Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rather Random Ramblings

Here's a hodgepodge post if I've ever seen one.

* Upon leaving the house this morning for school Brennan turned around in the driveway and said "make sure and tell Margo I love her when she wakes up." I died. Right there. In the doorway. In my jammies.

* Recently I've had a horrible time waking up in the mornings. HORRIBLE TIME. Ideally, I like to get up 45 minutes before the kids start moving in the mornings. Let's just say my snooze button has been getting a lot of action lately. This morning my alarm was playing Tender Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant (love this song). I turned the volume down so that Amy wasn't screaming at me and thought surely this will get me out of bed. And then promptly fell back asleep.

* We had a really wonderful Thanksgiving. How was yours? We had a full 4 days of celebrating and eating. We are beyond blessed and are so thankful for the many gifts in our lives.

* On Sunday we decorated our home for Christmas. When I was young decorating our house for Christmas was one of my very favorite days. Oh how I loved the transformation and the anticipation of Christmas. So it is such a joy to watch my kids love this day as well. They can barely contain their excitement. So I let them decorate the tree all by themselves and then once they're in bed, promptly go and rearrange all the ornaments {grin}.

*After we were done decorating Tyler set the timer on the camera and we took a family picture in front of the tree.

Are you kidding me? Every single eye is on the camera, everyone is smiling. It's a Christmas miracle! Too bad we're at the end of a long day, in mis-matched clothes, no makeup and dirty socks. Oh well, to be certain, this is life right now.

*So now it's your turn. Share a random thought from your day in the comment section!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Photos

The other night, after dinner, we let the boys take a few pictures with our camera.
Actually, here's the truth...
We had finished eating dinner. Tyler and I were trying to have a conversation and the kids were being too rowdy. So instead of finding a suitable activity for them, ahem, we said "sure, play with the camera". Does this ever happen in your house?

Here's what came of it.

Nope, I'm not eating Margo, just yawning.
"Hey Dad, do something funny!"
I love this one that Brennan took because these are probably his 3 favorite things in the world; Lego's, Margo and Dad

Friday, November 19, 2010

Raisin Bran Muffins

My Grannie Iyla passed away a few months ago. I wrote about visiting her before she died here. My Grannie was a great cook. Many of my memories with her revolve around food. As she got older she became more and more health conscious. She would take our favorite foods and add extra bran, wheat germ, flax seed, etc. We never could be sure what, exactly, was in our food. We teased her about this, but honestly, it was still good! She was a great cook.

When she died my mom selected a few of her things for all of us kids so that we could have some tangible memories of her. How grateful I was to receive her recipe box! An accordion file full of 3x5 cards in her distinguished script. Many of the recipes are ones I've been making for years, but I love having her originals.

I told you I was going to stop with the recipes, but I'm going to post one more {grin}. This is not a new recipe by any means. It's one that may be in every church recipe book ever printed. But it's a favorite of ours and it was one I got from Grannie Iyla. This is the original, but I'm pretty sure she added flax seed and wheat germ in her later years :)

Raisin Bran Muffins:
4 beaten eggs
1 cup melted butter
1 quart buttermilk
3 cups sugar
5 cups flour
8 cups raisin bran cereal
5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients by hand. Refrigerate for a few hours before baking. Bake in greased muffin tins at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
(I think you can also bake them at 375 for less time)

Here's her original. You can see she put the "half-ed" amounts to the left. The whole recipe makes a ton (at least 4 dozen) but I always make the whole thing. It keeps in the refrigerator for weeks. I just put the batter in a sealed, plastic container and pull it out to make a batch at a time. It's a basic recipe. Feel free to substitute applesauce for some of the butter, use wheat flour, less sugar, I've tried it all and they always taste good. We eat these for breakfast and they also make great snacks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monkey See Monkey Do

Wordless Wednesday

(If you can't see what she's doing click to enlarge.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Righteous, The Wicked, or the Princess

Our family is working on scripture memory together. We are participating, with our church, in learning Fighter Verses. We believe it is important to arm our children (and ourselves!) with God's word.
First let me say my kids are WAY better at memorizing scripture than I am.

