7.29.2013

Happy Go Stuckey Has Moved!!!!



We have moved to www.HappyGoStuckey.com


Please update your links! **There is a place over there where you can have the posts delivered by email if you like, or you can follow with your chosen method!


I will leave this link up for a couple of weeks just in case, but if you are looking for me--- I'm over HERE! 


7.25.2013

Blocked Vision

     Every morning I leave my house early. My faithful walking partner meets me at the edge of my driveway and the words are usually few for the first moments until we both wake up. During our 45 minute walk, we go up and down hills. The talk is always sparse on the way up a hill, as the need for oxygen prevails, and plentiful on the way down. We sweat together, laugh together, persevere together. I am so very thankful for her. I'm amazed at how God knew what I needed in an exercise partner 
(and great friend!) and placed her in my very own neighborhood. 

    At the end of our walk, we pause at the top of a hill (near where she lives) and say goodbye. Then I go on the last 10-15 minutes on my own. I come down the hill and walk home. As I walk toward my responsibilities, my family, toward my day-- I have a few minutes of quiet. A few minutes of peace in which I try to commit the day to the One who made it. 

    Nearly every morning, the sun is just rising. But because I'm going down hill and the neighborhood is wooded, I can never see the sun. I see the effects of the sunrise. I see the light filling the clouds, barely filtering through the trees, turning the sky from a beautiful Navy blue into pink, purple and periwinkle. It's beautiful. But every morning I look hard to try to see more. I wish I were a little bit higher up, or that those particular trees were a bit lower, but I can never see it all. 
Only a glimpse of the beautiful light which will fill our day. 

    Today it struck me. I struggle so much with limited vision. There are a lot of questions in our current state of life. Most of them will have answers.  But, answers that are for God alone to know at this point. It's hard to be "in the dark" about life decisions. Often we feel that we pray and pray and He is silent. We know He hears. We know He is acting on our behalf and for His glory. We know that when the time is right (His time. Not mine.) He will act. The waiting can be so hard when we just want to *see* that "it" will happen or when or how. But, my friends? That is not trust. That is not faith. That is wanting to peel back the corner of the painting before the artist is finished. 

    I have always loved the illustration that our lives (and our circumstances) appear to be the wrong side of a tapestry. A jumbled mess of strings that seem to be senseless and ugly. But if we could see what God sees, we would be amazed. If we could put into practice in our hearts what we say we believe to be true, we would know that the "Other Side" of what we do not see is far more beautiful than we could imagine. Not to mention, far more capable of bringing glory to God than the plans we have for ourselves. 

   When we allow ourselves to be honest, we may realize that we are so small. We are exceedingly small in our understanding and that our frustration over the waiting is basically whining. When we complain we say two things, 1. We do not trust Him. 2. He doesn't deserve the care of the large and small details of our lives.  Yikes. What ungratefulness we are capable of. 

When God asked Job, "Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it." (Job 40:2) 
In other words, Who are you who questions what God does?

Perhaps Job said it best, 
"Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to Thee?
 I lay my hand on my mouth." (Job 40:4)

In other words, 
"Um, I'll be quiet now."


As we go through moments, days and years of questions we cannot answer,
 heartaches we cannot explain, 
tunnels with no foreseeable light at the end, 
and Light eclipsed and covered by obstacles, 
let us remember--
that even a little bit of light is a blessing and...

He does ALL THINGS well. 


When God is dealing with me on something, it always comes in various ways-- this is one that hit me right between the eyes:

Simply Beautiful! He is a Master Painter, is He not??

7.24.2013

An Interview with Lucy and Birthday Fun!!!

I took this video a couple months ago on Lucy's fourth birthday and I completely forgot to post it. Enjoy!

video


Speaking of Birthdays, I just had one. **31** years! I was completely spoiled this past weekend by Lance, the girls and My mom, who made a last minute trip to visit us. We all had so much fun together and I felt very loved on.


 One of my favorites in Augusta. New-ish Restaurant with Fresh, local yet imaginative food. Yum.




 Birthday Dessert!!!


 Date Night!


 Birthday Afternoon Water Fight!!! 




 Sweet Abby with Her Grammy!


