Refrigerator Dill Pickles

My lovely husband would live on pickles if he could. A good dill pickle can set the entire mood for the evening. It can take all his cares from the day and have him singing musical numbers. Well, not really. But he might sing a really good Police song.

Do you follow Shannan Martin? She’s amazing. Her heart for loving people – all people – will inspire you. In addition to loving people, she is an expert on all things pickles and salsa related, including tacos. My food of choice involves anything drenched in chocolate or cheese. Brian’s food of choice involves anything that salt might be best friends with. It took me 10 years to learn to make our pantry look how his looked growing up, or at least a mix of our childhood homes. After I learned that (finally), we were so much better about eating what we had in the house. But, that’s a story for another time.

Back to Shannan. She told me to make these pickles, so I did. Brian did an Irish jig the first time he tasted them, so I knew we had a hit. The entire jar was gone in one sitting. (Riley and Mary Alice are his pickle buddies).


  • Quart jar


  • 1 T table salt
  • 1.5 T sugar
  • 1/4 t black peppercorns (heaping)
  • 1/4 t mustard seed (heaping)
  • 1 T chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Fresh dill to taste (I used one head of dill and a 3″ section of the feathery stuff)


  • Fill the jar with warm water, screw a lid on, and shake until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Super easy.  These will keep for about 2 weeks, unless you live in my home and they will last through one session of setting the table.

The Wedding Dress

Sometimes you are talking with a friend, and something sparks a memory. There is a picture so clear, so vivid that you feel as though you are walking the footsteps over again. You can feel the carpet. You can hear the people around you and you remember exactly how you felt.

Today, the story of how my wedding dress was chosen came rushing back to me when I was talking with a friend. I knew I had to write it down before it was buried in the cheerio-ed to-do lists of tomorrow.

Mom and I had tried on ten million dresses. It was the annual David’s Bridal last year’s clearance, with racks and racks full of $99 dresses. I couldn’t find any that I just adored, so we put two on hold. We decided to drive home, pick up dad, eat some lunch, and ask his advice on the two dresses we had put on hold. If I remember correctly, one had long lace sleeves and was very Victorian.

We ate at Jason’s Deli and drove back down I-45 in Houston to David’s Bridal. Dad was being such a good sport, but he could tell that I didn’t really like either of the dresses. He kept making jokes about me wearing mom’s dress. (She was 5’1″ and 107 pounds when they were married. At 5’6″ and a wee bit more than 107 I figured I probably wouldn’t be able to get it past my knees.) We had decided that the dress was one wedding expense we would really save money on, so that we could pay for extended family to come into town.

We walked into the store, and Dad said, “Here, try this dress on.” I hesitated and said, “This isn’t one of the two that we have on hold.” And he said, “That’s ok. When you put this on, it’ll make you feel better about the other two.” It made sense to me. Maybe it would look so terrible that the others would be relief.

I walked out and mom started crying. I knew we had finally found the dress. Dad stood there smiling, knowing exactly what he had done.

Dad found my wedding dress.

I never tried on a different dress. The next time I put it on was when dad escorted me down the aisle in College Station, Texas to marry my best friend.

Thank you, dad. I’ll always remember that.

tinuviel - What a lovely, lovely story!! - Thank you, mama! - I’d love to read your story!

Amy Carney - Love this! Got me thinking about writing my own story to hand down to my daughter with my preserved dress. Thanks for the inspiration!

Southern Gal - What a sweet, sweet story!

Mary Thompson - Oh what lovely memories. He was right you looked like a princess.

Thoughts about open adoption

“Adoption has the dimension of connection — not only to your own tribe, but beyond, widening the scope of what constitutes love, ties and family. It is a larger embrace. By adopting, we stretch past our immediate circles and, by reaching out, find an unexpected sense of belonging with others.” – Isabella Rossellini

Open adoption. I know this isn’t a possibility for everyone. I know that for some, especially in international adoption, it is nearly impossible.

What I can tell you is, if you have the opportunity to know, learn from, and be with extended family, please take it. The time you spend with one another, the gift of awkward moments, the rush to get to know one another, and the efforts to build a net of safety and love are so worth it.

This week at school is ‘All about Me’ week for Riley. It is his turn to show baby pictures and tell stories about who he is. Because of our relationship with Riley’s family, we have pictures to send. He has the story of his life and how he was loved so dearly from the beginning. My sweet little boy can talk about two family trees that have worked hard at building a shaded garden to play in, grow, grieve, understand, and love. He can see two families who love his so very dearly and want the best for his future. He can see that we want him to feel safe and loved.

Riley isn’t the only one who has been blessed by this relationship. Tonight, our next little one received a quilt from the hands of Riley’s great aunt.

A quilt… isn’t that just the perfect gift. Little pieces of fabric and story woven together, chosen carefully, to make something beautiful.

If we hadn’t chosen open adoption, we would have never been given the gift of knowing his grandmother (on the right) before she passed. If we hadn’t chosen open adoption, we wouldn’t have known the treasure that is his great aunt.

Oh Riley, what a blessing you’ve been to us. I’m so thankful for your family and how they’ve blessed our lives.

Mary Thompson - My Riley, is my heart. Each of my grandchildren is my heart. Love is not a pie you cut up, but something that grows and evolves as each person grows. Just when
You don’t think you could love them any more you discover another layer to that heart and person. It is the greatest adventure.

Valentine’s Day: Printable Disney Valentine

Have you ever made melted crayon valentines? They are so fun to do. I’ll never forget, a few years ago, I thought I was being so incredibly creative and I pulled out all of our broken crayons. Julia, Nate, and I sat at the kitchen table and peeled the crayons for hours. We made little hearts with explosions of color. I carefully wrapped them up and sent them to my friend Kelly in Texas. Our kids have always been close and love sending packages to each other.

A few days later, we received a valentine’s day package in the mail from them. We opened it and burst out laughing when we also found little melted crayon hearts and stars. I called Kelly and found out we had actually mailed the packages the exact same day! Good times.

Well, if you’ve never made them, they are so easy and perfect for little hands.



  • Print out PDF file
  • Peel crayons (I use a sharp knife to cut the paper, then let the kids peel the paper off)
  • Break crayons into small pieces and fill the silicone mold
  • Bake the crayons at 225 degrees for 20 minutes
  • Let the crayons cool
  • Remove the crayons from the silicone mold
  • Cut PDF
  • Using the glue dots, adhere the crayons to the valentine

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. None of these products were sent to us for review. Links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you purchase through my link I may receive a commission. I sincerely appreciate your support of this blog! 

Allison Waken - I absolutely love this idea Kate! So cute!

Heather (Brie Brie Blooms) - Such a CUTE idea!

Big Sister

She’s going to be a big sister, soon. When I ask her where the baby is, she’ll run to my tummy and kiss it. They will only be 23 months apart, my closest two yet.

This little family of mine is absolutely surreal. Just a few years ago, I was so sure that it would just be the four of us. We wanted so badly to share our love with another little one, and along came Riley. Then, I blinked and here was Mary Alice.

And now, no longer destined to be the littlest little, baby brother will be here very, very soon.

There are days I worry about adding more love to my heart. I worried with each one that I would love the next fully and completely, but then, it just happened. Everytime I see my child, my heart explodes into ten million pieces and all is right with the world. It’s as if I can’t even remember what life was like before they were in my arms.

“And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of*ten Grinches, plus two!”  ~ Dr. Seuss

Khristena - Mary Alice is such a doll! I’m excited for her new adventure as a big sister!

Mary Thompson - I love it. And the pictures are precious.
Our darlings. We are so excited for you. So much love to give . How lovely.