Thoughts on Growing Up

December 18, 2014

growing up


Something unexpected and alarming happened this week while shopping for snow boots.  The salesman informed me that my son is now in adult size shoes.  He is a mens size 6.  MENS. SIZE. SIX.  One minute we were shopping in the kids section where boots light up and paying kid prices.  The next minute we’re shopping for boots that could serve as a life raft with a price tag twice as much as the minute before.  My 10 year old officially has feet bigger than mine.  

When did this happen?  I did not approve this growth spurt or budget for full price shoes that will more than likely be outgrown by next year.  I have a suggestion for shoe makers.  Can there be an in-between size and pricing category?  Can we call it the tween section?  Styles and sizes that are bigger than the kid shoes yet prices that will save me from having to pay close to $100 for a pair of shoes that will get worn down from excessive scooter breaking?  I don’t think it’s fair or right that I have to now shop in the mens section for shoes that will be worn at recess.  

Not only is my budget not ready for this but neither is my heart.  Thankfully, this is a slow process that allows me to get used to the idea.  Quiet, mopey behavior has been progressing for quite a while now.  I’m getting used to the mumbling and bee line for the computer rather than spending time with the family.  I’ve had time to formulate plans on how to get him to pay attention to his little brother and participate in discussions.  And yet, this train continues to move forward at a speed that I’m not comfortable with.

This past October I caught a glimps of what my teenager might look like.  For Halloween he asked to have his hair gelled and messed up to go with his costume.  I happily applied copious amounts of gel and sent him on his way.  Later that afternoon I visited his classroom for the Halloween party.  Across the room was this tall, thin young man.  It took my breath away and I had to look away because he was so handsome and mature looking .  For a moment the boy was completely gone.  

Thankfully, he is still just a boy.  In adult size six shoes.

Clear Away Clutter

December 15, 2014

clear away clutter

Almost 30 days ago I had this wild idea to get control of the clutter in my life.  I started my Control the Clutter 30 Day Challenge Every single day I challenged myself and my readers to clear away clutter, get something out of the house or organize something in the house that was a mess (taking Sunday’s off).  In the back of my mind I knew that I had a lot going on in my life and that all of this would take place right before Christmas but I decided to plow ahead anyway.  It turns out that I may have picked the busiest time of year to turn my junk drawers upside down, empty cabinets, and haul out bags of clothes and toys.  Yes, this is a crazy time of year to add one more thing but actually, it worked out really well.

No other time of year would I have pulled out the holiday boxes and gone through them to get rid of all the holiday decor that I no longer use.  Now that I’m in the frame of mind to get things organized, putting away Christmas decorations after the New Year will give me yet another chance to clear out broken and tired ornaments.

I have noticed another advantage to clearing the clutter during the holidays…turning the focus of controlling clutter inside the heart as well as the home.  Just a few days after the challenge started Advent was upon us.  What a wonderful time to focus on what may be cluttering our hearts than the time of year when we focus on God’s greatest gift to us.  The first verse of Joy to the World has so much more meaning when you are focused on getting rid of what is weighing your heart and mind down.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her king.

Let every heart. prepare Him room.

Let heaven and nature sing.

If our hearts are full of anger and resentment or holding on to grudges, there isn’t much room for the joy of this season.  But letting go of the hurt is easier said than done.  Just like that box of stuff that has been hiding in the corner, or those clothes that you haven’t worn in years…we keep telling ourselves; I may wear that one day or I may need that stuff…I’m not sure what is exactly in that box, but you never know when it will come in handy.  Guess what?  If those clothes worn in over a year or that box hasn’t been opened and aren’t even sure what is inside…you don’t need it!  Get rid of it!  The same is true with the emotional pain we hold on to from when someone really hurt us, or the grudges we hold when we feel slighted.  If we get rid of that anger then what will we do when we want someone to blame?  When we want to point the finger and say It’s all their fault that my life is a mess!  Guess what?  That is in the past, it’s over and done.  That box has been sitting around for a long time and it’s time to dump it.  And there is only one person to blame when our hearts are a mess.  Do I really need to say it?  

