KITCHEN REORGANIZATION

October 25, 2019


If you know me, and how I get mess stress easily, then you know how happy I am to be a Brand Ambassador for The Container Store. Life is full with a family of seven, and things have felt extra full lately, so certain areas and spaces in our home  have succumb to disarray. So I’m looking forward to partnering with The Container Store to get these spots organized and back under control.

This month, I’m tackling my kitchen cabinets and drawers. Earlier this month, I did a major clean and purge of our pantry and fridge, so it feels good to move on to the drawers and cabinets. The girls are always baking, and with life being as full as it is, our cabinets and drawers have been filled with a mishmosh of things. It definitely needed to go through a deep purge and some organizing. Finally, after a free afternoon of going through everything, I’m so excited to share how organized everything is.

Before:

After:

The Container Store has thousands of kitchen products designed to be efficient with your space and make things easier to stay organized. I’m loving the extra space we get now using the Cupboard Chrome Shelf, I get all my plates and bowls in one cabinet, instead of spread out between two. The Single Corner Shelf is especially helpful in maximizing our space, and the Undershelf Basket also provided more organization and gave us another row inside our cabinet to store goods.

I used The Everything Drawer Organizers (and mixed and matched it with this one too) for our drawers. You can mix and match the containers to get the configuration that works just right for your space. Our drawers look so much better, and everything just makes sense now. With everything now having a place, instead of all simply being tossed in the drawer together, will definitely make for better kitchen efficiency.

I enjoy organized spaces, but the kitchen is one of the first things to go when life gets chaotic, and it’s probably because the mess is hidden behind cabinets and drawers. This challenge was exactly what I needed to take back control of my kitchen. With all my girls cooking and baking all the time, I think all the organization will lessen some of the fighting and bickering as they’re looking for things. This mom is all about that! Plus, the holidays are coming up and there will be even more baking and cooking, so we got everything organized just in time.

This post is in partnership with The Container Store as one of their Brand Ambassadors. The opinions and text are all mine. I appreciate the time you spend in this space, the support you give me, and the brands I partner with. If you’re in need of some kitchen organization too, take advantage of their kitchen sale going on now through November 10!


RED LENTIL AND BULGUR SOUP

January 29, 2019


 

3 from 2 votes
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RED LENTIL AND BULGUR SOUP

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8
Author Rubyellen

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 2/3 cup bulgur wheat
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. In pot, cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, stirring until softened about 3-5 minutes.

  2. Add the carrots and cook for another 3-5 minutes. 

  3. Add the broth, lentils, bulgur, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. 

  4. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils and bulgur are very tender, about 25-30 minutes. Discard bay leaves after. 

  5. Add salt and stir in lemon juice. Add pepper to taste. 

  6. Serve with cilantro sprinkled on top.


This recipe was shared with us from one of Ben’s co-workers, who is a master at making delicious food. I changed up a few things to the recipe and I hope you give it a try. It’s quick and easy, and that’s all I can do these days. The meal is very healthy, so Ben adds some greek yogurt to a bowl of soup for some added bulk and calories. It makes it extra creamy and delicious.

Bulgur can be difficult to find. We drove to a few grocery stores looking for it, until we succumb to ordering it from here instead.


KUMQUAT MOMENTS

January 28, 2019


Last week was a hard week. I started last Monday feeling encouraged by the events of the previous weekend, but by Saturday night, I was defeated. Some relationship trials, a couple sleepless nights, getting sick for a couple days, then crazy winds in our area that forced my car door open wider than I wanted, which resulted in some of my white car paint scuffs on a clean, black car, and a lady yelling at me then asking to exchange insurance information for said paint scuffs. I was immediately apologetic, but didn’t anticipate it would escalate to wanting my insurance info. I was crying at this point, but she didn’t understand why and said it was no big deal, and so I didn’t comprehend why were we exchanging insurance info if it was no big deal. That just pushed me to my limit for the week and I was on edge the rest of the day with tears and anger to anyone over anything. I texted my accountability group everything I was feeling, which certainly made for a messy read because I wasn’t even sure I was making sense at this point. I had anger, sadness, and frustration all bubbling/bursting inside me.

On Saturday night, I didn’t even want to go to church family gathering the next day. I knew I’d be encouraged hearing the word and seeing church family, but my soul and body were too physically exhausted to go. And I was just getting over a cold/sinus infection, so I knew I could get away with just saying I needed rest if I really wanted to. In the end, there was a church meeting in the afternoon I didn’t want to miss, so I sucked it up and went. And yes, I was encouraged hearing the Word. The reminder to “wake up and stay up” based on Revelation 3:1-6 was the rebuke and encouragement my heart needed. I was refreshed getting hugs from sisters who knew exactly the kind of week I had and I was excited to jump back into the week with a renewed spirit ready to conquer another week’s of life’s trials.

Then, today hit. Big parenting bumps this morning. The defeat returns. That anger, sadness, and frustration combo hitting hard. Learning how to disciple your kids’ hearts is some messy business, especially when you’re a big mess yourself. So when I’m at a loss, and don’t know what to say or do, I can at least turn to what I do know… Jesus took my mess with Him on that cross, and because of that God looks at me and sees Jesus’ righteousness instead. That truth ought to direct my parenting. Well, pretty much all my life. That sets me free. At least it ought too when I’m letting that truth massage its way to the depths of my heart.

As far as trials… relationship bumps, car bumps, or any other kind of life bump… when I’m seeing clearly, I can thank God for the place they have in life. Trials refine my heart, cause me to re-examine my heart and its idols, and push me to cling to Christ. Yeah sure, there are some days when I just want to give up, and I’m totally over it and would rather use distractions to numb myself (today is one of those days), but it’s the sweetness of Christ that pulls me out of that. That sweetness gave me life everlasting and that sweetness reminds me to praise God for these kumquat moments… when the sourness of life is covered and overwhelmed by the sweetness of Christ. Maranatha!


