October 31, 2011


October 31, 2011
On our way to the pumpkin patch last week we stopped to get gas.  While Chris was out pumping gas I looked in the back seat to talk to Colton and bam – he has no shoes on!
Are you kidding me!?  The only place to possibly stop and find something between where we were and where we were going was The Dollar Store.  So we found these beauties from a whopping $3.28.
IMG00320-20111023-1650 (2)
I thought they were super cute and Colton really like them!  Thank you dollar store!

View Comments

October 30, 2011

Double Digits

October 30, 2011

I took this picture yesterday right before I started my run.  Last Saturday I raked in eight miles and it was super tough. 


Earlier this week I had a stomach virus and was under the weather for a few days.  I managed to only get in one run during the week so I was not expecting a good turnout on my run yesterday.  My training schedule called for a 10k (6.2 miles at race pace) so I planned on doing somewhere between six and eight miles.

It was cold (around 45) and windy, but from the start I felt great.  For the first few miles I just focused on enjoying the run and did not even look down at my watch until I was around three or four miles.  Five miles in my knees started to stiffen up, but I ran past it.  This was honestly the best I have felt on a long run.

An hour and forty-four minutes later I snapped this photo:


Yes, 10 miles!  When I came home Colton ask me, “how many did you do momma?  Did you do four?”  I said, “Colton momma did 10!”.  Chris did a double-take … the look on his face was priceless!  I did it… I made it to double digits!  13.1 here I come!

View Comments

October 28, 2011

School Update

October 28, 2011

If you know me or if you have read for for any time at all you will know that I had a horrible time with letting go and sending Colton to school.  It is something that I actually starting thinking about in January of this year.  The anxiety was unreal and I often felt ridiculous for feeling so overwhelmed with sending my little three year old to preschool for the first time.  I can now say without hesitation that sending him not just to preschool, but to this particular school, is one of the best things that we have done for him.

I am a big proponent of private school education and more so I am a proponent of a Christian education.  This being said it was a no brainer that Colton would attend a Christian school.  There are many reasons for this choice, but most of all we want our children to be taught the Word of God and what better place than an educational setting.

In two months Colton has already learned so much!  Among all the other things he has learned what warms my heart the most is that my little three year old has five bible verses memorized:

  1. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”
  2. John 1:3 “All things were made by him”
  3. Psalm 18:30 “As for God, His way is perfect”
  4. Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd.”
  5. Isaiah 43:5 “Fear not: for I am with thee”

It is so sweet to hear him say these passage of scripture all on his own.  Scripture memorization is so important to our Christian walk and Psalms 119: 9-11 tells us “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.  With my whole heart I have sought You;  Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”  I love that Colton is already hiding the word of God in his heart!

Oh and let me leave you with something super cute!  So every morning they have bible time.  During bible time they have to sit with their hands folded while the teacher reads them their bible story.  For a three year old this is a big test of self control.  If they do as they are told and keep their hands folded together they get one M&M (yes, just one – which I was happy about).  The teacher told me that they work very hard for that one M&M!  To help them get in the swing of things they have a little rhyme that they say.  I am not totally sure if they all say it together or if the teacher says it, but this is what I hear Colton reciting all the time – with hand motions… its so cute.

Here is our bible, its stories are true.  God gave us these stories for me and you.  Quiet so quiet we all now will be.  Listen to the stories and pictures you’ll see.  Now fold your hands together.

View Comments

October 27, 2011

Llama llama

October 27, 2011
Colton loves the bookLlama Llama Mad at Mama.My favorite line of the book is: “Please stop fussing, little Llama.  No more of this Llama drama.  I think shopping’s boring, too – but at least I’m here with you.

You would not know it from this picture, but his little Llama was fussy too.


This past weekend we finally made it to Oakes Farm in Corryton, Tennessee.  I bought tickets through Groupon forever ago and the timing had never worked out for us to go.  This weekend the weather was perfect so we bit the bullet and made the drive.  One of the highlights of the trip for Colton was petting this Llama Llama (as Colton referred to her).  It took a while for the keeper to get her settled down enough for us to pet, but once he did she was nothing, but lovable.


