Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Updates and a few silly moments from Luke!

Today Luke and Eli went BACK to the Dr. Seriously, I'm so over the Dr! We had Eli's check up at the beginning of the month, when his ear infection was found. Then we went to the after hours clinic 2 weekends ago with both boys because Eli had started running a temp again and was up all night crying. Well, one ear was fine, the other was still infected. We decided to take Luke because he had been coughing for a while and we thought we should have it checked out. We were told his cough was just from a cold and given some cough syrup. So, over this past weekend Luke was still coughing, sometimes to the point of him making himself sick. It's especially worse at night. So, I called yesterday and made them both an appointment for today. I had them re-check Eli's ears and they were fine (yay!). But Luke has bronchitis. Last weekend it wasn't in his chest but Dr. C said that he could hear it rattling today. So, he got a shot and some medicine. And Eli got his 1st flu shot. I told them that they were not allowed to get sick anymore and that the only trips were would be going for is to get Eli's 2nd flu booster and Luke's flu shot, which will be in a month. And then, Eli will have his 15 mth well visit Dec 2nd. I will say that I am thankful that we've avoided the really nasty sickies so far. I'm praying that it will stay far from us too! There was a little girl in the waiting room today who was just pitiful! Bless her little heart. Kids handle sickness pretty well but this little one did not feel good!

Luke did FANTASTIC at the Dr. The only time he cried was when he got his shot. Who can blame him though? He was so brave! Just a little over a week ago he cried when they took his temp under his arm, so he did super today. He was rewarded with a Happy Meal and a sucker! :) Eli on the other hand cried anytime someone walked into the room. Ok, so he didn't cry, but he starts breathing fast like he's going to hyperventilate. Bless him! He's starting to realize what goes on there!

I must tell you something funny Luke said on the way home. I've said it before but I'll say it again, I wish I could record everything he says! He is so funny! But at the same time his reasoning and the way his brain works is well beyond his 3 years. The Hubs and I were talking about what we were going to do before we headed home. I said something like, "We'll go by McDonald's, then drop of the medicine and then we can pick it up on our way to my parents tonight for dinner." Often when the Hubs and I are having a conversation, Luke likes to chime in and give his opinion, because he wants to be a part of it. So, from the backseat I heard, "Well, Mommy, I think we need to go to your mom's now." It was so funny!! I just laughed and said, "No, we're going to Mimi's house after she gets off work."

Yesterday, Gram and Grandad were coming over that afternoon for Gram to cut Luke's hair. Well, while we were running errands that morning Luke asked me why they couldn't come over now. So, I explained that they were at work and we'd have to wait until they got off work. That answered satisfied him. Then he asked, "Does Nanny work?"
I said, "No."
Luke: "Does Grandpa B work?"
Me: "No."
Luke: "Why?"
Me: "He's retired."
Luke: "Oh, Daddy gets tired too."


Just out of curiosity, I asked him if Mommy worked. He said, "Nooo!" and giggled like that was a silly question. Then he paused and said, "But you do work at home!"

Me: "Good answer son, you're exactly right!"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

