Thursday, June 30, 2016

Festiveness for the 4th!

A little known fact about me...I love decorating for the 4th of July ALMOST as much as I love decorating for Fall...annnnd Christmas. I love the color combos, flags, fireworks...the whole shebang!

Today, I'm sharing a few pics from around the house of my patriotic decor. Typically, I put these out right before Memorial Day in May and leave it up through the 4th. It just all screams Summer to me!

Thanks to my friend, Emilee for inspiring me to add something festive to my kitchen chalkboard. She always dresses her chalkboard up and for some reason, I've never thought to do that myself. She's probably created a new monster in me. 


For my floating shelves in the kitchen, I just added a few flags, candle holders and a canvas I painted several years ago. 


Our entry table...you guessed it...cute printables found through Google! They're my favorites each season...and more flags!




I bought these cute sparkly signs this year at Dollar Tree. I knew I could find a place for them, so I snagged them up in a hurry!



On to our mantel and the weird lighting camera effect on the picture. Who knows. 


I've had this Old Glory sign for YEARS. No shame in admitting that my decor came from Tractor Supply. We are from TN after all. 


I love, love, LOVE sparkly picks and garlands and glittery things, so it goes without saying this end of the mantel is my favorite. I mean, how can it not be? 


I just love this time of year! I don't necessarily love the humidity, but I love Summer in general. Everyone just seems a bit more laid back, more time spent with friends and family, and fun Summer celebrations! 

 It might be cliche to say, but it's oh so true. We're able to live in this land of the free because of the brave! Take a moment over this long holiday weekend to appreciate our nation's founding fathers, those who have bravely served our country to ensure our freedom, and most importantly our Heavenly Father, the giver of all of our daily gifts and freedoms. Our eternal freedom is through His Son. 

Happy early 4th friends!!


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's Up Wednesday: June Edition

It’s the last Wednesday of the month, so we’re all linking up for What’s Up Wednesday!



I’ll just go ahead and apologize for ALL of the baby / pregnancy related answers to this month’s questions. It’s just the phase of life we’re in right now. These girls are already taking over almost every aspect of our lives…and I love it!

|What We’re Eating|
Monday night I hosted a Bunco group at our house and for dinner, I served a BBQ Potato Bar. This was such an easy idea to throw together with minimal cleanup and was delicious!! Everybody wins! This is the recipe that I use when I make pulled pork in the crock pot. For Monday, I doubled the recipe to feed 12 (+Stephen which is basically feeding 2 more people). I also add garlic powder, minced onion, salt and pepper to the marinade. Also, I typically buy a boneless Boston Butt for the cut of meat, but have used a shoulder roast as it mentions, both turn out great.

 

After a BUSY Monday and Monday night, Tuesday was super simple with spaghetti. I don’t make it often, but when I do we both devour it. There’s just something so comforting about a plate of spaghetti!

This weekend, we’re hoping to sneak in a date night to go out of town to do our baby registries. We may have talked more about where we’re going to eat more than we’ve talked about registry items we need to check off of the list.



|What I’m Reminiscing About|
Seeing everyone's Summer vacation pictures pop up over Facebook and IG has me reminiscing about our previous beach trips. We love beach vacations and the relaxation the week brings. We may be skipping the beach this year, but we already have dates and reservations for next year...WITH OUR GIRLS! 

|What I’m Loving|
Monday afternoon, we had our longest ultrasound yet which was the anatomy scan on both girls. It was the best and most relaxing feeling to lay there for an hour and just watch these two miracle babies move and squirm around as they were getting measured literally from head to toe.

|What We’ve Been Up To|
Nursery progress is well underway! I want to keep most pics away from the blog until the room is finished and ready for a big reveal. I will say, it’s my favorite room in the house and I often just go in there to stand and look around.


OH…and diaper and wipes stockpiles are taking over at our house and my in-law’s house. God bless them.


|What I’m Dreading|
There are times that I feel like I’m stressed OUT lately with everything that we have to plan for and get done in the next three months…THREE MONTHS. Plus, the other girl I work with is leaving for a better job opportunity, so there’s the new pressure of taking on all of her tasks on top of mine, which I’m insanely behind on. AND, training a new person not only for her job but mine too during my maternity leave. It’s a lot to chew on, but overall, I know it’ll all get worked out and we have such a joyous time ahead of us to look forward to!

