Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I ❤️ summer and more favorite things

Don't you just love summer?! No schedules, staying up late and sleeping in, eating whenever and whatever, watermelon and watermelon slushies, Malibu Rum, reading, the beach and the lake, produce stands, and just hanging with your people. Ahhh yeah! We aren't taking a vacay this year because of the whole house purchase thing, so I'm trying to soak in all of the summer things. I'm a little sad it's going by so quickly! There are so many books still to read and so much grilling to do and chips and salsa to eat and so many pounds to shed!

So, this summer I have found quite a few new favorites! They include, but aren't limited to...

This candle! I bought it today from an awesome little shop not far from me, Altar'd Market (@altardmarket on Instagram.) You know coconut and lime are two of my varrry favorite things, and now I can smell both of them at the same time! It smells delicious!

Golf! Who knew I would like it so much?! Well, I like being on the green with a breeze blowing and no kids threatening to kill each other anyway. I really have enjoyed my first two lessons though. I'm getting prepared for the Stoerner Family and Friends Golf Tournament August 13th benefitting Emma's Hugs. I'm excited! If you live nearby, visit for more details and registration information. I would absolutely love to see you there! In case you don't know what Emma's Hugs is, you can find out all about it at or click the link on the sidebar.

Bluetooth. Technology (when it works) is a beautiful thing. I love having bluetooth in my car so I can connect and listen to my favorite podcasts or Pandora. And I love connecting my phone to our JBL or Bose speaker and hearing some good tunes while I cook or chill on the couch or the back porch. It's just so great!

Zumba! I used to love going to the gym and getting my groove on at Zumba. For one reason or another I haven't been able to shake my booty to the Latin tunes in quite a while. The past couple of weeks I have been able to catch my sweet friend, Jessica's class. I love her! Hope I can keep it up when we return to school and work and the craziness of soccer and dance, etcetera, etcetera. It's so much more fun sweating my back side off doing Zumba than anything else.

Downton Abbey. I've almost completed the last season. I really like historical fiction, and this series has been so interesting. I love the costumes and learning about how society was way back when and the changes it saw through the years. I hate to see it come to an end. I guess all good things do. 

Getting my eyebrows waxed and tinted. I rarely get haircuts and only make it to the salon to get my brows done every couple of months, but I love it so much. I get to lay on the esthetician's warm, cushy table and close my eyes. They usually have soothing music playing and there are never any kids screaming at each other. It's wonderful! Today, as I waited, I relaxed in the waiting lounge with a warm wrap around my neck and sipped on lemon water and a glass of vino. Ahhhh! My own mini summer vacation minutes from the house. 

Well, that is about all I can think of right now. I hope you're summer is shaping up to be everything you dreamed it would be and more! What have you been doing? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

More of my favorite things

What do you do to recharge or chill out when things are a bit crazy? I have found I have to dig in the dirt or write. Today I'm doing both. I mentioned we sold our house and are supposed to close next month, which is great, but we also needed to find a house. We have managed to find a house that seems to be a good fit for us, and now we're working on the purchase. There are so many hoops! My brain is just kinda tired! There's also the regular summer stuff, packing boxes, more packing boxes, paperwork and more paperwork, blah, blah, blah. So, today I was picking up some free boxes at the grocery store (one of my favorite things), and picked up some herbs too. I know I'm packing and moving and all, but I still cook, and I use herbs when I cook. AND, I noticed that my mint plant disappeared. I think the yellow lab in my backyard, aka Remi, had something to do with it, so it needed to be replaced. Mint is important for things like the fresca drinks I posted about and tea and stuff. So, I bought some mint and cilantro, because I needed to, and one can never have enough cilantro. So, there's that.

Other things I'm loving include but aren't limited to...

  • Free boxes-important in my life right now because of the whole moving thing and all.
  • Herbs-they just make me happy, and I feel so chefy when I use them when I cook.

  •  Dresses with pockets-they just make life easier.

This is our Easter matchy-matchy this year, and my eyes are closed, but this is one of my favorite dresses with pockets! Marshall's for the win!
  • July 4th! I love the 4th of July! We are usually at the beach for the week of the 4th with some of our dear friends, but this year they are going to Yellowstone or somewhere in their new camper, and we are buying a house, so we are taking the year off. I'm having withdrawals, but it's gonna be ok. We received an invitation to go to some other friends' home and visit and eat BBQ for the 4th, so I'm thrilled! So even though I'm packing boxes like a mad woman, I had to decorate a little corner for the 4th for some normalcy. I figure I can pack that box after the 4th. 

