Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

I made this Cinnamon Roll Cake that has been on my menu plan for the last few weeks.  It was delicious!  Tastes just like a cinnamon roll with a lot less work, particularly no yeast or rising required.  The only change that I made was to reduce the butter in the brown sugar mix placed over the cake down to 1 stick, and I didn't miss the extra stick at all!  This would be a great, less fussy, substitute for cinnamon rolls at a brunch!

Friday, April 27, 2012

::this week::

praying:  For our friends traveling back from Mumbai.  For Mumbai.  For New Orleans.  For our family and friends.  For my heart to honor the Lord in all of my relationships.

praising:  For a vision that God gave a friend that confirms something that Jeremy and I have been praying about for a week or two.  For a vision that God gave Jeremy a few weeks ago that came true this week.  For the amazing things that God did through our friends during their time in Mumbai.  For some sweet fellowship with my Lord this week.

cooking:  tuna casserole, pizza, some type of waffle or baked oatmeal, and more...

meditating on:  God our creator.  How creative He is.  How wonderful, unique, and beautiful His creations of nature and people are.  That we were made in His image.  To have fellowship with Him and exercise dominion over the earth.

creating:  some mending for Jeremy and a friend.  applying new velcro to all of Noah's diapers... not exactly a creative task, but how I can best use my creative/ sewing time to provide for my family and bless a friend.

feeling:  better. still snotty and coughy, but fully functional as long as we bring tissues with us.

enjoying: I've had less kiddos around this week (only had Hayden 3 days, and didn't have Luke).  I've been enjoying the extra one on one time with Noah, and some extra outings with friends including Audubon Park and the zoo.  It has been a relaxed week with a slower pace and we don't have any plans for the weekend yet, so I'm excited to enjoy some time just relaxing as a family.


Jesus Culture, How He Loves

Jesus Culture, I Need You More

18 months

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

Many experts say that 18 months is too young to start toilet training; many grandparents say, "We potty trained you at 1!" Who's right? Of course it depends on the child, and some are in fact ready to begin the process now. But before you start trying to make this enormous transition, look for some signs of readiness. The sensory awareness that allows a toddler to recognize the need to empty his bladder and bowels and then "hold it" until he gets to the bathroom is sophisticated. And the concept that everything has its place — including pee and poop — and the desire for orderliness usually begins around age 2 (though some children don't potty train until much later).  At this age, a low-key approach is best. Toddlers learn by imitation, so start by letting your child copy what you do in the bathroom. Let him sit fully clothed on an adult or toddler toilet seat so he can get used to the idea of sitting on the potty. If your toddler has a favorite doll or stuffed animal, you can pretend that it's going the bathroom, too, a tactic that may entice your child to try it out for himself. Keep your expectations in check, however. It may be another year before he's ready to get down to business.

Your toddler wants to know what is behind, under, and inside of everything. But unlike a few months ago, he doesn't want to just empty closets and cupboards of their contents. Now after he clears out your kitchen cabinets, your toddler will probably try to put everything back to see how it fits (though it won't look like it did before).

For now, gross motor development outpaces fine-motor development, but that's only because a typical 18-month-old doesn't want to sit still long enough to do many activities that require significant dexterity. There are, however, a few that will hold his interest: scribbling with crayons or finger painting, stacking blocks, turning knobs on doors and cupboards, and pushing buttons on telephones, televisions, and stereo equipment.  A toy telephone, or a real one with cords removed, will keep his fingers engaged (but you'll probably want to keep him away from your pricey audio-video gear!). He may also enjoy trying to slide large wooden beads onto a length of string. An 18-month-old is very interested in fitting things inside of other things. Shape sorters, nesting boxes, and even some simple wooden puzzles (puzzles where a whole object fits inside a matching slot, not jigsaw puzzles) will absorb him. One sign of his increasing dexterity is the ability to hold a cup and drink from it without spilling.

