Friday, August 16, 2013

Choose Your Love. Love Your Choice!

Once upon a time, a handsome boy walked into the life of a beautiful girl and swept her off her feet!

After a whirlwind of dating and having the time of their lives, the boy decided to "put a ring on it." 

The handsome boy took the beautiful girl to a big white castle, where they were married for Time and Eternity.

Then they rode off into the sunset and lived Happily Ever After!

WHOA!! SLOW DOWN....Why is it that Fairy Tales always end with "They got married and lived happily ever after"?   It's because no one wants to hear the truth about what "happily ever after" means. 
They don't want to hear about how you will live in the smallest apartment known to mankind. Or that even though you work two jobs you are still scrambling to make ends meet. Or practically living off of bags and bags of Reese's Pieces because you literally got 1 bag with every wedding gift you received! They don't want to hear about the years and money and stress that you will spend on a college degree. They don't talk about the small silly arguments over laundry detergent brands, what to watch on tv, or who's Family do we spend holidays with. 
What about when kids start coming? No one wants to talk about the horrendous pain you will be in while also battling days with no sleep and being on the brink of a mental breakdown. The puke in your hair, poop on your face, (yes, that really happened) and never-ending piles of laundry. Or what about finding the right job that will help you support your Family? I can go on and on about all of the things that we never hear about in fairy tales, but the
bottom line is folks, being married can be stressful. Not everyone can hack it, and that my friends is why the divorce rate in our country is soaring though the roof!

About a year ago someone said to us "Ya'll are just so cute! Always having fun like brand new newlyweds!" Tomorrow, Captain Hunk and I will celebrate our ELEVENTH wedding anniversary! Even though we went through ALL of the above said things (and a lot more), and we are certainly no experts, we have a few secrets about the foundation of our marriage and what keeps it standing strong, even through all of the storms.

"Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 11:11

First and foremost, it's no secret that we are a religious Family. We would not have the things that we have, including each other, were it not for our Father In Heaven. He is the MOST important person in our lives and because of our love for Him and our faith in Him, Captain Hunk and I are able to love each other as deeply as we do. Without Him, we would be nothing. That being said, one thing that we do, and probably the most important, is pray together. When we have big decisions to make or are seeking counsel, we turn to our Father in Heaven. We have taught Troop how to pray and to love our Father in Heaven as well. Every night before bed, as a Family, we read from the scriptures and say prayers as a Family. We love our Savior and our Father in Heaven and because of that, we have so much more love in our home.

"Marriage provides an ideal setting for overcoming any tendency to be selfish or self-centered...Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good, and the foundation of a successful marriage."
                                                                                  - Richard G. Scott

Selfless Love

Being selfless in a marriage, or loving unselfishly, is SO important. It's so easy to put our children's needs before our own, but how often do we put our spouse's needs first? On that note, your spouse should come before your children. As hard as that is to hear, it's true. While we also need to love our children selflessly, they should be 2nd in line only to your spouse. In order for your children to learn to have good strong relationships, they need to understand and notice how important the relationship is between their parents. Make it known to them. Let them know how much you love them, but also let them know much you love your spouse. Being openly affectionate (to a point) is OKAY! In fact, it's necessary. A lot of couples like to go their separate ways and have a girls/boys night out. Don't make a habit of this. While I believe it is important to have your own friends (I've got to have my "sisters" who support me through deployments) I don't believe that ditching your spouse to go "party with the ladies" is ok. It leaves too much room for trouble, temptation, and regret.


Remember before you were married or even dating, you flirted with people to get their attention. You flirted with them back then and it was fun, so why stop. It's still fun to play hard to get, or tease each other,  or say silly flirty things to each other. Flirting keeps things lively. The same with dating. How many dates did you go on BEFORE you were married compared to how many AFTER? Dating while you are married is so important. I understand it can be hard with kids. But you NEED to do it. We try as best as we can to go on a date, just the two of us, at LEAST 2-3 times a month. It doesn't even have to cost money. Take the time to be just the two of you, as a couple. Pretend you are still young and out on a first or second date. Only the best part is, you can invite your date inside for a sleepover!! And never EVER miss a chance to say I Love You!

