Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope you all are having a blessed, Christ filled Christmas today. We have had a wonderful Christmas season as a family. We've had fun as well as found things to do to remind us what the season is truly about. One of the things that Kenny and I were able to do as a date was to go to a Mandisa and Matthew West concert. I love the song they sing called "Sometimes Christmas Makes Me Cry." It first talks about loved ones who have passed away and naturally the first person I think of is my aunt who died the day after Christmas last year. I was looking through e-mails the other day trying to find addresses (sorry family, Christmas cards are late and I never remember your addresses, I should get one of those -- oh what's it called, oh yeah an address book) and I did a search in my e-mail and it came up with an e-mail from Norma from 2 years ago when I was needing a couple addresses from her, it made me cry. I'm so happy for her and that she is celebrating Christmas with HIM, but I miss her and I know my cousin and other family miss her even more as they are used to celebrating Christmas with her. I try to remind myself of the rejoicing in heaven, today as so many people are reading the Christmas story, thinking of Christ being born. Yes this is something we should think of all year, but today as so many people are rejoicing in the fact that Christ came for us - what rejoicing and worship there must be in heaven. And the other part of that song that always chokes me up are these words "I think of Mary and the virgin birth, and I'm amazed by how much God thinks we are worth..." Wow, we're worth enough to God for Him to send His only Son to a, in Isabella's words, stinky smelly dirty stable, to be born and die for us. God as a tiny little baby, can you really imagine that, it almost seems unfathomable, all powerful God as a tiny little baby...Amazing! I hope everyone reading this, how few there may be, realize just how much you are worth to God. And not just this day, but everyday! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Pictures soon.... I hope

I'm hoping to post a couple Thanksgiving and Christmas festivity pictures soon. We had a nice Thanksgiving with my parents, then my mom and I went out for just a few hours on "black Friday" (not wee early though, neither of us were looking for anything, its just a tradition.) We only hit a couple stores and my dad called and said he thought Amelia was getting sick, when we got home she had already thrown up and was crying in pain. I felt so bad for her. I laid down with her and rubbed her belly some and she would be calm for a little bit and then start crying again probable from cramping up. She then said "I go nigh night" and we went and laid in my bed and she was out in just a matter of minutes. She woke up acting fine, not eating anything, but acting fine. (Praise the Lord.) We tried to take it easy on Saturday, went out to a couple places, but still she seemed fine. I, on the other hand, woke up Sunday morning with the bug, felt horrible all day, felt a little better on Monday; Isabella got a touch of it (she said "I think I have a sick bug in my stomach.") and of course gave it back to me by Tuesday night. I'm finally over it so today I have been a crazy cleaning lady because my house badly needs a good scrub down and clean up -- then hopefully I will get to post pictures and get back to blogging. We did go get our Christmas tree last night and my hubby put the lights on it and the girls and I are enjoying it today. Today we're going to decorate it and we'll enjoy it even more.

I might have gotten my Christmas present early this year.... Amelia seems to finally have gotten potty training down. Before it was a hit or miss and she would do one, but not the other, but the only time she has needed changed for the last week has been when she wakes up. She still doesn't wake up dry every morning, I guess this is normal. It wasn't the case with Isabella, but I'll be fine with that. :) And she might get a little extra Christmas present too --Dora big girl panties in her stocking. Yay!

And to leave you with a funny, those of you who are on my Facebook probably read this, but Isabella (as well as her Daddy) tends to talk in her sleep. She REALLY talks though -- (although I guess my family could say Kenny does too since he woke us up on one trip yelling, "No, STOP!" while my Dad was driving. Man, that was so funny.) Anyway, there has not been a night go by this week that Isabella hasn't come into our room around 4/5, cuddled up next to me and by the time Daddy leaves for work she's talking. She asked for a new butterfly wing since she broke hers, told me that something was in the kitchen,...sounds like she has some crazy dreams. Today she asked me if I remembered the snake that was crawling outside of the house: "Remember, you were talking to Auntie Becky, we ran to your bedroom window to see it....... it was IN MY DREAM?!?" She seems to forget that just because I am in her dream does not mean I am having the same dream. :) But the best was 2 nights ago when she started singing Old MacDonald had a farm. I thought maybe she was awake, but nope. She sang the whole verse, didn't miss a single word or tune and even added the pig sounds when it came to it. I really need to get a tape recorder. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Catching up

"A little of the most beautiful miracles in life, one of the greatest joys we can ever know, and one of the reasons why there is a little extra sunshine, laughter and happiness in your world today. "

No, I'm not catching up from the week and a half since I've posted anything. I'm actually catching up from this summer. I've been working on some Christmas projects/presents which had me going through pictures and I realized I never posted these pictures of Amelia. The week after Kenny got back from Seattle, Isabella (as well as my 2 nephews) went with my parents up to Ohio for a family reunion. So Amelia had a little weekend with just mommy and daddy. On that Saturday, we took her to the mall, took her to a park, then decided to take her over to a local college, for a walk and to let her feed the ducks. I did NOT prepare for a little photoshoot. I would not have chosen that dress and I would have brought stuff to redo her hair after playing, had I realized we'd be doing pictures, but she's so naturally beautiful she can get by with that. :)
"Beauty is a radiance that originates from within"

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Why we don't support Cosleeping wtih our children

It's not the only or real reason, but wouldn't this be reason enough for us NOT to cosleep with our girls?!? And don't let this picture deceive you, this isn't a full or queen bed, this is an olympic queen with is actually 6 inches wider than a queen. Which also means, yes that cat is even bigger in person. He's huge folks. And look at Amelia's hair, if you saw a picture of me laying there next to her (yeah, I'm not nearly as cute as her sleeping) you would realize that she and I both need our own beds, just for our hair. And if you are wondering where I would sleep in this mix, its right here:

But where would my husband be......Doesn't he look all nice and comfy there with room to spare?! Oh yeah and I added the other cat because he typically will get up there at some point. We don't let the girls start off with us, but Isabella typically comes in every morning around the time daddy goes to work and depending on how light of a sleeper Amelia is at the time, she might come along too -- bringing with her teddy and at least 1 or 2 other stuffed animals, because its just a big ol' party. A big ol' party where the girls fight over who gets to cuddle with mommy and mommy gets pushed out of bed. So I say, those of you who cosleep with your kids, you must be crazy. And for those of you who say "We're SO anti-cosleeping that we NEVER let our kids in our bed", I say "Whatever." In a few years when they aren't coming into our bed, I will still remember Isabella wanting to sleep nose to nose with me and saying "cuddle, cuddle, cuddle", Amelia cuddling up in a tight little ball next to me and sporatically coming up to kiss my arm, my face, my back and saying "Wuv U Mama" For now, I'll just keep trying to keep them out until morning and maybe start pricing out Pacific King size beds.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm glad I pretty much wrote up my menu for this week last week because I might not be getting it done if not. Finally, some good advanced planning on my part. :) Last week there was a couple things I didn't get to make, so I'm doing them again this week. Kenny was on a business trip from Wednesday until Friday evening, so the girls and I spent 1 day shopping with my mom. Then Friday I had planned on making homemade pizza for when Kenny got home, but he got home around 5:30 that evening and my brother and sil decided to come down to my parents so we were down there for soup. So today, I'm making the "mini quiche", spinach cheese biscuit things for lunch and then for dinner we're having homemade pizza. My hubby and girls will be happy that they're FINALLY getting homemade pizza. :)

While we were shopping with my mom we stopped and got some apples and some asian pears (I've never had these before) at a farm store, so I'm going to be making some kind of baked goods as well this week for dessert. Not sure what just yet, but if I find anything great, I'll pass the recipe along. I don't make alot of desserts around here, but I'm thinking at least some kind of apple crisp.

Breakfast: Pancakes & Smoothies
Lunch: Spinach, cheese biscuit "quiche" (recipe link from last week)
Dinner: Homemade pizza

Breakfast: Hot cereal & fruit (Isabella wanted hot cereal this morning, but Amelia had asked for pancakes, so I'll be sure to do hot cereal tomorrow. Although, Isabella was fine once I made heart and moose shaped pancakes :)
Lunch: Baked potatoes
Dinner: Yellow Split Pea Soup with sweet potatoes and kale (Another soup using my obsession with curry -- homemade pizza to make them happy, this soup to make mama happy :) Looks delicious!

