Weekend Project

So, I’ve been dreaming of remodeling and if that dream becomes a reality I want another table, a space for kid homework and projects other than our dining room table. And our current breakfast room/play room was a mess of kid stuff including a coffee table the girls had pretty much gotten all the life out of.

This past weekend we were cleaning out the garage and finding spots for the twin beds we are no longer using. One of the twin beds (that we bought off of craigslist) used pieces of speed limit signs as support under the mattress, and I realized the bigger piece would be perfect for a table. My husband liked the idea, but was a little shocked that I wanted to make it immediately. He chose to roll with it. 🙂

So we went to home depot bought some 2x4s, galvanized pipe, floor flanges, and screws and got to work. And I love it.

I love that the table we made is counter height so the adults can stand and help with projects, cooking, etc. without bending over and breaking their backs. I love that our messy table is in the back of the house instead of by the front door. I love that my dining room table is clean. I love that it is graphic. I love that we made it. 🙂

I think next weekend we will take the smaller piece of sign and turn it into a bench for the table. Check out our project below:

The materials - the sign is about 3 ft x 5 ft
The materials – the sign is about 3 ft x 5 ft
Scott made supports for under the sign and then screwed the floor flanges into the corners and then the 1 inch pipes screw into the floor flanges.
Scott made supports to reinforce the sign; then screwed the floor flanges into the corners; and then the 1 inch pipes screw into the floor flanges.
Tada! I found 4 stools at Target. Maggie needs a booster so a concordance is working for now. :)
Tada! I found 4 stools at Target. Maggie needs a booster so a concordance is working for now. 🙂
Enjoying some lunch
Enjoying some lunch
Next weekend project - turn this into a bench
Next weekend project – turn this into a bench

Summer Flowers

The flower beds were the first thing we tackled when we moved into our house last year. And now this year, we moved plants around, replaced plants that didn’t survive the winter, and plants we planted last year have really blossomed.

Black Eyed Susans
Front yard – Black Eyed Susans
Knockout Roses - lacking a few blooms
Front yard – Knockout Roses – lacking a few blooms
Shasta Daisies
Front yard – Shasta Daisies
Black Diamond Crape Myrtle - I purchased a red one. It had a few red blooms and is now covered in light pink blooms.
Front yard – Black Diamond Crape Myrtle – I purchased a red one. It had a few red blooms and is now covered in light pink blooms.
Hydrangea - I haven't killed them so I am happy about that. Maybe next year they will be covered in blooms.
Front yard – Hydrangea – I haven’t killed them so I am happy about that. Maybe next year they will be covered in blooms.
Front yard - Red and orange lantana
Front yard – Red and orange lantana
Back yard - The one yellow lantana bloom the bunnies haven't eaten.
Back yard – The one, tiny yellow lantana bloom the bunnies haven’t eaten.
Back yard - Autumn Sage which attracted a hummingbird
Back yard – Autumn Sage which attracted a hummingbird
Back yard - Blue Salvia
Back yard – Blue Salvia
Back yard - Red Mexican Yucca - only one of these bloomed; maybe next year both will.
Back yard – Red Mexican Yucca – only one of these bloomed; maybe next year both will.
Back yard - Mint, thyme, parsley, and basil in pots and one pink geranium
Back yard – Mint, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and basil in pots and one pink geranium


I ran across this article on Facebook: Modesty: I Don’t Think it Means What You Think it Means. And while I encourage you to read the article for yourself, this excerpt triggered some memories.

