Friday, February 26, 2010

Why I am Looking Forward to This Weekend

Besides hanging out with my amazing hubby & adorable baby boy, here are some of the things that I am ready for this weekend…

1.  Sunday School Leadership “pizza party” meeting 2nite with friends!

2.  Junior League Whale Sale tomorrow morning!  I am hoping to find some cute boutique type outfits for Collin, and some other “treasures”…


3.  PF Chang’s tomorrow night!  So sad that our friends Spencer & Emily are moving back home to Texas, but so happy for them (and glad to help them celebrate at one of our favorite places)!


4.  Less than 1 week until my trip to TEXAS!!!!  Including bridal gown fitting & bridesmaid dress shopping with my sissy…still can’t believe she’s old enough to get married, but I was actually the same age when I married Son.  It’s just different when it’s your little sister I guess :)  So excited for her!!


Hope everyone else has a wonderful weekend planned!!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yummy Sweet & Sour Pork recipe

Here is the recipe that I mentioned in an earlier post…it was from a Publix Family Style magazine a while back.  This is the stove-top method & my changes are noted – enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Pork
1.5 pounds lean pork stew meat or pork shoulder (**I used pork chops cut into cubes)
3 T all purpose flour
1/2 t salt or to taste (**I left this out)
1/4 t pepper or to taste
1 T Canola Oil
1 Cup chopped onion (**I used the already chopped up frozen ones – a whole bag)
5 medium Carrots cut into 1/2 inch chunks (**Again I used a bag of frozen sliced carrots)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/4 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T. worcestershire sauce
2 pouches precooked rice, heated to directions (**I used a box of wild rice)

  1. Add flour, salt and pepper to Ziploc bag.  Add pieces of pork and shake to coat.  Brown meat and onions in skillet with oil.
  2. Add undrained tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar, 1/2 cup water, and Worchester sauce.  Simmer for about 10 min.
  3. Add carrots and continue to simmer for about 15-20 more minutes or until carrots are tender.
  4. Wisk together some flour & water (about 1/4 cup) to thicken & stir into pot.  Simmer until thick & bubbly.
  5. Serve over rice & enjoy!

And here is a picture of the original magazine page because it just looks so yummy – especially on a cold day like today!!


sw sour pork1

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekend Recap & Doctor’s Visit

We had a great weekend, and I hope that everyone else did too!  Why was it so great, you may ask??  Because we had absolutely nothing planned!!  Looking back over my calendar I think it has been over a month since we have just been able to spend a quiet weekend at home together.  We love being busy, but it’s nice sometimes just to take a break together :)

Friday night I came home from work and made one of my favorite recipes – sweet & sour pork.  I will have to post it some day, but it is a page I tore out of a Publix magazine several months ago, and it is sooo yummy!  The original recipe calls for it too cook in a crock-pot, but I have always used the “fast prep” method where you cook it in the stove & it still turns out great!

That night we decided to rent an on-demand movie…“The Hangover”.  I know, I know, just by the title you know that this is not going to be the most wholesome movie ever.  But it was pretty funny.  Son was voting for a scary move, and I wanted to see “Couples Retreat” so somehow we compromised on this one.  I have to admit that we were laughing out loud at several points throughout the movie…however I was VERY distracted when they found a baby & decided to take it for a ride in the back of a stolen police car with no car seat!!  I guess that’s the mommy in me, but seriously, you don’t just buckle an infant in with a regular seat belt…lol!!

The next morning Son got up with Collin & let mommy sleep in – what a gift!!  We unfortunately had a repeat of the biting incident…and after that Collin decided to go on a nursing strike for the rest of the day!  I guess he decided that if he couldn’t bite me he just wouldn’t eat anything??

We spent the rest of the morning taking Beau to vet (family trip!), cleaning the house, and hanging out.  Son made homemade burgers for lunch & Collin continued to refuse his milk in favor of baby food the rest of the day.

That afternoon daddy got to go fishing for the first time since Collin was born!  Waaay overdue!  And Collin & mommy went to the store for some grocery shopping.

