"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, February 27, 2015

Small changes make a big difference (7QT)

After drowning (figuratively) in life the past few months, I've finally gotten into a good groove the past couple of weeks. Like, I'm managing to keep up with laundry and dishes while also managing to spend more time reading than I have in years. It's probably due to a lot of grace (thank you Jesus) and a lot of small changes in my life. Small changes like these:

1. Have a morning routine (sort of).
I'm slowly, slowly, slowly creating my own rule while re-reading A Mother's Rule of Life, and one of the first things I did was get a morning routine going. And it's really not a strict thing AT ALL. Basically, before 10am, I make sure breakfast is done, those dishes are taken care, a load of laundry is started, and I'm showered/dressed (if I want to that day, because some days I definitely do stay in PJs). 10am is a good time for us because if we have a playdate, or an errand to run, we usually leave the house around 10. And if the morning starts off on a good note, it's much more likely that the day will continue that way.

2. Give myself a break when it comes to certain chores.
This will look differently for everybody, but for me, it means using disposable diapers instead of cloth for a couple days. There's just so many poopy diapers I want to clean in a day (2 in diapers, yo)...

3. Use the TV to my advantage.
We're limiting TV in general during Lent, but one thing I'm doing is letting Landon watch a movie pretty much every afternoon when we're home all day. And that is because some days it's the only thing that makes him quiet. Seriously, he talks all.day.long. And maybe a movie a day sounds like a lot to some people, but…my very introverted self needs quiet time or I go crazy. So this is how it happens. (I don't feel guilty about that either because my sanity is very important. Just ask Logan.) Bonus is that sometimes Landon falls asleep when otherwise he would not nap.

4. Don't procrastinate.
This one sounds so simple but can be so hard sometimes! Basically, I'm trying to stay on top of things - don't let dishes sit in the sink long, fold clothes and put them away the same day they're washed, go through the mail and file/throw away everything right away, etc. Life is better this way.
Yes. Yes, it is.

5. Have quiet afternoons.
I strategically plan Landon's movie time (see #3) with Chase's afternoon nap. And I've been trying really, really hard to use at least part of that quiet time to pray, read, or both. That way, I'm calm when Logan gets home (if he's working the day shift) or I have a better mindset about the rest of the day (if Logan is working the evening shift).

6. Read before bed instead of turning on the TV or laptop.
This has really made a big difference for me on the evenings that Logan is working. Once the boys are in bed, I do any last dishes and do a quick clean-up of the house (like 5 minutes, nothing major…assuming I followed #4) before marching myself right up to bed. And I read and sometimes journal. Not only do I get to do more reading and writing…I also end up going to bed earlier. Which means more sleep. Win win.

7. Pray more.
This probably should have been first on my list, because it's totally the most important. I can honestly say for the first time since Chase was born that I'm actually devoting enough time to prayer. And oh my goodness, it makes all the difference in the world!
Yes! This!

Man, I managed to do 2 link-ups in one week…that's a first! And probably a last ;) Go check out some better quick takes at Kelly's place!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bread. Mmmmm. (5Faves)

We love bread in this house. And I love to make it! It's frugal and yummy. Win-win! You can tell me all you want that it's not good to eat so much bread, but then I will tell you that I don't care. :) I gave it up for Lent one year in college and um, that was hard.

 Here are some of our favorites (totally click on the link to see prettier pictures than I could ever take):

1. English muffin bread - I don't make this as often as I used to because I don't always remember to start it early enough in the day (it has to rise twice), but it's definitely Logan's favorite. It makes 2 loaves so  I keep one on our counter and one in our freezer, already sliced. It tastes the best toasted with butter! We eat it for breakfast or with our dinner (or both!). For a recipe with yeast, it's pretty simple...especially if you have a KitchenAid stand mixer.

2. Easy Dinner Rolls - I hadn't made these in awhile until last week and remembered how easy and yummy they are. I personally think they taste better than store-bought rolls! I have kept these in the freezer as well, and it's super convenient to pull a few out for dinner. I love eating these with this carrot soup!

3. Freezer Biscuits - I love canned biscuits but I do not like how processed they are….and seriously, these are so similar it's crazy. Ideally, I like to have a bag of them in the freezer to pull out whenever we need. They can go straight in the oven from the freezer which is just lovely.

4. Freezer-friendly pizza dough - we love pizza around here and homemade is always best! This dough is so easy to whip up (I even "messed it up" last time but you couldn't even tell! so forgiving), and it makes enough for 2 pizza crusts so we use one and stick the other one in the freezer for later. Wheat flour works, but it is thicker…Logan and I just decided after our last wheat batch that next time we will use white flour.
We made pizza on Monday (with dough from the freezer) and topped it with leftover crawfish (from the freezer)…yummmm.

5. Blueberry Oatmeal Bread - okay, so technically this might not really be a bread recipe…more of a breakfast food that is similar to muffins. But I needed a 5th recipe and Logan mentioned this one! It only makes one loaf, sadly, and I want to say I've probably doubled it before and it's turned out fine but don't quote me on that because my memory sucks. But it is yummy and so quick to make! Some people might think it's a little dense but that's right up Logan's alley because then he can slather it with butter (as he does with everything).

All 5 of these also have the stamp of approval from our resident 2.5 year old. So you know they're good! :)

Anybody have a good homemade bread recipe that would be good for sandwiches? I need one!

