A Week in the Life…

Hey-O! I’m kind of copying this off of another blog that I frequent and it’s something that I find inspiring and useful, so I thought you might as well. I actually, and honestly, don’t have many original ideas. *gasp* Don’t stop reading! Are there ever anymore truly original ideas? Things like that keep me up at night so I choose to ignore them :) Here’s a mind-bender: GOD has NEVER been surprised by ANYTHING! Maybe that only bends my mind. And it wasn’t even actually that exact phrase. Our pastor said something about God not having an original thought? But thinking about that definitely doesn’t seem right, so I went with surprise. On with the show. Money Saving Mom’s weekly menus have been inspiring to me. I plan dinners two weeks in advance, but this amazing mom includes breakfast AND lunch too. Now, I’m only baby steps into incorporating breakfast and lunch because well, life is hectic. I work nights so lots of times by the time I get home everyone is starving and we have cereal or frozen (homemade) pancakes (Money Saving Mom inspiration) and a protein (cottage cheese or yogurt, sometimes fruit). And lunch is a free-for-all, but I’ll get to that. So, here is what my one week dinner plan looked (I’m late writing this, imagine that!) like.

  • MONDAY Shepherd’s Pie Not anyone’s fav, but the casserole dish is empty y’all! (It was Paula Deen’s recipe). My favorite recipe I already blogged about here.
  • TUESDAY Pretzel Dogs SLAMMIN’
  • WEDNESDAY Poor Man’s Chili  There was a glitch in the system and this didn’t get made. OH! We had a birthday party and ate there :)
  • THURSDAY Nothing happens here because Abby went to daddy’s and me and mom fought over leftovers. And my sweet neighbors let me have some of their pizza too!
  • FRIDAY Buffalo Chicken Pasta This is…there are no words to describe its deliciousness. I leave out the gorgonzola and green onions.
  • SATURDAY Beef and Broccoli New to my repertoire. I might even blog about it in the next six months.
  • SUNDAY I work and the childrens go to daddy’s so mom is on her own (sorry).
  • MONDAY Classic and easy, breakfast for dinner :) Pancakes and bacon anyone?
So that’s kind of how I do life. There is no rhyme or reason, other than the budget. Chicken is expensive. Especially if you buy the organic, hormone-free chicken. And I happen to just really love beef. Even ground beef. Sure, that’s probably not healthy either, but it works for us. The fun part that a lot of my real life friends seem to get a kick out of are the lunches I make occasionally. And those aren’t original either. They’re all from my Pinterest board, Play With Your Food. Go forth, and make lunch fun! And PS-when presented in this manner, Abby eats all of the fruit and veg. With the house lunch, she ate all the peppers and celery and skipped the sandwich! :)

True Confessions

I’m going to go ahead and preface this by saying that I’m not writing this for sympathy or pity. I just have so much floating around in my head and there must be an outlet every now and then or I’m just not someone with whom I enjoy living. I choose this as my outlet. I have this idea that has proven true with me my whole life: secrets are parasitic, toxic, and dangerous. Especially secrets that don’t really need to be secrets. Things like, I get depressed sometimes. It makes me anxious when seat belts or car seat buckle straps are twisted. I haven’t read my Bible in…a while. My marriage broke. I prefer wearing t-shirts over anything else, every day. I don’t always practice what I preach. I yell at Abby sometimes. I react in anger when I shouldn’t. I harbor resentments and bitterness. I wish my hair was long again. I watch more Bravo shows than I should. Et cetera.

I think people are so concerned with ‘image’ and having the appearance of having it altogether that we think everybody must be doing better than we are at life. But I think if people (myself definitely included) were more honest, we’d all have a more accurate and truthful portrayal of each other. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but fortunately/unfortunately, a lot of people (most of the people) who read this, I know in real life, and I hope no one finds it too…forward. Honest. Raw. Real. But I just don’t have the energy to keep up appearances all the time anymore. And these things happen to people. People feel the same things I do sometimes. Everybody gets down. People get divorced. It shouldn’t have to be a secret.

My life kind of blew up a few months ago. My marriage broke. As in, you know, the D word. It’s a lengthy process, and God is mighty, but the journey has begun. Then my basement flooded. Then there was mold and rotting wood and drywall. Then other stuff happened that I won’t mention, but it sucked too. Sucked bad. I have good days and bad days. More good than bad, definitely and thankfully. Today has been on the fence, which I guess finally led to the writing of this post, finally.

