Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mother's Day

I have been wanting to post this but am just getting around to it right now!  Husband had been working on a covert project with the girls for about a week out in the garage.  Finally, I got see the final product.  A sweet flower pot with the hand prints of both of my little girls!  So precious.  Each time that Miss L sees it she talks about Daddy putting her hand in paint and the Grandma helped, too.  Then she talks about how Miss A had paint on her hand.  Such a cute story.

I love that my husband did such a fun thing with them for Mother's Day.  Love.  LOVE.

Later in the morning we had a bit of an incident when, in short, Miss L fell, broke a dish, got cut, and created a bit of drama the rest of the morning.  It's a moment to laugh about now.  But it was part of Mother's Day just the same.  It's the first time that I have had a dish break since having kids.  I was hoping the streak would last.  HA!  So, we live, we learn, and move on.  Miss L was perfectly fine and full of energy and laughs when we returned from church.  However, she was quick to show people her "ouch."

I hope all the other mommas had a lovely, memorable day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meal Plan for the Rest of the Week

Well, you may have noticed there has been an absence in my posts as of late.  Lots of stuff going on in life which will be shared at a later date.  We are all great, though.  In a last minute decision we decided to go to San Diego last week.  So, we left on Thursday and came back on Sunday.  It was a grand time and the girls did remarkably well.

I am trying to get back in the swing of things and hopefully back on track with the Homemakers Challenge.  Or I may just have to pick up where I am and plug along from there.  Laundry is piled high and other things need to be put away -- as well as the normal household maintenance.  You know, life after vacation.  ha ha ha!!

Anyways, here's what's on the menu for the rest of the week.

Pizza (when we returned from our trip)
Chicken with Edemame & Corn (had this tonight, it was pretty yummy -- needs some spice enhancements!)
Pork Fajitas (left over from the other week)
Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwiches w/ Sweet Potato Fries, Salad (sweet friends coming over!)
40 Clove Garlic Chicken

I am hoping to not have to go shopping this week except for maybe produce and other fresh items.  Or if things are on ULTRA sale (i.e. free or pretty darn near free).  We will see how it all goes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cereal Memories

Don't be a hater.

Hear me out.

When I saw that this particular sugar cereal was on sale -- and of course I had a corresponding coupon -- I tossed this box in my grocery cart.

I remember when I was maybe 10 or 12 on my grandparents farm this box being in my grandmother's pantry.  The pantry was set up in such a way that you could actually sit in there and have a bowl of cereal which I vaguely remembering my grandmother doing.  She was wearing an apron similar to the one mentioned in this post eating the pictured cereal.  I always thought it odd that my grandmother would eat this cereal from time to time considering she rarely ate anything that she didn't make herself.  Something about it must have piqued her interest to try it (as I would learn with a different food in college... )  Or maybe it was some guilty pleasure that I didn't know about.  One day, Grandma told me I could have whatever I wanted for some particular meal.  So, I sat in that same place and had a bowl of this cereal.  It was heaven.  I think because generally I didn't have sugar cereal at home.  My grandmother had the peanut butter version of this stuff and I recalled it was TOO sweet. (It's possible, believe me!)

When I sat down to have a bowl of cereal the other night (because cereal tastes better at night -- it's a proven fact) my husband kind of laughed at me and shook his head.  I took my first bite (I'm pretty sure I haven't had this cereal since that day on the farm) and smiled.  I looked at my husband and said, "It's the farm.  I can see it.  I can smell it.  I can taste it."  While completely not a good food option -- it was worth every penny of $1.50 I spent on it for the blissful enveloping of a warm spring day on the farm, and vibrant memories of a woman I loved.

On the flip side... they also make good bribe treats for Miss L to behave a little better in church.  ha ha!!

New memories.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Week 1: Purpose & Motivation

Let me just say...

              ...this has been a GREAT week!

I have way more motivation this week to do tasks that I would normally look at as overwhelming and daunting.  Which would then in turn lead to me just not doing them.  Even while chasing a toddler and a very fast-moving 8-month old things got done.  However, some things that I have been caught up on have been a bit lacking because part of our house is busy with renovation.  Laundry has me a little behind because water was off for a time.  I could easily catch up but I just haven't.  Hopefully, that will be remedied today and tomorrow.   But there is more to this challenge than tasks -- a change of heart is at the root of it all.

We were challenged to write our mission statement.  You can find my post on this here.  That was a process for me and I may still tweak it some.  But for now, I like it.  My husband even commented on it and that was helpful for me to know that he agrees with and approves of this vision.

The idea of giving life to my home is a bit of a challenge for me.  Well, at least when it comes to decorating our home.  There are places that are desperate for some sort or decorative love.  I just need to move forward with the plans and visions I have for those spaces.  Goals for that aspect of things are:

  1. Finish decorative touches in Miss L and Miss A's rooms.
  2. Collect supplies for Family photo wall.
  3. Find and acquire decorative piece for above the fire place.
  4. Word art for master bath, kitchen, laundry room
That should be enough for now.  While these are my goals for this area they are not my top priority...

