Monday, July 23, 2012

The Knight of Darkness...

Patrick Mead (an incredibly gifted, intelligent, and humble speaker and believer) reposted this blog in reference to the massacre in Aurora this past week.  This is the outlook that should be taken most.  Please read.

"Pray for your own heart as well and spend some time today thinking about the hypocritical rooms in it.  Chances are, the Dark Knight is alive and well in there.  He just hasn’t risen yet.  And by the grace of God, he won’t."

I cannot imagine being in that theater. I cannot imagine being the family of one of the victims. Keep them constantly in your prayers and lift them to the Ultimate and Only Provider of Peace.

But also, lift Mr. Holmes. The Knight of Darkness rose within him and he needs prayers and help to be freed from that burden. I in NO way condone his actions and behavior. But he is a man who was overtaken by evil. We all hold that possibility.

Place the blame in the rightful hands of the Evil One.

love, angie

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy birthday, Jeannie Bean!

Today is my mom's 55th birthday.  Fifty-five!  What a great age to accomplish the way she has.  She hasn't had the easiest of lives at all times, but she's never let that stop her from being a mama first.  A friend of mine created a list of why she loved her mom as a birthday gift, and I'm going to steal her idea :)

Fifty-five things for fifty-five years:
  1. You raised me to love Jesus.
  2. You love to read.
  3. All of those hours spent in the school library when you worked or volunteered there turned me into an ultimate bookworm, and I am so grateful for that!
  4. You can pack an unbelievable amount of stuff into a tiny space--talent.
  5. You are a list maker, and so am I.
  6. You are a hard worker.
  7. You always taught our Bible classes growing up.
  8. You chaperoned pretty much all of my trips--which I may have never admitted, but I was always happy about.
  9. You always made sure we ate together at the table as a family.
  10. You made sure I did my homework and made sure education was always a priority.  You never let me give up on my love of learning.
  11. You set high expectations for me.
  12. We always listened to kids music in the car--and now as an adult, I can truly appreciate how much patience that takes!
  13. You and dad were extremely involved in the youth group at church.
  14. You took us on and helped organize our Mexico mission trips.
  15. You aren't high maintenance, and you didn't raise me to be.
  16. You let me have my birds.
  17. You let Hunter live with you when he needed a place to stay--and you fed him and did his laundry.
  18. You and dad drove us around Tech and told us your love story (it annoyed me then, but we will be doing the same thing to Arabella soon enough!)
  19. You taught me (and Michelle and Melonie) to be involved and to help anywhere and anyway we could.
  20. You always made sure we appreciated people.
  21. You let me call you Jeannie Bean :)
  22. You taught me how to shop! (much to Hunter's dismay...)
  23. You always made sure we took family vacations.
  24. We were a board game kind of family.
  25. You helped me move in and out of everywhere I've lived.
  26. You are so petite.
  27. You always want things to be as good as they can be.
  28. You cooked meals to freeze when I got married and when I had a baby.
  29. You made me a cookbook of the meals you know I like.
  30. You taught me the value of pictures.
  31. You included us even at a young age in the experiences of life and death--you didn't shield it from us, but instead explained it to us which made it a lot less scary.
  32. You taught us our manners, "please/thank you", "sir/ma'am".
  33. You gave me an example of toughing out a marriage.  It's not always easy, but with God and love as it's foundation, you can make it work.  
  34. Even when y'all were struggling financially, you made sure we never felt like it.
  35. You let us spend the night with friends and let friends spend the night with us.
  36. You embraced my nerdiness and recognized that I was "special"...
  37. You supported me as a teacher--helped me get my room set up and taken down and came to the events I hosted.
  38. You were willing to come to DC with me--and 35 of my 8th graders :)
  39. You brought me with you and let me see you work in the teacher's workroom at church.  You planned, organized, and worked your tail off.  And by having me with you, you taught me how to do the same thing.
  40. We never have to worry about forgetting something on a trip--we know you'll have it if we do.
  41. You love my little girl.
  42. You keep Mel's kids for her.
  43. You let us go to church with our friends growing up--we weren't forced to have tunnel vision in denomination.
  44. You made sure we played outside.
  45. You taught me how to cook and how to bake.
  46. You would do absolutely anything for me, Melonie, and Michelle.
  47. You bought me my Baby Bullet!
  48. You have keepsakes boxes for all of us.
  49. Even now, when I come home to visit, we stay up talking ridiculously late.  But I love those conversations.
  50. Your house will always be home.
  51. You still want to take care of me when I don't feel good.  
  52. You let me go to Prom with a boy you'd only met once.  And then you let me marry him four years later.
  53. You make crawfish fettucini for us when we're all together--even though you hate it.
  54. You sheltered me from a lot of things, but you exposed me to a lot of realities too.
  55. You love me.