Keep a few toys handy in the back of your car to make trips to the park even more fun. An extra-large beach ball (or an ever bigger ball, like those used in exercise classes) is fun to roll across grass, and roll on. (At this stage, toddlers can't quite kick balls. They attempt to, but they don't have the coordination to do it and end up sort of walking into the ball.) He may also have the skills to push or pull a small wagon or similar toy, and to pedal a tricycle or "big wheel." If it's winter, channel some energy by stomping in puddles, or have a snowball fight, throwing the snowballs at trees or telephones poles instead of each other.

Now that your child is walking and talking, you can also expect him to be more interested in establishing relationships with other people, especially children his age. But though he wants to interact with peers, he still regards them more as curiosities than as playmates. If your child pushes, pokes, or hits his playmates, don't worry that he's anti-social, just be patient and willing to expose him to a variety of situations — the more chances your toddler has to interact in group settings, the sooner he'll develop social skills.

Try to connect with parents of two or three other children who are about the same age as yours and make plans to meet on a regular basis. Fun outings at this age include trips to "hands-on" children's museums, playgrounds, petting zoos, or anywhere your toddlers can run around freely. Just remember that for at least the next few months, even when your 18-month-old does have playdates, he's more likely to engage in "parallel" play than to play cooperatively with his friends.

An 18-month-old's top priority is to succeed at various tasks. So he constantly tests himself — and you. His failure to succeed, either because he's incapable of, say, putting on his own shoes, or because you stop him — as when you forbid him from climbing onto a chair near the stove so he can help you — is frustrating for him. This is a phase when "no" seems to be the word that you both use more than any other.

As his confidence in his own abilities increases, so does his willfulness. Your job is to gauge when you must prevent him from trying to reach a goal — for instance, because it's not safe for him to be near a hot stove — and when you should let him go ahead and try. So what if it takes you a few extra minutes in the morning while he tries to put on his sneakers? Discouraging him from trying many of the things he attempts will only make him unwilling to try new things in the future.

New words this month are pickle, pasta, pizza, dinner, muffin, squash, tractor, elephant, globe, camel, bayou and more.  He has said a few full sentences this month, including "I dropped the knife".

We keep going back and forth between taking 1 and 2 naps a day.  It doesn't seem that he has quite made up his mind which is best yet, but he's very flexible and adaptable and will go with whatever we schedule for him as long as we do fun things around his naps.

He loves to give hugs, kisses, and high fives, and often upon giving one person in a room one he'll want to go around and give the same to everyone.

He loves walking 2 blocks to the bayou and tossing rocks in it and asks to do so several times a day.

He's still being a fairly picky eater but will eat most carbs, fruits, and  cheese, and some meat and veggies.  He won't let me feed him with a spoon anymore, but when he uses a spoon to eat yogurt (or something like that) it makes a huge mess.  So for the most part I give him finger foods and let him practice with a spoon when we are going to be taking a bath after dinner.

Noah has been testing his boundaries a lot this month by biting and hitting me.  He never bites me in anger, but in so much excitement that he doesn't seem to know what to do with it all.  We are in behavioral boot camp right now trying to discipline these behaviors out of him. 

It blows me away how smart this little boy is, and how much he can understand.  We can ask him sentences about his day and what he would like to do and he will tell us appropriately "no" or "yes" or give simple answers, like the names of who came over that day, or what animals we saw at the zoo.

He is such a fun, sweet boy.  He is sensitive to when other people are sad, hurt, or upset.  He is goofy and silly.  He loves people and animals and loves (ok, demands) to be the center of attention.  He is very easy going and quick to share with others.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


For years I have been on the quest for a good from scratch brownie recipe.  And for years I have been disappointed.  Well I can die a happy woman now, my search is complete with these cocoa brownies from Alton Brown.  I was super shocked that they are cocoa powder brownies, and don't contain any form of bar or melted chocolate.  They are more simple than most recipes, and made with ingredients that I always have on hand.  Which is probably dangerous, because now at any given moment I am only 50 minutes (5 minute prep, and 45 minutes of baking) away from delicious, moist, homemade brownies.  I didn't even use good cocoa powder, just the basic Nestle variety. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