The weekend was very nice and I really enjoyed all the time we spent together. Lance was especially thoughtful and came up with a very sweet gift, which I'm keeping a secret for now. 
I know, how very coy of me. 

In true "getting older" fashion, I woke up to a broken refrigerator the morning after my birthday. So that's what I've been dealing with for the past few days. It's NO fun to be an adult sometimes. Oh well! 


7.18.2013

California Flash Back

(AKA- Nearly the Best Day of My Life)

Last year I turned thirty. Last year I also gave birth to our 2nd daughter. Last year Lance and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary.

All of these are reasons why when he received the opportunity to go to San Diego, CA for a week last summer and asked me to go along with him, I said, "UM YES THANKYOUVERYMUCH!" It just so happened that my actual birthday would be on the last full day of the trip. Perfect.

So we did what any loving, alone-time deprived parents would do, bought me a plane ticket and called my mama! She graciously agreed to come watch the girls (L was then 3 and A was 5 months old.) (I know, I know many moms would "never" leave their baby that early and for that long. Well, it just so happened that because of her AR, the breastfeeding ship had long since sailed and since my mom is 100% a better, more experienced version of me when it comes to mothering, I thought it a safe bet.) Besides, once in a lifetime opportunity HERE!!!

So we loaded up our gear and headed to Sunny California. Most of the week, Lance was in meetings and I was forced to get up early (yes early not late, time difference you see.) sit in starbucks for an hour or two, watch the sun come up, go for a walk, and lay by the pool for the better part of the day. After a few months of adjusting to becoming a mom again and feeling very spent and exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually, the Lord provided big time in the rest department on this trip.


On the day of my actual birthday, Lance's conference was over and so we decided to rent a car and drive to La Jolla for breakfast. He showed up with this:

Um, yeah. If you EVER find yourself in California renting a car, pay the little extra for the convertible. So worth it. My husband totally knew how much this would make. my. day.

Here I am with my birthday Latte and my odd, not quite dry yet hair. 
We visited the Cottage Restaurant and it is a definite "can't miss" spot. 


We then went down to the cove to see the Sea Lions.
 It was so cute to see how the mamas took care of their babies.



 Plenty of Time for taking pictures! And look! My hair dried.

And putting our feet in the Pacific Ocean!


 More beautiful Sights!

One of my favorite "Sights" ever right there in the blue shirt

After spending a good bit of time in La Jolla, we drove to Encinitas. There we found a Whole Foods (we had to!) and picked up a picnic for our lunch later on the beach.


 The beach at Encinitas, CA

 I'm so glad I took this picture. We sat on this giant rock and shared a Prosciutto and Mozzarella Baguette Sandwich, Raspberries, a Peach and some Wine-- (yes in a plastic cup. We. are. classy.) Seeing this picture I can literally feel how relaxing our trip and how perfect our day was. Lance had done all this research ahead of time based on places we heard about and planned the entire day out. He was so very thoughtful and it all blessed me so much!

California Rocks.
No really, it does.


Then we drove to a bakery I really wanted to try, Elizabethan Desserts. It did not disappoint! The little place shared a parking lot with a Florist and garden center and was so cute!
We shared 1/2 dozen mini-cupcakes at a little table outside...
(and yes, we ate our way through the coast of California. I am not ashamed!)
 We honestly probably could have eaten more, but then it was back in the car for more driving.. this time we drove back to San Diego all along the coast. All in all, we were able to see Pacific Beach, Point Loma, La Jolla, Encinitas, Del Mar, Coronado (we spent a lot of time there!) and probably a few more I cannot remember. It was a year ago!

After a nice long rest in our hotel room, we headed over to Coronado Island for my Birthday Dinner (because more food was exactly what we needed!!) 
 *The view from our room*


 *Driving over the bridge at Sunset*

Lance and His 30-year old wife.

We ate dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant right on the bay which enabled us to watch the Fireworks over the water right from our table. A-MAZ-ING.

From start to finish, it was quite possibly the best birthday of my life. It almost topped my "7th Birthday-- Gala Fashion Show" (That was a good one, Mom.) In which I celebrated turning Seven by raiding my  dress-up stash with 9 of my closest friends and then making a hilariously embarrassing video in which we all display our hidden "talents." Classic. Add in some pizzas and a slumber party in which no one slumbered and everyone partied, and you have my 7th birthday in a nutshell.
That was really fun.

