Getting By {Halloween/Fall Edition}

Way busy crazy week.  I wanted to stop in and at least say hi yesterday, but alas, there was zero zero zero time.  From the minute we woke up, we hit the ground running and didn’t stop until 11ish last night.  Between Monday and yesterday I have baked 5 gooey butter cakes, a double batch of these chocolate chip cookies, whoopie pies and what I thought was a double batch of these snickerdoodle cookies, but after further review of the recipe I think lack of sleep got the best of me and I did not double it even though I thought I had…anyways, they are delicious.  And yes, I strayed from my normal family snickerdoodle recipe because when I saw “The Best Snickerdoodles” as the title of the recipe, I just had to try it.  I’m such a sucker for those claims…the best, world’s greatest, etc.  Happy to report they are super yummy.

Sidenote:  Funny story from a few years ago.  The chocolate chip cookie recipe from above is seriously my favorite.  My mom actually has a chocolate chip cookie recipe in our family cookbook, but right after she died I was feeling all mopey and wanted to bake something that was hers.  I went with her famous chocolate chip cookie recipe.  While crying and stirring and throwing a full on pity party for myself, I start adding the chocolate chips and caught a glimpse at the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag…same recipe.  My mom had swiped Nestle Toll House’s recipe and all these years I had thought she was the genius behind it.  I had a good laugh about it.  End Sidenote.

Halloween is Friday and it is one of my favorite holidays, but this year we just haven’t done much at all.  I mentioned a few posts back we only had one costume and am happy to report 3 out of 4 Kelley children now have costumes.  We’re getting there, we’re getting there.

Sol’s hands make me laugh so hard.

Hudson said he wanted to be a skeleton and I thought this was going to be his and Sol’s first year not to be a themed thing together…they have just always liked similar things, but when Hudson’s saw how muscley and “I’ll snap your neck silently in a dark alley way” Sol looked, he wanted in on that.

It kind of made me secretly really happy.  Hudson and Solomon have been peanut butter and jelly, two old guy with mustaches, Buzz and Zerg, Batman and Green Lantern and last year Obi Wan and Anakin.  I should really dig all those pictures out for you to see…the best!

I also am in charge of fun Halloween cookies and cupcakes for Harper, Hudson and Solomon’s classes on Friday.  I needed something super quick and then remembered something I had seen on Pinterest a while back…didn’t even pin it, but I really think it was from there…just rolos and candy eyes.  That’s it.  Boom.  Done.  They are seriously the easiest cookie and cupcake toppers ever.  And the kids loved them.

(Joanns has candy eyes all year long.)

And I do really like friends who say “We haven’t done a thing festive for fall or Halloween either…want to come over and carve pumpkins?”  Why yes, yes we do.  So we headed over Saturday night to our friends’ house.  We stuffed our faces with Mexican food, dug out pumpkin guts, carved crazy boy drawn faces with a jig saw…using a jigsaw to carve your pumpkin = genius…and painted our hearts out.  Pretty sure Harper, Ashley and I enjoyed ourselves more painting our pumpkins than anyone else.

Now all I have to do is figure out what Amon will be for Halloween.  I was thinking Michael Jackson or Prince or a purple minion, but now, now my brain is gone and I’m thinking we’ll just let him wear Solomon’s baseball uniform and call it a wrap.  We shall see.

Have a great rest of the day and happy Wednesday.

One Of Those

It’s one of those weeks where I already waved my white flag…yesterday.  One of those weeks where you let go of unrealistic expectations for yourself and you go ahead and swallow your pride and ask for help and accept the fact you and your family will probably eat far too much fast food this week and see each other less than usual and your normal routine will be tossed out for the week.  One of those weeks where you let your toddler play with the nail clippers because A) It’s keeping him busy and quiet and B) As long as he can’t get them open surely he won’t cut his own toe off.  And by letting it go…by already surrendering it up…I feel freer already.