::this week::

cooking:  pumpkin bread, blueberry breakfast cake, chicken parmesan casserole, huevos rancheros, grilled cheese with pesto tomato soup, spinach mozzarella breakfast casserole, sausage cheddar breakfast casserole, cinnabon roll cake, pizza, some sort of baked oatmeal or waffle

praying:  for friends in Mumbai.  for all of the marriages in our church and community group during our "Real Marriage" series.  for the Lord to give Jeremy and I the desires of our heart... a certain dream we have been discussing lately.

praising:  Jesus that the victory is already won, through His blood.  that we have been given all authority through Him.  that He dwells in us.  that by the power of Jesus, walls have been torn down that existed in one of my friendships. 

enjoying: how much fun it is to watch Noah and Luke play together.  they are such cute best friends.  feeling a little sad that Luke will be moving out of the state in a few months.  praying for a new buddy for Noah.

doing: going to the zoo with a friend on Friday.  attending the yearly Mangerchine family reunion and crawfish boil on Saturday.  taking many walks.  seeing friends.  having a family frozen yogurt trip at our favorite spot, Yogurtland.

thankful for: meeting a lady at a yard sale who later sold me 8 cloth diapers (the same as what I'm already using) for almost nothing.

reading: The Discipline Book, Revelation

creating: baby gifts for a friend

feeling:  better... sort of (from a cold from last week).  recovering slowly, but through the worst of it.


Hillsong, from the Inside Out

Hillsong, Hosanna

Sunday, April 15, 2012

{this moment}

so grateful for 3 hours of alone time today... a rare treat for this mama/ watcher of others kids.  1 hour of gym time, plus 2 hours of sun/ having a Bayou-side picnic with Jesus = a perfect start to a new week!  what a refreshing way to pack up a week in which I was feeling sick, tired, and "off" and a way to start this next week out filled with the Holy Spirit and fully refreshed!

my heart is overflowing with gratitude for;
  • sunshine
  • nice weather
  • a wonderful breeze
  • a beautiful view so close to my home
  • this beautiful, yet quirky city
  • my husband hanging with the kiddo so I could enjoy some alone time
  • family
  • a great dinner with friends last night
  • downtime
  • fresh, delicious food
  • provision far beyond my needs and exceeding most of my desires
  • recent conversation with friends about their dreams, the dreams and desires that the Lord has given them, the unique giftings and passions of those who are close to us
  • an new or re-awakening of the Holy Spirit going on in so many people that we know.  God is so good, and is stirring so many people that we know up in such cool ways.  I'm just excited to be along for the ride and see where He takes us all!
  • the continued unmerited grace that Jeremy gives me even when I act like a jerk
  • the unmerited grace the Lord gives me when I act like a jerk
  • prayer... it is so powerful, so uniting, so effective!!!!
  • technology... although we do tend to have a love/ hate relationship
  • yard sales, and getting to find some fun new to me treasures this weekend for next to nothing
  • my God... who lives in me... died for me... redeemed me... forgave me... healed me... freed me... loves me... pursues me... guides me... comforts me... who is always faithful, always present, always and completely perfect love.  and who is all of this for anyone and everyone who trusts in Him. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

I made this whole wheat pita bread to eat with hummus.  This pita was a lot more puffy and fluffy than the pita bread that we get at the local Middle Eastern restaurants.  I'm not sure which is more authentic, but I really liked the texture of this.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

::this week::


God of this City by Chris Tomlin

I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin

feeling:  ill.  tired.  foggy headed.

wanting:  to go see Blue Like Jazz, the movie

praying:  Healing for me & Noah.  Freedom from insecurities.  For wisdom and guidance for our family on the future, and that same prayer for several friends currently in need of it.  For a certain desire of mine to be granted.  For friends heading to Mumbai.  our church.  our pastors.
praising:  God for answering a prayer that I have been praying for 2-3 months!  And for answering & healing another person I prayed for.

