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, 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 least in the mind of my daughter!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I'm going out! Right now! All by myself - with girlfriends! No baby - no diaper bag! I have heels on...and lipstick, too! 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


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 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.


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