Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baby Food

I am sure that I have blogged about this somewhere before.  Maybe not.  But this week I am all over making Miss A's baby food.  Well, at least her vegetables.  I may get to the fruit that she has in the mornings another day.  Recently, the price of baby food increased by ten cents.  I was not thrilled to have that added to my grocery budget.  I remembered that I had stocked up on quite a few bag of frozen vegetables (with no added salt or anything) that were about the price of one can of baby food... maybe less?  I also remembered one of the reasons that I told Husband as to why I "needed" to have a BlendTec was to make baby food.  Here's where the rubber met the road.

I remember having a bit of difficulty getting the vegetables just right in our old blender.  Same story for our food processor.  Boy Howdy! (Miss L's newest phrase) The BlendTec made light work of the baby food making.  Fast.  Super easy clean up.  Plus, I had just made seven meals worth of food in less than 10 minutes.  I scooped the food into ice cube trays and put them in the freezer for a few hours.  Then I popped them all out and put them in a freezer bag (with the help of my two year old).  It was actually great fun!  I made peas, broccoli (which you generally cannot get in the jars) and green beans.  I have some fresh yellow squash and zucchini that are waiting to be steamed and then blended.

How easy is it?  Steam vegetables.  Toss in blender.  Add a little water if needed.  Puree to desired consistency.  Put in ice cube tray.  Freeze.  Ta-da!

We may still buy a couple of jars to have on hand for convenience.  However, I just threw a couple of ice cubes into an airtight container and took it too a friends house.  I think the trick is to know that it will be melted by the time you need it or have access to a microwave to warm it up a bit.  Or, I guess you can go the hot water bath if you have some time and your baby is not screaming at you for food.

I love the way the food looks, too.  Not grey-ish green, but fresh!  Novel idea, right?  I love that I am paying about .62-cents for seven meals rather than for one or two meals.  There are so many ways to make your own baby food.  I just happen to really love my BlendTec.  You also need to do what is best for you -- it's not a crime to buy jarred baby food.  Please don't hear me saying that -- we'll probably have some around for times at church or other places.  We'll see.

Do hear me say that this is the most frugal way to feed a baby... unless you are managing to get jar food for free.  I am not that person.  ha ha ha!!

Husband thinks I have gone crazy green natural.  I just told him I am just stretching our food budget even farther.  That's always a good thing.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Challenge: 31 Days to Change heart

This challenge and this ebook came along just in time.  It was like it was meant to be.  I can do all the FlyLady stuff or read all the books by the local Queen of Clean but in the end if my heart, motivation, and reasoning do not line up for what my Lord has deemed for me as a wife, mother, daughter, friend... woman... then it is all in vain.  My ultimate desire is that my husband, my children... and then myself.... would feel comfortable in our home.  Safe.  Relaxed.  I want them to see that from me as well.  I don't want frantic and task to be my default mode.

While I have already skimmed over most of the month there are heart things that I will find VERY challenging.  I am not sure that the "tasks" will help get my WHOLE house clean it will help in some trouble spots.  Some of the tasks don't apply.  (For example, I don't have a window in my kitchen to clean)  But I will supplement other things that I am doing and try to keep up with what has been working so far.  There have been some recent developments that will challenge me further in a good way but those things will be revealed later in the month as we encounter different challenges and tasks throughout the month.

If you would like to join in on the challenge you can click on the photo in this post and it will take you to a series of posts that will let you know what to do.  I appreciate that we will be taking the weekends off for this challenge (Which also means it doesn't start until Monday, May 2nd).  It will take us a little beyond May 31st but that is just fine.  You can also buy the ebook as a download or for the kindle for $4.99 -- totally worth it even if you don't do the challenge.  It will be an interesting journey to take with other women (one of which is a long-time friend!)

Let the cleaning (of heart, mind, and house) begin!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Deviled Eggs

I am not sure how many times on Sunday I heard, "Why do they call them deviled eggs?  Shouldn't they be saintly or angelic eggs?"  I am not sure that I ever heard these comments more than I did this year.  It wasn't just from family either.  Weird.  I guess it comes up because we tend to have them on Resurrection Day.  Does the same question apply if we roll them out for thee 4th of July or some other summer event?

Of course, I had to look up the how or why to this term and this is what I found:
Here's the history behind the the name. An Englishman by the name of William Underwood set up a small condiment business on Boston's Russia Wharf in 1822. It did pretty well both developing and selling new condiment products. Around 1868, Underwood's sons began experimenting with a new product created from ground ham blended with a mix of special seasonings. They introduced a product line of seasoned meat products including ham, turkey, chicken, lobster, and tongue. They called the seasoning process "deviling," and the Underwood "red devil" was born. 