“While popular culture tends to disempower women by telling them they must dress to get men to look at them, the modesty culture tends to disempower women by telling them they must dress to keep men from looking at them. In both cases, the impetus is placed on the woman to accommodate her clothing or her body to the (varied and culturally relative) expectations of men. In both cases, it becomes the woman’s job to manage the sexual desires of men, and thus it is seen as her fault if a man ignores her on the one hand or objectifies her on the other. Often, these two cultures combine to send out a pulse of confusing messages: “Look cute … but not too cute! Be modest … but not frumpy! Make yourself attractive … but not too attractive!” Women are left feeling ashamed of their bodies as they try desperately to contort around a bunch of vague, ever-changing ideals. It’s exhausting, really, dressing for other people.” Rachel Held Evans

I have felt that struggle of dressing for other people and feeling guilty and ashamed while at the same time feeling like I didn’t do anything wrong. And I didn’t…

The summer before my senior year of college, I signed up to be a summer missionary. Overall, it was a great experience, and even though it was 12 years ago, there is still one memory that I don’t speak of often. During the week of VBS, the senior pastor and associate pastor were out of town and another male member of the staff was left in charge. And two separate times that staff member spoke to me inappropriately and if you must know, I was wearing a baggy VBS t-shirt and shorts or jeans.

When the senior pastor and associate pastor returned, I told them what had happened and then a whirlwind of drama ensued. The director of the missionary organization came to meet with us, we were given the weekend off, our parents were allowed to visit, and the staff member was let go. And I was left with a hand written statement to use as necessary and all these unresolved feelings.

I had befriended some other college students working at the church, and they invited me to the college group gathering and I went. I remember the house we met in. I remember being overcome with emotion and stepping outside, I remember a kind lady sitting with me and praying with me and telling me that it wasn’t my fault. And then I think I shoved everything down and finished my missionary assignment.

Life went on, I graduated college; I got married to man who does value and respect me; I have two children; I post pictures of my outfits on this blog; I’ve moved past it.

But then, I read articles like the one mentioned above on modesty and it all comes flooding back; or I volunteer at VBS at my church and flash back to that VBS 12 years ago; or I hear a story about an inappropriate thing a man did to a woman that I am supposed to laugh at. And it reminds me that that hurt is still with me. That it breaks my heart that men still behave badly towards women and laugh at it.

And it astounds me that people want to focus on how a woman dresses. I am no expert, but in my experience that didn’t matter. My baggy, high neck t-shirt didn’t save me.

“The truth is, a man can choose to objectify a woman whether she’s wearing a bikini or a burqa. We don’t stop lust by covering up the female form; we stop lust by teaching men to treat women as human beings worthy of respect.” Rachel Held Evans

Please read her article. It’s worth your time.




“…because I am a girl.” What can you do because you’re a girl? What can I do? What can my daughters do?

I agree that saying “like a girl” has become derogatory, and I can’t say that anyone has ever said that exact phrase to me but I have felt those limitations. I don’t think any institution (family, church, school) is free from stereotypes (and the same could be said for boys – some of my brothers have run up against stereotypes).

I hope and pray that my husband and I can successfully help our daughters navigate the bombardment of perceptions, opinions, and ideas they encounter and measure them against who God says they are and who God has called them to be as girls.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday. I celebrated by wearing sparkly clothes and having a nice lunch with my husband and plenty of treats. 🙂

If you can’t wear sequins on your birthday, then when can you? A silk sleeveless shirt, sequin skirt, and black strappy wedges are what I chose for lunch at Hattie’s.
At Hattie’s, I started with sweet potato coconut soup garnished with cilantro. It was delicious – sweet and spicy.
For my entree I chose low country strip and grits cake. That’s goat cheese on top and again it was delicious.
Then we chose desert because you can have more than one desert on your birthday. At least I think so, and this key lime tart was delicious. Reminded me of one my younger brother made. I’m going to have to get him to do that again.
After lunch we walked to Dude Sweet Chocolate. I’ve had their chocolate, but I had no idea they made tequila and bourbon flavored chocolate sauces. So I had to try them. They suggested putting it on ice cream or in coffee or baking cakes and cookies with it. Sounds like more deserts are in my future!
One of Scott’s co-workers made me this lovely chocolate cake.
And Elise got me some presents.
My presents were all found objects in the house or made by Elise, so sweet. She gave me my Kindle, a hand written note, a coin purse with coins from Scott’s bedside table, hershey kisses from our candy bowl, her box of fashion drawings, and a necklace made out of ribbon and feathers.

