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Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Joys


I love Christmas. We have enjoyed starting our own family Christmas traditions while we were overseas, and it was fun to continue some of those this year. One things we decided was that we would have donuts for breakfast Christmas morning. Now I usually make them but since we are a couple blocks away from a Krispy Kreme, I decided to seize the opportunity and get the good stuff. After dinner Christmas Eve we went to look at Christmas lights, I loved doing this as a child, so it was fun taking Calvin. We went to an older prominent part of town and every house looked so quaint. We had fun picking out our favorites. Calvin even enjoyed the show. The little guy didn't fall asleep until after 9:00, that's super late for a guy who goes to be at 7:30.
I found this slide on Craig's list and was so excited to give it to Calvin. He loves to slide at the park and he certainly was excited when he saw it. He is getting to be quite the climber now and has tried his best to get up the slide part, fortunately it doesn't work well in socks. We have to watch him now due to his climbing skills. He surprisingly has very good balance, today he was standing up on his little rocking horse and letting go of his grasp. His daddy was impressed, I however was terrified.
We spent time with both sides of the family and enjoyed our time with them. Calvin was the center of attention at my parents. He's the only grandchild and the youngest great grandchild. We had lunch with my grandma at the nursing home and he received a lot of attention from all the residents.
After some time with my family we headed to Marvin's family and it was great to see everybody. Calvin had a blast playing with his cousins. I love watching him around other children and the girls love showing him what to do. For a kid who doesn't need much we sure brought a bunch of new toys home. He has been pushing his new dump truck all over the house today and I am thankful for new books (I was getting bored of reading the same ones everyday). So it was a great Christmas and great time with family. We are thankful we were close enough to enjoy it with them this year.

Christmas Projects

Since everyone has received their Christmas present from us I can safely post the things I made this year. I had a lot of fun finding some neat things to create for people this Christmas. Marvin and I both love being givers and that hope Calvin can learn how to be a cheerful giver one day.

First up are towels that I sewed a ribbon to both sides. They turned out very cute. The polka dot towels are my favorite.

Next up was a purse to hold the ponies I got for our nieces. This was inspired by something I saw that was to hold crayons. I modified it and it turned out pretty cute.

These purses open up and they can store ponies or whatever else you want inside. I'm planning on making something like this for Calvin's toys to put in our diaper bag. It's always a pain that they are at the bottom of the bag. I want something I can pull out quickly.


I saw a website on how to make your own bows out of magazine pages. They were too cute. Here's the site if your interested they are very easy:


Of course we had to make some goodies to share with friends. This year we "made" chocolate chip pancake mix & chocolate cake in a mug. We tried both and they were delicious.

I found the Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Pancake mix recipe on the Right at Home Website (Johnson Family Company). It originally was for dried fruit instead of chocolate chips but you can never go wrong when you add chocolate.
The Chocolate Cake in a Mug was on this website: http://www.5dollardinners.com/2008/12/christmas-gifts.html

Menu for the Week

Last week I plain forgot to post our menu. I was so busy working on several projects but thankfully they all turned out well, but that's for the next post.

Monday-Corn Chowder in Bread bowls with side salad

Tuesday-Sweet and Sour Turkey, cooked carrots & side salad
Wednesday: Steaks, Twice baked potatoes, steamed broccoli & homemade bread

Thursday: HAPPY NEW YEAR! Large breakfast since Marvin has the day off, YAY!!! French toast using the homemade bread from night before and fruit. Dinner: Pizza, tossed salad, peas & carrots
Friday: Shepherd's pie (I think vegetarian, but I need to find the recipe first), side salad and left over veggies
Saturday: Leftover mania!

Last week I went a bit over budget, so I'm determined this week to stay under. Last week we spent $70.32, largely due to the fact I bought Tahini, yikes I didn't know it was that pricey and we were traveling. Oh well, the hummus was yummy and I can make more now that I have Tahini.


This week was much better as I spent $41.66 but I still need to buy eggs. I hate it when I forget my list. It's crazy how much more food you can buy if you don't have those big ticket items like diapers and Tahini.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Week in Review

Saturday Calvin and I headed to Manhattan to see my little bro Graduate! After lots of years at K-State, he finally is finished. Congrats Aaron!!!!


Sunday: Marvin and I were Mary and Joseph at an event called a Night in Bethlehem. There was a great turn out and Calvin got to hang out with grandpa and grandma while we were busy in the stable. I didn't really think about the fact that I am allergic to hay and immediately I started coughing and by breathing became tighter, but I stuck it out because the show must go on. I am still having trouble with this respiratory junk. Last night I had to sleep on the couch because I couldn't stop coughing. I knew Marvin had to be up early so I thought it was silly if both of us didn't get any sleep. The next time someone asks me to be in a stable for a couple of hours I will say no, for health reasons obviously. Here are so pictures from Sunday:


My Dad enjoying the bread shop.


Weaving

Calvin even ran into his buddy at the woodworking shop.


My mom took this picture which explains why Marvin's head is cut off. You can't see from this picture but we had a little goat and a donkey in the stable too. Oh an Marvin grew a beard for his part.

Here are the goods from my grocery shopping this week. I decided to take a picture because a few blogs I follow do this and I always think that it doesn't look like very many groceries. I decided to compare mine to theirs, once I got everything out of the bags I was amazed at how 'little' there was. I did pretty good this week, the only thing not pictured is a bag of chips I bought on Friday. The grand total for this week was $37.09 for Dillons and Aldi. I am really trying to work with a $50.00/week budget these next couple of months while Marvin's work is a bit slow and he has fewer hours. We'll see how I do.

