1/26/15

Five Reasons.....

Five reasons why January is an awesome month to purchase Scentsy.....

1. January is Bring Back My Bar month! All of these scents are available for this month only - which means you only have one week left to purchase them!



I think my favorite scent out of all of these scents is Lavender Vanilla but I'm still working my way through them so time will tell.

2. The Warmer of the Month, Charmer is so cool and different than anything that has come out in the past. This is what the warmer looks like when you purchase it.....


However there are SO many options of what you can do with this warmer. You an fill the warmer with decorative items to create different looks! Here are some neat ideas.


3. Ice Hotel is my most popular Scent of the Month in a long time. SO yummy. If you like clean, fresh scents then this is the scent for you!



4. I have THREE personal specials this month that can't be beat! If you are interested in hearing my three specials email me! MeganTree84{at}gmail{dot}com

5. There are still several scents of bricks left to purchase for only $16! That is a heck of a deal! Also, always check out the closeout section on my website for some awesome deals!



1/20/15

Our Discipline System

Maybe somebody warned me but I don't really remember.

When my first teeny tiny newborn arrived I would stare at his tiny little feet and wrinkled little fingers and think about how he was probably  the most perfect being ever.

I would watch his mouth open for a little yawn and think it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen, I could never imagine that in just a few short short years that same mouth would scream "I DON'T LIKE YOU MAMA" because I didn't give him fruit snacks for breakfast. NEVER coulda imagined.

Age three is an adventure. It's like a hike......One minute you are hiking all peacefully. You are walking along flat trails and the sun is shining but there is a perfect amount of breeze that is keeping you just the right temperature and bunnies jump by you and you admire the beauty of nature. And then the next minute you are hiking up trail and the sun is scorching down on you causing a horrible sunburn and it's shining so brightly that you can't see ahead of you and then a bear comes out of nowhere charging at you and you just want to lay down and cry.

Clearly we have good times and bad times. Good days and bad days. Peaceful hikes with bunnies and times where it feels like a bear is charging at you.

And really, the age three trouble came overnight. It was like "happy birthday Eli" and then BOOM he started developing several age three personalities. Some downright scary.

We have tried various discipline tactics and while some work we needed something really effective with Eli. Plus we wanted something that didn't only bring attention to Eli's bad choices, but also rewarded him for making good choices (i.e. not hitting me).

I did some searching around Pinterest and put a couple of ideas together and came up with our colored balls systems.

I bought the little poms from Hobby Lobby and started calling them colored balls but Luke said I definitely needed to change the name. So then I called them little balls of goodness (because they were rewards for doing something good) but Luke said Eli would be the weird kid if he went to school and said he got balls of goodness at home so then we just started calling them colors. Seems boring to me but it works.

This is how it works: We have two jars of "colors", one that holds all the colors and the other one where the colors go, basically his "bank" of colors. 

We let Eli go to the store and pick out a toy - or in this case a sports related accessory (are sports things considered accessories?) He wanted some bases so we got a set of bases. I then took a pic of the bases and printed it and taped it to his jar (seriously could I get any more craftier?). Then we put the bases up and told him he could get them when he filled his jar with colors (or balls of goodness).

(I really thought I had a pic with my awesome picture of the bases taped to the jar but I can't find it)

Then anytime Eli was good he added colors to his bases jar. When he was bad he took colors out. At the beginning of our adventure with the colors we could tell we were going to have to make an adjustment because we were losing steam fast. We needed him to actually get the reward to see how the process worked. So whenever Eli was caught doing something good, or doing something the first time he was asked he got like 10 colors. Slowly but surely the colors made it to the top of the jar.

Eli got his bases and saw that it paid off to make good choices in life. So we continued to use the system. Most of the time when  he is being disobdiedent we just have to ask him "Do you want to lose some colors?" and he will shape up. Most of the time.

Obviously it isn't fail-proof. He still has bad moments and there are times we even forget to do the colors so if you see my child in public acting crazy please do not think I'm 'a liar. I'm just the mom of a three year old. 

But for the most part this has worked really well in our house. Eli is really a good kid, he just has his typical three year old moments and we are learning how to handle them as best as we can. All while praying that maybe age four brings a little less fits.