Today many other foods, including eggs and crab, are served "deviled." To be considered deviled, a food has to have a kick from something like Dijon mustard, hot sauce, cayenne pepper or chopped hot peppers. 

Underwood's Deviling process holds U.S. Patent Office trademark NO. 82, granted in 1870, the oldest existing food trademark still in use in the United States. The exact"deviling" recipe remains a company secret to this day.


I looked up several recipes and decided to go with whatever I had on hand in combination with what I read.  I think that I would change some things again next time but it's all a learning process in the end.  Everyone seemed to like them, especially Miss L.  I didn't think she would but we finally had to cut her off!

Here's what I had on hand and what I did.

18 hard boiled eggs
1 T Greek yogurt
3-4 T mayo (olive oil based)
2-3 t spicy brown mustard
2-3 t yellow mustard
2-3 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
1 t garlic powder (more or less as you like)
1 scallion, finely chopped or minced

Peel eggs, cut lengthwise, and remove egg yolk to medium sized bowl.  "Mush" egg yolks with a large fork until you have fairly uniformed crumbles

Add ingredients through scallion and mix throughly.  Add more of a wet ingredient to taste or if the mix is is still too dry.  Be careful of too much mustard as it can be a little watery.  Just go easy.

Pipe in filling using a pastry bag and tip of your choice.  Or you can fill in a corner of a zip-loc bag, snip the end and you have a make shift pastry bag

Dust with paprika.  Chill until ready to serve.

*** I used a disposable pastry bag and a #17 cake decorating tip.  Next time I will use a #18 (because it is slightly larger) or a #199 tip to allow for chunk of egg or onion to pass through a bit easier.  I had a few times where I had to work the clump out.  Still came out pretty and I found it far easier to pipe the filling in rather than scooping it back into the egg with a spoon.

I may try it next time with more yogurt, that is really all I had on hand!  HA!  I think the yogurt would be better over all than the mayo.  I may try some more fresh herbs next time.  I have read of some people adding cheese and bacon bits to the eggs, too.  But I like the fresher things for deviled eggs.

What do you like in your deviled eggs?  Or do you not like them at all?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Meal Plan Wednesday

It seems like each week I sit here and say that things were moved this way and that and we have a meal or two to carry over for this week.  This week is no different.  That's okay!  It makes one less meal I need to plan for and it means that I am growing with the change in our schedules.  We are having dinner with friends tonight and I was thankful that I had th ingredients for a particular recipe on hand.  Ahh... the joys of stocking up sometimes.  Actually our menu reflects mostly things we have already in the house minus produce.  YES!  So, whatever I pick up at the stores this week will be for future use or it will be produce.  There are some fairly good deals on some produce and that should work in our favor this week.  YAY!  I remember days when I would never buy any produce.  Now I love to see my cart full of beautiful colors.  Love, love, love!

Anyway, here is what is on the menu this week:

Lentil Bake (a family favorite - I think I may even blend some of this up for Miss A to try this week)
Roasted Chicken with Veggies (this is the meal that always gets shuffled!)
Ham & Cheese Quesadillas with a few side salads (Probably for Sunday at our house)
Chicken Tacos (with leftover chicken or we will turn it to taco salad)
Baked Penne Gratin w/ Ham & Peas
Lentil Quiche
Fettuccine w/ Swiss Chard, Onions & Goat Cheese

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Some time on Saturday afternoon Husband mentioned having Hot Cross Buns for Resurrection Day breakfast.  Being a wife who wants to make her husband happy I looked into what it would take to make these traditional bread rolls.  I found this particular recipe that utilizes the help of bread machine to make the dough.  I was all for it because I had some other things to tend to for the next day's festivities on top of two little girls to chase around the house.

I had some yeast and I took a gamble because the expiration date had passed.  I have done this before with a horrible outcome.  Husband, who apparently developed a nose for yeast in his brewing days, assured me that my yeast was fine.  Sure enough, it was.  However, I would recommend NOT using yeast that has gone beyond its expiration unless you are fully prepared to start all over again.  I was.  Thankfully, I did not have to go back to square one.

They were pretty yummy when we did quality control that night.  While not as good as fresh from the oven warmed up the next day was just fine.  I made the frosting and we just frost as we go to make them easier to warm up and eat.  Yum!

If you don't have dried milk you can also warm up some skim milk (or maybe other lowfat milk?) in place of the water.  If you do this, leave the water out and leave the dried milk out.  This is me clarifying :)

We left the dried fruit out because I am not such a fan but I am sure that you can do a variety of different combinations.  I might be up for dried cranberries.