 

|What I’m Working On|
Yeah, so I’m gonna go with the girls’ nursery again for this one. Sorry friends..it is what it is.

|What I’m Excited About|
In the past few weeks, two good friends and a family member have found out they were pregnant too! It’s been so nice to talk to these girls who I’m so close with even if we’re at totally different stages of pregnancy. PLUS, all three have struggled with infertility and getting pregnant too. I have prayed for these girls as much as I’ve prayed for myself through the years. It’s just such a blessing to finally be experiencing our long-awaited joys together.

|What I’m Watching / Reading|
Sadly, I’m not reading too much right now other than family plan insurance coverages, hospital pre-registration and anesthesia registration paperwork. BUT, you better believe I’m sucked into The Bachelorette and Big Brother for the Summer!

I love me some James T, but let’s be honest, she’ll never pick him. (And at the time of writing this, I'm half way through this week's episode, so who knows...he may be gone at the end of this one.)



And on BB, I just want to stretch Nicole’s nostrils out. It really bugs me.


 

And so does this girl’s voice.

 

Ugh. AND WHY do they feel the need to YELL to the camera right in front of them when they do their one on one interviews?!? SOMEBODY please explain that one!

|What I’m Listening To|
I go through phases of music I play on different Pandora channels while I’m at work. I’m back on my Boyce Avenue channel kick. Perfect mix for the office!


|What I’m Wearing|
It’s Summer. I live in TN. I’m pregnant with twins. I’m wearing a lot of loose and cool tops right now. AND A LOT of flip flops because I’ve got to have something I can kick off in an instant. My most odd ball pregnancy symptom, and so far the most discomforting (which in the grand scheme of symptoms I COULD have, it’s really nothing) my hands and feet stay BLAZING hot! It’s the weirdest thing, but common and unfortunately not a lot you can do about it other than deal. It’s due to increased blood flow, and it stinks, especially when  your burning hot feet wake you up in the middle of the night. Anyways, you’ll find me literally barefoot and pregnant quite often these days.

|What I’m Doing This Weekend|
More than likely, I’ll be making up a few hours at work to catch up on some things, and as I mentioned earlier, we’re going to try and squeeze in that date night we so desperately need!

|What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month|
This weekend technically starts “next month”, and I’m super excited about our traditional family get-togethers for the 4th. We’ll be with my family at some point over the weekend celebrating with LOTS of food, some outdoor games and fireworks! Then, we’ll be with Stephen’s family’s block party on the 4th. I just love traditions and our little town is FULL of traditions for the 4th from the Little Patriots Parade, to the Fire Cracker Flea Market barn sales, to Slide Cookeville and topping it off with the 2nd largest fireworks show in the state! It’s a big deal around here!! If you’re near mid-TN, check out Cookeville’s Red, White and Boom 4th of July Celebration weekend!


|What Else is New|
If you’ve been following along with Leigh, Justine and I for our monthly Pinspiration Wednesday linkup, you might want to note a small change for next week’s July link up! Originally we had planned to share our 4th of July Pinterest finds and ideas, but since it will be after the 4th, we’ve decided to share our favorite Summer Grill-Out recipes, tips, etc! There is nothing better than a dinner from the grill on a hot summer night! Join us next week for Pinspiration Wednesday sharing all your best grilling tips and recipes!!


Be sure to check in with Shay and Mel to see what everyone else is up to on this June Wednesday!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Weekend Happenings

Happy Monday friends! We've had a busy and productive last few days around here, and to be honest, I'm exhausted! Aren't weekends supposed to be relaxing?

I had a couple of pics on my phone (pre-weekend) that I wanted to be sure to share. On Wednesday, I got the cutest mail ever! I bought these newborn hats off of Jane.com a few weeks ago for just $6! I can't wait to see our girls wearing these!!


On Thursday, one of my best friends, Amy and her husband celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, so Stephen and I kept their son Daniel that night so they could enjoy a date night. I can't believe it's been 10 years since we were frantically setting up for their wedding and enjoying the  best chocolate tiered wedding cake I've ever seen! 

