Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finding JOY in Food Poisoning?

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Tuesday I took my girls to story time at the library. This week's lesson was on apples and I had grandiose plans of going to the apple orchard, making apple sauce etc., but the Lord had other plans in mind for me. On the way home from the library, we have our eat-out treat day; Elena's choice. She wanted a hamburger so we went by McDonalds (NOT Mommy's favorite, but mommies sometimes make exceptions for their little ones). Elena had her cheeseburger and I had a Big Mac or Big Mistake! I knew something wasn't quiet right not long after we finished our meal but I didn't think much of it. After all, I have a tough stomach and could count on one hand how many times I had been sick in my life: that is, until Tuesday night. I couldn't keep ANYTHING down; not water, not ice chips, NOTHING. When I started getting pretty light-headed and dizzy, I knew I needed to do something soon. Normally I wouldn't consider going to the ER but Kate is still exclusively breast-fed and I couldn't feed her anymore. I only had a limited supply pumped and I wasn't getting any better so we called our dear friends who came to the rescue to care for the girls and off to the ER we went. I won't go into details except to say we had to pull over on the side of the road on the way and once we arrived, I lost count of how many times I had to race to the bathroom.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in MY plans, I forget to include the Lord in them. I love being at home with my girls, I love my little projects, but how easily I forget that it was GOD who gave my talents, family and possessions to begin with. I need to stop and make time for Him and thank him through thick and thin. This time it took food poisoning to get my attention and remind me of these things. Oh Lord, forgive me of my unfaithfulness! This morning, as I sit down with my cup of coffee, I am making time for my Savior, and thanking God for His blessings. Without Him, I am nothing. Thank you Lord for the JOY I find in YOU!

Good, True & Beautiful

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Girls

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Another shot of my girls. It is so rare to get good pictures of the two of them together and yesterday I was blessed to get quiet a few. I love this shot because it highlights the fact that as of right now we have the fair-haired child and the dark-haired child. Here's another of my favorites for my first participation in Sweet Shot Tuesdays!

Sweet Shot Day

Monday, September 27, 2010

D is for...

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It has been on my list for a long time to take some better pictures of my girls with the two of them together. As you can probably imagine, getting a two-year-old to stay still long enough to look at a camera is hard enough, but put a 5-month-old in the mix and that RARELY happens. The letter D challenge was just what I needed to get me going. After only 3 shots, I got this one. It's just what I've been hoping to capture and so typical of the two of them: Elena with her crooked little grin that says, "I'm up to something" and Kate with her sweet little open-mouth grin that says, "what'cha doing, Mommy". This one is for my darling daughters. Your mommy loves and cherishes you both!

Menu Monday

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This is my first post with Menu Plan Monday. I always like planning my meals so I can't wait to join in the fun! We have a busy week this week so I'm doing my cook and prep ahead Monday where I do as much as I can on Monday to get our meals ready for the week. The casserole freezes well and so does the lasagna. Smoked Salmon bagettes and shrimp tacos are quick and easy. I can't wait for Sunday's meal. We're having family over to celebrate our sweet Kate's dedication this Sunday. I wanted to do something special but we'll be at church until noon so I needed something easy. I'll be making salads for the occasion so all I will have to do is bring them out of the fridge when we arrive home. I can't let any gathering go without something sweet so I'm also planning a cake, cookies and ice cream. Who knows what else we might come up with!

Monday: Steak, Potatoes, Salad
Tuesday: Family Favorite Crockpot Casserole (ground beef, whole wheat pasta, cheese, & veggies)
Wednesday: Skip-a-Step Lasagna
Thursday: Smoked Salmon Bagettes
Friday: Shrimp Tacos
Saturday: leftovers or eat out
Sunday: Salad Sunday (for Kate's Dedication lunch hosted in our home)
Dilled Chicken Salad, Curry Chicken & Artichoke Salad, Confetti Pasta Salad, Layered Potato Salad, Italian Antipasto Kabobs

Special Sweets: Best Ever Birthday Cake, Chocolate Cutout Cookies, Coffee Ice Cream

for more weekly menus, visit

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why did I keep all that junk?

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This is why...

When I was a little girl, I remember my mother and I going through my toys each summer to see what I was willing to part with at our annual family yard sale. I loved my "stuff." My mom always had the toughest time getting me to part with anything. I don't know if I got it from my grandfather and my dad who carted home anything and everything from their construction remodels, or my grandmother who buys things at flea-markets just because they are in a pretty fabric. My mom only kept her first Barbie doll, and I remember thinking as a child, how special it was to play with something my mom played with when she was my age. Maybe in the back of my little child brain, I was already planning to have girls and I wanted them to experience that same joy. Whatever the case, I held onto a lot of my childhood toys. Tucked away in the beautiful oak toy box fashioned by my dad, were my treasured "My Little Ponies." A few weeks ago, I unearthed them and presented them to my daughter. The results were more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

I can't help but think of the Toy Story movies and smile. My old toys have found a new life with my little girl (and they even get played with by their original owner again, too). See their smiles? It's like their eyes are saying, "Thank you for keeping us." All those years of storage has finally paid off for them.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Morning with Kate

Pin It I was blessed to have one of those mornings where my two-year-old wakes up early but willingly goes back down. Rarely does she sleep past 7, but this morning she slept until 8:30. I get to spend a lot of bonding time with my five-month-old during the night, but there's just something about a happy baby in the morning (much better than a fussy baby in the middle of the night). Since Elena decided to sleep in this morning, my little Katie-bug and I had sweet mommy-baby time. Here's my not-so-wordless-Wednesday shot of her; my sweet little love!

for more Wordless Wednesday posts go to 5 minutes for Mom

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

C is for...

