Wednesday, February 29, 2012

and then there were 3

Today is my first day with all 3 kiddos at the same time.  I'm watching Luke 1 day a week, and baby Hayden 4 days a week now, with 1 day overlapping with all 3 kiddos.  They are super fun together and all love each other.  I thought the 2 older boys would just ignore the baby and play together, but they constantly gravitate to her area talking and waving at her.  I've changed a lot of poop today, but these 3 are so much fun together it is all worth it!

Monday, February 27, 2012

16 months

Here is what is going on with Noah this month according to;

Your toddler is still likely to explore her surroundings the way she has for the last few months — grabbing random objects, inspecting them closely, putting them to her mouth, banging them on the floor. But you'll also notice that she likes to challenge her physical limits. She knows she can walk, so she wants to try to carry a heavy load, like a box of blocks, while she's at it. She's confident that she can climb up onto the sofa, so she'll want to push a chair to the kitchen counter to climb higher and investigate what's up on the counter tops. If you haven't already done so, now it is essential that you childproof your home. The kitchen can be a particularly dangerous spot, so get into the habit of cooking on the back burners of the stove, turning pot handles inward and out of reach of groping hands, and locking up any dangerous cleaning products and medicines rather than leaving them out in the open.  If your toddler is willing to let you test her physical prowess with her, try this silly game recommended by child development expert Marilyn Segal, author of Your Child at Play: One to Two Years: Hold her hands and show her how to squat down. While you're moving up and down, chant: "Bend our knees, and down we go All the way to the floor. Up, up, up, we stand up tall, And now we squat some more."

If your child isn't walking with ease, or is hardly walking at all, try this activity, which developmental experts use to help children gain confidence on their feet. First have your child stand with her back to a wall; move back so you're about 3 feet away from her. Hold out a hand and have her reach for it, taking one or two steps to get to you. Guide her back to the wall and do it over and over again, occasionally stepping back so she has to take more steps to reach you.

Your 16-month-old is becoming more adept at using her hands and fingers. She may be able to stack two or three blocks into a tower, and will delight in immediately knocking it down. When you read books, she'll insist on turning the pages for you, and by now may be capable of turning one or two pages at a time instead of simply flipping from front to back. If you hand her a crayon, she'll know exactly what to do with it, but will probably scribble on anything that's in front of her — books, furniture, and walls included — so "coloring" is an activity that you'll probably want to monitor closely. She may even be able to insert a round block into the proper hole on a board with various shapes.

This is a great time to introduce finger painting. You can make your own finger paints by mixing 2 tablespoons of white flour with a little water to make a thin paste and then adding a few drops of food coloring. To make painting extra easy for a young child, have her paint on waxed paper taped to a table in the kitchen or outdoors. Put a blob of paint down on the paper and show her how to slide her fingers around. If you want to save her creation, press a piece of regular paper over the waxed paper and peel gently away; hang to dry.

Noah's vocabulary continues to grow.  Some of his new words this month include money, work, basketball, soccer ball, cup, back, Matt, and pretzel.

He has become quite the climber.  He's learning how to push chairs/ tables etc. around the house in order to use them to climb up on a higher piece of furniture (beds, the couch, and counters).  This has resulted in a few injuries, but fortunately nothing major.  Every now and then he tries to climb up the bookshelf or inside of the fridge like they are a ladder... boy do I have my hands full with this one right now!

This month he got his first haircut.  Jeremy's mom was nice enough to do it for us.  He really needed the haircut, when we stretched his curls straight they reached all the way to his chin.  They kept hanging in his face and he was constantly brushing them out of the way.  Knowing that it had to be done didn't make it any easier for me though.  In a matter of minutes he seemed to transform from my little baby, to this big boy, with big boy hair and big boy features.  I'm not sure that I'm ready for all of this yet.