Daniel was the best baby for us and we had so much fun with him! 


Friday morning I snapped a pic of our nursery in progress before I left for work, because word on the street was, Stephen, his dad and brother were going to put together the cribs and dresser that day. 


I started getting texts from Stephen's mom that afternoon about their progress and curiosity got the best of me....and yeah...I definitely left work early to head home to check the work out!

BUT...not before I caved to my worst craving so far. And I have no shame in admitting, I scarfed down a crunchy shrimp roll in my car like it was my job. (I did some intensive research [i.e. a quick google search and scan of the top 5 articles] to see that cooked shrimp within reasonable amounts are safe to consume during pregnancy.) 

It was the best thing I've eaten in a long time. Best meal of the week!


Back at home, the Stafford men were HARD at work. 


Sorta. 

They got the first crib together in about 45 minutes and the 2nd one in less than 15. 


They also got the girls' closet shelves installed. I still have a few more storage pieces to buy to complete my Pinterest "organized twins closet" inspiration, but we are WELL on our way!


Saturday morning, Stephen's mom, grandma and my grandma headed to a nearby town to buy fabric for crib bedding and curtains. For now, we're just going to make crib skirts and will do bumpers later on. The two fabrics I ended up picking up weren't exactly what I had in mind going into it, but I think it's going to turn out REALLY nice! 


My mother in law worked on painting a bookcase Friday and I finished it up on Sunday. (After I tried to finish it on Saturday night and #hormones got the best of me and I threw in the towel.) Once it was dry, I just couldn't stand looking at it all empty...so I may have already filled it with some of my old books and books that our nephews passed down to us for their cousins. 


We spent most of Sunday afternoon and early evening cleaning house to get ready for my Bunco group tonight! It's our first Bunco night and we're all excited for a fun girls' night to look forward to each month!!


Somehow, we also squeezed in 3 family meals over the weekend, a visit to my grandparents, and a couple of visits to see my dad, who's recovering from back surgery last week. He's having a much harder time than he or any of us were prepared for, but he is finally starting to show some minor, minor improvements. 

Another thing worth sharing from the weekend, pregnancy hormones are NO joke. Increased blood flow to your hands and feet are NO joke. 10pm cravings for a Wendy's Frosty are NO joke. Dealing with a summer, multiples pregnancy and 95 degrees + TN  humidity is NO joke. 

Finally, never discount the value of a good nap!

Later today, we have our full anatomy scan on the babies. We're praying everything continues to look great as it has been, but it still makes a mama a bit nervous ahead of time. 

(And our nephews are patiently waiting to see if that 5% chance on Baby B might be a boy after all.)

linking up with Johannah and Biana




Friday, June 24, 2016

Naming Our Girls

The quick version of this post is, Mae is my grandmother’s name and we both liked and agreed on Amelia, Gentry & Parker.

The end.

Because I want to remember how we came to our decisions and came upon these names (and if you want to keep reading), I’ll share a bit more in detail about them.

Finding names is not a problem. Agreeing on names is a different ballgame.

For instance, Georgia Hazel. Stephen fought for that name from Day 1. He tried and tried to convince me and everyone else that it was the best girl’s name ever. My continual response was “we’re not hipster enough for that name.” I mean, really. I can see the coolest couple who wears skinny jeans, glasses and plaid shirts, lives in a tiny house, sipping on their self-brewed coffee watching their little girl names Georgia Hazel running around. Me and Stephen…we don’t drink coffee and thought of either of us in skinny jeans makes me gag a little. Georgia Hazel just didn’t “fit” us.

 

We first said, we wouldn’t pick names or really even discuss names heavily until we found out genders. There were too many options and too many combos to come up with. If we wanted to be really prepared, we’d have 2 full girls names and 2 full boys names. That’s 8 NAMES! It just sounded stressful, so we avoided it for several weeks and then out of the blue the week before our appointment we started saying, “we really need to decide on names.” We went against everything we had said and  started talking, mixing names for first and middles, seeing what initials and monograms would be, and how they sounded with Stafford.

We also made the decision early on to NOT share any names we were serious about. We didn’t really care about other peoples’ opinions and more than that didn’t want to hear them. This was our decision to make, our children to name.