Keep it fun/Laugh
Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't get angry over something that you know you will laugh about later down the road! Go ahead and laugh at it now, and then laugh again later! Dress up in those ridiculous matching halloween costumes, and when you are out on a date, don't miss the opportunity to dance your heart out. Even if you are just taking a walk in the park. Most of you have music on your phones, and if you don't, dance without it. Just two weeks ago, we enjoyed a little slow dance in the living while discussing somethings and we had NO music playing. We were just enjoying the moment. Something I can promise you, Captain Hunk probably doesn't enjoy dressing up for Halloween every year, but he does it just to see me smile. Same goes with the dancing thing. He never misses an opportunity to line dance with me, not because he loves it, but because I do and he loves me. That is selfless love! We love being silly and we love to laugh! It is a major part of our foundation.

The lack of communication can be very damaging to a marriage. While Captain Hunk and I have done our fair share of finishing each others thoughts, we can't always assume that the other knows what we are thinking or feeling. If something is bothering you, keeping it to your self will only make it worse. You need to talk about it and not assume or just think that they should already know. Verbally express those feelings.  I am the worst at this. I can write/type ALL of my feelings and emotions, but expressing them verbally has never been easy for me. Take time when it's just the two of you to discuss these matters. Our deepest thoughts and worries always seem to come out late at night when we are already in bed. This is also a great time to talk about why and how much you love each other. It is important to remind your spouse of these things, and by saying them out loud, you also remind yourself. Being a Military Family, we know what it is like to be separated for long periods of time. Don't let this ruin that great line of communication you have going. When he deploys, TDY's, or whatever it may be, although we talk on the phone everyday, we also take the time to email each other, everyday, if possible. In his year long deployment we may have missed 5 days of emailing. I don't want him to miss out on one minute of our life back at home and visa versa. I would tell him in detail what happened that day, so he still felt apart of things. It also makes the transition of him coming home a little smoother. Most importantly, discuss your finances. That is such an ugly subject, but if everything is out in the open then there is no need for argument about it later. Communication is the key to success!

Another thing that I feel is a part of communication is grief. The hard times WILL come. Don't feel like you have to face them alone. That's what you have each other for. In our time together we have dealt with deployments, PTSD, miscarriages, the loss of loved ones, my parents divorce, negativity towards us, moving far far away from Family/friends...just to name a few. Each of these things have made us grow closer because of the way we went about them. We turned to each other. We cried together. We comforted each other. We loved each other. And we did it together.

Physical Touch
This is such a big thing. It doesn't matter if you have been married 2 years, 20 years, or even 50. Never stop touching each other. Even if it's just holding hands while you sit next to each other on the couch, or a light peck on the cheek. Never miss the chance for a quick or long meaningful hug. We love to cuddle. In fact, I am pretty sure neither one of us can fall asleep without touching the other one somewhere. Even if just our feet are touching. A small touch to your spouse can speak a thousand words. I promise. A soft kiss on the cheek means more to me than diamonds or flowers. And as much as some people don't like to say it out loud, it is very important to have a strong and active intimate relationship. But be sure to talk to each other about your needs and wants. Again, communication is the key to success! ;)

We have made it through and will continue to make it through the hard parts of marriage by working together and doing the not-so-hard things. Most of these things seem like obvious things, but sometimes we need to be reminded. You made this choice! Now love it like it will end tomorrow!

Do things together. Play together. Laugh together. Discuss problems together. And if your spouse is the problem, talk about it, nicely. Yelling will not get you ANYWHERE! Flirt, tease, dance, cuddle. Don't let your marriage end at "And they lived happily ever after". Let your marriage begin at "And they LIVE happily ever after!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Costa Vida/ Cafe Rio Salads!!

It's Wednesday again!! Did everyone have a great Independence Day? I sure hope so! This week's recipe comes from one of my FAVORITE places! Costa Vida!! I haven't made this since we left CO and I have been craving it!!  THis recipe is SPOT ON! anyone who has eaten it at my house will testify to that! Make sure you don't leave anything out and you include all of the yummy add ons!

Cafe Rio/Costa Vida Sweet Pork Salad

Sweet Pork 3 lbs pork roast 8 oz Pace salsa 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 can of Coke Put the roast and all ingredients in Crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred the pork.  


Tomatillo Ranch Dressing
1/2 packet of dry buttermilk ranch dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayo
1-2 large tomatillos
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lime juice

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth

Cilantro Lime Rice
1 Tbl oil
2 cups rice (3 cups water)
cilantro finely chopped
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp cruched garlic

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add rice, cilantro, and garlic. Sautee 3-5 mins. Add water and lime juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 mins.

When we create our salads we use homemade tortillas, or the ones that are pre rolled and you cook yourselves! Then we add romaine lettuce, (NOT iceberg) Sweet pork, rice, black beans, fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, the dressing, and THEN top it up with tortilla strips!! SO yummy!! And if you have never eaten at one of these places before, you are missing out!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's Cookin' Wednesday!