I'm gonna miss my window seal. I decorate for the seasons and holidays in this spot. I'm sure I'll find another spot in the new house, but I've really learned to love this spot. We took out the breakfast table in this area and put in a pretty blue love seat a friend gave me and a little orangy side table. There's a lot more space in this spot now, and I love sitting and sipping coffee and flipping through magazines, or visit with the kids or any other manner of things. So all of that to say, this is the spot all of the 4th decor is. 
  • More podcasts- The Big Boo Cast with Sophie Hudson and Melanie Shankle. They are so funny! Their podcast is light and witty and about nothing in particular. Podcasts are what I love to listen to when I'm by myself in the car, but I'm finding I love to listen while I'm packing boxes too! 
  • Watching America Ninja Warrior with my family. We really get into it, cheering and yelling and the whole bit. We watched last night. It was SO good. There was a man on last night who reminded me of my father-in-law. He was the oldest contestant on the show so far. He had so much spunk and such a good attitude. He seemed like such a fun much like Marvin! Today is his and my sister-in-law's birthday. I tried sending a voice text to my mother-in-law and couldn't even finish it. From out of nowhere my lip started quivering and the tears started flowing. The sting of death is never far away. Looking so forward to the day when there are no more tears, no more sadness, no more pain. 
  • Well, I had other things, but I didn't write them down, so they have escaped me. Maybe they'll come back later and I can post them in my next favorite things post.
Hope your summer is going splendidly! Back to packing for now and other related exciting things!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


How in the world?! There were those who didn't think it would last. We were just babies. I was 18 and he was 20. But, by the grace of God, here we are today. I can't wait to see what the next 25 hold! What a blessing to get to spend the best days of my life with my best mega fine man! I love you, Kelvin Dunnam.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Happy mail

Y'all, it's shaping up to be a good day! I just got a new Southern Living in the mail! Makes me so happy! It's the little things. The cobbler on the front cover transports me straight to my childhood! My sister and I loved picking berries at my grandparent's house, and our grandmother could make a mean cobbler! Yum-o!! 

So, how do you read your favorite magazine? I always turn my Southern Living to the very back and read Rick Bragg's story. He is SO funny. I have wanted to read one of his books for as long as I've been reading Southern Living, but I just haven't ever made the time. Maybe this will be my summer. You know, because there's loads of time between looking for a house, packing kids for camps, and packing boxes. But I have hope. 

Well, I gotta go read an article and drool over cobbler pictures. You have yourself a great weekend! Don't get too hot!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Some of my summertime favs

Well hello there! Betcha didn't think you'd hear from me again so soon, did ya? Surprise! I'm just trying to keep you on your toes. I thought I'd share a few of my summertime favs with you today.

First up are these amazing Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Cucumber-Apple Slaw! They are soooo good, y'all! Kelvin said when you take a bite, "it's like an explosion of flavors in your mouth!" And you canNOT leave out the slaw. It is just the little bit of sweet the sandwich needs. Serve it with some cantaloupe or watermelon slices and potato chips, and you have yourself a delicious dinner in no time. I'm not sure if the recipe or video says to or not, but I took the seeds out of my cucumbers. Use your nifty Pampered Chef corer thingy you bought at that party you went to a while back. It'll make you feel all fancy like.
Photo credit: Everyday Food by Martha Stewart
(Click on the link above for the recipe and video tutorial)

Next up, Watermelon Frescas. Carleigh found the recipe on YouTube from What'sUpMoms. They are such a light and summery treat! Go get you a watermelon and some strawberries. You'll need some mint if you like it, and a little agave or honey. Here's the sweet little video of the mama and her cutie patootie little boy helping in the kitchen.

- 2 cups cut watermelon (without seeds)
- 1 cup strawberries (hulled and halved)
- 1 cup water
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon agave
- mint for garnishing

1) Put ingredients in blender, starting with water. Puree ingredients.
2) If not using a high-powered blender or for a very smooth drink, put your mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
3) Dip your glass in water, followed by sugar for a cool rim. Garnish with mint and a straw. Say "cheers!"

I didn't dip the glasses in sugar and we were totally fine. I did add a little sump'm sump'm to mine, and it was divine! Took me right to the tropical island I've been dreaming about. Malibu Rum is a nice option, but regular rum or vodka works nicely too! You're welcome. 

Can't go any further without acknowledging my affection for La Croix flavored water. I might have already shared about this on the blog before, but it is worthy of mentioning again.

