This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 22•14

Charming South Kitchen goes to Vogel

This week is vacation week mostly – for our little family (and my parents, otherwise known as Mimi and Pops).  We are heading about 90 minutes north of us and retreating to a place we went to while we were growing up (yes, my Mister went too though we didn’t know each other).  It will be great to go as a new family!

So, while I won’t be cooking in the Charming South Kitchen, we will still be cooking because the cabins have full kitchens.

Mom is bringing taco soup

I’m making this cake to celebrate both of the boys’ birthdays with Mimi and Pops.

We are grilling out burgers (repeat of yesterday)

Making this totally sweet breakfast bake

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancakes for brinner.

Hawaiian Bread Ham and Cheese sandwiches for dinner along with some greens.

Chicken salad on croissants

And then when we get back we will probably enjoy some corn waffles and leftovers and eating out with my mom to finish out the month.

I will be making some fall cupcakes for a church luncheon we are going to on Saturday.

Easy cabin food!  Can’t wait.

Faces: Sibling Love

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 21•14

One of the pleasures of getting married is the chance to automatically have a larger family.  Before the mister and I tied the knot, we had the chance to go visit his aunt and uncle who live in Colonial Williamsburg.  We had a blast.  We both love to travel, eat, and admire history, and his aunt and uncle were gracious hosts and very hospitable.

Almost three years later, here we are in the Atlanta area, and that same aunt and uncle – their son, daughter-in-law, and grandson and daughter live in the same city we do.  They’ve been a gracious welcome wagon for us and we look forward to more time spent with them.

The boys and I had the pleasure of hanging out in the Marietta Square with them this past week.  E is about to lose her first teeth, so we had to capture that pretty smile beforehand.  These pictures were fun, followed by a chaotic lunch at Taqueria Tsunami (for an amazing Korean BBQ quesadilla and their stellar made-to-order guacamole).  I hope you enjoy some of the moments I was able to capture.


Sibling Love












Sundays in the South

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 21•14

Sundays are for Baking

I missed last’s week’s Sundays in the South installment.  For the first time in over a month my mister had a Sunday afternoon off – so we enjoyed that time together.  I usually don’t get on the computer when he is home – because I want to be about doing life with him, not blogging.  So, what I need to get better at is writing blogs and posting them to be live on those days that he is off – that way I would still be posting regularly.

The Fall is always a time of celebration for our family and this time we are including a family vacation and the boys and I are taking a trip to Little Rock.  With celebrations comes food.

And today, Sundays in the South is brought to you by a new food for me: I just finished reading my latest edition of Southern Living, and I saw a Dutch Baby (which is an oven pancakes).  I have everything – so I am going to head on into the kitchen to make it.  We will see how it turns out!

For Your Weekend: Link Love

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 21•14

Link Love

The internet is full of interesting things – and (hopefully) each week I try to share with you new posts I’m reading or pages that inspire me.  Enjoy!  Send some new links my way!

Spring cleaning – how about Fall Cleaning.  I love waking up after a big event in our home: because most likely its cleaner than its been in days and its just sort of FRESH.  My husband loves decluttered looks and it seems like our older boy is going to be like him.

I’m considering a spring 10 miler with a friend so I’ll have to start running again in January.  Here’s a great post about fitting in running when you are busy.

These look amazing – even before girl scout cookie season gets here.  Another reason to take up running.

I may just be picking up edamame when I go this afternoon to pick up diapers and wipes.  I think this might be a good dinner when all my Mister wants is soup (to help him feel better)

We are going to Vogel State Park on a mini vacation this week and taking some Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake mix.

The One Thing I Can’t Do as a Mom

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 20•14

A Mommy Failure

Failure.  Usually a bad word in our family.  My husband has often told me to remove it from my vocabulary.  But, I think even my husband would agree with this.

I often find myself reading “mommy” blogs or parenting blogs or asking friends how to discipline or instruct their toddlers.  I know families that have all boys in them (or mostly boys) and I would love to go on vacation with them just to see their family in action for a week or so.  I know every family is different and every parents parents differently.

But, there is one area that I am a complete failure in – and I thought I’d be open and honest and share it with you.

I can’t turn my child’s heart toward God.  There.  I said it.

And you know what…neither can you.

Now, please hear me out.

