The Liebster Award!

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okay guys. I love this stuff. i love that you take 30 seconds to read my blog, let alone a few minutes to try to learn more about me ❤ i love it. thank you for the nomination Sissy Mack!!

Finding bloggers that have less than 200 followers is tough!

Mack’s Questions are as follows:

1.  What is your favorite thing about yourself? I really like that i’m not judgmental and that I think I try my hardest to see the entire situation before I figure out how to approach it.

2.  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Germany ❤

3.  What is your favorite creative medium? Photography and painting. but i’m really bad at painting.

4.  What is your geeky secret? Geeky? I have no idea. I’m really crazy about office supplies.

5.  How would you describe your style? colorful and fun. clean and tidy.

6.  When did you start writing? ive always written and it’s always been a secret.

7.  Why did you start writing? i wanted to be famous like Anne Frank and have one of my diaries discovered, but because i ended up doing something really cool. (this is my geeky fact, i guess haha)

8.  What is your favorite dessert? I really love mint chocolate chip ice cream but i am lactose intolerant, so i guess… cookies?

9. Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? oh gosh it depends! i love it all.

10.  What was the last movie you watched? Logan. it was grusome.

11.  Which continent do you live on? North American continent!

 

***Eleven Random Facts About Me***

1.  Mustard is slowly becoming my favorite color.

2. I am overly addicted to the clothing line LuLaRoe

3. I don’t have a lot of close friends

4.  I’m a 26 year old grandma.

5. The craziest thing i’ve ever done is become a step mom.

6. I really want to raise goats.

7.  My husband and I are working our way to become DeBt FrEe!

8. House hunting is actually one of my favorite things to do

9.  I am obsessed with my dogs.

10. I really love reading, now that I’m no longer a student.

11.  Cleaning is therapy. Clean house = clean mind.

Now I get to nominate some of my favorite small blogs.  I love following each of you and just want you all to know that you inspire me.

1.  Redneck Lena

2. Newish Wife

3. Marajudah

4. Dorky Mom Doodles

5. Not From Your Average Joe

6. The Canadian’s Wife

7. The Opinionated Dad

8. Stepmom Warrior

9. Tilly The Blogger

10. Single Dads Are Cool

11. The StepMomster

 

Now it’s my turn to ask the questions!

1.  Dogs or cats?

2.  What’s your DREAM job, no strings attached?

3.  When did you start writing?

4.  What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

5.  What’s one thing you’d like to improve about yourself?

6.  What is your favorite movie?

7.  What’s the first vehicle you owned?

8.  Do you have any creative hobbies (aside from writing)?

9. Do you have any children?

10.  What’s the one thing you’d like to be known for?

11.  Where are you from?

New Years Check in-2

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Checking in and keeping you updated on my New Years Progress is a really great way to hold myself accountable. If I’d written my goals down just for myself, I probably would have already lost the paper and forgotten my goals. Yay technology! Here they are:

The StepMomma’s 2017 Goals:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Fixing up House A
  3. Fixing up House B
  4. Making healthier food and life choices
  5. Saving more moolah
  6. Paying off all debt (excluding student loans, mortgages)
  7. Weekly Bible Studies with the kiddos
  8. Reading my entire bible all the way through
  9. Hosting a Bible study in our home
  10. Becoming a DBA and LLC for my personal business
  11. More family time
  12. Learning to cook one decent meal for the family
  13. Only wearing jeans one day/week…
  14. Read more.

in February’s Post you saw me do most of these things, the ones marked in yellow were already achieved or are things that are a work in progress. Decluttering, making healthy choices, saving money, pursuing my LLC (now that i’m a DBA), all things that are daily choices.

number 11 is something new, though. With 17 committing 6 nights/month to us, it’s really helped us to spend time together. The younger two are so happy to have a committed night with gbaby- i think this will be so good. now just to get 20 on a regular basis! I keep suggesting to PC that we ask 20 to come to ONE of the every other friday nights that 17 and gbaby are over, one night per month. all four kids and the g baby. it would be so nice.

I’ve successfully cooked 4 new dishes that i have never attempted before. Honey Garlic Baked Chicken , Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm., home made hamburgers with sweet potato fries (that was the new thing) and asparagus, and last night I made pasta salad with chicken and homemade bread. it was so good. I took step by step photos and then ran out of time and forgot to take a final photo. I was going to take a leftover photo but THERE WAS NONE! 17 ate 3 helpings of it and took every last noodle. so. good. i dont even like pasta salad! until now 🙂

I’m reading more- I’ve finished two books this year, which isn’t crazy, but I am in the process of my third book! I’m just happy to be able to dedicate some spare time to something I enjoy and not have to write book reports or take quizzes on it!

