Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gone 'till Tuesday



Just wanted to let you ladies know that I will be off-line until next Tuesday. Our family will be leaving tomorrow at 2pm for Iowa to visit friends. We'll be stopping in Peoria, IL on our way back to Indiana to visit some other friends. Looking forward to our family "adventure". If you get to thinking about it, please pray for our safety. Hope you ladies have a wonderful and safe weekend!!!

Mexican Hot Chocolate

My girlfriend, Michelle, posted this on her blog and I was desperately intrigued. It was a must try! It is so good! Surprisingly delightful. You ladies should venture out and try it!

How'd it turn out?

Potato Soup


I had some leftover hash browns that I didn't use for the Fish Stick Supper. I fried them up with a bit of oil, garlic powder, and onion powder. Added eggs, cooked breakfast sausage, and salt & pepper to taste.
Yum!

Homemade Apple Pie

This time of year simply screams for apple pies to be made!!!
Here's our family classic!
(See Sat. 10-18-08 entry for recipe)

The filling:

Make sure and use ICE COLD water for crust.
I cheat and use my KitchenAid mixer for the dough. It is sooooo much faster than cutting it in by hand.
The crust is ready to be rolled out when it cleans the sides of the bowl.
I just use waxed paper.

Before adding the top crust, rub water along the edge of the bottom crust. It helps make a good seal.
I always dedicate my pies to my hubby. (My mom always did that for my dad.) Since he's Ralph the third, I used a Roman Numeral III.
Cut off the extra.
If you're amazing at rolling out pie dough (like my mom), there can be enough extra to make mini cinnamon rolls (butter, sugar, and cinnamon rolled up and sliced), but I'm not yet that talented.
Cook for 30 min. with a pie shield.
Can also use aluminum foil.
Remove foil for the remaining 15 min.s.
It's amazingly yummy!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Contest

Anyone interested in winning a $50 gift certificate to Natural Pod, check out this blog for details!

Check-In


Per Dr's orders ;-) :
Tues 10/21: 3 mile video w/ 3 lb weights
Weds 10/22: (same)
Thur 10/23: (same)
Fri 10/24: (same)
Sat 10/25: (same)
Sun 10/26: 200 various sit-ups
Still waiting to feel better, but I realize it's not going to happen instantaneously.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy 4 months!!!

Yesterday (10-24-08), Edmund turned four months!

He's learning how to use his hands, and so, is able to hold and play with toys fairly well.

Edmund and Arianna are best buds. He simply adores her! He lets her pick him up and carry him around (w/ supervision) and will just laugh and laugh at her when she does something silly.



Trying to grab at the camera.


Daddy's already teaching him about computers.



Help! I'm falling...

About Edmund:
-recognizes name
-learning to control his hands
-loves his oatmeal before bedtime
-was too big & rowdy for the cradle, and so, recently moved to a Pack-n-Play
-sleeps from 10:30pm-5:30am most nights
-still sleeps in mom & dad's bedroom
-has already outgrown some 3-6 month clothes!
-likes to talk to people (goo, nnn-gah)
-still will not take a bottle
-getting more difficult to feed him in public because he's so vocal about getting his food fast
-loves riding with mom in his Baby Bjorn; also likes the hip-hold position with the sling
-recognizes grandparents and close family & friends
-likes to sleep with a fan and his musical giraffe
-is on a regular cycle: eat- awake time- nap- eat...
-will sit and watch movies with the family
-still spits up a lot after meals
-gets hungry when he smells mom cooking
-can roll from his back to his belly
-when he gets a diaper change, for some reason he sticks his legs straight up in the air; when you pull them down he flings them right back up again (like they're spring loaded)
-very happy and content

Food

Here's what that Fish Stick Supper(10-18-08 entry) ended up looking like. For the most part, it was really tasty. Needed a bit more salt, perhaps. We decided it was too "breakfast-ish" for fish sticks. We're going to try it again with sausage, bacon, or ham next time. But really, it seemed to be pretty versatile. You could probably get away with using any sort of leftover meat.

Here's what those Blueberry Pancakes look like. I didn't have blueberries so I topped them with blueberry preserves. We had these for breakfast today. Yum!

Benjamin, my 4 year old, set the table all by himself the other night. Not bad.

