Friday, June 29, 2012

A better bagged lunch

I  won't be posting Grocery Bag this week, as I have found a much more impressive solution for our nomadic, traveling Johnson dining needs.

Photo from LunchboxAwesome, May 2nd 2012

Yes, this really is one mom's solution to her son's school lunch.  
I wish she would make lunch for us everyday.

You must check out Lunchbox Awesome to see a whole year of Bento lunchbox ideas, each just as impressive and healthy as her Tigger sandwich, above.  My travel snacks look much less interesting now, thank you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Capeless Crusader

E-Bear comes out of his room, wearing nothing but his Superman shirt:
" you notice anything missing on me??"

"Your pants?"

E-Bear, rolling his eyes:
"Mooommy, you silly goose!  No.  
Look back here (pointing to his back).  No CAPE!"

It's a tough job to get dressed in the morning when you are a superhero!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Remembering Annie Rose

Today is a special day as T and I remember traveling to Houston to be with our dear friends,
Katrina and Ed and their family.

Today marks two weeks since the birth of their daughter, Anastasia Rose.  

Katrina has written about her daughter's life and death on the blog, Building Cathedrals.  Annie was born with a condition called anencephaly and lived just a few minutes after birth.  Annie's life is a testament to the truth that every life is precious and can have an powerful effect on the world, no matter how long or short.  Through Annie's life, countless health care workers, neighbors, friends, family members and even strangers witnessed the strength of a family's love, the beauty of Christian community, the power of loving parents living in grace amidst suffering.  

Me, Katrina, and Katrina's daughter, M, talking together after Annie's birth

T and I remain so grateful for the blessing of getting to be in Houston for Annie's birth.  Her life has left an indelible mark on our lives, as has the strength and loving witness of her parents.  We'll never forget holding her in our arms, the looks on her older siblings' faces, the smiles of her parents.  We'll never forget that Annie inspired G-Bear to give her most beloved paci, an act of generous love that we couldn't have inspired ourselves.  I won't soon forget the sense of tragic loss, watching dear friends bear such a heavy cross.  Annie's life reminds us that this life is short, we have but a little time here.  But, no matter how long or short our lives, we can leave a mark of goodness on the world, and thanks be to God that we have victory over death in Christ.  Her life is one marked by that very Joy and Hope that gives limitless light to the world.

Katrina's daughter, M, admiring Annie's feet with T.

I am grateful to Katrina and Ed for sharing Annie's life with us and for permitting us to share our memories of Annie here.  

Thanks be to God for sweet Anastasia Rose and for touching our lives with hers.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Basketball Birthday for 33

I couldn't resist throwing T a basketball birthday party this year.  

After all, birthday parties are the epitome of celebration for our kids right now,
and who can ever outgrow a birthday party?

We chose the basketball theme because it is well-known that T was number 33 on the court
during his long, illustrious years playing basketball.  What better way to celebrate the arrival of his 33rd year?

T was gone for two days leading up to his birthday, so the kids and I worked hard to make his cupcakes and decorate our living room with shakers and basketball festiveness.  The kids colored a picture of T playing "against LSU," and we made placemats out of basketball coloring pages for everyone to enjoy during the birthday lunch.

E-Bear was so kind to lend his basketball hoop to the cause.

 We surprised T by picking him up at the airport and bringing him home to his birthday party lunch.  The kids could hardly wait to give him his presents, so we did that first.  They were so excited to open his present for him: new basketball shoes and laces!  (T already had guessed his present because he had seen the charge on our bank statement -- it is impossible for me to surprise him!)

Then G-Bear proudly gave T her present: a custom birthday coloring book that she assembled herself. She had worked really hard to put it together for him.

 What a fun afternoon!

MoMo and Papa had no idea, but their birthday card was perfect for the occasion.  T absolutely loved it:
You can find more great "Inherit the Mirth" greeting cards at
The inside of the card said it all:
"There's no denying it's your birthday....
hoop, hoop hooray!"

Happy Birthday, T.  We love you, 33.

June Hiatus

Hopefully, summer has been so wonderful that no one has noticed the blog-posting hiatus going on here in Happily Ever Johnson Land.  By the time we make it to July next weekend, we will have spent a total of nine days at home this month.  We have made so many memories and had so much fun, there has been no time for sitting in front of a computer.  Now it is time to start playing catch-up, lest I miss out on recording our fun June escapades forever.  Over the next week, I'll share what we have been up to this June.

Now, we're off to enjoy these sweet summer days....

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Big 33

He's tall, 
he's handsome, 
and now he's 33 on more than just the basketball court.

Happy 33rd birthday to the man of my dreams. 

Grocery Bag

Friends, it is summer.  That means that instead of furiously meal planning, grocery shopping and blog posting all weekend, we are soaking up the perfect weather, family moments and evening sunlight.  As a result, I have to make a shift in my meal plans.  For the next few weeks, I'll be posting our menus on Friday night for the following week.  That way, I'll be prepped and stocked for our fun weekends and ready to go on Monday without spending all weekend in planning mode.  So here it is, our first Summer Friday grocery bag.  Now, we're off to have a great weekend!