Go check out more favorites at Call Her Happy!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Our week in pictures: Lent is upon us

 Drink up!
Marley the guard dog
 We went for a little family walk and Landon was loving it
It was soooo windy. But it made for fun with a kite!
Marley loves him 
#photographybylogan

Trying to take a picture of Chase and the needy dog plops herself right in front of me. Thanks Marley. 
Put a bin of toys in front of him and this boy is HAPPY
Landon has decided that wearing socks on your hands is the cool thing to do
We have started back up our date night/babysitting swap with my brother and sister-in-law now that the babies are less needy....so 6 kids at a time it is! Fun fun.
I wish I had noticed Chase's bib and taken it off before the picture because, um, those girls are his cousins. It will be so fun when they are all playing together one day!
My sweet boy :)
Birthday party fun! 
This is his new cheesy smile. He scrunches up his face even more but I didn't get a good picture. Logan and I have some goofy boys! (You can ignore the messy room...just keeping it real up in here)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Feast it up, y'all!

Logan is working today (womp womp) while the rest of New Orleans is partying it up, so allow me to relive our Mardi Gras fun from the weekend!
Don't be fooled, he actually slept through the entire parade!
 And the parade begins! Those wagons were full by the end of it

 Waving to the policemen
 Our peeps
 This dude racked up!
 My friends make some cute babies
 I think that was Landon's favorite catch


 See? Another cute kid
 Oh, Dom...

I had to steal this last one from a friend because we had a crawfish boil at our house and I took zero pictures (I was just a little distracted by the 17 adults and 19 children). Soooo yummy!

Happy Mardi Gras!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Our week in pictures: Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras fun, and a happy baby

This has been one of those weeks where I'm just so thankful for my family and friends! It was a very full and exhausting week…but oh, so much fun.
I wish Chase's face wasn't blurry because I love this picture!
Someone is excited about being 7 months old!
Logan was at work and the boys were in bed…and this furry one was waiting patiently for me to go to bed so she could too. Dogs are funny.

This is the face of happiness after 10 straight hours of sleep!! #finally
Chase falls over from sitting up and he just stays like this and whines until I move him. #nevergonnacrawl
All bundled up for a walk! It was in the 40s…and the next day it was in the 70s. Welcome to Louisiana.


Logan is a romantic :)
My cute nieces!
Mardi Gras parade! (One of the fun things about Louisiana right now)
He was still partying it up this morning...

Friday, February 13, 2015

What I love about Louisiana right now (7QT)

I've lived in Louisiana my entire life, and even if I somehow end up living elsewhere in the future (probably won't happen, but you never know!), this place will always be special to me. Here are 7 things I love about Louisiana right now (as in this time of year):

1. The weather. Well, sometimes it's annoying because one day we will be bundled up and the next day we'll be wearing shorts. But I'll take it over what much of the country is dealing with - frigid temps and maybe snow - because seriously, I don't know how y'all do it. I'll enjoy wearing my flip flops in February when I can, thankyouverymuch. Tomorrow it will be in the 70s!

2. Crawfish. The season lasts a few months, but of course we need to eat them ASAP…so tomorrow we will be boiling some. Yay! Seriously, if you've never had some, you're missing out. SO GOOD.
 Throwback to 1995 when my cousins visited…and yes, I was the only one not holding a live crawfish because I do not like holding things that move unless it's a baby or puppy. #dontjudge 
Aaaaand this was 1991 before I apparently lost all interest in holding something that could possibly pinch me.

3. Mardi Gras. Why yes, the whole point is to party it up the day - well, actually, it's a couple weeks - before Ash Wednesday. Catholics in Louisiana do it right! ;) (Although Logan's job now usually requires him to work on Fat Tuesday while the majority of people have off since it's a state holiday)
Logan (AKA the creative one in our marriage) decorated Landon's wagon for his 1st Mardi Gras 2 years ago.

4. Parades. Ok, honestly, I'm not much of a parade-goer...but Logan totally is and once he drags me there it's kind of fun to see people go nutso over a bunch of beads and trinkets. And I should note that New Orleans is known to also have parades during times other than just Mardi Gras!
And of course Logan had to make this sign for Landon's 2nd Mardi Gras last year.

4. King Cake. This goes hand in hand with Mardi Gras, and there's just no way you can get to Lent without having a piece. Sooo stuff your face now before giving up the sweets!
We used a king cake for our gender reveal last year! We found out Chase was a boy when we saw blue filling :)

5. No hurricanes! I'd much rather summer, but it is nice to not worry about possibly having to evacuate for a storm. (Hurricane season is June-November). Actually, we haven't had to evacuate since August 2012! Woo! (And just so you know, I'd much rather have advance notice for my natural disasters so I can get the heck out of dodge…not possible with earthquakes and such)

6. There is always something to do! Festivals, sports events, concerts, trip to the zoo, you name it. There is fun to be had. Really, this is true throughout the year…but is especially nice now when you don't want to be cooped up inside.
Logan took Landon to his first basketball game a couple weeks ago!

7. Opportunities to enrich our Catholic faith. Louisiana has a heck of a lot of Catholics so that means a church every 5 minutes and ample opportunities to grow in our faith, especially when the Lenten season is here. Way of the Cross, retreats, parish missions, the list goes on. I can't wait until the 9-church walk on Good Friday! So many beautiful churches in New Orleans!
Pops and Landon at AbbeyFest last year (a VERY cool outside retreat for teens and young adults). My brother's business has a tent setup every year. Logan and I were actually at a marriage retreat right next door!

Have I convinced you to move here? Or at least visit? I hope so :) #louisianaforlife

Linking up with Kelly!

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