It's not soda. So, don't think it's soda when you take a drink or you will be SO disappointed. There is just a hint of fruity flavor and carbonation. But it's not soda. I like it so much. I haven't tasted a flavor yet I didn't like. If you're one of the lucky ones to have an HEB close by, they have a store brand that is comparable for a LOT cheaper. Make your mouth happy and go get you some!

More summertime favs include, but are not limited to cucumbers, flowers from the Dollar Store, sunless tanning lotion and limes (always).

I'm really loving podcasts a lot lately too. The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey is my all time favorite, but I really like Mom Struggling Well, Lighten Up with Melanie Dale, and the Popcast too.

Instagram is my social media fav! Click on the link on the sidebar to find me there. 

I'm diggin' my new 7-minute workout app. Don't judge. It's better than nothing, and it's the start of something good. This mama is more than a little overweight...about 25 pounds to be exact. I gotta do something about this root beer belly!

Other favs include my friends. I couldn't live without them. I have so many precious ones who love me so well. I am thankful. 

Also on the top of the list is saying, "YES!" It's my favorite to say yes to my kiddos this summer. The little things are really the big things. 

How about you? What are some of your summertime favs?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer around here

Hello friends! I hope you're having a great June day! Mine is off to a slow start, but that's kinda how I like it in the summer. There is lots going on in our household these days. I'm trying to take it one day at a time and not let anxiety creep in, but it's hard. You see, back in the fall, Kelvin and I set some goals. One of those was to move in June. We weren't positive exactly where, but we knew we wanted to move. So, a couple of months ago, we found a house that would work for our family in an area that we like, so we thought we would go for it. Problem is, we couldn't get our bid in quickly enough, and someone else got the house. Grr! Bigger problem  challenge is, now we have a contract on our house and are scheduled to close at the end of July but, we haven't found a house to buy. Double GRRR! If you or someone you know is thinking about moving from a 4 bedroom/2+ bathroom in Beach City, please contact Kelvin or me before you list it. I'll cook something yummy for you if you do! Houses are going like wildfire out there! Thanks!

The kids are doing all the summer things. Luke leaves for a week long leadership camp in Washington D.C. and Carleigh leaves for youth camp in a couple of weeks. Cora has completed basketball camp and will do volleyball camp in July. Luke will also go to Preteen Camp and Carleigh will make a trip to working ranch in July. Kelvin is traveling a bit for work as well, and I have a music teacher convention in July too. Of course, there will be swimming, reading, cooking out, roasting marshmallows and maybe a beach trip or two. Sadly, no big vacays for us this year. I'm going to miss my weeklong Fourth of July trip at the beach with our good friends Jimmy and Angie. I'll miss Colorado too. It's so gorgeous there and such a nice reprieve from the heat. We will concentrate on moving instead.

My sweet and extremely talented and creative friend, Cara, posted a cool summer challenge for her kiddos. I tweaked it just a bit to fit our crew better.

adapted from Pearl, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour
Cute, huh? My kids would spend the entire day on their phone, ipads, or TV, so I thought it would be a good thing to give them a few ideas of things to do instead. They don't completely agree, but that's ok! :)

The weekend was full of wedding fun. Cora was a flower girl in one of our precious babysitter's wedding. She has kept our children since she was a freshman in high school! She was a beautiful bride. I must say, she picked the perfect flower girl! We love you, Jamie!

Well, I guess I should do something productive...pack the house, go to the grocery store and bank, look for houses, etc. I'm sure my children would appreciate something for lunch or whatever the meal is called between lunch and supper. Lupper? 

Hoping to do another favorite things post tomorrow...summer edition! 

Peace, love, and hugs!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Nailed it

Sometimes people say the darndest things. Usually they are well-meaning, but I wonder other times. I can't remember who introduced me to Brene Brown, but she has a great way of explaining exactly how I feel. Here is a clip from one of her videos.

Have you ever been there? Sometimes, silence is golden. Sometimes, well-meaning can be hurtful. Glad I found this video to help me explain what I mean. One of these days I will write more about this subject. Maybe I'll even tell you about my Stupid Stickers. Not today. I'm just too tired.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A few of my favorite things

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens" (not really. I hate cats. Please don't hate me.)

So, I have a few favorite things nowadays, and I thought I would share before I forget. 

First up, Burts Bees Lipstick. I have always loved Burt's Bees. Their products are all natural. My naturopath friend told me she went to a presentation with the company, and they told the attendees that though they wouldn't taste great, one could eat the Burt's Bees products safely. I love the way they smell and feel. I've used all of their lip products and really like them. But now, they have lipstick! I love it! The colors are gorgeous! The one I picked goes so well with my skin tone. It feels so yummy on my lips, and smells and tastes great! I wish I was getting compensated for my opinion, but I'm not. I just really love it and think you will too. 