This was definitely right up with that one. Being able to scour the California coastline for the best food and baked goods, driving 20 minutes out of the way for a particular grocery store we loved, seeing parts of America I'd never seen-- and doing it all with my handsome husband. Oh yeah, and a convertible. 

It was a pretty awesome day. And, since I realized it had been almost a year and I never blogged about it-- I thought I better get on it!

Hope you enjoyed our Travel Journal!!!

7.16.2013

Goodbye, Our Little Life!

When I started this blog almost SEVEN years ago, it was merely to serve as a centralized location for wedding info. 
Though the name (and the blog itself!) has changed several times, I have been "itching" to permanently change the name for a long time. 
One day I searched, "Our Little Life." and umpteen blogs came up. Every since then, my husband has patiently listened to me brainstorm name after name after name. He's been so supportive of my indecisiveness, bless his heart. 

I'm happy to report that this past weekend, while sitting in the Walmart parking lot in Eastman, Georgia (I kid not. My big breakthrough happened at Walmart. What are the odds?) on Friday night, this name just popped into my head and we knew it was the one. And honestly, it seems so obvious after the fact! I'm pretty sure I've even used the phrase, Happy Go Stuckey to refer to us more than once. But, oh well. There it is. We will henceforth be known as: 



Happy Go Stuckey

(yes for all 6 of you faithful readers, I know you are relieved.)

There will be definitely be a few more changes, some blog re-design and possibly even a permanent "move." Either way, I'm excited. 

Thank you to all of you who do read somewhat regularly. (Lance and Courtney and Mom.) Haha. Just Kidding. Sort of. 


Here we are, Excited. 

7.15.2013

Product Review: Starbucks Discoveries, Iced Cafe' Favorites

You all may know that I am a coffee drinker. (Shocker!) But I have morphed into a complete Iced Coffee drinker. 100% of the time. When it's cold again, (if that happens here in Georgia) I may go back to hot coffee. But don't count on it. 

So when I find myself away from home, I've become one of those high maintenance people who "needs" an iced coffee every couple of days. Well, this past weekend we were in a small town in middle GA, where the closest Starbucks was 35 inconvenient minutes away. So rather than be super crazy and drive that far, I resigned myself to a few coffee-free days. 
(Yes, I could drink the hot Maxwell House offered me. In dire situations, I might. Blame my husband for making me a coffee snob.)

Imagine my sheer delight when I spotted THESE at their local Walmart:



Lance and I agreed it was my DUTY to all of you to buy one and try it. You're welcome. I chose Vanilla and the next morning fixed myself a nice tall glass. 
(BONUS: each serving is only about 120 calories. SCORE!)


So here's my opinion on the Starbucks Discoveries Iced Cafe Favorites. (Find them in your grocer's refrigerator!!)

The Carton is a nice size, there are NO artificial flavors or colors, and it's very convenient. Especially for Summer travels.

However, I personally feel like it tastes more like milk than coffee. Vanilla milk with maybe a hint of coffee. It definitely does not have that punch of espresso flavor that we all expect from Starbucks drinks. I'm sure most of this has to do with the fact that it's in a carton.

The Price is not TOO bad if you consider you get several glasses, (between $4-5) but I really don't think I would try it again. It wasn't enough of a coffee taste for me. And honestly, I would rather wait and have my own iced coffee at home for a fraction of the price. Though these boast the Starbucks name, I don't think they taste like anything you get at the actual coffee shop.

Has anyone else tried these?

P.S. Starbucks has no clue who I am and did not compensate me for this review or product. Although if they knew how many 2.00 Iced Coffees I'd purchased over the years...

7.12.2013

TGIF!!!!

Today is FRIDAY!!!! And I am so thankful. I love fridays almost as much as I did when I was working outside the home... (almost.)

Friday means Saturday is just around the corner and that means you may be planning to make a nice, big, Saturday morning breakfast for your family. During the week we usually stick with Green Smoothies (either Green Monster of Tropical Green) and a piece of toast, so when the weekend comes-- we love a real brunch-type breakfast. What's that? You are unsure of what to make?? Ahh. I have ideas.

