Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spiced Pear Muffins

We were given some yummy pears a week ago and I thought they would go great in some muffins! We love muffins! So here is the recipe I came up with! The boys weren't crazy about these (they aren't big on nuts so if I make some more I'll do half without)... but I thought they were great! Perfect for these cooler mornings we're getting!

Spiced Pear Muffins

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup oil (I used coconut)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 cups chopped pears*
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda salt and spices together. In a smaller bowl mix eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Fold in pears and pecans. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely so that muffin doesn't stick to paper cups.

*I used 2 full cups of chopped pears and it was A LOT. They were good but you could definitely use less and they would still be good!

A Full Day Button

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Day!

Today Eli turned three! Yes, you've heard it before but I'm going to say it... my baby is not a baby anymore. He's at the age where that baby face is turning into the face of a little boy. Oh me. Time is fleeting and may I relish every. single. moment.

Eli is such a fun little boy. He is mischievous, a sweetie, silly and a mamma's boy all rolled into one. He keeps us on our toes and keeps us laughing!

He requested a guitar cake for his birthday and he got one! He had so much fun! He loves to play his guitar and pretend to be a rock star! He's pretty good at it!

(Robby always asks me what I let them watch during the day when Eli plays his guitar. He's a little wild!)

He enjoys playing with his big brother! And they really play so well together. He is much better at sharing and 'letting things go' than his brother. Eli does like his alone time (don't we all!?) though and sometimes just wants to play by himself. We know he needs some time alone when he starts telling us "Luke is touching me!!!"But for the most part they love being with each other.. building towers for batman, playing police man and 'bad guy', pretending to go to school.. or the museum.. or to work!

Some of Eli's recent funnies:

~ Stripping down naked after we put him to bed and running out in the hall way grinning (or falling asleep with his brother!).

~ Spinning on the Sit -N- Spin while yelling, "My getting BIZZZZYYY!!"

~ Drawing all over the walls and being very proud of it!

~ Asking, "Did you hear that toot?"

~ Drawing mustaches on his face

~ Telling me to 'pretend' in situations where he doesn't want to do what I ask. For instance, Me: "Eli, go put on your shoes." ... Eli: "Just pretend they on!!"

Some of Eli's favorites:

~ Cheese!! He eats cheese every morning!

~ Hot Dogs on the "gill"

~ Being rocked to sleep by mommy (yes, he still wants to be rocked!)

~ Playing with his little trucks in my flower pots

~ Jumping off the end table to the couch! (no we don't allow it... but there is no telling how many times he's done it!)

~ Making messes

~ Helping mommy cook

~ Washing the car with Daddy

~ Playing with the "map" (iPad)

~ Cookies from Wright's Dairy

(result of a cookie from Wright's Dairy)

What a blessing and a joy Eli is to our family! And tonight I end this day praising God for my little guy....

"Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

Menu Plan Monday 8/29/11

Happy Birthday to Eli!! (that post is coming soon... hopefully today on his actaual birthday.. but it IS 10:15 pm...)

Yes, I'm late with my menu. It's been a crazy weekend with the birthday party and all. I am so behind on EVERYTHING. Oh, when will I catch up. It really is depressing. So, let's not think about all that I have to do. Let's think about what we're going to eat this week!

Here are our simple suppers!

Hot Dogs, Tater Tots and Fruit (you know me.. this is not a typical dinner but it was Eli's choice tonight!)

Sloppy Joes, Easy Potatoes and Onions with Dill, Sauteed Squash (I've got some pretty and 'different' squash from my csa box that I'm excited to use! Round zucchini and a type yellow squash called zephyr that is two toned)

Easy Chicken Noodle Stir Fry (using this recipe to go by)

Sour Cream Waffles, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit (didn't get to this meal last week)

Nachos (made with beef instead of chicken)

Other nights: Leftovers/Sandwiches

Check out for more menu ideas!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 8/22/11

**Edited to remove one of the meals since we're celebrating a certain little boy's 3rd birthday this weekend! My mom and I are getting together tonight to plan the menu. Probably sandwiches and finger foods!

Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Carrots and Ranch Dip (the only meal we didn't get to last week, boiling the chicken today... which means homemade broth!)

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Sour Cream Waffles, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit

Others- sandwiches/leftovers... and sometimes the boys and I eat with my parents when the Hubs has school! :)

I'm also going to make a batch of crunchy chocolate chip granola bars (except we make them into bites for snacking)! We're out of muffins too and according to my children that is just not acceptable. I'm really, really ready for fall so I think I might make pumpkin muffins! :)

Have a great week!

P.S. I have a book review coming soon! I'm really excited about it and I can't wait to share more! It's all about food and family! Two of my favorite things! :)

Check out Orgjunkie for more menu plans and recipes!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who am I?

I'm not perfect.

I am messy, especially when I cook.

I get frustrated with my children far too often than I'd like to think.

When I take pictures for my blog, I move the mess out of the way.

I fight my flesh everyday. Every. Second.

I fumble over my words in conversation.

I'm totally weird.

There are dirty dishes in my sink.

Sometimes my menu says chicken tacos. Sometimes that turns into rotisserie chicken from the grocery store pared with cheese rolled in a tortilla.

I battle fear almost every day.

But He loves me. And He chose me. And I am clothed in His righteousness. And I am His.

Let us not forget who we are... and who He is.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Taco Soup

This recipe comes from a combination of several recipes I've looked at over the past few years. I really have a thing for soups. Sadly, my family doesn't like them much. The Hubs tolerates them but I think he'd rather eat something else. Anyway, when the fall hits, I'll be making a lot of soup (even if I'm the only one to eat it!) and taco soup is one of my favorites. Most recipes call for ranch dressing packets and taco seasoning packets and I don't use those because of the MSG and outrageous sodium content. Not to mention mixing up your own ranch mix and taco mix is healthier, super easy and frugal! So, here is the crazy, simple recipe that I love to use!

Taco Soup, serves 6-8

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 large onion, chopped
16 oz can diced tomatoes, (can use rotel or Mexican style)
16 oz can black beans, drained
16 oz can red beans, drained
16 oz can kidney beans, drained
16 oz jar picante sauce
2 cups frozen corn

In skillet brown hamburger meat and cook onions. Drain meat. Combine all ingredients except corn and bring to a boil. I rinse the picante sauce jar out with water and add it to the soup. That would be about 2 cups of water added. After the soup comes to a boil add frozen corn and bring back to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for about 30 minutes. You can also combine in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

*Add more or less taco seasoning mix to taste. You can also adjust the heat depending on what type of picante sauce you use. You could also use drained, canned corn in place of the frozen. I'm trying to get away from canned goods and corn is one of the easier things to find frozen. Maybe this winter I'll try to cook more beans and keep them in the freezer for soups! Anyway, this is a very versitile recipe that you can change to suit your tastes.

Can I also encourage you once more to make your own taco seasoning mix!? And as you can see you don't even have to buy an extra jar, just wash out an old pickle jar! Please try it!!! It's so easy and healthy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 8/15/11

Doesn't this look yummy?

This is the breakfast that I have after we have Easy Potatoes and Onions with Dill the night before. It's so good the next day with scrambled eggs! Sometimes I scramble my eggs with the potatoes but today I did them separate. So good!

We've got a busy week so I've got a few easy meals! I am trying a few new recipes this week too! Fun!

Hot Dogs (these nitrate and nitrite free ones) on the 'gill' as Eli says, Green Beans, Potatoes & Onions with Dill

Grilled Pineapple Chicken w/ Pineapple Salsa, Green Peas and Corn

Taco Salads, Cheesy Rice

Chicken Salad, Carrots and Ranch Dip

French Dip Sandwiches (Crock Pot), Creamy Pasta Salad with Celery

Others: Leftovers/Sandwiches

Check out orgjunkie for hundreds of menu plans and recipes! Later this week I'm sharing my recipe for Taco Soup!

