Photo Friday: Mr. Chairman, My Dad

My dad doesn’t often read this. And it’s a good thing because he’s a very humble man and may not approve of me bragging on him so much. However, I’m going to brag about him anyway.

Last night he was “inaugurated” as the Chairman (equivalent of President) of the Mason Contractors of America (MCAA). He’s been on the board now for 6 years and will now serve as Chairman for two additional years.

I’m so proud of him and my mom, who supports him every step of the way. They made up the “p” and the “s” of P and S Masonry, a masonry contractor in Central Texas established in 1987. They’ve both been advocates for the masonry and construction industry for the 30+ years they’ve been in business. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with them both in the masonry business and now on the equipment company, Spec Rents, which they established to provide increased safety and productivity to contractors across Texas.

I couldn’t have asked for better mentors and I’m so excited that he now has the opportunity to help continue to promote masonry across the country.

Congratulations to my Dad, Paul Odom, Chairman of MCAA, and to my mom, Susie, the First Lady of Masonry.

With that said Photo Friday consists of photos from the MCAA World of Masonry in Las Vegas. They’re all iPhone photos and none taken by Garen so they many not the best but they captured the moments!

It doesn’t matter how many times I attend the World of Concrete/World of Masonry… I think I’ll always be in awe at the sheer awesomeness of the cool construction products and equipment there is available.  Yes, I’m guilty of being a masonry/construction geek!Pre-banquet photo.  Em, Brian, and I flew out yesterday just to attend the closing banquet and hear Dad make his first speech as Chairman.  Garen was already out there since Oldcastle is a big player in the industry too. It was a great surprise for Dad because he didn’t know we were coming!Here he is: Mr. Chairman. It’s official since it was in the banquet booklet!I’m so proud of this guy!

Here he is with Mike Sutter, the outgoing Chairman of MCAA.  Dad’s had such a great time being his “wingman” over the years!

You can’t forget the First Ladies, Mom (Susie) and Colleen.  Behind every great man is a great woman.  They’ve had such a great two years traveling together.

Before boarding this morning we enjoyed a quick breakfast together as a family, minus Garen who flew American.

Did I mention that the banquet last night was at Fogo de Chao??? I’m pretty sure I ate about 3 lbs of delicious meat and had about 10 of those addicting cheese rolls soooooo I may not lose any weight this week. Totally worth it! And I was glad that I wore my stretch tent dress for the occasion.

It was a fast, furious, and fun trip and I’m so glad I got to go. We’ve got a big weekend with Anna’s dress rehearsal for the Talent Show tonight and the Pinewood Derby tomorrow. Stay tuned next week since I’m sure Garen will get some great photos.

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Photo Friday: Sweet Holiday Memories with Sugar Cookies

A couple of weekends back, the kids helped me to make Christmas cookies. We had such a good time, even if my kitchen became a disaster zone and the control freak, perfectionist side of me struggled to let them decorate them however they wanted.

Garen caught a few good photos of us in action. Yes, I was brave enough to let Clara and Kate “help.” Sprinkles. Everywhere.

My Mom and my Grammy would always let us kids help decorate sugar cookies. Besides it being a great memory and fun (yet messy) activity, they actually taste really good. Here’s the recipe that my family uses. This is my Mom’s handwriting. I think. My Grammy wrote almost exactly like it. And it must be genetic because I write almost like it too!

This year I used a new icing recipe thanks to Pinterest. The recipe from In Katrina’s Kitchen was wonderful. It was tasty and hardened up for beautiful cookies just like her blog says it will. I’m not big on Crisco BUT it was good in this recipe. If you don’t use it and substitute with butter, you’ll get a similar effect but it won’t harden as well. If you’re not stacking cookies, that may not be an issue.

I hope each of you will take time to make some sweet memories of your own this holiday season! Tis’ the season to be busy with everything (which is why I’ve not blogged much) but I’m really making an effort to do things with our little (big) family that will create memories that they’ll cherish as well.

Happy Photo Friday before Christmas!

(Not so) Tall Tale Tuesday: What Makes a Great Mom

Today’s prompt for (Not so) Tall Tale Tuesday is:

Write about the woman who has had the greatest impact on your life.

This didn’t take more than a few seconds for me to know exactly who I’d write about- my Mom.


We’d both freely admit that we don’t always agree about everything- far from it. But I have a long list of the great reasons she’s had the greatest impact on my life and what I think makes her a great mom:

