Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Christmas Meme!

I was tagged by my sis, so here's my answers! :)

1. When do you put up your tree? Usually around December 1st. I like to have it up as long as possible, yet still keep Thanksgiving and Christmas separate. The first weekend in December is usually when it happens.

2. Favorite Christmas Goodie? Russian teacakes. Hot Chocolate. Spiced Apple Cider.

3. Favorite Christmas Carol/Song?
Are you kidding me? There is noooo way I could limit it to just one...so here's some of the ones that come immediately to mind...
1. The Reason Why - off the Christmas Worship Down Under album from Hillsong.
2. Emmanuel, God with Us - off A Christmas Story by Point of Grace
3. Rose of Bethlehem - off the Selah album by the same title
4. Once Upon a Christmas - by Dolly Parton
5. Deck the Halls in 7/8 time
6. Oh Come Little Children
7. Hallelujah Chorus by Messiah (yes, I know it's not technically a Christmas song...)

4. Least favorite Christmas Carol/Song? anything way too fast and "commerically." A few weeks ago Kevin and I were in a restaurant and Jingle Bells came on - but it was super fast, and the singer was messing around with the meter - literally made me want to pull my ears off my head!

5. Do you like eggnog? YES! (the lowfat version is best - especially in a "Chog" - half Chai tea, half eggnog)

6. Oddest Christmas present you've ever received? ??

7. Best Christmas present you've ever received? My Willow Tree Nativity and angels. Kevin and my mom started the set several years ago at my birthday (Dec.4) and then I got the rest of it for Christmas. Now, Kevin has a tradition of getting me a new angel every Christmas. This year, I know that Shira had a hand in picking out one for me. She is SO excited for me to open it!

8. Most memorable childhood Christmas present? I can remember being super excited about getting my first "gold" watch in grade school. But, just like my sister, I can really remember being thankful for my purple boom box that I got around 4th grade. That thing sure did play a TON of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith tapes!

9. Favorite color of Christmas lights? BLUE BLUE BLUE on the house! But Christmas is for kids - and so our tree really reflects that. There is nothing polished or perfect about our tree with it's eclectic ornament collection - and lots of multi-colored lights!

10. Tree - Real or Artificial? Always always always REAL. The pine tree scent has to be there - I'm an Oregon girl at heart and it just would not be Christmas without the real pine around.

11. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? On Christmas Eve, we open our gifts to each other that are, strategically, Christmas jammies and/or slippers. Then, we wear them to bed and our Christmas pics in the morning look great while we open everything else!

12. One of your family's Christmas traditions - past or present? I always loved the Christmas caroling...our kids haven't been big enough to do that yet, but really, the best tradition is just the chance to be together as a family.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sweet baby boy

My sweet Micah,
Today you are 6 months old. I cannot even believe how quickly time has flown by. You are a precious little guy. From the day you arrived, you've done nothing but bring our family joy. I guess part of that comes from your birth order - being the 3rd kid, you've learned to adapt. No, we don't have you on a perfect schedule. No, you're not sleeping through the night. But yes, you are more than willing to flash your big ol' grin at anyone who simply looks at you. Everyone always comments about what a happy baby you are. This past week or two has brought some pretty big milestones for you, as well. You got dropped (bad momma) but you are OK! You cut your first tooth - starting rolling around like a pro - and lately, the "words" you say are becoming more prolific. I think for sure I heard a "mama" this morning - but we'll just wait and see on that one. You love all things corded - especially the phone cords at Gramma and Papa's offices. Momma's headset cord is a favorite for you, too. And as I type this - you're playing with daddy's network cable on the floor! Your big brother and sister adore you. They are so excited to peek into your crib each morning and talk to you. Tobin asks all the time when you get to sleep together in the bunk beds that you'll have in a year or so. And Shira - well, she's just a perfect little momma. She loves to hold you - and we've even let her carry you a time or two. You're just so easy going...and we are so thankful to have you as a part of our family. I love you, my sweet Micah boy. Grow strong!!! Love, Momma

just a few hours old

One Month old


about 6 or 7 weeks old - first smiles


3 months old


falling in love with his activity center and
falling asleep holding the toys hanging above him


5 months old - cracking up with daddy


6 months old - TODAY!!!

Painting wavy lines is harder than you might think

It's been a whirlwind summer! For Shira's 6th birthday (back in June!) we told her that she could redo her room - so she chose the bedspread, and momma painted the room. The rest of the summer has been spent looking for co-ordinating accessories - so here's what it looks like so far:
That lamp you see sitting there all by it's lonesome will eventually go on the nightstand that Papa is making for her. She is totally excited about that lamp - because it's almost identical to the one that was in the picture that came on the comforter.
This is where she stores all her toys, books and just recently, my stereo that she bootlegged from our master bathroom. Seems like the girl's gotta have her tunes, no matter what!
When Shira was first born, we began collecting teddy bears, thinking that she'd be a sweet girl always carrying around a teddy bear. Not so much. But, they're too cute to waste, so Papa made these great shelves, and I think it looks great on top of her window!
We found the S-H-I-R-A letters at Hobby Lobby - and Shira loves them! I think they're really cute with the wavy rick-rack paint border that we did, too. All in all - a really fun project!

He said he wasn't tired...