QUESTION: Does anyone go to a bread discount stores for their bread? Is bread cheaper than it is at Aldi? (I usually pay $1.69 for whole grain and then I buy Whole Grain White for $1.29.) Let me know.

The rest of the week was spent sewing. I have been working diligently during Calvin's naps to try to finish a few Christmas projects and to get my quilt finished. I finally got Calvin's zipper fixed in his heavy winter coat. It looks uglier than sin, but it now zips and I was too frustrated to rip it out for the gazillionth time. I hate ripping seams out. I finished sewing the kitchen curtains, this project is long overdue, but am happy that they are finished. I am very close to finishing my quilt, I am so excited. I have it pieced together now it's time to put the backing on. And most of my Christmas projects are almost complete. I know I like to start way too many projects, it might drive a few people crazy but it keeps me motivated and I have told myself that I will finish every single one of them. Can't wait to show you guys pictures. So that is what we were up to this week. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Busy Toddler

Calvin has kept us busy lately. He still remains a child who never stops moving, but he is a lot of fun and we love all that energy of his. (Sometimes more than others.) He started saying mama recently which has been beautiful, the whining has substantially gone down and it just is fun to hear words come out of his mouth. He is pretty good about signing more, please and all done but it's nice to hear him say a few things.

I thought I'd share a few good pictures of Calvin in action. Enjoy!

I discovered him like this yesterday while I was fixing dinner. He is very into seeing if his body fits into things right now. I am ready for the day when he remembers he can't stand up under the table. One of these days he'll remember, until then he'll continue to get extras hugs and kisses from mama.
He loves sitting in this pan. He fits perfectly.
He is quite the observer, he always has been, but now we are seeing him act out things he has learned. Yesterday morning he grabbed one of my weights and walked over the the TV and started lifting it up and down. The TV wasn't even on, it was pretty cute.
And now this is what happens when I leave something on the table within Calvin's reach. Nice!

In a funk

I am definitely a procrastinator. I always have been, and it certainly is a character flaw I try to work on, but lately I have let it get the best of me. I've been staying on top of things in the kitchen but everything else has seemed to be put off. Laundry is one of those tasks that has been something I have put off until absolutely necessary lately. I think it is partially due to the fact that it's freezing in our utility room and I hate going in there. So today I decided to get on it before it gets the best of me. I even picked up the house a bit and after this is posted I'm off to clean the bathrooms. I was thinking of what kind of set this off and I concluded it was when Marvin was on vacation. Our little routine was interrupted, in a good way of course, but I just never got back on track. So I'm hoping to spend less time piddling on the Internet and more time being productive during Calvin's nap times. Marvin's work schedule has changed quite a bit this winter. Last week he worked late several days but this week he has come home early. So my new goal is to work out and shower by noon! I know, that may seem to baffle some of you but I have been working out during Calvin's afternoon nap, therefore getting ready for the day is delayed a bit. There have been a few days that Marvin came home early and I was still in my workout clothes, which look a lot like the clothes I wore to bed. I really try to look a little more put together than that when he gets home. So those are my challenges for the next week before we head out of town for Christmas.

On a completely random note we've been watching The Biggest Loser this season and of course we have been rooting for the Black team because Heba and Vicky just drove us crazy, so we were very pleased to see Michelle win. Even though certain people drove us crazy on the show, it was so great to see how amazing they look now. I know it was a lot of work. It's funny how I was so proud and happy for these people I don't even know.

Okay off to work out and clean!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Meals this week

Monday: Turkey Tetrazzini with salad, steamed veggies, & cranberry jello
Tuesday: Potato Soup with homemade rolls, pears, and salad
Wednesday: King Ranch Turkey Casserole, steamed veggies, clemintines, and salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Turkey Fried Rice w/ lots of veggies & fruits
Saturday: Biscuits and Gravy
Sunday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad & steamed veggies

I didn't go to the grocery store today because it's just too stinkin cold. (Marie I am impressed you actually took a walk in this stuff today.) The thought of getting Calvin out in this weather was enough to keep up at home. He isn't the easiest person to get bundled up and we usually lose a hat or mitten before he is finished getting ready. I desprately need to go tomorrow as we are running out of the basics and there are several great deals at Dillons this week that I need to take advantage of. It's times like these I wish you could just submit my order and they'd deliver my groceries to my door. Wouldn't that be beautiful.....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things on my Heart

Calvin and I headed to the zoo on Monday because the weather was perfect and we wanted to soak up being outside while the weather allowed. We pulled in and I was getting the stroller out and notice this guy yelling at this young girl and she was walking quickly away from him. He followed her yelling ugly things, things children should not be hearing. She was too far from him and heading our direction so he went to get his car. Our paths crossed just as her boyfriend drove up. She was crying and shaking and kept saying she was okay. I could feel her boyfriend burning a hole in the back of my head with his glare. We chatted for a while, but I couldn't convince her to take that scary step and walk a little bit farther away from him. She assured me she called her mother and she would be fine, so I told her I would alert security. By the looks of things I could clearly see her boyfriend was not happy. I was really torn about what to do, for one thing I was deeply concerned for this girl, no one should ever be treated as she was treated, yet I had my son with me, whom God has called me to care for. So I let security handle the situation and I started praying.