Can’t say I’ve read my bible all the way through this year yet, but i’ve been doing The Matthew Challenge and that’s kept my nose in the book.. most days. We’re also pursuing the home bible study, but it won’t be feasible until the summer.

it’s exciting to check in and see more things marked off the list or areas that I’ve made progress on!

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how are your new years’ goals? still attainable? or did you throw ’em away a while ago? happy wednesday, y’all!

finding the good in me, without affirmations

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Self-worth. What a concept.

I used to be this empty shell, this person who lived off of her self and honestly didn’t care about the opinions or actions or anything that involved another person. I was plenty fine  with myself to be apathetic about my day to day interactions and that was enough. but now. now this is hard.

It’s a real life, daily struggle to find value in my personhood. As a follower of Christ- I can easily look throughout scripture and be reminded that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that the Lord knows the plans He has for me, and that God cares for even the amount of hairs on my head. Those are facts. Those are hard truths that remind me that I have value. That I have something worth breathing for. (see: Psalm 139:13-15, Jeremiah 29:11, Luke 12:6-7 for full verses).

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It’s a daily struggle in this step-mama’s life to find value in what I do.

My entire life has flipped completely upside down in the two years that my Prince and I have been married. Most of the changes haven’t been bad- some of them are great. But they take adjusting. Time. Patience.

I used to measure my worth in the things that I did. How involved I was in certain areas of my life. Whether it was with my church, a sport, school activities, my job, even ways I was involved with my family. That’s where I found my worth, my value.

Let me tell you. Things. Are. Different.

I am no longer a first baseman. Softball isn’t a part of this life.
I’m no longer employed by my church, nor, as of yesterday, in the leadership spectrum.
I am no longer consumed by homework, projects, books, assignments.
I am no longer run ragged every day from serving hundreds of customers. It is not uncommon that my office will not have one visitor in a business day.
My biological family has taken a back seat since I became a part of a new family. They live far away. They are on opposite weekends of us.

So how do i find worth now, since all of those things have changed?

Unfortunately, I rely heavily on how my husband and children respond to me. I value and crave their positive comments, affirmations. I seek them. Sometimes doing extra things, just hoping for a “thank you” or “this is great!” I need it.

I rely on affirmations. But I shouldn’t.
Relying on affirmations allows me to be broken when I hear critiques. I am a “words of affirmation” girl in all aspects of my life. Work: need affirmation. Love: Need affirmation. Parenting: need affirmation. Being someone’s daughter: need affirmation. I need to be able to check off the box that says “you’re doing well!” before I can move along.

Relying on affirmations as a step parent isn’t good. It’s hard enough for kids to compliment each other, biological parents. Let alone this extra person who hasn’t really been here forever. Affirmations are hard to come by.

I am a work in progress. It’s an interesting time to be thestepmomma. Life is changing. Things are different. i am growing. I hope to find more value in myself in different ways, not relying on the words of others. I think this little cooking journey I’ve been put on is satisfying some of the needs I have, since good food usually brings compliments. I hope to continue to create and learn more skills- which may bring more satisfaction. Keep asking. Keep prodding.

There will be something good in here, some day.

Read More on Medium

The big, green monster

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Proverbs 27:4New International Version (NIV)

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy?

Jealousy is something I’ve never struggled with, until now. I’m not sure how to handle it- but Proverbs has said it perfectly. Who can stand before jealousy? Who can even try to compete. Who can win against it? No one. Your mind eats at you. Your thoughts are overcome by negativity- worst case scenarios. It creeps in and spews darkness in all of the wrong places. Lord, help me.

Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm.

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So last night was clearly a sappy holiday, so i felt like trying to be a #goodwife and attempting to cook a meal for my dear husband. I also knew i was alone in the house for 2 hours, so i could photograph every step of the way.

I am 100% not a cook. I need step-by-step-by-step instructions. Your “Dash of Basil” does me no good. I need precise measurements. I like baking for that reason. So here we go: This is the part where I teach you how to cook Italian Chicken with bread sauce and hand pies.

First, thaw chicken. We used about 1 pound of meat and probably could have used half of it and had plenty. Prince Charming left this out for me in the morning so I could come home and be ready to go.

