bangs + braids

I've been a full-fledged stay-at-home mom for exactly a year now and it has taken me nearly that long to get my mom-style on target.  I spend approximately 90% of my time in my running gear (nike capris, a tank/shirt/zip-up long-sleeved, and running shoes.  (I do actually run, nearly every day, but am sure to do some sort of exercise every day.  I'm not just sporting my yoga pants around town--even though they are so very, very comfy.)  I have yet to figure out what to wear in the remaining 10% of my time (dates, errands, church, etc).  I was pregnant or nursing up until six months ago and I always favored convenience over fashion.  And then summer came, and who can really think straight in 99% humidity?

While I am still struggling to find my "feminine boho" look that won't show my booty while I'm chasing after my toddlers I have at least one piece figured out: my fall go-to hair style

shameless selfie

bangs + braid

As a mom, bangs are a fashion lifesaver.  They are cute and prevent ponytail monotony.  You can push them back with a wide headband when needed.  But the biggest advantage is that you can have days old greasy hair and wash your bangs and look semi-decent (if you hair is in a pony.)

The Elsa-inspired side braid is also amazing.  It works better with dirty hair (check) and your three year old daughter will think you are so cool.

So, I'm still not sure if I am too old to wear the dressing/leggings/boots, but I will definitely be sporting this hairstyle all winter long.



One of the things that I love about Young Life is it's passion to present the gospel in a creative way; to grab a kid's attention and tell them with the greatest story ever told.  We do that in some pretty wild ways: square dances, muck wars and even rapping yodelers.

Yesterday Josh and the Young Life leaders at Stillwater High School built a giant "bubble" for club.  It was awesome to watch it all come together, and I was glad we had a cool evening so it was less of a sauna than I expected!

Here's Elliot testing out the Bubble with Princess Twilight Sparkle (her unicorn):

photo credit: Maddie Churchwell

Club + Bubble = Clubble
Love it!

we get some pretty amazing sunsets out here:
photo credit: Josh Jones

perfect shadow puppet:
photo credit: Josh Jones


cook it: chicken/vegetable pot pie

This recipe could also be called: is also known as:
"how to use up all those frozen veggies that have been in your freezer for a year (or more)"
"how a vegetarian, carnivore and toddler agree on a meal"

4T butter
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup diced potatoes (preferably the tiny ones)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen green beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup flour
3 cups vegetable broth
dash salt
dash pepper (or a couple twists on a grinder)
1/4 cup cream
*shredded chicken beast (or not)
unbaked pie crust

1) melt butter in a large frying pan and sauté the onion, carrot and potatoes for around 3 minutes (until the onions get translucent)
2) add the frozen peas, green beans and corn.  feel free to toss in any other random frozen veggies you've got on hand (except eggplant---eggplant should only be breaded and fried beyond recognition)
3) sprinkle the flour over the veggies.  toss and sauté for one minute. we gotta get those veggies covered and the flour a little bit browned.
4) add vegetable broth and let it cook to thicken.  this may take a few minutes--this would be a good opportunity to make sure that your pie crust is thawed and not still in the deep freezer.  not that anything like that's happened to me before.
5) add the salt 'n pepper (and sing "push it", but not very loud if you're cooking with your kids)
6) add cream and watch it transform before you eyes (or 2 minutes)
7) this is where it gets tricky if you're trying to cook for a vegetarian, a carnivore and two toddlers.  bless my poor soul, right?  pour some of the mixture into a baking dish--this will be your vegetarian option.  now, toss the shredded chicken in the pot and fold into the mixture.  pour into a separate baking dish.
8) top both dishes with pie crust
9) bake 375 for 25 minutes

notes about dishes:
This recipe could be cooked in one deep dish pie pan if you're all of one eating accord---but we actually split this up at our house into 4 small dishes, two sets of chicken and veggies.  we eat one set and the freeze the other.

notes about chicken:
I have found THE EASIEST way to shred chicken.  here goes:
1) boil a pot of water and toss in chicken breast until cooked (maybe 7 minutes?)
2) remove chicken and put into kitchen aid mixer bowl.  use paddle attachment and set to medium speed and watch it magically shred before your eyes!  total game changer!



I just turned 32.  To celebrate, I wanted to run 32 miles.  I've heard of a lot of cyclists (and a few runners) that celebrate their birthdays with coordinating mileage and it sounded like a great challenge--and if I ever wanted to do the challenge, I should probably attempt it before I get any older!  

The longest I have ever run in my life was 19 miles, so I knew a consecutive 32 wasn't really possible.  I decided to set really flexible rules for myself; the only thing that mattered was completing the mileage on my birthday.  I knew several marathoners that advised walking during their races, so I figured it was ok if I walked some as well.  And I wanted to enjoy my birthday, so that meant a celebratory breakfast with my kids and date night with my husband.  I wasn't quite sure how the mileage would work out, but I accepted the challenge.