1/19/15

Meals from Last Week

Thank you all SO MUCH for your comments and words regarding my post last week about panic attacks. It is amazing to see how many people struggle with anxiety. I'm so thankful for medication and counseling and everything that goes into making that journey a little bit easier.

I appreciate everybody who shared taking the time to share a little bit of their experience. I know it isn't always easy to talk about but I think it makes it easier for others when we open that door and actually start to vocalize our experiences, so thank you again! We went out of town this weekend with spotty internet access (meaning I could get it if I held my phone just right while sticking my tongue out and standing on one leg while shouting prayer to the heavens) so I haven't responded to comments and emails yet but I will!

Last week we had some good meals that I for sure want to share.

Monday: A couple of months ago I got together with some friends and did a freezer meal prep night. We all brought our own groceries and then we prepared a bunch of meals to be frozen and to stick in the crockpot to cook whenever we needed. This has been awesome and such a life saver on days when I didn't feel like cooking. I had one meal left so I put it in the crockpot to eat that night before our small group came to our house.

Then somewhere around 2:00 I decided I didn't want to eat what was in the crockpot. Ridiculous I know but I was craving pizza so badly. So Luke stopped and got pizza on the way home from work and we ate the crockpot meal throughout the week for lunch.

Tuesday: Skinny Taste Meatball and Spaghetti Soup
This was a new concept to me - spaghetti and meatball SOUP. But Eli has been asking me to make spaghetti and meatballs and it's been so cold I could eat soup everyday so I decided to just combine the two preferences when I found this recipe. This was SO good. Luke loved it and said it was a changeup from our normal food we eat. (I tend to make A LOT of mexican food). I will definitely make this again.

{This was a good meal for Annie to eat with us!)


Wednesday: Skinny Taste BBQ Chicken Chili
I didn't plan to make this meal this week but then a friend posted it on Instagram and I just had to make it that night. I've made it before but forgot about it (which happens a lot which is a main reason I want to put all my recipes on here so I can go back and remember what we've eaten). So we had soup two nights in a row but they were both very good soups. This was delicious and made a lot so we had a lot of leftovers!

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday and Saturday: Out of town

Sunday: A neighbor made us some ribs on his grill - Ummm YES PLEASE. They were delicious.

I'm always on the lookout for new food blogs so if you have a favorite one please share! (or if you've made a delicious meal lately please share!)

1/15/15

Our "weird" year

2014. What a weird year. Luke and I have reflected over the year many times, trying to come up with a word for it....and the only thing we can come up with is weird. It was just weird.

We can't say it was bad because good things happened. Our family grew when we added our beautiful baby girl to our lives. We had friendships grow, we were able to minister to others, and our marriage grew as we learned to cling to one another and God. But it was weird.

Oddly enough, and maybe what makes it a little "weird" is that although much of the year seemed wrapped in confusion and frustration we had a sense of peace from the Lord that we were where we needed to be. That He was working and would see us through. He always sees us through.

I've mentioned that I love going into the new year because of the "reset" feeling that you feel at the beginning of a new year. However going into 2014 we never felt that reset or refreshing feeling. We had so much weighing on us. My pregnancy with placenta previa and the uneasiness and questions that came from that was a big thing. Plus, I was going to the hospital twice a week to be monitored while still visiting my regular doctor and specialist. It was a lot of doctor appointments.

However the biggest thing going into 2014 that was affecting us involved my husband. Beginning in the middle of 2013 Luke suddenly began experiencing what we now know were panic attacks. It came out of left field as he is typically a calm, laid back person, but these panic attacks came on fast and strong.

Never having experienced anything of this nature both of us were at a loss as to what to do. Luke began to attack it physically, through diet, exercise, sleep, etc. We thought if he simply changed one thing in his life that they would go away.

If you've ever had experience with true panic attacks or know someone who has you know that this is not the case. Simply changing one thing in your life does not make them go away. We would learn this as the attacks continued to get worse. On the eve of 2014 Luke experienced one of his worst panic attacks to date and it was at that time when we realized that we were dealing with something serious and potentially debilitating.

At that point it was the scariest thing I had ever gone through. You don't realize how much you depend on somebody to be your rock and your strength until you see them at their weakest moment. It was a real and tangible reminder that my strength can ONLY come from the Lord. My husband is my partner and my helper through life but I cannot depend on him for my daily strength, I have to get that from the Lord.