Day One
Bell pepper and onion quesadillas 
with salsa, green salad and blueberries
This has become one of our go-to weeknight and weekend meals.   Saute up the veggies and then pile them onto a warm tortilla on the griddle with a handful of cheese.  So yummy!
The kids like their "cheesy tortillas" sans peppers and onions (Buck, I hope you are laughing at me).  
We win some, we loose some.

Day Two
Gnocchi with summer vegetables from Everyday Food Magazine
with pear slices
So fast, so delicious, tastes like summer.  What could be better?
Photo and recipe from

Day Three
Spicy lime-cilantro shrimp from Dinner a Love Story
with basmati rice and minted snap peas
Photo and recipe from Dinner A Love Story 

Day Four
Pasta with peppers, squash and tomatoes from Everyday Food Magazine
with homemade bread
Photo and recipe from

Day Five
Pasta with vietnamese pesto from Vegetarian Planet
I love this pesto, and thankfully, my kids to too.
Tofu or chicken are easy additions to the pasta.
Recipe from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons via Allrecipes
Photo from What Lauren Eats

Blessings on your kitchen this week!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Playground Progress

Summer is approaching full swing around here.  That means we are becoming playground pros once again.  We're dusting off the swings, slides and play structures all around our city.  Best of all, we're having a great time!

While this post may seem boring to read right now, I try to document our playground progress at the beginning and end of each summer.  Even now, as I nostalgically look back over two summers of blog posts, I am amazed at the development and milestone leaps I see in each of my kids.  The summers fly by so quickly, and I love the chance to reminisce about where they were and the foreshadowing of where they'll be someday!

G-Bear has impressed T and me by tackling the monkey bars.  Last night she did them all by herself, with a look of great focus, determination and pride on her face.  She is also pumping her own swing!  E-Bear also rides a big kid swing and braves nearly every slide without fear.  Buddy Bear isn't walking yet, but that doesn't stop him from going down the little slides by himself!  He just crawls over, turns around and goes down on his belly.  You should see him clap for himself when he gets down to the bottom of the slide! I couldn't believe it the first time I watched him.

I am a staunch defender of summer and the change of pace and freedom it brings to our children's lives.   , What a blessing it is to build on these playground milestones together.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our new pet

Imagine T's surprise when he came home last night to this:

I don't know whose expression was more priceless:  T's as he walked in to this,
or Buddy Bear's expression, as seen in the background, upon seeing that T had arrived home.

Apparently I had neglected to mention that we had acquired a new pet.  
Meet Lewis, our pet Dragon.

Yes, I said Dragon.  Just don't call it a basketball hoop covered by blankets and my good table cloth.

The afternoon started innocently enough, just a simple game of dress-up between a Prince and a Doctor.  But then the Prince couldn't convince the Doctor or the little brother to be his dragon, and the benevolent Fairy Queen appeared and offered to give the Prince and Doctor a Dragon to fight as long as they promised to be gentle.  Well, the good Fairy Queen was true to her word.  The Dragon was so cute and life-like that the Prince and Doctor soon tired of fighting the Dragon and decided to make it their pet instead.  Lewis enjoyed all the food and drink a dragon could desire.  Since then, he has become quite the fixture in our home.

Such a sweeeeeet, sweeeet face.

Did you notice his red slithering tongue?
And yes, his eyes may resemble our Pentecost flames from our breakfast last week,
but it's just because our Dragon is filled with the Holy Spirit.

Lewis, just between you and me, I would like my living room back.  No offense.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Off to the Races

This weekend, we became race fans.

Winston-Salem is home to Bowman Gray Stadium, NASCAR's very first weekly track, started in 1949.  This weekend we made the trip over to Bowman Gray to take in the action.  We had so much fun!  The track is only a quarter mile and the racing involves both modifieds and stock cars.  The drivers are treated like home-town heros.  E-Bear and G-Bear were so excited to meet real race car drivers during the autograph session before the races.  We enjoyed shaking hands with the drivers, getting their autograph cards, admiring at their helmets and their cars.  

Having never been to a car race before, I was impressed by the sound.  The roar of the engines was INTENSE!  Thank goodness some friends sent us with earplugs :)  

The kids were mesmerized.  Even Buddy Bear sat still on my lap (so rare these days) during the races.  G-Bear was quite concerned when the cars bumped into each other.  We agreed that we were glad the drivers wore so much safety gear, especially their helmets.  "Just like we wear our helmets when we ride our bikes, Mom," commented E-Bear.  "That way, my head will stay really safe too."  If you can't tell, we are big on safety in our house! 

Our night at the races was gorgeous.  What a treat.  Hopefully, we'll be back.