Who's ready for fall!!?? ME!! Fall is my favorite... Alabama football, cooler weather, chili and soup, our 7th anniversary and I turn the big 3-0!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our days...

Today we completed day three of our 'official' homeschool journey! How is it going? Pretty good! Honestly, it's not much different than normal around here. We did take a break for about 2 months for summer but other than that we're just a tad bit more 'scheduled' and we have 'official' books. You know, I don't even like that word.. schedule. I like the word 'rhythm' better. So, we have a better rhythm going. Here's what our day looks like (times are not exact... just a guideline!):

6:30-7 ~ Mommy up (I am not a morning person)

7am ~ Mommy exercise (Trying to do this daily!!!)

7:30am ~ Boys up (typically, I don't wake them up), I start breakfast.

8am ~ Breakfast and tv. Yes, my kids watch TV while eating breakfast! We have Netflix on demand so they watch a 30 minute episode of something while they eat off of the laptop at the table. This gives me time to eat my own breakfast, pray and read my Bible.

8:30am ~ Boys get dressed, chores (feed cat, brush teeth, make beds) and I shower and get dressed.

9am (ish) ~ School day begins! I'm using Little Hearts for His Glory so I just follow along in their program. We do calendar time first and then our Bible lesson then we start the rest... history, science, math, phonics, fine motor skills, handwriting and anything else we want! We don't go straight through, though. For instance, today we took a break to dance! I pulled up some Choo Choo Soul videos on Youtube and let the boys go to town. They love to break dance! It's hilarious! While they danced I unloaded the dishwasher!

I snapped this while they were dancing!

Then we moved on! We also take a break for snack and to play a few games. We do crafts, lots of activities and read!

Craft we did after reading that Jesus is the center of history!

11-11:30am ~ We're technically done.. but learning is never over and parenting is teaching, right? :)

So, then we do whatever.. For example... today we went outside for about an hour. We came in for lunch (the boys help clean off the table after lunch) and then afternoon chores, which today was a group effort to clean up the toy room! It was a mess! After that, we all raced Hot Wheels down the hallway. Luke ended up winning the most out of our races! I left them to continue racing and working on the crashed cars to load the dishwasher back up. While the boys continued to play, I washed a few pots and pans and vacuumed all the rooms in the house. I checked email, fed the kids a snack, then freshened up (which means I put my make up on) and did a little bit of straightening (which means grabbing a few things here and there and returning it to where it belongs) before the Hubs got home.

After the Hubs got home, the boys watched one of their favorite shows, Wild Kratts on PBS and I folded some laundry before getting dinner started. We had dinner and then the kids started going crazy... seriously! Are my kids the only one who gets a burst of energy right after dinner? As I was attempting to clean the kitchen they just went wild... Running up and down the halls, in and out of rooms... screaming... boys! ;) So finally, I put the kitchen aside and said, "Let's go outside!!" So we spent 30 minutes outside where they literally ran in circles for the first 5! We played, we drew with chalk, Eli skinned his knees and I got eaten up by mosquitoes! :)

Once I started wanting to rub my legs with sand paper, I got the boys in and ready for bath. Side note: mosquitoes REALLY like me. The boys didn't get ONE bite. I got NINE. So they played in the bath, got jammies on and had some yogurt! Brushed teeth, read a devotional, said prayers, lights out.

That's what a typical day will look like... for the most part. We'll have other activities, field trips, play dates, library days, museum days, ect.

What do I do after they get in bed? Well, you don't really care what I do, do you? Just in case you wanna know... I finished cleaning the kitchen, washed my face, got a glass of chocolate milk and sat down to write this. Typically, I finish up any chores (the main ones like dirty dishes, the rest.. well, I say they will be there tomorrow!) and then spend time with the Hubs! :)

Tonight I'm praying this verse over our days...

"Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me." Psalm 119:133

Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 8-8-11

A few meals didn't go as planned last week, so there are some repeats!