But the hard days of going to school all morning long are really tough on a little big guy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

K's birthday

What should I do for my husband's 41st birthday this coming Friday? I'd love to do something special - but my brain is fresh out of ideas. Suggestions???

Monday, August 20, 2007

Micah's new chew toy

Hi Momma! Boy, those toes sure do look pretty!
What do you mean, I'm not supposed to chew on other peoples' toes? Why not?

Forget it! With toes that pretty, I'm just gonna have to have me a sample - just a little lick!
Oh, yummy! Just like I thought - a little sweet, a little salty! Just the way I like my toes!!!

Ha, Ha, Momma! I made you laugh! It tickles when I suck on your toes, huh? Well, cool! What a neat trick I now have! I can make my momma laugh all the time, now!

Monday, August 13, 2007

First Day in the First Grade (and the 4 year old, half day program)
















Meal Plan Monday


Here's my lineup for the next two weeks...

Saturday - Fruited Chicken Salad with Couscous / Breadsticks
Sunday - Garlic Herb Oven Fried Halibut, Charred Summer Vegetables
Monday - Parmesan Chicken Paillards with Cherry Tomato Sauce, Lemon Linguine, Green Beans
Tuesday - Anniversary dinner at Carraba's! (lunch will be Sesame Brown Rice Salad with Shredded Chicken and Peanuts)
Wednesday - Beef Stroganoff, Salad
Thursday - Cheese Blintzes, Sausage, eggs
Friday - Green Chile Chicken Casserole, Fiesta Rice
Saturday - BBQ Flank Steak Sandwiches, Coleslaw
Sunday - Moravian Chicken Pie
Monday - Don Pablos Chicken Tortilla Soup, Green Chile Cheese Cornbread
Tuesday - Japaneses Style Pork Cutlets, Iceberg Salad with Ginger Dressing
Wednesday - Fish Tacos with Big Mama's Green Sauce
Thursday - Corn Chowder, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches
Friday - Feta Herb SunDried Tomato stuffed Chicken, Orzo, Salad
Saturday - Mexican Soup
Sunday - Pork Loin Chops with Cinnamon Apples, Buttered Noodles
and at some point I'll be doing THIS dessert: Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

I'm thrilled that as I was putting the hyperlinks on each of these for the recipes to find that most recipes were recieving 4 or 5 stars - the highest reader ratings possible at www.cookinglight.com! I must have found some real winners! Most of these I've done before, but some are new...hope they're good!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fave Food

I've seen this meme going around for awhile now - and I've been contemplating what restaurants I would choose. And it's been HARD. There are several reasons for this...

1. We're on a tight budget. We don't eat out very often - but when we do, we tend to eat a lot of the fast food variety - like Schlotzsky's, Sonic, Subway, etc...(see a pattern with the Ss???)

2. I'm allergic to MSG. And for anyone who knows anything about MSG, you'll quickly realize that it is in most foods that are created in restaurants. So while I love food, I don't love feeling like my heart is going to jump outside of my body for all the jitters I experience after ingesting it - so it has made eating out somewhat of a challenge. And food simply isn't as much fun when you have to drill the waiter and chef about every single ingredient.

However, because I love Kelly at Love Well, and I'm just so proud of her for blogging about food, even in the midst of feeling a bit green with being pregnant - I am going to persevere and DO THIS! Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite restaurants. (Oh, and by the way, the rule about LOCAL restaurants? Not gonna happen. I've moved and traveled WAY TOO MUCH to just stick to one locale.)

The rules, as such, are as follows:
1. Link to the name of the person that tagged you. Kelly at Love Well
2. Include state and country you live in. Oklahoma, USA
3. List top 5 favorite local restaurants. see below
4. Tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged. Andrea, Alana, Katherine, Erin, and just for kicks - and to see if she does it - Ree

#1 - The Rheinlander, Portland, OR - I grew up knowing that my parents LOVED this restaurant. Any time they had a chance to get away from the three of us, they'd head to Portland, and a stop at this place was always in order. It's a fancy, celebratory - go here for birthdays and anniversaries kind of place. The German food is to DIE for! Their chicken schnitzel is perfect, I love the sweet and sour cabbage, their salad is heavenly, but the real star of the show is their Swiss Cheese Fondue. Oh yeah. And for Christmas two years ago, my mom got me their recipe book. So if any of y'all want the recipes to the aforementioned - I've got 'em!

#2 - Tin Star, Tulsa OK - This is a brand new love for me. It's actually on the opposite end of town from us, but a few weeks ago, we had to track down a pillow for Shira's new bedspread, and ended up at an unfamiliar Kohl's after church one Sunday. And of course, since it was Sunday, the pull to eat lunch out was strong - so we decided to try something new. AND OH MY WORD I AM SO GLAD WE DID! Tin Star is remarkably similar to Moe's Southwest Grill - but with an amazing difference. I like all their salsas featured at their salsa bar. Normally, I don't like any of them, because they are always too spicy for my delicate palate. But these are phenomenal! They have a Fire-Roasted Tomato one, a green one that I can only assume is Tomatillo and a Sweet Corn Salsa. Literally - I could make a meal just of these salsas! YUM! Needless to say, we're spending more on gas to make a trek back there SOON. Our family will have some celebrating to do in the next week or so - and my plan is to celebrate THERE!