  • She’s taught me to love unconditionally. I was a hard teenager to deal with. If I could take it back I would. But I can’t. What I can do is learn from how she continued to love me despite it all. I have a feeling I might need it- what are the chances that none of my four kids are not going to give me some heartache?!?
  • She loves my dad and he’s her best friend. I have married my best friend I aim to keep him happy and show him how much I love him every day.
  • She’s the money-lady. My mom has diligently kept the financial side of my parents’ companies going for 30+ years. She’s taught me how to save money and how to spend wisely. Many think I was brought up in a house where I got whatever I wanted. Ha. So far from the truth. My mom was pretty close to the budget-Nazi growing up. And while I was sometimes upset that I didn’t get to always have Tommy Hilfiger or Guess brand clothing (am I dating myself???), I sure am glad now that I got to experience that.
  • She gives freely. Part of her above mentioned budgeting always went to either the church or to fundraisers, etc. I don’t remember her ever turning anyone down unless she had already bought more Girl Scouts cookies than our family could eat.
  • She taught me to love to read. Not just because she read to me or made me read. She also was always reading and was always willing to help find me a book that I found interesting. This is something I worry about at our house because my books are now on my phone and iPad so it looks like to the kids that I’m “playing” while I’m really reading my book on my Kindle app.
  • She loves family get-togethers and has hosted them almost every holiday for a long time, especially as my grandparents got older. Getting together with aunts, uncles, and cousins has always been a big part of our life.
  • She’s taught me to party plan and to cook for others. This is similar to the above point but still a little different.  It drives Garen (only a little) crazy but I love planning parties.  I’m pretty sure the cooking doesn’t drive him crazy (unless he ends up cleaning it).  I’m not as good as my Grammy or my Mom but I think, like them, I’m getting better with age.

I could probably go on and on but I’ll stop. She’s a pretty great Mom and an even better Mammy! Happy (not so) Tall Tale Tuesday!  And thank you, Mom, for being a great Mom and friend.

Wellness Wednesday: What is a well being?

I’m branching out here with Wellness Wednesday in an effort to be a well being.  So, for starters, what is a well being?  I think that this is a very personal question but, for me, being well means the following:

  • Enjoying family
  • Staying Positive
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Having energy
  • Eating healthy
  • Staying active
  • Keeping my mind active and constantly learning

You may notice that I left off happiness.  That is because I think happiness is the end result of one or more of these things occurring.

This post got a little deeper than what I originally planned it to be but I think it is a good reflection and reminder to us all.

With that said, today has gotten started great for me.  Here’s why:

  • Got out of bed using the 5 second rule
  • Immediately put on my work-out clothes
  • Got some quality time with Garen and the girls, as we got them ready for school
  • Gave kisses to all three
  • Worked out at home
  • Walked to the end of our street as I cooled down and reflected on everything good in my life
  • Set timer for 20 minutes of blog time and here I am

And, you know what????

It is well with my soul….

Mommy Review Monday: CuisinartICE-30R Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker

Anna asked for an ice cream maker for Christmas. She saw one in the toy section at Target one day but I knew my patience would not allow for us to make ice cream “Easy Bake” style (although she did get an Easy Bake oven for Christmas).

So, I decided to go with a “real” ice cream maker so we could all enjoy it. My mom had this one: Cuisinart ICE-30R Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker. She liked it and it got good reviews so we ordered it from Amazon.

After our first batch, here’s my review:

What I like about it:

  • It looks nice. I like red appliances, so that’s the color we got….not that it’s sitting out a ton.
  • It’s super fast. 20-25 minutes and you’ve got ice cream.
  • 2 quarts is a perfect amount for us.
  • No more cranking…although I do have very fond memories of cranking my Grammy’s ice cream maker when the motor was struggling just before it was ready.
  • No more salt…unless I figured out how to make salted caramel mocha ice cream…
  • It stores nicely.
  • It’s easy to clean and wash.
  • It came with some tasty recipes in the manual…although I probably will refer to family recipes and good ol’ Pintrest going forward.  And maybe a little bit of trial and error with the kids and Garen as guinea pigs.

What I don’t like about it:

  • ….

I can’t really think of anything at the moment.  I guess maybe I wish I had two so I could make two flavors at the same time!

Yes, folks, it really is that good.  They didn’t give it the name “Pure Indulgence” for nothing….

The only thing that beats homemade vanilla ice cream are the smiling faces you see when they taste it… and maybe how easy this machine makes it!

Happy Mommy Review Monday to you!

 For the record:  I am in no way paid for this review.  The opinions above are my own and I purchased this machine for our own use based on our needs and my own research and feedback received.

Photo Friday: Home for (After) Christmas 

We celebrated Christmas after Christmas with the Odom family when everyone could get together. We actually remembered to get some family photos.

I think they turned out cute…even if Kate didn’t want to look at the camera and was not happy by the time we got to our immediate family photo!

These are a few other favorites Garen got last week.

Isn’t he a handsome little guy?!?Kate loves music. And her Uncle Al and Aunt Kelsey!

Happy Photo Friday everyone!

Game Night: Bean Boozled

One of my friends at my previous job recommended Bean Boozled to me and the idea of it sounded like something that would be entertaining to play with the bigs. 

I found and ordered it from Amazon. I really didn’t expect the jelly beans to actually taste all that bad, despite being assured that they do. Boy, was I wrong. The worst two I had were canned dog food and skunk. It was so bad that Garen and I refuse to play again but the kids love it. 

With that said, last night we had my sister, bro-in-law, and Mom over for dinner. Before dinner we pulled it out to let the kids play with them. It was hilarious. I thought I would share the fun for your entertainment. Uncle Brian was a super good sport about it. Here’s the video. Thanks for letting us share, Brian!