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Showing posts from August, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it has been quite a week around here. My brother-in-law has been here since the 22nd. You may have read where I mentioned about his trip and video project. We've had a great week with him here. He was scheduled to leave yesterday on Amtrak out of Birmingham. Since my hubby had a commitment, I filled up the gas tank, loaded up the kiddos and a friend, plus Steve and his *stuff* and headed for B'ham (2 1/2 hours away).
We got all the way there, pulled up to the train station, only to discover that there were no trains coming. Hurricane Gustav struck already. Apparently the particular train he was booked on goes between New Orleans and Atlanta, stopping in B'ham in between. And that train is not leaving the station right now due to the impending storm. So we headed back home again. Needless to say Steven was a little disappointed (I think he's bored with us-ha!).
Although he perked up at the thought that he might be able to jump on a truck with a news team and head …

Know & Tell Friday

Here's the Back-to-School edition of Know & Tell. It's my first year going back-to-school in many years. And we're not doing it the traditional way: I'm starting to home school my daughter for kindergarten this year. We officially start next week. I'm excited and nervous about it!


1. How far in advance do you start getting ready for back-to-school (whether for your own kids, or for yourself when you were in school)?Well, this is the first year for me to a have school-age child and I'm homeschooling, so it seems like I've been preparing for a while now. As for when I was in school, I probably spent the month before school getting my supplies, clothes, etc. ready. I've always been a planner!
2. Do you have any picky eaters who need special considerations for lunches? What does a typical bagged lunch look like in your house?Well, I won't have to pack lunches, but my daughter usually eats things like sandwiches, spaghetti-os, cherry tomatoes, carrot …

Vince's *Special Sandwich*

My hubby has this awesome sandwich that he created in the first year or so of our marriage. I call it the *Special Sandwich*. Usually I can get him to make me one about once a year--he's not big on cooking. If it's not on the grill, he's not interested! But once in a while he indulges me with his sandwich--and I love it! *Special Sandwich* includes egg-battered toasted bread, scrambled egg, ham, turkey, cheese and a special sauce made from honey, brown sugar and mustard. I really can't divulge any more specifics because 1.) if I knew more, then I'd have to make them myself and 2.) you'd want him to come to your house to make them for you--and frankly I'm just selfish where the *Special Sandwich* is concerned:) It's a little taste of Heaven on a plate!!
Vince'sSpecial Sandwich

Menu Plan Monday

First of all, a great big *thanks* to those of you commenting on my new family pics on the sidebar. My very good friend Larinda took those for us and I love them! She did a great job! Now onto the food...

Vince's brother, Steven, is visiting us this week. He's been on a month-long trip across the nation for a video project that he's working on. So now he's here in the Deep South to find out more about jazz, rock-n-roll, bbq, Helen Keller and more. Since he's pretty much been living off of tuna packets all month, with only a few highlights in between, I want to feed him well. So far we've had some pretty good eats with recipes from The Pioneer Woman (Marlboro Man Sandwiches with Onion Strings yesterday and Pot Roast today). Steven swears he's already gained three pounds, but he's tall and lanky so that's okay.


I have the lineup for this week, I just don't know yet which day I'll cook which meal. But at least I have a plan:

Crockpot ribs with ba…

Hey You Guuuuuuuys!!

My bro-in-law, Steven, just flew into town last night. He is on a month long coast-to-coast adventure, mostly traveling by train and interviewing all kinds of interesting people. He's a whiz with video equipment and recently graduated with a degree in broadcasting. I've really been enjoying hearing about his adventures so far.
One of the places that he visited was Astoria, Oregon. Now, for you Goonie fans out there, you know what that means!! I hadn't seen Goonies since I was a kid, until I got married 11 years ago. Now I can't tell you how many times I've seen it--it's my husband's favorite and has become one of my favorites, too. Vince and Steven can pretty much quote it line for line. It is a classic. And I just had to show you what Steven brought me from his trip there: Isn't it cute?!! What a great bro-in-law!