#3 - Old Spaghetti Factory, Portland, OR - I'm sure that many of you have heard of this one. However, this ONE is the ORIGINAL. And beautiful. And overlooking the river. And did I mention beautiful??? Their food is just comfort - we went there a lot with good friends during the time that Kevin was a music minister in the Portland area. Sweet sweet memories of babies in bibs, lots of food, lots of conversation. I love their mushroom sauce, their blackberry cream soda's (you get to keep the glass!) and their pesto ranch dressing on the salad is absolutely heaven!

#4 - Cracker Barrel, anywhere, USA - I know, it's not original. But I love it! And the great news is that most of their menu items are MSG free - including their ranch dressing - which is hard to find! My favorite lunch/dinner meal is always the veggie plate - with a combination of turnip greens, mac n cheese, green beans, hashbrown casserole, fried apples and sweet carrots. Breakfast of course, is simple - eggs, hashbrown casserole, apples, grits and their biscuits just can't be beat. We've also enjoyed taking the kids there, because it's fun to get to shop with them while we wait for a table, or rock in the rocking chairs on the porch. It's really become a sweet family tradition to spend a lazy Saturday morning there occasionally. Both big kids love it. (Micah has yet to express an opinion...)

#5 - Makatos Japanese Steakhouse, Johnson City, TN - I looked really hard to find a website, but was unsuccessful. This restaurant is also great for the many memories it holds...I went there many times during college - with many the friend and many the fiance! (another story...) It is your typical grill in front of you Japanese steakhouse, but they do have the best shrimp sauce in the world, and their sweet carrots are pretty rockin', too! I love it so much, that I've done my best to recreate the recipes to make here at home - and I've come mighty close! Kevin declares it's his favorite meal that I make - but I use every skillet in the house to do so, so it's not often that we splurge on this meal! But when we do, it's always a lot of fun!

How about you? What are your favorite restaurants? I'd love to hear about them, so that one day, when Kevin and I retire and travel the US in our motor home, we'll stop by and try them out! Let me know if you decide to do this meme!

Friday, June 22, 2007

prayer time and burps

So here's the background...

We have a continual struggle with our kids when it comes to prayer time. They both love to pray for our meals, but they DON'T want to do it at the same time. We'll often sing "Thank you God..." (to the tune Frere Jacques) but Tobin will get mad if Shira sings with him and vice versa. So last night, when we sat down to eat, my heart was swelling because Tobin was genuinely being great about singing like he meant it (instead of the usual TOP OF HIS LUNGS yelling) and I was afraid my heart would burst with the sweetness of it all.

And then...

(Tobin singing very softly)
"Thank you God...Thank you God.
For our food...for our food.
We have many blessings,
We have many blessings.
Amen, Amen."


(and Momma sighs, thankful for the moment of peace in a crazy day...)

(Momma says) "Good job Tobin , we’re proud of you."

(Tobin says) "Mommy, I burped when I said 'Amen.'"

(family laughter)

(Momma says) "You did…oh... OK."

And just for an equal measure of all things gastrointestinal related, Shira feels the need to chime in...

(Shira says) "Mommy – Zach can burp his A-B-Cs…"

And the moments of thankfulness for the sweet peace of knowing that my children were connected to God vanished - a whole 30 seconds after it happened.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Meal Plan Mondays

It's been awhile since I've planned any meals for our family. I've been using up some old stuff in the pantry - and it's time to get back in the groove of cookin' again! Here's what's on our plates for the coming week:

Saturday - Barbecued Hamburgers, baked beans, chips, watermelon
Sunday - Japanese! (Kevin's favorite - Happy Father's Day!) and Blueberry Cheesecake
Monday - Mexican Casserole, chips, guacamole
Tuesday - Baked Herb Chicken, sauteed zucchini, rice pilaf
Wednesday - Chicken Creole Cakes, pea salad
Thursday - Grilled Pork Chops, BBQ beans, coleslaw
Friday - Biscuits and sausage gravy, fruit
Saturday - ?
Sunday - BBQ Pork and Loaded Baked Potato Casserole, sauteed spinach
Monday - Beef Stroganoff, Caesar salad

Friday, June 8, 2007

Shira's Tea Party

Shira turned six years old this past Sunday. To celebrate, we hosted her very first "official" party - in the form of a fancy tea party! She invited 6 little girls over, and we have a very fun tea party. These are the girls, where we started out on our back porch - the plan was to have a "garden tea party," but although the weather was gorgeous - it was incredibly hot and muggy.

We made pink and purple bead bracelets and blew bubbles, and the girls played on the swingset. All that activity made them hot - so we moved the party inside!

This is our living room - where the tea party was relocated to. MUCH cooler - thank you, Lord!

The menu was chicken salad sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches, PB&J on Cinnamon bread, deviled eggs, olives, mini fruit kabobs, petit fours, chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, lime-raspberry bites and mints. Rather than hot tea, which I was afraid the girls wouldn't like, I made a great recipe from a friend of mine called Tea Punch - basically brewed decaf iced tea with pineapple juice, lemon juice, orange juice and gingerale. It was a hit! And my mom was sooo great to help with Micah while I was busy with the girls!

Hannah Hayley Milena
These are some of Shira's best buds...they all had a fun time. So sweet!