I have mentioned time and time again that Colton is pretty timid.  But lately he is really coming out of his shell a bit and thought nothing of going right up and petting Llama Llama.  I cannot wait to share more about our fun trip to the pumpkin patch!

View Comments

October 26, 2011

Family Photo Shoot

October 26, 2011

This Saturday my husband and all of his siblings and their families joined together at the Brooks Compound for a family photo shoot.  The weather Saturday was absolutely perfect.  It was around 65 and sunny … and all the weirdo's came out to play… Evidence being this photo that someone snapped with my camera:


You have to do whatever you can do to get a smile out of children!  Right?  I think I was attempting to do the hokey pokey in the picture.

The trees are just starting to turn and the handsome smiles are in full bloom… evidence being this handsome man right here!  Yeah, that’s my hubby :)


Claire was full of it the entire time … she did not cooperate very well with pictures.  She was too busy running around stealing sunglasses and shoes.

DSC_0049  DSC_0090

She is definitely all girl!


Here is mamaw doing what she does best – wrangling those little ones back in.  The were enjoying throwing walnuts against the trees.

It was a nice couple hours, yes, a couple of hours! … outside snapping photos.  Claire came away with a nasty running nose, but hopefully we got some amazing photos!

View Comments

Test Shot

I am happy to report that my lens is fixed.  This was one of my test shots with my new lens!  Isn’t she a cutie pie!?


Well this cutie pie is the reason I was without my camera.  A few weeks ago this little chick pulled my beloved Nikon D80 off the dining room table and onto the hardwood floor. I was devastated because my lens was broken, but I was thrilled though to find out that my lens was still under warranty and Nikon was going to fix it for free.  A few weeks without my DSLR was no fun, but now I am back in business … no more of these cruddy photos.

View Comments

October 25, 2011

Little Miss Independent–17 months Old

October 25, 2011

Little Miss Independent … this is the only way she will eat a banana – if she is holding it herself!


Looking through my photos yesterday I ran across this one.  The first thing I noticed were her super blue eyes and how much she looks like her brother!

This is Colton at 17 months…

11-2-09 (7)

ahhh… time flies!

View Comments

Christmas Card List–Free Printable

I am trying to jump on my Holiday planning so that I do not procrastinate until the end and not get things accomplished.  This week I made a Christmas Card List printable.  All of my addresses are in my outlook, but I still will use this sheet to keep track of who I want to send a card to and then checking the name off once the card has been sent. 

Under the address column I will write “outlook” if the address is located on my computer (so I will know where to find it) or I will write in the address of anyone I do not already have or anyone who has recently moved.


Christmas Card List - 1


Christmas Card List - 2

Please feel free to use these pintables for yourself!  Click on the image – it will open up in a new window.  Then, right click and choose to “save image as…” and save it to your computer.  Then you can print the file from there.

View Comments

October 24, 2011

Guest Post–Organizing Daily Chores 101

October 24, 2011

Keep my house clean can sometimes be a daunting task.  There have been days when I feel like that is all I do and it can become extremely frustrating.  I recently shared some tips with you about scheduling your household cleaning duties.  Meanwhile I ran across Janel and her fabulous idea about how she keeps her home in order without losing her head.  I ask her to guest post and she sweetly obliged. 

Janel describes herself as a 30(ish) mother of two (one a teen girl...aahhh!), wife of 15 years, business owner, bass player, oldest of 10, and generally way in over my head lover of all things creative! My children attend public charter school online...at home...this affords me with guinea pigs for my crazy ideas, recipes, and diy. My projects are far from perfect...my life is far from perfect!...but I like it that way. I hope to inspire my readers to accept imperfection as perfectly amazing. To find joy in the little things. And to live fully and wholeheartedly.  She writes a blog called Hating Martha; Imperfect At Its Best.


Hi All! Wow! Its great to be invited over here today! I was so excited when Summer Jo asked me to guest blog...what an honor! She has asked me to share with you all the system I use to manage my household chores. Or attempt to manage. Cause, let’s face it they seem to multiply the minute you feel you made headway. That’s life.

