Sunday, December 18, 2011

for a special seester, on her birthday

On this day, in 1994, the world changed forever. Brianna-Nicole -"Lewis"-Bebop-Pikachu-Bockman entered the world.Yep, that was the name you were born with ;)

Mom and Dad rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night and I remember climbing on my bed to peek out the window and watch as they backed out the driveway. Matt and I woke up the next morning, and Auntie Bodo took us to Denny's..."your sister is coming today!" We ate breakfast, and then waited. And waited. And waited some more. "Is she here yet?!" Couldn't this whole birthing a baby thing happen any faster? We really wanted to meet you! Finally, we made it to the hospital. You had arrived. Just in time for Christmas! Well, a week early, to be exact. When we entered the room, Matt rushed to the comfy chair and demanded that he be the first to hold you. I was pretty upset about that. Mostly because he bragged about it for the rest of the night. Ah well :) I still got to hold you, love on you, and take care of you. You were and still are my sweet, dear  little sister.

I am very thankful that God blessed our family with you. You have been a great friend and "special" seester.

I hope this  year is blessed beyond belief! Soon you will hear back from colleges that you've applied to and be preparing to head out into the great big world! wow! It seems like just yesterday, we were holding you in the  hospital, and stuffing you in that great big Christmas stocking :) You have grown up so much and it has been amazing to see how the Lord has been growing you into a woman of God. You are smart, sassy at times ;), and beautiful-just the way God created you. 

I love you dearly and just want to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
(Ryan and Eleanor wish you the best too ;) 

much agape,
Meg,your not-much-older and oh-so-wise sister ;)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the Christmas story (mini version)

Have you seen this video yet? I just saw this video, retelling the story of Jesus' birth, and wanted to share it with you :) the littles in this video are precious. Just listen to their accents and check out that star...looks more like a star fish. Super cute and a great little video to get us all prepared for the real meaning of Christmas...Jesus!

Happy Birthday Jesus!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DIY Chalkboard Menu

Need some practical help with planning out your weekly menu and groceries?I have a quick little project that can help you out. It's nothing new...but I love it and it works for us :)

The background story...a couple months ago I came across a long, ornate mirror, in my parents garage. It was covered in cobwebs and hidden behind a few other miscellaneous items. It was a gem. It looked perfect for a project I had in the back of my mind: chalkboard menu for our long, bare, awkward kitchen wall. 

My parents happily handed over their unused mirror, and I got right to work. First I researched...can mirrors be painted? How do you paint with chalkboard paint? etc. etc. I finally found what I was looking for :)

Step 1: Tape your mirror or frame around the edges to cover the parts that you don't want painted. If you're spray painting, cover most or all of the surface area. (YES, you can paint mirrors!!!)

Step 2 & 3: Spray paint mirror with primer. Let dry for 20 minutes (picture not shown). Paint chalkboard paint in even strokes on surface of mirror-next time I would use spray paint instead of regular paint to have a smooth finish without the brush strokes.

Step 4: Remove tape. Prepare menu for the week. Write menu plan on the board. Hang the new chalkboard menu and enjoy!
I like to add verses that we can memorize or reflect on throughout the week. Each week the menu looks a little seen above: a few missing grocery items necessary for Lindsey's tuna casserole recipe are hastily written at the bottom of the board :) yumOH! Last week's menu included a short note at the bottom  from my special seester, "Why don't you live a little and eat something not on the menu? :)" Haha...oh little one, we have much to teach you :) I love you!

I enjoy planning meals for the week so that a) we don't go over budget, b) we purchase exactly what we need and no more, c) we use our groceries (in the pantry and fridge) and don't let them go to waste, and d) we have a variety of tasty meals to look forward to in the week :) And, with this nice re-purposed mirror to chalkboard, we have a solution to our long-and-bare-awkward-kitchen-wall fits the space well, and is nice to look at! :) and it is a great reminder for the week ahead!

I usually plan out my week of groceries from Wednesday to Tuesday, because Wednesday is the day I go grocery shopping and then I know what fresh produce to purchase for the week. I generally go once a week and try to hit all of the necessary stores in one outing, depending on how the baby holds up :) The groceries last for the week and some weeks we can even stretch them to two weeks! Praise God for His wonderful provision!

I hope this was helpful! More tips/ideas to come!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the monthly: (six.months.old)

Hey little lady,

Today, you are six months old! This past month you really surprised us with your started eating 2-3 servings of solid food each day! Your nose looks a little orange some days...maybe from all those sweet potatoes you devour? You laugh quite a bit, and started a new trick that really entertains your friends.

Your friend, mister Owly, keeps you occupied while we change your diaper or clothes. You love him so much and always want to give him lots of kisses. You are growing up so fast!

We like to call you mamas, baby bear, elle, and Eleanor :) You usually respond to all of those...but, right now, it could just be our voices that turn your head. You are also quite the mover/ your crib that is. We watch you on the baby monitor, to check-in on you from time to time, and you are always moving around, never in the same position we left you. Sometimes we have to go in and move you around in the middle of the night so your face isn't hidden in the corner of the crib.