I have collected some of our "most favorited" breakfast recipes and I shall share them with you.  So you don't have to wake up and wade through Pinterest tomorrow (which, is fun too!) here are some of our recently tried and loved recipes for "Weekend Breakfasts."


They are exactly how they sound. We love them with fresh fruit on top, and if you happen to have a dollop of homemade whipped cream, by all means, do it!



These are a delicious alternative to something sweet. Once you cook the onion and the herbs together it makes an amazing combination with soft baked eggs. *This coming from someone who has never really loved soft baked eggs* But I think these are fantastic!



Now, Back to sweet stuff!!!

We watched Nigella makes these on a Summer-Themed episode and it was enough to run out and buy ricotta cheese and fresh berries. Eat them with crispy bacon. You won't be sorry. 


I've tried a lot of pancake recipes, this one is my favorite in the way of buttermilk pancakes. Yum!


Many people think Sausage Balls are more of an Appetizer food, which they totally can be, but I think they are great for breakfast! Great for a portable "on-the-go" breakfast or for a special occasion "balance out that french toast casserole" breakfast too. These are really good. The cream cheese makes them really special. 



Add a fresh fruit salad and maybe a slice or two of bacon, a cup of coffee (make mine ICED!!!) and you will be good to go!!!
Now, go work hard so you can feel good about splurging on breakfast tomorrow morning! 

7.10.2013

Four Things I Think You Should Know on a Wednesday


    1. Lance's dear sweet (Paternal) Grandmother went to be with Jesus today. Her name is Mary. She has been fighting the uphill battle of Alzheimer's for 16 years. A year after her husband (whom I never had the pleasure of meeting) passed away she started showing signs of the disease. She has suffered long. She has been tirelessly cared for by her daughter and son-in-law for many years. She and Mr. Stuckey raised 7 children (one of them being my Father in Law) and she was a star basketball player! There will be a keen loss felt over the next few days as we prepare to celebrate her life, but I am rejoicing today. Literally, my heart has felt such peace and excitement to know that she forever stepped away from a life of pain and confusion into the arms of her Saviour TODAY! What a wonderful Wednesday it must be for her.
And I cannot help but hope that she has met her little great-grandchild. This month our sweet 2nd Stuckey Baby would be two years old. We have blessing upon blessing. Far more than we have heartache. Still a mother does not forget. What an amazing life our God has given us that we live always with the HOPE of Heaven. The blessings and graces are far more than we can count. But I think we should try to count them anyway. 
A sweet moment from our Wedding in 2007


2. Friend, can I ask you something? Are you hurting today? Has someone hurt you? Are the actions (or non-actions) of someone you love weighing your heart like a thousand pounds? Maybe you're reeling at the sin of another that though it has nothing to do with you personally, the news of it shook to you the core.

 Maybe you are trying hard to lean on the chest of the One who made you but you keep looking up, asking, "WHY?!

Maybe you're really struggling with the load He has asked you to carry. A sick child. A difficult spouse. A financially tight life with no foreseeable change. Cancer. Miscarriage. Rejection. Perhaps you are carrying far more burdens than one person should be expected to carry. Maybe you're the one everyone counts on and you feel you just *might* buckle from the pressure of it all. Are you hurting or struggling today?  You can tell me. I promise I won't tell a soul. Pinky Promise. But I will point you in this direction. Someone dear shared it with me and I simply must share it with you. 



3. And if you'll forgive me for the complete pendulum swing, are you going to dotMOM??!!!


This year is my very first opportunity to attend and I am so excited. The fall conference will be held in Chattanooga, TN this year and I can hardly wait. I would LOVE to see you there! Some of the amazing speakers include, Vicki Courtney, Jen Hatmaker (YAY!) and Angela Thomas. All of which I've not yet had the privilege of hearing. This is me, EXCITED.



4. One of my very favorite companies, English Tea Paperie has decided to start offering PERMANENT FREE SHIPPING!!!
ETP is an amazing source for personal stationery & gifts! Chloe hand designs or draws each and every design on the site, making them 100% unique and so special.  She is amazingly talented and a joy to work with. English Tea Paperie has a beautiful selection of Monogram Notes, Social & Scripture Notes or even custom design services-- so if you have not already, check them out!