I sat last night with friends who experienced great loss this weekend.  I have not cried that hard in a long time.  You know the cry…the one which leaves you red faced, head throbbing and flecks of tissue paper scattered on your face.  I studied my friend’s face over and just soaked it in and her look of surrender…of shock…of “what the hell just happened”.  And we spoke life into her and her husband, even though my life words are so different now.  They are…I’ll never say I know how you feel because I don’t…and…I’m just so sorry…and…this totally sucks…and…life won’t be the same, but God will…and…I love youand…do you want another whoopie pie :)  Those are life words now after experiencing grief.  I refuse to candy coat and say I get it because even still I just don’t…and that’s okay.  What we need is honesty and we need to be willing to stand in the gap for one another in the crappiest of times.  We need to commit to spurring one another along in love.  We need people to be the hands and feet of Jesus…and offer up His love and empathy…not fancy words and unrealistic notions and saying things you don’t really mean or plan on following through with.  I believe we serve a God who wants us as we are in every season and emotion…whether it be anger or bitterness or disbelief or doubt or just flat out defeated.  He wants and loves us as is.  He understands how hard this life and this world can be.

You know it’s a crazy week when you kick your Monday off with speech therapy and then baking 5 gooey butter cakes.  I’m such an emotional eater and by default I automatically assume baked goods are everyone’s love language.  When something like this weekend happens I immediately get time warped back to my Mom’s crazy week.  All the ups and downs, but God has been so faithful to remind me He did not leave me where I was.  I told my friend that last night.  Oh my goodness how bad it is going to suck and hurt and for a long time, but…but, one day you will be able to look back and see how He never left and how He nudged you, pushed you and carried you through what Satan had planned for destruction, but thank God…He is the King of Kings…and He had another plan.

As I stirred gooey butter cake batter after gooey butter cake batter after gooey butter cake batter I looked around and realized I am slowly turning into my mother…kitchen a wreck, powdered sugar strewn all over my counter, butter everywhere.  Tending to hearts by way of 9×13 pans.  And all I could think about was God’s written words to us in Isaiah 61:1-3

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.”

Those words are not empty.  Those words are not meaningless.  They are truth and life and game changers.  They are God’s words to us…His testament…His promises…He will not leave you where you are.

InstaFaves

A little Friday roundup of some of my favorite instagram photos as of late.  You can find me at pitterpatterart to follow along.  Some may not be on Instagram now that I looked back at them, but still my faves.

Nosey.

Truth.

Big Daddy.

Memories.

Determined.

Fire-starters.

Happy flags.

Orders.

Still happens. (every now & then)

Thanks for stopping by and reading.  I appreciate you like craziness.

Enjoy your weekend.

Happy Friday.

11 Things at 10pm

1.  Halloween is in 8 days and we have 0 costumes.  We might just call the whole thing off even though it’s one of my most favorite holidays.  Actually, I take the 0 costumes back because I just remembered Harper has a hand-me-down witch dress.  And sadly, Hudson has moved on past the sheet ghost costume.  I really wanted that one to stick.

2.  Today we got papers which officially made Amon, well, Amon.  He’s bonafide now…Amon Henry Berhane Kelley.  He’s legit.  Only took us a little over 2 years…ha.  We celebrated with Chick-fila for dinner.

3.  Last night Amon was seriously up all night long because he was scared of…wait for it…a snake.  Some of you may remember this video.  I hated myself last night.  I’m exhausted and all night he insisted there was a snake in his bed.  At one point I went in the boys room and he had removed everything from his bed and was just standing there saying “nake, nake, nake.”  I told him there were no snakes in his bed, then started putting everything back in his bed.  Out of no where in the pitch black, Hudson leans over from the top bunk and says, “Mom, I know we can’t take candy from strangers, but what about from Mrs. Hughes?”  Wow.  This is Hudson’s little mind at 3am.  And Mrs. Hughes is his sweet teacher.  I die.

4.  I got out bid on this really awesome tin of 3 different kinds of popcorn in the auction for Jude last night.  I was seriously bummed.  Who knew a tin of popcorn could have such a powerful affect on me.