It is officially SUMMER!! WOO HOO!! Time to break out the pools, slip n slides, water balloons, BBQ grills and FRESH FRUIT!! One of my favorite parts of summer are all of the wonderful fruits that are in season! We have been enjoying doing things on our Summer Fun list! Our "Water Wednesday" yesterday got rained out, but we were still able to get wet while chasing our garbage cans down the street in the torrential downpour! Good times!! But we all try to eat healthier in the summer time, right? Now that it's time for swimsuits and shorts, we all try to get rid of the extra winter weight, blah blah blah.. But it's Summer for goodness sakes!! Everyone gets a cheat day! And last night, we had a CHEAT NIGHT!

Luther Burger

Don't judge. I know what you are thinking. DISGUSTING!! You are WRONG! I love trying new exotic foods! The first time I tried this I could not believe how yummy it was!! And yes, those are donuts! But you have to use use light and fluffy donuts like Krispy Kremes. Here's the recipe. I DARE you to try it and not love it!!

2 KK donuts
red onion
1 fried egg
cheddar cheese
grilled hamburger.

Assemble as you would like. I put ketchup on mine and Captain Hunk did mayo and BBQ sauce! I can't wait to hear your reviews!!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's Cookin' Wednesday and Giveaway Winner Details!!

I apologize for not announcing which item won on Monday. We have been a little preoccupied! However, it was a direct TIE between the Ninja and the Sanuks!! I am SO excited about this and SO excited that so many of you voted!! I decided the way this will work is, if your name is drawn, you will win the item that you voted for!! Sound good? Also, you have until the end of the day TODAY (June 19) to share my page again to have your name entered twice! Gives you a better chance at winning!! You MUST share it from my (Jack's) Facebook page, so I know exactly who shared it again! Also, I'm pretty sure I have everyone but just in case, if you entered the drawing would you PLEASE send me your name and email address? I want to make sure I don't miss anyone! Also, so I can have it on hand for future give aways!! You can email me at The winner will be announced at 12 pm eastern time tomorrow!! Now onto WCW!!

Green Chile Chicken over Rice

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
2 cups light Sour Cream
3 4oz cans chopped green chiles
s&p to taste

Mix everything together, Spread into a 9x13 baking pan and bake at 350 for 45 mins. let it stand for about 5 to 10 mins. Serve over rice.

This recipe is so easy and SO yummy! You cane asily divide in half for smaller portions. Also, we like to add 2 oz's chopped jalepeno's for extra spice!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Few of Jack's Favorite Things! (And What's Cooking Wednesday)

So I have compiled a list of 15 of my favorite things! Now obviously my Family and church related stuff are at the top of the list, but on THIS list are my favorite material items. Things I use in my everyday life! Here they are, in no particular order.

LA's Totally Awesome
I have blogged about this before, but this is an all purpose cleaner that I use on EVERYTHING! Literally. It will get out nearly any stain from the carpet. Even ground in eyeliner...I use it to get the grease off my stove and teapot. I use it in the bathroom and to mop my floor. This stuff is magic. For real!! And I buy it at the dollar store.

Minced Garlic

I love this stuff! It is so yummy and so much easier then peeling and pressing garlic! Whenever I need garlic in something (which is almost everything) I just throw in a spoonful!


Pampered Chef Chopper
Need I say more?? Chops everything! I have gone through 3 of them in the last 10 years
Nikon D300 with 50mm 1.8 lens
I am hoping to soon get a new camera body, so this baby can be my backup! But 98% of the time, you will se me with THIS lens. It is my baby!


I own two of these and I use them both. I can't say enough about my crockpots. If you would like to read more or get some great recipes click here
Pampered Chef Scraper
This little thing comes in handy for all sorts of things! I mainly use it to scrape the extra dough off my counter after making cinnamon rolls or pie crust. So much easier then scrubbing with a rag! Tonight at dinner I used it to scoop up some salad dressing that had spilled!!
Costco Salad Spinner with Mandolin
This is pretty explanatory. We eat LOTS of salads in our house! This makes the washing, slicing and dicing SO much easier!
Dyson DC 17
I have owned two Dysons. I used to sell them at Sears and only ONCE did I see one get returned. Reason being their carpet was too long. I sweep and vacuum with this thing! The hose suction is incredible and I can vacuum the stairs all the way to the top without carrying the vacuum up with me. I will ONLY ever own a Dyson.
Bath and Body Works Hand Sanitizer with Rubber Key Chain
I have one of these that hangs off my purse and another on our pool bag. With a five year old little boy, this is very necessary!
Kitchen Ninja Blender

I LOVE my kitchen ninja!! It has three layers of blades so it doesn't miss a thing!! We even made fluffy snowcones with it today!