I also learned to be very careful when doing an egg brush on bread.  If you get a little too carried away you will end up with cooked egg on the bottom of the pan.  Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things but not fun to discover.  Just be prepared.

I think that I had been looking at recipes far too long by the time I got to the frosting because instead of 2 teaspoons of milk...I used tablespoons.  Yeah, that made for some nasty looking frosting.  So, don't make that mistake.  I made the frosting in a sandwich bag -- just mix it all up in there -- and snip a corner to pipe it all out.  Make more if you like more frosting.

Hot Cross Buns

3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon instant powdered milk
1/4 cup white sugar

3/8 teaspoon salt (for the math challenged 1/8 t three times ;)  )
1 egg
1 egg white
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup dried currants
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk


  1. Put warm water, butter, skim milk powder, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg, egg white, flour, and yeast in bread maker and start on dough program.
  2. When 5 minutes of kneading are left, add currants and cinnamon. Leave in machine till double.
  3. Punch down on floured surface, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.
  4. Shape into 12 balls and place in a greased 9 x 12 inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about 35-40 minutes.
  5. Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush on balls.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.
  7. To make crosses: mix together confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and milk. Brush an X on each cooled bun.

Monday, April 25, 2011

True Vintage

After my original rant about aprons I remembered this one.  Sorry for the wrinkles as I had to "rescue" it from the dress up basket.  That basket has been its home for quite some time now and Miss L really hasn't made use of this one.  She prefers to wear the vintage waist apron as a dress tied under her arms -- she actually looks quite lovely that way.


Where did this one come from you might ask?

This was my Grandma G's apron and I remember her wearing it on the farm on several occasions.  Kleenex was always tucked away in the pocket.  She would wear it all day.  I am confident all the work was done with her hands.  I have tried it on several times and it feels a bit snug in places.  It would figure as my grandmother was a bit smaller framed  than I am.  This apron is a smock style, I believe and I think it would be pretty comfortable.  Maybe if I had a better fitting one I would like this style as well?  I don't know.  Maybe I will try cooking with it.  However, I think it may need a wash and an iron.

It may be worth it.

It's a fun reminder of my grandmother and childhood memories on the farm.  My grandmother died a couple of years ago at 100 1/2 -- you have to start adding the "half" in again when you turn 100 -- ha ha ha!!  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Onion Chicken in Balsamic Sauce

I can't say that I am a complete chicken snob but I will say that I am pretty oblivious when it comes to other available cuts of chicken.  If I buy chicken, it is usually boneless, skinless chicken breast.  I happened upon a great deal for leg quarters -- I don't remember the price per pound -- but I had 5 leg quarters for about $3.20.  I figured it was worth the gamble and I would figure it out.  Time to be adventurous and try something new.  Enter this new recipe.  I found it on  I forgot to write down some of the "adjustments" that reviewers left so I made it pretty much the same as the recipe.  I made a few adjustments and need to add a few notes. I think that this is binder worthy and would like having it again.

Onion in Chicken Balsamic Sauce

1 T olive oil
1 onion chopped
2-3 leg quarters
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (I would go to 375)

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and reduce heat to low. (I kept the heat at medium because I needed to speed up the process)  Allow onions to caramelize, stirring only enough to prevent sticking and to be sure that all sides are fully cooked.  Add garlic and saute briefly.

Increase heat (if you need to) and add chicken to skillet, brown on both sides.  Remove chicken, onion, and garlic to a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Combine stock and vinegar.  Deglaze the skillet with this mixture and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened.  Pour mixture over the chicken and stir in the sun dried tomatoes.  Cover dish tightly and bake  in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes (I did 30), or until chicken is done and juices run clear.

**Again, I want to make note that I increased the oven temperature to 375F and I cooked it for 30 minutes to ensure that it was done.  Still super tender because of the sauce.  As I was typing this up I realized that I used WAY more balsamic than called for and it was still super yummy.  I had the recipe printed in double ingredients but soon realized there was no need for it.  The original 1 onion and sauce is plenty for 3 or more pieces of meat.  The sauce didn't thicken up enough for my liking so I added some Wondra -- you can use cornstarch, flour or arrowroot for the same result.  Finally, I used what sun-dried tomatoes I had on hand which I am sure was less than half a cup and it seemed to be plenty!

We had a brown rice, orzo, tomato, spinach pilaf-type side with it.  The extra sauce was yummy!

I saved the sauce to put over some left over quinoa for lunch the next day.  YUM!