MPM 9/28/09

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Pinto Beans, Corn Bread

Chicken Fingers, Spinach-Bacon Mac & Cheese

Vegetable Soup, Corn Bread

Spicy Chicken Noodle Casserole, Green Beans

Here lately I've only been planning 4 meals and that's worked really good for us. This past week we ate BBQ two nights in a row. One night I cooked a pizza for the boys and the Hubs, and I had leftover spaghetti. I love leftover spaghetti. I think it's one of those things that just tastes better the next day! It's so good! We also had dinner with the Hub's mom and step dad Friday night. And today, Sunday, we just had grilled cheese and leftovers from last night. Like I've said before, I'm not going to let anything go to waste. Food is too expensive!
In attempt to save more money on our grocery/household budget I'm planning on trying to make my own baby wipes and eventually I'd like to try clothes detergent. Just this past week I've started using 1 TBS borax mixed with 1 TBS baking soda and a tsp (I actually just squirt a small amount of it in there) of dishwashing detergent in the dishwasher. And every once in a while I put vinegar in the rinse aide thingy. I tried to find recipes for homemade dishwashing detergent and didn't find any that had great reviews. The best thing I read was that you actually don't need a lot of dishwashing detergent in your dishwasher. Adding the borax and baking soda just extends your detergent so you buy it less. Right now I've just been scooping it out of the box but I'm planning on buying a medium size plastic container to keep under my sink and mix equal parts borax and baking soda. The borax was around 3$ for a big box of it and baking soda is 1$ at WalMart for 1 lb. So, if you buy the cheap dish detergent and add your extenders, it will save $$ in the long run. Now, I'm sure there are those of you out there who don't mind spending $$ on that kind of thing and think that it might be more of a hassle to do it my (new) way. But hey, for us, every penny counts! :) As far as the baby wipes, here is the recipe/method I'm going to be using. Comparing the costs: around $17 a year for homemade wipes or around $100 a year for store bought. Pretty decent savings. Two other things I'm attempting to do to save:
  • Only buying paper towels (6 pk) once a month. We go through paper towels like crazy! So, I'm limiting myself. I'm using more hand towels but throwing a few extra hand towels in a load of towels isn't costing me anything. I just started on our 4th roll tonight and I've got to make it to the 14th before buying anymore! When it runs out.. it just runs out!
  • Household shopping once a month. I'm attempting to buy all of my household items once per month. This will help me keep a better watch on my grocery bill. I've made a HUGE master list that includes anything and everything (from shampoo to cotton balls) we may possibly need. And my idea is to just check that list before I do my household shopping and get what we need. I know the more I do this the better I will become at gauging how much we need per month, if we can make it one more month with "whatever" or if I need to go ahead and purchase it. The only exception is if there is a great deal on something. If that is the case I'll go ahead and purchase it. For instance, I did my first household shopping trip 2 weeks ago. Then last week I bought 2 tubes of toothpaste because it was on sale and I had a coupon. I got 2 Arm and Hammer Total Care toothpaste for around $1.20 each. In the end I think this will help me save by taking a look back over how much money is going to household items and how much I'm spending on groceries. Because before this month it had been all jumbled up together. This will help me see where I might need to put a little more effort into saving and budgeting!

I'm searching for new ideas all the time so if you have any let me know!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Update: I wanted to share an opportunity for you to win free groceries. Who am I kidding. I don't want you to win. I want to win. But if I tell you, I get more chances to win. So, I'm totally being selfish. At least I'm honest! ;) Click here to enter!

I love fall. It is my absolute favorite season. And although we haven't felt that crisp feeling in the air near enough (think more of humid, muggy) I know it is coming soon! I love fall smells and colors. Pumpkins, cinnamon, orange & red leaves. I just love it! It's time for soup in the crock pot, long sleeves, Halloween costumes and pumpkin carving! To add to all of the seasonal things, my birthday and anniversary are in October! It just can't get any better! :)

So, I wanted to share one of my favorite fall recipes with you! Pumpkin bread is a staple in my house in the fall. We have it for breakfast, snacks, dessert. And today I'm making my first loaf of the season! The recipe is from Paula Deens, Savannah Country Cookbook.

Pumpkin Bread *my notes are below
Yields 2 loaves

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans. Mix sugar and oil with mixer. Add eggs and blend. Add pumpkin and blend. Add water and blend. Combine remaining ingredients and add slowly. Fill pans equally and bake for 1 hour or until olden brown.

*My notes: I use one can of pumpkin (15 oz) which is almost two cups. I also use 1/2 c vegetable oil and 1/2 c applesauce, instead of one whole cup of vegetable oil. Sometimes I add nuts and sometimes I don't. Luke won't eat nuts and Eli can't yet so I'll probably do most of mine without nuts or maybe do one loaf with and one without. I also never add nutmeg. I usually do one tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. A whole tsp of nutmeg is too much for me. Actually I don't have any pumpkin pie spice yet. It's probably at my moms, I don't think I threw it away when we moved in with them, but I don't really remember. We tried to keep everything that wasn't perishable. Anyway, I'm still restocking my spice cabinet. I need to get some though because the Hubs is a pumpkin pie fan and I usually make a few pumpkin pies in the fall and winter months! :) If you don't have any pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg, just use cinnamon! It will still taste great! I'm thinking of doing pumpkin muffins with this recipe for the boys. They love muffins. I may try to lower the sugar amount too! I'll let you know how that turns out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