7.08.2013

Happy Monday & What We've Been Cooking

Though I love the business of summer, I still feel like the time is going by way too fast. It frustrates me to go into stores and see ALL the summer/ patio stuff deeply discounted because I know they are preparing the way for "the next thing," which in many cases is fall decor. I am SO not ready for this yet!

So I'm embracing summer! Here's a little recap of what we've been cooking lately: Lots of salads, lots of Southwestern food, lots of things that don't require standing over the stove in the very hot weather with a few treats mixed in here and there!

First, these Blueberry Muffins. They are so good! Made with oatmeal, greek yogurt and blueberries-- they are healthy but still moist and delicious. They have definitely replaced the old Oatmeal Applesauce Blueberry Muffins I used to make. These are WAY BETTER! I actually have to add about 1/4- 1/2 cup of Buttermilk or Milk because the batter is so thick... but that makes it even better-- you get large muffins and mine even yielded 14 or 15 instead of a dozen.

 add a sprinkling of sugar to each one before you bake them-- it gives them a nice crust. 

Yum!

While we are discussing food, I recently made Pioneer Woman's Mocha Brownies. WHOA. 
If you like coffee and chocolate at ALL, you should make these. Soon. I made a half recipe and a half recipe of the frosting for Father's Day. (A half recipe was plenty.)

Mine weren't really all that pretty because my frosting did something funny--
(I think the butter was too soft when I mixed them. ) But still, DELICIOUS!!!

Also by PW, we tried this Watermelon Pico de Gallo. So good. It was part of our 4th of July fare and I've been eating it for days. So fresh!

This Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad was the perfect friday night meal this week. I will definitely make it again. I halved the dressing though. Otherwise, it seemed like way too much. 

Another recipe we've made frequently is this one for Peanut Noodles with Vegetables. We have loaded them up with Red Pepper Strips and Broccoli, Julienned Zucchini and even chicken once. It makes a great main dish with only one pot for the whole meal. 
We've also made it as a side along with these Sticky Balsamic Chicken Legs. (Pictured Below)

(creepy feet photobomb. don't worry, I've gotten a pedicure since then.)


Well, that's pretty much it for now! I'm all about the easy, make ahead and cold and fresh food lately! Please let me know if you try any of these!

7.05.2013

Don't Rush Me

I'd been making a conscious effort to slow down and not act as though we were always in a hurry every time we went anywhere or did anything.

I read this post back in March, and honestly it's what all started this pondering and self-evaluation.

I really felt like I was doing "better" and this particular day we were getting in the car I hadn't said anything at all about hurrying, etc. But we WERE late and my mind was definitely saying it, and she felt it. 

Kids are incredibly intuitive that way.

As I buckled her in, she said "Mommy, don't RUSH me!"  I stifled a laugh at how old she sounded and then thought, "where on earth did she hear that??!" (I've two guesses and they are both me. )

Whether or not I was being impatient with her, I felt hurried and it showed and I took a deep breath, apologized and made an attempt to RELAX. It was only a playdate after all, and as it was not a playdate where a child was choking and I was the only one who knew how to administer the Heimlech Maneuver, it's safe to say it didn't really matter if we were a few minutes late.

Why does it matter? Aren't all human beings destined to rush every day for the rest of their lives and that's just how we do things and we might as well all get used to being in a hurry until the day we die? What's the problem?

Because we miss so much when we rush.
We miss the look in their eyes when we're too busy to look into them when they tell us something.
We miss the quiet, peaceful moments (or the loud chaotic beauty!) in the car when we are anxiously watching the clock and wondering if we will make it on time.
We miss the bath tub confessional when we hurriedly baptize them with a swish of soap and water in hopes for a timely bed time. (After all, we are exhausted.)


Ann Voskamp, who said it so well said,
"In our rushing, bulls in china shops, we break our own lives." and then "The hurry makes us hurt." (Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts. Pg 66.)

And that is so true. Just thinking about it, I realize, when I rush for no good reason, I DO hurt others. I hurt myself. I hurt my daughters.  I catch tangles in painful snarls in a too-quickly moving hairbrush. I catch little legs in seatbelts buckled in rapid closing. I slam sweet fingers in doors closed behind my retreating self. Sure, all accidental, but if I would SLOW DOWN it probably wouldn't happen as often.