The above picture was taken just before putting it in the oven - it was SO pretty.  It was just a pretty coming out of the oven but I was busy feeding a baby and Husband had to pull it out.  I don't think he would have been super excited if I had requested him to photograph dinner, too.  HA!  Although, I am sure he would have if I had asked.  Love him.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Monkey Bowl

My dad calls this a "monkey bowl" and I am not really sure as to why.  I think it's made of bamboo.  I also think that they may actually be older than me.

Either way, it's my favorite fruit bowl.

I ripen avocados and bananas in this bowl and it always does the trick.  It's my version of the paper bag that I mentioned in the previous post.  Miss L knows that her favorite goodies are kept here.  So much so that she has a hard time comprehending that it is ever really empty.  I have to pick it up and show her.

We have two other sizes and I am not really sure what to do with the smaller ones.


It's funny that when my dad first brought these bowls to me I thought that they would just end up in the Goodwill pile.  Now... I think I shall keep them forever.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kitchen Hints

I was going through some old cook books and realized that one really could be done away with as several of the recipes included Velveeta and as long as my Husband is head of this household Velveeta shall not pass over the threshold.  ha!  It's a funny and altogether funny story as to why I originally kept said cook book around and then realized it needed disappear.  The story will not be posted here but if inquiring minds want to know I can e-mail it to you.  HA HA!!

While said cook had horrible recipes (minus a few) there were some pages that had "Kitchen Hints" on them.  I read through some and thought I might try them.  Some I had already tried and knew if they worked for me or not.  Others were some that I would never use because I...well...just wouldn't be making the stuff that called for said tip.  I'll post those later.

For now, here are the ones that I know work (for me):

  • To remove the core from a head of lettuce, hit the core end once (hard) against the counter sharply. The core will loosen and pull out easily. (Emphasis mine.  My Papa taught me this one)
  • A slice of soft bread placed in the package of hardened brown sugar will soften it again in a couple of hours.
  • No more tears when peeling onion if you place them in the deep freeze for four or five minutes first.
  • To hasten the ripening of garden tomatoes or avocados, put them in a brown paper bag, close the bag and leave at room temperature for a few days.
  • To determine if an egg is hard boiled, spin it.  If it spins, it is hard boiled; if it wobbles and will not spin it is raw.

These are pretty basic.  However, there are a couple of my own that I have learned that seem to work for me as well that relate to a couple of the items above:

  • Place a piece of bread in your mouth while cutting onions and tears will be kept at bay.  Hold it on your tongue.  Eat the bread when you are done or throw it out.
  • To make cookies soft again, add a slice of bread to container over night.

I have a different take on adding avocados and other fruit to paper bags.  But that will be for another day.

What are some of your favorite kitchen tips?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Menu Plan Wednesday

I am not sure what happened last week but we ended up with a couple of meals left over again this week.  I think we had a random weird evening and schedules and last minute freak-outs... so, we brought in Chipotle.  It's vaguely coming back to me now.  We roll with it...

Also, the pork fajitas were SO yummy that we will have them again this week to finish off the last few pieces of pork.  Miss L wasn't a huge fan of some of the veggies but she's persevering in eating what she is served and trying new things.  That's the rule around here.  Mama will not be making individual dinners.

Here's the plan for this week

Baked Chicken w/ Green Chile Sauce over Quinoa, veggies, avocado
Roasted Chicken w/ Veggies
Hot Dogs w/ Mac & Cheese - Miss L keeps asking for it!
Bacon Quiche w/ Zucchini Bread/Muffins (Actual recipe is still up in the air)
Pork fajitas

Sunday is Resurrection Day and we will celebrate with family with a brunch like meal.  I will bring ham, deviled eggs, and maybe rolls.  Mom C will have a breakfast casserole and some other things.  We will probably make some leftovers from the ham for dinner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Laundry Room

Last week part of FlyLady's challenges were to clean up the laundry room.  We have this partial shelf that was driving me bananas.  Stuff was on there that didn't really belong in a laundry room.  Well, all that stuff has a new home or was tossed.  Everything is looking lovely in there and I know where it all is and what I have.  Novel idea, right?

I wiped the shelf down and wiped my freezer down as well as the washer and dryer.  It made me happy to see them shine.  Because of our hard water here I noticed some deposits on my washer "window" and need to look into how to get that gunk off.

I want to add some fun decorations in there.  There is a definition of laundry piece that I like but I am having a hard time locating the one that I want without having to spend a lot of money.  I saw a DIY project for it but I was SO not interested in all that it entailed.  I am also looking around at some fun vintage laundry signs.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Looking Back

Weeks two and three of my "Good Habits" journey has been pretty successful.  I have more motivation as little things are accomplished along the way.  My husband has seen a difference and that means a lot.

