Welcome

Welcome to my little corner of the world. I am so honored by your visit today. My name is Kristi and I am married to my college sweetheart(I refer to him here as "Mr. Incredible"), momma to my 2 beautiful girls who are growing much too quickly, a high school computer teacher, photographer, and a gardener (at times~right now I'm growing weeds). I love to laugh, drink strong Starbucks coffee, take pictures, and be anywhere my family is. Jesus is my Savior and I try so hard to be the wife and momma that He has called me to be. I often fail but He lovingly picks me up, dusts me off, and encourages me that with Him all things are possible. Feel free to join me on this journey of faith, stop in and say hello, look around, and leave a comment~I love comments. Why "Kiki's Corner?" My nephews call me Aunt Kiki and I love that too.

She Calls it Frank!

After school Monday afternoon, the girls and I were chilling before band practice and one act play auditions, yes we are only in the 2nd week of school and life is BUSY.  I was working on my laptop in the family room with my girls who were watching a rerun of Gilmore Girls.  I noticed Hannah was lying/laying on the floor patting her tummy.  I asked her what she was doing and she quickly replied, "I'm checking on Frank."

I looked over the top of my laptop and and inquisitively asked, "Who's Frank?"  To which Hannah replied, "It's my belly button hair.  I call him Frank."  And then we all cracked up laughing!  She looked at me as if everyone names their belly button hair and what was my problem.  And that made me laugh all the more.

A few minutes later, Rachel answered the telephone.  Mr. Incredible was calling to ask about our schedules and things.  Rachel decided to talk to her daddy while plopping herself on the arm of the couch...which apparently was slippery because she fell back and landed on to the couch...and we all cracked up laughing again.

Belly laughs with my girls and Frank....I love my life!

Meet the Athletes & the Band

Our school always hosts a Meet the Athletes and Band night.  It's a fun way to announce all of the upcoming junior high through high school athletes and band members.  Rachel, my high school senior, is a drum major this year.  It was her first night to lead the band so naturally, I brought my big girl camera.  Here is my girl doing her drum major thing (she is the one in purple):


She is a co-drum major with her friend Jami:

This is a picture of Hannah getting introduced for the Middle School athletes.  Can you spot her?  She is the tall one...see her?

It took a while, but Rachel has fully embraced being a senior.  Seniors rule!


Ya'll have a blessed day!

First Week

I'm just stopping in to say hello!  We are in the full swing of school right now with something every night this week.  There is nothing like diving in, right?  With senior pictures, filling photography orders, my responsibilities at school, my girls' activities at school, and church, life is full...and God is good! And sleep is very easy to come by at night. 

We had a little hint of fall in the air this morning which filled this heart of mine with all kinds of delight.  The 80 degree temps are a welcome relief from the 100s any day!

I better get back to class.  I hope you are having a blessed week too! What are you up to?

Back to School Beauties

Yes, it's official,  Rachel is a senior and I'm learning to form the words, "my daughter is a senior."  Deep breaths...Lamaze breathing is not just for child birth.

 
We all survived our first day of school without very many issues...except I thought Rachel was picking Hannah up from school and she thought I was picking her up and Hannah missed the bus over to the high school in the process.  Thank you Mrs. C for picking up Hannah and bringing her to me.  I'm hoping my brain returns tomorrow and I can remind her to catch the bus.

And did I tell you that I have 17 freshman in one class?  SEVENTEEN FRESHMAN!!!!
If I am every struggling for blog material, I have a feeling that this will be the class to blog about, just saying. 

I snapped a few quick photos before heading to school this morning.  Here is our senior beauty on the very first day, or the last first day of high school.   

And Hannah on her first day of 8th grade. 

Sporting some very cool converse:


Sisterhood...what a blessing!


It's Back to School Day

Today is our first day back to school. It's back to routines, football games, band trips, basketball games, homework, lesson plans, and so much more.  Today is Rachel's first day of her senior year...and Hannah's first day of her 8th grade year.   May God bless this year; may He be greatly glorified both in their lives and in mine as I am blessed to teach 87 students and may He continue to cause His face to shine upon us and upon you too. 

