Sunday, December 6, 2009

There Is A Time And A Place For Will Power

And Christmas ain't it... So this:

Klondike Bars
Dove Chocolates
Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
Triple Chocolate Meltdown Cake from Applebee's - Oh how I miss you TCM Cake!
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Skorr Bars
Mackinaw Island Fudge Ice Cream
All manner of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, most especially Chubby Hubby and Mint Chocolate Cookie
Hot Chocolate
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
No Bake Cookies
Peppermint Mochas
Thin Mints
Andes Mints
York Peppermint Patties
Homemade Chocolate Covered Cherries
BROWNIES!!!!!!!!!!!! How could I forget the BROWNIES!?!?!?!?!

From here? Is now a to do list...

I can't wait to get started.

I decided close to a year and a half is long enough to deprive oneself of chocolate. I can't bear another holiday season with out it. So that's it. Stop this crazy train and let me off.

And pass the Oreos.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Healing Sands by Nancy Rue & Stephen Arterburn

Healing Sands is the story of  Ryan Coe’s journey through the most difficult time in her life.  Her son has been accused of a crime that she is convinced he never could have committed.  Her anger has already destroyed her marriage and now threatens to push her son beyond her reach. In an attempt to regain her self-control and reach her son, she seeks the help of Dr. Crisp of Healing Choices Clinic.  This story of surrender and healing pulls you in and leaves you wanting more.

I really enjoyed this novel and could not put it down.  The characters were so real and their situations were so intriguing, I just couldn’t get enough.  At the end of each chapter, I found myself saying – oh, just one more!  I’m always hesitant to read christian fiction, not knowing what to expect, but I would recommend this book to anyone.  I think anyone could identify with the struggles that the main characters wrestle with and may even learn something about how to deal with their own issues. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Back To Normal

Well...  I guess technically to go back to normal, I would have to have been there to begin with.


But seriously, all of sudden a couple of months ago, I woke up one day and felt like myself again.  The self that I guess I had given up on, thought was gone or at least had forgotten about.  Honestly, after 30 years of it being about me, (or at least being convinced that it was...) once I became a parent, it didn't surprise me that life was completely different. Dying to self doesn't sound glamorous, and for good reason.

Let's back up a bit.

I tend to be a bit of an extremist.  I have high expectations for myself and when I get my mind set on something, well...  Good luck changing it.

I had planned from the beginning to be inwardly focused, once our first child was born.  I wanted things a certain way, and I was willing to do whatever it took to see that things went that way.  We had our child at home, because I didn't want any one else's opinions or rules forced on me. I spent more time worried about not meeting friend's and family's expectations than I did about child birth. Why?  Because I knew for the first time in my life, I was going to do what I wanted, when and how I wanted*.  While I knew that, I was still a little, okay a lot, concerned about what fall out may come along with that.

*I say all of this knowing (now and then) that God's will trumps mine at any given moment.  Which was a huge comfort in some ways and completely horrifying in other ways.

I wanted to nurse for a year, and while things went really well, I really found it to be hard. Hard to go out, with or without Chloe, hard to accept help, even from Frank when I would still have to pump anyway.  It was just hard.  I was a hard core Boppy girl, so I had to drag that and a million other things with me, even when I was just going to my parent's house.  It got easier and easier to just stay home.  To say no to invitations, to refuse to make commitments.  

This introversion, which is really not at all how I am, started during pregnancy, actually.  I became extremely protective of my time with the hubby.  I drove him just two miles east of crazy.  It wasn't pretty.

So, I say all of this to ask this question...  Was I suffering from postpartum depression? Because I certainly didn't think so at the time.   I'm still not convinced that I was, but I think it's definitely a possibility.  I didn't even realize I was so off until I was back on.  

Is this making sense to anyone else?

In some ways, I feel like my choices, staying home, doing things my own way, etc., may be what caused the depression, or weirdness or lack of being myself.  (Whatever we're calling it.)  I've considered the fact that some form of chemical imbalance, be it postpartum, or just out of whack hormones caused me to make the decisions, but I feel like this very moment, in the rightest of minds I see myself capable of being in, I would make the same choices.  So I think it really is door number 1.

The other thought I have is this:  Becoming a parent effected my friendships A LOT more than I expected.  Again, I don't know if that would have happened either way or if some imbalance is to blame for choices I made, or at least how I responded to certain situations that arose. Regardless, I think the shift in many of my close friendships definitely had a negative effect on my well being.  

Everything about this makes me wonder which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  And I guess the answer doesn't really matter.  If only that knowledge were enough to cause me to quit thinking about it!  Wouldn't that be bliss?