5.  I might have officially heard enough people make snide remarks about Title 1 public schools.  Our school this year is amazing…and awesome…and diverse…and full of the most special, smart and unique kiddos…and has crazy awesome teachers and staff…and it’s a Title 1 school.  I honestly could not be more happy with where are kids are going to school.  We want community.  We were created for community.  And it’s truly beautiful.  We’re honored to be apart of this school…a total privilege.

6.  Have you heard of Pura Vida bracelets?  My friend Dana passed along their site and here is yet another company giving back.  Love it..and you know I’ll support an arm party any day of the week.

7.  I want joy.  I want so much joy in Christ I just cannot keep it in.  This has been on my heart like crazy.  Being so filled up with Him.  Being so bright…so different…the world can’t help but wonder why.  And then they will see it’s all because of Jesus.  I long and desire for this…for God to absolutely consume every thought, action, word…my entire life.

8.  Finished this book and wow…that’s just about all I can say…and read it!!!!!!

9.  I’ve kind of been on this old school memory lane dessert kick lately.  Chocolate chip cookies, whoopie pies.  Now all I’ve been thinking about is Bunny’s Cake and Gooey Butter Cake.  You guys…this is going to have to happen.  Do me a favor and just pick one…either one…make it, eat it, share it, enjoy it!  You’ll thank me later.

10.  How much do I love watching them play baseball?  A lot!  How much do we all enjoy being at the ballpark?  A lot.  I think it’s just in our blood.

And 11.  I keep asking when we’re going to party?!?!?!?!

Now I really should go to bed.  I’m crossing my fingers there will be no snakes in Amon’s bed tonight.

Peace out!

Go And Love

Go and Love.  So simply put.  3 little words.

I “met” Amy via the wild interwebs a while back when she and her family were on their journey to adopt and my oh my have they been on quite the journey.  My heart absolutely went out to Amy and her family because the adoption process can just be straight up hard on your heart some times.  It’s crazy awesome and rewarding and our socks have been blessed right off, but the process and the wait and all the unknowns and uncertainties…well, sometimes it was just really hard on this momma’s heart.  And I can’t even begin to imagine how Amy has felt, but there is something pretty special about people rallying together to support and encourage and love one another.

So today on Instagram at auctionforjude there are so many fun things up for auction all to help the Jupin family as they get ready to travel to meet Jude.  I was thrilled when Amy asked me to help out and I was able to do so.

Up for grabs is this 6×6 “Go and Love” canvas.  Starting bid is just $25 and all to help come along side the Jupin family.  It’s a win/win.

Head over HERE and get in on all the fun action.  I might have already bid on a giant tin of popcorn because I CRAZY LOVE POPCORN.

Hope you all have an awesome day and get out there in the world today…go and love!

Happy Wednesday.

Banana Bread Jars

I had no intentions of doing a post on my banana bread jars, but when you post a picture on instagram and people ask, well, you give them the answer…in blog post form.  It’s what I do.

Every week I make baked goods to share.  I like baking.  I like homemade sweets and treats.  And I think other people do to   This is something I can do to show love to people in our community.  Some I know, some strangers…either way I am a firm believer that baked goods can change the world.

Cue the banana bread jars.  My cousin Rebecca taught me a long time ago that when your bananas go bad and you can’t use them immediately just put them in a ziplock bag and freeze them.  I’ve been using her trick ever since.  Yesterday I decided to finally use up the 6 black bananas in our freezer.

Fall is officially here and the weather is magnificent and banana bread and all sorts of chilis are on my mind…weird combination I know, but goh!!!!!  I just love banana bread and any type of chili.  So yesterday I got to baking.  I made our family a regular loaf for breakfast and then decided to bake some mini loafs in small mason jars.  This is so crazy easy and it’s one of my most favorite ways to share cakes and breads.  I always have these small jars on hand and it’s a really simple process.

I always…I repeat always…use my Aunt Betty’s banana bread recipe.  Our family has our own cookbook and if there is a recipe for whatever and it’s in our family’s cookbook, that typically is the recipe I use.  Not only is it nostalgia, but it’s also a part of my legacy.  I love using my MawMaw’s and my Mom’s and my Aunt’s recipes…I love our family’s recipes.  Plus everything the Halls make is delicious.

