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Some Monday Randoms

*I cannot believe we are only 2 days away from Christmas. How did this happen? We have been busy this holiday season but not too busy to actually enjoy it, which is a nice change from years past. I love coming down the stairs throughout the day and seeing the Christmas tree and my Christmas village all lit up. It makes me smile and that’s a big deal for me because, as my regular readers already know, I usually battle some serious depression issues during the fall/winter months. Matt and I have had some of the best nights just sitting around with a glass of wine watching our favorite Christmas movies after the kids go to bed. It’s been a season full of bone deep contentment for me- and I’m grateful.

 

 

 

*I’m working on my 2014 resolutions already. I actually managed to do most of my 2013 ones so now I feel pressure to pick things that I will really accomplish in 2014. Being an overachiever sucks sometimes. I’m not sure what I want to accomplish though. I feel pretty great with where our life is right now and I’m happy. So what would I want to change? I’m still debating.

 

*A couple of weeks ago, I got to spend Saturday evening babysitting my adorable nephew. He is just so sweet and so cute. He’s a little over a year younger than Zoey but spending the evening with him really hit home that I don’t have any babies or toddlers anymore. My kids are big now. It was sad in a bittersweet nostalgic kind of way. We are 100% absolutely positively done having kids and I’m fine with that decision. But snuggling a sleepy, cuddly, toddler did give me a little pain in my heart. 

 

 

 

* Today is the first day of the big kids winter break. I am so ready for it. I’m ready for 2 weeks of no schedules, no rushing around to pick kids up and drop kids off, no homework to worry about…I am so ready. Even though it means 2 weeks of having all 5 kids in the house, probably fighting over the television and xbox, I am still so ready. We’ll see if I’m singing the same tune on January 5th. I may be in the padded room by then. 

 

*I went to Wal*Mart last Friday to do 2 weeks worth of groceries in one trip so I don’t have to go back until the new year. I was twitching and foaming at the mouth by the time I left. Do you know how much food it takes to feed all of us for 2 weeks? I was in Wal*Mart for 3 hours, spent almost $500, and had 2 carts full to the top with food. Also- it took another 3 hours for my eye to stop twitching when I got home. 

 

 

 

*Posts around here may be slightly sporadic around here for the next couple of weeks while I spend time with family and friends for the holiday. But rest assured- come January I will be back in full force with some new stuff. I can’t believe it’s about to be 2014. I’ll be posting regular pics on Instagram if you’re following along. 

 

*Do you know what you would do if you had to change careers unexpectedly? Find out what my brother-in-law did HERE

 

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The Humiliating Sports Moments Of My Youth

I love sports. This is not news, right? I love all sports and I always have. Matt and I encourage our kids to try all kinds of sports and activities in life so they can find the things they really have passion for. Just as my mom did for me as a child. She always told us to try new things and give them a chance. So I did. 

 

Sometimes with disastrous results….and unfortunately for me my mom is neither senile nor shy so she takes great pleasure in recounting these mishaps to my kids. She even has some pictures to really give the kids a visual of some of my mortifying childhood moments. And there were many of them. And unfortunately most did not occur until my teen years. People ask me now why I am never embarrassed to share some of the things I share on this blog…like the time I hurled on the mailman, or the time I flashed the mailman, or when I peed myself in Target. Well, like I tell them, I used up my lifetime quota of humiliation before I hit the age of 18 so nothing can possibly bother me now. 

 

We spent the weekend with my parents not long ago and my mom spent the whole time sharing stories of my embarrassing endeavors with my kids. In retrospect some of the stories are hilarious, although they sure didn’t seem like it at the time. You know how much I like to share my humiliation with y’all so today I thought I’d give you a glimpse into the mortification that was my youth. Enjoy.

 

 

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Putt-Putt Golf: Sounds like a simple enough fun activity, right? A rite of childhood, if you will. That might be true but it didn’t end well for me. A friend had a huge party one weekend while her parents were out of town. It was going fine until someone spiked the punch. Now, as I mentioned before, I was a soccer player and therefore subject to random substance abuse tests which means I was not a drinker. And I drank a lot of punch that day, y’all. What happened next was not pretty. Somehow we ended up at a local putt-putt park. After hours. I think we jumped the fence, I don’t remember. I was almost knocked unconscious by the stupid windmill on the last hole. In my defense, a friend dared my inebriated self to climb the windmill. Clearly, not my fault. I woke up the next day with a massive hangover and a bruise the size of Iowa on my face. I had a hard time explaining both.

 

Cross Country: We used to run cross country to get in shape for soccer season but I hated it. I am not a runner for the sake of running. Put a soccer ball in front of me and I can run for miles. But just running to run…not so much. I get bored and then I get distracted. I was halfway through a course, running with a small group of team mates, when I got distracted by something out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t see the tree root in the ground until I tripped over it, fell down the hill, and landed in a lake. I had to walk all the way back soaking wet and limping because I lost a shoe. Seriously.