Through all of this Luke and I kept it mostly confidential. We didn't tell our families for fear of worrying them and only told a few close friends who we asked to be praying for us. I remember one friend coming over and praying over me and our house and I cry every time of think of it. We are not called to do this life alone, we are called to share our lives with others, the times of rejoicing and goodness, the times of trouble and panic. It is a humbling experience to feel completely helpless and to know that your brothers and sisters in Christ are standing with you. How thankful I still am for that.

For Luke, through all of this there was shame in the sudden onset of panic attacks. He felt weak as a man and as the leader of our home, and as a pastor and leader in the church. He felt he should be stronger than this. It was during the time of those thoughts that he felt the Lord prompting him to share his struggles with others. It was his pride that had stopped him from sharing and this was now a way in which God was breaking his pride.

In March, Anniston was born and for various other reasons (another story for another day) March became our hardest month of the year. We had so much going on, plus a brand new baby in the house and my husband was not himself. It was hard. I so desperately wanted my husband to act like himself, to feel like himself. It was a helpless feeling to watch him deal with these attacks that slowly started to consume our lives. He hated it so much and I hated it for him. For the entire first part of the year Luke was a completely different person. There were times I would get a glimpse of him but for the majority of the time he was living on edge, a slave to panic attacks.

I did so much research online trying to find a "cure" for him. Reading how a person should behave when dealing with a person experiencing a panic attack. I wanted to help my husband, I wanted him to be  himself again. I read a blog (that I now can't find or I would reference) but in it the author explained how he felt that panic attacks were threefold; mental, physical and spiritual and I completely agree. We were fighting a battle in so many ways.

Little by little we began sharing what Luke was going through with others. He told leaders at his work, leaders at our church, his worship team that he leads every Sunday, family, close friends....and all of it was met with nothing but support and love.

We truly believe it to be an act of obedience. God wanted Luke to share and so he did. The attacks continued on for a year, sometimes mild and sometimes very strong, interrupting our entire lives. But through it all we had people praying for us, and we were attacking it with God's word.

Going into the summer Luke confided in a friend who is also a doctor, this was the beginning of the steps to what we now hope and pray was and is the end. After seeking counsel Luke went on an anxiety medication that has helped him tremendously. Something was off and it needed to be fixed. Luke had been holding off taking medicine because he didn't want to seem "weak". But through the counsel he received he felt led to do this. By doing this it was as if he let go of something he was holding onto. Before he had been trying to take care of it all by himself, but little by little he was releasing it to the Lord, first by sharing with others, and so on until the final step of taking the medication. We fully believe that God has used the medicine to help Luke through this battle.

It feels extremely weird and vulnerable to share all of this information. But we have said time and time again that we want to write it all out. Of course there is a lot not written out, not every detail of this journey has to be shared but we wanted to share pieces of it. In going through this we realized it's something that a lot of people don't talk about, especially in the church.

Looking back we realize that it was silly to feel shameful about it, this was a real experience, one that we can hopefully use to help others or counsel others who have dealt with or are dealing with the same scenario.

We are by NO means experts in this, and we still have no clue why it happened. Even still, there are days when Luke continues to battle anxiety, but each day brings a little more healing at a time.  It's like water dripping onto the ground, drop by drop, he is slowly taking back his life. But we do know that through it we sought God, we asked Him to use it for whatever purpose. And for whatever reason we felt it was important to share.

Going through this brought us closer to the Lord and to one another. We learned so much through it and we are still learning things. More than anything we are thankful for our health and thankful that we are able to use our experiences through this life to glorify the Lord and use them to help and encourage others however that may be.




1/12/15

The Car Nap

Today I had to run a quick errand to pick something up from a friend so I planned it during a time of the day when I knew both kids would probably stay awake and I wouldn't hit that dreaded car nap.

Can we talk about the car nap for a minute? I mean WHAT is the deal with the car nap?

Why can a kid sleep 2.5 seconds in the car and they think it equals a 3 hour nap? It is one of the biggest mysteries of our time. I know there are so many questions to ask the Lord but my main question would be regarding the car nap.

And I've tried the quiet transition, I've tried just sticking them in their bed and letting them cry hoping they'll go back to sleep. Nope. Never works.