He's also starting to be a bit of a picky eater.  He doesn't eat endless amounts of food like he has, and he's becoming a lot more picky about what he will and won't eat.  I can't get him to eat plain tofu anymore, but he still happily eats it as long as it's cooked in a sauce.  Most cooked veggies are now hit or miss depending on his mood.  Overall he is still a great eater, and eats very healthy stuff.  I'm just a little disappointed that he's not quite as open minded as he originally was.  One night Jeremy and I took him on a family date and he devoured some raw fish, so I guess that sushi is still on the list of acceptable foods... of course, he is our son isn't he.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

I made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies.  They turned out well, especially for a dessert with so little added fat.  I will say that the name is a little misleading though.  The final texture is more like a cake or muffin than a dense brownie, but they are still delicious.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I made this Gingerbread today.  The only change that I made was to substitute 1 cup of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour.  It turned out great, but it could even be a touch more sweet for my taste.  Next time I might top it with a lemon or orange flavored glaze to make it a little more elegant.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

I made this Martha Stewart Pot Roast.  This is comfort food at its best.  The only change that I made was to sprinkle 1 tsp dried rosemary and 1 tsp dried thyme over everything prior to cooking.  Potatoes could also be thrown in with the carrots and onions, but I opted to serve this with mashed potatoes instead.  Some fresh garlic, or a bay leaf would also go well in here, but it's great as is!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rosemary Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Rosemary Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

This is my go to pizza crust that we've been eating at least once a week for more than 5 years. Pictured is BBQ pizza but we also love my thai chicken pizza and turkey pepperoni pizza.

 -1 tsp sugar
-1 Tbsp active dry yeast
-1 tsp salt
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-2 c whole wheat flour
-1 1/2 c all purpose flour
-1 Tbsp dried rosemary or dried italian seasoning

Dissolve sugar in 1 1/2 cups of hot tap water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water/ sugar mixture. Let sit 10 minutes to activate yeast. Place the flours and dried rosemary in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Once the 10 minutes is up stir the salt and olive oil into the water/ yeast mixture. Use the dough hook to knead the wet ingredient into the dry on low speed for 10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a warm towel. Let rise 1 hour. Punch down dough and divide in half then let rise for an additional 45 minutes in 2 balls (for 2 crusts).

After second rise roll dough into 2 round or rectangle shaped crusts. Cover with desired toppings then bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

my birthday party

we had a party at our place for my 31st birthday.  we were planning on walking a few blocks to watch a mardis gras parade after the party, but it was cold and rainy, so only a few people braved the weather for the parade.  my party was perfect though.  I was surrounded by good friends and good food, and felt loved and appreciated.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal

Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal

Here's another twist on my classic baked oatmeal.  This might be my favorite version yet, closely rivaled by the banana bread version.  The peanut butter adds some protein and makes it a little more filling than the other variations.  If you really wanted to indulge, you could add in some chocolate chips.

-3 c oats (whole or quick)
-1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
-1 c non-fat milk
-2 eggs
-1 Tbsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 tsp vanilla
-1/2 c peanut butter
-2 bananas, mashed

Combine all ingredients except 2 Tbsp brown sugar.  Mix until well combined.  Pour mixture into a greased 13x9 dish.  Top with remaining brown sugar.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

loving others

Lately the Lord has been doing a major work in my heart regarding how I see, and how well I love others.

Last week I had been praying for something specific for someone I know.  Something that I had complained about in my heart, and with my lips, about that person many times.  I was praying for this, and the Lord stopped me.  He reminded me of all of the times that I had complained about this, and how this was the first time ever that I had specifically sat down to pray for this person in this area.  He said "how can you criticize someone for something that you have never genuinely prayed for them regarding?".  And then He softened my heart.  Giving me a more full understanding that each and every person is uniquely and creatively made in His image.... every. single. person. 
Then today, He told me that my heart problem towards someone else says more about the state of my heart, than it says about that person.  And again I'm convicted.  I'm convicted that often I am annoyed by things that other people do.  I'm convicted because my love for others is so fickle.  So imperfect.

And I'm so grateful that God's love isn't like that.  That His love is perfect.  patient. kind. trusting. faithful.  And I'm praying that I would continue to grow in His perfect love for others.  Love so perfect that it doesn't find fault in others, but that values each and every person as a beautiful creation.