My mom ordered these amazingly cute teacups online for the party. They are tiny - they hold probably about 1/3 cup of liquid. The girls had a blast drinking out of the fancy cups - we sure went through the tea!

These are the favor bags. I wanted to fold the corners down and staple them to look like actual tea bags - but the bags were too full to do that, oh well. The gifts inside included a mini china tea set, a book called Ella's Tea Party, wildflower seed packets and a toy tea cup with mints it it and a bag of Stash Blackberry Herbal Tea wrapped up in tulle and tied with a sheer ribbon and artificial rose.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

God did.

The sunset tonight was just gorgeous! All pink, purple and orange. Tobin's room has a huge picture window looking toward the west, and I went in to tuck him in bed for the night.

I said "Look at the pretty sky!"

He said "Yeah, it's pretty mommy. You know who did that?"

"Who, honey?"

"God did."

"That's right, Tobin. God did. He's pretty cool, huh? He's a great big God."

"Yes, mommy - and I want the angels to come down."

"Why, honey?"

"Because it's dark in here."

Anything to get me to leave the light on, huh? That boy is smart!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Me.

Summer Fun

It's summer time! And we here at Miller Moments are busy! In a good way, though - not the hectic-I-can't-catch-my-breath way. I've got a new schedule with the kids - I work at the office in the mornings, rush home to make lunch for everyone, check email and do calls from 1-4pm. Then I make dinner, or do something fun with the kids for the day - then we're on into the home stretch of dinnertime and bedtime routine - which Kev mainly handles getting them to bed while I'm back on the phone again from 6-10pm. It's working out well so far. And business is extremely good - for which I am abundantly thankful.

My goal this summer is to do something fun with the kids at least once a week. Some of our plans include weekly trips to the library, a trip to the zoo, aquarium, Discoveryland, picking blueberries, Porter Peach Festival parade and getting BUSHELS of fresh peaches to can, 4th of July fireworks, runs to the local splash pad, picking blackberries and walking the neighborhood more! The kids also are signed up for a week at VBS as well as a week at a church Music Camp. I know they're going to love both - I'm excited for them!

beautiful.

THIS was awesome. Go and read it for yourself.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Meal Plan Mondays


Friday, May 18 - Falafel (one of our Favorites!)
Saturday, May 19 - Taco Salad (Birth and Baby Expo)
Sunday, May 20 - meeting at church
Monday, May 21 - grilled flank steak, Spoonbread, salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
Tuesday, May 22 - Chicken Piccata, Uncle Ben's Wild Rice
Wednesday, May 23 - Smokey Chef Salad (from Soup Makes the Meal)
Thursday, May 24 - Vegetable Beef Soup (from Soup Makes the Meal), homemade rolls
Friday, May 25 - Breakfast Casserole, Hashbrown Casserole
Saturday, May 26 - Broccoli Cheese soup, Strawberry, Cucumber, Kiwi Salad (from Soup Makes the Meal)
Sunday, May 27 - BBQ Ribs in crockpot, coleslaw, cornbread
Monday, May 28 - Fried Chicken, potato salad, macaroni salad, Boomama's Beans, Raspberry Pretzel Salad, Biscuits (Memorial Day feast, folks - normally this would be a WEEK's worth of cholesterol for me!) (most of today's recipes are from A Return to Family Picnics)
Tuesday, May 29 - Japanease Chicken Salad
Wednesday, May 30 - Savory Baked Chicken, Zucchini Squash Saute, Rice Pilaf (all from Paula Deen's new magazine - Mar/Apr)
Thursday, May 31 - Happy Birthday Quinn VP!!! Chicken Cakes with Creole Sauce, Pea Salad (from Paula Deen)
Friday, June 1 - Chicken and proscuitto pasta, tangy sweet dressing over greens, cheesy french bread (from Paula Deen)
Saturday, June 2 - Happy Birthday Shira!!! We're having an old fashioned TEA PARTY (more to be posted on that later....)

Join in the fun! Head on over to Laura at "I'm an Organizing Junkie!" and tell us what you're having for dinner!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

to prove how much we love Food Network...

Tonight I was reading the kids their bedtime story from a phenomenal book recommended by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer called "The Jesus Storybook Bible - Every story whispers his name." I cannot even begin to tell you how much my kids love this book - this is one you'll want to have in your kids' library, for sure. We started in the New Testament when we got it, because we were close to Easter, so I wanted to read the kids the story of Jesus and the cross, etc...so we read from there to "the end." So now, we've started again at the beginning and tonight's story was about Abraham sacrificing his son Issac. We read the story, and stopped to put the bookmark in, when Shira asks what the title for the next chapter was. It was "The girl nobody wanted" - about Leah and Rachel. So Shira reverently whispers "Rachael Ray!" Apparently, God is into 30 minute meals...at least in the mind of my daughter!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

OUT!

I'm going out! Right now! All by myself - with girlfriends! No baby - no diaper bag! I have heels on...and lipstick, too! Wahooey...my first outing without the baby.

Please don't misread me. I love my baby boy. But it sure will be nice to go and listen to this special presentation that I'm going to with my friends without have to shake and bounce and nurse a fussy baby the entire time.

