Cake Box Cookies

Hello again!

I hope all of you have enjoyed the “return” of the blog!  I’m having a lot of fun finding new projects to do around the house.  I’m hoping that I can keep it up!  I bought a binder the other day so I could organize all my ideas!  It was starting to get hard just sifting through pieces of paper =)

This past weekend, we were invited to a friend’s house for dinner and was told (if I wanted) I could bring dessert.  I had some amazing recipes I wanted to try, but needed to get to the store. Of course, it didn’t work out.  The Weasel (my daughter) decided she needed to take a nap…in our bed…with me of course!  And she didn’t wake up until it was too late to make any of my awesome ideas.  So…what to do…what to do…  I looked in our pantry.  I had NOTHING!!!  But wait…what was this?  A box of cake mix?  I had an idea!!!  Cake box cookies…so easy and quick!!!!

Cake Box Cookies
1 box of any cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup of oil
1 cup of added deliciousness (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together.  Roll into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake for 7-9 min.  Edges will be slighted brown or look done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good thing about these cookies…you can use any kind of cake mix and add-in all sorts of yummies!  For this batch, I used Confetti Cake mix and added chocolate chips.  Delicious!  I’ve made chocolate with Andes mint bites.  Strawberry with chocolate chips. Red Velvet with white chocolate chips.  The possibilities are endless!

 

 

Happy eating!

Very Pinteresting…

I know, I know…you’ve missed me =)

I’m super excited to start blogging again, and I’m taking “Domestically Challenged” in a slightly different direction.  If you haven’t heard about Pinterest yet, you need to check it out!  It’s an amazing site where people share all sorts of ideas for really…anything!  I’ve found all kinds of inspiration for inexpensive ideas to decorate my house or DIY gifts for friends.

I’ve been looking for an inexpensive way to spice up our master bedroom.  I found one idea I couldn’t wait to get started on.  All it required was a couple of artist canvases, some fabric, and a staple gun.  All you have to do is cover a variety of different-size artist’s canvases, stapling fabric in place on the backs.  I found my supplies at JoAnn’s.  The canvases were 50% off and their fabric is usually on sale.

Here’s what it looked like when I got done:

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Needless to say, I’m pretty pleased!  Super easy, super inexpensive, and super cute!  I would like to try different patterns in other areas of the house.

Don’t worry…I’ll be adding more ideas as I do them!

Your domestic goddess in training,
Jessica

PS: If you’d like to have an invite to Pinterest, let me know and I’ll hook you up!

Hello old friend!

Time and time again, things have come in and out of my mind and I think…I should write about this.  But do you think I do?  Of course not!  But I’m determined to at least update once a month.  Of course there will be several postings to get us updated.  So…here goes!

March:
Our little munchkin turned 13 months old!!!  She is such a bundle of energy and joy!  It’s getting harder and harder to capture her in pictures because she’s moving so fast!

March Madness ensued onto the Smith house!  Our hometown team, Vanderbilt, had made it into the tournament!  So of course we had to dress to cheer them on!!! (even if they did lose in the first round 😦 )

March ended with a HUGE family event…my brother’s wedding!!!  We flew out to Nebraska for the nuptials.  My brother is in the United States Navy and I’m super proud of him!!!!! 

Aren’t they so cute?!?!?!

 Our angel was the flower girl and she actually walked down the aisle!!!  We also had fun hanging out with my family.  We hung out at my parent’s house most days, but we did get out to my grandparent’s hotel to swim a little bit!  It was a great time had by all!

My how the year has flown!

Wow!  I can’t believe how much our lives have changed over the past couple years.  Let me start off with a recap… Fair warning: It’s kind of a long one!

May 2009: My husband and I are on a tour of Europe.  It’s something we always wanted to do especially before we had kids.  So we saved up our money for almost a year, found a great intro to Europe trip, and went on an adventure of a lifetime!  We had such a great trip!  We met new friends (who currently live in Australia) and experienced culture…and food…that was amazing!  Our trip ended in Paris and we were given our last day to do whatever we wanted.  I know what I wanted to do…shop! =)  I woke up before Tim (which is strange) and didn’t feel quite right.  I don’t know what prompted me to even take a pregnancy test, but I did anyway.  There I was…sitting alone in a Parisian bathroom (which really is small) waiting to see what would happen.  And then…two lines!  I couldn’t believe it!  Shocked I ran and jumped onto the bed waking my husband up.  We just sat there for a while, then decided to make the most of it.