Know & Tell Friday

1. Are you right- or left-handed?Right handed, although my left-handed dad taught me how to tie my shoes and I've been tying left-handed, upside down bows ever since:) 2. Any nicknames I have (or have had) and the story behind them?No, never had a nickname. 3. Do you need to do laundry right now?Actually, I got all caught up yesterday. Now, just don'task about the ironing... 4. What CD is in your CD player/music on your iPod right now?Sara Groves, Corrine Bailey Rae, Toby Mac, Skillet, Pottery Barn Kids oldies, U2 5. How/when did you learn to ride a bicycle?With my dad, when I was seven. It was beautiful green/white/yellow bike with a banana seat and a basket with daises on it! 6. What is your favorite weird food combination?I can't think of a single thing. I'll give it some thought (and quiz my hubby) and maybe update this later. 7. What is something you have that is of sentimental value?Oh my. I'm the queen of keeping things for sentimental value! Off the top of my hea…

Can Somebody Say "Hallelujah"!

I am so happy to announce that Mr. B has completed his fourth consecutive day of successful potty training!! Woo Hoo!! We've had a couple of false starts in the past few months, but this week it clicked. He GOT it! I can't tell you how thrilled I am. I really dislike potty training, so I've sort of been dreading this for a while--especially since the false starts. But this week has gone so well and I'm so glad to be on the other side of that hill. We still have some work to do in the...ahem...number two department, but that's okay. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I Can Almost Smell the Apples & Cinnamon

Now that I've been to the beach and had the perfect summer vacation I'm ready for Fall to be here...NOW! It's my absolute favorite season of the year and about this time each year I'm longing for it. A few of my favorite things about Fall are (in no particular order):
the cooler temperaturesthe energy I get from the cooler temperaturesmy birthday!the smell of apples, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin.....sweaters!!football gameswatching the leaves turning colorsthe wonderful Fall foods, such as:fresh apple cakepumpkin piepumpkin breadapple buttersoupsturkey & dressingchex mixapple cidercandy corn(OK, I have to stop listing food because I'm drooling now)going to the pumpkin patch with the kiddospicking out the all those cute little extraordinary pumpkinscarving the BIG onedecorating the house with all of my fall decordressing the kiddos up for HalloweenThanksgivingmenu planning for Thanksgivingfamily gatheringsnature walkingfall festivalsplanning for Christmasputting ou…

Hope

We've all heard that quote by Emily Dickinson about hope being the thing with *feathers*. Well, by the time I went to bed last night, I felt like I had feathers--as in, I could fly because I was full of hope!

The past couple of months have not been the easiest for me. There have been things happening in my life--in my family's life--that have been hurtful and difficult to process. Things to process about people that we once trusted and admired who turned out to betray us and lack integrity of character. I haven't felt very hopeful some days. Most days were better, but some days have been (are) a struggle. I know deep in my heart that God has NEVER failed me and never will. I know deep in my heart that He hears my prayers and is always there, never abandoning me.

Sometimes though I just need that extra reassurance.

The first night of our family vacation when both mine and my husband's phones fell in the pool was one of those times. When I mentioned melting down in my post

Menu Plan Monday

I'll hurry and get this posted while dinner is in the oven....

Monday: baked talapia, baked potatoes, zucchini cheese casserole*
Tuesday: cheese manicotti*, corn-on-the-cob, salad
Wednesday: cheesey calzones*
Thursday: hot chicken salad*, veggie TBA
Friday:Marlboro Man sandwiches, french fries, onion strings
Saturday: grilled hot dogs & chips
Sunday: crockpot roast with carrots & potatoes, green beans, rolls

*I'll be happy to post these *starred* recipes on request! Just ask!

For more great menu ideas and recipes, head over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Hydrops

If you or someone you know has any experience or knowledge of the condition/syndrome/disease of hydrops in babies, Baby Zoe's family is looking for answers. You can leave them messages at their blog or also at Zoe's Aunt Nancy's blog, Chocolate Ink.

Tuna Cornbread Cakes

OK, if you're still reading after that title, I'll tell you how yummy these little things actually were. They were even a hit with my hubby and sort of a hit with my kiddos (after my hubby renamed them *Larry-Boy Cakes*). They actually look nothing like Larry-Boy, but my kiddos have been on a Larry-Boy kick lately and we'll do almost anything to entice them to eat new stuff. If you like salmon patties, I think you'd really like these.

Tuna Cornbread Cakes (Southern Living)
1 (6 oz.) pkg. buttermilk cornbread mix
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbls. mayonnaise
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbls. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 (5 oz.) foil pouches herb-n-garlic flavored light tuna
3 Tbls. butter
3 Tbls. vegetable oil
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Preheat oven to 425F. Stir together cornbread mix and 2/3 cup milk. Pour batter into a lightly greased 8" square pan. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire…

Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma!