We can’t control how others will treat us but we can control how we will react to them.  Recently my 10 year old was talking about the “mean kids” in his class and what they did to make everyone else’s lives miserable.  I hate hearing that my son may be the recipient of some of this bad behavior but I can’t be with him all day to protect him or give those kids that sink eye.  The advice I can give him is to treat them like he would want to be treated. I told him that a lot of times these mean kids have something really terrible going on at home.  Many times they are treated badly by someone they should be able to trust and they are scared to tell anyone about it.  Many times they are hurting inside and they only way they know to express their fear is to hurt others.  Yes, some kids are just mean for the sake of being mean and that really stinks.  However, we have to assume that there is something else going on that we don’t know about.  

The same goes for grown ups.  People dump on us and we can either get really angry and hold it against them for a long time or we can clear away that resentment from our hearts.  This is the prefect time of year to let it all go.  This perfect babe came to this world to relieve us of that burden and every single year, this time of year, we’re reminded that He came to lighten our load.  Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  He wants you to clear away your clutter!  He is willing to take it away…he is just waiting for you to give it up.

Clear away the clutter of anger and fear and prepare room in your heart for joy, for love, for Him.

Clutter Clean Up Week 1

November 24, 2014

control the clutter


I’m one week in to my 30 day challenge to control the clutter.  I’m using this as an exercise him keeping myself motivated in my clutter clean up and to also inspire you, dear reader, in getting rid of your clutter.

Preparing for the holidays is the prefect time to get serious about clutter clean up in your home.  You are about to be overwhelmed with holiday decor (if you aren’t already) new toys, Christmas gifts, new clothes, stocking stuffers, cookie tins and whatever else you can think of that enters your home during Advent.  Prepare your home for this influx of stuff by getting rid of stuff!

To keep you inspired here is what I was able to accomplish this week: 2 bags of toys & clothes, 2 junk drawers in my kitchen, old make up in the back of my bathroom cabinet, rearranged part of my bedroom to create a sewing/craft area, the linen closet.

Clutter Clean Up Week 1 – Check it out:

clutter clean up


clutter clean up

clutter clean up

clutter clean up

clutter clean up

clutter clean up

If I can do this, so can you.  Please join me on this 30 day adventure on Facebook and/or Instagram.  Just because we’re already 6 days in doesn’t mean you can just jump on in and start getting control of your clutter.  Show me what you’re up to on FB and Instagram and make sure to use hashtag #HKSControltheclutter  If you aren’t sure how to use hashtags I would be more than happy to help you with that. Just leave your question in the a comment below.

Control the Clutter 30 Day Challenge

November 19, 2014

control the clutter

In case you haven’t noticed, Christmas is coming.  The idea of more stuff entering my house without the prospect of other stuff exiting my house makes my tummy a little uneasy.

Clutter can quickly get out of control in my house.  Art projects, school work, mail, papers, papers, papers.  It doesn’t take much before I’m drowning.  Not to mention the toys.  Oh for the love of FAO, the toys.

It’s time to purge.  I’ve already started working on the playroom but I need to do more and I want you to join me.  For 30 days (taking Sundays off) I’m going to get stuff out of my house.  For the next 30 days I’m going to attempt to control the clutter so it doesn’t control me.

Join me on Facebook and Instagram.  Use hashtag #HKSControltheclutter so we can see how much progress we’re making.  Make sure you “like” my Facebook page.  I’ll post progress updates and you do the same.  On Instagram post your pics of how you are controlling your clutter (don’t forget #HKSControltheclutter)

Let’s do this! Control that clutter by Christmas…that way you have lots of room for all the new stuff!

Artesian Hotel & Spa Review

November 18, 2014

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was given a weekend package in return for this review.  All thoughts, opinions, thoughts and ideas are my own.  

Artesian hotel & spa review

There is something that is very important to a healthy marriage.  

Time alone together.