To make 12 small jars I double this recipe.  And my Mom taught me when I made banana bread for the first time not to measure out 1 cup of banana puree, but instead just always let 1 cup banana = 2 bananas.  So I never measure out smashed up bananas, but I digress.

Once everything is all mixed up, I grease each jar with a little spray oil and then spoon in two large spoonfuls filling the jars about 1/2-1/3  full.  I sit the jars on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 40 minutes.  My oven does burn a little hot so you may need a little longer, but not much.

 

I let them cool a bit and then screw the tops on.  It’s fine if they’re still a little warm.  I like to cut squares of fabric and put that between the seal and the rim.  This just makes them a little more colorful and fun especially to give to people.

And there you have it.  Not rocket science at all…super easy…really fun…and a great little something to make someone’s day a little better…a banana bread encouragement.

I really wasn’t planning on blogging this…hope I didn’t leave anything important out…if you have any questions just leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them.

Happy Monday!

PS:  Since I mentioned chili, I had to share this Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili.  It’s ahhhh-mazing.  Made it last night for dinner.  I did go a little rogue though.  I actually already had chicken cooked up, so I skipped the all day crockpot thing and just combined the crockpot ingredients in a pan.  I also winged it on a few ingredients and it was still super good.  I used almond milk instead of milk, just crushed up one chicken bullion cube, didn’t have any white pepper so skipped it, no cayenne pepper so I used chipotle chili pepper and I used plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  And everyone devoured it…minus Amon, but he’s a crazy toddler.

Now go make banana bread and chili.

8 Thoughts On A Friday

Honestly #1.  I want BBQ nachos for dinner.  Courtney introduced me to these a while back and I just can’t quit them.  I go light on the baked beans and always…I repeat always…add jalapeños.  Slam flippin’ dunk.

#2.  It’s October 17th and this momma was crazy thankful it was jeans and sports jersey day at school because Harper, no joke, has ONE long sleeved shirt which is not standard school attire.  Lucky for her I just found a pair of thrifted jeans for her.  Today Amon and I hit up Goodwill and made some fall/winter clothing happen for the big kids.  And I may have high-5ed Amon when the school secretary told me they could just wear a long sleeve shirt under their short sleeved collared shirts.  Hello money saver.

#3.  I puffy heart folded chips.  I’m the crazy person digging through the bag for all those lucky folded food wonders.  If Josh Kelley wants to get to my heart he gives me the folded chips he pulls out.  So naturally when I discovered these at Target, whoa!  They are amazing.  They even stay crunchy longer in soups and chili because they are ALL FOLDED CHIPS.  Life changing.  Hey, it doesn’t take much these days :)

#4.  Back to the kids clothes thing…sorting and putting away our kids summer clothes bin makes my OCD crazy heart jump for joy.  All unsalvageable clothes tossed in the trash, all good condition non-keeps in a bag ready for the help center and all the clothes Harper, Hudson and Solomon will probably still be able to wear next year back into the bin.  Magic people, magic.

#5.  Our sink is brimming with all the dishes which need to be hand washed.  Josh Kelley and I have been on a silent stand off on who will be the one to break down and finally wash them.  I’m outing him right now to the interwebs.  I see you JK…I see what you’ve been doing.  We both load and unload the dishwasher, but leave those dang hand washed needy dishes.  Who will be defeated in this battle of the hand washing dishes will?!?!?!  Stay tuned.  Actually I’ll probably lose because again…this girl…semi OCD…it’s been killing me all week.  MUST.STAY.STRONG.

#6.  It’s Sonic Happy Hour Day…which absolutely deserves all capital letters…always on Fridays…always.  Technically this was last weeks Friday order, but I loved how awesome the red, yellow, blue and white looked.  It was maybe my favorite slushy combination we’ve had thus far.  Go forth and happy hour people…it’s Friday.