Favorite Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit

Chicken Soft Tacos, Cheesy Peas and Rice

Mini Meat Loafs, Black Eye Peas, Easy Potatoes and Onions with Dill

Taco Soup, Corn Bread

Homemade Pizza

Others: Leftovers, Sandwiches

Also on my cooking 'to-do' list is:

chocolate banana muffins

loaded oatmeal cookies (with some healthier modifications)

Check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning tips and recipes!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Easy Potatoes and Onions with Dill

I love the combination of potatoes and onions. Nothing could be simpler or more delicious! Simple and delicious... two of my favorite words when it comes to cooking! This is a great side dish to grilled chicken, pork or beef!

Easy Potatoes and Onions with Dill

4 baking potatoes or about 8-10 red potatoes(I used red)
1 large onion, sliced
Oil (Olive oil and butter together is great!)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried dill
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in pan. Slice potatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Add potatoes and onion to pan and toss to coat with oil.

Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper, dill and garlic.

Cook uncovered on medium for another 5-10 minutes, stirring every few, until potatoes are tender and starting to brown. Taste and season accordingly! Yum!

These are also great the next day for breakfast with a scrambled egg!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's almost time! (Part 2 ~ Homeschooling)

Today I'm going to share my second reason for deciding to homeschool Luke (& Eli). I shared last week Part 1, so if you missed it just click on over to read!

All reasons I have for choosing to homeschool flow from my desire to please God in raising my family. I'll say it again, right now, homeschooling just fits us.

From the very beginning of having children, every time I thought about school I just couldn't get past the fact that it starts at such a young age (age 5 or 6). I have never been able to actually see myself sending my babes off to school at the tender age of five. It honestly is a foreign concept to me! Five years old just seems too little. And now that I have a five year old, that fact is even greater! Luke is still such a little boy.

I read this quote that resonated with me,

"Parenthood is no longer lasting as long as childhood. We need to hold on to our children and help them hold on to us. We need to hold on to them until our work is done. We need to hold on, not to hold them back but so they can venture forth." Dr. Gordon Neufeld (Developmental Psychologist)
"Our children need parents to be intimately involved, moment-by-moment, not till they are only four years old and leave home for school and possible peer dependency, but they need us to be parents until they are fourteen years and older..." Ann Voskamp (expounding on the quote above)

When I read these quotes it further confirmed what my heart was telling me. Stay home. Be with your children. Be all there (I'm continually learning how to be all here.. even while I am here). And for us that means to homeschool.

I want to live and learn with my children. I want to teach them. I want Christ woven into their studies, their projects, their meals, their chores, their relationships. I want the Hubs and I to be the most influential people in our children's lives.

My job as a mother though, is to train and teach the children I've been given... point them to Him, show them He is everything and in all things. And as we've sought Him, we feel homeschooling is the best way to live that out daily.

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." Psalms 1:1-2

Homeschool Closet!

Confession: I loathe organization. Ok, I would actually love to be organized but I loathe the process! My sister got the organizational gene! It's something I really should work at! As a mom, I'd much rather our home run orderly, not chaotic! Being organized helps that! So, I was thrilled when I finally got this closet of a mess:

to this organized homeschool closet:

We don't have an extra room for homeschooling. So all of our supplies will be stored here for easy access during the day. The hanging sweater organizers were inexpensive and allow books, ect to be right at our fingertips!

Look for my second "reason's why" homeschooling post later today!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 8/1/11

I have lots of yummy things from my Dad's garden... squash, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes! Yum! Here is our menu for the week:

Eggplant Parmesan, Salad

Sloppy Joes, Squash, Cucumbers/Carrots with Dip

Chicken Tacos, Cheesy Rice and Peas

Homemade Pizza

Favorite Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit

Other: Leftovers, Sandwiches

A friend gave my dad some apples so I'm also going to be making some more apple pies! This time I'm going to mash the apple filling! I think the boys will like them more!

What's on your menu?

Check out for more menu ideas and recipes!