Fifty-five years, a husband, three daughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandkids later...
Happy birthday, mom!  Relax a little and enjoy a day that's all about you.  See you tomorrow!

love, angie

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baby Bullet

If you had asked me even 2-3 years ago if I would be a mama who made her own baby food, I probably would have laughed and said absolutely not.  I'm more of an "it's just easier to spend the money" mentality.  (I rarely even shop at discount stores like Ross and Marshall's because I don't like to have dig for a deal.)  Plus I'm definitely not one of those all organic, go green, au naturale people.

But some of that is changing since we're having to revert back to a single salary after having least how easy it is to swipe that card toward a big bill is getting MUCH more difficult!

My mom got me a Baby Bullet for Christmas.  She went on a limb there, knowing my philosophy of the past...  But since I was going to be staying at home now, she thought I might like it.  And what a good call that was!

Really any steamer and blender/food processor will work, but again, I'm all about convenience.  I like having all of the parts to the same system.  I like that because of that, all of my measurements and recipes are written out and they match because the products match.  And the Baby Bullet is very user friendly, easy to use, and easy to clean!

Once made the food will last three days in the refrigerator and a month in the freezer.  This means I make it in bulk when I make it.  I usually make up to a month's supply at a time.  It takes a little longer, but I'm not having to do it as often.  Since she's eating more now, this past time I needed even more food.  So I broke it up over three nights with a few foods each time.  It worked really well since it didn't take up quite as big of a chunk of my day.

So here's the skinny:

  • Most foods need to be peeled and steamed before blending.  This takes up the most time.  But you can multitask to help, peeling while a batch is steaming to keep the process going.  Foods that are already soft like bananas, watermelon, and cantaloupe don't have to be steamer (although peeled!) before blending--surprise, surprise, those are the easiest and my favorite to make!  The Baby Bullet steamer (purchase separately) makes the steaming process a cinch.  It comes with it's own measuring cup, several trays, and a guide book that tells you how much water and which setting to use for each food.  Then all you do is enter the button to your setting and hit start.  That's it!  (It also serves as a tool to sanitize bottle parts and pacifiers--that comes in handy too).

  • Once you get it steamed, all you do is pop it in the blender, add a little water (more or less depending on the consistency you want), and push it down until all the chunks are gone.  SO easy.  And it rinses out easily so you don't have to completely wash it when you're doing a marathon making session.  

  • The system comes with six little storage cups for the fridge (with date dials so you know when you made them) so you can keep some out fresh for the next few days and freeze the rest.  There are only two storage freezer trays, and I normally make much more food than what those alone will hold.  So I also use ice cube trays.  The storage trays are silicone, so once the food is frozen and you're ready to remove it, all you have to do is run it under a little warm water and then push them out.  For the ice cube trays, spray them with a little Pam first to help the food come out more easily.  Once they're frozen, slide a butter knife along the edge of each cube and it will pop right out.

  • I label Ziploc bags with the type of food it is (it's not always as easy to recognize when it's mushed up and frozen...) and the date I need to use it by (a month from the day it was made).