I can teach my boys Bible verses, read them Bible stories, tell them about the gospel and how Jesus wants us to obey him and make wise decisions.  I can hug on my boys and give them lots of kisses and show them affection: before, during, and after they need to be disciplined.  I can love my husband and help them to have see a marriage that is striving to have the Gospel at the center.

I can put people in their lives that will help influence them to be more like God.  I can tell them how to share and be kind and not push and shove and don’t through your cereal on the floor and don’t kick your brother and don’t bite.  I can tell them not to run in the parking lot and hold my hand and all of it.

But, what I can’t do is change their heart.  I can’t make them love Jesus.

Only the Holy Spirit at the will of the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus can do that.

The Bible is clear that God is the Master of Salvation. The Bible is clear that Jesus died on the cross to save sinners.  It is clear that the Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers.  It is clear that everyone is a sinner (even cute little blond hair boys).

Ephesians 1:3-14:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

It is also clear that we as parents have responsibilities to lead them to Jesus.  To show them the gospel (by word and deed).  To pray for them.  To discipline them.  To be Jesus with skin on to them.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child. It doesn’t say change their hearts for them.  It says POINT THEM TO JESUS

And oh, how I need the help of the Holy Spirit to pour life into me, to help it flow out of me – so that my children will be pointed to God.  And we will pray that God has saved them by His wonderful, amazing grace.

This post is to encourage you.  You can’t change your child’s heart –  but you can pray and show them a God who loves!

Little Yellow School Bus Cake

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 20•14

School Bus Cake

Weeks ago when I was starting to plan for Elijah’s second birthday party – I knew school buses had to be involved.  He knows how to say the word school and says it to everything from the city buses, school buses, SUVs, semis, etc.  We got him a school bus at Old Navy a few months ago and that’s all he talks about now.

I just wanted to do cupcakes because I figured a school bus cake would be too difficult.  And we didn’t want to spend the money on one.  And this is one of the reasons I love my Mister: he wanted to do it.

Elijah sees his cake for the first time

I baked two yellow cake mixes, cut them in the shape of a bus, put the crumb coating on using canned frosting, and made yellow buttercream for it, then he took it from there.  It was so fun to watch him tediously pour over the cake to make it right for his son.  That is one of the ways he loves his son.

My Mister is multi-talented, now I can add cake decorating to the list.  We are thinking of ideas for Sebastian’s first cake in a few weeks.

Thanks to my former co-worker (and friend and running buddy) for her expertise on cake decorating.  And truth be told – the cake was delicious and all but a piece of it was gone!

Birthday Party Feast

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 20•14

Elijah's name banner

Birthdays are for celebrating.  It is the day that God brought a person into the world: the personality, the eyes, the eyelashes, the fun, the spirit, the name – everything about the person – God wants us to love and hold.

One way I love to celebrate birthdays is by having food.  Celebrating over meals and friends and fun times is such a joy!

Some of my favorites from yesterday’s party:

The smell of the charcoal heating up to grill some delicious burgers.

Sebastian stuffing in little pieces of canteloupe and devouring a cookie with yellow frosting: therefore, having yellow frosting everywhere.

Sebastian's yellow cookie

Elijah staring at his cupcake and then stuffing it in his face.

Elijah's Funfetti cupcake

Friends sitting around enjoying relationships – over good ol’ American food.

Yellow everywhere!  It was a happy party with a happy color!

Elijah's yellow party

Here’s what we had:

Burgers (thanks to my brother for the “recipe” and my neighbor for making them and the Mister for grilling them).  Perfectly cooked!

Crescent Dogs (so yummy!)

Baked Beans – may never make another bean recipe again – and I loved serving it my Papa’s cast iron skillet



Funfetti Cupcakes and Vanilla Buttercream (overcooked the cupcakes but the frosting still rocks)

Homemade Funfetti Transportation Cupcakes

A yellow school bus cake (more on that to come)

Sugar cookies with yellow royal icing (thank you to a friend mailing me the icing from Southern Season)

Sweet Tea, Coke, and Sprite.

What a great, delicious day.  Thanks to all who came, brought stuff, and ate, and laughed, and celebrated our little boy with us!  Here’s to many more birthday celebrations to come!



Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 20•14

Sorry for the slow post week, but we had a great reason and a sad reason.