John Piper on the New Calvinism

I watched these videos (will post below) the other day that were on John Piper's blog. There's not a whole lot of information on the convention that John Piper was speaking at. Evidently there is a term that the media/press has coined the New Calvinism. John Piper and two others were invited by the Religious Newswriters Association's annual convention to discuss this. I find it odd that they are calling it New Calvinism, since Calvin just celebrated his 500th birthday. I think they (the press) have labeled it that because it is getting more attention and possibly more are finding Calvin's theology and doctrines to be biblically sound. Therefore maybe it is a new movement that is ages old. My point is not to explain all of that though! :) I just wanted to share these videos because I think they are full of great information. I only watched John Piper's introduction and the Q&A video. The other two panelist have videos on Piper's blog and I hope to watch them when I have time but for now I'm only sharing the two I watched. I hope you'll watch them, even if you're completely turned off by the word Calvinism. And if that describes you, please watch the very end of the Q & A video. I think if I remember correctly it starts around minute 23 or 24. A reporter asks a very great question and John Piper answers it perfectly. I think these videos would be great for someone who doesn't understand what Calvinism means or thinks they understand what it means (it by no means explains everything but it's a good start). And for those who are Reformed, it's a great encouragement.

If for some reason the videos don't show up, here is the link to the videos on Desiring God.

Piper's is the second video and the Q & A is the last.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

MPM 9/21/09

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pinto beans, corn bread

Spaghetti, salad

Pork Chop Stuffing Bake, Peas, Fried Okra

BBQ Sandwiches, baked beans, cole slaw

Two meals were rolled over from last week. We went out to dinner with my parents Friday night and one night I just made tuna salad. It was one of those days where I just didn't want was too busy to cook.. so I just did easy!! And I'm seriously making the BBQ this week. I actually was going to do it yesterday but it was still hard as a rock yesterday morning. Not to mention the fact that we had to take Eli to the Dr. He had an ear infection 2 weeks ago and ran a fever Fri night and was up crying, so I knew it hadn't gone away. Sure enough one ear was still infected. His recheck wasn't until this coming Wed (which totally doesn't make sense to me.. when the meds are for 10 days, why would you make a recheck 3 weeks away.. doesn't it make more sense to do it say, 2 wks later? If the infection isn't gone you're going to know it before that 3 wk mark! Ok, enough rambling about that!) and there was no way we were waiting until then! Back to the BBQ... it's almost thawed as of a little while ago. It will be ready for the crock pot in the morning.

In thinking that the BBQ was going to be a no-go for Sat, I laid out some chicken for this soup. I had been looking for a good chicken tortilla soup recipe and this one had good reviews, so I was planning on it for the next week but just decided to go ahead and make it! So, I got up this morning and put the soup on. It was really easy to put together. I did add one thing to the soup and that was a drained can of black beans. And you know I didn't make my own tortilla chips! I'm glad I added the beans though because Eli loved them! It was sooo good and healthy too (as long as you don't add a huge spoonful of sour cream and tons of cheese... like someone I know.. ) This will definitely be on rotation this fall/winter. My only problem now is what in the world am I going to do with the rest of that bunch of cilantro?? I'm thinking about this:

Authentic Mexican Restaurant Salsa Recipe


1 28oz can of Crushed Tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of Garlic Powder

10 +/- Pickled Jalapeno Rings and juice (Add more to increase heat)

10 or more leaves of cilantro


1) Food process everything. (or shove it all in a blender)

2) Check Hotness, and add more of what you want.
3) Store in airtight container in the fridge. Eat within 2-3 days.

I've made it before but used fresh tomatoes, garlic and jalapenos. If you do use fresh jalapenos/tomatoes I suggest boiling them to help remove the skin. Also add a little vinegar if you use fresh jalapenos. I'm all outta fresh, except garlic, though!
Seriously, I have a whole lotta cilantro.. anyone want any??
Check out Orgjunkie for more menu and recipe ideas!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Helper