And I'll be dying to get back to him by the end of the evening. And when I see him, I'm sure he'll have grown two inches in my absence.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Randomness

My sister and Kelly at Love Well have both done this - as have many others in blogville, so I thought I'd jump on the train. And let me tell ya - to think of 10 random things that not many people know about me is very very very hard. I tend to be a rather open book - not afraid to share with you what I love/think/feel and I also am just not a very exciting person with lots of unique stuff going on. However, here is my attempt at the new and unusual...

1. "Life is a Highway" is my ALL TIME FAVORITE driving song. And it ranks right up there as being one of my all time favorite songs, period. It brings up some very precise high school memories for me that I wouldn't trade for all the world. It is amazing how that time in my life seemed to rush right on by.

2. I still wear the same pair of Nike Crosstrainers that I bought sometime in college. That means that they would probably be in the neighborhood of 10-12 years old. With marriage, ministry, and mini-me's running around, it just hasn't been affordable for me to spend $100+ on a new pair of running shoes - especially since I'm not too fond of the whole running thing! I am trying to change my ways though, because I sure do need to come up with a plan to no longer look pregnant - now that the baby is two months old. Each time I set a goal in my mind to go walking, or running, or work out, I then realize - oh yeah, and my Nikes sure aren't in that great of condition. So Mr. Nike, if you're reading this - I wear a size 8. And I like periwinkle.

3. I fall asleep within 5 minutes at night if I put a DVD of "Friends" on. It's just comfort-food for my ears. Some people need warm milk - I just need to hear "I'll be there for you..." and I'm a zombie!

4. I would LOVE to learn how to play the drums. I air drum way too much in the car to be a cool momma. One of these days the kids are going to be old enough to realize how dorky I look and tell me to stop it. Until them - I'll fantasize about my wicked riffs!

5. While I'm picking up the drums, I'd also love to learn how to Ballroom Dance, especially the salsa. For all you Dancing with the Stars fans, I have to say that my all time favorite performance was when Stacey Kiebler and Tony did their salsa to "Bootylicious." I know, it's not a song that's really in keeping with my faith, but MY WORD she could shake her booty! I'd love to be able to do that.

6. I love to cook. I love all things about cooking - I love the planning, the reading of recipes, the dreaming up of menus, I even love to grocery shop and organize my cart by category. Cooking is a true expression of love for my family - if they could just GET THAT when they say yuck to the newest veggie I've laid out on the table. BUT - and this is the part that most people DON'T know - I hate to bake. Yes, I get the brownie craving or the cookie craving just like anyone else. But to have to bake them just stresses me out. You see, with cooking, there is a total margin for error. With baking, it's just too easy to mess it up. And my brain cells have really taken a leave of absence since having a third kid - so baking is really not my forte lately.

7. I have been engaged to be married three times. Walked the aisle only once.

8. I love love love the smell of tires, or the flip flop section at Payless Shoes. Something about the rubber truly makes me salivate. I know that's weird, but I could spend all day just sniffing the tire section at Sam's. It started when I was pregnant with Tobin and I thought for sure it was just a pregnancy thing. But it's never gone away. Just thinking about it right now is making my mouth water. Seriously - I'm strange, y'all.

9. I'm a pop culture whiz. Don't ask me why. Not like I want to be a celebrity, or even meet any of them. But ask me who an actor is when we see him on TV, and I can most likely tell you his name, what movie he's in, and where he last vacationed with his non-spouse. This probably comes from having www.people.com as my home page. Yep, folks, a college education - hard at work.

10. I have been to every state in the United States except for Alaska and Hawaii. And strangely enough, I don't really have a desire to go to either one. If I could travel and/or live anywhere in the USA, I would gladly take the next plane to Oregon. Everything about that state is completely marvelous. It truly is God's country.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Meal Plan Monday - a few days late

I tend to have better organizational luck in planning more than just one week at a time. Lately, I've done two weeks and it's really working out well with my shopping schedule. So here's what's for dinner in our home for the next two weeks...

Tuesday - Spaghetti Carbonara, steamed broccoli
Wednesday - MacNCheese for the kids (last Crown class!)
Thursday - Chicken Packets (from Once-a-Month Cooking) (Melaleuca Launch!)
Friday - Penne with Pancetta, Spinach and Buttery Crumb Topping, green salad
Saturday - Chicken Enchiladas, Fiesta Rice, Guacamole (Happy Cinco de Mayo!)
Sunday - Heavenly Chicken, Springtime bread, honey orange carrots
Monday - Payday Pizza (amazing - you HAVE to make this - Kevin's favorite!!!)
Tuesday - Sausage and Pepper Calzones / Broccoli Sausage Calzones
Wednesday - Pastitsio, green salad, fresh rolls
Thursday - Pork Loin Chops with Cinnamon Apples and Buttered Noodles, green beans
Friday - Cajun Chicken Pasta, Fruit Salad
Saturday - Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs, roasted potatoes, veggie?
Sunday - hopefully, someone else besides "mommy" will cook today!