More importantly, when I rush and run and hurry and multi-task way too many tasks at once, I haven't the time to look into their eyes when they talk. I don't remember that they ARE my most important task when I'm constantly frustrated by the tasks they interrupt.


Why do we do this? 
Too much on our plate.
Wearing too many hats.
Not enough time.
Too many people counting on us.


But life is NOT an emergency. It's not how much time we have, because we all get the same amount. It's what we choose to do with it. Maybe we don't really need MORE time. Perhaps, we just need to eliminate some things that are eating up all the extra minutes and causing us to always have an attitude of, "AUGH! Kids! get in the CAR NOW!!! My hair's on fire and the only water is in the car!!!!!" Wait, no one else does that? Just me? Oh.

If we treat life as it is an emergency, what message are we sending to our children? What are we saying to them in our constant state of, "Not enough time! Not enough time! Not enough time!"

It's not a message that promotes being thankful in everything. We aren't teaching them the beauty of every day, we are teaching them the lack of time. We are teaching them there is never enough (time, resources, etc.) instead of that Christ is 100% enough for all our needs.


Because friend, it is awfully hard to measure each moment in gratefulness if we are merely trying to get through to the next thing.  Don't miss it.


**From someone who grew up in a family of five with two working parents, I KNOW that sometimes these things are easier said than done, especially for working moms. I'd love to hear your suggestions about how you build your day to avoid the constant rushing.



7.03.2013

Backyard BBQ Couples Shower

If you know my parents or my family at all, then you know that two of their favorite things are having people over for a party and cooking BBQ. My Dad is the grill-master of ALL grill-masters and my mom happens to be an amazing hostess, so when they decided to host an Backyard BBQ Couples Shower for my cousin, I immediately asked if I could plan and execute the decorations!

My mom and I were so happy with the way everything turned out and we really had a lot of fun. Most importantly, my cousin and his fiancee and their families had a great time!

Almost all of my ideas came from either Pinterest or Southern Living-esque publications-- here are a few pictures of the day:


 First things first, the iced coffee fairy arrived. (necessary to a successful party.)



My super talented Mother made individual home made pies in mini mason jars-- 
Peach, Blueberry, Apple and Cherry. So fun!

 We originally planned to rent a tent because of the heat, but I'm so glad we did--because of the ridiculous amount of rain that week! We used tablecloths similar to these but in yellow from Target, they were disposable but the looked and felt like cloth. With Burlap runners and Mason Jar (of course!) Flower Arrangements. 

See? Ominous Black Clouds would have really would have been a "damper" had we not had the tent. 


Quart Size Blue Jars for the Arrangements
(Jars: World Market)

 An Old Wagon lined with a small quilt was perfect for plates. It would be even cuter with real, mismatched china plates! 
Also, that chalkboard is from Hobby Lobby. I purchased Chalk Board Markers (also from Hobby Lobby) to write the menu and a cute saying on the other side. And guess what? The CB Marker will NOT come off. HA! FAIL. Guess who is going to be re-painting the chalkboard with chalkboard paint? Oh. Yeah. 


 Silverware buckets
(From Ikea)

Beverage Table. We served Sweet Tea, Unsweet Tea and Lemonade and then had Ice and water bottles in a cooler underneath. Apparently I never got a picture of the table "finished." It was so cute with everyone drinking from Mason Jars though. Does anyone know I love Mason Jars? 
I do. I truly do. 
(Clear and Blue Mason jars from Amazon
Striped Straws from Target
Beverage Dispensers from SAms or Costco)

This is an old wheelbarrow which we were originally going to fill with ice and water bottles, but when it started to rain, we brought the presents in from that other picnic table and put a quilt under them. It turned out pretty cute. 

Cute little tags with ribbon for everything that needed explanation 
(Tags: Hobby Lobby)


And yes, I did take time for pie. Wouldn't you?  


I could not have done any of this without this girl. My mom and I were both so busy and I asked Courtney and Mike to come help me watch the girls and she ended up doing SO much more than that. She's a wonder I tell you!!! She REALLY alleviated my stress level. 
Everybody needs a friend like that.