I first came across Amelia on some “top baby name” list a year or so ago and liked it. At the time, I jotted it down on a running list on my phone, mentioned it to Stephen and he didn’t like it. Fast forward a year, he’s flipping through a baby name book some friends loaned us, came across Amelia and said, “OOOOH! AMELIA!” I just stared at him, and said, “Really?” Amelia was back on the table and since he liked it so much, I started loving it even more myself.


You know those daily deal websites, Jane and GroopDealz? I get their emails every day and love the items and prices they offer. I’ve been able to buy many Christmas gifts from those sites the past couple of years. They’re great. (End of un-sponsored ad.) Anyways, so they offer custom “Printables” most days from different sellers. One day I was scrolling and saw printables for nurseries with babies’ names. Well, being a sucker for anything with baby names, I scrolled through every single picture. I came across a really pretty girly, design and noticed it before I noticed the name. The name was Gentry. My first reaction was, “I love last names as first names, but that’s a DEFINITE last name around here.” A couple days later, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Again, I mentioned it to Stephen in passing and he snarled his nose to it. When we started talking names seriously for our babies, he mentioned something like, “Well, there was Gentry…you liked it a lot.” First of all, I couldn’t believe he remembered it. Second of all, I couldn’t believe he was on board AGAIN to a name he had dismissed months earlier. I don’t understand him sometimes.


I’ve known for the last 15+ years that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her after my grandmother. My grandma’s name is Ila Mae. She is the best person I’ve ever known and has had a huge impact on my life. She’s one of my best friends, and I can’t imagine what life would be like without her and all the memories I’ve shared with her.

That being said, when you start naming names, Mae goes with ANYTHING, so we were pretty sure it’d be a middle name. When I first heard Parker for a girl (more on that in a minute), I thought “Oh wow! Parker Mae! I LOVE it.” Then reality hit that her poor initials would be PMS. I just couldn’t, but Mae would still work with Amelia or Gentry so we didn’t get too flustered. (Although I had a hard time of letting Parker Mae go.) We briefly even discussed giving her my grandma’s full name and she’d be Ila Mae Stafford. It’s an old and classic name, but so beautiful too.

One day I mentioned flipping Parker Mae to be Mae Parker. We didn’t say much about it and went on to other suggestions, so I didn’t think much about it at the time.


Ok, so I totally stole this from some random person two years ago during our annual third Saturday in October trip to Bell Buckle, TN for their arts and crafts show.

(Side story: If you’re anywhere close to middle or southern TN, you need to go to this one year. I won’t be able to go this year, since the girls could be due any day around that particular weekend, and I may or may not have gotten a little teary-eyed when I realized this a couple weeks ago. #hormones Anyways…google Bell Buckle, TN and you’ll be led to info on their big annual weekend. IT IS FANTASTIC. My little advice, be there when it opens to avoid MASS crowds all day. You’ll get in several stops before crowds pick up and more than likely be done around 2 to 3p, and you’ll have an easier time parking. AND, find the Methodist Church for your bathroom breaks. The lines might be long, but they move quick and are MUCH cleaner than any porta-potty you’ll see. Back to baby names…)

So myself, my sister and my friend Katie were winding our way down an aisle in and out of the crowds, and I saw a saw a girl pushing a stroller with the carseat / baby carrier attached. They had the cutest pink and brown (and I don’t even like pink and brown that much) monogrammed cover over the car seat. The monogrammed name was “Parker”. I remember literally stopping in the middle of the crowd and watching this girl and stroller walk by just starting at the seat cover. For a brief moment, I thought Parker COULD BE their last name, but no. No, in my head there was the cutest little girl snoozing under that cover and her name was Parker.

I knew it was a gender neutral name, but I was smitten and Parker would just HAVE to be my daughter’s name one day.

Until one of Stephen’s friends (who he RARELY ever sees anymore) named their son Parker sometime last year and he just couldn’t get on board after that. Every time we talked names, I brought up Parker. EVERY.TIME. until finally he pretty much just gave in.