...Nice segue, right?

Priorities (I'll probably fine tune these a bit and repost - these are my rough notes)

  1. God - I have been getting up before Husband and children to get ready for the day and spend time in the Word.  However, I am realizing that I may need to get up even EARLIER! (UGH!)  But I think it will be worth it in the end.  I find myself rushing to read and praying as I walk out of our room to greet our children and start the day.  So, I need to adjust in this area.
  2. Husband  - I am called to be a wife before I am a mother.  Sometimes that's a hard thing to wrap our minds around.  My husband is so sweet and easy going.  He has been encouraging as I learn to manage our household.  He's quick to tell me to not beat myself up about things and to keep moving forward.  He didn't really want to answer the question from Day 3 so as not too add more pressure.  But his request was simple and I really want to work to make it happen so that he feels less "chaos" when he comes home.
  3. Children - I have been called to be a mom.  I would like to remove "overwhelming" from my vocabulary.  I want to teach them in loving ways that also communicate grace and realistic expectations.  I desire to be better at planning fun things for them to do and interacting more with other children/families.  Our plan is to home educate our children and that seems daunting to me.  However, I think that it is the best for our family.  This will require a great amount of discipline on my part in figuring out what each day looks like.
  4. Home - I want a clean home.  I will not expect perfection.  I want to eventually declutter my home.  However, this house if full 24 hours a day.  It's not empty while people are at work, school, daycare, etc.  It will look lived in -- this is where I work.  Three meals a day for four people come out of my kitchen.  Toys are played with here.  It's okay if it looks that way.  I want it to be a place that all are welcome and feel like they are welcomed.  I want to take pride in what the Lord has provided for us.
  5. Personal - There are a few things that I would like to try to learn -- making soap and sewing.  This is not the top of my list but they are somewhat exciting to me.
So, there you have it.  I think that I will close with a picture of my fridge.  It makes me happy each time I open it.  This was probably my favorite task this week even though I REALLY did not want to do it.  So very worth it.  I couldn't bring myself to take a photo before because it was blech!  Props to those who are far more transparent than I!  HA HA!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book: Loving the Little Years

For a book so tiny it packs a lot into its pages.

I appreciated Jankovic's candor about life -- being honest that he life with quite a few littles is not always peachy.  Her kids have their moments.  However, it's her response to these moments that are encouraging, convicting, and laden with hope.

It's hard not to laugh and cry as I read this book about my own little ones.  What a sweet time the Lord has given us to enjoy the wonders of the world through their eyes.  However, at the same time we have been given the great task of shepherding their little souls and molding the most absorbent of minds. I want to be able to relish every second of the fun and the hard, the discipline and the learning -- that I, too, might be continually sanctified.

Just take a look at her table of contents and you can already begin to identify with life as a mom of littles:
     Welcome to my Circus
     The Rock Tumbler (one of my favorite chapters)
     Thanksters & Cranksters
     Watch Your Language

What I love is that this isn't a parenting philosophy book or a how to.  It is a glimpse into her family and how she responds to situations.  Because she is a woman who is following Jesus and creating a Christ-centered home you find how applicable her responses are for your own family.  You see the dealing with sin in both parents and children and that grace is the motivation behind the responses.  It's not a, "Crap, I feel like a horrible parent." feeling but, "I think I can handle certain situations better."

While this book is extremely short (my "reading" friends could finish it in a day -- it took me a couple) it does house gobs of godly wisdom.  It feels like this is someone that you could live next door to or that you would totally want to meet for a play date at the park.  She IS in the trenches with you.  I think this is a book that will just stay on my night stand and I will try to read it about every 6-8 months.  It's a good reminder on perspective with the little people that bless this house.

Here is an excerpt from the very last page of the book.  It made me cry when I read it.  I cried when I read to my Husband.  And I just started crying again;

Motherhood is hard work.  It is repetitive and often times menial.  Accept it.  Rejoice in it.  This is your toil.  Right here.  Those are their faces.  Enjoy them.  The days of your life are supposed to be full of things like this.  But joy is not giddy.  It is not an emotional rush-it is what happens when you accept your lot and rejoice in your toil.  So rejoice in your children.  Look them in the eyes and give thanks.  You will not even remember the work of all this planting when the harvest of joy overwhelms you.

If you are a mom of little ones, you should get this book.  If you know someone who is a mom of littles, you should gift this book to them.

I am not sure what else to say about that.  HA!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Menu Plan Wednesday

Well, it's that time of week again.  I am looking at the sales and they aren't too bad.  There are some snack type things that I will try to get to help us get through an upcoming 12-hour-road-trip with two little ones.  We should be fine but food is always a good distraction... especially for parents!  ha ha!

For Mother's Day I think we will be bring in lunch with our families and then whatever happens to be left in our fridge this week will suffice for dinner.  Or we will bust out the quesadilla maker again.  The ham and cheese quseadillas last week were AWESOME.  I wanted to eat them for the next five days.  It's probably a good thing we ran out of tortillas!