Menu Planning

Sat: Blueberry Pancakes
Sun: (crockpot) BBQ chicken; green beans
Mon: Potato Soup
Tues: Chicken Noodle Stir Fry (from last week)
Wed: Onion Soup Hamburgers (bunless); Caliornia veggies w/ Hollandaise sauce
Thurs: Killer Salads/leftovers
Fri: 5 Cheese Stuffed Shells

Lunch and Snack Ideas:
-homemade bagels (still haven't gotten to those yet)
-apple/pear sauce
-chocolate chips & peanuts
-eggs & sausage
-cold meat sandwiches
-grilled cheese sandwiches
-Ramen noodle soup (chicken)
-Chocolatetown chip cookies


Blueberry Pancakes
1 egg
1 C. buttermilk (or 1 Tbl. vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to equal 1 C.)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbl. melted butter
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries (optional)
Beat egg. Add buttermilk mixed with soda. Add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into the mixture. Pour in melted butter. Fold in fruit. Fry on hot griddle.
*We double this recipe for our family. There's usually leftovers.

BBQ Chicken (new recipe)
(6-8 servings)
6-8 chicken breast halves
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup water
Place chicken in slow-cooker. Whisk remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or until chicken is tender but not overcooked. (If the sauce begins to dry out as the dish cooks, stir in another 1/2 cup water.)

Potato Soup
(6 servings)
1 onion, diced
6 peeled/cubed potatoes (approx. 2 lbs)
5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl. chicken base
1/3 cup coffee creamer (powder)
1/8 tsp pepper
---------------------------------------
Thickening: 1/3 cup flour + 1/3 cup water (shake until mixed thoroughly)
Heat water, onion, potato, salt & pepper, and chicken base to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 15 min. (or until potatoes are tender). Make thickening; set aside. When potatoes are tender, add coffee creamer and thickening until soup is creamy consistency. *Excellent with cheese and bacon added.

Onion Soup Hamburgers
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 onion soup packet
Combine beef and onion soup packet; with hands, mush together thoroughly. May need to add just a little bit of water. Pan fry or grill. *Also excellent with shredded cheese and finely shredded spinach. (You'll definitely need water if making it this way.)

Hollandaise Sauce
(makes 3/4 cup)
In a double boiler:
3 egg yolks
1 Tbl. lemon juice
1 Tbl. water
Mix thoroughly.
Add:
1/2 C. cut-up butter (1 stick)
Stir constantly with whisk until butter melts and sauce thickens. Pepper to taste. *Just stir if it separates.

Chocolatetown Chip Cookies
7 dozen
3/4 C butter (1-1/2 sticks); softened
1 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz. pkg of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 375F. In large mixing bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Mix in flour, soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake 8-10 min. or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Killer Salads
This is just the name I came up with for a fully loaded salad with ALL the fixings! Veggies, bacon, hard boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, etc... whatever salad stuff I've got.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I did it!

Yea! I actually got up this morning and exercised!!! Do I feel any better? No. But I did it! ;-) We'll do it again tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How my appointment went

Just wanted to let you all know... it went well. Thyroid results came back a-ok, which was a HUGE relief actually. If my levels had been worse, that would have been concerning, as it would indicate my thyroid was getting worse/degenerating. Yikes! Don't want that happening.
So what was it? Postpartum depression. Go fig'.
And you'll never believe what she told me do... EXERCISE! Ha!
(Got a kick out of that!)
So... 5am, here I come again.
Thank you all who prayed for me and my family. I am just SO thankful it was something simple and easy to treat.

Yea!

My blood lab results are in and I was able to move my appointment from Wednesday to today! Yea! My appointment's at 2:15pm. Please be praying for me. Let you know how it goes.

Check-In


Mon. 10/13: 3 mile video
Sat. 10/18: 80 various sit-ups

Latest read


Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls
By: Gary L. Thomas
231 pages

Picked up this book from the library yesterday. It's really good. I haven't gotten too far into yet, but it's already been spiritually moving. Here's what the back cover reads:

Parenting is a school for spiritual formation- and our children are our teachers. The journey of caring for, rearing, training, and loving our children will profoundly alter us forever.

Sacred Parenting is unlike any other parenting book you have ever read. This is not a "how-to" book that teaches you ways to discipline your kids or help them achieve their full potential. Instead of discussing how parents can change their kids, Sacred Parenting turns the tables and demonstrates how God uses our kids to change us.

You've read all the method books. Now take a step back and receive some much-needed inspiration. You'll be encouraged by stories that tell how other parents handled the challenges and difficulties of being a parent- and how their children transformed their relationship with God. Sacred Parenting affirms the spiritual value of being a parent, showing you the holy potential of the parent-child relationship.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

And now...

...I'm going to play a bit of "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" with my husband. Since we've installed an educational computer in our living room, my husband's dragged out a bunch of games to play from his old stash. So... later ladies. Have a wonderful Sunday evening!!!