So now I just plan my days around making sure that Annie (and sometimes still Eli) gets a quality nap in the bed and not the car.

Back to my errand…. I thought I had planned this perfectly I would be out after lunch, I would talk to them play loud music, sing songs, guranteeing they didn't fall asleep and then come back home before their eyelids got heavy.

If only I didn't make a horrible mistake.

I was driving to meet my friend, all cool and calm thinking I had everything under control, when I didn't even realize I was exiting onto the highway.

It was like that scene straight out of Clueless when Dee gets on the highway and doesn't know it and her boyfriend - the guy from Remember the Titans - is in the back all screaming at her. Except nobody was screaming at me except my mind saying NO NO NO DON'T GET ON THE HIGHWAY - - - - IT'S TOO LATE YOU CAN'T TURN BACK NOW.

So here I was on the highway and the next exit wasn't for 30 miles. Actually I'm not sure if it was 30... it could have been 20, but I know it was more than 10.

Just know that it was enough highway for both kids to fall asleep. Just me and the open road and two sleeping kids and a cell phone on 10% so I couldn't even listen to my good music because I wanted to make sure my cell phone didn't die.

I of course called Luke to let him know what happened. I'm not sure why because he thought it was hilarious but for some reason when something like this happens my mind goes straight to a story on 20/20 and I can hear them talking about how if only her cell phone would have been charged or something like that. So I made the necessary call to make sure Luke knew where we were.

So here I was unexpectedly on the road with about 45 minutes to an hour in front of me.  Just me and my mind. Lots and lots of thinking time.

I started thinking about our year last year, and how crazy it felt - yet somehow in that craziness we knew that God had brought us to it and was helping bring us through it.

And then I started thinking about our "word" that we chose for the year. At this point it's almost become a little cliche but still Luke and I like to choose a word for the year for our family. And this year we chose Freedom.

As believers we have freedom that comes through our relationship with Christ. I so badly want to reflect on this  year because I allow worry and doubt, and sometimes even self-destructing thoughts (like the above "i'm so stupid for getting on the highway thought) to consume me. And this year I want to meditate on and remember that I have freedom from those things. I don't have to live bogged down by worry. Yes it will come, and yes it is easy to let it come and to entertain it, but I'm really going to work this year on being FREE from those rabbit holes of worry. Freedom. It's a good word.

About an hour later we got home and both my children were wide eyed bushy tailed and ready to go go go, and even though I wanted to try and stick them back in bed (let's be honest, I did stick Annie back in her crib and she just screamed like I had abandoned her so I went back and got her admitting defeat) I simply gave up my desire for a super clean home before our small group and my desire to get some work done and just spent time with them.

It was nice to have a little time to just sit and reflect and think. If they had napped at home I would have been running around like crazy trying to get stuff done, but instead I just had some "chill" time. It was nice.

But I'm not going to lie…I still hate the car nap.


The New Year and Meals

Welcome 2015!

I love the beginning of a new year. I say that every year, but so far every year my fondness for this time doesn't change.

Obviously in life we can give ourselves a fresh start anytime we please, but something about the new year and resolutions and picking a word for the year and all of that makes it seem more official.

We had a crazy fun and crazy busy December, which I hope to recap at some point. We did a lot together and I want to journal it. However if I don't get around to it I always have my instagram as backup.

Luke took the week after Christmas off of work because we planned to go on a trip, but last minute we decided to just stay home and take it easy.

He ended up working two days out of the week but for most of the week it was all of us at home together. I loved every minute of it.

We were able to accomplish so much and randomly decided to completely redecorate our office. For some reason we had THREE desks in our office, which made the room seem so small. As we were cleaning the office we kept commenting on how silly it was to have three desks in there. Craziness.

So we got rid of some desks got a new desk, added some more functional pieces and boom we have a new office. It is already so much better. Don't you love when you  make a few changes and it just feels so refreshing?

Last week was our reinstatement week back into the real world. Luke went to work. Eli went
to his two days of school, and I ran around the house trying to get it clean but complaining that I'll never have a clean house. Same ole same ole.

We also got back to eating at home. The week after Christmas we had no groceries so we ate out everyday. At one point Eli said "I just want mama to cook, I miss mama's cooking". Well that made me feel GOOD. It's nice to know he likes my cooking.

