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


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
Applesauce with Cottage Cheese
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

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.