As we walked through the zoo I was very shaken by this little encounter, abuse is something that makes my blood boil. In fact it infuriates me. But as I was praying a little of my heart was revealed as well. I was struck by my somewhat double standard, how terrible it is to abuse another person and yet how I do the same thing to God. I am not proud to admit but sometimes I do neglect God. I'm too 'busy' to spend time with him, too busy to be fed by him. My heart was suddenly ashamed and convicted of my sin. Sometimes these lessons aren't always easy to learn, but I am thankful for them and thankful for a forgiving God.

Seriously..who buys these things


Oh it's that time of year again. Time to be bombarded by things others think we need to have. I was at the store the other day and was really blown away by this one. Who really needs another appliance and this one for that matter, my guess is this is for your serious hotdog lover. (I appologize if anyone actually owns this.)


Monday, December 08, 2008

Meals this week

Monday-Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots , Rice & Salad

Tuesday-Texas Cowboy Pie, fruit, Salad & Steamed Veggies
NEW RECIPE from http://grocerycartchallenge.blogspot.com/2008/10/stretching-your-food.html

Wednesday-NEW RECIPE Black Bean & Corn Chili, Cheese Quesadillas & Side Salad

Thursday-Date Night

Friday-Left Overs, but making fudge and cookies for The Night in Bethlehem on Saturday and Sunday

Saturday-Waffles for breakfast then off to watch my little bro graduate from college!!

Sunday-NEW RECIPE Curried Turkey Salad Sandwiches, pickles, oven fries and steamed veggies
Marvin and I are Mary and Joseph on Sunday so Dinner we'll have pizzas pre-made and then frozen along with Salad & Fruit.


Things to Do in the Kitchen this week:
  • Cook Black Beans and freeze in baggies
  • Bake Muffins for the freezer
  • Mix up some waffles for the freezer
  • Make pizzas and freeze for Sunday Dinner
Help Please
I did the math and muffins & breads are a super cheap form of quick breakfasts and snacks for Marvin's lunch box. I'm on the hunt for some healthy recipes, so if you have any let me know. Also we are hoping to have Broccoli and Cheese soup in bread bowls this Christmas Eve, so I'm looking for a good recipe, the one I have is terrible. So bring on the recipes, as you can see I'm not afraid to try something new. In fact it is one of my favorite things.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Inflatable Fun

Calvin always loves it when his buddy comes to play. This week was no different, they had some serious fun in the "ball pit".

Shake Your Groove Thing

Enjoy Calvin's latest dance moves.

Why I love Walgreens


So last week Walgreens had some amazing Register Rewards. I was able to pick up a Christmas Tree for basically 15 dollars, and some other great deals. Then they sweetened the deal later in the week with more Register Rewards. So I had a ton to use this week. I paid 2 cents out of pocket for all this loot. That's right 2 cents, but I'll get $7.00 back in rebates at the end of the month. My husband was very impressed when I got home. It only took 3 transactions and lots of careful calculating, but it was well worth it!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Productivity

Whoa! Today our house was in need of some major cleaning. After traveling and getting out our Christmas decorations it was getting pretty desperate for some TLC. Here are two problem spots for me where things just seem to accumulate:


Now that's better!

After working like a crazy little bee during Calvin's nap both spaces are clutter free, for now. The table was a mess of stuff that I just kept adding to while we were decorating yesterday, so it took the bulk of my time because everything was from various parts of the house. I also got the dishes done and the recycling sorted, whew now that's getting a lot done in an hour and a half. My goal is for it to stay clutter free until I start my sewing projects next week.

Speaking of goals, I have several for this month.
  1. I'm making several Christmas gifts and one needs to be one ASAP and I hope to finish that before the weekend is over.
  2. I want to finish Calvin's baby book. It's half way finished and I don't have nearly as many pictures for the second half.
  3. I seriously want to finish the quilt I started a LONG time ago. I just need to piece the rows together and add the packing. I am making a cover for a blanket, for when we go overseas, since we already bought a blanket, it just needs a little beautifying.
  4. Make a few more burp cloths. I'd rather have that mess a bit more organized and it's amazing how much less space they take up when they are finished. Plus I figured while I have the machine out I should sew as much as possible.

So I guess I have my work cut out for me, considering we have busy weekends almost every weekend this month. How about you guys what are your problem areas of your house (I do hope I'm not the only one)? What are you planning on doing this Christmas season?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Good Eats for the Week

Here's our menu this week. Since Marvin's home for the week I hope to make a few warm lunches since he usually has sandwiches everyday, which means a bit more cooking but it's worth it.

Monday-Popcorn Chicken (from angel food) sweet potatoes, apples & raspberries
Tuesday-NEW RECIPE BBQ lentils over brown rice (I saw this on a website called 5 Dollar dinners http://www.5dollardinners.com/), steamed broccoli & fresh dinner rolls (see recipe below)
Wednesday-NEW RECIPE Pasta toss w/sausage & Peppers with a side salad, oranges and peas
Thursday-NEW RECIPE Potato Pizzas, Salad, raspberries and Steamed veggies
Friday-Homemade Chicken Nuggets, salad, home fries, pears
Saturday-Leftovers
Sunday-Speaking again so we'll be out of town for lunch and maybe we'll have some leftovers or popcorn chicken for dinner (we always get way too much of this stuff. Marvin loves it, but it's so-so in my book.)