The first day of school always reminds me of one of my favorite verses, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13  Yes, even this momma's heart can try to embrace the fact that this is the first day of her oldest daughter's senior year and her last year of high school...God is good! {and I'm going to stop right there because I don't want to cry all of my makeup off before I go to school.} 




 

What a Welcome Home!

I don't know if you have seen these photos or not but they made me cry tears of joy this morning!  President and Mrs. George W. Bush surprised US troops who were returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan on Wednesday morning, August 11th, at the DFW airport.  You can read the story here.  These photos were in the email I received, but I don't have a source for the photos below:


What a welcome home that must have been!  This reminds me of our trip to St John this summer where we were blessed to be a part of a welcome home for our US troops at the DFW airport too.  It was so moving to see everyone in the airport stop, stand to their feet, and applaud these fine men and women and welcome them home.  It makes me tear up just thinking about it! 

I try not to be very political on my blog, but this was a president that I prayed for on a regular basis.  I can't imagine the pressure and stress that he was under but I am so thankful for his Godly leadership while he was president.  I have to admit that I am not as quick to pray for President Obama...I'm not proud of that fact and Sunday's sermon made me realize that God allowed President Obama to be our president...He could have stopped it, but He didn't and even though, he wasn't my choice, he is still our president and I should be praying for him too. 

But, speaking of praying, would you please join me in praying that the Ground Zero mosque will not take place!  That God will put a stop to all of those awful plans and that He would so change the hearts of our leaders.  The United States of America is still one nation, Under God...He is still on the throne...He sees it all...but it is time we Christians stopped whining and complaining about the leadership and started getting down on our knees about important issues like this one. 

The evil one would like to have a strong foothold in our country...but the United States of America belongs to the Lord...for His good purpose and for His glory.  Will you join me in praying?


Italian Drip Beef Sandwiches A La Pioneer Woman

Two posted recipes in one week...yes this momma is finding her meal planning/cooking groove again!  I made this incredible Pioneer Woman (love her!) recipe again last week.  It is so yummy that your mouth starts watering just smelling the all kinds of deliciousness coming from your oven while it is baking.  It is that good!

But, I have to tell you that I was hesitant to make it the very first time because Hannah and Mr. Incredible are not fans of anything spicy...unlike me.  I like it hot!  Or, drop it like its hot, whatever the kids are saying these days! So, the thought of pepperoncini peppers almost made me skip this recipe.

But, I decided to try it and I am so glad that I did.  My entire family LOVES this recipe!  It's not too spicy at all and it makes enough to have leftovers for at least the next day.  You've got to try this one...really!  Go! Pick up a chuck roast, beef broth, dry Italian seasoning, Pepperoncini peppers, and some deli rolls.  Why are you still there?  Go!  I'm telling you, your family will love it!

Here is Pioneer Woman's Delicious Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe. 


Recipe: Italian Drip Beef


Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 6 Hours
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 10

Ingredients

■1 whole Beef Chuck Roast, 2.5 To 4 Pounds

■1 can Beef Consomme Or Beef Broth

■3 Tablespoons (heaping) Italian Seasoning

■1 teaspoon Salt

■¼ cups Water

■½ jars (16 Oz) Pepperoncini Peppers, With Juice

■Buttered, Toasted Deli Rolls

Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Stir lightly to combine seasoning with the liquid.

Cover and bake in a 275 degree oven* for 5 to 6 hours, or until meat is fork-tender and falling apart. **If meat is not yet tender, return to oven for 30 minute intervals till it’s tender!**

Remove from oven. With two forks, completely shred all meat, leaving no large chunks behind. Serve immediately, or keep warm over a simmer on the stove.

May make the day before, then store in the refrigerator. Remove the hardened fat from the top before reheating.

Serve on buttered, toasted rolls. Top with cheese and melt under the broiler if desired. Serve with juices from the pot.