Kids are wonderful and precious and a blessing.  They are also draining and time-consuming and selfish.  If you don’t watch out, before you know it you will have gone days without really talking to your spouse.  Really taking time to find out how they are doing.  Husbands need attention too, just like the kiddos, or they feel left out or like a fifth wheel.  Moms spend so much energy taking care of the kids, the house, the community that sometimes the marriage can take a back seat.  This is a dangerous place for a marriage to be.

Date night is essential for us.  A weekend away is like a B-12 shot to our relationship.  Taking time to just be together, talking, focusing on us, sleeping in.  Even if it’s for 24 hours, a weekend away is just what the doctor ordered.

Our lives are very busy so finding a place to escape that is both luxurious and close by is a life saver.  The Artesian Hotel & Spa in Sulphur, OK is like a bright sparkling diamond nestled in the Arbuckles.  You would never guess that Sulphur would have a 4 star experience but they do. 

Artesian Hotel & Spa Review

We were both really impressed with the hotel the minute we walked in.  It was already decorated for Christmas with beautiful trees in the lobby.

Artesian hotel & spa review

artesian hotel & spa review

artesian hotel & spa review

 After seeing the beautiful lobby I was really excited to see our room.  It did not disappoint.  Check it out for yourself.







After we were settled into our spacious room, Dear Husband settled in to watch football while I headed downstairs to the spa.  I had booked appointments earlier that week and thank goodness I did because I think we got the last available times for the day.  I started off with a mud wrap.  If you’ve never had a mud wrap it is something that makes you feel very posh.  They scrub your arms, legs and belly with a gritty mud (I probably could have dug up some from my back yard and brought it with me) and then wrap you up in a plastic cocoon and leave you for 20 minutes to stew in your own muddy juices.  After you are nice and toasty, she wipes you down and then has you shower the rest of the mud off.  My skin was very smooth and pink and made me feel like I should be wearing sunglasses indoors lest someone recognize me and bug me for my autograph. 

artesian hotel & spa review

Lobby of the Sole’renety Spa

Later that afternoon Dear Husband and I had a couples massage.  It’s basically a regular massage but you’re both in the same room.  It was wonderful but I’m not exactly sure why people think a couples massage is all that special.  It’s not like you can hold hands while being massaged or want to have a conversation.  Maybe a couples massage is appealing if you need to keep an eye on your husband while he is being rubbed on by another woman…but if that is a concern then you might have bigger problems than a weekend away will fix.  ahem.

The mens and womans locker rooms each have a dry sauna and a steam sauna.  If you want to relax in the whirlpool, bring a bathing suit because it is co-ed.  I’ve been in some really nice spas and this one was right up there.

If you’re looking for a really special Christmas gift then the Sole’renity Spa at the Artesian might be just right.  They have an incredible special for Black Friday.  Buy one $100 gift card and receive four $25 gift cards to use as Christmas gifts or however you would like to use them.  What an amazing 2 for 1.  A similar special is running the rest of the month of December.  Buy one $100 and receive two $25 gift cards.  

That night we had dinner at the hotel restaurant, Springs at The Artesian.  The food was American comfort food and absolutely delicious as well as a nice wine and cocktail list.  While the food was incredible, the wait staff was a little unprofessional.  We got the impression that they were more comfortable working in a diner rather than a 4 star restaurant.  They could stand to use some more customer service and hospitality training.  The Springs also serves breakfast but that left little to be desired.  Stick with dinner and be patient with your waitress.

One thing that I really loved about this hotel is that if you don’t want to see, hear, think about or smell the casino; you don’t have to.  I have a nose like a blood hound when it comes to cigarette smoke.  Don’t think you’re fooling me with your body spray or only smoking in your garage.  Never once did I catch a whiff of the smell of cigarette smoke that typically comes with being at a casino.