That night I started to work on the 2nd car seat cover for Collin’s big boy car seat…long story, but the first one I made with too much padding & tried to make it too complicated.  I was trying to make it extra soft for him so I added an extra layer of padding, then I also tried to be really fancy and make it reversible (all of this without a pattern) and it just didn’t turn out right.  I was pretty close, but with the extra padding I didn’t take into account needing to make the fabric pieces bigger, so it ended up being about an inch too small all the way around…oops!  Oh well, I learned from the first “sample” & and am now on to Round 2…this time we are going for a simpler 1-sided version.  I’ll post pics when it’s finished :)

The next morning (Sunday) the nursing strike continued, and by this point I was getting pretty worried.  It was daddy’s day to sleep in, but I think he could tell I was upset so he got up with us and helped me get about 4 ounces from a bottle in Collin.  We went to Sunday School & I think I told every person I saw about Collin not eating…mommy was worried about her little man!  We got some good advice from several of our “nursing buddies” in the nursing room at church, but fortunately he decided that he would eat again during our usual time between SS and Big Church.  I was soo happy!

After church we went to a Chicago pizza place for lunch with a group of friends.  It was downtown at the landing on the water, and it was such a beautiful day that we got to sit outside on the patio & enjoy the sun & the water!

That afternoon mommy even had her own nap time – see, I told you this was a good weekend!  Then it was back to church Sunday night.

This morning Collin had a doctors appointment to check out a rash that he has had on his diaper area for about a week.  I wanted to get it checked out because it looked a little different than a regular diaper rash or his eczema, and it wasn’t going away using the diaper rash cream or hydrocortisone.  Turns out it is a yeast infection!  I thought that only women got those, but it turns out that it is pretty common in babies too…so we got another prescription and were on our way.  Oh yeah, he weighs 19 POUNDS now!!!  I have a big little boy :)

19 pounds!!

Happy Monday!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chomp, Chomp…

Yesterday when I got home Son & Collin greeted me as usual, and when I was going over Collin’s “report card” from school that day Son told me that when he picked Collin up the teacher informed him that Collin had bitten her that day…I think she was okay with it, but just wanted us to know?

I didn’t think too much of it until this morning when Collin woke up and I was feeding him.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, he chomps down!  HARD!!  I had read in “What to Expect the First Year” that if they bite you while nursing that you need to firmly say “no” and pull them away.

So I looked at him and firmly said “No Collin, No!” and I pulled him away.

Then he just gave me this little look and started bawling!  Poor baby!!  Of course I started comforting him and let him finish nursing.

This discipline thing is harder than it looks!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Valentine

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Friday, February 12, 2010

On My Heart…

This is going to be a long post…I can just feel it.  And totally intended for me personally, probably boring to those out there who read my blog – so that is your warning.  If you are looking for something entertaining and light then please come back another day.

I don’t know about the personal situation or the lives of the writers behind some of the blogs that I read because they are written by perfect strangers (such as Beth Moore’s LPM Blog, McMommy Chronicles, Steece’s Pieces, or The Meanest Mom).  Most of them I just happened on by clicking from a friend’s blog, then to one they are following, then to one that other person is following, and so on.  If I find one that I like I become a follower of this unknown but entertaining person and sometimes if I feel like sharing, I will add them to my sidebar.

However, the ones I most enjoy are those where I know a little more about the ladies behind the stories. 

They may be current friends like Angela, Rebecca, Emily, Rachel,  and many, many others – just check out the full list on the sidebar to the left.  Sorry girls – I read & LOVE all your bloggies, but I am tired of inserting hyperlinks now :).

They may be people that I would call “friend-of-a-friend” like Sarah or Erin.

And finally we have the high school / college / hometown friends that I have found.  These include Elizabeth, Jillian, Suzanne, one I just recently found by Kristin, and a few others.

I have been thinking about this lately.  A. Lot.

I have to say that an overwhelming list of emotions that I have been feeling include embarrassment, humility, hypocrisy, and regret. 

All of that mixed in with much thanksgiving and  a reenergizing of my convictions.  I promise that I will try to make sense of this all by the end of the post – if anyone other than myself sticks around that long…

Let me just start with my personal life experience (aka Testimony) wrapped up into as few words as possible:

1.  Raised in loving and happy Christian home with most wonderful Christian parents, grandparents, and other family members ever!

2.  Saved during VBS at First Baptist Church in Tyler, TX in elementary school.  Baptized in middle school when my sister was saved (not sure what the hold-up was other than the fact that I was extremely self-conscious and had a difficult time doing anything by myself).

3.  Had a tough time with previously mentioned self-consciousness, need for acceptance, and depression starting in about 7th grade and was always trying to “fit in” with the popular crowd.

4.  Never went totally crazy (depending on how you define crazy), but most definitely did not live for the Lord during high school or college.  From the outside may have appeared to be totally happy, and I think that I was mostly happy (wonderful memories/experiences from college), but always felt in the back of my mind/heart that something just wasn’t “right”.