Lunch ideas:
Mac & Cheese w/ veggies
Roasted Turkey legs with couscous & veggies
Egg Sandwiches (hey they are warm)
Chicken and Rice soup
Grilled Cheese

Without further ado here is my favorite bread recipe. Why is my favorite? Because you can put it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and it can be used for all sorts of things. I have used it for cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, and it has turned out great every time. Plus my husband loves meat, but we have a lot of meatless meals around our place, but I learned early into our marriage if I make him fresh bread he's a happy camper, even if there isn't meat on his plate.

No Rise Roll Mix
1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
½ c. Warm water

Dissolve then add to mix:
½ c. oil
1 c. buttermilk
(Add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to 1 c. regular milk and let stand for 5 minutes if you don't have buttermilk)
½ c. sugar
½ t. baking soda
5 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour & 2 1/2 c. white flour (approx. and I think it takes a bit more) *Original recipe called for 5 c. all purpose flour

Keep adding more flour till it forms a ball to knead. Knead well. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Make sure you use a container that has some extra space because it will rise in the fridge. Pull off what you need and bake it. For rolls I usually bake it at 350 for about 12 minutes.

So much to be thankful for

I hope you had a great thanksgiving. We had fun spending time with family and new friends in our whirlwind trip. We had a good time on Thanksgiving and like always more people came than expected, things were close quarters but there was enough food to go around. We seriously had the best turkey I've ever had in my life. Way to go Uncle Jeff, he certainly knows what he is doing, but I guess he is a professional. That turkey is going to be hard to beat and ranks right up there with the steak we had on our honeymoon. We had our dinner in a small room at the nursing home my grandma is at, so Calvin enjoyed running up and down the halls, being tempted by all the pretty things hanging on people's doors. The dressing was his favorite dish of the day, he loves bread in any form, so it's no surprise this is what he loved.

My bro took Calvin for a little spin up and down the halls. Calvin is so fascinated with my grandma's wheelchair.

We had a good time with Marvin's family, but it felt too short. Calvin was in love with the rocking horse Marvin's parents have. Every time he climbed up on the rocking horse all by himself it reminded me of how quickly he is growing up. He certainly loved the time he had with his cousins and loved playing with his Aunt Angie, we can't wait until Christmas.

Calvin did spectacular on our trip out to Colorado, he took some great naps in route and was able to be entertained while confined to his car seat the rest of the trip. We were able to stop at a park for lunch on the way and he had so much fun running around. We were thankful to spend a good solid hour playing before we had to get back in the car and drive some more. He always surprises me at how well he does. He certainly is a trooper.

We were excited to find out the hotel we were staying at had a pool, so we walked across the street and thankfully Alco still had a some swim wear because I didn't pack any. We didn't make the reservations, so we didn't know they had a pool. Calvin was a little cautious of the water but after a little warming up he was a splashing machine. It was a good little trip but we are glad to be home. Calvin was excited this morning when he woke up, he had to walk through the house to make sure all his toys were still here. He is still a bit clingy, he always gets this way when we travel a lot, but in a few days he'll be back to his independent self.

Marvin's on vacation this week and is planning on volunteering a bit, so we hope that goes well so that we can be one step closer to going back overseas. Most of the time I feel like we are in this waiting mode, waiting to get where He has asked us to go, but it was good to be reminded that He has us where he has us right now for his purpose. I was reminded how blessed we are, our Father is an amazing provider and we have seen time and time again how he provides for our needs. This year we have especially been aware of this, due to our unique situation. I am thankful to be able to be a voice for a people very forgotten by the body, even if this means taking a long road trip with a squirmy boy. I am thankful for an amazing husband who is so very patient and forgives my often loose critical tongue. I am so thankful that the Lord choose me to be his helpmate. I am so thankful for a sweet little boy who loves to give his mama kisses and for all the memories he has given me. I am thankful for friends and for opportunities to reconnect with so many who mean so much to us. I am thankful for a great family who loves us and that we enjoy being around. Praise the Lord for everything he has placed in our lives this year, even if it looked a little different than we anticipated. Slava Boga!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ready or not this week's already here

Why do weekends go by so quickly? We had a great weekend and I just love it when Marvin's home, but I am glad this is a short work week for him. This weekend we were able to go watch our nephew's state championship football game. I was a bit nervous how Calvin would do, I don't know why but I always think he is going to melt or something. He did great, even despite the fact that it started right during his morning nap and he didn't nap at all the brief car ride to the game like we hoped he would, but he did great just watching the game. At half time we grabbed the stroller, wrapped a blanket around him and attached the rain cover to block the wind. (I absolutely love our stroller, Maclaren's are awesome!) He was out within a minute of strolling, and slept right through the end of the game and all the celebrating afterwards, our nephew's team won, yeah! He only woke up when we had to put him in his car seat and he wasn't too thrilled about that.

He does so great with all this traveling we have to do. I hope he does well this holiday whirlwind trip we have coming up. We are off to my parent's late Wednesday, on Friday we head to Marvin's parents, then Saturday we head to Colorado, and Sunday we drive home. That's a lot of car time for a boy who likes to move. It may take us a while, but we'll get there. Despite all that car time I'm looking forward to seeing family. My little sister is moving to NC the day after Thanksgiving, so she won't be around like she has. It's a bummer for us, but we are glad she found a job.