As I was sharing these thoughts with someone the other day, I realized something.  I moved in November.  My grandma died in December.  I should clarify, my grandma who was one of my closest friends who I spent a lot of time with died in December.  Though Frank and I had been very close to feeling ready to start our family, her death sent me into a depression that made me change my mind about that.  Also during this time, the teaching job that I had been in for a year and a half was not going well.  I was ready to move on, but felt totally responsible to finish out the year, so I spent 5 months fairly miserable with that.  I did finally resign in August after a prayerful and relaxing summer, where I really felt God leading me into a time of rest.  I know now that God was allowing me a time to get it together before I had Chloe.  I believe I was pregnant when I said to a friend that summer, "I wonder if this is my time to rest up before I have a baby?"  Turns out, yep.  :)

I share all of that to say, is it any wonder that things were a little nutty?  I moved, lost a dear family member, quit my job, got pregnant and had to adjust to a completely new life on about 5 different levels.  

I'd say a chemical imbalance was definitely in order.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh Please, Make It Stop

I'm so cool, I blog on Friday nights.  While I wait for my bread to finish rising.  It's like Proverbs 31 woman meets the 21st century.  Except it's me, so maybe not.  My lamp goes out at night.  And often, during the day...


I was just reading this post over at Stuff Christians Like.  First I was horrified at the question that his little girl asked them at the dinner table.  Horrified because I remember those feelings, and horrified because when I said I wanted a girl, I forgot about stuff like that.

I continued reading (if you haven't clicked over, you should.) and realized how relevant his point is to my life.  Always, but especially right now.  

I had an episode last night that I would be horrified to recount to anyone, let alone anyone and everyone with the ability to read, so I won't go into specifics, but suffice it to say, I was left feeling like less than a good mom.

Now, I know better than that.  I know that I'm a great mom.  Perfect?  Of course not, but I don't have reason to sit around feeling like I'm a terrible mom.  I also know what God thinks of me and the very fact that he has entrusted me with the precious jewel that is Chloe?  He obviously thinks I've got skillz.  The trap I always find myself falling into when it comes to worth is this:  I want other people to validate me.

That is a no no. This I know know.  But I want it so bad I can cry.

Anyone else?  What is that?  And more importantly how do you make it stop?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Hopes? Oh, They Are Up.

Chloe went potty on the potty seat tonight!!!  For the first time!!!  I'm so excited I could potty myself!  Well, maybe not quite that excited.  Especially since I shouldn't be, since I tricked her into doing it anyway...  Well, not really.  But kinda.  A little bit.

I had almost an entire month off of bath time duty, what with the Great Back Injury of 2009 and all, so the other night hubs was saying that more often than not, she potties on the floor while she's putting her toys in the tub.  I never let her do that when I give her a bath.  I always plunk her in there, and more often than not she immediately potties in the tub.  Which is what really makes it super gross when she tries to drink the water she's been soaking in.  And pottying in.  Ew.  


Before I hurt my back, I was letting her sit on the potty seat every time I changed her diaper.  Once I was back to being able to lift her up on the changing table, I decided I better not press my luck or use my strength with multiple unnecessary ups and downs.  So we kind of forgot about the potty seat for awhile.  But when Daddy said she was often having accidents in the bathroom, that got me thinking...  Maybe I'd try Daddy's idea of not putting her right in the tub.  Maybe, just maybe I would move the potty seat into the bathroom where she takes her bath, and maybe, just maybe I would have her sit on it for a minute while that water was running, and maybe, just maybe all that water running would get the party started.


It worked.  How about that?  Not the first night, not the second night, but indeed - the third time is a charm!  

I'm pretty sure she has no idea what even happened.  And it was most likely, a fluke.  But tell that to my hopes, because, Dear Friends:

They are up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Louie Pasteur Would Be Proud

I love croissants.  Especially topped with a delicious sweet chicken salad.  I buy them in bulk at Sam's.  They freeze up nicely, thankfully, since you get a ton of them.  I bought some before we went to Florida for Chloe and Grammy to have while we were gone.

When we got back, I made chicken salad and planned to finish up the croissants that way.  I had one and then the next day I was going to have another one.  I pulled it out and it had a tiny spot of mold on it.  Gross, right?  So I say, "Man!  I wonder if they all have mold on them?"  Hubbie says, "if one has mold on it, they all have mold on it."  I contemplated invoking the What-I-Can't-See-Can't-Hurt-Me rule, but decided I didn't want to hear about it, so I ate my chicken salad with Ritz crackers instead.   {Same buttery deliciousness...  It was a rather pleasant substitution!} 

Later that day, I go in to the kitchen to find the husband eating one of the croissants!  "What are you doing?!?!?" I demanded.  "I thought if one is moldy they're all moldy?!"  He shrugs his shoulders and says, "Eh.  Whatever."

