Our Olympic Celebration & Caramel Popcorn Recipe

We celebrated opening ceremonies by having our own Olympic games.  The girls had a BLAST – it was fun to see them “compete”!
Here they are – getting ready to run the “Rug Dash” babies in hand!  Winner was the best out of 3!

The girls competed in basketball, soccer, running, weight lifting and bean bear throwing.  Everyone won a gold medal, and their prize was caramel popcorn!  They LOVED it!  Have I mentioned it has been in the 100’s lately?  Yesterday it was 111.  I will cook anything as long as it requires the grill, crockpot or microwave.  So, I was looking for a quick and “oven-less” recipe for dessert, and stumbled across this microwave caramel popcorn recipe on Allrecipes.  It was amazing, so I wanted to share with you!  I changed the heating times just a little bit to avoid scorching!

Microwave Caramel Popcorn
recipe from allrecipes
Ingredients:
2-3 bags of popped popcorn
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
Directions:
Pop the popcorn, pick out the kernels, and place in a large brown paper bag.
In a 2 quart casserole dish (not smalled so it won’t bubble over and make a huge mess!), combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla.  Microwave for 2 1/2 minutes, take it out and stir.  Return to the microwave for 1 more minute.  Remove and stir in the baking soda.
Pour the mixture into the brown bag.  Roll the top down and shake!  Microwave the paper bag for 1 minute.  Remove, shake and microwave for one more minute.  Dump the popcorn onto wax paper and cool.  Enjoy your crunchy, caramel popcorn!
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Damask LOVE!

This weekend I got to use my new damask stencil.  We have been in our house for a year now and I  have been in a project “funk” since Christmas..it always seems so empty when you take the Christmas decor down!  With the high ceilings and textured walls, Landon and I have been dreading painting.  We decided it was time to get started making our home our own, and since Thursday we have painted our bathroom, bedroom accent wall, family room accent wall, an antique vanity and dining room wall.  Whew.  I am loving the changes and am excited to share how I did the damask print on the wall.
I have visited the stencil page numerous times, but just couldn’t commit to the price of buying a stencil.  I saw a picture on facebook of one of my friends’ sweet baby girl’s nursery.  When he told me where he got the stencil from, I knew I could commit seeing the results from someone I knew!  I ordered it from Cutting Edge Stencils and it was here within a few days!  It is very high quality, durable, washable and best of all REUSABLE!  They also have some great instructional videos on the site to help you with your project!
 All you need is some painter’s tape, a small foam roller and your choice of paint.  I went with a flat “antique” white from wal-mart – a whole gallon for only $10!  Can’t beat that!  The stencil overlaps itself so once I got the first block level and painted, it was super simple to keep going from there.  2 1/2 hours later my wall was completed, and I was SO happy with it.  It is the first room you see when you walk in our house, and it changed the whole look of the dining room!  

The “Gabrielle” stencil was the one I chose!

“Flora” Damask – my other favorite – I decided to go with the “cheaper” one as I was already pushing it!  
***use coupon LMB10 for 10% off***

brown sugar, pumpkin bars & zucchini muffins

Can you tell my tastebuds are ready for fall?!? I had a can of pumpkin that I used in a few shakes, and I incorporated the rest of it into our weekend desserts.  You can’t go wrong with Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Bars.  Early saturday morning I realized I was out of brown sugar….after I went to the store.  I quickly whipped up a batch of brown sugar – it is super simple!  All you need is sugar and molasses!  Click on each picture to take you to the fabulous recipes!

Idols…

This has been one of those weeks I would love to start again.  It. Was. ROUGH.  I ended yesterday frustrated, lonely, angry and exhausted.  My girls are SO sweet, but there was a lot of screaming, hitting, talking back, crying, DRAMA going on here as well.  We passed a stomach bug around which didn’t help with all the crazy emotions flying around this house.  I know what y’all are thinking right now – poor Landon.  I agree, but He was made to be a daddy of 3 girls.  He always has a great response, and always brings me back to reality on those hard days by telling me TRUTH.  
I have struggled a lot with loneliness this week….okay…to be honest, for the last couple years.  I have really been doing a lot of soul searching and praying this week on how to really get a grasp on it.  This morning while reading, I realized how much of an idol having close relationships had become in my life.  I am a giver and a people pleaser.  I will give to my family and give to my friends until I am so exhausted I can’t take care of myself.  I have been so emotionally and physically exhausted trying to accomplish all the tasks that I have MADE FOR MYSELF to fill that void in my heart.  The book I have been reading, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything” can put it better than I can:
“we think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case.  The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes.  Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the best things in life.  An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought…”
Wow.  I’m so thankful for a God that forgives me for putting what was important to me before HIM.  For pouring myself into other relationships instead of making my relationship with Him my first priority.  When I am only seeking for His love and acceptance, He will freely give that to me, and I will no longer need to look to others to fill that hole.
I have a LOT of work to do.  I can’t rewind this week, but I can start changing my heart right now.  
I just love sharing what God is teaching me – even if it reveals something ugly about myself if it can be an encouragement to someone else!
If you are looking for a book to read I highly recommend this one!  You can buy it here.

July Happenings

We had a great 4th of July with friends & family!
Brooke spent the night with her friend Nissi.  They both did great and had a blast thanks to Liz & Alfie.  
Lauren hasn’t left these sunglasses out of her sight for a week.  She went to bed with them one night, and woke up with them in her hands.  
Lily got a baby with her birthday money a couple weeks ago.  She LOVES her baby, but doesn’t want to sleep with her.  She wants to put her to bed at night, and asks for baby as soon as she wakes up in the morning.  I just love this crazy hair.  
All my girls before we go to cousin Addie’s Birthday party.  I just love how girly they look!