Sometimes I feel like I'm forgetting to see the wonderfulness of Luke being three. What I mean by that is that it's a tough age for both Mommy and Luke!! It's a daily struggle for us both. Sometimes I tend to focus so much on the negative side of him being three that I forget to look at the new things he's learning or just the fun side of him being this age. Yesterday I had one of those days... We're doing great potty training as far as peeing goes. But poop, well, that's another story. I had to change two poop filled pairs of underwear. And I'll be honest I was annoyed. That was just the start of my annoyances though. He's gotten to where he constantly wants a snack. Not because he's hungry (well, most of the time anyway) but because he doesn't want to eat real food. He will look at me and in his little demanding tone say, "Yes, I can have _____, right now!" He doesn't win of course. I am the mother. (I'm reminding myself, which I do often throughout the day) Our rule is, you can have a snack after you eat your meal, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. And mommy (or daddy) makes the decision as to what kind of snack that is, otherwise Luke would be eating fruit snacks and Popsicles all day long. I think I'm pretty fair when it comes to this though. I typically offer him 3 different snacks he can choose from. He usually gets one 'junk' snack a day and several healthy snacks. And he sometimes gets cookies after dinner if he's eaten good. He has no concept of fair though, Luke just wants his way or the highway. It's a battle of the wills.

It's a battle within myself as well. I get so annoyed and frustrated with him demanding things.... his tone of voice... pushing Eli after I've told him a million times to stop... it's often outright defiance, knowingly and willingly on his part. (oh and not to mention the POOP) I can just feel the frustration raising up inside me. I find that I must be in constant communion with the Holy Spirit! If not, I'd fly off the handle. Often though, I do look back at my day and see so many mistakes I made. How did I react? What was my tone of voice in dealing with him? Was I firm, yet loving? Or did I act out in anger? Did I choose to ignore the situation just to avoid having to deal with him? And ashamedly many days the answer to some of those questions is not the right one. Oh how I'm thankful for His grace and mercy in my life!

It's hard raising your own kids! My job as a mother is to point them to Christ in the way I deal with them on a daily basis, minute by minute, really. Staying at home is hard. But it is a blessing because I have the opportunity to constantly pour Jesus into my kids. The question is, am I taking the opportunity for granted or am I making the most of every moment? I will never, ever be perfect this side of heaven. Ha, I laugh at the thought. I know me. And I am beyond imperfect. I disgust myself most days. But I know the Perfect One. And when He went to be with the Father I was not left alone. Praise God for the Holy Spirit! My Counselor, my Advocate. May I not take for granted that He dwells in me.

John 14: 16-17 ~ "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

MPM 9/14/09

BBQ Sandwiches (crock pot), baked beans, slaw

Potato Soup, biscuits

Meat loaf, pinto beans, mashed potatoes, corn bread

Chicken Enchilada Casserole, rice (didn't make it last week because I forgot Enchilada sauce.. kind of important!)

I'm only planning 4 meals this week because all of them are BIG meals. So we'll have lots of left overs for lunches and even dinners. I cannot stand to waste food! So, if we have enough for supper the next night, we're eating it! Sometimes I'll make 2 large dinners two nights in a row and on the third night we'll have a leftover 'buffet'. My mom and I were talking about leftovers the other day so this is something I'd like some input on. I only keep leftovers 3 days. For instance, if I cook a meal on Monday night, I'll keep it through Wed night to be eaten. Thursday morning if it's still in the fridge, it's thrown away. What is your rule?? My dad will eat stuff that's been in the fridge for like 5 and 6 days. He always reminds me that he's never gotten sick off of anything but I still can't bring myself to do that! Sometimes I'll cook a large casserole and I'll save some out for lunch the next day and then freeze the rest in lunch/dinner size portions, just to avoid it ruining. In fact last week for dinner we had baked spaghetti from about a month ago. It was really good too! To freeze I just allow the casserole to cool in the fridge, that way you can cut it in smaller portions easier. It kind of solidifies. Then I cut the casserole into single portion sizes, sometimes larger, and wrap tightly in foil. I put the wrapped casserole in freezer bags and squeeze all the air out. Write what's in the bag on the outside and the date and stick in the freezer. Then I can either take one out for lunch or take it all out to have for dinner. You can let it thaw in the fridge but I usually don't think ahead that far! So I just unwrap the casserole (making sure get remove all the foil, you don't want that in the microwave!!) and pop in a glass dish with a tiny bit water in the bottom and cover it with a paper towel. Heat and it turns out yummy!