Sad: Sebastian had some medical issues that he is healing from which made for late nights and slowish recovering days.

Great: Little E Mister turned two yesterday.  We were gearing up for his party and hosting friends and blowing out candles.  I wanted to send this little recap to celebrate the boy!

Two years ago: wow – how much life has changed.  E was born in Durham, a week late, a 3rd degree tear, infection after delivery for me, and a 4 day NICU stay for him.  Thank you DUKE!  That early morning totally changed our lives.  From the get go e was amazing, slept through the night at 4 months and hasn’t looked back.  (below photo by Erica Cooper)

Elijah Newborn


Then we moved to Little Rock, AR and his first birthday was celebrated with all the many friends that had been a blessing to us during the first year in Little Rock.

Eli turns one


In his second year of lift, he gained a baby brother and continued to grow: learning how to walk and getting teeth and learning some fun words.  We said so long to our friends in Little Rock and now reside in Marietta, GA.  We had a fun party with hamburgers and hot dogs, grapes, chips, and baked beans.  Plenty of desserts for everyone.  Early in the day we had cinnamon rolls and went to the zoo where we saw the parakeets and road the train and played in the splash pad.  What a great day.

This little boy holds so much joy in all of his expressions.  He is a full out little boy.  We are trying to teach him that Jesus wants his heart and that we all need Jesus.  He loves giving hugs and being hospitable.

Lijah Bean – we love you!

LIjah on the zoo train


On How to Suffer Well

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 16•14

On Suffering Well

(Disclaimer: I will say at the forefront that I do NOT suffer well.  I don’t like to suffer; and I really don’t know who does.  And I have also learned much from writing this post.  So, I hope this post is a blessing to you as well.  Thank you for your sweet comments on the last several “faith and life” blogs I’ve written.  You have been sweet community to me.”)

Probably in the world’s eyes I’ve not suffered a lot in my life.  But, I’ve learned that suffering is indeed felt and experienced differently by different people.  I’ve people in my life who:

– have children who have suffered long with different forms of cancers or disabilities

– have wombs that are barren and can’t have biological children

– have lost parents or grandparents

– have adult children who aren’t living for the sake of the gospel

– have family members lost in a natural disaster

– have lost jobs or friends

– aren’t sleeping because of babies in the home who are struggling to get on a schedule

– have absent spouses who don’t pursue Christ and their marriage

I wrote this post while waiting for a women’s event to start.  When I got home from the women’s event my husband was holding our infant and said something was wrong.  He never goes to sleep on him and his breathing was very labored.  He had inhaled a small teething tablet into his windpipe and now it is stuck beyond the coughing it up point.  We all had a restless night pondering what to do – and decided this morning to take him into a pediatrician.  She immediately requested x-rays.  Now we are waiting for the results and a plan of action.  That is a form of suffering.  Just as an example.

Below are 6 things that I’ve learned as I’ve pondered suffering for the last several months:

1.  Suffering is inevitable.  (John 15:20, 1 Peter 4:12)  No matter what form your suffering takes – suffering will come to you (whether you are a Christian or not).  For Christians, the Bible says that since Jesus suffered, we will suffer too.  We should expect it.  We should not be surprised when it happens – whatever “it” is.  Suffering isn’t necessarily because of our sin.  Jesus was perfect, but knew suffering.  We may suffer for righteousness or we may suffer because of our sin.  Either way, suffering will be in our lives.  That is why we pray all the more fervently “Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 21:1, 4)

2.  Suffering should lead us to humility.  The reason I don’t suffer well is because I have come to the realization (through the help of the Spirit) that I don’t think I should suffer.  My point of reference is other sinners around me.  I don’t think I should suffer because I’ve not sinned as much as other people.  But, thankfully the Spirit is showing me that I am indeed a sinner, and my suffering is sometimes because I sin and sometimes it is just because that is the will of God for my life.

3.  Suffering has two ends: God’s glory and my good. God gets much glory in our lives when we suffer well.  Tim Keller, NYC pastor and author, writes in his book on suffering: Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.” (58)  When we suffer well – God gets glory in this sin-filled world.  And what do I mean that it is for my good?  I’m learning as I study the Bible not to take verses out of context (something I learned mostly while in seminary and still practicing the discipline today).  Philippians 1.6 says God will complete the work he began in you at the day of Christ Jesus.  Mainly…Paul is meaning that since God the Father sent Jesus to purchase your salvation on the cross…that he will sanctify you and you will be perfect when Christ returns.  We won’t look perfect here because we will still dwell in this sinful world – but once Christ comes we will be like him!  Praise the Lord.  I look forward to the day when my sin will no longer hurt me and will no longer hurt those I love.