Today is my maternal grandmother's 90th birthday! What a long and wonderful life she has had. She was born to a poor farming family in rural Arkansas where she grew up picking strawberries and cotton, but with a loving family.


She met my grandpa when she was just 12 or 13 while he was dating her older sister. He insisted that she came along on all their dates, then he dumped the older sister as soon as she was old enough to date. Hearing my grandma tell that story was always so funny.

She married him, the love of her life, at 17 and they had a beautiful family of 7--of which my mother was the middle child. (my mother is the baby in here)

They were happily married through all kinds of life trials for over 60 years, until my grandpa passed away in 1999. She's really been sort of lost since he's been gone.
Grandma is an incredible cook! Her homemade rolls are the best and of course she never used a written recipe for anything. She also is a wonderful quiltmaker. Her intricate …

Know & Tell Friday--the OCD edition (a little late)

OK, so I'm a little late with this one, I was distracted with other stuff yesterday and forgot. However, when I saw the subject matter, I had to laugh--and I had to participate!


1. Do you put the toilet paper on coming over the top or underneath, or does it matter? If someone puts it on wrong do you have to fix it?Yes, it HAS to be over the top (the RIGHT way) and, yes, I always stop to fix it. Sometimes my hubby puts it on upside down just to drive me crazy:)
2. Do you wear shoes in the house?Sure, but this is because I have foot issues. I don't like my feet exposed and I really don't like you to look at them, because then it makes me nervous and they start sweating-ha!
3. If something falls out of the dryer when you’re folding clothes or putting it in the laundry basket, do you have to rewash it or do you just continue on like nothing happened?Well, I'll admit this is a stretch for me, but I've taken to tossing it back in the dryer, although that's only if it&…

Yum Yum

You may have had this dessert before under the disguise of a different name. Its forever been known to my family as "Yum Yum". And, yes, those will be the first words out of your mouth after your first bite! It's a classic and is especially nice in the summertime since its nice and cold.
Yum Yum (otherwise known as 4-Layer Delight, or something like that)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 large box chocolate pudding mix
1 large carton whipped topping
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mix flour, butter and nuts together. Press into a (9x13) pan. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Cool. Mix cream cheese, sugar and 1/2 of the whipped topping; spread on top of crust. Prepare pudding according to package directions; cool. Spread on top of cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Garnish with chopped nuts, if desired (I don't). Keep refrigerated.

Garlic & Lime Chicken

Garlic & Lime Chicken 1/3 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 tsp. dry mustard 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 Tbls. vegetable oil 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Combine soy sauce, lime juice, garlic and mustard in a small bowl; mix well. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place in a shallow dish and add soy sauce mixture to cover. Marinate, covered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Preheat a non-stick skillet with the oil. Place chicken in skillet; season with pepper. Cook over medium heat for 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through. Or this tastes great cooked on the grill, like we had it last night! This was delicious! I served it with Sezchwan stir-fry veggies (from the freezer section), fried rice (made with one of those seasoning packets), and egg rolls (also from the freezer section. It was all delicious!

Pray For Baby Zoe

My friend Nancy's sister went into labor at 34 weeks on Monday and delivered Baby Zoe early. There are complications that you can read about here. He is having problems releasing urine, possibly due to a bladder issue and there is a bleed on his brain. Please pray for Baby Zoe to be totally healed, for his mom Carmen as she recovers from an emergency c-section and for his family in general as they are coping with excitement over this precious new life and also much concern for his health. If you would like to leave an encouraging message for the family, drop by Baby Zoe's site.

Servant Motherhood

I am currently reading The Mission of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson, as my morning devotion. Today's chapter, The Servant Mother, really spoke to me and I would like to share an excerpt from it with you.