What are some of your 'go to' meals that you almost always have on hand? We don't do Hamburger Helper that much but I do usually have a box in the cabinet. I always have a couple cans of tuna for tuna salad. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a good one too. Sometimes we have that just because we like it! And I always have some kind of pasta and the ingredients to make spaghetti sauce. Those are the kind of meals I do on a week when we don't have leftovers or I forget to lay out frozen meat! And occasionally it's been a busy day or the kids have been particularly cranky and I just don't want to cook! Those days I call on Papa John. :)

I'll leave you with a (non) recipe from last week:

Super Easy BBQ Chicken Pizza

Shredded Chicken
Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
BBQ Sauce
Red Onion, thinly sliced

There are no measurements, but here is what I did:
I made my pizzas on split English muffins. I baked a whole large package of chicken breast for various recipes earlier in the day. I shredded 1/2 of a chicken breast and then mixed it with a good amount of BBQ sauce. Add chicken to 'crust' & top with sliced onion and cheese. Bake until melted and bubbly! 1/2 of a chicken breast was perfect for 4 mini pizzas. The other four I just did mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. I think for a regular 10-12 in pizza 2 chicken breast would work perfectly! I plan on making this again soon because it was SO good and the Hubs liked it too! He's usually a cheese only type of guy! :)

Have a great week!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Part dos...

First let me ask you, do the dots on the background of my blog bother you when you're reading the post? The Hubs says it bothers his eyes. It doesn't bother mine but I could see where it might. Let me know if it does so I can change it!

For those of you who read my blog you know that these kinds of post are not my typical thing. I would love to post more on the deeper things of Christ and my walk with Him but I just don't have the time. It's much easier to type up a menu or jabber about the kids. These types of posts take time and deeper thinking.. two of while I am limited on!! I'm sure you Mommies out there can relate!

I would like start off by saying (as I know I've said before) that I base ALL my beliefs on God's Word. I don't know everything. Can I say that again.... I don't know everything!!! So, if you ever read anything that is contradicting to His Word, tell me and we'll look at what Scripture says about it. I ask that when you present your opinions and beliefs to me that you'll use Scripture to defend them as well. Our opinions and beliefs don't mean anything if they don't line up with Scripture. Also, do they line up with the whole counsel of God's word and the meaning of the particular text. I find that it's sometimes easy to find a verse or phrase to back up your beliefs but that verse or phrase may be taken out of context. Sadly this goes on from the pulpit. So, we must ask, when compared to the entire Word and taken contextually, what does that verse or phrase really mean?

I really learned all of that the hard way. Often times, especially if we've grown up in church, things are ingrained in us. And we 100% believe them with all our hearts. Those beliefs are a part of us. So, to find out that we are misreading Scripture is a shock. Sometimes to just find out what Scripture really says is a shock! Often, even for me in the beginning, we just dismiss it because we don't want to deal with it. It's one of those hard things. It's much easier to just say, but this is what I've been taught and I'm sure this is what the Bible says/means. Are we really sure?? Is it not better to lay aside some false truths that we've clung to, even earnestly and wholeheartedly, and follow Scripture? Because those truths, those real biblical truths are life. They make things new. I can't even express the clarity that God brought me in the past few years. I was thankful for my salvation before, no doubt, but as I continue to learn more of the doctrines of grace, Christ becomes more precious and God's Sovereignty in salvation becomes more majestic and glorious to me!

So, now for part 2.. haha! Just kidding. I think.

I really feel that so many people are being misled, sadly, from the pulpit of many churches. Many churches ignore the truth. And the shallow teachings in these churches are what lead people to merely make decisions for Christ. It's turned into a numbers game, a competition even.
And yes, I've heard numbers = people. And that is exactly right. But what does it matter if the majority of them are mislead?? Oh, but you still have those few who really 'decided' to follow Christ. I agree that God can call those even in those situations but what about those who are mislead? Whose fault is it? Guilt filled messages, shallow on gospel truths, are preached. Men and women are asked, "Does this make sense to you? Do you want to invite Jesus into your heart?". Then they are immediately given a prayer to recite. What is missing? The Holy Spirit? Godly sorrow? Repentance? Don't miss what I'm saying. God saves when and how He chooses. My fear is that so many are so quick to see emotionalism as real conviction. And I believe many genuinely have a desire to see the those who are lost, saved. But should we not use that zeal to be sure of the truths that we are teaching, proclaiming it boldly and allowing God to do His work?Maybe it would just be better if I allowed someone to share a story that explains what I'm talking about. Please watch it. I feel that this will make much more sense than anything I've said.

Again, facebookers, this post is being imported from my blog, which you can read here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My heart breaks tonight over this..