Prayer Request #2

I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow about the results of my lab work. Hopefully the doc can tell me whether or not to change my medication. I still am going to keep my appointment on Wednesday regardless... I'd really like to just talk with her about depression in general. I have a lot of questions...

End result....

Ok... the Grasshopper Dessert was not all that good. Perhaps if I reduced the amount of peppermint extract... Wow! The batch I made was powerful!

My amazing husband!

He fixed our camera!
I just want to take a moment and brag upon my husband...
He's AMAZING!!!
Basically anything electronic, he can fix it!
Yea! We are up and running!!!
Thank you, RD! ILY

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Menu Planning


Here's what's up on the menu for this next week:

Sun: eggs and sausage (didn't get to it last week)
Mon: leftover chili* on baked potatoes; salad (didn't get to this one either)
Tues: Italian beef**; steamed broccoli & cauliflower
Weds: fish stick supper*** (new recipe)
Thurs: chicken noodle stir fry**** (new recipe)

Lunch & snack ideas:
-salad
-apple & pear sauce
-tortilla chips, cheese, salsa
-baked potatoes
-chocolate chips & peanuts
-cold meat sandwiches
-grilled cheese sandwiches
-hotdogs

What I want to cook this week:
-homemade bagels
-apple pies (with McIntosh apples we got from the orchard today)
-slow cooker apple butter (new recipe)
(see recipes below)



Chili*
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
-brown and drain
Add:
1 (46 oz.) can tomato juice
16 oz. can red beans, rinsed
1 Tbl. + 2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer until thick (about 1-2 hours)
*Jazz it up with corn and/or a bit of cumin. Sometimes we serve our chili over rice, too.



Italian Beef**
2 lb. beef roast
1 small jar of pepperoncini's (juice included)
Italian seasoning (to taste)
Combine ingredients into a slow-cooker; cook on low for about 8 hr.s
Serve on buns (w/ white cheese), over rice, or alone.



Fish Stick Supper***
(from Taste of Home)
*Serves 6*
1 pkg. (12 oz) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 Tbl. dried minced onion
1 Tbl. snipped fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dill weed)
1-1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 pkg. (12 oz) frozen fish sticks
Break apart hash browns with a fork; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add minced onion, dill, seasoned salt and pepper. Stir in hash browns and cheddar cheese. Transfer to a greased 11-in. x 2-in baking dish; arrange fish sticks over top.
Bake uncovered, at 350F for 50 min. or until top is golden brown and fish flakes with a fork. Let casserole stand for 5 min.s before cutting.


Chicken Noodle Stir Fry****
(also from Taste of Home)
* Serves 4*
1 pkg. (3 oz) chicken-flavored Ramen noodles
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflowerets
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup coarsely chopped cabbage
2 med. carrots, thinly sliced
1 med. onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh or canned bean sprouts
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
Set aside seasoning packet from noodles. Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken in oil for 5-6 min.s or until no longer pink. Add the vegetables; stir fry for 3-4 min.s or until crisp-tender. Drain noodles; add to the pan with contents of seasoning packet and the teriyaki sauce. Stir well. Serve immediately.
*I also throw in some onion.



Homemade Bagels
(from Rebekah M.)
*Serves 12*
Mix:
2 Tbl. yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water
3 Tbl. sugar
Add and mix:
1 Tbl. salt
2 cups bread flour
Knead 5 min.s until moderately smooth. Let rise until doubled. Punch down and separate into 12 balls. Let dough rest 10 min.s. Boil 2 qt. water; shape dough into bagels. Boil bagels, 3 at a time, for 45 sec.s, turning once. Brush with egg white and bake @ 350F for 30 min.s.



Grasshopper Dessert (from last week)
*Serves 10*
1 pkg. (6 oz) of lime gelatin powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
1-1/2 cups cold water
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 pkg. Cool Whip
2 Tbl. green creme de menthe
In medium bowl, dissolve gelatin, sugar, and boiling water. Add cold water and both extracts. Portion out 1 cup of mix; set aside. Pour remaining gelatin mixture into a 8" or 9" square pan. Chill until firm. Return the 1 cup of gelatin back into the medium mixing bowl; chill until slightly thickened. Blend in Cool Whip; spread on top of firmed gelatin in square pan. Garnish with chocolate curls. Keep refrigerated.
*I would have LOVED to share a picture of this as it was beautiful... but alas, I am without a camera. :-( But basically it's a dark green pepperminty jello with a layer of light green pepperminty Cool Whip on top with chocolate curls to boot. YUM!