Your papa and I took you to the zoo yesterday, and it was the first time that you were actually awake and alert to enjoy the sights and sounds. You enjoyed the sounds of the birds flying overhead and even got to see the world-famous-san diego zoo-PANDA! Most of the time they are MIA. can check that off your list of things to see ;)

It's fun seeing you grow, little baby bear. We love you!

your mama and papa

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

cute new trick?

Over here at the Mullen house we have been hard at work...perfecting our skills :) Here is one of Eleanor's favorites. We probably shouldn't encourage this new trick (especially during meal times-see below), but it's just too cute! It keeps her (and others) super entertained, but it can get messy!

I'm not a huge fan of the spinach face we'll have to work on only doing this new trick between meals/snacks :) Hmm...she's almost six months old...I wonder if crawling will be her next new talent!


Monday, December 5, 2011

thanksgiving this Christmas

We have much to be thankful for! In this past season of thanksgiving, it has been beautiful to reflect on the glory of God and his love and grace in our lives. He has lavished us with his love by giving us Jesus, and for that we are eternally grateful! 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." Ephesians 1:3

We have also received many so tangible blessings from God in this past year. It is overwhelming to take it all in, but we have been thinking on these things as we just celebrated Thanksgiving.

Our little family Christmas photo above was taken at my in-laws  home during Thanksgiving. We celebrated Thanksgiving three times with our families...where are my stretchy pants? :) 

This Christmas, we are a family of three! Technically we were a family of three last Christmas, with Eleanor in the womb, but this Christmas, she is here! She will be 6 months old, sitting up, celebrating the birth of Jesus with us! 

Yesterday we took more "family photos" with our church family. A couple ladies had the great idea to provide family photo opportunities for the families in our community. After church we usually head to Clay Park and bring lunches and hangout together, playing sports or games. This past Sunday we offered to take photos for any families that wanted them for their Christmas cards. A couple families took us up on the offer. I had a great time taking a few shots for each of the families. I've been editing a few of them, just for fun, and hope to share a few on the blog later.

Even though thanksgiving has passed, what are you thankful for as we prepare for Christmas?


Monday, November 7, 2011

go for the gold!

It's time. I've been talking about starting a blog and an etsy shop forever. People have been encouraging me to "go for the gold!", but it just hasn't come to fruition, until now. I planned on starting this, way before baby E was even in the picture (and she is now five months old!). I took an online class that I was sure would motivate me to get going. It set me in the right direction and gave great tips for starting an online shop or blog. I was mostly excited to get started, but then overwhelmed at the same time. There is so much to know. So much to do! I admit, there was a bit of the fear of failure, and fear of man. Will people like what I'm creating? Will they understand my writing or like my photos? What if...? There are so many blogs out there...what makes me think mine will be any different?

It's time to just "go for the gold!" and get started!

I was recently encouraged by a great friend, and I bet she didn't even know it. She asked if I could make her two journals instead of one. One for herself and one to use as a giveaway on her own personal blog. I was so encouraged and excited! This was more motivation to get me going. It really doesn't matter how many people read this blog or even if people love it. It's here to be an encouragement to others, to show/share some creativity and tasty recipes, and to be real. That's all.

enjoy! here we go!

love love <3

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's for dinner?

Wouldn't you love to know? ;)
I sure would!

I usually plan meals for the week from Wednesday to Tuesday. I like to grocery shop on Wednesdays, to get the best deals at Sprouts(aka Henry's, with their double ad Wednesdays) and then I head to good 'ole Trader Joe's to grab the rest of the essentials (mainly bags of lettuce, spinach, and the occasional pizza dough-they have best dough, for only $1.79!).

I started planning meals for the week after I saw this DIY menu planner on design sponge. It was such great, easy tutorial that really helped me plan the meals out. The ingredients necessary for each recipe were including in each day. It helped me to only buy what I need and make sure that I use what I already have in my pantry or fridge.

So, what's for dinner?
This week I tried a few new recipes from the Pioneer Woman...and put a healthier spin on them, by using less butter or adding more veggies. The great thing about PW's recipes and blog posts is that they are always flexible to add, subtract or substitute similar ingredients for whatever you have on hand...lovely!

I also tried making a freezer crock pot meal that I saw on pinterest from this blog. It was super easy and tasty! I bought all of the ingredients on Wednesday and prepped the veggies, chicken and spices and mixed them in a freezer gallon bag. I didn't have the curry spice that the recipe called for, so I used a mix of tumeric, garam masala, and cumin and it tasted just as wonderful as I imagine the curry would :) Sometimes you just have to be flexible and improvise!

This week's recipes included:
Chicken Curry-Freezer crock pot meal
Leftover tuna pesto pasta (with all ingredients shopped from our pantry!)
Take-and-Bake garlic chicken alfredo pizza-yumOH!
Chicken Spaghetti-Pioneer Woman

I'll be sharing more of my favorite recipes, reviews of recipes, and other meal planning ideas/tips. I hope you enJOY and come back for more!