Before I share my great wisdom and amazing homemaking skills *ahem* I feel I should put out a disclaimer. I am not responsible if your house stays messy and dirty when you are on this system. I am not responsible if your family isn’t smiling and cheerful when it’s time for chores. Oh wait…that doesn’t happen in my own house…oops! Let it be known that my home is far from perfect. Life happens. And life can make a MESS! You come over to my house at the wrong time of day (sometimes week) and you get what you get. Too bad. And my bedroom…lets face it, it’s never going to be magazine perfect…

But…before you think “what on earth does this girl got good to say?” I also want to say that I am comfortable with you stopping whenever you want. I host guests often. My house is clean and non-cluttered…most of the time. And when I need to clean for a big event it takes very little time. Really! Here’s how…

My family is on a system. The WHOLE family…even my 8 year old son.
See…I grew up the oldest of 10 children. Chores are a necessity in a family that big. Just laundry took all day. So, I didn’t even think twice about making my own children do chores from the time they could walk. Now, I realize that isn’t always normal…poor kids. But I truly believe the saying “If you live here…you help here!”.For this came rule 1…

Rule 1. EVERYONE has chores.

I love, love to cook. My family loves, loves to eat my cooking. But, I recognized a while back that I was cook, cook, cooking. They were eat, eat, eating. And then I was clean, clean, cleaning. Huh? Oh no… that was not going to happen!
We also have a host of overnight guests…frequently (comes with that whole 9 siblings thing). I don’t mind guests but sometimes if they aren’t helping, it can get tedious. So we added this rule as much for them as my own family. We do however expect that those who cook learn how to cook without creating a tornado!

Rule 2. You cook…you don’t clean. You don’t cook…you clean. .

I learned early on in life that laundry and dishes can take over your life. In my house, I do laundry and dishes first thing. No exceptions. It really only takes a few minutes.

Rule 3. Do your dishes and a load of laundry every day, same time! No excuses!

Themes!!! I am a theme girl. It makes my brain work better. I don’t know why but hey…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! My kids also remember it better. They know what to expect from day to day. These themed chores are SEPARATE from the daily chores I expect done right away in the morning. Those basic chores we do in the morning are dishes, laundry, garbage's, pets, sweeping, and counters.

Themes work especially in the summer time when the kids are off school. But, because they do their schooling from home it also works for us during the school year. For some, you may have to adjust what the reward is based on time constraints. But, here is a look at what our schedule is…

Money Monday---pay bills, banking, subscriptions, kids things that need paying. There is only basic chores on this day (I hate paying bills, that’s enough torture for one day). I reward myself with my favorite show in the evening.

Teriffic Tuesday---Bathrooms day! Each person is assigned a bathroom chore (i.e., toilets, mirror and sinks, tub). When we are finished we do something “terrific in the afternoon”. Such things like movies, mini-golf (on summer vacation), baking cookies, going for a bike ride. Something my kids enjoy but I often say no to because of time constraints.clip_image002

My bathroom. Today. I promise I didn’t clean first. And obviously I don’t win awards for style. Sorry. But, we are talking about clean…its clean!

Wacky Wednesday---Living Rooms! We have a formal living room and a family room. This day is for them. Then we try to do something off kilter for supper that night (this has gotten complicated with Church Nights but…) usually breakfast for supper.


My living room. No cleaning first. Promise! You can come over if you want…I don’t mind!

Thursday. This poor day doesn’t have a name. Ideas? This is entry and kitchen day. We picked this day because it has the least going on and the kitchen has the most going on. And entry. Entry’s are extremely dirty for such a small space…dontcha think? And this evening is free time for the kids. They don’t have afterschool stuff, we don’t have church stuff, its just play, play, play. And I have to be VERY careful not to nag for more chores when I see them “sitting around”.

My kitchen. I admit these were taken on Friday so that’s only a day. But its still typical of normal non-cooking tidiness.

Fantastic Friday. We LOVE Fridays. Fridays are floors. We don’t do the floors on the rest of the days. Cause we do them Friday J. I have very little carpet in the house. But, my H gets to lug the vacuum out and do that. The sweeping and mopping gets divvied out as I see fit to everyone else (I usually take the yuckiest). Then usually we go grocery shopping on Fridays. Or…my kids get friends over for the night.