As with the best of intentions it seems like something always gets in the way.  At the beginning of week three we were ALL sick.  Husband's ick only lasted for about a day.  The girls have been on and off all week and seem to be on the up and up.  Miss A has a funky nose but that's about it.  I am a bit better but am still in the thick of it... go figure.  But again, we press on.  We rest more than usual but that's okay.  I still get the itch to do this or that.  I push through.

Shock of all shocks... I enjoy making the bed every morning.  It makes me feel like I am hitting the ground running and it influences my thoughts on the rest of the day.

I have been getting a shower almost every day - about six out of seven.  Depends on what is going on, etc.

I am reading my bible almost every day - some more than others.  I just finished reading Amos in the OT and will move on to Obadiah.  I am reading Hebrews in the NT (heavy stuff for the morning!) and then I usually flip back to the Psalms to finish it all up.  I may find an actual plan to follow and maybe a study to work through to help focus what I am reading.  This has helped my patience with the girls.  Although, one day I found myself snapping at Miss L right off one morning and had to apologize to her and get myself straight.

Laundry is great with a a load or two each day depending on what day it is and what I am washing.  Husband commented to me after telling him that I would be doing "whites" the next day, "Well, I am not running low on those right now."  I told him, "I hope you don't, that's the point."  It would seem like I would let things get too low.  It's nice that every thing is clean when we need it.  I even have it all put away.  Little people clothes are still my greatest challenge in putting clothes away.

Dishes.  It's like a game.  I set a timer and crank it out.  I don't always beat the timer but it's fun to try sometimes.  I like that I am not overwhelmed by dishes at night or in the morning.  Just. Get. It. Done.  YAY!

I am thinking about what to add for next month.  I have a couple of ideas but need to think on it more.  You might think I was nesting with all the organizing I have been doing of different areas.  I was never like this when I was pregnant.  Ever.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Recipe Organization

I have a problem.

I have about a million recipes and they are all over the place.  Or I find recipes and have no idea what to do with them.  Plus, I think I have far too many cook books with many of them only having a couple of recipes that I really like or care to try.


I have tried the box method and it just doesn't work for me.

I have seen some women that keep recipes in photo albums.  That works until I have full page recipes from magazines or something.  I want something that I don't always have to copy something down onto something smaller.

I noticed another friend had hers in binders organized a particular way housed in page protectors for easy removal.  I think I may try this way of doing things.  I will organize according to main ingredient or as that is usually how I search for things on sites -- pork, chicken, fish, beef, dessert, etc.  I will probably make a section for crockpot meals because I generally look for that kind of meal specifically. It's probable that I will need a few binders in the whole process.

I'll let you know how it goes.  It's on my "to do" list for next week.

Do you have suggestions for recipe organization?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


When I put Miss A down for the night yesterday evening I braced myself for a long night of little lungs coughing.  I braced myself for 26 inches of baby softness not being able to find comfort or rest.  I waited.

She coughed.  But she was able to rest as.  I was able to rest.  Three of the four people in this family are sick.  I pray Husband stays well.

At 3:00 this morning I heard happy babbles coming across the monitor.  It's 3:00 AM.  Please go back to sleep.  I would generally just leave her and she would eventually go back to sleep.  However, because she has been sick I go to make sure that all is well.  I manage my way to her room in the dark.  She sees me through the crib and smiles.  I pick her up only to discover that she is wet!  She has somehow managed to pee out the back of her diaper which isn't all that wet to begin with.

I had been questioning whether I should have purchased the extra pair of pajamas for the next size up.  Last night made it worth the purchase even if they are a little big.  I clean her up.  I clean up the bed sufficiently until I can get the rest in the wash in the morning (the mattress pad, etc).

Sleep returns.

Upon further observation this morning the wee one may have thrown up during the night.  But she slept.  How weird is that?  Not a sound to be made until 3:00 AM.

As I laid there this morning trying to go back to sleep I was glad that Miss A was granted rest for most of the night.  I was thankful for a wet baby and a mess once rather than not being able to give her little frame rest from the coughing and stuffy nose.

Then I thought, laughingly,

I am thankful for one less bed to change on Friday.  It's already done.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Menu Plan Wednesday

I have so many things to post that I have to keep reminders.  Recipes, etc.  But life keeps moving on here.  Maybe after night time clean up I will get a little caught up here.

