside,” you said. You ARE right about that. What a great observation. Can’t say I ever noticed.

And there you have it. You are all boy, my boy. My tree climbing, potato chip loving, all adventurous BOY. I’m glad I get to be your Mama. Keep on lovin’ life, my love!



P.S. There is a rumor going around in our family. Some think I love you most because you look most like me. Your sister and brother have blonde hair and blue eyes like Daddy. You, however, have brown hair and brown eyes like me. I will neither confirm nor deny this. But just between you and me, I have to admit that I love that about you. It’s cool to have something in common only with you.  🙂



This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

21. letter to my daughter.


Dearest daughter,

You have grown into a lovely young lady. When I look at you, I can hardly believe you were once a tiny little baby in my belly.

I’m enjoying being your mommy so much. We cook and bake together, we take care of your brothers together, and we laugh and play together. You are so beautiful. I love those big blue eyes of yours. I love your silly laugh and smile. I love everything about you.

You love reading. You LOVE reading. Did I mention YOU LOVE READING? These days you read anything you can get your hands on, and finish books in practically no time at all. I’ve read some books lately just so I can talk to you about them. Among them are Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach, all great reads by Roald Dahl. I finally got you some Ramona books, and I’m hoping to read them soon so we can talk about those, too.


I love planning our meals together. “What should we make for dinner this week?” I’ll ask you. “Oh, how about chicken tacos or spaghetti,” you’ll say. Last week you surprised me by suggesting fish sticks. So I got you some. You flip through my copies of the Pioneer Woman and Magnolia Bakery cookbooks all the time and ask my opinions on which I’d like and what I think we should make. It makes me feel special when you ask me what I like. I wish you knew how much I just want to make what YOU want, sweet girl.

You wear a uniform for school everyday, and for a long time you wore your hair the same way. You simply brushed it and put a clip in it. Lately, I’ve noticed that you’ve started to play with your hair. You try ponytails, braids, and cute accessories. You’ve started polishing your nails, too. I like seeing you become more girly. Daddy says I need to spend more time with you doing girly things. We have to stick together in this house where boys outnumber us! 🙂


I pray that we continue to be friends. My role as your mother means I have to teach you and guide you through life, but my ultimate goal for you is to lead an honest and Godly life independently someday. I’d be delighted if, when you are a grown adult with children of your own, we can still be the best of friends. You are an amazing girl. I’m anxious to see more of you as you continue to grow. Each new year shows more of your personality and character. You are unique and wonderfully made.

I know I am not perfect, but I believe God made me the perfect mother for you. I pray that you would give me grace and always know that I try my best for you each and every day. You carry my heart with you everywhere you go. I love you always, my chocolate-loving girl.

love, Mama


This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.


20. Sausage, potato, and kale soup.



First of all, I take absolutely NO CREDIT for this. I made this soup last night and posted a pic of it, and many of you asked me to share it. Here is the recipe. It was really yummy! Ian loved it! My kids ate it okay, the boys decided it was better if they took the kale out. I figure since it was cooked in the soup the nutrients made it in, right?



This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

1. Hello, Fall! I’ve been expecting you!


autumn candle

You may call it autumn. I call it fall. Whatever you call those wonderful three months following the summer, let’s just agree that it is the most fantastic time of the year. After more than three months of hot Texas days, fall is a lovely and very welcome sight. Unlike most people who suffer from seasonal depression in the wintertime, I am on the opposite end and suffer during the summer. The extreme heat and long days are difficult for me. I try to plan fun activities and trips for our family to make it more bearable. Now that my oldest is in school, I appreciate summers a bit more. I do enjoy sleeping in and not having to pack lunches or do homework. Still, summer is my least favorite season.



Fall is beautiful, even in south Texas. The leaves change color a bit before they fall from trees, and the temperature begins to drop slightly. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt it. The changes send a wave of joy and anticipation through me: should I wear a scarf today? It’s only 78 degrees!


Fall makes me giddy. I’ve decorated my house with browns, oranges, and golden yellows. I even went all out and bought a few fall scented candles to light after dinner. (Even though its still in the 90s here)



This new season is a gift. I’m grateful summer is coming to an end. God makes all things new, and that includes new mercies for me during my favorite season.

Thank you, Lord, for fall. This girl is much happier. Happy fall, y’all!



This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.