Super Saturday. We LOVE Saturdays. Partly. This is “Saturday chore” day. Mornings require bedrooms cleaned, mom’s way. Kitty litter is taken care of. Laundry caught up if needed. Then…homework if needed in the afternoon.

But Saturday nights…Family Movie and Pizza night! Oh yeah Baby! Watch those kids clean their rooms!

clip_image006BEFORE Saturday morn chores! I don’t worry, it will be cleaned!

Sunday. Sunday is electronic free time (when homework is finished). They will come home from church and spend the day on their computer, watching movies, or video games. They have worked hard all week and deserve to “veg out”. H and I can usually be found watching football, napping, or bugging a kid for some cuddle time. We use this day to reset our family for what lies ahead in the next week.

Although my schedule will not work for your family for all myriads of reasons...can you find a way to make your own? Mine isn’t written down and signed with blood. It is very casual. But, it is still there. And it has completely freed my worry about my house. I see the bathrooms need cleaning…never fear…Tuesday will be here! I KNOW that my house is clean enough. I don’t fret about company. I can enjoy my home and family. Woot!

I shared pictures of my home with you because I want to be real. My home won’t win any awards. It isn’t going to look like a magazine. But, you are welcome anytime. My home is loved, hopefully like those that live and visit in it are. And isn’t that what the point of housework is in the first place?To provide a place to nurture?

Now if only I can figure out how to get up on time in the morning I could rule the world! Oh, and kick my coffee addiction. And find those lost socks…

Just me,


View Comments

Mom’s Tips Monday–Christmas Shopping On A Budget

Staying on budget while Christmas shopping can often be a difficult task.  Some great mom bloggers shared their tips – check them out!

  • Marlene author of Marlene’s Many Hats - My mom has a great idea for Christmas shopping.  She has an envelope for each person on her list and has a certain amount she spends on each person.  Throughout the year she sets aside cash and puts the right amount in each envelope.  She then shops with the cash and seals the receipt in each envelope so that if you have to make an exchange you have the receipt.  Using cash forces her to stay within her budget.
  • Aleta author of Aleta’s Arty Facts - An idea attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt is to shop for people throughout the year, and put the presents away till Christmas.  I've got a small family, so I don't really have the budgeting concerns.  Since I'm not a shopper, my only concern is to start early and meander. I hate shopping under pressure.  I quite like the feeling of wandering about calmly looking at Christmas displays and singing carols to myself as I browse. I don't think Christmas is supposed to make one tense and panic-stricken!
  • Meg author of Mergie - Last year we didn't have a lot of money so we didn't go overboard. There was less pressure & more thought went into the fewer gifts. It made Christmas special. The gifts were special.The food was great.I remember when people gave cookies as a gift. Or handmade gifts. That's what I'm doing this year. This year will be the same because there is no money again.  Less pressure.  More memories.
  • Carol author of Artmusedog - I tend to shop all year
  • Christina author of The Blog Entourage - I love shopping for Christmas throughout the year and especially on Black Friday. And now that I'm on Etsy, I like to trade or shop in BNR's (buy and replace treasuries). That way I get a sale in return for every item I buy!
  • Kimberly author of Life Matter’s - I write everyone's name down and have a certain amount to spend on each one.  I then make a list of ideas for each person.  Then for my immediate family...husband, son.  I pick four things off the list within the budget and for the rest of the family... I pick one gift off the list within the budget.
  • Marlene author of Marlene’s Many Hats - I'm not sure how far your gift giving goes but here is something that my brother and sister and I agreed to years ago that helped us:  Instead of buying gifts for each other, we agreed that we would exchange an ornament each year. We started it 18 years ago and those are some of my favorite ornaments.  You can buy and really cool ornament for less than $10, sometimes less than $5.