4.  God wants us to suffer well with joy.  Note: I didn’t say with a smile on our faces.  Joy is something that is of the Spirit and is only found in Christ.  Joy runs deep.  Joy is not based on our circumstances.  Joy is something that can seldom be explained.  I think of a mom of two adopted littles who is not able to have biological children of her own.  Her hope and joy in Christ hasn’t decreased over the 7 years I’ve known her.  She focuses and perseveres in Christ and His Word.  She is hopeful and thankful.  I think of a set of parents whose young son has struggled with cancer for over a year – and in that time the father has lost his dad and he himself is suffering with intense back pain.  His hope stays on Christ.  His joy doesn’t come in the fact that his son has cancer – but that his Christ is bigger than cancer.

5.  Suffering is meant to bring us to Christ.  When we suffer, we tend to look inward, find hope and strength or comfort in things that we can supply for ourselves.  That is not the point of suffering.  Christ, when he suffered, went to the Word and went to his Father.  When we suffer – do we run to Christ or do we turn to other things that we think will bring us comfort.  For me, the thing I turn most to is food (or shopping).  Christ is kind to me when he gently reminds me that food will not make me feel better when I suffer, but ultimately it will leave me shameful and more deep in despair. John Piper says this of my favorite male author Jerry Bridges, “he writes with depth about suffering because he has gone deep with Christ in suffering.”  2 Corinthians 4:17-18

6.  We should serve others even in the midst of our suffering.  I’ve known so many families over the course of my life who live this out well.  I know families who constantly have their door open and their home filled with people, even when going through immense struggles.  I know women who love on others in their lives even when they are hurting.  Paul, who was in prison during the writing of some of his letters, served the church (and not himself) by writing these letters even when his hands were in shackles.  2 Corinthians 1:4)

Roasted Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Written By: Kimberly - Sep• 15•14

Roasted Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Mexican Food.  Easily my favorite comfort food.  Give me a big bowl of fresh guacamole and some tortilla chips and I’m a happy camper.  You can’t go wrong with anything Mexican.  I do like making it at home, but don’t usually – I guess I would rather go out and get it.

We had a date the other night – and I love cooking for our babysitters.  I decided to make homemade enchiladas and hoped the recipe turned out well since I didn’t even try it before we left the house. Half the pan was gone by the time we arrived home – great amount for a meal’s worth of leftovers for us the next day.

Rotisserie chickens are good and all from grocery stores, but I also like making my own roasted chicken.  Especially for recipes like that – because I usually can’t find a tex-mex flavor rotisserie chicken in the deli.  This one was so easy and I did it the night before while the mister and I were watching one of the our favorite summer shows.

You can serve this with red or green enchilada sauce and whatever side dish you want – we chose black beans (which I doctored up with lime juice and some avocado)

Roasted Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Recipe type: Casserole
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
Mexican comfort food at its best!
  • 1 whole chicken
  • taco seasoning
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas (medium size)
  • 1½ cans red enchilada sauce)
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 onion
  • ½ cup canned corn, drained
  • ½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small can chopped green chilis, drained
  • 3 cups mexican blend shredded cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Rinse and pat dry a whole chicken. Remove inner parts of chicken if any. Put in a pan and drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle (ok, a lot) of taco seasoning on top.
  3. Cook for about an hour or until done. (depends on the size of your chicken)
  4. Let rest and cool then shred the chicken.
  5. In a pan on stove, heat more oil.
  6. Cook onion for about 3 minutes, then add corn, chilis, and beans to heat through - about 3 more minutes.
  7. In a 2 quart casserole, start layering with enchilada sauce, then tortillas (I tore mine to fit the pan I used),
  8. Then refried beans, chicken, onion mixture, cheese.
  9. Repeat layer one more time for a total of two layers.
  10. Top with tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  11. Bake for about 35 minutes on 350 until all the cheese is melted.
  12. Enjoy!