You may wonder…Sulphur?  Really?  I thought so too.  Then I realized that we had camped at the Lake of the Arbuckles years ago and I loved it.  Sulphur is a quaint little town in a really beautiful part of the state and the Chickasaw Cultural Center is outstanding.  We strolled through their impressive grounds and took a drive through the Chickasaw National Recreation Center.  If it hadn’t been so cold I would have loved to have spent the day exploring the hiking trails.  We vowed to bring our boys back in the spring.

If you are looking for a special getaway then I highly suggest The Artesian.  Let me know what you think.

Elf on the Shelf Rant

November 17, 2014

It’s time for the yearly Elf bashing.  

Let me start by saying this…if Elf on the Shelf truly gives you joy in your heart.  If you find no greater pleasure than hiding your Elf all over the house and in ridiculous situations.  If nothing makes you more giddy and genuinely excited than pulling your Elf out of his year-long hiding spot.  If you can say, in all honesty, hand to God, that you bear absolutely no ill will to the Elf..then you might not want to read this.  It will rain on your parade.  Instead, go and read my post about tween lockers and make a mental note never to partake in that insanity.

However, if you get a sick feeling in your stomach when you start to see advertisements for Elf on the Shelf.  If you have considered donating him to Goodwill and lying to your kids about why he hasn’t appeared this year.  If you walk by the Hallmark store at the mall with your children and quickly divert them into Hot Topic rather than let them see the Elf on the Shelf display.  If in past years you have tossed Elf across the living room seconds before your children wake up.  If you have ever cursed his name as you are trying to find an original hiding spot in your kitchen/living room/bathroom for the 22nd day in a row.  If you post pics of your Elf but secretly hate his guts…then read on.

You know what makes me want to punch myself in the side of the head?  Elf on the Shelf.  Somehow this whimsical little tradition has turned into some sort of sick Elf Olympics where parents stay up into the wee hours positioning their Elf in more and more zany circumstances.  All for a good chuckle before the kids are bustled off to school.  Is it really worth it?  Last week my 10 year old asked if Elf really moved around at night or if we did it.  We asked why he was questioning it and his response was “well, he’s just a doll…and he’s kinda creepy looking”.  You’re right, dear one, he IS creepy looking.

There is enough seasonal stress with decorating, gift buying, cookie baking, filling tiny Advent boxes and passive-aggressive battle of wills over whether or not you will open presents at home, grandparents, other grandparents or a ski resort.  Why do we have to add this tradition that requires Pinterst worthy photos that isn’t really even a well known tradition to the mix?  Some parents use the Elf as an excuse to keep their kids in line.  “You better be good…the Elf is watching”.  I’ll admit, I’ve used that tactic in times of desperation.  Whatever happened to just plain old “Santa is watching?” He doesn’t carry enough clout any more?  He’s too lazy to do his own good behavior/bad behavior spying?  Even better, why not make kids feel super guilty about bad behavior will a well played “You just made baby Jesus cry” card.  

Guess what I saw today?  Elf on the Shelf accessories.  Meet Elf’s accomplice, his pet reindeer.  He has a grim look in his eye because he knows he is just another pawn in the commercialization of Christmas.


“Comes with a book which tells the story of how reindeer use Christmas magic to help Santa’s sleigh fly on Christmas Eve”

For $26.95 you can bring a pet into the mix and answer that age old question…just how do Santa’s reindeer pull the sleigh?  Oh wait, we’ve known the answer to that question for generations.  Magic.  The answer is magic if anyone asks.  Don’t over complicate this, people.  How in the hell else would 12 tiny reindeer pull a sleigh weighed down with a 300 pound guy who eats cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with presents for 6 billion people in one night?   Are you kidding me with this? 

In case that wasn’t enough there is this.  


Couture for Elf.  This is actually call Clause Couture Collection.  COUTURE.  He shops on the 4th floor of Neiman Marcus now?  I’m just not sure what to say about this.

In case you need a fix of silly Elf situations and a reminder of what NOT to do, or if you’re looking for new ways in which to torture yourself every night this December…check out my posts from Elf on the Shelf Insanity 2013 and Elf on the Shelf Crazy 2012

Crescent Roll Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

November 10, 2014

crescent roll chicken pot pie recipe

I know a few weeks ago I said that Turkey Sausage Sweet Potato Chili was going to be my go-to recipe for this winter.  Well, it may have a little competition because I am in love with this Pillsbury Crescent Roll Chicken Pot Pie recipe.  