View Comments

October 21, 2011

Favorite Find Friday–Simms Taback’s Big Book of Words

October 21, 2011
As a mom of toddlers and moreover a mom of an avid book love, I am always on the lookout for great children’s books.  My mother in law, a book lover herself has purchased Colton a slew of books over the past three years, but one of our favorites is Simms Taback's Big Book of Words


This is a fun colorful book with different a different picture and word on each page.  Colton use to call this “the airplane book”.  This was a book that we read to him early on.  I remember sitting on the couch after dinner and flipping through the pages reading the words to him.  It was in no time at all that Colton was pointing at the pictures and saying the words on his own.  There is no better learning tool than books like this one!

About the author:                                                                                         Simms Taback is a Caldecott Medal Award Winner.  The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.  In 2000 Taback received the honor for his book Joseph Had a Little Overcoatand in 1998 was honored for his book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Caldecott Honor Book)

View Comments

October 19, 2011

30 Days of Desserts

October 19, 2011

My immediate family and I do not eat a lot of desserts, but when the holidays arrive I love making candies and cookies and giving them to the postman, delivery guys and friends and family of course.  So this year I have come up with a fun idea for the month of November!  I am calling it, you guessed it, 30 Days of Desserts.

For each day in November I am going to post the recipe and hopefully some pictures for a different dessert.  Yep, that’s right – 30 recipes!  It may be something as simple as melt in your mouth peanut butter cookies to something more complicated like chocolate covered cherries.  But I need your help!  Can you share your recipes!?

Do you make an awesome pound cake or a delicious peanut brittle??  If so share your recipe!  Does your grandma have the most incredible apple crisp recipe that you have never dared to share?? … Well… now is the time to share! ha ha.  I have a few recipes of my own that I treasure and have never given out (kind of selfish, eh?), but now I am ready to shell them out!

So are you in?  Would you like to be part of the 30 Days of Dessert!?  Email me your favorites – believingboldly@gmail.com.  I will be sure to give credit where credit is due… so if you have a blog and you do not mind it being featured I will be sure to link the recipe to you!

So there you have it!  30 days of Desserts!  Yummy!

View Comments


Can you say, “safety hazard!” … she is seriously a mess and I cannot keep her out of the bathroom!


View Comments

October 18, 2011

Tent Time

October 18, 2011

When Colton was 12 months old we went on a family vacation to Sarasota, Florida.  It was our first beach trip with him and I thought it would be a good idea to buy a beach tent.  We did not use the tent much on that trip, but it has come in handy since then.


Occasionally, I will pull the tent out of the closet and put it up in Colton’s bedroom or the playroom.  It’s a fun something new kind of thing for him to play with/in.  Here he is playing with his dinosaurs in the tent.


Claire really loves the tent too… they get inside and crawl around, read books and pretend they are sleeping.  It is so cute to watch the two of them play together.

View Comments

Our Day At DollyWood

We spent one day (well… half of a day) at Dollywood while we were on our trip to the Smokies.
Colton remembered most of the rides from our trip earlier this summer
On that trip I rode in the pigs with Claire…this time was big enough to ride all by herself!
PA060063  PA060065  PA060066  PA060064
After the pigs they rode the ducks… I made the mistake of putting them both in the same seat.  Claire wanted to push the button in the middle and Colton panicked the entire time because he was not sure what the button would do and did not want Claire to push it … ahhh… sibling love.
PA060067  PA060071
Claire and I rode the elephants together.  This is one of my favorite kiddie rides… you push a button and the ride goes really high – Claire loved it!  I was happy to see that I managed to get a good picture with my little miss!
Later, Colton and Claire got to pet a 4 month old Belgium horse.  She was beautiful and so big.  It was hard to believe that she was only 4 months old.
Colton ended the day just how he started, with Papaw.  This time he was completely tuckered out and ready to go back to the cabin.

View Comments

October 17, 2011

Cabins and Chips

October 17, 2011

Yes, I am still using my cruddy point and shoot camera!  Can you tell!?  Apparently, the lens needs cleaned – notice the blurry blotch in the middle of every picture?  Ahhhh… cannot wait to get my lens back from Nikon!

We are really strict about our diet and hardly ever buy potato chips.  Well, there is nothing like vacation to make you dump your healthy eating habits – or at least that is what happened to me.  Claire was happy that I decided to indulged though… she certainly enjoyed her first taste of cheddar & sour cream ruffles.  I could not keep her little hands out of the bag.





View Comments