I want to make sure and give God praise and glory, truly, because He has been the Rock of my Salvation in ways I’ve never known before nor would have, had any of this not happened. He has given me energy and strength to work and be strong for my babies. And not only just by being physically present, but I’m so much more cognizant of my parenting now and how much patience I lack at times. I’m a better mommy. You know that quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle?” I’ve become so much more aware of this, too. Of other people. Of the struggles that they may be facing that no one knows. That I don’t know. Because actually, I’m a pretty private person in real life. At least I think so. I DO like to keep up appearances, very much so; but they’re so exhausting and now I just don’t have it in me some days. But despite everything, God has kept His promise of never leaving me. He never has. He’s pulled me, work situations, classes for school, the house, my girls, and my finances together in such magnificent ways that you know only He is responsible.

But while I feel MY version of close to Him has been very deep and sincere, actual time spent in the Word has been next to nothing, and that needs to change. Maybe it’s laziness. I usually blame it on the fact that my head is so busy and so full all the time, that when I do have a free moment, I either want to sleep or make goals. Not even life goals, just simple ones, like building furniture, making a craft, or finding a recipe to make. That’s just an excuse though. Really, I know it is. I read Pride & Prejudice (great book) and To Kill a Mockingbird, so I know I can read, but reading the Bible is convicting and introspective.

“I don’t want to,” says the petulant and obstinate child.

 

Mostly, that’s what it boils down to I guess. Since the physical separation, I just feel kind of wild a bit. Turbulent. Changeable. Restless. Again. I feel like God made me to be a wife and mother and having one of those core roles in my life unavailable is like missing a kidney. I miss my kidney. I do well enough without it, but I was made to have two. So I don’t like to think about it much. Or me. Or me regarding my current marriage discombobulation, specifically. It’s painful. It’s sad. It’s lonely. It makes me crazy sometimes. I try not to stew and think on that part too much, and I feel like if I got in the Word, that’s what God would deal with. Me. Not the house, or the girls, or money, or schedule, or energy (although He does bless me so much in each of those areas). Just me. And that’s hard. But I’ve got to give in at some point. And I know if I could just do it once, it would be enough to leaving me wanting more. Cause God is like that. Once you hang out with Him once, you want more. He’s awesome like that.

So that’s that. My life blew up, but we’re all still here. God is good. All the time, no matter what. The things I’m dealing with now are temporary. This is not my home. This is not all I have to look forward to, although He has blessed me beyond measure with two indescribably amazing little girls. When all this first happened, I questioned God’s timing with Lily. I did. However, with each passing day, it is confirmed that His timing is perfect. Each day, they are exactly the little girls that God knew they would be and it’s nothing short of wonderful. God is good. No matter the situation or circumstance, He is good. Nothing happens in your life or mine that He doesn’t know about. And it all has a purpose, I promise. People say that I’m strong, but to this I say:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.

Anything of worth that I am able to do is solely because of the God who lives in me. I am weak, broken, and rebellious. I can do nothing good of my own accord. Nothing.

Pretzel Dogs

My, my where has the time gone? I’ll tell you! Between having a seven month old, four year old, full time job, and my life blowing up (not in a good way), I’ve been preoccupied. I remember starting this blog because I wanted something that was mine. Not me as a mommy. Or as a friend. Or Neighbor. Or Churchgoer. Just me. Mine. I am still all those things, but deep down somewhere I, just me, exists. But lately free time (time to blog) is so scarce and at times writing requires so much thought effort that much of my free time is spent mindlessly pinning on Pinterest, reading, or not as often as I’d like, sleeping. One day, maybe far far from now, I’ll write that True Life: My Life Blew Up post, but I’m still trying to figure out how to do such a thing without…uhhhmm making myself or others uncomfortable :)

anywho.

These pretzel dogs are shut the front door delicious.  Slap yo’ momma good. Eat them three days in a week good. And pretty easy for what you’d expect. and I have pictures. Finally. They’re not great, admittedly. I’d love to take a food photography class one day (along with the other 4,563 other things I’d love to do. that’s a post all by itself), but until then, you’ll just have to imagine these are even more beautiful in person.

Ingredients

·        1 package active dry yeast (approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons)
·        2 Tablespoons brown sugar
·        1 ¼ teaspoons salt
·        1 ½ cups warm water (110- 115 degrees F)
·        4 cups flour
·        2 cups water
·        2 tablespoons baking soda
·        2 – 3 Tablespoons melted butter
·        Coarse Kosher Salt (optional)

She says to use a mixer, but I just used a wooden spoon. I lie. I used the wooden handle of my baster brush. That just sounds unsophisticated. Life’s kind of that way. Make the bread as usual (combine yeast, brown sugar, salt, water) and knead it. I’ve made bread and dough several times before but this is by far the absolute most amazing dough I’ve ever made. I think maybe I didnt’t knead the dough enough on previous attempts? I actually did it the full 8 minutes on this recipe and when I let it rise for the hour, it more than doubled in size. It was so soft and fluffy and easy to work with.