Ok, so we have Parker, Mae, Gentry & Amelia…we could combine these names in various ways, but we knew these were our 4 names for girls. The day before our appointment (a Sunday) we were headed to Stephen’s grandparents’ house for lunch like we did every Sunday after church. During that 20 minute car ride, we made our final decisions. It was simple and easy. I threw out Amelia Gentry, he threw out Mae Parker…we both agreed and that was that. Seriously, it happened that quick and that easy.



The list of girls names was extensive and always changing, for boys names, we always had one solid one. James Oliver. James is Stephen’s grandpa. Oliver is my grandpa. If we had been told the next day we were having two boys, we would’ve split the name and had James Flatt (Flatt is my maiden name) and Will Oliver (Will was the only other boy name we could agree on that went with Oliver, and we weren’t 100% sure on it. If we had heard 2 boys, we sure wouldn’t have been ready to spit out their names as quick as we did for girls.)

Just for fun and remembrance since we’re 99% sure these two girls are it for us, and no more Stafford kiddos in our future, these were our other top contending girls names…

Della
Nora
Jensen
Bellamy
Millie

James Oliver was literally IT for boys names. We never could agree on anything else we liked for boys’ names.

We go back on Monday for our next appointment and will have a full anatomy scan ultrasound where they’ll do measurements of everything and take closer looks at the babies. As our doctor said a few weeks ago, “it’ll be your long appointment.” Remember they told us three weeks ago, “don’t go painting a room pink or monogramming anything just yet…” well, we haven’t but we’re totally preparing ourselves for 2 girls. That being said, IF a better look at Baby B on Monday this time shows we’re having a girl and boy…(Baby A was confirmed girl)..then we’ll have to decide which girl name gets the boot and we’ll have our James Oliver to prepare for. (But they were PRETTY sure B was a girl as well. It’s safe to say, I’ll be shocked if we hear boy and girl on Monday rather than girls, plural.)


**And yes, we’ve since been informed (by our SEVEN year old nephew nonetheless) that…”Erica, did you know Mae Parker is Spiderman’s aunt’s name?” Nope, we sure didn’t, but we’re FULLY aware of that now. I really thought we had come up with unique but classic names only to find out Marvel Comics beat us to it.

Speaking of nephews, our oldest, Riley (10) has had a hard time remembering Amelia Gentry and has called her Ginger OR “whatever her name is” a couple of times. He’s dead serious when he says it and it’s hilarious. I’m secretly hoping that’s his nickname for her even when they’re old and gray.**


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bumpdate: Half Way There

As promised, I'm checking in with a random "bumpdate" post. I'm not sure how frequently I'll do posts like these, but I figured since we're a little past the half-way mark, it would be a good time to post my first update. Here we go...

How Far Along?
19 weeks and 4 days

Gender?
GIRLS!

Names?
Amelia Gentry & Mae Parker

Due Date?
Technically November 12, but we know they’ll arrive between 35-38 weeks…so sometime mid-October!

Weight Gain?
Not sure, if any at all. We don’t own a scale. At every doctor’s appointment (and there’s been many), I’m continuing to lose weight. Since I first found out back in March until now, I’ve lost about 12 pounds.

Stretch Marks?
Nope

Maternity Clothes?
Pants, no. Tops, not necessarily…but a couple maternity tops I’ve already bought, I must say, are quite more comfortable right now than my regular clothes.


Belly Button In or Out?
I have a medium size crater for a belly button, so it’s going to take A LOT to push that sucker out during these next few months.

Best Part of the Week?
Nursery Prep and buying a LOAD of clothes from a friend!



Worst Part of the Week?
A certain hormonal Sunday night melt-down. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Miss Anything?
Walking across the parking lot at work without breaking a sweat…and a SOLID night sleep’s without waking up to go to the bathroom. That being said, these are minimal and in the grand scheme of what’s going on and what we’ve been so RICHLY blessed with, I really don’t have any complaints.

Movement?
Not yet…I don’t think. Every now and then in the past few nights, I’ve wondered if I’ve felt something, but I think I’m just being a little too paranoid about it for now. Maybe in another week or so!

Mood?
For the most part, I’ve been pretty happy and relaxed this past week which is better than the last few weeks of feeling stressed and like I could bite someone’s head off at any given moment. Sometimes, you run into the right friend at Wal-Mart on a Friday night and just let it all out to her in one of the baby aisles and feel SO much better when you leave. I have always been a firm believer that God puts the RIGHT people in your life at just the RIGHT moments that you need them.