Yummy Pork Recipes

About two months ago, pork shoulder was buy one get one free. I only needed 2 lbs, but it was buy one get one free! So I ended up with two 9 lb pork shoulders making a total of 18 lbs of meat. I cut one in half; cooked half, froze half, and froze a whole one. So finally in the month of May, I was able to use my 13 lbs of frozen pork shoulder.

First we took dinner to friends who had a new baby (now 3 months old, so I was a little late). I made Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork with 4 lbs of pork that we used for tacos as suggested in the recipe. It’s a Pioneer Woman recipe so it was delicious. And I got to use a crockpot which makes me happy.

Then on Memorial Day we invited friends over and I made Crock Pot Cuban Nachos from the Iowa Girl Eats blog. They were a huge hit. I was a little skeptical of nachos with pickles and ham on them, but it was amazing. I recommend it. I did not make my own corn tortilla chips and we did not buy the light laughing cow cheese – nothing against light, we just forgot. And when you get tired of pork nachos (because you cooked 9 lbs of meat) just sauté some onion and scramble some eggs with the left over pork and you have delicious breakfast tacos.

Cuban Pork Nachos – tortilla chips, cuban shredded pork, diced ham, chopped pickles, chopped red onion, Laughing Cow swiss cheese sauce, and cilantro

Mother’s Day Weekend

Mother’s day weekend started off with some fashion time courtesy of Mag. She brought many hair bows and bracelets to the softball game.
Having some fun at Chik-Fil-A
Family trip to the nursery to get some plants
We planted two red mexican yuccas last year and one bloomed this year, so pretty.
After church on Sunday, we headed to lunch in Ft. Worth. Elise was sunning herself, silly girl.
Me and the girls at lunch
It was also Maggie’s birthday, so we let the girls order a scoop of ice-cream. And well, you see what they brought them.
My girls after lunch
At the baseball game, where TCU beat OU. It was fun and hot.
Family photo at the game



Throwback Thursday

Who doesn’t love some college photos? Just a little background, Scott and I dated twice; first in 2000 and then again in 2002. The second time stuck. 🙂

This is from the fall of 2000 at the Travis Avenue Baptist Church college retreat. I’m pretty sure my sweet glasses are what won Scott over. He was a freshmen and I a sophomore.
This is also from 2000; hanging out at a friends apartment by TCU.
After over a year break, we started dating again in the fall of 2002, my senior year of college. This picture was taken in my infamous termite infested room in the apartment I shared with friends senior year.
I stood on the couch to demonstrate the height difference – don’t you know Scott loved that, haha! Notice I lost the glasses; good move. 🙂

Heartstories Summit

Heartstories necklace and My Refuge House bracelet

HeartStories was founded last year by Crystal Gornto. I met Crystal through mutual friends right after I graduated college. My husband’s college friends knew her husband. They met a very different Annie than I am now, but we all grow up. 🙂

HeartStories‘s Mission:

At HeartStories we believe we can replace the noise by sharing our stories and getting honest about the things we all struggle with. In doing so, we free ourselves to begin writing truer stories and leading better lives. But our mission doesn’t stop there.

When you log in to the HeartStories app, your daily engagement translates into sponsor dollars that go to support organizations committed to ending human trafficking. By joining the HeartStories community, you become part of a bigger story changing lives around the world.

And HeartStories has this pledge:

I will consistently show up and allow you to see the real me

I will remind you of the truth about who you really are

I will practice compassion with myself and with you

I will celebrate your joys and be present in your pain

I will allow you to do the same for me

I will practice gratitude for the gifts in my life and highlight the gifts in yours

I was glad to volunteer my time to help at HeartStories‘s first event the HeartStories Summit. It was a busy and full day with lots of fun sprinkled in. I heard snippets of some of the speakers like Shasta Nelson and Lisa Firestone. Both have books that would be worth checking out. Shasta Nelson’s book is Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriendsLisa Firestone co-authored the book Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice: A Revolutionary Program to Counter Negative Thoughts and Live Free from Imagined Limitations.

You can check out Heartstories at http://heartstories.com and follow them on Facebook. I am excited to see what they do next!