5.  Felt like I needed a change when I graduated college (didn’t know why I felt that way at the time, but now I recognize that it was the Lord telling me that I was wasting my life and leading me to the place where I would be able to realize that and grow closer to Him)

6.  Moved over 1,000 miles from all my friends, family, and everything I had ever known to a place where I knew absolutely no one & could get he fresh start that I needed.

7.  After my mom literally threatening me that she was going to call the singles pastor to come visit me, I finally started going to First Baptist Church of Jacksonville.

8.  Met the most amazing Christian man ever and fell in love.

9.  Stopped running from the Lord, rededicated my life to Him, and started living for Him.  Still struggle, and never claim to be perfect, but HE has transformed my life and I am renewed through Him!  Now I know that regardless of circumstances and situations that life throws my way (which can make me happy or unhappy) I have the deep JOY that comes from the Lord and cannot be taken away :)

10.  Was blessed to be able to marry that amazing Christian man, blessed with the most awesome, accepting, and loving Christian friends anyone could ever have, and finally blessed truly beyond measure with my precious son Collin.  God is so good!!

And that just about brings us to the present – Whew!  You should try condensing your entire life into 10 statements…not easy!

Anyways, let’s get back on track!

This brings me to the current stark contrast between the people who knew me up through item #4 (and have very little to no knowledge of items #5 - #10) and the people who didn’t meet me until item #7 (and have very little to no knowledge of items #1 - #6).

Up until a few years ago these two worlds happily existed totally separate and apart from one another, with only family and hubby really fully aware of all 10 steps…Wow, my life can now be described as a 10-Step program - LOL!

Bring facebook & blogspot into the picture and that totally changes everything.  Now I cannot live in these two totally segmented lives & I have to come face to face with my past, present, and future meeting.

**Note: This is starting to feel a little overly dramatic, so please excuse that - I’m just writing this because it’s how I feel & it’s been on my heart for a while now.

I know that the Bible says “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

So I know that my past is forgiven and my slate has been wiped clean before God, but I also know that even though we are forgiven and made clean before the Lord that we still must live with the consequences and results of past decisions (good or bad).

But another thing that I also know & cling to is the fact that God’s grace and mercy has absolutely nothing to do with who I am and whether or not I “deserve” the blessings that are in my life.

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” 2 Timothy 1:9

Dr. Brunson (pastor at FBC Jax) once described God’s Mercy & Grace this way:

God’s Mercy is when he withholds what we deserve, and God’s Grace is when he not only withholds what we deserve, but gives us things that we do not deserve

I tell you what, I have been showered with God’s Mercy & Grace for sure!!

I guess with all of this all I am trying to say is that sometimes when I write a Facebook status update, or a Blog Post, I sometimes hesitate briefly before I hit the send button…

Thinking…about the people who may or may not read what I just wrote…how my HS and College friends must think I am so hypocritical, or how they may think “that’s not the real Julie I knew”.

Thinking…how saddened it makes me that I might be a stumbling block to someone out there searching…that they may look at me and think “well if that’s what a Christian is, I knew her, and her life wasn’t any different than mine.”

Thinking…no one probably even reads my status updates or blog posts, or stops to even think about them, except for the few people who comment (which, btw, I LOVE comments!!) so why am I so concerned with it?

Thinking…that this blog post may seem like I think that everyone out there is concerned with me and who I was or who I am and that I may seem self-involved?

Well, all I know is that God has done an amazing thing in my life…I am the happiest, most joyful, most content, and closest to Him that I have ever been in my life.  And I just wanted to get this out, and this is my blog, so here it is…my heart.

Wow!  I feel better already!  I have literally been working on this post & saving it in drafts for about a week, but it’s Friday & I am finally brave enough to hit “Publish Post”.

If you are still reading this then I am impressed…you must have a really boring day at work or home :)

I hope that everyone has an awesome Valentine’s Day & I cannot wait for DATE NIGHT with my amazing hubby TOMORROW!!  Thanks to Dustin & Angela for bringing Dallas over to play with Collin tomorrow so that we can have our 2nd date since Collin was born!  We are going to Marker32 – one of our favorite pre-baby date spots (kind of a fancy place where a loud baby throwing toys around and screaming would be generally frowned upon).  Yea!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

That's My King

Our church played this video during Pastor's Conference this year, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. 