Joely's Children...A Sneak Peak

Last night I had the blessing of taking photos of two of Joely's gorgeous children, she has one more son who decided to go back to college a few days early...I hope it wasn't because of the photo shoot! Ha!  We met up at our local museum just as the sun was beginning to set. 

This little one is beautiful just like her mother!  She wasn't too sure that she really wanted to do a photo shoot but quickly she embraced it and she flashed this amazing smile!  Gorgeous girlie!!!

Her brother is a senior this year, just like my Rachel.  Where does the time go? I asked Miss "H" if she would crawl up in her bubba's lap and she told me, "He smells funny!" as little sisters will do (and for the record, he did not smell funny) and then she told me about her two new birds that she named after her brothers...which made me giggle too.  Finally, after a little coaxing, she let her brother pick her up for this photo (but only after I told her that she could lick him on the cheek...I'll do nearly anything for a smile!)  Thankfully, she tried to lick her brother on the cheek but he caught on to our little game and she missed. 



I think he is looking like a soon-to-be-college-bound guy, don't you?  A very handsome one at that.  We had fun talking about his future dreams of playing college baseball.  I am confident that he can do anything he sets his mind to do and praying that the Lord blesses his socks off this year as he finishes high school {sob!  that makes me think of Rachel}. 




I have to tell you that little Miss "H" was getting hot (we all were, it was 100 degrees in the shade) and not really thinking that she wanted to take anymore pictures and then the Lord stepped in and filled us all with delight!  A little butterfly danced around her sweet little head, thinking her headband flower was a real flower, and then the little butterfly decided to land on my eyelashes while I snapped a few more photos and then chose to stay on my back and shoulder for a while.  Miss "H" and I were thrilled. God is awesome and full of amazing surprises!

 Thank you Joely for the great privilege of taking photos of two of your blessings.  I hope you enjoy your sneak peak!

Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas A La Tasty Kitchen

Have you visited Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen?  It is a great resource.  I found another quick and easy crock pot recipe there last week that I wanted to share with you. 

Here is the link the Stacyahl's Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas.

And the recipe: (but let me just add that yes, you cook it in the crock pot all day but you still have to put it in the oven for 45 minutes before serving.  I nearly missed the last part!!!!)

Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas


Prep Time 30 MinutesCook Time 7 HoursDifficulty EasyServings

Ingredients

•½ cups Chicken Stock/ Broth

•4 whole Chicken Breast Halves

•Garlic Salt

•1 whole Sweet Onion, Sliced

•2 whole Red Bell Peppers, Chopped (My family doesn't care for these, so I didn't use them)

•4 cloves Garlic, Pressed  (I used the ones already in the jar and ready to go)

•¼ cups Favorite Salsa (Pace...we're from Texas. duh!)

•16 ounces, weight Monterey Jack Cheese, Freshly Grated (I used a monteray jack/cheddar mix)

•1 whole Avocado (don't leave this out...yummy!)

•15 ounces, weight Enchilada Sauce, More Or Less Depending On Your Taste (I used the whole can)

•6 whole Flour Tortillas (we used wheat but I'm thinking next time we will use the white instead)

Preparation Instructions

1. Put enough chicken stock on the bottom of a large crock pot to cover the bottom. Put 4 chicken breasts on top of the stock. Sprinkle with garlic salt. (I used frozen chicken breasts)

2. Cut onion in half and then into rings; sprinkle on top of chicken. Chop pepper and put on top of onion. Press or chop garlic cloves and add them. Put salsa and 1 can of enchilada sauce on top and cook on high for 6 hours. (Mine cooked a little longer and it was still fine)

3. At this point, use two forks to shred the chicken in the crock pot; it will basically fall apart.
4. Grate cheese and slice avocado.

5. Put a little enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. I used one slightly smaller than 9×13 inch size. You want however many tortillas you need to fit in your dish snugly.
6. Put avocado into the middle of a tortilla, top with chicken mixture and cheese. Roll and put seam-side down in the pan.
7. After tortillas have been placed in the baking dish, top with remaing chicken mixture, enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
8. Serve with black refried beans and Spanish rice. (we just had a tossed salad with ours)
9. Enjoy!