There was plenty of dough, which was fine by me. I think I made 8 pretzel dogs and a few pretzels, which were surprisingly easy to twist; it’s not scary with the help of a Youtube vid. After you’ve wrapped the dogs and twisted the pretzels, dip them in the baking soda water for 30 seconds ish, let them rise another 10 minutes, and then bake ‘em.

I just can’t even tell you how delicious they were. Make them please! And then come share :)

Jamie Oliver’s Best Ever Tomato Sauce

Dang. Another post with no pictures. When will I remember?! I actually have some pictures of other things I need to post but I wanted to do this one because it reaaalllyyy is ammaaaazing and SO healthy! Abby ate it for dinner and two days in a row for lunch! I don’t have a link for this one because I got from a magazine, so I’ll have to write it all down! Eek!

On a side note, after indulging in Nutella and Peep s’mores as late night snacks for a while, I tried a regular Hershey’s and marshmallow one this evening; the Nutella and Peep ones blow it out of the water! Just slather some Nutella on both sides of the graham cracker (only bake one of them) and plop a peep on there. Place it on a baking sheet under your oven with the broiler on low and there you have it. A NuPeela s’more. Doesn’t so much have a ring. And P.S. the NuPeela’s are not nearly as messy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small onions
  • 1 trimmed leek note: omitted
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 zucchinis note: shred on box grater
  • 2 carrots note: shred on box grater
  • large pinch of oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small butternut squash note: omitted because I am forbade by the family to ever try to cook this again
  • 4 14.5oz cans plum tomatoes w/juice note: i used 2 28oz cans of whole tomatoes 
  • 2 cups water
  • salt & pepers

Chop or shred all your veggies, except Mr. Butternut. Ha, that didn’t seem nearly as funny as it whizzed across my mind to write.  Heat a large saucepan (might want to use a pot; I used a 14in skillet..I think) and add a T of olive oil, followed by all the veggies. Add the oregano and bay leaves and cook slowly for about 20 minutes, or until everything softens (cause you’ll be blending it later).  While that’s going on, peel Mr. Butternut, cut him in half, scoop out and discard the seeds; coarsely grate the flesh. Since I declined to include Mr. Butternut in my little soiree, I can only assume Mr. Oliver means to grate him on the box grater as well. Add it to the veggies. Add tomatoes, 2c water, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Take it off the heat, fetch out your bay leaves (easier said than done), and let the sauce cool before placing it into your blender. IF you’re COOL enough to have an immersion blender, use that. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. EASY PEASY.

Ok, not entirely. The prep work does take some planning when you have small children, but even that went quickly. And I’m pretty sure I’m just going to grate all my vegetables from now on. So much easier than chop chop chopping away. Especially with my knives. I tossed it with some penne pasta and there was dinner. BUT, the sauce is seriously delicious and jam packed full of vegetables. My four year old loved it. I actually think it would make a terrific manicotti or lasagna sauce too. And another bonus?! This is a double batch, so freeze the other half for later! :)

Pizza Bites

I’m fairly certain I mentioned this before, but I’m currently crushing on mini food. If I can plop it in a mini muffin pan, I want to make it. So what’s better than mini, mouth-sized bites of pizza? Not much. I also brought these to MOPS; they’re a great make-ahead-and-take food. They are better warmed up though, in my opinion. The recipe came from Lick the Bowl Good and was really easy to make. I actually had everything on hand already, which is a miracle because if its not on the menu, I don’t buy it! I’m a very strict grocery-list-only-shopper. As far as the website, I must encourage you to look at some of her other recipes, because they certainly do look lick worthy.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning note: I used basil and oregano, eyeballed
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce

Mix all the dry ingredients and spices, then the wet, and then the cheese. Let it rest for 10 minutes and voila! you’re done. It was super simple. Unfortunately, I only got 22 mini muffins out of it :( But they were very tasty and UHdorable. Which is all that really matters. I was really impressed with the consistency of the muffin/bread part. The inside was nice and hole-y, fluffy. I just wasn’t expecting it to be like that I guess because I didn’t use yeast or actually make dough or bread in the traditional sense. Anywho, these are another great food for potlucks, baby showers, picnics, etc. It’s always good to have a few easy, yummy, transportable, and cute foods in your repertoire!