That's MY King by Dr. S.M. Lockridge

And in case you are like me, and like to check out the people that you listen to, here is a little info on him from Wikidedia.  I already knew I liked him, but when I found out he was from Texas I liked him even more!

Have a great day!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Generic Diapers & Diaper Cream – a surprising comeback

In the Vuong Family we LOVE Target & Publix…and we also love their generic versions of {most} products.  So, when I was pregnant with Collin I naturally assumed that I would love Target or Publix brand diapers, wipes, diaper cream, etc. also.  Thanks to our WONDERFUL friends & family we were well stocked with all of the above products when Collin first arrived (Pampers, Huggies, etc.) so it was a few months before I actually had to add such things to my weekly shopping lists.

The first time that we were running low on diapers I added them to my weekly Target list, and was on the way.  After purchasing Target brand diapers and diaper cream I was VERY disappointed.  The diapers leaked terribly, and the cream smelled bad and would not spread well.  I tried Publix diapers with the same disappointing results, so then I just decided that it was worth the extra few cents per diaper to get the name brand ones that don’t leak.

That is until a few weeks ago when I was at Target with my little cell phone calculator pulled out trying to determine which pack of diapers was the lowest price per diaper (yes, I am that frugal – has anyone else ever done that??) when I kept looking at the Target brand diapers…the had some new packaging, and the diapers themselves were SO CUTE – blue & green polka dots!!  Against my better judgment based on past experience, but motivated my the nearly $9/package savings I decided to give them another try…plus, they were just sooo cute!

I am now a believer!!  They have worked great, and even overnight!  I had been buying the more expensive Fisher Price Good Night Diapers because Collin kept waking up with wet jammies using the Pampers after sleeping all night…so I thought “Okay, that’s great that the Target diapers work during the day, but there is no way they will stand up to night time”.  But again, I was wrong.  Collin now wears the Target diapers 24/7.

I am thinking that maybe they don’t leak as often because he has more “big boy” bathroom habits now??  But whatever the reason I am glad I gave Target another chance.

The only down side would be for someone with a little girl because they only come in blue & green polka dots.  I guess it doesn’t really matter since you can cover them up with some very girly bloomers, but I think that if/when I have a little girl she will be pink from head to toe :) Hehe – that thought almost makes me want to try again for a little girl…that is until I start thinking about the fact that that little girl would actually have to be born & I am not ready for that whole process again.

Also on a related subject, I haven’t tried Publix brand diapers again recently, but they do have the most amazing diaper cream – I swear it is manufactured at the Desitin plant and just put in different packaging.  I have tried several different brands/types because Collin gets really bad diaper rash, but I have found that Desitin & Publix are the only ones that will work for him.  For whatever reason my Publix only stocks 3 tubes of it at a time so when we are running low I buy all 3 – Collin can go through some diaper cream!

Okay, this is probably an INCREDIBLY BORING post for anyone without an infant…or even if you have an infant it is probably boring too, but I was just so excited that I had to write about it.

Happy Friday (okay, I know it’s not until tomorrow, but I am off work now so it is already Friday in my book)!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Whole New Level of Clean

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I had Collin with me while I was doing my makeup/hair in the bathroom. Usually he is happy to sit next to the full-length mirror and play with a few of his toys that I bring in there with us. Well, I was thinking to myself how he sure was being good to play by himself while I was fixing my hair, but when I looked down I almost threw up…he had crawled over to the trash can and was laying down, playing with some clippings from Son’s electric razor that had missed the trash can…and his pacifier was laying in the middle of the pile of shaved facial hair! Then, when I reached down to get him he looked right at me and reached over and TOUCHED THE TOILET! (Kind of like he knew he wasn’t supposed to, but wanted to see what I did about it)


Who knows what he was doing with his paci before I looked down…I don’t even want to think about it! So go ahead and put this down as another reason that I will not win Mother Of The Year for 2010.

This makes me thing of the book “Love you Forever” when the little boy is in the bathroom & flushes his mothers watch down the toilet…she turned out to be an okay mother, so maybe there is still hope for me :)

love you forever

I think we keep a relatively clean house…but starting this weekend the Vuong Household is going to a whole new level of clean!! I think this may be more important than baby-proofing!! I think I need to go to Sam’s Club and buy the industrial size of Clorox Bleach Wipes.


I was so ready for Collin to start crawling, but now I don’t know why I rushed it…

Of course as soon as I picked him up I immediately sat him on the bathroom counter and washed his hands/face/all other areas not covered by his PJ’s – and yeah, that paci, it is going in the trash!