Soft Bristle Brush
I use this to add the perfect amount of body to my hair! No back combing!!
Half Tee
Thanks to these amazing wonder shirts, I can still wear the cute stylish clothes, but be modest at the same time, without all of the extra bulk!

Natural Ice ChapstickThis stuff is hard to find! It has been my favorite since high school and you can ALWAYS find it in my purse! Thanks to Amazon I can buy it in bulk for CHEAP!!

Blue Bird Flour
If you are a baker then you NEED this!! This is the softest flour. I use it for my cinnamon rolls so they come out so light and fluffy. Unfortunately this flour is milled in Colorado and can only be found in the surrounding states. Thankfully I have sisters who are willing to ship it to me across the country!

Sanuks (it's not a shoe, it's a sandal) :)
Most comfortable summer time shoes!! I own this exact pair and the best part is they match with EVERYTHING!

Turbie Twist Hair Towel
My Grandma Peggy made me my very first hair towel. They are so nice and convenient!! I now own these ones. They are microfiber and work GREAT! you can buy these exact ones at Wal-Mart.

Blogger was giving me fits today, so I apologize that the pics and such are all scattered. Now that you have seen my favorite things list, how would you like to win one of these items?!? All you have to do is vote for which one of these items is YOUR favorite (excluding the camera and dyson)! You can vote by leaving a comment here on the blog or comment on the post on FB! Once you have voted, share my page to be entered into the drawing!! The Voting will go until Sunday 6/16 at Midnight eastern time!!! DON'T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY!!!!!!

Now, onto What's Cooking Wednesday!! Last night we had a full cajun dinner!! I made the EASIEST salmon!! Are you ready?

Salmon filets (how ever many you are cooking)
melted butter
cajun seasoning

Rub the salmon with the butter and then rub in the seasoning. In a skillet, cook on each side for 6 mins, or until fish flakes easily! So yummy, so easy!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What's Cooking Wednesday!! (On Thursday...)

I have gotten so many different emails asking things like "what is a typical dinner you make?" or what is something your Family eats often?" I have decided to have a new segment called "What's Cooking Wednesday" Where I will share with you recipes and pics of a meal we ate in our home that week! Sometimes they will be new things we have tried and sometimes they will be Family Favorites!
Most of you know that my Family recently made a cross country move. That last week in our old house, the week we spent on the road, and our first few nights here we ate out EVERY night. Literally. GROSS. Some people love eating out because it's easy and convenient, but it can get SO expensive and depending on what you are eating, SO bad for you!
One of Troop's favorite places to eat at is Panda Express. You know you love it too. And what do you order when you go there? The Orange Chicken. I knew it. After all of the eating out that we had to do, I thought it would be fun to find healthier versions/make at home versions of our favorite eat out food. This week we did Chinese. Both of the chicken recipes I found on Pinterest and are made in the crockpot. The Fried Rice is my own, very simple recipe. Please excuse my cell phone quality pictures. By the time dinner was ready I was starved and too lazy to run grab my camera! :) Click on the links for recipes!

Bourbon Chicken

I loved this! It ended up being my fave. You can even add a few sesame seeds to make it more traditional!

Orange Chicken
I found my orange chicken to have a bitter aftertaste. I think the juice may have overcooked. I would suggest mixing all of the ingredients except the OJ, and add that in the last hour. That should eliminate any bitter flavor.

Fried Rice

I use long grain brown rice and follow the package instructions. You will also need:
2 Tblsp Olive Oil
1-2 cups frozen Peas & Carrots
2 eggs
1/4 Soy or Teriyaki Sauce

Cook the rice as instructed. Add Olive oil and peas & carrots to a skillet and cook for 3 mins, stirring constantly. Add the rice. Whip the two eggs together and add to the mixture. Sautee' until the eggs are fully cooked.

With the exception of the bitter orange flavor, the overall turnout was great! Most importantly Troop ate his ALL GONE!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Putting Pinterest Pins to Use!!