Monday, February 13, 2012

my new gallery wall

I've been wanting to do a gallery wall for a long time. I finally stopped procrastinating and my wall is starting to take shape. I don't think I'm quite done yet, I want to collect a few older pictures of Jeremy's and my parents and grandparents to add to the mix, but this is a nice start. I'll probably add an M monogram somewhere also before the whole thing is finished.  I really planned on doing a diamond shape, but the pictures inspired thos diagonal line instead.  When Jeremy is at work, Noah will point to the wall and say dada... I think he loves it just as much as I do.  And when I ask him where Noah is, he will point to the wall also... so cute!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake

I have had my eyes on this Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake for almost a year.  I refused to make it myself because it just seemed like WAY too much dessert for our little household.  My birthday seemed like the perfect opportunity to get Jeremy's mom to make it for me.  The cake and frosting were quite possibly my favorite ever, but I wasn't too crazy about the salted caramel layer, it too strongly resembled the flavor and texture of plain butter.  The salt on the top of the cake is what really made this for me also.  I would definitely make this myself, just maybe with a caramel sauce in between the cake layers, instead of the cream used here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

This is my lightened up, and on a budget version of a clam chowder.  I thought it turned out quite well.  But for more intense flavor use 6 cans of clams instead of 3, and substitute the chicken broth with 2 extra cups of clam juice.  These changes will add additional flavor, but will make this soup more pricey.

-2 Tbsp butter
-1 onion, diced
-2 stalks celery, diced
-1/2 tsp thyme
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 cups chicken broth
-2 potatoes, peeled and diced
-1 bay leaf
-2 cups clam juice
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-3 cups fat-free milk
1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-3 (6 oz) cans chopped clams, drained with juice reserved

In a large pot, melt  butter over medium heat. Saute onions, and celery in butter until tender. Add thyme and garlic, saute 1 additional minute.  Add chicken broth, reserved clam liquid, potatoes, bay leaf, and clam juice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Whisk together flour and milk.  Pour milk mixture into pot.  Simmer 12 minutes.  Add salt,  pepper, and clams; cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

personalized plate and mug

I managed to squeeze in some quick crafting during nap time today.

I have been wanting a "you are special plate" for our family to use for birthdays and to celebrate special occasions.  Jeremy's mom did this when her kids were little, and it is a tradition that I'd like to carry on for our family.

I also made this mug for Jeremy from a mug that we already had.  Our nicknames for each other have been Boaz and Ruth going to back when we were dating, so I thought a Boaz mug would be perfect.

For each of these projects I cut out a stencil using my Cricut (although you could just go with your own handwriting, or an actual stencil).  Then I used a porcelain pen to get my words onto the dishes.  Porcelain pens can be found (for cheap!) in a variety of colors, and after 72 hours of drying they are dishwasher safe.  These were inexpensive and easy projects that I hope my family will enjoy for years to come!

another lesson from Noah

today I'm learning from Noah not to compartmentalize my life.  he doesn't have a time to work, a time to play, a time to learn, have fun, etc.  he does all of those things simultaneously.  as I was running errands and trying to get my "work" part of the day over so that we could go home and play, I realized that my errand was play to him.  that he was enjoying being pushed around the grocery store, seeing new things and people.  I realized that I had been too busy "working" to enjoy the playing.  too busy "working" to be present in the moment and really see what was going on around me.  to be present in the Holy Spirit, and sensitive to His promptings.  so once again, God is teaching me through Noah, to slow down, be in the present moment, and enjoy it for all that it's worth.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Taco Meat

Taco Meat

This is my go to recipe for taco meat.  You could use ground turkey or shredded cooked chicken in place of the beef and keep the seasonings as is.  This is great for tacos, taco salads, burritos, nachos etc. 

-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 Tbsp chili powder
-1 tsp cumin
-1/2 tsp oregano
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 pound (90 percent lean) ground beef
-1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
-2 tsp cider vinegar
-1 tsp brown sugar
-taco shells or tortillas and desired toppings; cilantro, avocado, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese, hot sauce, shredded lettuce, diced onion or tomatoes etc.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about five minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about thirty seconds. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about ften minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, vinegar, and sugar and cook until thickened, about ten minutes. Serve the filling with you desired shells or tortillas and toppings.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Best Tomato Sauce Ever?

I've been wanting to try The Best Tomato Sauce Ever for a while now.  It really does go against everything I think I know about making a good tomato sauce... only 3 ingredients?!?  Butter, tomatoes, and onion (that later gets thrown away!)?  No sugar, no pepper, no red pepper flakes, no garlic, no wine, no olive oil, no herbs?  Crazy!  But I was intrigued, and decided that I needed to give it a try.