HER NAME IS RED

November 26, 2018


Her name is Red Elizabeth.

If you follow me on ig, then you know about 6 weeks ago, we welcomed another sweet little girl into our lives via adoption. We are definitely in that newborn haze and still trying to figure out how to balance 5 kids (not easy!), four of whom I am currently responsible for their schooling. It’s been pretty silent in this space and I had thought I would share more seeing how November is National Adoption Month, but we’re too busy adjusting and enjoying this sweet little babe of ours. Plus, I’m still trying to figure out what and how to share. There are so many hearts involved; adoption is joy and loss existing simultaneously together. It is Red’s story to share, so I don’t want to overstep because this belongs to her. But just like I have shared the birth stories of our other girls, how she entered our lives is something we take joy in too. I will share what I can in time, which probably won’t be much, but for now, let’s start with her name…

Red symbolizes blood, life, and family. It’s sort of a different take on the name Scarlett. We are so thankful that her birth mom chose life for her. While she didn’t grow in my belly, from the day we found out this possibility, God started growing her in our heart. All 6 of our hearts. She is part of us. We went from 6 to 7. Also, our prayer for Red is Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” We pray that she would ultimately find her identity in the REDemption of the blood of Jesus and what He did for her on the cross.

Elizabeth is birth mom’s middle name, so we gave her the middle name Elizabeth to honor Red’s first mama. Her name is something that we discussed with her first mama prior to her arrival, and it was the name she was given at birth. Our adoption is open adoption, and we will always celebrate her unique story, so it is special that her name is a reflection of that.

My mother-in-law put all the girls’ names together in a way that’s easy for people to remember. She tells people, “A true, brave soul glows red.”


THE GREATEST SHOWMAN // HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2018

October 31, 2018


The girls are all obsessed with The Greatest Showman, and Glow wanted to P.T. Barnum, so that set the stage for this year’s Halloween concept. P.T. Barnum, in this case, has a special variety of curiosities from Laura Ingalls Wilder, straight for the Prairie, to Luke Skywalker from a galaxy, far, far away, and Honey Lemon from Big Hero Six. We had wanted to replicate the scene in the movie where Barnum puts up the posters of the acts and then they all sing, “Come Alive,” but if you follow on instagram, you know we’ve added another Bratcher girl to our family, and she came earlier than planned, so we ran out of time to put a little song and dance number together, but I think these posters convey the story the girls wanted to share this year.

Have a look back at our past Halloween stories…
2017: England News & Beyond
2016: Cutthroat Kitchen: Bratcher Edition
2015: The Mystery of the Missing Leia and Yoda
2014: The Zookeeper’s Wild Day
2013: The Mystery of Pinkie Pielilocks and the Three Bears
2012: The Adventures of Spider-Girl & She-ra
2011: Barbershop Quartet
2010: The Three Little Piggies
2009: Hannah and Gretel
2008: The Untold Story of Oz
2007: Little Red Riding Hood

Happy Halloween!!!


WHERE A KID CAN BE A KID

October 16, 2018


When I was 4 or 5, I had my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I remember the excitement I had at the party and watching the big mechanical Chuck E. Cheese and friends entertaining us. It’s been a long while since then, but now with my own kids, Chuck E. Cheese’s is still as joyful and family friendly. Our family was invited to the unveiling of the Chuck E. Cheese’s new remodel in Foothill Ranch and we were enthusiastic about taking part of the festivities. We loved all the restaurant updates, the girls got to see a grand opening ribbon cutting, and Soul was so excited about helping hold the ribbon for it.

Gone are the mechanical characters of yonder, but in it’s place the characters come out for an hourly live show to sing and dance on their light up dance floor that kids can go on too. They also do a “ticket splash”, which my kids were all about, since tickets are king when you’re here, so they gathered as much tickets as they were able. My eyes were not on the tickets though, my eyes were on the breadsticks. Their breadsticks are my absolute favorite, with a side of ranch of course (I craved them all the time when I was pregnant with True). While they girls were happily devouring their BBQ chicken pizza, I was going to town with my breadsticks.

After dinner, we hit up the games with their play pass game system. We did the All You Can Play wrist bands and the kids had free reign of all the games for a couple hours. All they had to do was swipe and the game started, no more digging for tokens or bugging mom and dad for quarters to get more tokens. It was continuous play and laughter all evening long. I say laughter because some of my girls would just hit up the games of luck to get lots of tickets, and there were a few times they would cash out on 200 tickets in one play. When we started, we all vowed to clean the house of tickets, and I think we did just that because a few machines that we frequented at, ran out. And if you take a closer look at True, you’ll notice she wore an apron because she had plans to have an easy spot to house all her tickets. Clever girl, I tell you. By the end of the night, the girls had accumulated about 6000 tickets! They picked out a couple things for themselves and got a bunch of things for their friends too.

We went home exhausted from the whole adventure, but it was a special bonding time for our family. It was just the kind of carefree evening we needed. There was nothing on the agenda, but have fun, and by golly have fun is what we did. Thank you Chuck E. Cheese’s! It’s still definitely a place where a kid can be a kid, and an adult can be a kid too. Ben and I had way too much playing skee ball, which is my ultimate favorite game ever. We were happy to come home with a pocket full of happy memories with my own kids there.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chuck E. Cheese’s. The opinions and text are all mine. I appreciate the time you spend in this space, the support you give me, and the brands I partner with


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