Currently Reading?
I try to purposely stay away from too many websites, online forums, etc because I’m pretty sure I would be a hypochondriac about everything I read. I’ve been reading the go-to “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. I’m only reading chapters for the current week of pregnancy I am at. I am in one private Facebook group for Moms of Fall 2016 Multiples. It has been a huge help to be able to compare and share stories with other expectant moms who are in the same stages as I am.


Cravings?
Not really. More so aversions than anything, which no doubt has led to the weight loss. Most meals, I can eat 4-5 bites and then be done with my plate. I love drinks though..orange juice, flavored water, my weekly Dr. Pepper (a small amount of caffeine never hurt), ice..not necessarily that I crave drinks, it’s just that they taste really good to me.

Am I Showing Yet?
Just a tad and it’s just happened in the past week. I guess it was bound to happen sooner rather than later with two in there!

Symptoms?
If you googled random pregnancy symptoms, that’s what I’ve had. Not the traditional morning sickness, headaches and mood swings. Nope. I’m the one with blistering HOT hands and feet, and random (what we’ve been calling) “hot spots” on my head. Literally, you can put your hand on my head in a certain small spot and feel heat just radiating off of it. It’s the weirdest thing. When I first started noticing them, I was SUPER paranoid I was having an aneurysm or something. But no, apparently, blood flow and vessels are working overtime (especially with 2) and increased blood flow can just cause an area of momentary heat. My friend at work didn’t believe me until one day, I started noticing one coming on  during the day. (YES, I can feel them coming on.) I ran to her and was like, “HERE! Put your hand on my head right here and then your other hand anywhere else on my head!” She was a believer after that.

Other symptoms…constant stuffy nose, more bathroom breaks, MUCH less sleep, minor leg cramps, overall discomfort in trying to get situated in bed to sleep. I will take all of these if it means these girls are growing and doing just fine!

What am I Looking Forward To?
HOPEFULLY, we can get some nursery projects knocked out this weekend. It wasn’t on my agenda, but Stephen is wanting to get the furniture assembled and their closet shelves hung…so if that’s his plan, then I’m all for it!!

We go back to the doctor on Monday and will get to see our girls again! We are SO spoiled with having ultrasounds each visit.


Other Recent Happenings Worth Remembering…
I went ahead and Pre-Registered at the hospital…..on a whim. I simply went to Financial Services to get an estimate on what we could expect to pay after our insurance did their part and somehow that led to me going ahead and registering myself as a OB patient in October. SO, one less thing I guess.

My Half-Way There Prayer…
Dear Lord,
The joy in my heart for these two little girls outweighs all the fears and worries that I battle every day. I know that everything that has happened during our journey, has been on YOUR timetable, not ours. Your plan for our children is far greater than anything we could ever wish for them. 

With every day that passes, I become more and more excited to meet Amelia and Mae Parker…to learn their personalities, to experience a new, unconditional and life-long love, to see their bond as sisters and friends develop, to see the JOY they bring to our families. These girls are going to change our lives! God, please keep them safe and healthy for the next several weeks. Let them continue to grow in strength and size as you have already. Watch over this pregnancy to keep me and the girls safe until their birthday. 

Lord, as I’m going through long-awaited joyous time, please be with the ladies that are struggling to have children of their own. I know how their hearts hurt and weep for the blessing of a child. Please comfort them daily, that they may fully give their fears to you and lean on the hope of Your beautiful plan. It’s hard for them to understand it now, but Your plan for them is waiting. Shower Your love and protection over them and I pray that they will open their hearts to receive Your guidance and blessings during this journey.

Thank you is not enough to offer You  for these girls. We love them so much and are eternally grateful for  entrusting us with their lives. We owe You all of our praise and honor!

In Jesus’ name…Amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two Men

This past week and weekend has truly been a sad one for our family. 

Our beloved Uncle Bill passed away on Thursday after many years of battling various illnesses and ailments. He's suffered for so long, and when the time came that nothing else could be done, he accepted what the outcome would be in just few short weeks. He knew his time was limited. 