Well?  It was okay.  When done, I tasted it and found it a little bland, so I ended up adding 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp pepper.  This may have been my fault for reducing the butter to 3 Tbsp, but that was all I was willing to put into our dinner.  I can say that the end result, with the added sugar and pepper was quite good, and I really loved the texture of the squished whole tomatoes for a tomato sauce.  It was more chunky than the way I normally make it, using crushed tomatoes.  So I think I'll stick to the whole tomato method, but maybe make it my own by adding garlic, herbs, pepper, and sugar.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I'm an avid journaler.  It's one of the best ways that I hear God. I love to look back and see how God was at work in and around me in my prior entries.

I journal almost everyday, posting the date at the top of each entry.  Sometimes I doodle in the page headers.  Sometimes I write lyrics to worship songs that I'm singing as I prepare my heart for time with the Lord.  Sometimes I jot down an action item that the Lord impresses on my heart during my time with Him for quick reference to do later (maybe a verse for a friend, a prompting to encourage someone, a prompting to give, fast, etc.). 

Last month I tried a new approach to journaling, and I liked it so much that I thought I'd mention it here in case it may be an encouragement to someone else.  In addition to my daily entries, I made a few lists at the front of the tab for the month (my current journal has a tab for each month of the year).  My lists included prayers (things I was praying over this month), praises (ways that the Lord answered those prayers this months), thanks (things that I was thankful for), words from God (verses He gave me, things He prompted me to do).  It has been so encouraging to look back at my quick reference lists and see all of the answered prayers, and all of the ways that the Lord spoke to me over the course of the month.  I forget those things so quickly.  So quickly I forget to give God the glory and credit for what He has done and said, and shift the credit onto people and circumstances.  I will definitely be journaling like this going forward, continuing to cultivate a heart of praise and gratitude, and an overall sense of awareness of the Lord's work in and through me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Be Still

This week God spoke Psalm 46:10 to me; “Be still, and know that I am God! ".  Being still is not something that I am good at. Waiting is not something that I am good at. I'm a planner. A doer. I like to figure out what needs to be done and start doing. Waiting is hard. Patiently waiting, not knowing when I'll be done is hard. But it is so fruitful. There have been so many times that I have regretted my push to action, and that I wasn't still, waiting for guidance.

And so I am grateful.  For His gentle reminder.  I am praying.  For the faith of Abraham.  To take one step at a time, not knowing what lies ahead...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Spiritual Gifts Legalism

As I mentioned in this post, I spent the last month reading through the book of Acts, and learning about spiritual gifts... specifically the gifts of prophecy, healing, and speaking in tongues (because those are the gifts that are most on my heart at this point).

This has been an interesting journey for me.  I believe that the supernatural gifts are still alive, active, and available today.  I have a lot of head knowledge about these gifts... lots of verses I've read, sermons I've listened to, and people I know who know someone else who experienced these things.  But I don't have much heart knowledge of these gifts.  My experience with experiencing the power of God in supernatural ways is limited.  And although I believe in all of these things in my head, I have a hard time leaving room for the supernatural in my life... leaving room for God to perform miracles... expecting God to perform miracles... asking for God to perform the miraculous... or performing the miraculous myself through the powder of the Holy Spirit.

In some recent conversations with Jeremy, I was quoting verse after verse to explain that these gifts shouldn't be used in certain contexts... I was trying  to put rules and parameters around the gifts... around the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit... as if God could fit nicely in my own little box.  That's when Jeremy told me (in a loving way) that I was acting like a spiritual gifts legalist... Ouch!  The truth hurts, but I believe this truth was from the Lord, and that Jeremy was just a vessel in getting it to me. 

My personality is definitely prone to finding and following rules.  To wanting black and white.  To knowing what is and isn't permissible.  But as I learn time and time again, God isn't about rules.  My walk with Him isn't a check-list.  It's about a relationship.  It's about seeking Him in all that I do and waiting upon His voice, His promptings.  It's not about the law, it's about love.

Romans 13:8-10 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.  For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

And now God is helping me to let go of seeking rules and laws, but instead to seek Him.  His voice.  His Spirit.  His power.

And I'm pondering... pondering that Jesus was not known by what He was against, by His rules and laws, but He was known by what He was for... for loving sinners, for healing and performing miracles, for breaking the rules and healing on the Sabbath.  He was about love.  About loving others and manifesting His power, despite the rules.

I'm still struggling with skepticism and doubt.  I still have questions.  But I know the one who is the Truth, and He is here with me every step of the way.