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread MINI-Muffins

Say that three times fast. I’m pretty sure I don’t have pictures of these little cuties and for that I’m sorry. I go to MOPS every other Friday and haven’t really taken food very often (we have breakfast there) until I started working Thursday evenings and decided that would be a great time to cook for the next morning :) These were easy to make and perfect for our brunch-y, breakfast-y, bring-whatever-you-can-make Friday morning potluck. They would also make good appetizers, picnic food, party food, etc. You can eat them at room temperature, but if you can heat them up a bit in the microwave before serving (or right out of the oven of course), go for it. They were spicy, but not offensively so. Apparently my love of spice developed during pregnancy never went away. My family isn’t that happy about it. Lily however, doesn’t seem to mind :o)

The recipe comes from Love and Butter.

And just so you know, these are incredibly cheap to make. Also a bonus ;)
Ingredients :

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (leave the seeds. dare you.)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 8oz can cream style corn
  • 8.5oz box corn muffin mix

Mix the egg, canned chiles, and corn together. Add the cheese and jalapeno. Open the muffin mix into another bowl and make a well in the center. Add the wet ingredients. Stir about 20 times. Spoon into your mini muffin pan and bake at 400 for 13 minutes (20 for regular muffins).
But really, you should check out the website version cause she has pretty pictures :) I WILL make these again. They are definitely a keeper for all things potluck, take-food-type events. I swear I’m going to do a hyphen-useage tutorial. And more things made in muffin pans. Especially mini stuff. Or mini food in general. It’s kind of my thing right now. Speaking of my things, check out my pin boards at Pinterest :)

Happy Easter! Egg edition.

So I didn’t do all the Easter-y crafts I had set out to do. That’s life though, isn’t it? And my kids are clean and fed (ish), so that’s really all that matters. I did want to share what we did accomplish though :)

Dinosaur Eggs

dino eggs

very neat alternative

I got the idea for these at Our Best Bites another fantastic website that keeps me up at night. You boil the eggs as usual and then roll them or squeeze them a bit to create little cracks in the shell. You don’t want to peel it or have large chunks missing, just small, spider webby (i do what i want) cracks. Fill some cups with liquid food coloring (these keeps them still edible so you can make dino mash egg salad), about 20 drops, and then drop the eggs in and leave them overnight. Peel as usual :)

Egg Garland

easter garland

love

This idea came from yet another cool blog (there are SO many!) called Eighteen25. This was actually also really easy and cheap. We bought a bunch of little eggs and some clear, elastic jewelry…twine..no, string? Rope? You know, the stuff out of which people make necklaces (i like challenging myself not to end sentences with prepositions). Moving on, this was something that Abby was able to help with too. You just string the…string through the holes already in the eggs, tie off and there ya go. Abby could only do an egg every 6 minutes or so because they are small holes and she’s stilling working on her hand-eye coordination, but practice makes progress yo.

I actually think you could make this quite chic. I also liked the look of leaving the eggs not snapped together. You could even spray paint them during the holidays and reuse? Maybe gold and silver? Go crazy. And I have something to tell you. That picture up there is not a picture of my garland. It’s dark out and there’s no way I’m gonna get a good picture now.

Resurrection Eggs (Easter advent calendar)

Probably my favorite. No, definitely :) The original props go to the How Does She blog. This was my favorite because a) its about the true meaning of Easter and b) because  Abby and I got to have a scavenger hunt looking for the stuff!

resurrection egg items

1. And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) –>we used a medicine cup that would fit in the egg

2. Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. (Matthew 26:14-15) –>3 dimes

3. Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. (Matthew 27:1-2)–>piece of twine or string

4. When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:24-26)–>the only soap we had that would fit in the egg was a dishwasher packet, but you could cut a chunk off of a bar of soap

5. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.  (Matthew 37:28-30)–>we went outside and cut an inch section off a plant with thorns on the stem

6. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. (Matthew 27:31-32)–>a nail. press the nail into your hand; imagine the pain

7. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. (Matthew 27:35-36)–>dice

8. And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, (Matthew 27:50-25)–>rocks

9. When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. (Matthew 27:57-60)–>we used a piece of paper towel

10. Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. (Matthew 27:60, 65-66)–>large stone

11. When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him….And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  (Mark 16:1, Matthew 28:2-5)–>spices in a snack bag

12. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. (Mark 16:6)–>empty! :)

There are few different versions of this out there using different items, different verses, a little bit of a different order, but the message is not lost! We also did one at MOPS the day after I found this one so we’re going to open those eggs, each one, Easter morning (tomorrow!) and then read the account of the crucifixion from Abby’s children’s Bible before the Easter basket hoopla. I’ve also heard you can buy a ‘resurrection egg kit’ at Hobby Lobby :)

Here is the particular recipe for the resurrection rolls we’ll be making. You can also make them with biscuits, but I have crescent rolls on hand ;)

Happy Easter. He is risen. We win. The end.

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