Tuesday, February 28, 2012

There Really is No Hope for the Budget!

I made stir fry for supper.  It really was good, if I do say so myself.  
(I found this stir fry sauce on Pinterest.  It's awesome!)

Matt didn't get home from baseball practice until almost 7pm, but we left some for him.  He ate what was left and then about 30 minutes later jumped up from the couch and announced he was making himself an omelet.

(This was the closest I could come to get his face in a picture!)

There was nothing left!

I'm not really sure the grocery budget can handle his appetite! 
Especially since Sarah shows signs of starting a new growth spurt!

At least I know that if anything happens to me, he won't starve! 
(And he'll know how to clean it up.  That's the rule if he makes one.)

Living thru faith,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lessons Learned from a Busy Week

Last week was a good week.  
It was productive, it was fun, and it was extremely busy.

The boys were out of school on Monday, we had meetings two nights, Ash Wednesday service Wednesday evening, I did some follow-up training at my former office, got a haircut, babysat some cuties two days, spent time with friends, cleaned house, did laundry, cooked meals, but...

I did not do my Bible study, spend time playing or doing preschool work with Sarah, help Daniel with homework, plan the menu, 
or other things important for the family.

Everything I did was important and fun and I will continue to do in some form or another.  But when I reached Friday evening and had a hard time getting to sleep because I was stressing over everything I still needed to get done, I realized that I needed to do things a little different.

I left work to take care of my family.  Life will be busy.  Some weeks will be crazier than others.  However, I need to make sure the most important things take priority and the rest happens along the way.

So, I am striving to be more intentional.

More intentional about my routine.
More intentional about how I spend the time during the day.
More intentional about the choices I make.
More intentional about keeping the priorities in the right order.

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." 
Luke 10:41-42.

I am striving to be more intentional about choosing what is better...

Living thru faith,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And so it begins!

Last night we attended the first parents meeting of the new baseball season.

We paid the fees.  We got the schedule.

We've booked the hotel for Spring Training.

Sarah at the beach 2010.  We didn't get to go last year!

The first game is March 10!

When we came home we found Sarah enjoying a movie with the boys.

She was all snuggled up in the laundry basket with her side table (aka stool) right beside it for her cup and bowl of popcorn! 

She was as snug as a bug and lovin' it!

Living thru faith,

Monday, February 20, 2012

More of Sarah's Imagination

Sarah was playing so nicely in her room. 

I could hear her talking in her little imaginary world.  

I just didn't know how far into her imaginary world she had gone.

I knew about the blankets because she had asked me to tie one of them up.

However, the clothesline was a surprise. 

She tied the string from her blinds to a hanger she hung from the knob of her dresser, then took the clothes out of her closet and hung them on the string.

She entertained herself for a couple hours with all this!  

I wonder where her imagination will take her next...

Living thru faith,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Zucchini Bread

Before I got sick, I made a batch of zucchini bread.  I can't remember the last time I made it!  We all love it, even Matthew (and that's HUGE!).  My friend, Janet, gave me this recipe back in the mid 90's and I have been making it ever since.  We ate one loaf this week and I froze the other one for later.

Here is the recipe.  It is super easy!


Janet's Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. cooking oil
1/2 tbs. vanilla
2 1/2 c. zucchini, peeled and grated
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tbs. cinnamon
1 c. nuts, optional

Peel and grate the zucchini.  Mix all the ingredients together and pour into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Future Designer in the Making

This cold virus knocked me for a loop this week!  I spent most of Monday, all of Tuesday, and part of Wednesday in the bed.  I still don't have all my strength back, but I'm on the upward swing now.

Poor Sarah was left to watch movies in the living room by herself.  Brian was able to come home early Tuesday to help keep her company.  He handled suppers, the kids, and even a bit of laundry while I've been sick.  
Thank you, sweetie! You are such a blessing!

Since Sarah has had to entertain herself quite a bit, she has come up with some interesting things.  Yesterday, I found her in her "new dress".  She put an elastic head band/wrap thingy through the loop on the front of her nightgown, slipped her arms out of the sleeves, and voila... a strapless ball gown!  (I think she watched Enchanted 3 times over the last few days!)

She also loved modeling her new creation.

She is always coming up with some new way to wear her clothes.  
Maybe it is a sign of things to come!

Living through faith,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why do we teach them to share?!

Monday was going to be my first day of my first week 
of getting into a real routine.  

Mondays are supposed to be cleaning house, 
preschool work with Sarah, and Zumba in the evening.

What I didn't count on was the boys giving me their germs! 

I started feeling it coming on Sunday evening 
and it was in full force by the morning.