And who doesn’t collect neat rocks in their upholders to paint at a later date?!?!?!

#7.  Want a super fun and easy craft for your kids…paper, oil pastels and water colors.  Boom.  Done.  They will love your guts and think you are the greatest mom (or dad) in the universe.  It never fails…always a great big hit with the Kelley kids.

#8.  Thought I would end this lovely Friday ramblish post with making you cringe or maybe mini throw up in your mouth.

Yep.  My FIL took this right after Amon fell off some bleachers and hit his head.  No fretting now…he’s totally fine.  Got him checked out by a doctor…did have to pull the “set your alarm for every hour all night long to make sure your kid is still conscious and hasn’t puked in his bed” routine.  But he was good and it’s gone down some.  It is like this smushy gross egg now though which makes me all squeamish.  Never a dull moment with this child!

8 things.  And my brain is spent.  Ready for the weekend.  Hope you enjoy it!

Happy Friday.

Wants

I’ve started this blog post several different times today.  Each time taking a new angle…adjusting some here and there.  Inevitably highlighting it all and hitting delete.  I don’t feel like a writer.  I don’t feel like my words can give light to what I feel being pressed so firmly on my heart…and yet I desire to.  I so want to type out each thought and feeling which overwhelms my heart and mind and for them to be understood and heard, but sometimes the words just won’t come.  And that’s okay.  This feels like today.

It has rained all week long, which has turned our insane week into a much easier, slow moving week.  And I am grateful.  I feel the change.  I know it is coming.  There is plenty of empty space in Harper’s closest, empty coat hangers, two empty drawers in her dresser and an empty bunk made with clean, girly sheets.  We are praying for this child’s heart…their family…and ours as well.  We are praying God will move in us and through us and allow us to not only foster a child, but a family…reunifying…showing we love and care because God first loved and cared for us.

I want joy.  I want joy in every single part of our lives.  I walked last night and just griped for a good 30 minutes to a friend about the things which bother my heart to the core…it was my confession…my accountability…my way of saying I really want Jesus, but wow do I struggle with these feelings.  I’m not proud of letting these thoughts and other people’s words and feelings and opinions bother my heart, but ultimately it is up to me in how I handle myself…the thoughts I think…whether I push on doing what I know is right or sit and be pissed off and think stupid thoughts.  I want to choose Jesus which means I am choosing joy, love, kindness, grace, mercy, compassion and respect.  I want to choose Jesus.

I want to give.  I want to give generously.  I want a person to cross my mind and act.  I want to see a need and do something about it.  I want our giving to be lavish and with a cheerful heart only giving God every bit of the glory.  He should be our reason.  I want Him to own our bank account…His money, not ours.  Pay check to pay check for His glory…for His kingdom…for His people…to make Him known that He is love and life.  Whatever it may be, whatever may come, we want to condition our hearts by giving so God will continue to stretch and mold us and shape us into greater and greater givers.

I want to see people as Jesus sees them.  No labels.  No pre conceived notions.  No unfair opinions.  I want to look in the faces of the people who surround me, who fill our neighborhood and church and school and life and give respect and love.  I want to reach into their lives and remind them of how absolutely beautiful they are.  How precious and amazingly created in God’s image they are.  They are valued.  We are valued.  Set apart by Christ.  Children of the Most High.  God, the Creator of the Universe, allowed His only Son to die for them…for you…for me.  God absolutely adores and cherishes us.  I want to remind people every day of this of this crazy good truth.

 I want to encourage and I want to spread the love of Christ.  I share my heart here because it’s just what I do…it’s my little space to share, then close the computer and walk away.  I throw it out into this tiny little piece of the inter webs and hope and pray someone can relate and will be slightly encouraged…maybe even see Jesus.  I’ll never get it all right…I’ll never be able to fix myself and that’s okay.  What I can do is try and fix my eyes, heart, and mind on Jesus everyday and thank Him for His grace and mercy when I fall miserably flat on my face.  That is why I have a Savior…who does get it all right…and loves me entirely just as I am.