Breakfast: Egg Omelets
Lunch: Taco Bowls -- baked tortilla bowls, rice, beans, cheese, tomatoes.....
Dinner: Fettucine Bolognese (found this on Organizing Junkie last week and it sounded so yummy) I will make some homemade noodles and use ground turkey instead of ground beef

Breakfast: Pumpkin Millet Muffins (The ones I made a couple weeks ago, some in the freezer)
Lunch: Leftover Pizza
Dinner: Either Tilapia and green beans or tilapia fish cakes and green beans

Breakfast: Either a morning apple breakfast recipe (if I find something interesting, any suggestions?) or I'll let the girls choose what they want.
Lunch: AB & J sandwiches
Dinner: Leftover Soup

Breakfast: Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles
Lunch: At church bazaar
Dinner: Girls will be with my parents, we'll be at the museum for a friend's birthday party.

Breakfast: Daddy's choice or maybe some waffles from Saturday
Lunch: Haven't decided for sure, this always varies on what I can find for a good price during my grocery shopping trip
Dinner: Leftovers

And that's it, a couple new things I'm excited about trying and then some old faithfuls. For more go to Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Potty Breakthrough!

I've mentioned before that Amelia is not as easy to potty train as Isabella was. Isabella was/is pretty easily pleased, so putting up a chart and letting her pick all kinds of stickers out worked great for her. Actually, she was ready to start before I was, I had bought a seat to go on the toilet on it in preparations for her to potty train and once she saw it, she wanted to start then. It really was just a matter of telling us and getting there in time for her, but she was potty trained with no accidents by the time she was a 28 months. Amelia on the other hand, has gotten bored with the "treats", stickers are fun, yeah she likes to get a stamp on her hand, but not enough to go potty constantly for us. We have tried everything we can think of to get her to go, for a while she would go every now and then when we would put her on the potty, then she would cry when we put her on the potty (until she went and then she was happy for the attention), we make a big deal of this, call daddy at work, do a little made up potty song and dance, high fives...... just not caring or getting it. I was almost, ALMOST tempted to do the one thing I do not want to do --- buy a seperate potty chair. I might be the only mother that feels this way, but that's just nasty! And really like I want to have to empty and wash that thing out...... oh please, don't tell me that's the one thing I'm going to have to do. Thankfully, No! Since Sunday I have only had to change 2 diapers (actually pull ups) -- WOO HOO!!! Can I tell you just how thrilled I am? And she's actually been telling us when she has to go, and here is the reason....... if you come to my house now, later, tomorrow or maybe even next week, this is what you will see......

(Well minus the ashy legs, can't believe I didn't notice that before I took the picture. Although in the winter this is either typical or they are being chased down by me with lotion in hand. I think I have found a good help for this though, more on that later. :)

Her DORA NIGHTGOWN!!! For a few months now, nightgowns have not been an option for her because she wore them one night, took her diaper off, then had peed all over the bed. No fun for mommy, so I had told her before no nightgowns until she was going potty -- too easy of access. I recently told her she could wear this if she went in the potty, and some how it has stuck. If we are home, and she has a dry pull up (yeah, they have Dora on them too), then she can wear her nightgown. If she goes in her pull up, then she has to change out of the nightgown -- and yes I do stick to this, just ask my friend Becky, she was a witness. :) Yesterday she wore it all morning, then she messed in her pull up, we changed her clothes, and then she was back to going potty the rest of the evening so she could keep Dora on. Today, she told me right away in the morning she had to go, she told me after breakfast, and then 2 times while we were out........ (I'm also seeing that her tiny little bladder must be another reason for the late potty training. My shopping trips are going to be much longer now.) As soon as we got home, the first thing she asked for was her "Backpack nightgown" -- so she is back in it again. It actually took a little convincing to get her out of the nightgown and into pants and a sweater to leave, she kept telling me "I go pee pee" -- I had to convince her it was cold, that I PROMISED she could wear it when we got home, she could wear her Dora shoes and also she could wear these........

What?? You don't know what these are? They're ear muffs, what else would be wrapped around her waist?!?!

So even though this just proves my daughter is WAY too enamored with Dora (I still don't know how that happened) and as much as I always said I didn't like the cartoon character clothing, accessories.... I have given in..... and the less diapers I have to change the more I am confident in my decision to do so!! Hopefully this will continue, it sure would be nice to have her potty trained.

And can anyone guess what she'll be wanting for Christmas?!?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Yay, I'm actually getting this done on time! Got a couple new things I'm trying this week and then old faithfuls.


Breakfast: The girls wanted cold cereal this morning so easy morning for mommy just a bowl of Strawberry Cereal

Lunch: AB & J Sandwiches, homemade applesauce

Dinner: Taco Salads (baking tortilla shells in those cute little pans. :) Lettuce, ground turkey cooked in spices like cumin, red pepper..., beans, tomatoes and cheese


Breakfast: Egg Biscuits (using up leftover biscuits I made yesterday - recipe below)

Lunch: Squished Potatoes with leftover meat from last night (decided not to call the mashed because I'm not making them with butter and milk, just squishing up baked potatoes and adding leftover meat and cheese)

Dinner: Turkey Stroganoff, kind of like THIS recipe, except I will make homemade whole grain egg noodles and probably do my typical adding and subtracting of things. Good recipe to go by though if you want one and I have leftover turkey and gravy from Sunday's dinner.


Breakfast: French toast (Kenny is leaving this morning for a business trip so we'll all eat a nice breakfast together before he leaves.) The last time I made french toast I used yogurt and an egg to dip the bread in. I will either do that, or I found THIS vegetarian recipe that sounds good. Well, if you like bananas and coconut milk it sounds good. :)

Lunch: Bean Quesadillas -- seems to be a constant in our week, but the girls love them and their cheap

Dinner: Leftovers from last night, has to be quick this night


Breakfast: Our fast typical gymnastics breakfast -- "Ants on a Log" It actually works the best for Isabella too, it seems to fill her up for gymnastics.

Lunch: Sandwiches

Dinner: White Chicken Chili (I boil the chicken in water, then use that water/stock, plus a little extra broth for the base, Northern Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Chiles, Cumin, pepper, some garlic and basil) This is a favorite soup at our house!


Breakfast: Hot cereal with fruit and flax

Lunch: Mini spinach "quiche" on a biscuit. Found THIS recipe and thought it looked and sounded good so I thought I would try it. Make a half a batch of biscuit dough and I might change up the cheeses as I have Rice Moz Cheese and some goat cheese.

Dinner: DADDY'S HOME!! Homemade pizza, per his request.

Saturday: Gone all day at a Adoption Conference, probably leftover soup for dinner


Breakfast: Same as always, daddy gets the girls breakfast

Lunch: Chicken in the crockpot, green beans and my favorite Curried Brown Rice Salad (Honestly, I can ignore the rest of the meal and just eat this LOVE IT!)

Dinner: Leftovers or out with teens


Curried Brown Rice Salad

Cook 1/2 cup brown rice in 1 cup chicken broth.

Stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley (I don't always have this and it still is great),

1/3 cup chopped red onion (or none at this house),

some chopped celery,

1/3 cup choped red pepper,

1 small apple quartered, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces,

3 TBSP dried cranberries and

3 TBSP toasted sunflower seeds.

Then make the DRESSING: 1 TBSP Mayonnaise, 1/4 cup lowfat plain yogurt, 1 TBSP rice wine vinegar (I think I've used apple cider vinegar as well), dash of salt, fresh ground pepper and 3/4 tsp Curry (I use more curry because I love it. :)

Mix dressing in with the rice/veggie mixture and either eat slightly warm or you can even cool it and serve it cold. Its is delicious either way!

Whole Wheat Baking Powder Biscuits

1 cup Whole Grain White Whole Wheat (This does not mean its "white" bleached flour, it is a lighter wheat instead of the red winter wheat, it is whole grain)

1 cup Whole Grain Graham Flour

1TBSP aluminum free baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening (I used 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil instead)

3/4 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients, cut in shortening with pastry blender or 2 knives until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk to form soft dough. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead lightly about 10 times. Roll out to 1/2 inch and cut with round cutter. Place biscuits on ungreased sheet and bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes.