We also visited Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart)
A cathedral in Paris that Tim and I visited the night we found out we were pregnant.  We lit three candles at the alter.  One for the new mom, one for the new dad, and one for baby.  We prayed for our new addition and it was such an amazing moment for us.

February 8, 2010: The night before Camille was born, we were just sitting at home watching the Colts not play football. Anyway, we went to bed and all night I was cramping slightly. I didn’t think I was in labor because I had had cramps before. These latest ones happened all night causing me not to sleep well, so I decided to call off work. About seven in the morning, they started getting a bit worse so we called the doctor. She told us to go ahead and come on in. So we did…after we took showers of course! On the way to the doctor, the “cramps” starting getting worse and I could tell they were contractions.

We got to the doctor’s office at around eight thirty. She checked me and was amazed to find that I was already 5 cm and 100 percent! She told us we needed to get admitted to the hospital asap. So after being offered a wheelchair, I opted to walk. I don’t know what I was thinking?!?!?! I had four contractions on the way to admitting. By the time we got there, we had to wait because there were people in front of us. After contracting several more times while waiting, I started to cry because they were so bad. With me crying in the lobby, the nurses quickly went to work. I got into a room and they immediately called for an anesthesiologist. Once the epidural was in, life was much better!

We waited around for a bit and were checked again. I was at 6 cm so the doctor said I’d probably increase a cm an hour. Almost right after the doctor left, I started getting a really sharp pain in the right side of my uterus. It was getting worse with every contraction so I called the nurse in. In the last thirty min, I had gone from 6 cm to 9 cm! They couldn’t believe it! But it also turned out I had a “hot spot”. This is where a certain part of the body is not getting the drugs from the epidural… um very painful!!!!! Our only options were to either have a semi-natural birth or another epidural. I chose to have another epidural. Another man came in and redid my epidural…several min later…life was better again!

The time came to push…here we go! We tried to push for a hour and a half. Camille just wouldn’t turn and come down. She was stuck on my pelvic bone. Our option: C-section.  This was not what we had in mind. I was very nervous…We were taken back, prepped, and well…cut open 🙂 Within thirty min, our little one was born.

We are so very blessed to have Camille in our lives and so thankful that the Lord was with us every step of the way. On a snowy night in Nashville, Camille McAllister Smith entered the world at 7lbs, 7oz…and in an instant our life changed for the better. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 2011: I have a one year old!  It’s just crazy!  This past year, our daughter has taught us many things, but I know our journey is far from over.  If the rest of our lives with our daughter are anything like this first one…I am SO looking forward to it!  She is our light and our joy and we coudn’t be happier.  Happy birthday my sweet angel!

Omi and Ogo

Every time the first grandbaby is on the way, the future grandparents decide what they are going to be called.  So starts a series of conversations on which ones are “too old sounding” or “not me.”  This is what my parents did during my sister’s first pregnancy.  My dad starting  joking around about how the baby should call him “Oh Great One.”  Now if you know my dad, this does not come as a surprise! =)  My sister and I jokingly said, “Oh, and they can call you Ogo for short?”  May I remind you that we said that JOKINGLY!  But he wrote back saying he loved it!!!!!  My sister and I were shocked!  How can we expect our children to call him that?!?!?!  Then my mom joined in saying she needed something cool too.  We talked and talked about what could possibly go with Ogo…then she found it.  My mom is German so as she was looking up names; she found what she was looking for…Omi.  Omi is German for “Grandma” so it work out great!  So now, we have Omi and Ogo and we love them!!!!

Unfortunately, Omi and Ogo live in Nebraska so they don’t get to visit us as much as we all would like so the time we do get to spend together is very very precious.  Omi was able to visit when Camille was two weeks old and it was love at first sight.  Ogo and Omi came out for a week this past summer to spend some more time with us…well mainly Camille =)  We were able to see them this past Thanksgiving and will be able to see them for my brother’s wedding this March. 

This past week, Ogo came to visit!  He works for York College in York, Nebraska.  He travels all over talking with alumni about what’s going on at York. There were some alumni here in our city and he got to come out here to visit with them.  The choir was also performing close to us, so he was able to see them as well.  He was able to stay a couple of nights and spent some time with Camille.  We were lucky to catch a bit of it on tape…

 

 If you can’t see the video, please try http://www.flickr.com/photos/smittyandjessie/5338010616/

Year in Review

Since I haven’t updated on “family life” since September, I figured I’d give a quick summary of October-December!  Here we go!