A 4 Course Dinner with 19 Teenagers!

About a week ago Rachel asked us if we would be willing to let her friends come over for a University of Texas (yuck! sic 'em bears!)  formal dinner send off for one of her best guy friends who was leaving for college today.  She assured me that the guys would be the ones doing all of the cooking and cleaning up.

In a moment, where I must have lost my best judgement, and because we love our daughters and would do most anything for them, we agreed.  So, early Saturday morning, again with the losing my mind thing, I cleaned my oven and picked up my kitchen.  We swept the floor, but I didn't mop it...clearly my mind had returned!

The girls had fun getting ready.  They were all dressing up for the event and they wanted to eat outside...I believe it was over 100 degrees as we were setting up tables.  While all of the girls got ready, the guys went to the grocery store.  They were all running about an hour behind, so the guests didn't start arriving until 8:00 and the dinner was served at 9:15.  There were 19 teenagers at the 4 course dinner.

So, in the mean time, I snapped a few photos of my girls.

And their funky tights.  We hear its all about the tights/leggings/jeggings this year:

See what I have to work with?  Ha!  They are so much fun...even when I'm trying to take a pretty picture.

Soon 17 other teenagers started arriving and began cooking:

All of the girls had fun watching the boys find their way around the kitchen.  I have to say that we were pretty impressed by their mad cooking skills. They made a fruit and cheese platter, a salad course, bruschetta, a stuffed chicken over pasta, and tiramisu for dessert. 

While the girls found their seats outside, the boys staged their plates and then presented their 4 course meal:



They dined beneath tiki torches and candles.  My outside photos are not the best because I was trying not to say, "Parent alert!  I'm taking pictures"  So, I didn't use a flash and it was DARK outside! 

While they finished their dessert course, Mr. Incredible and I washed all of the dishes, and pots and pans.  He reminded me that they were suppose to do that, but I couldn't help myself! 

They all had a great time.  We heard a lot of laughs and giggles and then singing and some dancing.  In spite of one of the teens, one of my students, trying to light my tongs on fire in MY kitchen, we had a fun evening too and we were thankful they wanted to have their special dinner at our house.

Rachel was right all along...it was fun!

Feeling a Little Creative

Happy Friday!  I am working so hard to complete my summer To Do list....only 4 more items to go.  I just finished weeding my front flower beds and it feels like it is already 100 degrees.  We are expecting 103 today!  Oiy to the Vay!! 

I finished and retreated back inside to my beloved a/c.  I was talking to my mom about photography and she mentioned how expensive frames can be and she is right!  I always try to buy mine at Hobby Lobby...this week they are on sale.  So, while I was weeding my flower beds, I was thinking up creative solutions to offering storyboards to clients that would not require framing.  With storyboards, due to the mounting, they could just be placed on an easel. 

I like that idea!  Here are a few 10x20 storyboards that I quickly put together this morning.  I did a little searching on the Internet and found this cute boy quote and on the second one I added one of my favorite verses.  What do ya'll think?  Good solution to the whole framing thing?


It's hard to tell but there is a large white border around the images so that they are true 10x20s. 
Ya'll have a great weekend and stay cool!

If A Mom Goes to the Grocery Store

I planned to write my book this summer.  It's been on my lengthy To Do list since the end of May.  I want to write about Rachel's story and God's faithfulness to us, but I can't even start it.  I become an absolute puddle on the floor every time I try to write it.  I saw a miracle with my own eyes and my heart is longing to put pen to paper...but I just can't find a way to start it...and that leaves me feeling a little sad and a little guilty too.  After everything He has done for us, why can't I write this book?  I will be able to cross everything off my To Do list except for this one {sigh!}.  But maybe one day.