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Italian Seasoning consists of:

Parsley- 3 tablespoons
Basil- 3 tablespoons
Garlic powder- 1 tsp
Rosemary-1 tsp
Onion Powder- 1 tsp
Oregano- 2.5 tsp
Thyme-1 tsp
Red pepper- .5 tsp
Black pepper- .25tsp

Or if you did like me and sifted through the entire cabinet only to find there is no thyme or rosemary, you can use pre-made italian seasoning, which i also didn’t know we had.img_0100 img_0102

For best results, lay chicken flat on surface and cover evenly with italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and garlic powder. Flip over and do the same to the other side. For even better results, do this in a bowl with the other items you will be eating, so they all get the same, even flavor.

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This is where I went wrong.
Learning Point #1. Do not put veggies in at the same time as the raw meat. Raw meat will take much longer to cook than veggies, but hyperactive brain does not compute that.
I sprinkled some onion & garlic powder on the asparagus we ate, after cutting off the woody side.. which is the stalk side, so I learned. You can take about 3 inches off. I picked up each piece and just bent it til it snapped- it naturally breaks where it needs to usually. img_0107img_0109img_0110img_0112img_0111

A regular cooking time for this would be 4 hours on low in your crockpot, but we didn’t have all night- so I cranked it up to high and cooked it for about 2.5 hours. Only after realizing that it was on warm for 45 minutes, i think it would naturally only take 2 hours on high to cook properly.

Hand pies:

Cheat. Use the pre-made, store-bought pie crusts. It’s so simple. I bought them on my lunch for $2.99 and let them sit in my car to thaw out until I got home. It’s okay if they don’t fall out of the pan perfectly, you’re going to use a rolling pin on them to flatten them anyway 🙂

Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

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because it was Valentines Day, of course my hand pies were heart shaped. I used a heart cookie cutter that was about 3.5 inches wide. My two pie crusts made 4 hand pies and 4 leftover crust pieces that i brought to my coworker who loves pie crust, but not pie. I hate it all, so this works for me.img_0119

Just like cookies, rip the excess crust away from the cutter and roll back into a ball, then re-roll it and flatten to use again.img_0115

You’re supposed to use JAM for this but we only had jelly. i dont see the difference and PC didn’t mind. Take 1 generous scoop of jelly and put in the center of your heart. spread evenly, but dont get toooo close to the edge or you’ll have a sloppy jelly mess. But i guess that isn’t really a bad thing.

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The fun part: take a second heart and place on top of the jelly covered heart. line them up and press to seal it shut around edges with fingers. (I usually skipped that step). Then grab a fork and add some detail to the edge. This really seals the jelly into place and also adds a fun and cute detail to the edges that makes it look like you spent a LOT of time on…… when really it takes about 1 minute per heart (if that).img_0121img_0123img_0125img_0126img_0127img_0128

To make your hand pies golden brown, do this simple trick.

Use 1 egg Learning point 2: 2 eggs is too many for this small amount of pies, even if they’re the tiny farm eggs. just. use. one.

Use 1 egg and add a tiny bit of water to it. Whisk until it is an even yellow and even consistency. Take this egg mix and cover your pies with it. I used a wadded up paper towel, you can use your hands, you can use a brush, whatever you need- just be sure to cover the entire surface so it is evenly brown.img_0129img_0131

The final touch: Icing.

This is so simple guys. Use about 3 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar (depending on how much icing you like). Stir them together. They start to thicken and form an easy icing. It tastes SO GOOD. I had to try it, but can’t have any milk-based items, so i only got a little bit.img_0132img_0133img_0134img_0135img_0136img_0137

Pop these bad boys into the oven for 20-30 minutes and voila.

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I attempted to make a bread oil, but we aren’t sure about it yet.
Take about 6 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 cup of extra virgin oil
3 tablespoons of basil
2-3 tablespoons of oregano
Parmesan cheese to top it.
Stir- yummy bread oil at your fingertips

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Add some candy hearts as a pretty centerpiece. Complete with your husband’s favorite chocolate. img_0139img_0140

Decorate with the giant bouquet of flowers he got you.img_0141img_0142

EAT.

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(PC was home, I had to sneak final pics with my phone so he didnt think I was weird)

 

and, ok y’all. these are original images and i had a lot of fun taking them. you can use them, but please just give credit where it is due. these are images of my real life home and my real life messy kitchen and the flowers are the ones my husband chose just for me. these things mean something to me, so just take a second and don’t just steal my things 😀