I managed to feed everyone, play movies for Sarah, get her to sign some Valentines and figure out which alphabet letters we need to work on.  

Oh! and I got a load of dark clothes in the washing machine!  
I don't think they managed to get into the dryer...

I guess that's not too bad, but still hoping for a better day today!
Especially since it is Valentine's Day!

Don't think I will be giving any Valentine's kisses today!

Living thru faith,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Meatless Mondays

While I was working we were spending about $600 a month on groceries and that didn't include all the eating out that we did.  Now that I am not working we have to cut the grocery budget and eating out 
will be a rare occasion (as it should be).

Not only do I need to look at the meals I am planning, but I realized I have to completely rethink how I shop.  While I was picking up some groceries this weekend I started to pick up a jar of spaghetti sauce.  The brand I usually buy has all natural ingredients and runs about $2.50 a jar.  But as I was heading down the aisle I thought "No, I'm making my own."  I had planned on it, but just hadn't really changed my way of thinking as I was shopping.

As far as the menu planning goes, one thing I am starting is Meatless Mondays.  This will not be popular with Matt!  Therefore, I will have to be creative.  We definitely can't be having rice and beans every Monday or I will have a mutiny on my hands!

So, we are starting off with...

pasta and broccoli with a garlic butter sauce and salad.  
(If I have some bread in the freezer, I will add that to help ease things with Matthew.)

I still need to work on the menu for the rest of the month, but I am hoping not to have buy anything else except for some milk or fresh produce.  

Wish me luck!

Living thru faith,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Organizing Sarah's room

This is what Sarah's room used to look like (before I put up her curtains).

There was just one problem.  

The girl was running out of room in the little dresser.  
Her clothes keep getting bigger!  
(And just so you know, I AM in denial that it means she is getting older!)

So, all this leads to the other problem.  The bigger dresser was in our closet storing other things.  

We knew that she would need it at some point, but I was hoping that we would be able to make it until at least summer.  No such luck!

Her closet was a mess (and, of course, I didn't get a before picture of that), so we pulled everything out of the closet.  That I did get a picture of.  Yikes!

It took several hours, but eventually we got everything 
put together and in it's new spots.

Her barbies, baby stuff, and Build-a-bear clothes are all in the tall dresser.  Her clothes are in the top two drawers of the big dresser (still need to straighten those out), and her dress up clothes are in the bottom drawer.  Now I'm just hoping that we don't need that drawer for regular clothes before she outgrows most of those princess dresses!

I moved her toy shelf into the closet and added a couple of hooks to her door.

Her shoes are now in a basket which will hopefully make it easier for her to both find her shoes and put them away.

She was absolutely giddy to have it all done!

Now to keep it this way...

Living thru faith,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade King Cake

First of all, let me introduce you to my new baby!

I got her for Christmas and this was my first time getting to use her.  
Can you say LUV!!!

It made the dough so easy to make.

Especially this kneading tool!

Before I get too far along, let me give you a little background on a King Cake.  King Cakes are typically enjoyed during the Mardi Gras season.  From what I understand, this tradition was originally brought over from France as a part of celebrating Epiphany.

Each king cake is decorated with colored icing and traditionally baked with a plastic baby inside.  The three colors (yellow, green, and purple) represent the three Kings and the baby is said to represent the Christ child.

While we have not been ones to really celebrate "Mardi Gras", we have adopted the king cake as our own family tradition. I began making my own homemade ones since 2002 when we were living 800 miles from home and couldn't afford to have one shipped to us.

I am setting a record this year, though!  I have already made two batches and I have committed to making one more.  Since each batch makes 2 cakes, that's a total of 6!!!  Good gravy!!

So here is a little bit of how you make a king cake...

First you will mix together a warm sour cream mixture, yeast, eggs, and flour to make the dough.  

After kneading, the dough will rise for an hour and then you get to roll it out to add the filling.

I just use cinnamon and sugar for my filling, but some king cakes have cream cheese or strawberry fillings.

After the filling is spread, you roll it up into a log and then form it into an oval.  You have to let it rise again for a little while and then it is time for baking!

While it is baking, you can make the icing.  The icing is made with powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla.  After dividing up the icing into three bowls, you add the food coloring to make the different colors.

Alternating the different colored icing and sprinkling on the colored sugars puts the final touches that really makes it a King Cake.

It like a great big delicious cinnamon roll!

For Sarah's last day, I made her class King Cake Cupcakes (I got the idea from Pinterest!).  I figured it would be easier for the kids and the teacher.  It was the first time I tried it this way and it actually turned out pretty good!