So, with book ideas swirling in my head I wrote this little funny one after my grocery shopping trip.  Ya'll were so sweet to give me ideas for meal planning and tips.  Thank you! Thank you!  I know that with school starting all too quickly, I will find my groove again as far as meal planning goes.  So, here is my little story, based on If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.

If a mom goes to the grocery story,
after weeks of avoiding the place,
she'll work real hard to make a list
and drive 40 minutes to that place.

She'll shop till she drops
with a cart full of food
but after she'll stop at Starbucks,
a reward for being good.

She'll drive back home,
unload her wares,
and then she'll look at her kitchen
and stare.

What's in the bottom of my refrigerator?
she'll ask
and then she'll look at it closer and
wish for a mask.

It's been too long since she did
a thorough cleaning,
so she'll roll up her sleeves
and do what's been needing.

She'll look in the pantry,
at that mess on the floor
and then she'll want to cry
and weep and say once more,

Who lives in this house
are there pigs living here?
But she'll mop it and clean it
and reorganize in there.

And then with her groceries
all nicely tucked away,
she'll start to make dinner
the old fashioned way.

She'll make her children's fave
complete with mashed potatoes
but then she'll watch as her mixer
freaks out and mistakenly does the wave.


Potatoes will fly all over the wall
and then this mama will realize
who lives here after all.

It's not only her family
who has made such a mess!

So, once again grabbing her cleaning caddy,
she'll wipe down every nook and cranny.


With the dishes put away
and her family now well fed
exhausted, she'll finally climb into bed

She'll giggle to herself
as she says her prayers
and thank the Lord above
for all of her wares.

It's been a full day
of cleaning and shopping
for the family that she adores.

But that's what happens when a Mom
finally goes to the Grocery store.

Rock the Desert 2010...Rocked!

In the words of one of our favorite bands, Skillet, "It rocked our faces off!"  I don't know if you have ever heard of Rock the Desert?  If you are part of a youth group, I'll bet your youth have.  We had the blessing of seeing awesome bands like Skillet, Casting Crowns, Hawk Nelson, Decypher Down, and so many more.  It was a hot, 3 day event, but an incredible one at that.

I took my camera Friday night to the Skillet concert and captured a few pictures to share with you.

A huge thunderhead cloud kept inching closer and closer but the Lord kept the rain away until last night.  We were blessed with 2 inches of glorious rain!

This sunset was gorgeous!  I have no idea who these people are in my photo but I love everything about this.  God is so awesome!

Finally it was time for Skillett!  Woo hoo!



And this one who sang at the top of her lungs with the rest of us. 


I didn't realize how loudly I was singing until I tried talking after Skillet was finished.  I barely had a voice.  Casting Crowns was the last band of the evening and I was so thankful that we stayed.  I had forgotten how much I adore their praise and worship.  They have a new album out that I need to get with a new song called "If We Ever Needed You."  It is a beautiful song!

During one of the songs a young family in front of us decided to go home.  It was already midnight and they were tired.  The mom picked up her 3 year old son and mistakenly gives him the biggest wedgie.  The funny part was that she had no idea, but the rest of us did.

Many people around us were raising their hands in worship and singing and then a little voice in the darkness loudly calls out, "My hinie!  My hinie! My hinie!"  and we all giggled a little bit because the mom still didn't have a clue.  The young boy notices all of our attention, so he lowers his voice a little and changes his tune to, "My butt!  My butt! My butt!"  And we all cracked up laughing.


Hi Ho Hi Ho It's off to the Store I Go!

I have one more week of freedom!  One more week!  Oh my merciful heaven, I have one more week of freedom and my summer to do list still has 14 things left on it!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  Where did the summer go?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE teaching my high school students, LOVE it....most days! I will be ready to see them, it's just the thought of routine that I'm not feeling all gushy about right now.  And while it took me the better part of 3 weeks to get into the easy move and groove of summer, I have fully embraced it.  Fully!  And the thought of having a massive To do list, post it notes posted daily, schedules to remember, responsibilities, workout schedules (I really should be talking about me, but I'm talking about Hannah's workout schedule for basketball and cross country), band schedules, and I could go on and on...it kind of fills me with a little panic!  Because my summer to do list is not finished! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

And since my family has one piece of crusty bread, and a few tomatoes to feast on for breakfast, I think I'll start with going to the HEB to retrieve some groceries for the week.  But, first I have to plan out my meals.  So, I better get started...but I really don't want to....'cause I've fully embraced the summer where the living is easy!