 

Bowling: I’ve never seen the appeal of bowling. I just don’t think it’s fun. But I got talked into it a few times as a teen and it never ended well. I was always in last place and almost all of my turns ended in gutter balls. I’ve only ever had one strike and I was super excited. Too bad it wasn’t in my own lane. But I’m totally counting it. 

 

Track: I’m still not sure how I got talked into trying out for track. Again, not a runner. But one of the coaches was a hottie and he needed someone to do hurdles. I knew it was a mistake but I did it anyway. Have you ever seen the horses who shy away from the jump at the last second and screech to a halt inches before the rail? Guess what? Humans can do that too but stopping that quickly isn’t as easy as it looks. You know what else? Hurdles hurt when they hit you in the stomach and flip you over head first. 

 

Golf: Based on my experience during putt putt golf, I’m sure you can imagine how badly real golf turned out for me. No need to recount the entire humiliating experience but I will tell you that those golf carts are super sensitive sometimes. And also, just as an FYI- those really serious guys on the golf course don’t like it when you run them over with a golf cart. They get very snippy when their cardigans come untied around their necks. 

 

Powder Puff Football: I love football as y’all know. So when our school had the annual powder puff football tournament I was all in. Unfortunately nobody told me it was flag football, not tackle football. I took out a cheerleader. It was ugly.

 

I wish those were all my moments but that’s just a small sample. I didn’t even tell you about the time I was in a three-legged race that ended in an emergency room visit and a partner with a broken leg. I swear I didn’t see the tree, I really didn’t. 

 

Matt says I’m special. Clearly he means gifted.

 

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Creating Life Satisfaction Through A Career Change

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 It took my husband Matt a long time to decide what he wanted to do in life. He was not one of those people who go into college with an absolute career path already laid out in front of him. He changed his major at least 5 times and took as many elective classes as he could fit into his schedule. He graduated  over 14 years ago with a degree that was intended to be a stepping stone to law school.

 

Then life happened and law school got put on hold while we figured out how to be parents to a severely neglected 4 week old baby entrusted to our care.  Matt took a job driving a delivery van for a florist. It wasn’t his life’s passion but it paid the bills. He worked for an incredibly amazing man who we now consider family, and he had regular set hours of work which was important as I was also working full time in a demanding career.   

 

After a couple of years at his job, Matt began to want more. He wanted to feel passion in a career but he knew that he did not want to continue on to law school as he had originally planned. He also knew that he was not going to be able to find his dream job with the degree that he already had so he began researching going back to college for a second degree. By this time we had added a couple more children to our family and I was staying at home to raise our family. It was the perfect time for Matt to decide where his passion was and to follow it to a new career path.    He enrolled in college in an accelerated business program and threw himself into his courses. He studied night and day for 2 years to obtain his degree while also working a full time job. Matt knew that the business degree he was working so hard for was the key to a better life for our family and also essential for his own fulfillment in life. He didn’t want to be one of those people who trudge off to work every day to a job he hates just to pay the bills. He wanted to have passion for what he was doing and he wanted to look forward to new challenges in his career. The day Matt graduated was one of the best days. Our family came from near and far to celebrate his achievement and success. One of the best parts for me personally was seeing our oldest son, who was not quite 4 yet, watching his dad with pride.   

 

 

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Matt was fortunate enough to be offered an amazing job right after he graduated. It required us relocating a few hours away and starting a new life but that was a small price to pay for the opportunity to watch Matt find his passion.  Nine years later and he is still with the same company. He’s been promoted several times and has landed in a position where he can see himself staying for a very long time. I can see the passion in his face and hear it in his voice when he talks about his day and, as a wife, I know that career satisfaction helps translate into life satisfaction. Matt is so much happier now that he has found his passion and he looks forward to the challenges that come with his job. 

 

Whether you’re seeking further success in your current role or a new opportunity, Kaplan University can help you prepare for the exciting possibilities ahead.*

 

As an accredited university built on more than 75 years of experience,† Kaplan University offers a wide range of career-focused programs designed to develop the skills and knowledge leading employers seek. Our focus: to offer you the most direct educational path to achieve your goals.

 

Are you ready for a change?  Learn more at kaplanuniversity.edu

 

* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.

 

† Kaplan University is regionally accredited. Please visit http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/about/accreditation-licensing.aspx# for additional information about institutional and programmatic accreditation.

 

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Chicken Salsa Nacho Scoops

A couple of months ago I was desperate to find some new dinner recipes that were quick to prepare and yummy enough to entice the kids to actually eat. We were all getting tired of my tried and true favorite dinner recipes and nothing was really capturing my interest. I’ve seen people make something similar to this Nacho Scoops recipe as an appetizer at parties but in my aforementioned quest to find some fun dinners that my kids will eat without complaint I decided to turn it into a dinner recipe. And it worked. My kids scarfed this dinner down so fast that I had some serious concerns about choking. 