I realized that I put the day that I "plan" to make said meal when I post them here.  I do that more for myself in case there is something going on that day, etc.  There may be an actual reason that it is on a particular day.  However, more often than not I switch my meals around.  Case in point, tonight.  I was going to make one meal and I realized that the marinade prep had not been done so we went to plan B which is working just fine.

Here's my plan for this week:

Onion Chicken in Balsamic Sauce with steamed veggies or a salad. (Or both)
Tacos (Chicken or Beef) -- Probably Saturday because it's fast and we are going to the zoo!
Spinach, Chicken (or Turkey), Feta Quiche - Crockpot meal
Baked Chicken w/ Green Chile Sauce (has tomatoes, beans) over quinoa topped with avocado. Salad.
Pork Fajitas (Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms)
Roasted Chicken with Veggies

I would normally have seven meals but we are celebrating a baptism on Sunday and will be with friends there.  So, lunch and dinner are a little up in the air - dinner will most likely be leftovers or something easy-peasy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Empty Those Pockets

I have never been the best at remembering to empty pockets before throwing pants in the wash.  I rarely carry things in my pockets.  I think it must be a girl thing.  Therefore, it must be a man thing to carry a variety of things in their pockets.  A few of Husband's thumb drives and other interesting things have made it through my wash in the last four and a half years.  Miraculously, none have been damaged or they were not that important.

We are now entering a new stage of laundry fun.  Miss L has discovered that her pocket hold things.  I was hoping to delay the discovery as long as possible.  The day has come.

Miss L loves to go in the bathroom and ask for one square of toilet paper.  It's a pretty cute exchange, if you ask me.  She will pretend to wash the window with it or will imitate "wiping."  When she is done with it she wads it up and sticks it in her pocket.  However, if her particular outfit for the day does not have pockets she pretends her pants are pockets and stuffs it down her pants.  It's funny to later change her diaper to find this wad in her pants...or sometimes she actually sticks it down her diaper which always makes me laugh.

Yes, I must remember to check pockets lest rocks roll around in my washer with bits of toilet paper.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Calling in Sick

As my husband left for work this morning I said, "I could really use a sick day today."  We both laughed.

Mamas don't generally get sick days.  Oh well.  We press on.

I have had tougher new born nights.  But it's been awhile since we have had sleepless nights so when one pops up it can really throw me off.  Three hours of laying awake and tending to a restless baby don't make for a restful night.  It's not that I am just not feeling well but neither is Miss L or Miss A.  Although, I think Miss A is doing better than the other two ladies in this household.

However, appointments must be kept, meals must be made, training to continue (with added dose of grace when all are sick), medicine to be dispensed, naps to look forward to, and more.

I am wiped out.  I had hoped to write about weeks two of new habits but I am not feeling the motivation.  It feels like Friday and we still have the whole week to go.  I had grand ambitions for today but we are barely getting the basics done today.

We're sick.

And that's okay.  Bodies need rest.

To those that are in far worse shape than we are... we are praying health and strength for you this day as well.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stuffed and Wrapped Chicken Breast

I grabbed some cream cheese on sale not too long ago and wondered what I would do with it besides having bagels, bagels, bagels.  It's the lower fat cheese so it's not so great for cheesecake.  I found some helpful options on  This is not something that I will probably keep in our rotation but it will help us use up some of the cream cheese!

Stuffed and Wrapped Chicken Breast

8 slices bacon (or more)
6 oz cream cheese, softened
4 green onions
1/4/C red bell pepper
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (pounded thin)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a small baking dish.

Cook bacon over medium-high heat until the grease has mostly rendered but still very soft, about 3 minutes.  Remove, pat dry with paper towels, set aside, resist eating it.

 Stir together the cream cheese, green onions, bell pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined.  Divide mixture onto each chicken breast.  Fold the breasts in half, wrap with two or three pieces of bacon.  Secure with toothpicks as needed.  Place in prepared baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the thickest part, 30 - 35 minutes, and juices run clear.  Remove toothpicks before serving or at least give them fair warning.

**As you can see above, I did not cook the bacon.  I read that it would cook well enough.  While that is true it was a little soggy in places so I would probably cook it first, next time.  I was trying to streamline the process.  The cheese melts quite a bit and there will be some soupy goopy on the bottom but doesn't hurt anything.

Another option for flavoring the cream cheese would be to use 1 clove of garlic and two tablespoons of dried chives.  You can also substitute regular bacon for turkey bacon.

Friday, April 8, 2011


This is my little "violet" plant.  Actually, it's called streptocarpus and it is in the violet family.