(This recipe came from Hodgson Mill Whole Grain Baking Book)

For more menu plans visit Organizing Junkie!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Poor guys

I had a knock on my door today, and since I couldn't avoid it, I had to answer. They were from a different church and belief than ours and I know they must have walked away saying, "Did you see that crazy woman, she was in unmatched pajamas at lunchtime, no make up, and had an aroma of..... what is that? Oh yeah, needing a shower! Thank goodness SHE wasn't interested in being converted" In my defense, its a lazy rainy day today, I just had to wait to get Amelia down for a nap before I could shower today, oh who cares.... I was in pjs, at least my kids had been fed and my kitchen was clean, right?!? Come one, someone tell me that's ok. :)

On a more serious note, I hate that I'm not more prepared or maybe its just bold at times like this. Where I could be "fine, let me tell you about what I believe and then you can tell me..." Of course, this was a man that was talking so it wasn't like I was going to invite him in, but I guess I could have said "come back later if you want to share and my husband can share with you." Yeah, that's it put it all on my husband.

Anyway, I may well be known to these people as the crazy stinky lady. At least I had brushed my teeth today.... I think. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Menu Plan "Monday"

I actually had this made up yesterday, but Kenny had first aid/CPR training last night at work and didn't get home until about 9:30 so I didn't get a chance to sit down and type it out. Last week was a crazy week, I wasn't thinking about all that we had going on. Friday I spent the day baking goodies for the cake walk, had boo in the zoo, then Saturday got up and spent about 8 hours at the church between decorating for and going to the fall festival. Sunday was church, my mom's birthday, and then back to church for Awana. We came home and fell in bed and hoped our girls remembered to brush their teeth and get to bed ok. Just kidding about that, we obviously got them in bed first. :) All fun stuff, but busy --- and what does this have to do with this weeks menu??? Well, Steph, you're going to be disappointed because a few of the things I had on my plan last week I never got around to making, we opted for much faster easier meals. So, they're showing up again this week.


Breakfast ---Griddle cakes

Lunch--- Leftover Pasta

Dinner--- Made kind of the same chicken "tart" I made last week, except I had used capers and the girls didn't like them and I also totally forgot the chicken and yet somehow the girls still loved it: Phyllo Dough, spread a little bit of olive oil or melted butter, cut up red peppers, goat cheese and some asiago/parmesan cheese. This is a horribly messy meal though, that Phyllo dough flakes like crazy and my Amelia is a crazy messy eater.

Made Pumpkin Millet Muffins for breakfast


Breakfast--- Smoothies & Pumpkin Millet Muffins (These were really good, I didn't toast the millet like the recipe calls for. My girls loved them, especially Amelia. We once again had the little raccoon attack. I got the girls dressed and ready, then went and got myself ready, came back into the kitchen and noticed a couple half muffins on the counter. I think Amelia ate 5 muffins today (1 for breakfast and 4 between breakfast and lunch. I'm going to have to get some kind of container that has a lock on it to keep her out of things.)

Lunch--- Daddy took us to lunch today -- Mexican. :)

Dinner--- Leftovers


Breakfast -- Grapefruit, yogurt with flax

Lunch -- AB & J sandwiches, grapes

Dinner: Mango Tango Chicken (didn't get to make this last week) and a salad


Breakfast -- Smoothies and muffins (if Amelia hasn't found them and eaten them)

Lunch -- Bean Tostados (Corn tortillas, refried beans, corn, cheese)

Dinner -- Tilapia Cakes (another I didn't get to make last week)


Breakfast -- Egg omelets

Lunch -- AB & J sandwiches, I'm going to try carrot sticks and maybe some hummus dip. My girls don't really like raw veggies, but I'm going to try and find ways to get them to eat more. Cooked veggies, they do fine, raw, not so much.

Dinner: Potato Corn, Chicken Sausage, Soup (More or less I'm going to make potato soup, throw in some sundried tomato basil chicken sausage I bought last week at Whole Foods, and some corn and whatever else seems to strike my fancy that night)


Breakfast -- Whatever Daddy decides he wants me to make

Lunch -- Either leftover soup or a picnic lunch as we are hoping to go to the pumpkin patch or somewhere else fun.

Dinner -- Homemade pizza


Breakfast -- Whatever Daddy is cooking, which means cold cereal or eggs. :)

Lunch -- Basic Sunday dinner, whatever type roast I find at a good price, preferrably a chicken or a turkey breast, potatoes, and veggies

Dinner -- Leftovers

The nice thing about this week is that all I have to buy at the grocery store this week is potatoes, cheese for pizza, and chicken/turkey for Sunday.

For other (and I'm sure better) menu plans visit Organizing Junkie

Monday, October 20, 2008


My "Monday Menu Plan" will come later, but for now I thought I would show you the 2 cutest little kitties ever.
Aren't they adorable?! We went to Boo in the Zoo at our local zoo this past Friday. We have a membership there, so we always get to go on the first night. We've gone since Isabella was a baby, so this was our 5th year. The girls love it, I love seeing them all dressed up, and its always such a nice non-scary environment (well, except Amelia didn't like some of the costumes that kids had on) This year Isabella told me she wanted to be a kitty cat, mainly because she wanted me to paint her face. Her reasonings always crack me up. Amelia wanted to be "backpack" or "fru fru" -- I decided on a "fru fru" kitty cat and made her a little tutu to go with her outfit. She loved it. I think she knows just how cute she looks.

I asked Isabella if she wanted a tutu and she said no. After I got her dressed up, I:

1. Noticed that in buying the $1.50 pair of tights instead of the $4 pair of "dancing" tights, you could kind of see the black line. It wasn't as noticeable as it is in the picture (flash photography does crazy things to black clothing.)

2. I thought the tutu was just way too cute, she should've had one.

3. Wondered why I gave her a choice....

4. Noticed she looked way too "grown up" and decided if we go to anything else this season, I'll be making her a tutu. :)

I think this was the cheapest costume yet, we already have gymnastics leotards, they have black shoes, they needed black tights, so its not just for the costume, and the headband/bowtie/tail was $4 at Wal Mart and it cost me less than $4 to make the tutu. And although, I didn't spend a lot on last years Dorothy and Glinda -- they were much more time consuming for mommy to make. Maybe they will be kitties every year from now on. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Mary Heart

Have any of you read "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver? I have actually been reading a couple different books lately, this one and one called the Mission of Motherhood. Both are REALLY good. I don't have a great deal of good books at home. I love to read and I love these type of books that can be an encouragment spiritually, but quite honestly they are expensive. So, I've started taking advantage of my local library. This book was one I found there. I love it - on the front cover it says "Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life". Exactly what I need. Right now is so busy... the last few months it has gotten even busier. I have the daily duties of caring for my children The rewards are wonderful, the time with my children is wonderful, the work though is hard. I would say especially with toddlers, but then I know once they hit school I'll say especially with school age... But trying to train your children, potty train one, discipline, do a little teaching with my 4 year old since I opted out of 4K so I could spend time with her, life in general... its busy. Then with trying to eat healthier and be more frugile, that is another busyness. Again, the rewards are great -- we are saving money, I feel better eating healthier and I know the long term benefits are great, and I really do love to cook. But honestly, how much time do I have to spend in this crazy kitchen. Cook breakfast, eat breakfast, clean up after breakfast -- short break for getting kids dressed and ready for the day and somehow its time for lunch and the whole cooking, cleaning happens again. (I can't stand a dirty kitchen so I have to clean after each meal. Not to worry though, I'm saving time by not cleaning my bedroom :) Then supper, bedtime routine, and you start all over. Sometimes I don't know where the days go. I know many of you are feeling the same way. Then to make life even busier and a little discouraging our church has been having some "issues". We've been praying about things since spring, really wanting God to change things. Of course, the changes that God chose so far have been a surprise to us. Quite honestly, I've noticed lately that God really isn't following my plans at all, what's up with that. :) The first was that our pastor gave us a week notice in May and left. Not what we were expecting, but I do think this can be a good change. God is still in control. Another changes we have been praying about, is that people are so uncommitted. I mean, its easier to sit in a pew, complain, or not even come to services than it is to actually serve, right? I still don't know HOW God is working, but I know He's working. Kenny ended up going on a trip to Seattle with the teens, he wasn't supposed to go, but God changed those plans and had him go. He came home on fire and more committed to God and helping the church until God changes HIS mind (God's mind not my husbands), the teens came home on fire and committed to God -- and honestly, there is nothing more encouraging and convicting to see teenagers wanting to do things for God. As discouraged as I was and am, I don't want to be a stumbling block for him or the teens. So when he came home, we knew that if nothing else, that God wants us to serve Him and try to do what we can for the church. So now this is where we stand: My husband is a deacon, he's on the pulpit committee to find a new pastor, he's the youth pastor, he's the game director at Awana, he helps me teach SS every 3rd month. I'm in charge of typing and printing the bulletins, by "default" I have become in charge of Children's Church and nursery (unless I didn't want my girls to have this), teaching SS as above, teaching children's church, doing nursery, working in Awana, helping my husband with youth group, helping plan/organize our fall festival, responsible for my own "shepherding" because I'm rarely actually in church.... and I'm not saying this like we're the only ones doing things because others are just as busy at church. I'm just saying it because I have felt overwhelmed lately. And I even told Kenny jokingly "I know I'm getting no rewards in heaven because I'm grumbling as I do these things." Jokingly -- but seriously. And then the bad thing is that we are in a town that there is a church on every corner, (Honestly, if you are thinking of church planting, please don't come here, there is no need for more churches here, there's one on every corner, just not always enough faithful people wanting to serve in all of them.) churches where I could sit in, get fed and not have to lift a finger, my girls would have tons of friends, rather than the few kids that are at our church,.... But I know that God has not built me that way and He definitely hasn't built my husband that way. We were made to worship, we were made to Love Him, but in that we were also made to serve. So here I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday, discouraged about the problems, discouraged about my own personal time being stretched so much, and I sat down to read my book. Boy, it took all of 5 seconds for God to convict me. The author writes:

"Satan still plans his attacks around what I call the "Three Deadly D's of Destruction.: They are Distraction, Discouragement and Doubt. Throughout time, Satan has restored to these tactics to bring down God's best and brightest. The underlying strategy is farily simple: Get people's eyes off God and on their circumstances. Make them believe their "happiness" lies in the happenings that surround them. Or send them good news -- about somebody else. When they're thoroughly discouraged, tell them God doesn't care. Then sit back and let doubt do its work."

It is hard, to look around and feel like there is an easy way out, that I really don't need to be doing this work That why should I care if no one else is. To find myself unhappy just because I'm frustrated with the situations. My parents church is really big and doing well, that could be discouraging just because we wish our church was doing better, but then that's not where God has us. And we've actually benefited from that because my parents are taking Isabella to Kids 4 Truth there, so she get to go with them on Wednesdays instead of to youth group with us. (Which is also a help to us as she can be a cute little distraction for the teens. :) )

"(Satan) knows that if we're overly worried and bogged down with duties, chances are good our hearts will not hear the Savior's call to come. ..... getting our eyes off of what is important will certainly make us more vulnerable to attack."

(Luke 10:40) "Martha was cumbered about much serving", she was distracted, she was overwhelmed, she was bothered. Yeah, I've felt that way lately. Then I read the following, and this really hit me in between the eyes.

"'But even pure ministry for Jesus can become a weight we drag around,... Its called the treadmill annointing and it isn't from God.' ..... Even on those days when I have the best motives, my heart can be pulled away from doing things 'as unto the Lord' and settle for simply gettings things done. And when that happens, I can tell you, this Martha isn't very merry."

Yeah, me neither.

"Then when we're distracted, discouragement is just around the corner. Weariness creeps in as life overpowers us.... Discouragement breaks down our perspective and our defenses. Though we may have just completed great things for God, weary discouragement tells us we're useless, hopeless, and abandoned." She then talks about Elijah and how he had just had a mighty victory, but then became afraid of Jezebel. This is a prayer I need to pray for our teens, that they saw great things in their life, God working in them, and not to get their eyes off of God, not to worry about the noncommittment around them, not to get discouraged. But then the author shows us the story in 1 Kings 19 about Elijah. Even though he was discouraged and asking God if He even cares, doubting God, God sent an angel to bring him food and rest.
"When we're distracted and discouraged, tired and overwhelmed, there is no better place to go than to our father. He alone has what we need."

I decided to read more of 1 Kings 19 and I love these verses: "And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice." That's where God is, in that still small voice. And if I become so distracted and discouraged, I'm going to miss the blessings God has for me because I'm going to miss His still small voice.

Then she notes that God is concerned with what concerns us. Martha asked "Lord, don't you care?". "We have our questions.... but He wants us to trust His love enough to tell him what we are thinking and feeling."

"First, we can bring our needs to Jesus anytime and anywhere.... (Matthew 7:7)"

"Second, Jesus really cares about what concerns us. (1 Peter 5:7) Jesus didn't laugh off Martha's concerns. He didn't become angry. Instead, He spoke to her wtih infinite gentleness and tenderness recognizing the pain in her whining voice."

"Finally,Jesus loves us enough to confront us when our attitude is wrong. (Rev. 3:19)'.... Martha spoke her secret fear aloud, and we can too. But, like Martha, we must stick around long enough to hear the sweet reasurrance of his answer. Don't expact any explanations or apologies. After all, God is God."

Ouch. So that's what I'm trying to do, take my concerns to Him and accept His answers. Will I never get discouraged about this same thing? Yeah, right, I was getting discouraged again today. Just writing about it makes me a little stressed. :) Do I know HOW God is going to answer all my prayers -- nope, but I trust that He is going to work things out. And I've seen God answer some prayers already: There are other people in church who truly have the desire to help the church, our interim pastor has been great - he has such a heart for God, we are hoping to outreach to our community with this weekend's fall festival, I have seen people respond better to serving in areas than I thought I would. Here at home, we have new neighbors and they have 2 little girls. My girls and they have become fast friends -- this is also a matter of prayer as I feel I have extra training to do and it actually is more busyness for me as I think I will be having 2 extra little girls at my house every afternoon and I'm overly protective of my children and what they are doing, where they are outside, etc. I think the neighbor girls are in the "can we fool this woman?" and "what all can we get by with?" stage, but that will pass, they're learning quickly that I say no ---- alot. :) But Isabella said last night "God blessed us with new neighbors." She's never had a neighbor friend, our neighbors have all been older or have older kids. She's very excited! And God continues to show me how much He truly cares. When I am discouraged and tired, He is concerned, He's concerned for taking care of me, but He is also concerned with my questions and He is definitely concerned with my response and how I deal with things. And I have to remember to try not to get distracted, I can say no, I will say no to some things, but I have to at least be doing the things I'm doing for His honor and His glory, if not they're all in vain anyway. He is sufficient, He has my ultimate good in mind and I have to listen to His still small voice instead of the voices of discouragement all around me.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying this book. Have any of you read it? Its not a new book, I think it says copyright in 2002. If you haven't, get it and read it. I've only read 3 chapters and it has been great, can't wait to see what God is going to teach me in the rest. If you have, I'd love to hear what God has taught you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan (October 13 - 19)