We ALL have a Pinterest, right? If not, get on board! :) How many of us have 100+ amazing recipes, DIY tutorials, activities for kids, etc..just sitting on our boards. "Oh that looks amazing! I'm gonna pin it, probably never actually do it, but I am gonna pin it, just in case!" Sound familiar? When I first started following Pinterest I was really good at trying 1 new recipe or idea a week. Then life got in the way. Well now it's Summer time. The kids are home from school and they get So rather then letting them sit on front of the tv ALL DAY, plan some fun activities, using ideas that you have found on Pinterest!! I saw this really cute idea where everyday was a different theme! I tried to download her little list, but you had to take one ridiculous step after another...NOT COOL! So, I decided to create my own and share it with you all! And YES, it is a FREE printable!

Click on the title "Summer Fun" and simply follow the download instructions. Print it off and hang it on the fridge! I sat down and organized stuff 3 weeks out. You don't have to plan ahead that far out, but I like to know what we are doing. I decided to make your first week easy and share with you what we will be doing for our first week!

Week 1

Make Something Monday- Make a treat or a craft that you have pinned! We are making Strawberry Sweet Rolls!! YUM!

Take a Trip Tuesday- Take a trip to the Library, the park, or a free museum! You may be surprised how many there are!
We are going to visit our new library and get library cards!

Wet Wednesday- This is pretty self explanatory! There are SO many options for water fun! This week we are playing with the sprinkler under the trampoline!

Thinking Thursday- There are so many fun, at home science experiments! My little Troop loves learning and watching how things work! This may become our favoite day! This week we are making Bouncy Balls!!

Fun Friday- Let the kids pick something fun they want to do or just pick a fun activity you have pinned! This week we are making a movie theater! Complete with all the fixins'!!

Have fun utilizing those boards that are filling up! Can't wait to hear some of the fun things ya'll will be doing!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tiger Stripes

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~Elizabeth Stone

A couple of months ago I was in the bathroom getting ready and Payson came in to chat with me. My arms were up in my hair trying to fluff and volumize. My shirt had rolled up and exposed my stomach. Payson was standing in front of me and he softly rubbed one finger across my belly. "Mom, what are those stripes on your belly?" Stripes? I had never thought of, or heard them referred to as stripes. This was the first thing that came to mind. "Well Bubs, those are Mommy's tiger stripes. I earned them for being so strong and brave like a tiger while you were growing in my belly. Those stripes were my reward for helping you grow healthy and strong before you were born." Silence. Then, his eyes grew big as it sank in. "That's AWESOME!! My Mom has TIGER stripes!!" Then he ran out of the bathroom. As I finished getting ready I thought about that quick conversation and how in less than 30 seconds I made him think that those "stripes" were not the gross scars of pregnancy, but the honorable marks of carrying a child. ONE child. My WHOLE life, amongst being a country music singer, a psychologist, etc, The only REAL thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a Mom. I would have 5 kids by the time I turned 30. With my Prince Charming by my side, we would raise a big Family. My kids would have lots of siblings just like I did. Best friends for life! I never planned on the pain of infertility to come stabbing its way through my life. Lots of years trying to help our Family grow and two miscarriages were not in MY plans. Then I started thinking about my siblings. One sister who has had multiple miscarriages and was told after her 2nd and 3rd baby that she would probably not be able to have anymore. Now she has FIVE beautiful girls. Another sister who for 8 years has unexplainably been unable to get pregnant, but has now, through adoption, been blessed with the sweetest little miracle. I think of these 6 little girls and my heart swells with love. My heart. I think of my sister and the stress and fear she went through and the love that she (and we all) had for her, and all of these little ones before they were born. Our hearts swelled with love, stretched, to make room to love each new one who came along. Tiger Stripes. On our hearts.

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” — Sophia Loren

When I think of women, like my Mom, who have raised a lot of children, I no longer look at the "crows feet" around their eyes and think of them as a sign of aging. I think of them as the "tiger stripes" they earned from all of the constant worry, the staying up late waiting for kids to come home, the helping with home work, putting a bandage on a scrape or a kiss on the forhead trying to help mend a broken heart, when in fact her heart is also broken because yours is broken. Once you become a mother, every selfish bone in your body disappears, or at least it should. You find yourself thinking of your child before yourself and are CONSTANTLY trying to keep them safe. Tiger stripes. On our eyes.

I will be 30 this year. I don't have 5 kids like I had planned. But, I do have my Prince Charming and we have ONE amazing little boy who I wouldn't trade for a house full of kids. Someday, he may get that brother or sister, and someday, my sister my bear a child of her own. But for now, I am grateful for my "Tiger Stripes". For the physical ones that you can see on my body, but most importantly, for the ones on my heart. Any human can grow a child inside of them, but it takes someone with a real open heart to truly love someone more than themselves.