  • Every night, I pull out a fruit and a veggie for her to have the next day, put them in those fabulous little Take 'N' Toss bowls (they're cheeeeap and they have lids), and put them in the refrigerator.  They're thawed out by the next day!  (You can also defrost them with the steamer, but then the food is hot and you can't serve it until it cools down.  Plus then you have to get all of that back out and wash it...)
Food for tomorrow about to go in the fridge--frozen zucchini (top), frozen peaches (bottom)

3 carrot cubes, thawed after a night in the fridge

  • I give her one Baby Bullet serving (the bigger serving trays that come with the system) or three ice cubes.  I also mix all of her food with cereal (Oh, and I forgot that the system comes with a milling blade so you can make your own cereal--haven't done that yet though).  
So now my freezer drawer is full of fresh, natural food for my baby girl.  No need to introduce her to extra sugar or seasoning--if she doesn't know what she's missing that's bad for her, she won't miss it. Plus at her age, it's just not necessary at all.  And there's nothing artificial.  It's just like her picking up a piece of fresh fruit or a nice clean vegetable and chowing down on it--except in a form she can eat without choking and giving me heart failure...

The number of servings you're able to make out of a small amount of food is just incredible.  I mean one sweet potato yields 10-12 servings!  That would be $6 plus tax if it was processed food--instead, you just have to pay 50 cents for a sweet potato!  It's fabulous.

Bottom freezer drawer full of nothing but baby food!
Right now, I have made and stored: (I am considering a serving to be one Baby Bullet storage tray unit or 3 ice cubes)
  • Carrots (1 small bag of baby carrots = 8 servings)
  • Zucchini (2 zucchini = 8 servings)
  • Squash (1 bag of frozen squash = 15 servings)
  • Green Peas (1 small bag frozen = 14 servings)
  • Green Beans (1 small bag frozen = 14 servings)
  • Broccoli (1 bunch of broccoli = 9 servings)
  • Plums (9 plums = 9 servings)
  • Peaches (8 peaches = 12 servings)
  • Watermelon  (1 small container already peeled and sliced = 6 servings.  A whole fruit would be cheaper and give so much more food!)
  • Cantaloupe (1 small container already peeled and sliced = 6 servings.  A whole fruit would be cheaper and give so much more food!)
  • Apples (4 apples = 8 servings)
I have also made sweet potatoes, bananas, and potatoes (wasn't crazy about how the regular potatoes turned out...).  I plan on trying avocado, asparagus, pears, eggplant, mango, and pineapple soon.  She's also getting old enough for me to start adding in some different meats.  We'll see what happens and when I can get around to that!

Go save some money!  And be organic while you're at it, haha!  Really, it's so easy and so good for your baby (and your bank account!).  I think you'll enjoy it if you give it a shot!

I mean, how could I not want to feed this sweet thing the best I can offer?!
Let me know how things go for you!

love, angie

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Teachin' and a Preachin'

Hunter and I have been teaching our youth group's class on Wednesday nights since April, and may I just say, I love it!  We have such an incredible group of kiddos to work with.  And in just the past few months, I have seen such a growth and fire in them, and it is awesome to not only witness, but also be a part of.  While we've been teaching, they have also had a few different camp sessions and these kids are taking what they're learning and running with it.  I love it.

We're also about to split the guys and girls up on Sunday mornings and teach those classes respectively as well.  These opportunities are allowing the teacher to come back out in me!!  (I'm sure they just love that since it means we do journals and activities and like that, right?!)  

Anywho, these kids have a huge piece of my heart, and I am honored and privileged to have the chance to work with and love on them.  They're awesome!

Wednesday nights, we have been reading through the book "I Was Made to Make a Difference" by Max and Jenna Lucado.  We're really getting into the meat of it now and are having some great discussion and ideas--and we've been putting a lot of it into action!

Sunday mornings, the gents will be starting with a study of 1 Timothy and seeing where that branches out to.  Us girls will be rediscovering what beauty is since this world has done so much to distort that definition.  I'm in the process of making the curriculum and I think it's turning out pretty well.  We start this Sunday and I'm anxious to see how things go!

Please pray for us as we teach the young people--that the Holy Spirit will guide us in the words we say; that the kids' hearts and ears will be open to the message presented; that we will live an example of the love of Jesus; that as a group, we are able to make a major difference.

There's nothing like working with the next generation to light a fire for action in your soul.

love, angie

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our Promises to You

We went with a large group of people from our church congregation to see Courageous when it came out in the theaters.  I was 8 months pregnant at the time, and it meant even more to us because of that.  The movie is absolutely fabulous and I heavily encourage everyone--especially parents--to watch it.