My last one was struggling after Miss A came along.  I just didn't pay much attention to it, really.  I decided that I would purchase a new plant from the lady who made my pot seen here.  It's a special self watering pot for African Violets but works really well for the Streptocarpus.  She comes to the art festivals that I like to peruse in the spring and fall.  I found the same color and was quite happy that I didn't have to pick another color.  I am such a creature of habit.  This plant sits in our master bathroom on the tub.  There's a nice window there and it seems happy there.

This is about as good as it gets for my gardening skills right now.  Maybe someday we will have a vegetable garden.  I think that I would like that.

Yes, vegetable gardens grow in Phoenix.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dryer Balls

These are another item that I really wanted to love and have come to not love so much.  I know many people swear by these not-so-little balls of fuzz but I am not one of them.

I won't say the company that I purchased them from because I really like the company and think that they make some quality products.  There's nothing wrong with the dryer balls -- I just don't like them.

When I first got my dryer balls I was pretty excited and used them all the time.  They are supposed to cut down on the static electricity in the clothes and decrease the drying time.  I noticed some difference in time with Husband's pants but that was about it.  We have a gas dryer and I think they are a little more efficient than electric in general.  Maybe that was it?

It also doesn't help that it sounds like my dryer is dying as these balls toss around in the laundry.  I have four balls and I can't imagine what it would sound like with the recommended eight!  Thankfully, we can close the door to the laundry room.  I don't think that the balls cause the dryer any was...just...annoying.  I am sure that I would have adjusted to it eventually.  Oh well.

Fear not.  They have not gone to waste!  Little fingers used to steal them out of the dryer before our units were stacked.  Now, the girls just enjoy tossing them around, cuddling with them, and doing whatever it is that little girls do with pink and white wool balls.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dinner This Week

Well, I cranked it out this week and now I just need to gather the few coupons that I can use this week and we should be set.  Produce is what is really on sale here this week so we will work around that.

We had some things shuffle around this last week so I have a meal or two that are carrying over to this week.

Here you go!

Friday - Breakfast for Dinner (held over from last week)

Saturday - Corned Beef and Cabbage cooked in Guinness

Sunday - Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, Salad, Carrots, Celery, Ranch. (Not fans of Blue Cheese)

Monday - Chicken & Quinoa Burritos

Tuesday - Lentil Bake

Wednesday - Quinoa, Veggies, Tuna Toss

Thursday - Jamaican Pork & Roasted Vegetable 



I want to love them.

But I don't.

Okay, before you get in a fuss it's the aprons that go up and around my neck that I have a hard time with.  I have noticed the slightest pressure at the base of my neck gives me a headache or just makes me uncomfortable.

It's unfortunate, really, that some cute "around-the-neck" aprons have made their way to Goodwill.

I just haven't found a cute little "waist" apron that I really love.  Although, I found some cute photos of some that may be fun to try to make some day.  For now I will have to purchase one.  Not just any apron... one to which I am really drawn.
I know that some say their aprons have "superpowers" -- ohhhh, I want that!

Do you have an apron that you love?  Do you just cook in your apron or do you clean the house with it on, too?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back to Cloth

Cloth diapers.  Generally, I love them.  Sometimes I just don't want to deal with them.

Miss A came up with a pretty bad rash and for the life of me I cannot figure out what caused it.  We will do a little experiment in the next few days to see if I can pin point it but for now is a mystery. Our usual routine for treating rash wasn't even making a dent and if anything it seemed to be getting worse.  Desperate, I pulled out my bamboo and hemp cloth diapers.  These tend to have some healing properties to them.  However, I didn't have any diaper creams that were cloth "friendly."

I quickly tracked some cream down at Baby Half Off in Mesa, AZ.  However, I wouldn't be able to get it until the next day when Husband could pick it up at lunch time. (Their storefront is only a couple of miles from where Husband works.)  In the meantime, I thought that air would be Miss A's best friend.  I lined the playpen with towels and just put her in a fitted diaper (shown above in a Kissaluv hemp fitted diaper) with no cover.  I also had her hanging out in cotton prefolds with no cover.  Between that and the cream she is clearing right up!

I will say that I am back to using cloth part-time.  Miss A is in a disposable when grandparents are around and when we go out, and at night.  It just depends on how I am feeling.  Miss L grew out of cloth pretty fast.  She's no where near the weight limit but she's tall and the rise in the diaper wasn't enough.  Oh well.