But, before I go, I have a little question for you.  A few years ago I did the 30 day gourmet where you cook your meals ahead of time for the entire month and then freeze them and use throughout your month.  It was a lot of work but it saved us money and I got into the monthly groove until Mr. Incredible started getting sick of some of the meals.  So, goodbye 30 day gourmet!  I then moved on to Organizer Junkie's meal plan Monday meme where we all post our menus for the week and then try to actually stick to our menu.  It really made me stay on track with our budget and schedules and I still like that.  But I'm looking for a change.  Can anyone relate?

I have been looking into E Mealz.  This website plans your weekly meals based on where you shop and if you are on WW points or regular meals and it is all planned out for you even your grocery list and they advertise that you will only spend $70-$80 on dinner for the week which sounds pretty good.  We have eaten out the last 3 evenings and spent more than that! With my current list filled to overflowing with grocery items, having this little service kind of sounds like a good thing and for only $5 a month. 

What do you think about E Mealz?  Have you tried it?  Or do you know something better?  I know, I know, I need to get back into my routine and be more disciplines and school starting will do wonders for that, but I just thought I would ask how you plan your meals? Don't lecture me, just love me.  I'm asking for you help and  I would love to know what you do!

I better run.  I'll be the girls with 4 carts at the grocery store and with a big cup of Starbucks in one hand because this Momma has been out of coffee for the past 3 days, oh the horror!!!  Y'all have a blessed day...don't forget to tell me how you handle meal planning, please!!!!

 

Nephew-palooza!

Last week was "Anniversary" week.  We celebrated 20 years and Mr. Incredible's sister and brother-in-law celebrated 19 years.  They called to see if our girls could watch their cousins while they had a romantic dinner together.  Rachel had an event later on in the evening so we just told them to bring the nephews over and we would have an Aunt Kiki and Uncle night. 

Mr. Incredible had to work late so he missed out on a lot of the fun but I captured a little bit of it for him and I thought I would share it with you.  If you need a little giggle or a laugh too check out the photos below.

My youngest nephew, we call him "My Lieb" or "Double A" started the dining entertainment.  He said, "Hey Aunt Kiki, look what I can do!"...and the games began!

Not only can he pick his nose while eating pizza (these photos will be great at his wedding rehearsal dinner one day many years from now...breathe Melissa, breathe) but he can make his eyes go in different directions...I'm not kidding! See (all the while keeping pizza in his mouth~true talent):

Andrew, his older brother, said, "Aunt Kiki, I can do that too.  Watch!"  And this is what he did:

Umm. not quite there yet buddy.  He didn't believe me so I showed him the picture and then we both died laughing and then he tried again:

We call it his constipated look!  Haaaaa! No, really!  It's pretty close.  And then my girls got in on the action.  Here is Rachel trying to do the Double A eye trick:

Nope...next!  Hannah got in on the action too (and no she doesn't wear glasses these are pretend glasses from the Hawk Nelson concert.  They use to have 3d lenses in them.  She just feels like she looks more like Taylor Swift with them on so she wears them every stinkin' place we go.  My dad use wear glasses like these when he was in the army reserves.  They remind me of combat-boots.  Fashionable?  I dunno!):

We are all a wee bit competitive so here is Andrew's third attempt at the "Double A" eyes:

Not even close but I nearly fall on the floor with laughter everytime I see it. 

Hey "Double A," show us one more time...pretty please with sugar on top.  I'll take you to Sonic and get you a cherry slush and french fries if you show us one more time....please!

Awesome!  And then the natives became restless and came up with all kinds of poses for the camera:


We have got to have nephew-palooza time more often!