Here's one of our recent scriptures:
"The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away." Psalm 1:4
(We were actually memorizing all of Psalm 1, so this was within the context of many verses. Otherwise this would be a strange scripture to memorize by itself :))

So the other day we were driving south of town and I saw a combine in a field chopping down some crop. I know, my knowledge of farming is outstanding. What caught my eye was the debris blowing out of the back of the combine. That debris is also called chaff! My momma radar went wild as I realized I had a teachable moment on my hands.

Tyler was driving so I turned around, at the risk of getting car sick, and talked about it with the kids. We talked about the chaff coming out of the back of the combine, and how the chaff was being blown away by the wind. We talked about how the wicked (those who do not believe in God) are blown away and are not held closely by God. The very Word of God being illustrated out the car window. Brilliance!

Then, a bit tongue in cheek, I asked the kids "Do you want to be like the Righteous Man or the Wicked Man?"
And Charlotte loudly proclaims "I want to be the princess".

Well then, we'll have to keep working on that one.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Go Lindsay, Go Lindsay Go!

I saw this video on the Girl Talk blog the other day. I found it to be hilarious in a "that is so true" kind of way. I love coffee! On my most productive days I drink it upon opening my eyes in the morning, again at 1pm and, on extra special days, again at 7pm. When that sweet nectar from heaven hits my veins I'm off and running!

I love the cheerleader in a cup analogy! Maybe I wouldn't need coffee if I could get my kids to cheer for me when I complete yet another load of laundry....hmmm, nah I'll stick with my coffee.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Life Right Now

I was uploading pictures from our camera the other day. I have lots of pictures of "fall fun" right now. Will I ever blog about them? We'll see. I mean what's a mommy-blog without pictures of the pumpkin patch this time of year? As a side note, I used to totally be that mom that dressed my kids up for an outing to the pumpkin patch, armed with camera, hoping for the perfect picture of my sweet, well behaved, well dressed kids to be used for....{GASP} The Perfect Christmas Card Picture. Yeah, not so much anymore. TOO MUCH EFFORT. And I realized, for my boys, making them dress nicely totally ruined the fun for them.

Anyway, so at first I clicked right past this picture but something made me go back and take a second look. Yes, just Margo, Charlotte and I searching for a pumpkin. But this picture really says a lot about my life right now. Someday, years from now, I imagine that I will look back on this picture and it will bring tears to my eyes.

Here's what I see in this picture:
*To be honest the first thing I noticed was the size of my arm and waistline :) Larger than I would like. If there's one thing I've learned after nursing 4 babies it's that I don't lose my baby weight until I'm done nursing. That whole "breastfeeding makes you lose weight quickly" thing is NOT TRUE for me. Oh well, the sacrifices we make...

*Margo spends a lot of time in her sling. Snuggled in close and perfectly content. I use a sling a lot more than I did with my first child and the stroller a lot less.

*Charlotte holding my hand. These days she asserts her independence constantly at home, but when we're out and about she sticks close to me or Tyler. She was having trouble walking around all those vines and not tripping.

*Life is full right now. I almost always have a baby in my arms, one child at my hip and I'm keeping an eye on 2 others. I'm looking for a pumpkin, keeping Charlotte from tripping, making sure Margo is comfortable and out of the sun, probably wiping spit up, yelling for Brennan to not wander too far off, answering Calvin's many questions, smiling at my husband, thinking about the time and when I need to nurse again, trying to figure out what to fix for dinner and trying hard to stay in the moment. I'm told it will fly by.

* Charlotte is wearing cute pink cowboy boots and a skirt, this is proof that she'll still let me dress her. She's beginning to have opinions about this however, I think it's coming to an end soon.

* You can see part of Calvin at the edge of the picture and Brennan is too far off to be seen. This is so telling of my boys. Brennan is growing up so fast, off doing his own thing. And I can let him do this! Amazing considering for the longest time I couldn't let him out of my sight. Calvin is still within sight. Doing his own thing but still wanting to be fairly near mom. He's a momma's boy and I love it.

* I'm wearing a hat, which normally means I've not had a shower. Before I had children, I showered every. single. day. In fact I showered every day until I had 3 kids. But showering has moved from the "TO DO" list to the "HOPE TO DO" list.

* You can't tell by this picture, but I know it was a Friday. We picked the boys up from school and went to the pumpkin patch. I love Fridays. Because Tyler works in a church, and therefore on Sundays, he takes Friday off. I love having him around on a weekday. The boys love it when he's home after school.