I have a long list of things to do this week, several things I'd like to bake for the trip, plus I bought a Turkey and I need to cook that before we leave. (I couldn't resist buying cheap meat, so it looks like we'll be having a lot of turkey dishes in December, yum.)

Here is what we'll be having this week:
Monday-Crockpot Beef & Lentil Soup (NEW RECIPE) w/ HM Rolls & apple sauce

Tuesday-Buttermilk Berry Pancakes & Sausage Patties, maybe hash browns

Wednesday-Leftovers or Turkey sandwiches

Thursday-Bringing 3 pies: apple, cherry & pumpkin

Friday-Bringing Fresh Green Beans

Saturday-On the Road-I'm bringing some Pumpkin Apple Muffins (a friend posted the recipe and it sounds delicious), trail mix, apples & PBJ sandwiches, but we'll probably stop and let our little guy move a bit, but I'd rather feed him in the car so that when we stop he can move as much as possible. I never thought I'd want him to eat in the car, but feeding him takes up some time where he isn't completely bored.

Sunday-Lunch is being provided for us, but hopefully we can find a good place to stop on the way home.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oh Happy Days

So life bez (without a) pacifier is going much more smoothly. We've had a busy week filled with lots of time with friends, so it's helped tire Calvin out for his naps and bedtime. Yesterday Calvin was really fighting me as I carried him to his room and then all of a sudden it struck me that he needs a new little routine for his nap time. His pacifier was his signal that it was time for nap, we would go to his room and get it out of his bed, I'd hold him and rock back and forth for about a minute then I'd lay him down. He is so good about knowing what we do at bedtime, the other night after we brushed his teeth he walked into his room right over to the chair and looked at me while patting the chair. So I decided if we read a couple of books before nap, he would get it. It worked beautifully. He's sleeping soundly as I type and the best thing is there have been no tears.

It's amazing how much time I spend in the kitchen and I am so thankful that we have a play room off the kitchen so I can see exactly what Calvin is up to. But I can't count how many times a day he comes in and opens the cabinet to the pans and takes out the cooling racks(It's one of the few he can actually open). It must be something about those things because they are a favorite. Well the other day I got tired of picking them up and now they up higher where little hands can't reach. But don't worry he has moved on to pans, they seem to be more fun, because he can put things in them. I just love this stage that he is in now, container play. He loves any type of container, he'll spend forever nesting yogurt containers, and recently he has been into trying to get the lids back on things. Yesterday we spent a good hour finding things to put in an empty box and then emptying it and starting over. I felt so blessed yesterday being able to play with him and his box. He was so thrilled over this box every time he'd fill it up I'd clap and he would come over and give me a kiss or a hug. It's things like this that I want to never forget. I love my job!



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ChaChing!

So yesterday I mentioned there was a sale at goodwill, everything was 50% off for 2 hours. I picked Marvin up from work and dropped the boys off at home and made a mad dash there. 30 minutes later I walked out of the store with the following: 3 Shirts for Marvin, 1 shirt for Calvin, 2 skirts, 1 pair of pants, 4 long sleeve shirts, 2 short sleeved shirts, and a fleece pullover. I got all of this for $23.05. I am sure if I had more time I could have found some other great finds, I'm pretty particular and my rule is I don't buy it unless I would have bought it for full price. So I carefully inspect the quality and look them over for any stains etc. I was so excited for all my great buys. Now I have a little more variety, sweet.


Last night was rough without the pacifier. As I type Calvin is crying and so tired. I am torn between going in there all the time and just letting him try to calm himself. I hope he learns quickly, the poor guy was exhausted this morning. I think the only reason he woke up is because he was hungry. Poor guy, well he's been crying for a while so I better go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Requested Recipes

Shortly before getting married I took a bunch of my mom's recipes and typed them up. Since then I've kept our family favorites updated with new recipes I've encountered. This has been a smart move since we've moved so much and unexpectedly never returned to our home. I haven't had to worry about where to find that recipe, it's on our computer and we bring that everywhere. Well I need to get busy once again and type up a few more I have discovered recently. Marie requested a few of the recipes so hopefully typing them here will motivate me to finish the rest of them.

Garlic Studded Pork Loin with Potatoes and Carrots
from The Wellness
Lowfat Cookbook (University of California at Berkeley)

1/3 c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed (I used pineapple, orange, apple)
3 T. Dijon mustard (I used honey mustard, since i forgot to buy Dijon mustard)
1 t. reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
6 cloves of garlic
1 small boneless pork loin (about 1 3/4 lb.) trimmed and tied
1 c. chicken stock
(increased to 2 c. chicken broth and then added 1 c. water for the crock pot)
1 lb. small red potatoes, unpeeled
3 medium sized carrots
2 t. cornstarch


1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. In a small bowl, combine the pineapple juice concentrate, mustard, soy sauce, salt and pepper.

3. Peel the garlic and cut each clove lengthwise into thirds. With a sharp knife, make 18 slits randomly in the pork loin. Tuck a piece of garlic into each slit.

4. Place the pork loin in a small roasting pan and brush the pork with half of the pineapple-mustard mixture. Pour 1/2 c. of the chicken stock into the bottom of the pan. Roast the pork loin 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile quarter the red potatoes. Cut the carrots into 1/2 inch thick slices. Spray a shallow pan with nonstick cooking spray, place the vegetables in the pan and roast them until the pork is done.

6. Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Brush the pork with the remaining pineapple-mustard mix and continue roasting until it is cooked through and the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 45 minutes longer.