Pin It I'm getting on board with some friends of mine and joining the "Alphabet Photo Challenge" sponsored by Barb Phillips Photography at This week's letter is C and I promise I am not cheating by posting this picture from a previous post this week. I actually had this challenge in mind when I took this shot. Looking forward to seeing the great shots from other photographers out there during this challenge!

C is for Cookies

Tacos a new way

Pin It Since my husband is trying to eat healthier, I have been trying different approaches to our traditional meals and last night, tacos were on the menu. Instead of the typical taco in a kit, we started out with a spinach and herb tortilla. I purchased some lean stir-fry beef and sauted it up with some peppers and onions in a little seasoning. I made a creamy sauce and topped them with fresh cilantro, lime juice, tomatoes, and avocados. What a yummy and healthy alternative! (my hubby was VERY complimentary).

Creamy Taco Sauce
8 oz. sour cream (lowfat)
1 T. lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. red pepper

mix all ingredients together and chill

1 small onion, sliced
1 small green pepper sliced
1 lb. stir fry beef or shrimp
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. salt

1. mix dry ingredients together
2. brown beef then add peppers and onions
3. sprinkle dry ingredients over filling ingredients and saute until onions begin to caramelize
(if using shrimp, add to peppers and onions after they first begin to soften)

Heat tortillas then fill and top with desired toppings.

Let me know if you give this a try and what you think!

Monday, September 20, 2010

If we see it on Sesame Street...

Pin It My two-year-old loves watching Sesame Street. It's the one (O.K., I admit it: one of two) show(s) she gets to watch each day. She has learned so much watching it. Her vocabulary has increased, she makes up her own rhymes, she knows a lot of the songs and has learned about lots of different activities. The only problem is, if she sees it on Sesame Street, she thinks we have to do it, too. That was the case with an episode we saw last week about "helping." A little girl helped her mom make cookies and ever since, my daughter has been asking, "Can I help make cookies?" As with most pleading and prodding from her about these little activities, I eventually give in and make the time. Knowing my mom was coming for a visit this past weekend, I thought it would be a fun project for us girls to do together. Lena-doodle and I mixed up the dough on Friday.

On Saturday, Grammy and the girls went shopping and my girlie-girl picked out "princess" cookie cutters. The evening was spent rolling out the dough, cutting the cookies out, baking and decorating them.

I don't know who had more fun, Elena, Mommy, or Grammy. Though admittedly she had mostly cookies and decorations for supper that night, I have never seen my little girl so involved in a project. She worked for a good two hours on her cookie creations. 

So proud of her masterpiece!

We could have bought dozens of cookies for what it cost us to purchase the ingredients and materials we used but, it was worth every penny to see my mom and her first grandchild making those sweet memories!

Lena-Doodle and Grammy

our cookie creations

So, thanks to Sesame street for putting the idea in my little girl's head to make cookies. We made much more than cookies this weekend.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blog Feature

Pin It I am so excited to be featured this Saturday on Just Another Mom of 2. Each Saturday, she has a "Saturday Spotlight" and you will see me there today. Her blog is a great networking tool for other mommy bloggers and always has such inspirational, practical and heart-felt messages for her readers. Check her out here and thanks for the Spotlight!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goat Cheese makes Everything better

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My family has what I would call and addiction to goat cheese. Sweeter and creamier than feta, but with a nice balance of saltiness, it is the perfect compliment to many dishes. I am always trying to think of new ways to fix the green vegetables that my family NEEDS to eat but do not always WANT to eat. Tonight I made asparagus. I started it out my usual way then added a twist that was a family pleaser. A little goat cheese, toasted pine nuts and a squeeze of lime juice gave our old boring asparagus a fresh, yummy, and healthy spin.

1 bunch asparagus
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water
2 T pine nuts toasted
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup goat cheese

1. Snap off ends of asparagus, clean, and place in a single layer in a glass pan.
2. add water and squeeze lime over the asparagus then sprinkle with salt
3. cook for about 5 minutes at high power in microwave or until asparagus is tender
4. While the asparagus is cooking, toast the pine nuts in the toaster oven
5. Drain the asparagus and sprinkle pine nuts and goat cheese over the top
6. bake for about 5 minutes in the oven at about 450

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Burping the Baby

Pin It One of my favorite gifts I received when expecting my first child was her personalized burp cloths. Here are a few pics of the burp cloths I have made for friends and family this summer.