Here’s what happened.  I love chicken pot pie.  I love it with a traditional crust, I love it with a biscuit crust, I love it spooned over flaky biscuits.  Basically, I’ll take it any way I can get it.  While shopping for a weeks worth of groceries on Monday (if you ever wonder where to find me Monday morning, it is somewhere in the Target aisles checking my cartwheel for savings.  I’m economical like that) I ran across the ol’ buy 3 get one free on Pillsbury Crescent rolls.  Not wanting to pass up on savings I stocked up.  I also had a coupon for the Archer Farms brand of frozen butter nut squash. The wheels started turning.

This turned out incredible, thanks to the buttery goodness that is Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  Thankfully, I had the foresight to write down what I did.  That doesn’t always happen so recipes are often a little bit different each time I make them.

Pillsbury Crescent Roll Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Crescent Roll Chicken Pot Pie recipe

Crescent Roll Chicken Pot Pie recipe

Pillsbury Crescent Roll Chicken Pot Pie
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
48 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
48 min
  1. 1.5 - 2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  2. 1 -2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
  3. 1 package frozen butter nut squash
  4. 2 cups Yukon Gold (or red) potatoes, roughly chopped
  5. 1 can Cream of Onion soup
  6. 1 can Cream of Chicken & Mushroom soup
  7. 1 can chicken broth
  8. 2 Tbs. olive oil
  9. 2 Tbs. butter
  10. 1 Tbs. dry Herb de Provence mix
  11. salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl combine both cans of soup and can of chicken broth. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil, season chicken generously with salt and pepper and cook in skillet. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  4. Add butter. Saute butternut squash until al dente. Add potatoes and chicken. Season with Herb de Provence. Combine. Add soup mixture and combine well.
  5. Cover and transfer to the oven. If not using a oven safe skillet, transfer to a baking dish, cover with foil.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
  7. Remove from oven and remove cover. Roll out Crescent Rolls on top of chicken mixture. Return to oven and bake 18 minutes more or until Crescent Rolls are golden brown.
Hugs, Kisses and Snot

Mom of the year

November 5, 2014

Recently I was cleaning out Addison’s backpack.  A dangerous past time but it must be done.  He must have recently cleaned out his desk at school because it was full of papers.  I came across a poster size “All About Me” assignment that the teacher must have given earlier in the year.  You know the one…asking you to list your hobbies, pictures of your family, your pets, favorite games, etc.  A typical get-to-know-you exercise for elementary kids.  In the bubble asking to draw a family portrait this little beauty resides:

mom of the year

Hummmm…if ever I wondered what my 10 year old thought of our family, mystery solved.  Let’s break this down, shall we?

Harry is on the far left with sharp, pointy teeth.  See how he is kicking Addison’s chair?  It could not be more clear that little brother is viewed as an intrusive monster whose sole purpose is to bug the crap out of him.  

Next is Addison, sitting at the computer.  Blank, almost annoyed expression on his face.  As if to say, leave me alone, you all are crazy and annoying.  All I want to do is play Minecraft and watch videos about Minecraft.  I have no time for the rest of you.  I will call up on you when I need something…like food…or to complain about how unfair life is because of my lack of electronic devices.

Next up is yours truly.  I asked what I was holding up.  Homework.  So this is what I have been relegated to…the homework Nazi.  That about sums it up because that is what I feel like.  Out of all of my rolls; nutritious meals every single flipping night, whatever, he won’t eat it any way.  Volunteering at school, meh, any good mom would do that.  Story time at bed, yeah, I guess that is pretty good.  All of that and what it comes down to is evil, red eye, lipstick screaming, homework brandishing taskmaster. 