The message of the movie is becoming more dedicated to your family, specifically as a father.  The dads in the movie make a resolution to their families, promising them certain traits and standards they will try to maintain and wish to be held accountable to.  This gave an inspiration for myself and my husband for our little bug growing inside me.

We decided to write out promises for our daughter as her parents--individually; mine as her mother, and his as her father.

The original goal was to have these written out and in her baby book before she was born.  But since I got put on modified bed rest the day after that and delivered her three weeks later (and Hunter broke his toe at Sears in between), it just didn't happen.

But I am happy to say that they are now written out. Mine were written 5 months ago.  Hunter's just got written last week--and that was after constant nagging!  So here she sits, 8 1/2 months old, with promises finally proclaimed.  To me, they seem to hold so much more weight written out than floating around in our heads.  Especially written in our own handwriting, not typed.   We have declared promises as her parents, and we will hold each other accountable to maintaining them--and as she gets older, she will also be able to do so.

I hope these promises are as precious of reminders to our sweet girl as they are to us.  She is what we live for.  And we must never take for granted what we've been given.

love, angie

Pryor Family Reunion

This past weekend we were able to spend time with Hunter's family at their camp at Toledo Bend.  His grandmaw's family all came in for a big reunion of sorts and we were able to spend time with people we hadn't seen in years.  It's always interesting when you get a big group of them together...  This weekend was no different.  

Doesn't matter how big they are or how old they get...these boys know where to find their scratches and loves!

Grandmaw with her five grandsons.

The five great grandkiddos for Grandmaw and Paw Paw

Love having church up at the camp.  Proud of my husband and how much he is growing in passion and knowledge, and how much he loves to share what he learns.  

Here's the crew!  Pryor reunion July 2012
Good times, great family.  

love, angie

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!  The depth of this date's celebrations truly hit me as I stood in Independence Hall in rooms flooded with the ghosts of our history and as I stood in the National Archives building in Washington DC and laid my eyes upon the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  This country has many problematic issues at hand, but there is still nowhere else I would rather call home.  I celebrate my freedoms and the men and women who sacrificed more than we could imagine to give it to us--unbelievable acts of courage that we so often take for granted.  

Enjoy your family, day off of work, and good food.  Take a little time to remember our country's beginning and focus on it's future.  

In the meantime, here's a picture of our little firecracker on her first 4th of July :)

love, angie

Monday, July 2, 2012

Here, there, and everywhere

Last week was a busy one for us. But it was a lot of fun too!

--Hunter was a counselor at Camp Red Oak Springs. His family has always gone to camp there and he grew up in those woods every summer, so this was a special chance for his to return to his childhood roots. We were able to visit him a few nights which was fun--but a few hours of bugs and heat here and there was enough for me and AJ! He had a blast and I am so thankful for the influence he was able to have on those kids. During those nights we visited, I was also able to see incredible confidence and growth in the kids of our youth group. They make my heart swell.
--Since Hunter was at camp, AJ and I hit the road to Aunt Rachel and Uncle Kyle's. No sense in us staying home alone for a week! It was great to spend a few days with them and Hudson, especially since Rachel didn't have to go to work this time. Those late nights, long talks, and true laughs were something I needed so badly. Gah, I miss them!
--Mel and Aaron were able to come visit and swim. The kids were still at Michelle's so they got some adult time and some uninterrupted Bella time.
--Michelle came in this weekend. We were able to spend some good quality time as a core family of five--much needed and long overdue.
--Boulevard Church of Christ, the congregation we were raised in, celebrated its 75th anniversary with a Homecoming reunion. It was like we had stepped through a time capsule. I loved being there all together and catching up with old friends. It was a really neat experience.
--We ended the week with Bella sleeping for 14 hours last night. I'd say it ended well :)

My beautiful best friend and our babies.

AJ got to go on her first 4-wheeler ride with Dad at CROS.

And she got to chow down on some watermelon!  She loved it

Two sweet, beautiful girls at the Boulevard reunion.  This is how a lot of the people we saw that day remember me and Mel!