Second thing, podcasts. I love podcasts. My very favorite is the Jamie Ivey "Happy Hour." She's so dang cute and delightful. I enjoy her guests so much and have learned a ton from all of the different and varied topics. You need to check out "The Happy Hour."

Thirdly, LaCroix Sparkling Water. They are so refreshing. They are not soda. They are just a little fiz added to water with a hint of fruity flavah. They are a little bit of happy added to my day. Try them, but don't think they will taste like soda. They don't. 

Fourth, Instagram. Follow me over there to keep up with the day to day with me and my people. I love scrolling through the photos and being inspired. 

Fifth thing, digging in the dirt. I got to spend some time digging in the dirt this week. I miss it. This week was spring break, and I have really enjoyed being home. Working full time has put a real big dent in the things I like to do. I haven't quite figured out how to make the time to fit in those things. I planted some new herbs and a bee-you-tiful pot full of flowers. Oh, and some strawberries! One of the berry plants has the cutest, eensy little berry on it! So precious! 

Well, it's late. That's all that's coming to me right now. I recently heard about something called Hello Fresh and Blue Apron meal delivery services. Can't wait to check them out. Making out a menu and grocery list has become increasingly more difficult. It might be a very good thing to look into one of these services. That and someone to do the laundry. I think it multiplies when I take it out of the dryer and put it on the dining table to fold! Have mercy!

Here are some pics from spring break week. Carleigh left right after school on Friday to go skiing in Colorado with a friend. Luke went to Brownsville on Monday with the youth group at our church to do mission work. Cora and I hung out around the house. On Saturday, we went to Top Golf. That's another one of my favorite things! It is soooo much fun! I've never played golf in my life, unless you consider Putt-Putt serious golf. I had a ball! (hee hee) Can't wait to go back! Sunday, Kelvin grilled some of the most amazing shrimp and oysters! They were delicious! During the week Cora and I went to the movie, had friends over and sat around the fire pit, had one of Cora's friends over and played and played, went to the park, spent the night with a friend, ate some yummy food, and went to Kemah and rode a few rides. Today Luke came home. Tomorrow Carleigh comes home. I'm glad they had such neat opportunities over the break, but it'll be good when my crew is back together again. Tomorrow we are eating crawfish! I'm a happy girl. Sunday we are headed to the rodeo. I won a couple of tickets from our orthodontist. I think it will be the perfect ending to spring break!

Monday, March 14, 2016


Spring Break Monday and I had these beauties for lunch...leftover grilled shrimp and oysters in lettuce wraps with roasted asparagus and broccoli. I topped them with a little Lemon Garlic Tessemae dressing and transported myself to somewhere wonderful without leaving the comfort of my own kitchen! I love spring break. 

The big kids are both away this week, and Kelvin has to work, so it's just Cora and me. We're about to go pull some weeds. I'll stop making you jealous now. We're also going to the show this week and hopefully something else fun that doesn't include weeds. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Happy Double Digits Emma!

I wonder how a 10 year old celebrates her birthday in heaven? I'm sure it's grander than my feeble brain can comprehend. I bet there are lots of balloons and confetti. There's surely Stevie Ray Vaughn blaring loudly for Emma. And dancing. I bet there's lots of dancing too. I wonder if she would have pie or cake? Probably both! Wish I could be there to take in the beauty of it all. To see the delight on her face and the way she laughs and plays. I can't believe she's 10 years old. I remember when she was born...our only one born on her due date without being induced! She was so perfect. Just like they all are. She was my brown-eyed girl. I miss that sweet smile. Those sweet cheeks. Happy birthday, Emma. Have a beautiful day! I love you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ideas swirling around in my head

I have all these ideas swirling around in my head and a deep yearning to be back here. I need to write. I have to find the time. 

I'm struggling a bit today. Loss is all around me. Things are changing. Grandparents are leaving this world for the better one. I'm no longer the child surrounded by familiar faces. 

I always thought the grown ups in my life were so wise and had it all figured out. Now I'm the grown up, and boy do I ever not have it all figured out. Quite the contrary. I hope though that I'm learning more about trusting the One who does have it all figured out. He can bring something good out of anything. Anything. No struggle or trial we face is wasted. 

I will cling to His truths today. And pray for wisdom. 
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