Also, when I plan my menus for the week(s), I try to make a list of baking goods/snacks that I plan to do as time allows. Here's what's on my list for this upcoming month:

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
Banana Nut Muffins with Oatmeal Streusel
Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Bean Dip
Orange Rolls
Spelt Salad with White Beans and Artichokes

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Crown Him Faithful

We've been participating this spring in a Crown Financial Course. It is designed to teach us the principles of stewardship and a godly management of the money that God has provided to us. While it has been tedious at times, it has yielded some great opportunities for us to see God at work around us. Today was a great example - one that was so special to me that I wanted to cry tears of joy - and Kevin just laughed in joy! Since I can't tell any story quickly, here's the rundown:

As part of our experience with Crown, we were invited to meet with a
financial planner in the area who offered us some assistance with our budgeting. We excitedly agreed to meet with him - because honestly, who couldn't use more help in the area of finances and stewardship?? In meeting with him, he helped us with the budget plan that we already had in place and helped us tweak it just a bit until we had a plan that both Kevin and I were pleased with - in fact, really excited about - because we could see some real progress toward reaching some of our financial goals! One area that is personal for me is the grocery budget - since I'm the one to do all the grocery shopping. He helped us set a reasonable amount for our groceries, and it has been part challenge and part game to make my grocery list "fit" within the given amount.

Part of the reason for my motivation behind starting this blog was so that I could participate in
Meal Plan Monday. For years, I have occasionally done my meal plan and then shopped accordingly - and the fact that I could easily share my plan with others was appealing. I've also known all along that we tend to spend much less on groceries when I have a plan in place. So, on Monday of this week, we deposited our paycheck and I knew that I needed to grocery shop for the upcoming two weeks. I spent Monday morning scouring through my recipes and organzing a plan for the next two weeks...made my grocery list...and looked at the budget.

Now, at this point, I really can't tell you the full story without going over the specifics, so please don't think I'm trying to divulge all our financial details, just trying to share the full story! I took baby Micah and left Tobin home with his Daddy so I could shop in relative peace. Since I fight hypoglycemia, I knew I needed to grab something to eat before heading into Walmart, so I stopped at McD's on the way. Being that we're trying to stick to the budget, I wanted to get something really cheap - so I got just a double cheeseburger and ice water. $1.09! So I grabbed the rare $5 bill that was in my wallet and searched for $.09. Didn't have it exactly - but I did have a dime! So my change was $4.01 - and I then had exactly 2 pennies in my change purse.

Once I got to Walmart, I went over my envelope category for groceries. The night before, I had been to Sam's to get some staples, and had already spent $85 of our $215 budget for groceries. We had also already purchased some milk and other small things from Braums, so I just was figuring in my head that I should probably allot only $100 to keep our grocery budget intact.

Micah and I head into Walmart and I'm doing all my shopping. His car seat had to sit down in the cart, because it doesn't fit in the kids seat area, so my space to put groceries was incredibly limited. As things piled up - and Micah had two bags of bagels on his legs, I started to pray. "Lord, this cart is filling up fast. Lord, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep it in budget. God, you're going to have to work a miracle. I know that you can make these groceries cost what you want them to. Please help me to have enough money at the cash register. God, please make this work!" Can you hear my desperation?? I sooo want to honor Him, and I want to achieve financial freedom, and I know that one of the ways I can help with that is in being a good steward of my grocery budget.

So the checker was bagging my groceries, Micah was crying - it's always a frantic time at the checkout. And of course, she wasn't bagging my groceries to my liking, so I was rebagging everything as she went along. So it was with great surprise that she suddenly muttered something that I didn't quite hear. I looked up and said "Pardon?" I saw that she was done scanning my items - and she had actually said my total. She repeated herself, at the same time I looked at the readout. My total? Exactly $100.02!
$100. Exactly what I had in my grocery envelope.

$.02. Exactly what I had after a snack at McD's.

THANK YOU LORD!

Oh, He is sooo good. And as I walked out the van, a woman was walking by and saw me open the trunk and said "Oh, I wanted to get your number off the sign about working from home!" You see, I have a sign advertising my business on the back, and she was interested! We chatted, I gave her my card - and I praised God for the potential of another business builder!

And then.

And then, I got in the van, turned it on - and one of my favorite songs of all time came on. I've been playing
Selah's God Bless the Broken Road, and "Faithful One" was set to repeat. I really don't need to say anymore, because the words are so poignant in and of themselves. Go get yourself the album. You won't be sorry.
I find no hope within to call my own
For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone
But deep withn my soul is rising up a song
Here in the comfort of the Faithful One

I walk a narrow road through valleys deep
In search of of higher ground on mountains steep
And tho' with feet unsure I still keep pressing on
For I am guided by the Faithful One

Faithful, faithful to the end
My true and precious Friend
You have been faithful, faithful
So faithful to me.

I see Your wonded hands, I touch Your side
With thorns upon Your brow You bled and died
But there's an empty tomb, a love for all who come
And give their hearts to You, the Faithful One

And when the day is dawned and when the race is run
I will bow down before God's only Son
And I will lift my hands in praise for all You've done
And I will worship You, my Faithful One

Saturday, April 28, 2007

my little man









One month old - lots of sleeping to do!

(Bless you, Heather, for the magic swing!)









6 weeks old - the first smiles!








7 weeks old - and I've already gained OVER 4 pounds since I've entered this world! Love that Momma-milk!








My big sis and bro love to hold me "standing up!"
The love really is abundant in the Miller home!