Oh!  The cream we purchased was Grandma El's and would be worth it even if I had to pay full price.  It is great for cloth or disposable users.  It can also be used for eczema and cradle cap (which we will be dealing with later this week!) and it smells DELISH.  I highly recommend it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Making Beds

Unlike most kids I know today or even when I was growing up I was not required to make my bed.  Was it an only child thing?  Maybe.  I'm not sure.  My dad made his bed every morning (most likely a product of being in the military) and so did my aunt that lived with us most of my growing up years.  But me?  Not so much.  I had a water bed most of my growing up years and the only requirement was that it would remain covered so the heat would not readily escape.

I am not sure that I REALLY knew how to make a bed until I took a job as a maid room attendant in a popular national park after my sophomore year in college.  That's when I learned about hospital corners, became a little fanatical about how a bed should be made, among other things that came with that job.  You would think that I would be in the habit of making my bed after that summer.


Not so much.

I once read that your bed take up about 1/3 of your room.  If you just make your bed you have already cleaned 1/3 of your room and that can really make a a huge difference.  Well, it's true.  The calm that it brings to our room is totally palpable.  It becomes more sanctuary rather than stress-inducing.

I am trying to work on the same habits with Miss L each day.  It is quite difficult to make her bed at this point in time because there are rails on her bed (which we are toying with taking off) to keep her from falling.  So, we make due with what we can do in folding the cover neatly at the end of the bed and arranging her menagerie of stuffed animals at the head of the bed.  She's pretty funny because she wants to be all over the bed when I am changing sheets and she wants to pull the covers off when I am folding them at the bottom.  Oh well.  We will press on.  At this point repetition makes practice and practice eventually will make perfect.

At least I will be able to teach her proper hospital corners.  Folding a fitted sheet?  Well, that's another story.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Habits

I have heard that it takes 30 days to develop a new habit.  I am hoping that is true.  Here are a few things that I am working on this month (but I have been working on them for about a week now).

Taking a shower every day.
Making my bed
Reading my Bible (OT & NT)
A load of laundry each day

Well, it may sound like nothing really to you but let me explain some of them.  As a new mommy I found it hard to find time to take a shower.  And if I did have some time then I totally wanted to do something else.  Now, I just get up before Husband and the girls and get ready. Makes for a more lovely Mama.

From the shower to the rest it all starts to fall into place.  I get dressed and make the bed which is where I read my bible.  I generally follow husband out of the room or just shortly after.  I try to take the load of laundry with me when I leave the room.  I have been able to keep Mt. Washmore at bay this week which has been a blessing to all.

Dishes have always been one of my least favorite things to do along with unloading the dishwasher and dusting.  ha!  I have a knack to just "let them go until morning" and it just becomes an overall pain.  However, I have been working on how I view these duties.  I want them to be a blessing to my family.  The other night I was tempted to just let them go because I was just plain ol' tired.  I looked around.  There really weren't that many.  What got me motivated was that I wanted Husband's coffee cup to be clean and ready to go for the morning.  I looked at the clock... it took me EIGHT minutes to get it all done.  Easy peasy.  I just need to remember the right view.  To the glory of God in all things and blessing my family through the little things.

First week had been great... we'll see how I am doing at the end of April.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chipotle Chicken

I don't generally make up recipes and if I do they are really simple and not really noteworthy in my book.  However, my Chipotle Chicken will probably be making another appearance soon.  It's nothing fancy and really revolves all around one spice but it was pretty yummy.

Chipotle Chicken

1 T extra virgin olive oil
4 Chicken breasts (or any cut you feel like using)
Black pepper
Garlic powder
1 onion sliced
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1-2 tsp ground chipotle chile (from Spice Island for sure)

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Rub chicken with  salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place chicken breasts in skillet.  Cook about 4 minutes on each side.  (You could also grill your chicken which would add phenomenal flavor - cook until almost done.)  Remove to cutting board and shred chicken with forks (it will be hot!).  Place onions in skillet and cook until tender.  Add chicken and tomatoes. Stir.  Add ground chipotle chile.  (I originally did about 1 1/2 tsp and it was plenty spicy.  Husband probably would have liked more but we had a little mouth at the table.  She probably would have liked just 1 tsp.)  Mix well.  Simmer for about 10 minutes just to let the flavors combine.  Drain. (I just place a colander in a bowl and dropped it in so we would avoid soggy tacos.)

You can serve this as taco filling (soft or hard) - cheese, cilantro, sour cream, etc.  Make it for a taco salad type of meal.  Add some beans.  I think the next time I make this I will add a green bell pepper in with the onions.  Husband really liked this!

I cannot remember what other recipe I had this spice for and I think it was a little pricey at first (maybe $5?) but I am going to research more meals to make with it because we like it so much!