On the far right is Dear Husband who seems to be the only neutral party here.  Hanging out by himself with a happy, carefree grin on his face.  I would guess that Dear Husband partly agrees with this assessment. In the off broadway play that is our family drama he has often expressed that he feels like part of the supporting cast.  I try to tell Addison that without Daddy everything would fall apart (mosty because without him I would check myself in) but apparently I’m too busy frantically flipping through the multiplication flash cards to get the message across.

This is how he sees us.  I guess I would rather be the homework Nazi mom rather than the soft pushover mom.  So, yup, this about sums it up.

I’ll be sitting backstage awaiting my Mom of the Year award in case anybody needs me. 

Minted holiday card review

November 3, 2014

Recently I posted my favorite holiday card designs on  It was a very difficult decision but here is my pick…

holiday cards with minted



It was a tough decision because 1) we didn’t have our four legged family member with us when we took these family pics, so I had to make the choice to find a card that included a single photo of him or wait until next year.  Unfortunately, he didn’t make the cut.  Don’t tell him as I don’t want to hurt his furry little feelings.  For all he knows the entire card is all about him.  In fact, lets just let him believe that…the card is just him and I even wrote a family newsletter detailing his adoption and every grooming visit this past year.  2) all of the designs were super cute.  I’m really happy with my choice (although I probably would have been happy with any of the choices) and I was even more happy when they came in the mail just a few days after I placed the order.

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have this out of the way.  Usually I am a serial procrastinator and scrambling to get a family picture taken somewhere between Thanksgiving and the second candle of Advent.  The strain of getting everyone to look happy in “uncomfy” clothes and then paying for express shipping deepens the V in-between my eyebrows and puts me just one step closer to Botox.  There is something to be said for planning ahead and following through.  Check out my Minted holiday card review below.  See first hand how great these cards are.  

I’m going to go ahead and apologize for saying “think and creamy” more than once in this video.  


 Minted Holiday card review















October Recap

November 2, 2014

halloween hat

Halloween is vying for the top spot in my Favorite Holiday category.  When else could I wear this hat and it be perfectly okay?  

October was a really busy month for our house.  Come to think of it, every month feels like a really busy month for our house and we don’t even participate in youth sports.  I wonder if this young generation will look back on their childhood and “super busy” will be the dominant theme.  

Among other things this month was dominated by our school jog-a-thon, college football, fall break, Addison’s birthday, treats for class parties and of course, Halloween.

I’m happy to say that Pinterest actually served its purpose this month.  I had pinned these Oreo Brownies a while ago and when it was time to bring treats to the class party I pulled up the pin for inspiration.  I actually made something from Pinterest rather than just wasting time pinning things I probably won’t ever get to and feeling less than adequate because of all of the professional looking projects and photos.  I also made it point to keep it simple when it comes to treats this month.  Box birthday cake, box brownie mix, 2 ingredient pumpkin spice cookies, and easy party popcorn.  Clearly I’m not ashamed to make something from a mix.  As I’ve already said, I’m super busy so I don’t have time for the perfect Pinterest recipes unless they are stupid simple.

Oreo Brownies

One thing of note this month…I caught a glimpse of the future.  Normally, Addison wears his hair however it happens to look when he rolls out of bed.  He is not concerned with hair or clothes in the slightest.  For Halloween he wanted his hair styled to go with his costume so we applied the hair gel in mass quantities.  It looked pretty awesome, I must say.  While at the class party another mom pointed out how his styled hair made him look like a teenager.  I glanced across the room and sure enough, there was a tall, slender teen boy where a quirky 10 year old should be.  I had to cover my eyes because I saw what I wasn’t ready to see; my little boy growing up.  


Rather than wallow in the thought of lost boyhood I will push those thought aside for now.  I’m not ready to look forward to the future so I will focus on the present.  Fall is my favorite time of year as evidenced by the following…


pumpkin spice cookies



creeper pumpkin


vampire and zombie costumes

I’m looking forward to seeing what November has in store.  By they way, thank you to those who keep coming back to read and check in with what is going on in this little ol’ blog.  I truly appreciate it.



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