Can't you tell I LOVE my sewing/embroidery machine?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tea Party

Pin It Don't you just love those mornings when nothing quiet goes as you plan, but what occurs is SO much more fun and meaningful? That's what happened this morning. I awoke with a long list of housework on the brain and my little girl had other plans in mind. How can you say no to a sweet little voice asking, "Mommy, can we PLEASE have a tea party?"

I kept answering her with a, "sure, sweetheart! Once Mommy gets the laundry done; Once Mommy gets the dishes done; Once Mommy gets the beds made." Finally, when I heard her little feet trudging up the stairs from the playroom with her tea set in tow, and I saw she had the table in the living room ready with a blanket for a table cloth, I could put her off no longer.

I stopped my chores and got out the milk and gummy snacks then sat down with my darling daughter to the best tea party we've every had.

Here's to MaMa for providing the little tea set that helps us make such precious memories!

Elena's Nursery Design

Pin It When my first child was born, I dove into decorating her nursery. I was never a big fan of pink so I went with my favorite colors, teal, green, & browns. I found the fabrics and went from there. I painted the room the teal color in the fabrics (though admittedly I was never quiet satisfied with the way the color turned out).

We were SO blessed by a sweet family who GAVE us the crib, changing table and rocking chair. We purchased a book case and my dad had the furniture refinished in a soft yellow to match the fabrics I chose.

I made the window treatments using the paisley fabric and filled the bookshelf with books and toys from my childhood.

I made the bumper pads and bed skirt for the crib and purchase a canopy to hang over the bed.

For a wall hanging, I purchased plastic box photo frames and put the different fabrics used in the room in the frames. Total cost for the wall hanging ended up being less than $20. Then I painted the letters of her name and attached them to the outside of the boxes.

I made throw pillows for the room. Quite possibly my favorite accomplishment was designing and hooking her rug by hand.

Finally, I purchased a mobile from the clearance section for about $7 and used the base for my own mobile design.

I so enjoyed rocking my baby girl in her nursery knowing that I worked so hard on it just for her.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wings Four Ways

Pin It My husband and I really enjoy going out to Wild Wing Cafe and eating the sampler platter of 25 wings with five different flavors. With two little ones at home and no family nearby, it has made that little venture a tad more difficult so I decided to see what I could come up with for an at-home version of our favorite flavors. Begin by using the base recipe and baking the wings in the oven until cooked and crisp, then coat in the sauces and cook an additional 5 minutes or so. Here's what I came up with:

Base Wing Recipe:
about 1 dozen wings trimmed of tips and cut into two
3/4 cup flour (or Bisquick)
2 T paprika
1 T salt
1 t pepper
butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 450 and place about 1-2 T butter or margarine in glass pan in oven. Mix dry ingredients and lightly coat wings in mixture. Place wings in single layer in the pan of melted butter and cook about 30-45 minutes or until wings are done and crispy, turning once about halfway through. Remove wings and place in four separate pans coating each in the flavors listed below. Return the wings to the oven for about 5-10 minutes or until the sauces begin to bubble and adhere to the wing surface.

Honey Lime
2 T lime juice
4 T honey
4 T fresh chopped cilantro
2 cloves fresh chopped garlic
2 tsp. chicken bullion
1 tsp. salt

Honey Mustard Buffalo
3 T honey mustard
4 T spicy buffalo barbecue sauce

Spicy Asian
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 T orange marmalade
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 T ketchup
red pepper flakes

1 packet ranch seasoning

These are perfect for sitting down to a football game or a family gathering. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Reversible Toddler Dress Tutorial

Pin It I have been wanting to make a reversible dress for my little girl for some time now. With football season upon us, and with her outgrowing all her team apparel, I decided now was the time to see what I could come up with and here's the result:

Please let me preface this tutorial by saying I am NOT a seamstress. I am a self-taught sewing hobbyist and may have some "unconventional" ways of doing things.

What you'll need:
about 1 yard each of two contrasting fabrics
about 1/4 yard of fusible interfacing
4 buttons

1. Print out the pattern (I'm going to upload it for downloading soon) (this one is about a size 3T), tape it together and cut it out as shown here (or make your own).

2. Cut out fabric and interfacing.

Line up the side labeled "fold" on the fold of your fabric. You will need a front and a back piece for each fabric. Use the top section of the front and back pattern to cut out 1 top and 1 back piece of interfacing.

3. Iron the fusible interfacing pieces to the WRONG side of ONE of your dress fronts and backs.

4. With RIGHT sides together, sew a 5/8" seam at sides for each dress.

5. Press side-seams flat on inside of dress then press 1/4" hem under at bottom of each dress.

6. Put RIGHT sides of dresses together. Do this by turning ONE dress right side out and sliding it inside the other.

Align the side seams, straps, fronts and backs of the dresses and pin in place.
Stitch neck, shoulders, and arm hole edges together. Trim the seam and notch around the curves.

7. Turn dress so the WRONG sides are facing each other and press. Align side seams and stitch in the ditch along both side seams to hold dresses in place.

8. Align both hems and sew along the edge to close the hem.

9. sew button holes in position on FRONT shoulders and sew buttons on each side in position on BACK shoulders.
Let me know what you think!