Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's for dinner?

Tilapia with lemon thyme, fresh from my front porch. Dash said the fish was better than what he had at the seafood restaurant the night before. (Pat on the back for me!)

spicy basil and lemon thyme (tomato 'salsa' with basil was a flop!)

stripped leaves off thyme and let soak in olive oil for an hour or so 

 pan fried fillets with thyme, garlic powder, Tony Chachere's and flour coating

 served with mixed spinach salad with strawberries (love they are on sale right now!) and poppy seed dressing, plus some Texas toast

Anyone have any easy recipes using fresh herbs they want to offer up?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Missional-minded Mom

After finishing our Crazy Love book a few weeks back, I've been eager to figure out where I can make the biggest impact for God's greatest need. And I've found it. At least for the time being. I thought that my mission had to be dramatic and life altering, but I've learned that God wants to use me exactly where I am at this point in my life. And where is that? Following around a toddling fourteen month old and learning from my successes and failures what it means to be a parent, but more so, a mom seeking after God.

A few weeks back, I was asked to serve on leadership next year for our MOPS program at Grace Community Church. I was thrilled because I've already gained so much from MOPS - blossoming friendships, mentor moments, amazing breakfasts, convicting devotions and a little break in the middle of the week from my full-time job, since Mason gets to go play for a few hours. I was presented with a couple options where they thought my gifts could be used - either as Publicity Chair on the Steering Committee or as a Discussion Group Leader (small group leader). So, I began to think and pray about where God wanted me to serve...

Before moving to Tyler, I was a scared mom. I think one reason for this was because I had my mom just 10 minutes away and she wanted to help as much as she could, from being our nanny daycare to being my roommate for two months after Dash moved to Tyler before us. She's pretty amazing like that. But, it wasn't until we moved here that I was forced to start doing things on my own. Looking back, I'm so thankful that I forced myself to get out with Mason and discover new places and new people. Shy me could have easily sat at home all day. That being said, I've known what it is like to lack confidence as a new mom and let my emotions control my day and my schedule. I see now that God worked in my life to make Tyler the right place for me, not just Dash, and I've become a confident mom who doesn't let the world or my son dictate my days (note: excluding naps!).

Because of this transformation, I have a big heart for new moms that need a confidence boost, like I did (and still do sometimes!). I've had a few moms come into my life where I know our relationship alone makes a difference, for them and me. And then it dawned on me... Relationships. That's where I can make an impact for God. So, I've signed up to be a Discussion Group Leader for next year and look forward to building many new relationships. I'm still a new mom and a mom on only one, but as it was said in our sermon this morning, "A leader only has to be one step ahead to make a difference." And while my mission may not be a dramatic change, I'm praying it will be life altering.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shae's Garden

I don't have a green thumb, more like a yellowish-green pinkie finger, but I'm giving gardening my first stab this year. And here's the proof.

My herbs - basil, lemon thyme, spicy globe basil, rosemary and mint. I've used the mint for mint tea and the rosemary on some chicken so far. I used some chalkboard paint to make labels to write the names of the herbs on each pot. You know, so I don't put spicy basil in my sweet tea.

My two tomato plants in their shared pot. I salavaged this planter from the side of our house. They are two different types of tomato plants, so we'll see which one wins the taste test.  And it won't be long...

....because I found my first little tomato this morning!

One of the best things about our house is the porch area and front yard. Mason and I spend time outside every day, so it gives me a good chance to check on my plants and water them. Mason likes to water himself sometimes, too. So my venture into gardening has started with baby steps. It's a start! Next year, my goal is to grow everything I need to make homemade salsa! I'll settle for a tomato, basil and mozzarella salad this year though, and maybe some homemade pesto. Yum!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cheap Thrills

I see now that water and bubbles are my go-to fun for this spring and summer. You can't beat a gigantic tub of bubbles for $4 or my newest Wal-Mart find - a Fisher Price sprinkler play mat for only $3. I'm thoroughly convinced that this was a steal and priced wrong at my Wal-Mart. So, to make me feel less guilty (if there was actually any guilt), I picked up two - one for Mason's friend, River!

Nothing beats fun in your own yard, or so Mason and I think. Except fun in your own yard WITH friends, so we'll be hosting some water days soon!

Check out that buddha belly!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mason's first Easter egg hunts

On the prowl for more eggs

Discovered the hidden Goldfish inside. That was the end of hunt #2.

Notice all his eggs are already opened... and eaten.

Hunt #1 in Austin: Learned that one year olds and hard boiled eggs don't mix.

So proud of his finds.

"What is this, mama?"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kayaking in Austin

We went kayaking in Austin... in Papa and Nanny's front yard. My dad (Papa) is anxiously awaiting the day he can take Mason on one of his crazy adventures. Anyone that knows my dad, knows I'll need prayers for my anxiety on that day, but I'm so thrilled that Mason will get to experience everything and more that I did with my father.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Discipline: Taking a Bite out of it

Picture this:
Mason is in a super silly mood, giving kisses and making us all laugh. And then he leans in for what I think is a kiss and bites my shoulder. Hard. Teeth-marks-the-next-morning hard. It's happened before so I proceed to spank his rear. Not hard, but enough to get his attention. It worked. I got his attention and he bursts into a roar of giggles. Then, he leans in for another taste of mama's shoulder. I spank his rear. Again. Giggles, again. See the pattern? I glance over at my loving husband, who is laughing harder than Mason is.

I've gotten the same giggles when I spanked his hand so I'm seeing a trend developing in our disciplining of Mason. He understands the word "no" and will shake his head and stop whatever he is doing when he hears it, so that is my one savior right now. The challenge is saying "no" with a straight face to a boy who makes me laugh (almost) all day long.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from the Connells!

Ever since spring had announced its arrival with beautiful weather a couple of weeks ago, I've been wondering what these allusive azaleas were. After all, we live in the famous Azalea District of Tyler, named after the blooms. Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to our house from our Austin trip and was welcomed home by these vibrant pink flowers in my own front yard. What we thought was just an odd shaped bush that had received some improper trimming was in full bloom!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sprinkler Fun

Near my parents' home is the Hill Country Galleria, a pretty spiffy outdoor shopping center. My mom spotted their sprinkler area before we roadtripped to their house so Mason and I came ready with swimsuit and sunscreen in hand for him to brave the water. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, but I think I have a fish on my hands.

I hear Faulkner Park in Tyler has a pretty great splash pad so Mason and I will be there working on our tans a lot this spring and summer. I don't know when it opens, but let me know if you want to meet up there some day soon!

Bluebonnet Photos

East Texas has azaleas and roses, but as far as I've seen, no bluebonnets. It looks like we'll be making an annual migration to the bluebonnets, unless one of our Tyler friends knows another solution.

Luckily, Mason and I planned a trip to my parents' home in Austin last week and the bluebonnets were in full bloom. Their home is in the Westlake/Bee Cave area of Austin, which boasts breathtaking views, sweeping hills and plastic pink flamingos. Yes, plastic pink flamingos. Famous in Austin for its eccentric display of flamingos, Pots and Plants Garden Center had the perfect backdrop for photos. Some turned out better than others, but I never got a smile which is rare for my happy boy. No smile even on the second try in my parents' front yard. Darn ear infection! Enjoy his photos though. Even the one of me without makeup and in glasses. My favorite are the last two... the two without bluebonnets, oddly. And happy Spring to everyone!

And just to prove that my boy can smile when amongst our amazing state flower, check out his bluebonnet pictures from last year at just 1 1/2 months. Seems so long ago!