It's late but I have a lot on my mind. So much that I'm not even sure where to start this post. It may make absolutely no sense and in that case I apologize! I read something tonight that broke my heart. It wasn't anything really in particular. It was just the language of what was written. I fear that there are many Christians out there whose view of God is very distorted. Their view of salvation and the Bible is skewed by wrong teachings.. or maybe shallow teachings.. or lack of knowledge about the Scriptures.

God is sovereign over everything, including salvation. Often, in many churches, God is made out to be great and powerful but when it comes to salvation, emphasis is put on man. A picture is painted that God is up in heaven wringing His hands at the end of the service just waiting and hoping someone will say the sinner's prayer. Do we not know that God calls His children unto salvation? He is working out the plan, the beautiful gospel, that was laid before the foundation of the world. Yes, we are to proclaim it, preach it, teach it, share it! But it is His work!

Do we understand the gospel? In so many churches the same message is preached again and again. God changes those He saves, so then why are there so many people professing being a Christian but live like the world? Could it be that we've tried to do the work for God? There are many out there who see this type of lifestyle as a problem but have we stopped to question whether or not it's because of the message, or should I say method, that's been resounding from the pulpits? Is the way we do evangelism biblical? Do we share the gospel biblically? Better yet, do we understand the work of Christ in salvation and the grace that He gives? What has changed in our churches?? I've heard phrases such as, "Well, if they really meant it..." or "if they truly made a commitment to Christ...". Does anyone see a problem with this? We can't blame it on society or the fact that we're living in the 'end times'. Do we know our history? Do we know what the founders of our faith believed? And while these things are important, I can't help but hear screaming in my mind, do we know what His Word says?!?

The Bible is the gospel. It is life. It is truth. It is deep and mysterious. It interprets itself. It never contradicts. It is not a good idea.. it is the only idea. It is history from the very beginning of time to the very end of times. The Bible is the gospel. Every part of is screams JESUS!! And the beauty is that the message is always Jesus, it's always the gospel, but it is always diverse and deep in theology. Yet, most have shallow theology, shallow knowledge of the doctrines, if any. While many would deny, easy-believism is prevalent. I've been asked many times why these truths are so important. This is why. His grace, His marvelous grace is cheapened. His grace is cheapened when a person lives like the world yet claims to be a Christian. His grace is cheapened when the gospel message is watered down and the method and message preached and taught leads people to merely make decisions for Christ.

I'm going to end here. I'm sure there are some who are shocked by that last statement because maybe you made a 'decision' to follow Christ. Well, you'll just have to tune into part 2.

Attn facebookers: This is a posting from my blog. I understand this might attract some comments. If you'd like to comment please comment on my actual blog:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 9/7/09

I skipped Menu Plan Monday last week just because I ran out of time. I didn't have much of a menu either because I knew that we'd be out of the house a lot during the week. I posted one of the only meals I actually cooked last week a few days ago. My sister came home this weekend so we ate with my parents Friday and Saturday night and I'm guessing we'll be eating with them tonight... I think mom mentioned she was making chili tonight! The first chili of fall! YUM! And tomorrow my dad is grilling out BBQ chicken and smoked sausages! I'm sure we'll have some yummy sides to go with it too! I love when my sis comes home! We don't get to see her a lot so we really make the most of the time we have when she's here. Luke especially loves to hang out with Aunt B when she's home! After Monday, it will be Thanksgiving before she comes back!

So, I will have a short(er) menu this week.

Roast with Potatoes and Carrots, Rolls

Mini Homemade Pizzas, Corn on the Cobb (Rolled over from 2 weeks ago!!)

Spaghetti Bake, Salad

Enchilada Casserole (except I'm using chicken), Rice

The month of September we are doing a food theme for Luke's preschool activities. We're talking all about fruits and vegetables. Last week we talked about apples and bananas. We talked about where they grow, how they grow and discussed their color, shape, taste and what letter they start with to help with his letter identification! So, after talking about bananas we made these Lighter Banana Muffins. But you know me, I can't leave a recipe alone! I read a few reviews and saw that some said their muffins came out dry and that adding 1/2 c of applesauce helped, so we did that. I also though that adding vanilla and cinnamon might help with flavor. So, we added 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. And last, to make them a little healthier I used 1 1/2 c AP flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour. They were really yummy right after they came out of the oven! I have to admit that the next day I tried one (not heated) and it was a little chewy to me (which may have just been the whole wheat flour now that I think about it... sometimes you pay the price when you try to make things healthy! Haha!). But wrapped in a paper towel for a few seconds in the microwave and a little smear of Smart Balance might do the trick! The kids love them, so it's a keeper for me!!