Surprisingly, I'm actually going to get this in on Monday, barely, but at least I don't have to try and change this to "Half A Menu Plan Wednesday."
Breakfast -- Whole grain pancakes
Lunch -- Girls had AB & J sandwiches, grapes, veggie chips
Dinner -- Leftover Red Lentil and Butternut Squash soup, homemade whole gr. graham flour rolls. (If you want the recipe for the soup see the link from last week) It was DELICIOUS!!! A definite new fall favorite soup. I love the flavor of curry, if you don't like it, then don't make this soup or put alot less curry in it. But I happen to think curry is extra yummy! Amelia wasn't crazy about it. She ate it, with some prompting, but not a favorite for her, she might not have her mommy's love of curry. :) If you want the recipe for the rolls, let me know, it came out of a book I borrowed from the library and they were nice and soft.
Breakfast: Egg in a Hole/Egg in a Basket (just learned my dad calls this French Eggs?)
Lunch: Bean Quesadillas, apples (I will probably be eating the last remaining bowl of leftover soup)
Dinner: Homemade pasta with sundried tomato/basil chicken sausage with a tomato sauce, side salad
Breakfast: Grapefruit, yogurt with wheat germ or nuts
Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Dinner: Chicken and Red Pepper Tart. (My husband says he will eat this as long as I cut the roasted red peppers up small, I can definitely accomodate. :)
Breakfast: Pumpkin and Millet Muffins (I will be using coconut milk and I will use probably rapadura, honey, or brown rice syrup in place of the sugar, not sure which yet) If you can't tell, I love Whole Foods website for recipes.
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Chicken and Mango Tango (Recipe below)
Breakfast: Hot cereal with fruit
Dinner: We will be going to Boo in the Zoo, probably eating something really quick or grabbing something since Kenny will get home right before we have to leave and I will be dressing up my 2 little kittens. :)
Breakfast: French Toast or Omelets -- those were Kenny's suggestions, he wasn't sure which one he would want and this is the only day that he really eats breakfast with us.
Lunch: Tilapia Patties
Dinner: I'm probably going to have a snack in between breakfast and lunch and consider the tilapia my dinner, we are having a fall festival at our church and the girls will probably eat a hot dog there.
Breakfast: Muffins and possibly smoothies
Lunch: Its my mom's birthday, so I'm not sure if we are all getting together or what the plans are. I will plan something after I know.
Dinner: Leftovers or possibly homemade pizza
Chicken and Mango Tango (from Superfoods Cookbook)
1 large ripe mango, peeled and stone removed
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
juice of 2 limes
4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped (I will use some of the onion I have left)
2/3 cup EV olive oil
1 large bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped (I doubt I will use that much)
1 medium sized cooked chicken or leftovers from a "roast" --- I will be using chicken breasts
Large lettuce
1/2 cucumber peeled, halved, seeded and diced
Put mango, celery, lime juice, and onions into food processor or blender. Blend on moderate speed. Add olive oil gradually. Add half the cilantro to the dressing without whizzing any further.
Remove all the white meat from teh chicken and take off any skin and extra fat (hence why I'm using the chicken breasts that I already have) Arrange lettuce leaves on plate. Sprinkle with cucumber. Pile the chicken on top and pour on the dressing. Garnish with rest of cilantro. (This looks so yummy, I'll let you know how it turns out)
Tilapia Patties
(I have Tilapia in the freezer, its our favorite fish, but it just hasn't been sounding good to me lately, so I'm going to make it nice and fattening by turning it into a "fish cake" instead. :)
Cooked Tilapia (probably around 2 cups)
2 cups mashed potatoes
A small squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs that you want to add, probably parsley and paprika
Eggs and breadcrumbs if you want them breaded, if not just shape them into patties let them cool and saute up in a little bit of extra virgin coconut oil
If you do want them breaded, dip into eggs and then breadcrumbs and either bake at 450 until lightly browned (probably 15 minutes) or you can fry them up in the extra virgin coconut oil.
Hope everyone has a good week!! For more go to Organizing Junkie.

My non-vegetarian

I'm going to be late posting my menu plan for the week. Since we were gone this weekend and didn't get back until last night, I feel like I'm starting the week a little disorganized, but hopefully I'll get it posted later. For now, I thought I would leave you with the funny story, I've shared with some of you already. Of course, its about my Isabella -- I'm sure you're not surprised. Isabella LOVES animals, actually she loves any living thing -- while I was gone she found 2 worms and informed us later that she kissed them (I know, gross!) She loves animals, most bugs, other than the ones that mommy screams at and squishes, I think she's figured they must be bad, loves birds, loves fish.... She actually is alot like me in this area. I've wondered if she would end up becoming a vegetarian once she truly realized chicken is chicken and fish is fish. She's never really asked, although when she found out salmon was fish, she was worried we might eat her fish Rexy-Keeko. No, I will not be baking a Beta fish. :) Anyway, the other day, we were standing in line at the store and the notion of her love for animals causing her to be vegetarian was squelched when she asked me:

"Mommy, if we cook up a chipmunk, can we eat it?"

I was shocked, grossed out, a little mortified that she asked and just responded with "WHAT?!?! NO! That's gross!" I kind of wish I could have responded in a more redneck kind of way to shock the people around me like (in an extreme southern accent) "Well, if that's all your Daddy brings home, we'll be eating chipmunk stew for dinner." or "Why, did you see one on the side of the road and forget to tell mommy?" Where does the child come up with this craziness?

NO, Chipmunk will not be on my menu plan this week.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Blogger hates me

Really, I think it has something against me. I went on my blog this morning and tried to click on the link for the Red Lentil Butternut Squash soup recipe. I was taking Isabella to gymnastics and we pass the grocery store so I knew that I needed coconut milk, but wanted to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything else (since this is my first time making this.) Anyway, I noticed my link wasn't there, honestly, I had put it on there but it wasn't showing up. I tried to correct the problem and the same thing as last time, half my post was in minute size. Also, last night I was trying to add the butterfly picture and it kept coming in sideways, no matter what I did, I even tried rotating it thinking maybe the digital file was registering the other way or something, nope, just blogger hating me. :) I finally shrunk it and cropped it and it worked.

All that to say, sorry. If anyone happened to come by and read my menu and wanted the recipe for the soup, here it is:

And the Chicken Taquitos: although I think the only thing I follow on this is using chicken and corn tortillas, I change most everything else for taste and I just add water to the pan I've cooked the chicken in to do the tortillas, I'm not wasting money using chicken broth just to make the shells soft enough to roll. Still you get the idea. Sorry my links aren't working. This is probably why people pay for their own website or pay for a different "host", oh well, I'm cheap I like that blogger is free. Even if it hates me every now and again.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

And even newer pet

Today, Isabella got what she has been waiting patiently for, a brand new butterfly. And here it is:

What once was her caterpillar, then her chrysalis, today became her butterfly. She's so excited. And isn't it a pretty one?! My niece Olivia was at our house for the day and we were all making lunch together and Isabella said "Ooooh gross", I turned around and here was this wrinkled up tiny black think wiggling around in her bug house. She thought it was a different bug in there. It was kind of weird looking and small looking and wiggling around. To be quite honest, it looked so weird that I thought "Oh great, we've done something wrong and this thing is dying on us." So we grabbed out her little butterfly home and put him in there and then he did his thing to stretch, grow and harden those wings. What a great "project", it was a great science lesson and a perfect time to talk about God's creation as well as talking to her about the new life we can have in Christ. Just amazing!

We'll keep him (oh sorry, Isabella says its a "her", anything pretty has to be a girl) for a few days and then let it go. I didn't realize this, but butterflies only live 2-4 weeks. I haven't mentioned this to Isabella, nor will I.

A little funny story to go along with this. I was on the phone with my friend Becky today and Isabella was wanting to tell her about the butterfly this is what she said "Auntie Becky, Auntie Becky! My butterfly likes me! I think he likes me because I gave him weed." Becky and I both couldn't stop laughing. Finally Isabella asked mommy what it was called... "Oh, I think he likes me because I gave him parsley." Oh, she keeps me laughing.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Its all about presentation...

...even if it is just for yourself.

Doesn't this look yummy! This was my lunch for today. I like salads, but I normally like mine with some Feta or Blue cheese, and a good blue cheese dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, or my favorite, Brianna's brand Blush Wine Vinaigrette (whose first ingredient listed is sugar, of course its good.) This salad I was supposed to only use a little lemon juice for the dressing. As I started to make up this salad, it started looking better and better. Mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, a little bit of fresh ground spices and a little bit of lemon juice. I think presentation makes healthy taste even better! And it was so pretty that I had to take a picture of it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sorry about the confusion on the last post

Sorry that my text formatting changed mid stream, I did notice it. For some reason, blogger let me make the first 3 days in a larger font, but when I tried it with the last 4, it would cause the whole bottom half of my post be so small you couldn't even read it with a magnifying glass. Very weird. Blogger has a mind of its own sometimes -- I couldn't edit my post to include this without that happening. Hope you have a good week!!!