7. Remove the pork from the roasting pan and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile skim and discard the fat from the pan juices. Stir together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/2 c. stock.

8. Add stock mixture to the roasting pan and set over medium-low heat. Stir to incorporate any browned bits clinging to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.

9. Slice the pork an serve it with the roasted vegetables and sauce.

Now you know the original recipe, here's what I actually did. After reading all the steps I thought it sounded like it would take up too much time and I didn't have that kind of time today, (there is a sale at the goodwill later, yep you heard right I really am that cheap, but in my defense this mama doesn't have many clothes, remember the part about never going back home, and I thought this would be a great chance to see if I can pick up some sweet finds). So I broke out the crockpot and poured 2 cups of broth on the bottom, slit the pork loin and added the garlic, like the directions stated. Place it in the crock pot. Made up the pineapple-mustard mix and poured 1/2 of it over the pork. Sliced up the potatoes and carrots and placed them around the pork. I then poured the remaining pineapple-mustard mixture over the potatoes, and added water to cover the pork. Turned it on high for 6 hours. When it is finished I am planning on using some of the the juices to make the sauce. Here's my plan dissolve the cornstarch into 2 cups of the juices, using a saucepan stir over a medium heat until thickened. Serve sauce over potatoes and carrots. I may pop the pork in the oven to brown it a bit, but we will see how much time I have.

The verdict: It smells wonderful, can't wait to eat dinner, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Braised Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes
from Healthy Homestyle Cooking-200 of your family favorite recipes with a fraction of the fat

4 lean center-cut pork chops 3/4 inch thick (6 ounces each)
1 T. Olive Oil or Canola oil
1 c. chicken stock
1c. unsweetened apple juice (I'll be using this pineapple orange apple juice)
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. each salt and pepper
1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, cut across into 1/4 inch slices

1. Trim pork and dredge in flour.

2. Saute the pork chops in oil until browned on both sides

3. Keep chops warm and return skillet to heat, then add the chicken stock, apple juice, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring this mixture to a boil, stir mixture continuously. Lower heat so that the mixture is simmering.

4. Return chops to pan with sweet potatoes, cover and simmer about 45 minutes or until the chops are cooked through and juices run clear.

Verdict: Flavorful and great for company, Marvin doesn't care for sweet potatoes, but he liked this recipe. It only requires time on the front end, once it is simmering you can leave it on the stove and don't have to attend to it. It will take about 20 minutes of your time to make this recipe.

So there you go Marie. Let me know if you want the other recipes. Now I'm going to read before our little guy wakes up. Today is Day ONE Bez (without) pacifier. He is finally feeling better so I decided to take the plunge. He has been doing pretty well, although I did rock him to sleep this morning. But somehow I didn't mind, I love it when he snuggles and it doesn't happen often.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday, Mondays

This is what I want to be doing right now!

It's amazing I am functioning right now, didn't get much sleep last night. There was a time in my life when I could pull all nighters or sleep very little and still be able to hang through the next day. Apparently those days are long over.

The last week has been very busy. On top of sewing projects I was preparing for a conference. I was able to lead a few sessions at a teen retreat this weekend, and it's funny how being around teenagers makes you feel old. I got home on Saturday and was asleep by 8:30 p.m., it was beautiful and I truly think it is the only reason why I was able to stay up until 2:00 a.m last night, (I guess that Diet Coke helped too). Marvin was trying to finish some reading for the class he is taking and I needed to finalize my grocery list, and get my coupons & house in order. We went to see my parents and sister yesterday and since Marvin had a ton of reading to do I drove, so I didn't get much time to do what I usually do on Sunday evenings and I had to find a recipe for the pork I was going to use this week. I really hate it when I forget where the recipe I want to make is located. So here's this week's menu, unfortunately I haven't thought through lunches yet, but I still have 30 minutes till Calvin wakes up.

Monday-Baked Tostadas using up the left over meat and beans with rice and corn.

Tuesday- NEW RECIPE Garlic Studded Pork Loin w/ Potatoes & Carrots with a side salad
Wednesday- Braised Pork Chops w/sweet potatoes and green beans and maybe mashed potatoes (I have a lot I need to use up)

Thursday-Left Over or Date Night?

Friday- Pumpkin soup w/ HM rolls and tossed salads with grilled chicken and sliced boiled eggs.

Saturday- Out for the day **But we pick up our angel food order**

Sunday- Something from the Angel food box and then a pot luck for dinner I'm bringing a green salad and some HM Rolls. (Angel food is something our church does, check out if you area has it because it's a great deal. For $30 you get enough food to feed a family of 4 for a week. Now some of the things I would never buy at the store, like freezer pre-made stuff, but it's nice to have some of these things around for those busy times when it's hard to get dinner on the table. It certainly has saved us some cash, because we would have gone out to get something if we didn't have something tucked in our freezer.)