enjoying:  a relaxed social evening out with our c group. lots of walks around the neighborhood with Noah.  this beautiful weather!

reading: Jude, Revelation

creating: some baby gifts for a friend

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Corn Dog Mini Muffins

(the hand in this picture is Noah stealing one of the muffins as I was trying to photograph them)

I made these Corn Dog Mini Muffins and thought they were great!!!!!  Such a cute little popable snack that satisfies junk food cravings with a healthier twist.  The cornbread batter was moist and sweet, the way I like it, I'd use this same recipe for corn muffins or corn bread.  The two changes that I made were to substitute 1/4 c of the butter with applesauce, and to use turkey dogs instead of beef. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crustless Spinach and Feta Pie

I made this "skinny" Crustless Spinach and Feta Pie.  Jeremy and I both thought it was good, and Noah loved it.  He kept asking for more until it was all gone.  Given the fact that he hardly eats any vegetables right now I think this is a winner for sure.  The only changes that I made were to use dried dill and parsley and omit the asiago.  This would be great for brunch or a light dinner.

Chai Muffins

I made these Chai Muffins.  The couple of changes I made were to omit the pistachios (although I'm sure they'd be delicious), and to substitute the 3/4 c of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour.  These were good and light, but not amazing.  They taste a little on the healthy side, but a little more sugar in the batter would help fix that.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I made this Blueberry Breakfast Cake.  It's texture is more like a giant blueberry muffin than a traditional cake, but I really liked it, and the buttermilk made it SUPER moist.  I used low-fat buttermilk, and other than that followed the recipe as is.  This would be great for a brunch or a lighter dessert.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

I made these Strawberry Lemonade Bars.  I thought they were good, I'm not normally a lemon dessert person, but lately I've been finding this flavor very refreshing.  I was a little disappointed that the filling layer was SO thin.  Next time I think I'd double it (or at least 1.5 times it) to have a better filling to crust ratio.  Other than that, they are a great summertime treat, or would be pretty for a girl's baby shower.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

guarding my heart

yesterday I was looking back through my journal and reflecting on my spiritual journey so far this year.  I was so encouraged to read different words that the Lord has spoken to me this year, and to read verses that spoke to and guarded my heart with truth.  since I tend to struggle with a lot of the same lies over time I figured it would be encouraging to have some of these verses collected in one place, so that when I need encouragement in the future I can quickly look at them and let the truth guard my heart and speak against the lies.  so here they are, in no particular order.  it's funny that I listed these verses in a combination of translations, I think I get stuck on whatever translation I'm reading at the time that the verse first speaks to me.  this list is by no means exhaustive, there are so many verses that the Lord has used to encourage and challenge me in different seasons, but these are the ones that are the most meaningful to me right now.  hoping that some of them may be an encouragement to others who read this as well...

  • Matthew 22:37-40 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.   On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  -If we had a family verse or mission statement I'm sure it would be this.  It has great meaning to us, and it's the inspiration for part of one of Jeremy's tattoos.
  • Philippans 4:4-8   Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. -this verse has been my rock throughout so many seasons of life.
  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. -my mission for community
  • Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth!”-the Lord has continued to bring me back to this verse this year as He focuses me on resting, being present, and being still.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,   give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. -always, but especially in this season of life, I feel a heavy burden to rejoice, and pray without ceasing
  • Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. -I tend to be particularly hard on myself.  This verse is my constant reminder that guilt and condemnation are not of Christ, but of the enemy, and my constant challenge to walk in grace and freedom
  • Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. -such a good reminder in tough times, that even the things the enemy intends to harm us that God will use for our good
  • Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. -such a rock when I don't know or have the words to pray
  • Matthew 6:7-13 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. -when I don't know what or how to pray I turn to the Lord's prayer
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

    Do you have a life verse?  If so, what is it?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spinach and Mozzarella Breakfast Casserole

Spinach and Mozzarella Breakfast Casserole

I started out with the intention of making this Spinach and Mozzarella Egg Bake, but ended up changing the recipe so much that I don't think  it hardly resembles the initial recipe... except for the spinach, mozzarella, and eggs.  You really could use any combination of vegetables, meats, and/ or cheeses in this recipe, this is just what I had on hand.  Dishes like this I always prepare in the morning, while Noah is napping, and then stick in the fridge until an hour before I plan to bake it.  Once it comes to room temperature I bake it as directed below.