Menu Plan Monday

This weeks menu will be different because I will be gone from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening. My mom and I are heading to West Virginia for a ladies conference which will be on Friday night and Saturday. This is the conference that we've gone to for the last few years at my cousins' church. The men of the church will be cooking and serving us, so it will be a nice break for me for a couple days. :) Then we will be heading over to my uncle's and aunt's. My dad, husband and girls will meet us for "Friends and Family Day" at my uncle's church. I'm looking forward to the weekend, I will get to see family on both sides that I haven't seen for a while, plus a little break at the conference so I'm excited. The other reason it will be different is that for the next 3 days I am doing a energy detox diet from the Complete Superfoods Cookbook, so I'll be eating differently (other than Tuesday night) than my family. In reality, I eat some meals different than my girls anyway, I just don't always list them. Unlike them, I don't want AB & J sandwiches constantly. :)
Breakfast: Girls: Cereal (as well as "sharing" mommy's food)
Me: Orange, 1/2 grapefruit (ended up using the whole thing since the girls wanted some), and plain yogurt with 1/2 tsp of chopped nuts on top
Lunch: Girls: Leftover Chili (unless they decide they have to have eggs like mommy)
Me: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms on a bed of mixed salad leaves, dried fruit compote

Dinner: Girls & Daddy: Girls will make pizza (they didn't get to do this Friday because we enjoyed a picnic at the zoo with out of town friends instead)
Me: Red pepper stuffed with brown rice, raisins, onion, parsley, mint and pine nuts and cooked. One piece of homemade whole grain bread
Breakfast: Girls: Eggs, toast & apple slices
Me: Leftover dried fruit compote, plain yogurt, orange

Lunch: Girls: Cornflake chicken nuggets (same recipe as the one 2 weeks ago)
Me: Half avocado sliced with tomatoes, cucumber on mixed leaved with lemon juice. 1 piece of whole grain bread

Dinner: Mustard Marinated Salmon Steaks, spinach puree and some tropical fruits for dessert

Breakfast: Girls: Hot Cereal (make extra for griddle cakes tomorrow)
Me: (supposedly a vegetarian day) Slice of whole grain bread and banana

Lunch: Girls: Going to see if they will eat the following recipe with me, Isabella's not crazy about rice though, so it might be AB & J for her :)
Me: Risotto Con Salsa Cruda (from the above mentioned book)
Recipe: Cook 1/2 cup long grain brown rice and a pinch of salt. Combine 2 chopped tomatoes, 1/2 peeled and diced cucumber, 1 garlic clove finely chopped, 2 spring onions (I don't have these, so I'll just put a little bit of chopped onion instead), 2 finely chopped carrots, 1 finely chopped zucchini, 1/2 Tbsp peas -- add in 1/4 cup olive oil and season lightly with sea salt, pepper, and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Stir this mixture into the warm cooked rice, season to taste and sprinkle with chopped parsley and chives ( I don't have chives)

Dinner: Kenny & Girls: Chicken and couscous and probably some of mommy's
Me: Eggplant Caviar (from the above mentioned book)
Recipe: Bake 2 eggplants until soft, cut it open and scrape the flesh into a bowl. Add juice of 1 lemon and beat in 3 Tbsp olive oil drop by drop (I'm going to use part organic unrefined coconut oil), to form a smooth cream. Stir in 2 Tbsp yogurt and 1 crushed garlic clove. Season with salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds. Combine well, cover and chill for an hour. Serve with strips of carrot, celery, cucumber, cauliflower and fennel (I don't have fennel) **I'm cutting this recipe in half because I don't think my family will love it so no need to waste.

Breakfast: Girls: Griddle Cakes and fruit (This has become a much requested item from them)
Me: Smoothie with berries, banana, coconut flour, gr. flax seed, juice/water, kefir

Lunch: Baked Chicken Taquitos in corn tortillas

Dinner: Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup
This recipe sounds so good to me. Butternut squash is one of my family's favorites and since I got in on sale this week, I'm excited. (This recipe came from Wholesome Goodness, which you can click the name and see it)

Breakfast: French Toast

Lunch: Lunch with daddy since I'll be leaving

Dinner: I'm going to put some turkey meatballs in the crock pot with spaghetti sauce and then Kenny can cook some pasta to go with them for dinner.

Saturday: I'll be gone, but my hubby will probably make the girls eggs or whole grain pancakes for the girls and should be able to have some healthy leftover alternatives to give the girls instead of taking them out.

Sunday: Gone

Saturday, October 04, 2008


I just sent my hubby to Wal Mart to get Isabella some shoes and some toilet paper.... anyone want to guess what kind of shoes he may bring back? :) I've decided she cannot wear her Crocs to church Sunday morning, I've finally come to the realization that it truly is fall and she can no longer wear her sandals, but when I got out her other shoes there was no squishing her feet in them. I'm a little nervous..........

...... about the shoes, not the toilet paper, he'll do fine on that one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Little late on this today, but here is my Menu for the week.
*Breakfast: The girls had hot brown rice farina with raspberries, I had a smoothie with banana, strawberry, kale, kefir, coconut flour, a little bit of juice and soy milk for blending.
*Lunch: AB & J sandwiches (Amelias made with her "crazy" bread :) ), grapes, chips.I had the lone piece of homemade pizza with banana peppers leftover from having the teens over last night -- I don't know why the teens didn't want the banana peppers. :) I made 4 pieces of it, I ate one, Isabella ate one, someone else must have mistakenly grabbed one and we had one left.

*Dinner: Turkey and Rice Casserole -- made from yesterdays lunch leftovers. Kind of like THIS recipe, except modified for things I don't have or don't want. But turkey, rice and cheese, how bad can it be?

*Breakfast: Breakfast Casserole -- Made with potatoes (I will julienne these like hash browns), eggs, sausage, cheese. I'm not a pork person, but I thought the teens would like sausage on their pizza, I was wrong, no one wanted it, so I have cooked sausage to use up. (I will be making this ahead of time, setting my alarm to get up and throw it in, falling back asleep for 40 minutes and then getting up with my hubby. He gets up and leaves really early so we don't usually eat breakfast together -- neither of us are morning people Who knows, he might enjoy it so much that he starts getting up everyday for breakfast. :)
*Lunch: Mac & Cheese with peas
*Dinner: Mushroom ravioli (I froze these a couple weeks back - made with spelt flour and cremini mushroom/bread crumbs for the filling) with some kind of cream sauce and a salad.

*Breakfast: Griddle Cakes and fruit. (Girls loved these last week and we had leftover "hot cereal" from today)
*Lunch: One of the leftovers
*Dinner: Open faced turkey sandwiches (A favorite of Isabellas!) and veggies

*Breakfast: Isabella has reg. gymnastics class at 9:15 -- probably the same quick breakfast as last week, Isabella normally asks for this: "Fire Ants on a Log" (Banana, with almond butter and dried cranberries)
*Lunch: AB & Js, grapes or applesauce
*Dinner: Meatless Lentil Chili. Kind of like THIS recipe, except I won't be using the meat and will add beans

*Breakfast: Egg in a Basket (or Egg in a Hole, like on THIS site) But too much butter, I won't be doing that. Made this a couple weeks ago and the girls really liked it - they normally just like scrambled, maybe it was just because Mommy had it and they didn't, but we'll see.
*Lunch: Let the girls make their own pizza. I have leftover homemade pizza dough in the freezer, so not much preparation with this. And they love doing that --- hmmm, don't think I posted those pictures, they'll be coming.
*Dinner: Probably bean/cheese quesadillas. Kenny's supposed to be home late because of parking lot duty at church again. If I don't drop another bottle of vinegar on the floor, have my child rip through my bread, or..... then I won't pray for the game to be cancelled this week. :)

*Breakfast: Whatever my honey wants me to make this morning.
*Lunch: I'm thinking simple, probably grilled cheese sandwiches. For me, I want to try THIS recipe, or one similar to it that I found in Southern living, but don't know if the rest of the family will like it.
*Dinner: Possibly out with the teens, if not leftover chili

*Breakfast: A repeat of last Sunday, whatever Daddy gets the girls to eat, Sunday mornings have been rushed. My hubby is so sweet to me and does pretty much everything except fot the girls hair for me on Sunday mornings.
*Lunch: I'm still thinking about this one. I wanted to say Lasagna, but then that's not easy to cook while we're at church. Anyone got any great healthy crock pot type of recipes? Roast, turkey breast, whole chicken have been the easiest thing so far because most of the meal is cooked when we get home from church.
*Dinner: Leftovers or something else quick.

*Snacks: Just made some melba toast today (seeing that I really didn't want Amelia to have to have funky sandwiches all week. Ha!) We still have a couple yogurt popsicles; fruit; cheese; etc. My girls actually aren't big on snacks. Every now and then they ask after their nap, so maybe 1 a day, if that. By the way, I did try those cookies I mentioned last week. They were yummy! I even messed them up because I didn't have the right ingredient. I mashed up the bananas and wet ingredients, and then realized what I thought were rolled oats were steel cut oats and I didn't have any rolled oats. So, I used them anyway. They were chewier that way, but I still liked them, Kenny liked them, Amelia liked them, but my finicky texture eater Isabella said "They're really good mommy, but I'm just going to put mine here and I'll eat it later." How sweet of her to pretend she liked them for mommy's sake, but I know if that child puts down a cookie she doesn't like it. I now have rolled oats so I can make them the right way and see how I like them.