Last week Walgreens had a sale on pudding 4/$1 and Marvin loves pudding. He usually takes a little pudding cup in his lunches but I had a brilliant idea of making up his pudding ahead of time and putting it in individual containers, so simple yet I hadn't thought of it before. I'm also doing this with his applesauce. It's much cheaper especially when you can get a good deal on instant pudding and there will be less to take the recycling center. I think the little bowls were $2.50 at Target so these will pay themselves off in a hurry. Plus I can add a dab or cool whip on these and make my hubby's day!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sewing Projects

Here's what I've been up to lately. I have enjoyed staying busy sewing my little heart out. I've started a couple new projects that require a bit more hand sewing so I'll post those when I'm done. I've made lots of burp cloths, which was a little adventure. The Gerber diapers at Wal-mart were terrible quality so half way into sewing them, I decided to switch the backing to terry cloth towels, I liked how they were much softer, but left me with a white fuzz everywhere after cutting them. This was definitely a learning experience, as I tried several ways of putting them together and just yesterday figured out the best way to do so. I also made a few bibs and a nursing cover for a friend anxiously waiting for their baby to come, Sherry Lynn I hope he comes today. Sorry for the lack of surprise to anyone having a baby, or just had a baby. Overall I liked making the bibs and nursing cover the best, but I think if I use the new way I put together the burp cloths then I wouldn't mind making those. Marvin has been reading his brains out for the class he is taking so it's been nice having something to keep me busy at night. Who knows I might even start selling them. What do you think, is there a market?

Monday, November 10, 2008

On Our Plates This Week

I've enjoyed seeing what other people are having for dinner so I decided to post what we'll be having. Bon Appetite!

Monday-Tuna Gravy over HM (Homemade) Biscuits, Peas, Tossed Salad & Grapes

Tuesday-Spaghetti, w/ whole wheat pasta, tossed Salad, & Cooked Carrots (Can you believe Calvin has never had this meal, I don't think I've made it since this summer.)

Wednesday-Left Overs or I like to call Smorgasbord Buffet!

Thursday-Date Night Eating Out!

Friday-(I'm out of town at a conference) I'll make up some spanish rice and bean burritos for the boys

Saturday-Taco Salad Bowls along with leftover spanish rice. I'll be home around dinner time so I'll throw everything together once I get home or Marvin can warm everything up if I'm running late.

Sunday-All of us are Out of Town

Snacks for the week:
ะกrackers & raisins
Yogurt
Applesauce with Cottage Cheese
Bagel
Bananas & cheerios
Cheese cubes & pears (or apples)
Pumpkin Waffles

Now lunches are where I struggle. Here's what I've got so far:
Turkey wraps
Bagel Pizzas
Chicken & rice
Pancakes (Freeze extras)
Grilled Cheese
Quesadillas

Stirring it Up

Well since my last post we have snapped 4 gross things. I am certainly relieved they are dead and haven't seen any more action since Thursday. My jumpiness has subsided a bit, and I am not stomping every time I go in the kitchen. I was reminded of a little guy on our team overseas who was so terrified of dogs and sometimes cats. When they came to visit we were outside and one of the cats came around and this little guy kept repeating, "I'm bigger than you cat." Priceless, so I am using his little trick to make me a little braver. Thanks little E!

Lately I have been busy working on a few sewing projects, possibly to sell at some point. I am REALLY bad about starting something and not finishing it, so this is going to be a stretching experience for me. One of my projects is about 1/2 of the way finished and I am already excited to start the next project. Thankfully I have a great husband who reminds me to finish what I started. I'll post some more pictures when they are a little more completed.

I was so pumped to do my grocery shopping this week. Dillons was having an awesome mix and match deal and I had a ton of coupons that matched the sales. I didn't do as good as I thought I would due to the fact that they were out of several items so I had to trade a few things out of my plan, but that's what I get for shopping on Monday, I should have gone last Wednesday, but I had already done my shopping for the week and didn't want to dip into the next week's grocery money. My receipt says I saved $81.04 and I had $33.64 worth of coupons before some of them doubled. AWESOME! It's so funny how excited I get to save money.

Calvin learned how to spin in a circle this weekend and thinks it is the coolest thing. We aren't really encouraging this due to his bruise factor. (He likes to have at least one bruise on his face at all times.) But I must admit it is the cutest thing to watch. Another cute thing is that he is starting to do the actions to a few songs, he'll clap when we sing 'If your happy and you know it' and the 'soup song'. One day we were eating soup for lunch and I started to sing this song, so now he thinks every song should have the same actions (BTW I made it up). So he is stirring it up to Jesus Loves me and He's got the whole world in his hands. Love It!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Home Invasion

Some of you know about my phobia of "gross things". Yes I have developed this probably unhealthy disdain for little gross things that come unexpectedly into your home without an invitation. If you also know me I don't call these by their real name but choose to refer these as "gross things". Well last night I heard some rustling and quickly told Marvin he needed to check it out. Of course he didn't hear anything, but decided to get some reading done in the play room while I watched the election coverage. Pretty soon came back and calmly told me he found my "friend". YUCK! So he set up some sticky traps to try to capture the thing, but he didn't see our little intruder again.

This morning I was loading the dishwasher and all of a sudden I saw this disgusting thing run across the floor and I screamed, swept a screaming Calvin up and ran out of the room (he was screaming because I scared him). Of course it is impossible to stay out of the kitchen, so when I finally was brave enough to return I turned the radio up loudly and stomped everywhere I went. It was quite a sight, but what's a girl going to do when it's only 11:00 and your husband doesn't get home until 6:00. So we will be avoiding this part of the house until Marvin comes home. I hate these things! They funny thing is that Calvin eventually started to stomp too. They certainly pick up things quickly.