-8 eggs
-2 c skim milk
-1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
-1/2 tsp dried rosemary
-pinch of ground nutmeg
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 1/2 c part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-5 green onions, sliced
-1 (16 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
-1 (8 oz) package of mushrooms, sliced, and sauteed
-6 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, cubed

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and thyme through pepper.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into a greased 13x9 baking dish.  Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

Pina Colada Popsicles

I made these Pina Colada popsicles (you have to scroll halfway down the page to find the recipe... which is just a can of pineapple, a can of coconut milk, a banana, and 1/2 tsp vanilla blended together).  They are good, healthy, and refreshing, but I found them sort of bland.  If you are expecting a dessert/ sweet popsicle I recommend adding some honey or sugar into the mix.

::this week::

cooking: strawberry lemonade bars, pizza, spinach and mozzarella egg bake, mini corn dog muffins, blueberry breakfast cake, chai muffins, spinach and feta pie, garlic noodles

reading: 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Streams in the Desert, Margin, The Discipline Book


Nothing Holding Me Back by Bryan and Katie Torwalt... I find it especially meaningfull approaching Good Friday and Easter... I'm loving the lyrics "Thank you for the cross that you have carried, thank you for your blood that was shed, took the weight of sin upon your shoulders, sacrificed your life so I could live"

I See Heaven by Bryan and Katie Torwalt

Really I'm just constantly repeating the entire album by Bryan and Katie Torwalt constantly right now.  Their sound and lyrics speak to my soul in ways unlike anything music that I've ever heard!

praying: to see a revival in our city.  for a revival in our nation.  for the world to know the love of God.

praising: Jesus for some sweet time with Him this weekend.  for His gentle voice and promptings.  for His Holy Spirit.  for His faithfulness.  for His life, death, and resurrection.  for beautiful weather.  time to enjoy the outdoors and marvel at His creation.

contemplating: being still. resting. being present.  my missionProverbs 31:10-12 and what it means to be a wife who brings her husband good and not harm all of her days.  are to do lists, accomplishments, and people pleasing still an idol and motivator in my life?  doing one thing at a time (when possible).

doing:  rebuking the several week lie that I've been believing that sleeping in is more nourishing for me than getting up early and spending time with Jesus.  enjoying seeking Him first in my day, and that He has filled my cup so that it may overflow to others throughout the day.  it makes all the difference in my patience, joy, peace, and overall attitude when I start my day with Him!  and then I'm not aggravated later in the day when nap times don't work out; and my time with the Lord is no longer getting pushed out due to the needs of kids.

meditating: on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ

Monday, April 2, 2012

mission statement

I've never been one of those people who has a mission statement.  I've read lots of blogs about having family and/ or personal mission statements, but it just hasn't ever resonated with me... until today.  Today the Lord told me that my priorities have gotten off track and that I've lost sight of my mission.  Which led me to ask Him what my mission statement is, because I've never intentionally sat down and defined my mission.  And just like that, He gave it to me.  It just sort of came to me in an instant.  No need to brainstorm, write, and edit.  I just had it.  This mission statement may only be for a season, ten years from now the Lord may change it, add to it, or clarify it.  But this is what I know that He has for me right now, and so I'm going to use this as a bar by which to allocate my time, energy, and resources.  I want to read it daily, to ensure that how I am investing myself is in line with my calling.

My ultimate mission is to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-40.  To nurture my family spiritually and physically.  To make our home a place that is full of the Holy Spirit; a place that is a peaceful and powerful environment that welcomes all who enter. To shepherd the next generation.  And to encourage and equip others to do all of these same things.

Do you have a personal or family missin statement?  If so, what is it?