And that's it. If you want to see anymore menus go to Organizing Junkie. It definitely helps me to write it down and to post it on here so I know I have to get it done. And this week I don't think I need to make a grocery trip, so that's nice as well. I only have 2 small items that I need and my hubby can grab them on the way home from work.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Well, somebody enjoyed my bread

Shortly after I posted pictures of my day of bread baking. The above is what I found. The bread was still on the counter cooling (obviously it must have been cool enough) and it was helplessly attacked. Now before anyone is grossed out thinking we have mice (we don't), or really big cockroaches (I hope and pray not), or even that our cats have jumped on the counters and dug into my bread (they didn't, although the fat one has been known to grab onto a bag of bread while we are gone for a couple days, thinking surely we are not coming home and he is going to starve to death) --- No, this bread was ruined, I mean eaten, by a raccoon..... MY little Raccoon. Yeah, this one:
And just to keep it real, I will admit I couldn't post about this until today. Friday was one of those days, really one of those days, and I called my husband in tears over all the little frustrations like this one that had gone on that day. And to make it worse, he was supposed to do parking lot duty at our church for the HS football game, so I was expecting him to be home late. Well, praise the Lord for rain, very few fans came out to the game and my husband was able to come home and help me regain my sanity. And thankfully, I have this adorable picture to post of her, since I didn't take the time to take a picture of her standing in the corner. Isabella has informed me that she didn't want this part of the bread, so I guess for the next week, Amelia gets some crazy shaped sandwiches. But then again, she's my raccoon, and will eat anything!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Baking Day

Today, on our journey of trying to be healthier and more frugile I have been baking our bread. I really enjoy doing this, and there is nothing like the smell of baking bread coming from the kitchen and then a slice of fresh hot bread when its done -- yum! I had planned on doing this earlier in the week, but I wasn't feeling so good, then Wednesday night I forgot to soak my grains so I ended up doing it today instead. Not a big problem, just had to replace grilled cheese sandwiches on my meal plan -- no great loss there. Anyway, here's a picture of my bread, thought it looked rather pretty this time, or maybe it was just that I made 4 loaves instead of 2 so it looks all pretty sitting together. Now if I can just find room for 3 loaves in the freezer.... And if you are looking at the above picture and wondering why that 1 loaf is considerably smaller looking than the others (although they are all different sizes since I have 3 different bread pans, all different sizes, go figure) this is the reason -- or I should say, SHE is the reason:

She wanted to bake her own little tiny loaf in a tiny little loaf pan I had. I figured since most of the bread goes for sandwiches for them, we could handle having one a little bit smaller. She was quite pleased and actually asked me to take a picture of her with her "little tiny bread". We each got 2 slices of that bread with a little bit of honey drizzled on it after it was done baking. And she was sure to save the rest of the "loaf" for Daddy. I love that she enjoys doing these things with mommy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Pet **** Added a new link

Yesterday, we woke up to a Frigid 60 degrees (no that wasn't a misprint) - way too cold for Isabella to go outside, or so I was told. But she HAD to go outside to see her new pet so this is what she decided to wear:
Ignore the fact that the coat is a size 18-24 months, the gloves are mine, what matters is that she has shoes on to keep her feet warm. :) She is a true southern girl with her flip flops on. :) And this is her new pet:Her name is Dara. I'm not sure where Isabella got the name, spelled out it looks a little like Dora, maybe this was for her sister. But considering she named her fish Rexy-Keeko and has a stuffed penguin named Carlotta, there's really no telling. She's already agreed to name the baby boy that God is going to give us. Uh-oh. Saturday, we went for a bike ride at the park and stopped at Wal Mart on the way home. I was in the garden area looking at the herb plants and noticed these caterpillars on the parsley. The worker kindly told us we could have one (unconcerned that they were eating the plants) and Isabella was SO excited. She has spent so much time just sitting and watching this thing. Currently, she/he is starting to pupate. I'm thinking we will have a Chrysalis by morning. And since I am no insect expert, praise God for the internet. We've learned all kinds of things about this particular caterpillar and the butterfly she will turn into. What a fun science lesson. In case you were wondering, its a black swallowtail, she has bright orange "horns" that come out of her head when she is disturbed and emits some stinky odor (saw them, didn't smell it thankfully.) Isabella said that was a mean thing to do, so we got to talk about how it tries to protect itself.... she still says its mean. :) It stays a caterpillar for about 2 weeks, attaches itself to a tree (fake tree in this case) and spins its cocoon (didn't know that all caterpillars don't do this, some use leaves around them first and then spin the cocoon around that), then after around 2 weeks it becomes a pretty butterfly!! I'll post more pictures of it because I'm sure we will be taking them and making up some little scrapbook for Isabella.

Oh and just because she asked me to, here's a picture of Amelia with her best friend, Teddy. She obviously can withstand the freezing cold weather, much better.
**Here's a site at least for my friend Becky -- her kids will enjoy this. Once you get to the site under the title of the page, click on "Click here to see morphing of caterpillar to butterfly" Yikes!!! Isabella might have nightmares about that if she sees it. :) Seems to have some other good information for the kids to see. I haven't looked at every page though, so I'm not endorsing it and I'm not responsible if your kids have nightmares about molting their skin or about enzymes that will digest their innards and turn them into soup (yeah, it says that.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My recent Canning/Preserving

Thought I would update with what else I have canned or frozen the past month. You already saw the applesauce, then Kenny went and got more apples off of my parents tree before they went bad and I peeled, sliced, and put them in freezer bags and in the freezer. These will be good for a couple apple pies, apple crisps, etc around the holidays.
Then my mom and I picked up some tomatoes at the Farmer's market, not an abundance probably 10-12 pounds. We bought 1 bag I would say about 5-7 pounds of canning tomatoes for $4 and then 5 pounds at $.75/pound. I wanted to just try these first to see how I did with tomatoes before we bought alot. I made spaghetti sauce. Thing I learned about tomatoes: In my opinion if you are canning spaghetti sauce or salsa, unless you grow your own tomatoes, it really is barely worth it. Not very frugile at least. I saved a little money per jar of organic spaghetti sauce, but all together, I got 6 jars of spaghetti sauce, the pint jars, not the quart jars. Yes, cheaper than the organic kind I would buy at Whole Foods or Earth Fare, but not ALOT cheaper, not for all the time you spend peeling (even with the hot then ice water way of peeling), cutting, seeding, cooking, then canning. Granted, I enjoyed doing these and I'm sure I will enjoy the sauce, but since I am trying to figure up the health AND financial benefits, it doesn't work out as well on the financial aspect.

Solution: I will be planting at least container tomato plants next year (we really have a horrible yard for a garden, hardly any sun at all in the back)

My mom and I blanched then froze some green beans that we also grabbed at the Farmers Market. I like just steamed green beans, my kids-not so much, but I thought these would also be good to have around for soups this fall/winter. Plus, they make a pretty picture. :) Green Beans were cheaper at the Farmers Market than at the store and definitely cheaper than buying frozen green beans to use in soups, so that was good.