If this is not bad enough we also have been killing wasps right and left during the afternoon. Marvin thinks they are coming from the attic. So I guess in between screaming from sightings of gross things and killing wasps life should be pretty normal around here. I hope they both go away soon.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fall fun with Charlie Brown


Well I didn't find a yellow shirt anywhere, but when I got home I remembered he had one when he was in 3-6 month clothes and decided to see if it still fit. I was very surprised to see it would do the trick, so while he was napping I sewed on the felt. I couldn't resist putting it on him immediately after he woke up and he made the cutest little Charlie Brown. Marvin thinks I should have put his little hair thing up higher but I didn't want the marker to die his blonde hair. (I used a dry erase marker and wasn't sure what it would do to his hair.) So this little costume was a whopping 25 cents to make, you can't beat that. (Notice the nice bruise on his forehead, he has managed to hit his head 3 times in the same spot in 4 days. We are thinking about making him wear a headband to protect his little head, but he would never leave it on.)


We had a fun day and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We went to the library for story time, where he was even recognized as Charlie Brown. I was pretty happy because the day before I took him to Dillon's because they were having a special thing for kids and my Uncle works there, as I finished up some shopping this is what a lady said to me, "Oh did he get a hold of a marker?". We had a good laugh after I told her he was supposed to be Charlie Brown. She totally got it after she saw his shirt. So I opted not to draw on his head on Friday.




We headed to the zoo in the afternoon where Calvin had fun watching the penguins and seeing all the animals in the Children's area. I let him walk around a bit and of course he kept trying to pick up every leaf in sight until a peacock strolled past him and he took off after it.


We had planned on going to a thing our church was doing, but Marvin worked late and didn't get home until 6:30 and by the time we finished dinner it was 7:00 and Calvin usually goes to bed at 7:30. So we had fun playing in the playroom before he went to bed. These are the best pictures I got of the day. (Calvin never stops moving so it was tough to get a good picture of him.)



Watching the penguins swim around

Trying to figure out how to get to the water under the bridge



His eye was on the prize!




What a goofy little guy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Charlie Brown or Karate Kid?

A couple of weeks ago I posted how we had been discussing Halloween in our house. I appreciate the comments you gave me, here's what we decided.

We were talking about it again and then Marvin shed some great light on the topic. This is what he said, "Maybe we are looking at it from the wrong perspective, this whole time we have been talking about the reasons why it would be okay or not, maybe we should look at it like this: Does it glorify God." What great insight. So our church will host an even called light up the night tomorrow night at a family's house and we are going to go and hopefully be able to share our faith while we are there. It really is a cool event that gets people who are already out who might not normally go to church or take their kids to a church function there will be a lot of games and a story time where the truth will be presented. We are meeting people where they are at, how cool is that.

So we might dress Calvin up as Charlie Brown but I still have to find a yellow shirt somewhere. I haven't had any successes so far. I am going to try Old Navy today, we'll see if we are successful. If this fails I have a karate uniform I got in a lot of clothes I bought off of craigslist, I know it's really random, but it will work. Check our blog tomorrow to see what Calvin is wearing.

Vote for....not him

Yesterday Calvin and I picked Marvin up from work and as we pulled in we noticed a sign in our yard to vote for a guy running for county commission. They put it next to the telephone pole, so my guess is that it is city property. This really frustrated us to no end because the sign was in our yard and nobody asked us, and there is no way we would ever support this candidate. He has had problems managing his personal life and business. Sorry Mr. Gabel we don't want to vote for you and stop putting signs in our yard.

Here is what I found on the Wichita Eagle's website about this guy:
http://www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/story/571226.html
Republican Craig Gabel has a long history of legal and financial problems, including 15 complaints by women, two arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence, more than 80 citations for rental property violations, a bankruptcy filing and nearly $30,000 owed in back property taxes and fees. In addition, some of Gabel's campaign proposals are just plain goofy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Do I have to?

It is no fun being sick and taking care of someone at the same time. Yuck. I did manage to get dressed today, yesterday I spent the day on the couch watching Calvin destroy the living room. He was very sweet and brought me books every two minutes. We seriously have a giant mess of a house right now and laundry needs to be done, but I could care less. At least I got some sleep last night, thanks to some night time meds, but I felt so much more rested this morning.

I asked Marvin to pick up some day time medicine for me last night on his way home from class. I completely forgot why I never buy the liquid stuff until this morning when I tried to take 2 T of that stuff. I think I got 1 T. down, but after gagging numerous times I ended that little endeavor. I guess I'll stick to the tablets. Seriously who would voluntarily drink that stuff?

I desperately need to go to the grocery store today but have zero motivation. It's days like this when I all I think is, do I have to? I guess we will get by on survival mode until this cold is gone, may it take it's course and exit our home quickly.

Fun in Man-Happiness


So we headed to Manhattan this past weekend to see a fun group of people who spent the summer with us in 2007. It was fun catching up with them and enjoying each of their personalities. It was great seeing you guys and glad we were able to make this little reunion happen.

After our little get together we decided to take Calvin to K-State gardens to expel some energy before we headed back home. K-State Gardens is where Marvin worked while he was in college. Calvin loved exploring everything and tried to "prune" every shrub and plant he saw, so eventually we put him on our shoulders. He loves the view from on top of your shoulders, it's nice that he can hold his balance now and doesn't try to pull your hair the entire time he is up there. It was a nice little trip, even if K-State got stomped.






Marvin painted this flower while he worked at the gardens and it was fun to see it was still there. Calvin was trying to fish a stick out of the hole in this picture.