So, here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

1/4 c. butter or margarine
1 (16oz) carton sour cream
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 eggs
6 -6 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened (I usually end up using more)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan; heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally.  Let mixture cool to 105 or 115 degrees.
Dissolve yeast and 1 tbs. sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.  Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups of flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or by hand until smooth.  Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).  Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.

Combine 1/2 c. sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

Pinch dough down and divide it in half.  Turn one protion of dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll to a 28"x10" rectangle.  Spread half of the butter and half of the cinnamon mixture on the rolled out dough.  Roll dough, jelly roll fashion, starting at the long side.  Gently place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bring ends of dough together and form an oval ring.  If you have access to a tiny plastic baby, tuck it into the seam before you seal it.  Moisten and pinch the edges together to seal.

Repeat this procedure with the second half of the dough.

Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 10 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.  Decorate each cake with bands of colored frostings and sprinkle with colored sugars.
Colored Frosting:
3 c. sifted powdered sugar
3 tbs. butter or margarine, melted
3-5 tbs. milk, room temperature
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 drops each of green, yellow, red, and blue food coloring

Combine powdered sugar and melted butter.  Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla.  Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting one with green, one with yellow, and combining blue and red for purple frosting.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sarah's short cheerleading career

The local university had a free cheerleading camp this past Saturday.  Sarah was so excited to go.  She dressed up in the best cheerleading like outfit we could find on short notice, packed her a lunch in the new lunch bag I had bought on sale just waiting to be used in kindergarten, put a bow in her hair and off we went.

The kids were going to perform at half time and Daddy and I were there with camera (and iPhone) in hand ready to document her first cheer.  
(Cue the screeching brakes...)

We had to walk right past all the little girls (and one boy) and as soon as she saw me she started bawling.  She was completely out of character and for whatever reason, didn't want me to leave and would just start crying out of no where.  Finally, I thought we were through with whatever we were wallowing in and I went to sit with Brian. 

Sarah with her friend Janna and Janna's brother Simon who came to cheer on the cheerleaders!

Half time came and here they all come filling up the court and looking adorable.  All the girls (and the one boy, bless his heart) where doing their cheers, except Sarah.  

She looked forlorn and heartbroken and you couldn't help but laugh at the pathetic little look she had.  

She was a completely different child as we were leaving and later that afternoon even showed me a couple of things she had learned.  Since then she has even talked about how much she enjoyed it!  

I guess she was just exercising her woman's prerogative to change her mind!

Living thru faith,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

Sunday was a great day filled with fun, fellowship, friends, and lots of food!

After worship we had a church Soup-er Bowl Luncheon and Dessert Auction.  There were tons of soups to try and great desserts to bid on.  We, of course, came home with none of them!  But it was such a fun time together as a church family and a little over $2000 was raised 
for the youth and children's ministries!

We had friends over to watch the game and eat even more food!  All the kids were running around having fun and the adults were left alone in the living room to talk about adult things!   So we watched a little bit of the game (and the commercials), but spent most of the time visiting and laughing and just having a great time talking about what most parents end up talking about - the kids!  

In fact, I was having such a great time, I forgot to take any pictures until everyone had left!  So this is all I got...

the carnage...

Oh, well!  Maybe next time!

Living thru faith,

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sarah is stylin'

Sarah was stylin' in some of her new clothes she got for Christmas.

 (The sun was in her face, so she wasn't wanting to look at the camera.)

Thanks to her Aunt Deborah, she is always looking cute and ready to go.   


Aunt Deborah has two rough and tumble boys, 
so she loves being able to buy all the girly stuff for Sarah.

Of course, Sarah loves dressing up in all the girly stuff, 
which makes a perfect match since I am telling her all the time 
she is just like her Aunt Deborah...

a tomboy and a princess all rolled into one perfect package 
(or two perfect packages in this case).

Living thru faith,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groudhog Day! - edited version

In honor of my mother on Groundhog Day!

I don't know what was funnier...  

The groundhog or my mother laughing at my brother dancing like the groundhog.  One thing was certain, he knew exactly what to do when he needed to get out of trouble!  :-)

Edited to say:  As I was eating lunch today, it suddenly hit me.  That's a stupid gopher not a groundhog.  Even though the whole time I am searching I am typing in "gopher", it never clicked!  I really think I need more sleep...maybe 3 days worth!

Living thru faith,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Little Bear

Sarah received a new towel wrap for Christmas and she absolutely loves it.

She wants to wear it after her bath and goes around growling like a bear.

 She's an awfully cute bear if I do say so myself.

Living thru faith,