Then I grabbed a half bushel of peaches, froze several bags, and we peeled up several and made some preserves and then I wanted just to try and do a few jars canned as well. I don't normally eat canned fruit that isn't in preserves or sauce, but I was curious about trying it. You know, see if and how I do it. :) I only did 4 quarts of the peaches and added very little honey to the sauce. The preserves are a little tart, because the kind of peaches I used and because I wanted to make them as low sugar as possible. I used some white grape juice and about 1/4 cup rapadura for the sweetener. We ate some tonight on toast with dinner and they are yummy! All of us really like them. These I did save money on. I love frozen peaches for smoothies and tend to buy bags of those. My girls like AB & J sandwiches and to buy something made with a natural sweetener is about $3 for a small jar. Very happy about these!
Altogether, I'm enjoying learning and doing this. Isabella likes hearing the jars "pop" and we are all enjoying or will be enjoying these throughout the fall and winter.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu for this week

Ok, so a new (to me) thing I'm joining in on is Menu Plan Monday. I have started realizing how much I really need to write out my menu for the week. It definitely helps on the grocery shopping, going once rather than running every time I need an ingredient. Granted, I only live 5 minutes from the store, but gas is gas and even 15 minute trip to the store ends up being at least 45 with getting 2 little ones in and out of the car, convinced they really don't have a toy aisle in the grocery store, and that no they are NOT getting that candy. It also helps me with variety and trying new recipes. Its great if I already have things in the freezer, but there are only so many days that my family is going to want baked chicken, cous cous and veggies -- or my every creative changing it up -- lets do baked FISH,..... So here it goes, I am posting links to a couple recipes as well. The crunchy chicken nuggets my girls LOVE and they love to make them. I think the recipe says something about making sure if kids help to wash their hands after handling raw chicken -- yeah them handling raw chicken is not happening around here, the fingers will be in the mouth before I get to the sink. What I do is marinate in the yogurt like it says, crunch up and mix the dry ingredients, then fill 2 ziploc baggies with the dry mix put in a few pieces of the chicken and have them shake like crazy. Then I get the nuggets out and put them in the dish and we repeat that. They love it and shake the snot out of those bags. So here it goes:

Breakfast: When they get up, the girls get to pick today (guaranteed Amelia will say cereal bar, but we have none)
Lunch: AB & J sandwiches, grapes, cheese if they're still hungry
Dinner: Leftover Chicken & Parmesan Dumpling soup YUM! I used Kale instead of Chard and it was good. Couldn't find swiss chard and probably would have chosen Kale anyway. I would choose a whole grain flour instead of just a regular if you are wanting to be healthier - it works fine too. And I used chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken because that's what I got on sale. (Oh and less parsley unless you LOVE the flavor of parsley, I used half)

Breakfast: French Toast & Fruit Syrup. I have a recipe that uses yogurt instead of the milk and egg for dipping, might try that. I like using frozen fruit, put it on the stove, pour a little bit of syrup over it (LITTLE BIT) and heat it up, we use less syrup that way because the juice/water in the fruit gives it enough liquid base -- and GOOD maple syrup is pricey. If you use more sugary syrup this would also be good because you wouldn't be eating as much sugary syrup, I know my kids never need that extra "energy" burst.
Lunch: Grab something at Earth Fare because Isabella has extra gymnastics class today at 10:45, I can also do my grocery shopping and save an extra trip.
Dinner: Shepherds Pie made from Sundays leftovers

Breakfast: Griddle Cakes (Found this recipe on back of brown rice farina cereal, first try this week)
Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (unless the girls convince me of AB & J again)
Dinner: Chicken Caesar wraps (Weds. have to be quick meals before Youth Group, anyone have any other great suggestions?? Really quick eating, hubby gets home at 6:15, leave at 6:45)

Breakfast: Isabella has reg. gymnastics class at 9:15 -- quick breakfast (or snack) that my girls love: We call it "Fire Ants on a Log" (I think Isabella saw a variation of this with a pretzel stick and raisins, hence the log, but we do bananas and red ants instead) Take a banana, cut in half lengthwise, spread with almond butter and put some dried cranberries on it.
Lunch: Corn flake chicken nuggets (See my above note on how I have the girls help)
Dinner: Baked Tilapia, cous cous, veggies (oops an old faithful snuck in)

Breakfast: Brown Rice Farina Cereal (Hot cereal to Isabella) with fruit and flax
Lunch: Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
Dinner: ?? Need another quick suggestion, Daddy might not be home because we have parking lot duty for high school game -- never mind the explanation, just another busy night. :)

Breakfast: A girly kind of breakfast, Daddy has breakfast with guys at church so we're going to make smoothies and muffins together and either have a little picnic or tea party (something to distract them from Daddy not being there on a Sat. morning)
Lunch: ??? Depends on what the day holds
Dinner: Probably cookout or do something easy like Baked Chicken Taquitos or Quesadillas

Breakfast: Whatever Daddy gets the girls to eat, Sunday mornings have been rushed for mommy lately. :)
Lunch (Isn't this actually the dinner time on Sundays in the South): Whatever type of whole chicken, turkey breast, or roast that I can find on sale, brown rice, and veggies
Dinner: Youth Group coming over after church: Homemade pizza, either make a few big ones or have the teens make them.

A couple snack ideas for the week: If we don't use the rest of the homemade bread in the first couple days of the week, I will make it into Melba toast and it will be eaten before I get a bite. Also, a favorite treat of my girls is popsicles made with vanilla yogurt (or plain if thats what you have/like) and fruit (blended up fruit is a little better I think) We also will be trying THESE "cookies": I'll let you know if they're good.
And there it is, I've just realized how busy this week is going to be. Slightly sad, my hubby will not be here, Monday night for dinner, Friday night, and Saturday morning -- its not normally like that, it just seems like this week was the week everything was planned for him. If you want more menu plans and recipes visit here: Organizing Junkie.

(By the way click on the green words to be taken to the recipe links)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Baby

While we were at the beach, we celebrated Amelia's "Gotcha Day." It was actually the Friday before, but she's 2 so dates don't really matter to her and it is so much more fun to celebrate at the beach than at home, right? :) I can't believe that it has already been 2 years since Amelia's adoption was finalized. It seems like just yesterday. (Look back to September 2006 posts for pictures) It still amazes me that God chose us to be parents to this fiesty yet shy, dramatic yet easily embarassed, stubborn yet sweet, beautiful, precious little girl. She has balanced out our house with one mama's girl (that's her) and one Daddy's girl. She is the complete opposite of her sister, which just makes us enjoy and glory in the way He has created them. (Well except for the potty training thing, Isabella was easy, Amelia is not -- I can't enjoy that. :) ) We got her a little Dora play camera -- she is some kind of Dora fanatic (and we don't watch it very often either so I don't know where it came from.) She was pretty excited about her camera. Here she is taking a "picture" of mommy taking a picture of her. Funny, the picture of me ended up looking like Dora. :) Thank you God for this precious blessing, for your timing, for your ways, for the beautiful way you created her!!! I pray that you use us to train her in the way YOU want and that she grows up to love you more than anything!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sand, Sun, Beach, RELAX....

Last Friday we headed down to the beach. We had been trying to go for several weeks but due first to Fay and then to Hanna we had to reschedule. I was afraid it was going to be mid November and we would finally get down there and freeze our tails off camping. :) We had a great time. As soon as we got there, the girls were asking to go to the beach. The last few weeks we've been so busy and had alot on our minds, but as soon as I sat down on the beach and watched my girls play it was like I instantly relaxed. I have several pictures to share, alot of Amelia because that first afternoon she cracked me up, she was singing and dancing on the beach -- eyes closed deep emotional singing, doing some new yoga ballet, and just enjoying everything. Isabella played for a couple minutes and then came running up to us and said "Oh Thank you mommy and daddy, thank you for bringing us to the beach." That was worth it -- she did the same thing when we took her to Tweetsie Railroad a few weeks before. Thankfully, she is still seeing this all as fun and a treat. I'm posting the pictures small so I can post alot -- I just had to post several of the pictures of Amelia because its such a cute sequence of photos.

These last 2, you probably can't really see, but one her mouth is wide open singing and then the other is where she has her eyes closed -- oh I wish I could have videotaped all of this. :) Then Saturday we were able to spend most of the day with friends. Kelly and her 3 kids came up to see us. We had alot of fun. We went and painted t-shirts at the nature center, did the marsh walk, and then spent the evening on the beach. I told her that I think Kenny enjoys doing "boy" stuff with her sons -- those of you who know Kenny well are probably in shock that kids think of my husband as one of them instead of as the responsible, mature adult that he is. I know, shocking! :) Isabella and Amelia loved having Logan to play with. She helped Isabella fix her hair once and I thought, yeah, I need her, a little older girl around the house to help me. :) They pretended they were either princesses or mermaids the whole day. I enjoyed visiting with Kelly -- I should mention that my first year of marriage, I "taught" (I'm not sure you could actually call it that) English and Kelly was a student in my class and also one of the youth in our youth group. Yeah, I know, I feel old, she has kids older than mine. She now forgives me for all the horrible grammar and it has been nice connecting on a friend level. Here are some pictures of the kids together that day:

Even with the typical big brother bunny ears, I thought this was such a pretty picture of Logan. And since they are so small, you probably can't even see that.

We ended our summer with a great time!!