October:
Unfortunately, the month didn’t start off very good.  Camille came down with a nasty stomach flu.  It hit her pretty hard.  We ended up having to take her to the hospital for dehydration and thank God that was all!  She recovered quickly after getting some fluids in her, but I can honestly say I never want to have to go through that again.

But on a more joyous note: we celebrated Camille’s first Fall season and Halloween!  We took her to a pumpkin patch, fall festival, and trick-or-treating!  She made not have known what was going on, but we had fun! 🙂

November:
Camille turned nine months in November!  Wow!  The wonderful Libby Barker Photography took her pictures and they turned out wonderfully!  Libby has taken our pictures since pregnancy.  I highly recommend her!  We love you Libby!

We also celebrated another milestone…Camille’s first airplane ride!  We traveled to New Mexico to stay at my sister’s house.  My side of the family all met there to celebrate what we’ve called “Thanksmas.”  We celebrate Christmas every other year with my family…the years we don’t, we get together at Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, she got sick before we left (104 fever!), so for most of the trip, we were dealing with her, but it was good to see my family!

December:
December proved to be a very busy month for our family!  Between Christmas shopping, parties, and family…it seemed that December just flew by!  We tried the Santa picture…did not go well!  But we got the classic crying baby with Santa picture!  It was also Camille’s first Christmas and she saw snow!  A Christmas miracle!  New Year’s was spent with our favorite people…our small group.  What a wonderful way to end 2010…Here’s to 2011!

New Year New Goals

I’ve fallen off the tracks and that is not okay.  It has been too long since I’ve written something and it makes me sad.  So many times I have thought of things I want to write about and I don’t.  That is going to change.  The premise of this blog will remain the same, but I will write more about my journey as a wife and mother.  I hope you will still enjoy it!

New Year’s Day brings about all sorts of resolutions in people.  I think it’s always a good idea to do this, and my husband and I do…just a little different.  Every year, we  sit down and write down our goals.  These aren’t just any goals.  There are several different categories that we use to help us think over what we want from our life in the next year.  The categories include career, family, financial, intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual.  It may seem like a lot, but it challenges us to think about all the different aspects of our life and see how we want to improve it and us.  I always enjoy doing this every year.  This year, we’ve decided to hang our goals up in our bedroom so we will be sure to see what we want to accomplish this year.

~ One of my career goals is to keep up with this blog.  Now you may not think of this as a career, but I disagree.  My career is being a wife and mother and this blog is about that adventure.  An adventure that I love.  An adventure that I’m learning more and more from every day and I love it!  Why not share it?
~ One of my physical goals is to lose the rest of my baby weight (and more) =)
~ One of my spiritual goals is to find a bible I love and to be more in the Word
~ One of my family goals is to be more domestic (yes, still) =)

Why do I share these examples with you?  To keep me accountable!  There are obviously more and these are just a few I felt like sharing.  I encourage you to do the same thing.  Make a list with the categories listed above and think about what you want for your life.  You don’t have to fill out every category, but at least try! =)

It’s a new year and I’m a new (and rejuvenated) person!

Here’s to living out your goals!
Here’s to 2011!

Just a few pictures from the past couple months.  Hope they bring a smile to your face!

The Contributor

Tonight, while on the way to get some dinner, we passed a homeless man near our McDonald’s parking lot.  He was in a wheelchair.  He was dressed in dirty clothes.  And many people were passing him by on their way to get dinner.  My husband was in the back seat with our daughter and a conversation started up, “What do we do?”

Let me rewind a little bit to share my former perspective on this issue.
Homelessness scared me.  I got nervous when I saw people sleeping on the streets and I am ashamed to admit it  Maybe others struggle with those feelings too, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.  I always felt guilty when I would pass people on the streets without helping them.  But I’ve learned and grown a lot after dealing with this issue for several years.  The turning point came when a woman came to our church to talk about a ministry she started called, The Contributor.  This ministry distributes a “street newspaper.”  As their website states,  “Street Newspaper is a term for a newspaper that focuses on the issues surrounding homelessness and poverty and is sold by homeless and formerly homeless individuals on the street as an alternative to panhandling.”  When she finished talking about and showing pictures of her ministry, my heart slowly began to change.  I knew this was for me.  Knowing this ministry existed was so exciting for me.  I decided I’d take action that day.  Since then, I have kept some cash in my car for whenever I see one of these vendors.  I have vowed that (whenever possible) I will always stop and buy a newspaper from a vendor.  These men and women are working hard selling newspapers to make their lives (and their families lives) better.  And to me…that is admirable.