Here's kind of a breakdown of the day and my thoughts about the segments:

6:00 am: 5.1 miles on the dreadmill at the gym. (i loved getting up early; it made my day feel longer and gave me more confidence that i had enough time for the challenge.  this was perhaps the hardest segment because the treadmill was directly in front of a wall and i couldn't people watch, which i really love) 
7:00 am: back to the house to change clothes and eat belgian waffles with the family (best breakfast ever.  endorphins in full effect and i had zero guilt about indulging in extra butter)
9:00 am: 10.8 miles on the OSU cross country course (definitely my favorite segment.  we live about a mile away from the course and it has it all: wide open fields, hills, woods.  i can see why it attracts a lot of local runners)
11:30am: lunch outside with my feet propped up on the table (ibuprofen for dessert) (i used to think eating alone was awkward, but now that i have two toddlers i recognize how blissful the silence can be)
1:00 pm: 16.1 miles on pavement/sidewalks (i ran from our house, "across" town, around a small lake and home.  i love how accessible our town is for runners.  i used our house as home base and didn't bother to bring water or snacks with me.  BIG MISTAKE.  i totally bonked when i got to the lake.  i was miles from home with no money and no nutrients.  fortunately the lake has several water fountains, but i had to walk 3/4 mile to get to one.  i could not believe how low energy i was.  i drank a few sips, walked to the next fountain and drank a bit more.  when i got back to the house i grabbed two water bottles and slowly rehydrated while walking.  i had around 5 miles left and i was so mentally and physically exhausted!  i managed to run/walk the last few miles, but they were very hard!)
4:30 pm: stagger back home

post run----sprawled out on the driveway
I posted this shameless selfie on instagram just after I finished my run.  I am truly thankful for the filter that made me look 300% better than I felt!

As far as recovery goes, I'm feeling pretty good.  I took three rounds of ibuprofin and I have a small popped blister on my left heel, but otherwise I'm doing great.  My "schedule" has me running 5 miles tomorrow and lifting weights, after two full rest days I think I'm up to it!



cook it: fresh greek salad

I am loving this Indian Summer that we are having out here in Oklahoma.  I've never been one to love hot summer days, but I'll hold on to these warm fall afternoons because I am definitely scared of the winters here!  The wind is something fierce out here (remind me to tell you about the time my shirt was literally almost blown off while running the OSU cross country course) and I have a feeling that I might be spending a lot of time inside.  

This greek salad has been a staple in our house for the past couple of months; it's refreshing, packed with nutrients and super filling.

so bright; always a good idea to eat colorful veggies

i love having the chopped veggies all tossed together, makes
it much easier to eat one handed (while the other is referring
two toddlers--promise me this doesn't just apply to me??)
1/4 Red Pepper 
2T Sweet Onion 
2T Banana Pepper 
3 Baby Carrots 
1/2 Mini Cucumber 
optional: 1oz/2T Feta 

1) chop all ingredients
2) toss into bowl
3) top with 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite Greek dressing (side note: I have a wonderful recipe, but lately I've been using Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vinegar--it's awesome)
4) plate and serve with a side of hummus (side note: I have a great recipe for this too, but we eat it in such vast quantities and time has been so spare lately that we've been buying it in bulk from Aldi--it's a crowd pleaser for sure)

**note** you can also serve this with a side of warm pita; it's actually really great to line the pita with hummus and then stuff the salad mixture inside (it'll change your life, trust me)


Welcome Back

Uhm wow.  It's been a while.  I don't even know where to start.  A lot has happened in the (nearly) three years that have gone by.  Some highlights:
-lost a job
-had another baby
-got a new job
-got bangs
-lost/quit/still-undecided a job
-moved across the country

So, let me introduce myself.  Here I am with my fabulous family:
me, Elliot (3), Josh, Mills (2)

After living in our wonderful little NC town for ten years (12 for Josh), we packed up to start a new adventure in Stillwater, OK.  Josh is still working with Young Life, which we looooove, and now we're in a big/little college town (Go Pokes!)

This blog will now serve to share our Oklahoma adventure and I'll sprinkle in some recipes, crafting and pictures of my wild children.  I know y'all can hardly contain your excitement, I can practically feel it streaming through the computer---wait, no....that's a little earthquake.  Yes, an earthquake....in Oklahoma.  

(I've been staring at the screen for the last three minutes.  I can't figure out a cute way to end this post.  So, I'm just going to say 'the end' and leave it at that.  The End.)
Images by Freepik