* The other thing I see in this picture is lots of open space. It reminds me that I love where I live. Our town is not too big, not too little. You can be out in the country in just minutes. It's good for my soul to look around and see nothing. Having grown up in Kansas this is comforting to me.

It's hard to describe the feeling I get when I see this picture. Mostly, I feel grateful though. Grateful to a God that delights in giving good things to His children. Grateful for life right now. It's full, and often chaotic, and I'm trying my hardest to enjoy all these little parts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lasagna Soup

Alright peeps, one more recipe and then I'll jump off the recipe train I've been riding. But you'll be glad I didn't jump off before this one, it's incredible!

I made this soup on Halloween and it fed 8 adults and 3 kids. My Otha' Motha' (mother-in-law) brought some fabulous cheese bread and it was a great pairing. Then we topped it off with candy because we're classy like that.

The original recipe is from Paula Deen, but I tweaked it just a bit.
You would want to cut the recipe in half for a more reasonable amount. Although, I'd suggest using the sausage and leaving out the beef if you do that. However, I'd probably make the whole thing for my family and eat leftovers for lunch the next day.

1 pound ground beef
1 pound Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp thyme
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 boxes (32oz each) chicken broth
3 cans petite diced tomatoes (I pureed these quickly in my blender to hide them from my kids)
2 cans (15 oz each) tomato sauce
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 cups broken lasagna noodles
1 can (about 7 oz) shredded parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese for garnish

In large dutch oven brown beef, sausage, onion, green pepper and garlic about 8-10 min., until meat is browned through. Drain well.
Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, italian seasoning, salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 min. Add noodles and simmer until tender, stir in parmesan cheese. Serve with Mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top.

If you cut this in half, you can do so roughly. For instance instead of using 1 1/2 cans of tomatoes, use 2 cans. The measurements do not need to be precise on this one.

It's definitely a hearty soup. Is this something your family would like for dinner?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Punch Your Momma Pumpkin Bars

These Pumpkin Bars are so good they'll make you want to punch your momma. Seriously, you must try them.
First I have to give credit where credit is due. This recipe comes from one of the spunkiest ladies I know. Kim is a great family friend and raised a daughter that is one of my dear friends. When we were on the road with the pool boys we loved stopping in Goodland, KS because Kim would always feed us. And man can this woman cook! Kim made these for us one time when we were there.

Pumpkin Bars
1 c oil
2 c sugar
2 c pumpkin
4 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 c flour (I use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all, put in greased sheet cake pan (or jelly roll pan).
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes

Frosting (this makes more than enough!)
8 oz cream cheese
1 c butter
2 tsp vanilla
3 3/4 c powdered sugar
milk if needed for consistency

Mix all and spread on COOLED bars.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Salad!

Ok, I mentioned weeks ago that one of my favorite summer meals was a big salad and breadsticks. Well, I posted the breadstick recipe, but not the salad. Summer is definitely over, but we still love this!

So here is our favorite salad. I don't really follow a recipe, but here is what it normally has in it.

1 head romaine lettuce
1 can sliced black olives
1 container (about 7 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 pound ditalini pasta, (or any small pasta) cooked
1 packet Zesty Italian dressing, mixed (or your favorite italian dressing)
Shredded chicken, optional

This is a Chop Salad. So it's best when everything is chopped really small. That way you can get a bite with a little bit of everything. Yummy!

(You could add a lot to this salad, but these are the vegetables that my kids like. If I were making this for just me, I'd add a lot more veggies. However, I've got my kids eating salad so I'm not pressing my luck!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

To Do List

Do you ever feel like life is about 2 steps ahead of you?
I've felt this way for the past few weeks.
I'm working on catching up, and it means setting priorities.
This neglected blog, unfortunately, is not at the top of the to-do list.

Here are some of the things topping that list today:
Bible Study catch up
Learning 10 new Jazzercise routines
Cutting 50 fingernails and 50 toenails (I don't do Tyler's)
Sorting through newborn clothes to pass on to my sister-in-law
Searching high and low for Charlotte's favorite hair bow
(thrilling isn't it?)

Later in the week I plan on posting 3 fabulous recipes!
First off the salad that I wrote about weeks ago (thanks to those of you who reminded me I STILL haven't posted the recipe :)
Pumpkin Bars
Lasagna Soup

I'll be back here soon. Now off to clip all those nails.....