Money matters and a plan to live by


Since we've just passed the deadline date of April 15th for taxes being due, I've had money on the brain a lot. I can remember once when growing up that mom said when they took their taxes to their accountant to be done, that he always filled out her occupation line as "Proverbs 31" - rather than "housewife" or "homemaker" or even "secretary." I've always thought that was pretty cool. Obviously their CPA was a Christian, and realized the value of the role mom was in day in and day out taking care of the three of us. In fact, I have been a bit disappointed every year when I see that my title is simply "music minister" or "wellness consultant" or even the dreadful "housewife." To me, the term housewife just sounds lazy. Like all we do is sit around at home, acting out the role of simply a wife - not doing much at all. OBVIOUSLY, any wife and mother knows that this is simply not the case. So I have aspired lately to live out the occupation that was assigned so thoughtfully to my mother all those years ago. And to that end, I found the following on Lisa Whelchel's website - and I just think that it is so fitting! Normally, I'm a pretty sold out believer in the good ol' NIV versions of the Bible...but Lisa's rewording of this really puts it into everyday terms that I can associate with.

Proverbs 31 (NLT)
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious
rubies.

11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. (She takes
care of her marriage.)

12 She will not hinder him but help him all her life. (There is no greater help she can offer him than praying for him daily.)
13 She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. (She takes time for hobbies.)
14 She is like a merchant’s ship; she brings her food from afar. (She feeds her family healthy food.)
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. (She finds time to prepare meals for her family and she is organized.)
16 She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. (She is good with finances.)
17 She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. (She exercises regularly.)
18 She watches for bargains; her lights burn late into the night. (She should take better care of herself and get the rest she needs.)
19 Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. (This girl likes her
hobbies.)
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. (She knows how to give help, hopefully she also knows the importance of asking for
help.)

21 She has no fear of winter for her household because all of them have warm clothes. (She likes to shop.)
22 She quilts her own bedspreads. (Maybe she’s doing this with some good friends, like a quilting bee before its time.) She dresses like royalty in gowns of
finest cloth.
(She likes to feel and look beautiful.)

23 Her husband is well known, for he sits in the council meeting with the other civic
leaders.
(I bet she keeps her mind ever-growing so she can converse intelligently with her husband.)

24 She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. (She owns her own business)
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future. (She understands the importance of laughter)
26 When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives
instructions.
(If her words are wise and kind then I’m sure she is in the Word daily.)

27 She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness. (She is a diligent housekeeper.)
28 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” (She is a woman who breathes in the Spirit and her life reflects that.)
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord
will be greatly praised.
(She is a worshiping woman.)
31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her
praise.

Some of thse I am able to say with all honesty that I have down - I mean, what woman doesn't love to shop?!? But of course, there are many others that I will continue to struggle with all of my days. What a privilege to have such a beautiful description of a great wife and mother! May we all strive to live up to this, even though it might sometimes be a daily struggle.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

40 questions!

Since I'm new to the world of blogging, I thought I'd participate in this fun meme. Just for kicks!

1. What is your occupation? wife, momma, wellness consultant, administrative assistant
2. What color are your socks right now? barefoot - berry toenail polish!
3. What are you listening to right now? Kevin watching basketball on TV...
4. What was the last thing that you ate? coleslaw
5. Can you drive a stick shift? yes! Many fond high school memories of driving the boyfriend's truck that was a stick...
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? periwinkle
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Kevin - he was at Braum's, reading the ice cream flavors to me so I could pick our next treat out!
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? um...yes!
9. How old are you today? 30
10. Favorite drink? Club soda, tons of ice, lots of lemon - and Cherry Limeades from Sonic are a fun indulgence, too!
11. What is your favorite sport to watch? none none none!
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? highlights and lowlights only.
13. Pets? 2 dogs, Zach and Zoe and a couple tropical fish
14. Favorite food? macaroni and cheese, closely followed by very exotic salads with nuts and soft cheeses!
15. What was the last movie you watched? How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
16. What was the last book you read? Crown Financial Course, Tune In, Bible, Experiencing God
17. What do you do to vent anger? yell. I know, bad habit.
18. What was your favourite toy as a child? books
.19. What is your favourite, fall or spring? fall. I love making awesome homemade soups - picking out pumpkins for the front step, canning tons of apples, decorating with fall leaves, the crispness in the air, the anticipation of cooler weather...I could go on and on and on...
20. Hugs or kisses? hugs. Although baby kisses on my nose are pretty precious, too!
21. Cherries or blueberries? Blueberries. Less work. Hate spitting out all those seeds! Besides, I make a mean blueberry cheesecake that has become hubby's fave!
22. Do you want your friends to leave you comments?YES! YES! YES!
23. Who is the most likely to comment?I don't know but I'll take whatever I can get!
24. Who is least likely to comment? ???
25. Living arrangements? hmm...well, I live with my family is a very pretty home we are making payments to the bank for the privilege of living here!
26. When was the last time you cried? Saturday night, overwhelmed with two cranky kids, a hubby who didn't understand me and a baby who hadn't let me sleep in over 24 hours.
27. What's on the floor of your closet? Lots of maternity clothes waiting to be packed up and put away...lots of my pre-pregnancy clothes that don't quite fit yet...towels the baby peed on...my shoes galore!
28. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Shirley VP
29. What did you do last night? helped my business teammates on the phone, did presentations on the phone, watched American Idol with Kevin.
30. Favorite smells? Lavender. New baby necks. Crockpot steak on Sunday afternoon after church. After a thunderstorm. Clean sheet night.
31. What inspires you? music, conversations with friends, people who dare to do things that I've always wanted to do, but been too afraid of doing.
32. What are you afraid of? illness that is unexplained.
33. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Cheese!
34. Favourite dog breed? Keeshound
35. Number of keys on your key ring? 4?
36. Number of years at current job? wife? - almost 8. Momma? almost 6. Wellness Consultant? a year and a half. Administrative Assistant? 2.
37. Favourite day of the week? Friday! Our family can finally relax, take it easy and play with Kevin since he doesn't have to work. Sunday is a close second because of church and seeing friends at Community Group.
38. How many states/countries have you lived in? 6 - Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma. But I have visited every single state except for Alaska and Hawaii!
39. Favourite holidays? Thanksgiving...I love to cook and study new recipes!
40. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery? nope. And no plans to, thank you very much! That's dangerous!