"When I model patience in the midst of difficulty, joy in the midst of messes, contentment in the midst of lack, then I provide them a pattern for their own lives. They will learn that my joy is not circumstantial but real because I have an endless source of strength through the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.
This doesn't mean that I was wrong to feel exhausted or overwhelmed. It doesn't mean I always have to wear a cheerful mask in front of my children or hide my feelings. Feelings, after all, are just part of being human, and emotional ups and downs are a biological reality for most women. I certainly don't want my children to get the message that they should never admit their feeling down or discouraged.
At the same time, we as mothers need to recognize what…

One Pot Chicken Cacciatore

One Pot Chicken Cacciatore 1 cup diced onion 1 cup diced celery 1 cup shredded carrots 2 tsp. minced garlic 2 Tbls. olive oil, divided 3/4 cup flour 1 Tbls. Italian seasoning 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 1/2 cups water, divided 4 cups spaghetti sauce 3 oz. orzo pasta 1 (10 oz.) pkg. baby spinach 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic in 1 Tbls. olive oil, about 5 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, combine flour and Italian seasoning in a wide, shallow bowl. Roll chicken pieces in flour to coat. With a slotted spoon remove vegetables from skillet; set aside. Brown chicken in the remaining 1 Tbls. olive oil, cooking about 5 minutes on each side. Add 1/2 cup water to deglaze pan. Return vegetables to pan and stir in the spaghetti sauce. Cover and simmer 25-35 minutes until chicken is nearly cooked through. Push ingredients to the center of pan. Place orzo and remaining 1 cup of water around the edge of pan; …

Menu Plan Monday

I still haven't made it to buy groceries since we've been home from vacation, so I pretty much did a raid on the pantry tonight for dinner. We ended up with mac-n-cheese, mixed veggies (canned), Stovetop stuffing, along with some leftovers of chicken fingers and mashed potatoes. Oh--and my hubby threw in part of a leftover sub sandwich for himself. It was a little hodge-podge, but it actually hit the spot for all of us. Any of ya'll ever have strange meals like that? The rest of the week should be much better though...I'm going grocery shopping tomorrow! Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore* Wednesday: Garlic-Lime Chicken* Thursday: (small group) BBQ sandwiches (but I'm making dessert this time: Yum Yum*) Friday: Homemade Pizza Saturday: Tuna Cornbread Cakes* *I'll follow-up each day with the respective recipe. You can check out more menus at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Memorable Vacation Moments, The Good & The Bad

Getting packed up for the trip to Gulf Shores, AL (everything but the kitchen sink!!)dropping both of our cell phones in the pool the first night there

me melting down after dropping both cell phones in the pool

me thanking God for reviving one of those phones

coping with the tiny-ness of our condo unit

wishing this house was where we were staying


meeting up with my parents and sister at the Gulf

playing in the beautiful white sand


getting stung by jellyfish

hunting for crabs by flashlight after dark

goofing off with my sister


shopping the outlet stores and cheesey souviener shops, among others

having fresh all-u-can-eat fish!!

watching a school of dolphins swim by just out from where we were swimming

playing *pirate putt-putt* with Nana and Papi


hunting for seashells

sand art by The Princess


getting the best tan I've had in years

watching my kiddos have the best time playing with the lizard they caught


exploring Fort Morgan (very cool!)


eating more great seafood

playing Scattergories, Phase 10, the…

Back at Home

Well, I bid the beautiful sand and surf *goodbye* 'till next time. It was a lovely week! Tomorrow is our last day for a while with my parents and sister--we've had such a good time with them! I'll be back on Monday with some *real* posts and to catch up with you all. I didn't have regular/good internet access on vacation and I've missed my bloggy friends. Have a great weekend, I'll see you soon!

Chillin' at the Beach

Hey, Ya'll!
Sorry I've been gone for a few days...I'm having fun with my family at the beach!! I was going to post before we left, but I was having technical difficulites with Blogger. Did anyone else--or was it just me?
Anyway, I'll be back home in a few more days and I'll tell you all about the fun we've been having.
Have a blessed week!

Know & Tell Friday: Random Stuff

Happy Friday!! Here's some fun hosted by Reese & Heather at Kicking it in Crazyville....

1. Which is worse: speaking to a large crowd or working under an impossible deadline?Definitely speaking to a large crowd--give me an impossible deadline any day over that!
2. Could you work with your best friend?Mmmm....maybe
3. Do you eat seafood?Definitely! LOVE it!!
4. What is the worst thing you have ever eaten? Maybe this terrible "dessert" in South Africa made from vermicelli--positively disgusting! I have issues with warm, mushy stuff anyway: such as, oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc...
5. Which would make you feel more appreciated by your DH / SO: bringing home flowers, doing a chore without being asked, or asking you on a “date”?I must say, doing a chore without being asked...although I do love flowers. He's great about the date thing though!
6. What is something fun you are going to do today?Finish packing for the beach!!! Woo Hoo!!!
7. What qualities you look for in a frien…