Check out for more menu planning ideas!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Other White Meat

I have never had good luck when cooking pork (unless it's on the grill). It always comes out dry and tasteless!! Blech!! But pork chops are typically inexpensive and they are often BOGO at Winn Dixie. So, when I got my Everyday Food mag I saw this yummy looking pork chop recipe. Yes, the recipe looked completely unhealthy.. not that I'm a complete health nut (haha!). But, I do try to cook normal well balanced meals. Well, I tried it last night.. and it was so good! The pork chops were not dry and the sauce was yummy! It's a rich meal. I served it with baked potatoes and biscuits which made it even richer. Hey, a stick to your ribs meal is good every once in a while! I couldn't find the recipe online so I'll just type it here. I just wanted to share a good find!

Pork Chops with Bacon and Cabbage (Everyday Food, Sepetember 2009)

2 TBS olive oil

4 bone in pork chops

coarse salt and ground pepper

4 strips of bacon, coarsly chopped

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 in slices

1 head green cabbage, about 2.5 pounds, cored and cut into 8 wedges

3 TBS flour

3 cups whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 400. Set a large heavy roasting pan across two burners over high heat; add oil and heat. Season pork with salt and pepper; prown on one side, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to plate.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add bacon; cook until golden, 5 minutes. Add oinion, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage, cut side down, and cook until light golden, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Add flour and stir until coated. Add milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then nestle pork chops in sauce. Transfer pan to oven. Bake until pork is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

This is the exact recipe. I did do a few things differently. I do not have a large roasting pan (that woudl make a lovely Christmas gift! Haha!) so I used my huge oven safe skillet. I did the first part of the recipe exactly. I did however only use 1/2 of a head of cabbage and I cut it into 6 wedges. After I added the oinion and cooked it, I got a paper towel and soaked up most of the bacon grease. I just can't bring myself to keep all of that in there! So I added some more olive oil to the pan! It took more than 4 minutes for mine to thicken, probably about 10 and I had to crank the heat up a little. I only let it cook in the oven for 10 minutes (like the recipe says.. I tend to want to over cook things!!) and then I took it out and set it on the stove with the lid while the rest of dinner was cooking. It really was so good! Next time I probably won't serve it with baked potatoes, that was just too much. Maybe another veggie like broccoli or green beans. This meal was pretty inexpensive too. Milk would be the most expensive thing in it. Let me know if you try it!

Anyone out there have any other good pork chop recipes??

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Eli's birthday party was this past Saturday on his actual birthday (how often does that actually happen??). We had a great time! We had close family and friends and kept it kind of low scale. I decided to do the same kind of party for Eli that I did for Luke. I decorated with primary colors and we had a really cute (and tasty) 1 cake:

Of course, because of Eli's dairy issues, I made dairy free cupcakes. I had planned on making them homemade with goats milk but just used Duncan Hines instead! I ran out of time! It's nice to have a quick dairy free alternative. Their vanilla frosting (as well as a few others) are dairy free too. I attempted to make a dark blue icing to match but you just can't get that deep of a color with plain ol' food coloring. I later read that I needed gel & powdered food coloring that you'd get at a bakery. So, his cupcakes turned out baby blue.. and at first he wasn't sure what to do with it...

He quickly got the hang of it and then the silliness started (or all of that sugar started to get to him!!)....

By the time it was all said and done he had his hat off and he and the hat were covered in icing and chocolate cake!

He wasn't really sure about the present thing either. Luke and I opened most of them for him! He got lots of new toys and fall clothes! I'm sure, like Luke, it won't take him long to understand what opening presents is all about! :)

An I can't not post a picture of my other sweet boy! Here is a picture of Luke having fun with balloons! :)

We had a fantastic day! It was great being able to CELEBRATE (that's for my mom... see below) Eli's big day with all of our family and friends! We are so blessed!

As we were opening gifts my mom held up the above bag that she had put Eli's gift from her in. She said, "Does this spell 'birthday' in Spanish??" Everyone in the room just busted out laughing and saying, "It's CELEBRATE!" Hahaha! It was so funny! She said that before the party she kept looking at it over and over trying to figure out what it said! She claims that the upper case B threw her off... haha! And you are right mom.. we won't ever let you live that down! :)