He made plans for his funeral so his family wouldn't have to. He made plans about his care so his family wouldn't have to. He loved his family fiercely those last few weeks..seeing one granddaughter graduate high school, another granddaughter marry her love in a beautiful wedding, seeing one grandson finish his middle school years to prepare for high school, and the other grandson prepare for the birth of his daughter (their first great-grand) in just a few more weeks. 


He taught 6th grade for years and years. Along with myself, he was many of my cousins' home-room teacher and Math teacher during our 6th grade year. 

He let me decorate his classroom bulletin boards with whatever I wanted. He was my go-to if I wasn't feeling well or needed anything at all while I was in elementary school. He was strict, but he oh how cared for his students. Several past students visited the funeral home because they thought so much of "Mr. Walker" back all those years ago. MANY, teachers he worked alongside with also visited. He meant so much to our county's school system. He will never know how many lives he impacted through his years of service. 

He busted through my grandparents' door one Christmas Eve night dressed as Santa Claus to the delight of all of us kids. He handed gifts out to each of and made cheesy pics with us all. 

He said "Hey, Gal" and grabbed by in a chokehold around the neck for a hug everytime he saw me. 

He was a wonderful example of a Christian man, hard-working employee, faithful husband, loving father and proud "Poppy". 

He had the most beautiful funeral service on Sunday filled with a few tears and alot of laughter...just the way he wanted it. We will love and miss him forever, but are so thankful for all of our years and memories with him. He was the best uncle a girl could ask for!

Father's Day celebrations were put on a hold for a while due to our family's loss and weekend of visitations and funeral service. But, I couldn't let this time go by without a little nod to my daddio. 


There's not enough space on the internets to describe all that this man means to us. 

The older I get, the more I see lessons he was teaching us along the way without us knowing. 

What it means to WORK for what you want. Nothing is handed to you. Earn it. What it means to be meek and unassuming. The importance of listening. How to take care of the needs long before the wants. How to calculate a pitcher's ERA. It's ok to drive from Tennessee to Florida and never say a word. See the good in people, but don't set yourself up to be naive. Shop around. Learn the differences between Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Others always come before yourself. Everything is temporary. Memorize John 14: 1-6.

I could go on...

Our family has been through a difficult week and weekend. Yesterday, my Dad had surgery on his spine to correct some problems he's been having for years. The recovery is long and PAINFUL. My dad has been through alot health-wise himself, but we're not sure we've ever seen him in this much pain. They say it's normal for a few days, but when it's your own, it's not "normal" in your book. 

Two men with two incredible impacts on a girls' life. Love those close to you with all of your might. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Recipe Club: Honeybun Cake

My love for recipe linkups runs deep! There are always so many great meal, snack and dessert ideas that I get from other bloggers. I am so excited that Heather and Johannah have started this new monthly linkup to share some of our kitchen's bests!!

Today I'm sharing my Honebun Cake Recipe. 

Girls. 

If you love cinnamony-sugary desserts (definitely just made that word up but seriously, I'm sure all of you have used the word cinnamony in your vocabulary before) then this will be right up your alley! My friend Katey brought this over to our house one night a year or so ago for dessert, and  I HAD to have the recipe. THEN and THERE. HAD to HAVE it. 

Here's what you'll need...


1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 c sour cream
3/4 c oil
1 c light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 c powder sugar
6 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla


What you'll do: 

Preheat oven to 325. 
Stir (put that electric mixer away for this one) cake mix, eggs, sour cream and oil until well combined. 
In a separate bowl mix together cinnamon and sugar. 
Spread half of of the cake batter in a greased 13x9 pan, top with cinnamon sugar mixture, then gently spread other half of cake batter on top. 


Swirl layers together with a knife or fork. 


Bake for 45-50 minute until it passed the beloved toothpick test. 


As soon as it comes out of the oven, stir together the powder sugar, milk and vanilla. Pour and spread on top of hot cake. It will make the perfect, sweet, crackly, honeybun glaze as long as you do it right out of the oven!


This cake is delicious warm or room temp! (It's also pretty great for breakfast too, not that we would know about that.)

Thanks so much to Heather and Johannah for the new linkup! Be sure to check in with them today other great recipes!