I'm going to try and share our menus as much as possible this year. So here is our first week:

Monday: One Pot Enchilada Bake 
This was so good. It was a little bit different than a normal mexican dish because it calls for biscuits in the pot but still really good and filling. I will make this again.

Tuesday: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
This recipe and the above recipe are from Damn Delicious and they were so good. She has a ton of Asian inspired recipes on her blog that I highly recommend you check out. We made this into a bowl meal with brown rice and broccoli and it was a hit with everybody. SO good.

Wednesday: Crockpot Salsa Chicken
I needed to go to the grocery store this day, but never got around to going (I didn't want to interfere with Annie's naps and it just never worked out) so around 1:00 I threw some chicken in the crockpot, topped it with taco seasoning and salsa, a can of black beans, chopped green chilies. Towards the end I added some frozen corn. We ate it on tortillas with a veggie. It's a nice easy meal!

Thursday: Luke and I had a work party this night so we ate there.

Friday: Paula Deen Taco Soup
My absolute favorite soup. I think maybe Luke is sick of it but I could eat it every single night.

Saturday: Spinach Stuffed Shells
I love Skinny Taste. Gina is the author or the website and she has the BEST recipes. I've never made a recipe I didn't like. She just came out with a cookbook that I really want to get! We ate this with salad on the side.

Sunday: Leftovers

I've been working on my grocery list for this week so hopefully I can stay on top of my meal planning and cooking again this year!

Happy {a little late} New Year!

11/10/14

Meals

Today is a gorgeous Monday! I plan on enjoying every second of this day because that Arctic blast or whatever the catch-phrase the news is calling it is on it's way. And it's going to get downright COLD.

I look forward to cooler weather during the hot months because I like my Fall and Winter wardrobe much better than my summer (I can't believe I actually typed that out) but when I say cooler weather I'm talking somewhere in the 60's. NOT THE THIRTIES. 

We are going to try and play outside a lot today and might even make a trip to the zoo. Eli has been asking to go for awhile now. This is one of those activities that was much easier without a baby, now with a nursing baby it's a little more inconvenient, but I need to take him before it gets cold.

Anyways all of that to say that the only thing that DOES excite me about really cold weather is cooking. I love cooking when it's cold outside, hot soups and yummy baked goods (although I guess I'll avoid pumpkin). I need to plan my menu this week! Also I'm going to one of those meal prep parties this week where we will make 8 meals to freeze to cook later. That sounds great!

Here is what was on our menu the past couple of weeks:

Monday: Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
My family absolutely LOVES this meal. It is one that even Eli gobbles up which is hard to find these days. We pair it with the Cilantro Lime Rice as suggested and it is all delicious. I also usually put some black beans with it or make some broccoli. 

Tuesday: Taco Soup
My go-to taco soup for the past couple of years has been Paula Deen's taco soup. It's easy, quick to put together and so filling. We have leftovers for days. 

Wednesday: {Leftovers}

Thursday: Poppy Seed Chicken
This is one of those classic meals. I grew up eating this and actually forgot about it until my grandma gave me a handwritten recipe book with this in it. I hadn't made it in awhile but I was glad I did cause Eli also liked this one. I'm noticing a trend of him enjoying the "creamy" meals. 

Friday: {Halloween - eat out} Five Guys. YUM.

Sunday: Bow Tie Fiesta Pasta
I got this recipe from Blue Eyed Bride several years ago. It was passed around the "blog world" for awhile and became a favorite here in our home. 

Monday: Baked Potatoes
We have small group in our home on Mondays and we always try and eat together. It's hard to think of meals that everybody would enjoy and that would make enough for all adults and kids. Someone in our group had the idea to do baked potatoes with all the toppings this week. It was a great idea!

Tuesday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sliders
 This is in Luke's top 5 favorite meals. I always serve it with corn and sometimes we eat some chips on the side.

Wednesday: Stuffed Pepper Soup
Oh man this is such an awesome soup recipe (but I'm a big soup fan). Make this soup this week when it gets cold. YOU WON'T BE SORRY. 

Thursday {Leftovers}

And the meals end there. I'm looking forward to lots of good meals this week!