Pineapple Pork Kebabs
Pork/Ham "Fried" Rice
Sauted Chicken with corn & edamame
Pork Fajitas (We have had these often but they are easy and SO yummy!)
Chicken w/ Bulgar Pilaf (I may actually get some bulgar if I can find it in bulk, or I will sub quinoa)

There you have it!  What are some of your favorite recipes from this past week or coming up??

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegetable Bake

Last Wednesday we were invited to have dinner with friends.  I was to bring a fruit or vegetable dish.  I thought veggies would be better and I had a ton on hand.  What to do?  I am pretty weak in the area of creating yummy vegetable dishes.  Also, we would be travelling so I didn't think sauted veggies would do very well.  I tend to get them a little too over done and that didn't really sound like something lovely to take to dinner --- where there would also be a variety of ages as far a children.  So, off to look around for something on the internet.  I just typed in "vegetable bake" and found quite a few options.

The recipe I decided on made me a little nervous as I read reviews.  "This is bland."  "This was a little too egg-y."  "This is great!"  Who do you believe?  I took some things into consideration and just went for it -- remember this is not always my strong suit.  Then end result was really super yummy!  The kids even liked it enough that the hostess asked for the recipe with my alterations.  They were more than happy to take the leftovers so this is the photo I got because forgot to take a picture before.

Here is what we ended up with:

Vegetable Bake

3 C frozen cut green beans, thawed & drained (one review used fresh)
2 medium green peppers, chopped
1 C petite diced canned tomatoes, drained and rinsed*
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
3 C zucchini, chopped OR shredded**
1 onion, chopped (this was a review addition - worth it!)
1 C biscuit/baking mix (i.e. Bisquick)***
1/2 t salt (kosher or sea)
1/2 t cayenne pepper****
5 eggs*****
1 C milk
1 t thyme, ground******
1 t garlic powder******
1 t oregano******

Preheat oven to 350F

Place beans peppers in a grease 13x9x2 inch baking dish.  Top with tomatoes, cheese, zucchini, and onions (in that order).  In a bowl combine the biscuit mix, salt, cayenne, eggs and milk until the eggs are folded in well and all is wet.  There will be some clumps.  Pour over  vegetables.

Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until puffed and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

* Original recipe called for "6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped"  I prefer canned tomatoes for a variety of reasons.  You can play around with it or use your favorite variety of tomato.

**Original had chopped zucchini.  I think I had been looking at a zucchini bread recipe too much the day before and only saw shredded... that is, until I was done shredding.  Either way would be fine.

***I had a whole wheat version of Bisquick.  I am trying to figure out a good substitute for this and have yet to find one that I am satisfied with (read- that doesn't involve Crisco)  If you have ideas, let me know.  Also, there was a bit more than a cup of this in my mix.  I didn't level it off, nor was it heaping.

****A person in the household could not have this ingredient so it was left out.  You could substitute with Tabasco, paprika, or some other spice.

*****Original recipe called for 6 eggs.  I reduced to one to help eliminate the "egg-y" comment.

******I added these spices to the recipe to make it not so bland.  They are approximate and probably a little on the low side.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 1: Purpose

Today begins the Homemaker Challenge with the ebook, 31 Days to Clean.  I am glad that my task today was "merely" to create a mission statement.  I know some other folks have already jumped on to the next day's task.  I may or may not do that as there are some other things that I would like to get accomplished today.  Mondays can be a little crazy as we have grandparents over in the morning to take care of Miss A while I take Miss L to speech therapy (today was AWESOME!)  On top of that, today began our shower remodel so we have an assortment of people in and out of the house.  Thankfully, they were done well before nap time and will resume tomorrow.  Minor adjustments but still more activity around here than we are used to for sure.

So, a mission statement.  I have never been good at writing them as I always think that all the ones that other people write are far superior and much more eloquent.  I read some of the statements written by others in the challenge and found a few that I liked.  However, Joyful Mothering recommended reading Inspired to Action's Mission Statements for Moms e-book.  I skimmed it enough to have some tracks to run on and I finally settled on the following mission statement:

My family needs a sanctuary in which to find peace, strength, encouragement and love.  By the grace of God I hope towards this by doing my best to model loving, godly behavior, be diligent in our work in and outside the home, and to speak words that strengthen the souls of my husband and children so that we might be continually united as a family that endeavors to create a life-giving, loving and Christ-centered home.

I think that this was a good exercise in that I have a clear and concise vision of the end goal.  This is vision that I can put in front of myself for many years and not just a short season until "such and such" is accomplished.  For me, it is also convicting as I reflect on how much damage my tongue can do and has done.  (ouch!)

Somehow I am supposed to make it all pretty and such.  I may do that later but I will print it up and post it on the inside of my pantry door where I keep other Scripture, encouragement, my calendar, and meal plan..  I'll see it... often.

I look forward to reading more statements.  If you stop in and have a post about yours, please leave a link in the comments!