Fast forward to tonight and back to my story…
As my husband and I passed this man on our way to get dinner, we noticed he was selling The Contributor and my mind was made up.  I knew I would pass him again on our way home so I immediately asked my husband to get out some of my money.  We pulled into the parking lot and I got out.  The man started to smile (which still brings tears to my eyes as I’m writing this.)  His first question, “Are you the girl who is training for the roller derby?”  Now, for those of you who know me, this might bring you a small laugh 🙂  I laughed and said, “No, you must be mistaking me for someone else.  Maybe I was a roller derby girl in another life.”  This brought a laugh from him and sparked about a five-minute conversation.  He was one of the nicest people I have ever met and I probably would’ve stayed and talked with him for much longer.  On my way back to the car, newspaper in hand, he called out, “God Bless!”  To which I replied, “God bless you too!”

I know that this one small thing has changed my life and perspective and I pray that it helps my daughter see one small way she can help others and serve the Lord. 

1 Corinthians 4:11 (New International Version)
11To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.

Matthew 25:37-40 (The Message)
 37-40“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

Creativity Calling!

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been bugging my husband to let me paint the house.  He repeatedly said no (which I’m now secretly glad he did), but I couldn’t figure out why I still had this urge to paint.  It’s not that I hate the colors in our house or anything.  But I figured it out…I was feeling the need to be creative.  Now, before you laugh, let me explain.  Being in school since I was five and then teaching for the past five years, I have had my fair share of creative outlets (lesson plans, bulletin boards, etc.)  I am now realizing that I have a need to be creative and since I have been a stay-at-home mom now for seven months; I haven’t used my creativity to its fullest.  Therefore, the need to paint.  So, I started thinking of other ways to fulfill my creative need.

One of my friends was having her baby shower, so I decided to try something new.  I had seen a picture of something similar on a friend’s Facebook page and realized I could do it too!  So I set out to JoAnn’s (which I LOVE) and found all my supplies.  I sat down at the table and got to work.  It felt so good to create something again! I worked for a couple of hours and was pretty pleased with the end result.

After making the basket, I thought about other things I want to do.  I’m going to do the same thing to my daughter’s name letters that are up in her room.  Right now, they’re just plain white and I’m hoping to liven them up a bit.  I’m also going to start scrapbooking.  I think this is a great way to express creativity.  I’m going to start with making a baby book for my daughter.  I already have one that you just fill in the blanks, but I want to make her a personal one…one that I’ve taken time to make.  After I get caught up on her baby book, I think I’m going to attempt to make a scrapbook of the European Adventure that we had before our daughter was born, then one of the two of us before kids.  I figure our kids are going to need to know that we were cool “back in the day”! 🙂

Anyway, I’m super excited about the upcoming craft-making that will be going on soon in my house and just wanted to share.  I think I see a scrapbooking and wine party in my future…anyone else? 🙂

Stratton’s, Swimming, and Sweet Tea

Many great memories have been made this past month, so I thought I’d share a few with you…

1) For those of you not from around here, Stratton’s is a restaurant that has been open in Ashland City, TN for the past 40+ years.  The owners have decided to close their doors at the end of the month, but many great memories have been made there.  When my husband’s grandparents died in 2003 and 2006, Stratton’s was right across from the funeral home so after each funeral that’s where the family met up and reminisced about the years spent with Granny and Gramps.  So in honor of those memories, the Smith clan packed up and headed out to Ashland City to eat with Grandma, PeePaw, Aunt Katie, Uncle Chad, and cousin Anna.

 

2) I have worked with our church’s youth group since 2002.  When my husband and I met in 2005, he joined me and we’ve been volunteering ever since.  Our first group are already juniors in college and our second group are now juniors in high school.  To kick off the summer, our group of junior had a pool party and cook out.  The host’s house had a very nice swimming pool so we decided to see if our daughter enjoyed swimming.  Turns out…she loves it!!!!  She had such a good time and so did we!

3) This past Saturday, the family decided to head on out to Thompson’s Station, TN for the Sweet Tea Festival.  We’d never been before and it was free, so we decided to try it out!  The festival is located on a beautiful plantation of the Homestead Manor.  It’s the sight of the Civil War’s Battle of Thompson’s Station.
It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking around, sampling sweet tea, drinking lemonade, and taking pictures.  There was a cornhole tournament which my husband swears he’s going to enter next year.  He says he’s going to enlist my dad and win it all. 🙂  There were old cars on display, places for children to play, arts and crafts tents, and plenty of shade provided by huge magnolia trees.  Needless to say, it was a super fun day with the family and we will definitely be going back next year.