If any of you want to play along, consider yourself tagged. Let me know so I can come over and get to know you better and leave you a comment.

Monday, April 23, 2007

They're supposed to be sleeping...

Many, many, many nights as a child, my parents would catch me reading "just one more chapter!" I LOVED to read, and since we moved around a lot, I didn't always have a lot of friends to spend time with - so falling in love with books was easy to do...I found my friends in all the many worlds I read about! To this day, I can recall scenes from books almost as if I had actually visited them. This is the scene I came upon tonight when I went to tuck the kids in bed...(and found Tobin missing from his.) Although the picture looks light, it was actually pitch-black in Shira's room and they had her princess night light between them, totally absorbed in their own worlds found in the picture books...

little Momma

Look what we caught
the little Momma doing
the other day!
(she was embarrassed
that we saw her -
we were sooo proud!)
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Blessings amidst the suffering...

It was this bed of "bili-lights" that nearly threw me into post-partum depression.

Micah was only a few days old when we found out that his bilirubin levels weren't going down, but up. The pediatrician insisted that he would need to be placed on bili-lights, but that it was no big deal because we could still have him at home with us. When Shira was first born in Oregon, she also had to have the lights - but her' were sooo different. It was a paddle-type thing that we just slipped inside her onsie and rested on her back, and although it was bulky with the big cord and inconvenient, we were still able to hold her and feed her easily. Enter Oklahoma health care.

The home health nurse came with two huge suitcases, and the fact that our insurance didn't cover the expense of her being in my home only made me eye her even more warily...I didn't need to see what turned out to be a full-fledged BED that Micah had to be strapped onto. She was very business-like about her proceedings; telling me how to hook him into the bed, which buttons turn the light on, etc... She also had me fill out about twelve hundred forms of paper signing our lives away. THEN she proceeded to tell me that the baby needed to be ON THE BED for 21 out of the 24 hours of the day. I about lost it! As a momma for the third time, my parenting instincts have changed drastically! With #1, I did everything by the book. Feed your baby every 3 hours. OK - so I did! She didn't get one drop more than that - if the book said every three hours and how important it was to get her on a schedule, then I'd do that! With #2, I was still so busy with not-even-two-year-old #1, that it was just a TRUE BLESSING that he put himself on a 3 hour schedule. He slept, then ate, then looked around. It was like he knew not to mess with me! But with #3, all I wanted to do was to be able to hold him continually. Micah came out knowing his momma, and had already learned, in just the few short days of his life, that the best place in the world to sleep was right on my chest. I had prayed for this baby to have this temperament! I didn't have to work with the others, so my time with them was unlimited and I never felt the urgency to hold them. This time, I'm working part-time, and I know that his is my last baby, and I just want to SAVOR each and every single moment I have with him. The moments seem rushed, too, because there is always something to go to, or pick up, and DO. Besides that fact, Micah is a hungry little boy, and loves to eat about every two hours. So upon hearing the news that he'd need to be on the lights SO MUCH was almost more than I could take. I bawled. Then I felt guilty for being so upset about a few days of not being able to hold my baby. Then I thought of other parents that have far worse situations, other parents that have walked dark roads of doubt, wondering about the health of their babies, like Addison, and Eliot, and Haley. I marvel at their faith, their strength and their courage. I sucked it up and dealt with it - but I did sneak skin-to-skin time with my little one several hours a day when I felt like I couldn't part without him any longer!

The lights ended up staying for 3 days. Three long days. And each day surrounding those lights, I had to visit the pediatrician for heel sticks on Micah to get his levels checked. The trips to the doctor were stressful, knowing that my little tiny baby was going to get stuck AGAIN - but also knowing that our insurance had told us that they wouldn't be covering any of his lab work fees, so each trip just seemed like a dream-like state in which all I saw were dollar signs floating around and a helpless baby crying.

So it was with great joy and relief to find an EOB from our insurance provider in the mail today stating that each and every single lab fee for all 9 heel sticks is TOTALLY COVERED and the checks have already been sent to the pediatrician and the lab!!!!! GOD IS GOOD! Our amazing Community Group had rallied together to help with some of the light bed fees, knowing that we were going to be overwhelmed with medical bills - and the EOB today is such a blessing, because now all we'll have to pay for is the bed! We can manage that!

And Micah is doing much better! His eyes are white and I'm so proud to announce that at my 6-week check up, he had gained over 4 pounds since his birth! So a few days on the bed, with a few less feedings, didn't seem to hurt him at all!