Homemade Apple Pie
(1) Double Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup Crisco
4+ Tbl. ice cold water
Mix flour and salt; cut in Crisco; sprinkle in water one tablespoon at a time until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans the sides of bowl. Gather dough into two balls. Roll out between waxed paper.

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
6 cups sliced/peeled tart apples (McIntosh, Jonathan, Concord)
Bake at 425F. Cook with pie crust foil or shield for 3o min.s; remove and cook another 15 min.s (approximately).



Slow Cooker Apple Butter
5-6 lbs apples
4 cups sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Peel, core and chop apples, and fill slow cooker until it's heaping full. Place remaining ingredients in slow cooker with apples. The amount will reduce as it cooks. Cover, and cook on high for 1 hour, then lower heat and slow-cook for 9 hours. Remove lid, and continue to slow cook an additional 1/2 hour to an hour or until thick and brown with no liquid left. Place in hot sterilized jars. Set in hot bath with lids on for 10 min.s. Boil until seal is secure, and set aside to cool.

Whew!

Sad day in our household...

*sigh*

I broke our digital camera the other day.
It slipped from my hands and onto a concrete floor.
It's dead.

:-(

Hopefully soon here we can get it repaired and back up and running.
(I never realized how much I appreciated my camera until it was gone.)

Prayer please


I think my thyroid is acting up again. :-( For anyone that's not familiar with hypothyroidism, check out this site and this site. Anyways... the ever so "un-fun" symptoms are cropping back up again: hair loss, depression, sluggishness, foggy mind, forgetfulness, irritability, etc. I went in to the doctor for labs back in August and they were "slightly off" but apparently not enough to warrant a medication alteration. But as time has gone on... the symptoms are fast appearing. Apparently pregnancy hormones can cause one's thyroid to malfunction. *sigh* I wasn't scheduled for another lab until December 5, but with the changing weather and the holiday's fast approaching, I just couldn't wait any longer. Praise God I was able to walk-in yesterday without an appointment and have my labs drawn. I go back to see the doctor this coming Wednesday for follow-up. Please keep me in your prayers at this time. I think the most difficult thing to contend with is the depression and irritability. Doesn't make for a happy wife and mom... I'll let you know how Wednesday's appointment goes. Thanks so much for praying for me and my family at this time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Planning



My dear girlfriend, Michelle from college, has this on her blog and I thought it'd be a fun thing to add to my weekly ramblings.

Mon: (crockpot) beef and mushroom gravy*, fried okra, cottage cheese
Tues: scalloped potatoes, steamed carrots, salad
Weds: eggs, sausage, (homemade) bagels**
Thurs: chili w/ cheese & onions (double pot); grasshopper dessert**
Fri: baked potatoes w/ chili (or leftover mushroom gravy)
Sat: pizza (from a fund raiser)

*Super easy! 1-1/2 pounds beef, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, refill empty can 1x with water, 1 small can of mushrooms (including juice); cook on low for 6 hr.s; salt & pepper to taste

**will post recipe soon

What are you ladies cooking?

Computers for kids


Yea!
My husband just finished building a computer for our kids to use for school!!!

What are some tried-and-true educational games, software, websites, etc. for children ages 5 and under? We already have some Scholastic phonics programs/games and I'm familiar with starfall.com. But beyond that?... We really don't know what's out there. That, and we don't want to invest in something only to find it was poor quality. Got any leads?

Health Expert anyone?


Are any of you women dieticians or health experts?

I would really be interested in hearing from you in regard to what normal portion sizes are for a future blog posting... maybe send me some photos or size comparisons (like, I know a serving size of meat is equal to a deck of cards). It'd be fantastic to have visuals.

As Americans we tend to eat way more than we should. Just how much do our bodies really need? When are we eating too much?

Either leave a comment here or if you have pics, email me at: growthasawifeandmom(at)yahoo(dot)com

Thank you!

Check-In


Weds 10/8: 90 various sit-ups
Fri 10/10: 205 various sit-ups
Sat. 10/11: 3 mi. video

I love this new quote I found:
Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't make me count to three!


This is by far the best parenting book I have come across! I've also enjoyed Shepherding A Child's Heart (Tripp):



But Plowman's book goes into much more depth by providing many many practical situations/examples and how to appropriately handle them.

Here's a wonderful companion resource to this book (also by Plowman) that lists numerous sinful behaviors, questions to ask to get to the child's heart, and Scripture to use for reproof.


Highly recommended!
Any other mom's that have read this book?
I'd love to hear your feedback.