 

 

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Ingredients:

 

1 bag Tostidos Scoops chips

2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped

2 cups shredded cheese (use your favorite kind- I used Colby Jack)

1 jar chunky salsa 

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 container sour cream

 

Directions:

 

1. Lay scoops out on foil lined baking sheet.

2. Top with half of shredded cheese and then chicken.

3. Cover with another layer of shredded cheese.

4. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until cheese melts.

5. Top with sour cream, salsa and tomatoes. 

 

 

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This dinner was so delicious! We had no leftovers and the kids begged me to make it again the next day. I have also made this using ground beef with taco seasoning instead of making the typical taco dinner. The possibilities are endless…and yummy. 

 

Chicken Salsa Nacho Scoops
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Ingredients
  1. 1 bag Tostidos Scoops chips
  2. 2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
  3. 2 cups shredded cheese (use your favorite kind- I used Colby Jack)
  4. 1 jar chunky salsa
  5. 1 cup diced tomatoes
  6. 1 container sour cream
Instructions
  1. Lay scoops out on foil lined baking sheet.
  2. Top with half of shredded cheese and then chicken.
  3. Cover with another layer of shredded cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until cheese melts.
  5. Top with sour cream, salsa and tomatoes.
Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama http://semidomesticatedmama.com/

**What do you do when an unexpected life change means a career change? Find out HERE.

 

 

 

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Making Childhood Memories With Holiday Traditions

I’m a big believer in creating lasting childhood memories for my kids and a big part of that is creating holiday traditions. Some are passed down from my own childhood and some are new ones that we’ve created on our own. I want my kids to grow up and pass on these memories to their own kids one day just as my mom did for me. I still get all warm and fuzzy when I think about some of the traditions of my childhood. 

 

 

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1. Decorating for the holidays. We spend the weekend after Thanksgiving preparing our house for the Christmas season. We decorate the tree, we deck out the house, we hang Christmas lights outside- all while singing Christmas carols. Then we watch Christmas movies, drink hot cocoa with marshmallows, and bake cookies. 

 

2. Writing our letters to Santa. I love doing this with the kids. Every year I print off some sheets of Santa letter stationary (this site has a good list of free printable santa stationary) for the kids to use. They love to go through the Holiday Hot Toy catalogs from the stores and make their lists to send to Santa. 

 

3. Doing the Advent calendar. I used to buy a separate advent calendar for each child but once you have several kids it gets expensive. A few years ago I found a wooden holiday truck with numbered drawers that will fit a small piece of chocolate for each child each day. You can see it on my holiday decor post sitting next to our lighted Christmas present boxes in the dining room. Last year I used Hershey Kisses, this year I’m using Reese’s bells and the kids love it. 

 

4. Attending the Festival of Lights. A few towns over from us is one of the largest displays of holiday lights. You drive through the town and everything is lit up. It’s a gorgeous display and we have so much fun every year. We pick a weeknight in the middle of December and drive through the town while drinking hot cocoa and munching on Christmas cookies while listening to Christmas carols.

 

5. Watching the Christmas parade. Our city has a huge parade every year and the kids love it. Practically our entire uptown area closes for the parade and lucky for us Matt works uptown so he gets a day off. We make a whole day of it- the parade, ice skating, and sometimes a movie if we have time after we eat dinner. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.

 

6. Paying it forward. We try to pay it forward all year long but especially at Christmas. We always choose a couple of children from the Angel Tree at church- we try to choose kids around the same age as our own kids so our kids can really be involved. I do a lot of work with a charity in our city that works with abused and neglected children and Christmas is the biggest time of year. For the past couple of years I have been taking Maia and Ty with me to help out and see first hand how important it is to be involved and help others.

 

7. My parents come down early on Christmas Eve with Cam to spend a couple of days with us. We attend the kids Christmas Eve service at church, eat a delicious dinner (this year it’s crockpot chili and cornbread), watch a Christmas movie (A Christmas Story), read The Night Before Christmas, and then make cookies to leave out for Santa. The kids also love watching the Santa Tracker channel on TV each year. Once the kids are in bed the adults watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and drink spiked eggnog while wrapping gifts.

 

Those are our main holiday traditions that we do every year. We add a few new fun activities each year- this year I think we’re going to take the kids to a movie the day after Christmas and we also are going to a children’s holiday play. What traditions do you observe every year?

 
Shared with Craft-o-Maniac Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Monday Funday, Made By You Monday, Make the Scene Monday, Give Me The Goods, Project Inspired, Mix It Up Monday, Show Me What Ya Got, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, From Dream to Reality, One Project At A Time, Tutorials and Tips, Tuesday Treasures, Whatever Goes Wednesday, The Inspiration Exchange, Thursdays Are Your Days, The Party Bunch, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, That DIY Party, Inspire Me Please, Work It Wednesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Take a Look Tuesday, Live Laugh Linky, The Weekly Creative, Wow Us Wednesday

 

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