Now you're probably wondering why I didn't throw them away when we deemed them rotten earlier that day.  I'm asking myself that very question, but I would like to deflect your attention from my laziness back to my husband's grossness.  More like his sneakiness.  He obviously just wanted them for himself.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

My New Friend

The hubs and I went to Florida this week.  He had a trade show he had to work at, and I had a free hotel room to stay in.  


The flight down was one of the most interesting I've ever had.  When we sat down this older lady was next to me.  She said, "Oh!  I was noticing you and your husband in front of me in the check in line." Then I heard her on the phone to her husband, "I'm sitting next to that nice couple in front of us in line!"

If you know me, you know I am chatty Cathy.  And boy did I live up to that one.  

We talked the entire two and half hour flight.  And it was wonderful.  

She raised four children and took care of and helped to raise several of her grandchildren.  We talked a lot about that.  Not far into the conversation, we discovered another thing we had in common.  

We both really love Jesus.

That was all it took.  Somehow that opened a door to so many other things.  Many of the struggles that I wrestle with and have never really found the right person to share with, I shared with her.  She even opened up about something very painful in her life.  

And I counseled her.  I felt led by the Spirit to be real and bring truth to this 71 year old woman that God saw fit to sit me next to on an airplane.  She was receptive and even told me I was very wise.  How about that?

Here's the best part.  We exchanged phone numbers before we got off the plane.  And I really think she'll call me.  I sure hope so.  I've been praying for her, and hope we can do lunch some time.

As we walked away from her, Frank (who I had completely ignored the entire flight) says, "Did you make a little friend?"

Yes.  Yes I did.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'd Like My Epidural Now, Please

I hear they are lovely, and I want to find out.  No, I'm not in labor.  I blew my back out today and since about 12:30 PM Eastern Standard Time, I've been wishing I was in labor.

Oh, if only I were kidding.

I have had back issues in the past.  But this?  Seriously?  There are no words.  And honestly, even if there were - I would be physically unable to utter them when the spasming really gets going.

I went to the chiropractor and he thinks I tore something.  After several, "does this hurt?"s and "what about this?"s, he is convinced that it isn't a disc issue.  Praise God for that.

Speaking of praising God, and I truly am, how about this for divine appointments?  My husband has been going to the office every Tuesday and Thursday for approximately ever.  This week, he was needed on Monday, so he didn't go today.  Despite the fact that he has what appears to be the flu, he was downstairs when I put Chloe in her crib, the last combination lift/bend I will be doing for the foreseeable future.  When I, in slow motion, made my way to the floor, while howling at the moon, he came running.  Praise God.  Not that there was really anything that he could do to help me, but had he not been there?  Yeah.  I don't even want to think about that scenario.

And now, I will sit quietly and reflect on what God can teach me through this ordeal.  There's always a lesson, people.  You just gotta be watching for it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Permission to Break The Rules...

I've struggled with grammar rules since I first started blogging.  I majored in Language Arts, but you wouldn't know it from talking to me.  I sometimes talk like an idiot in an effort to make people laugh.  I don't know if they laugh because they think I'm an idiot, or if they know me and therefore are well aware that I'm hilarious.

Either way, grammar makes me very nervous when it comes to blogging.  Look, just because I learned all the grammar rules and have multiple books about them in my basement right now, doesn't mean I know them.  Or use them.

I promise I'm really smart, though.

Then there's the whole double standard thing.  When I read a blog and someone makes a grammatical error and I think, hmmm... Knowing full well, that I'm the pot and they're the kettle and we are all indeed black.

Imagine my joy when I found this article entitled Three Grammar Rules You Can (and Should) Break.  Oh, thank you thank you thank you.  

So from here on out, I will not be bending over backwards in an effort to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition.  And I will not feel unintelligent when I begin a sentence with the word and, either.  

I've often wondered if any of these archaic rules have been abandoned.   So, thank you Michelle Pierce.  A weight has been lifted. And a standard has been lowered.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crock Pot Minestrone

Is it just me or is the crock pot one of the best inventions of all time?  I heart my Rival Crock Pot. With Fall here, it's time to start getting lots of delicious soup back in the rotation, and I found a winner that will be on the menu  a lot this winter.  I am actually quite excited to report that most of the new recipes I've been trying lately have been delicious!  It sure makes cooking more fun when you can try new things and when they are as delicious as the old stand by recipes, even better!

So here it is.  Slow Cooked Two Bean Minestrone from The Slow Cooker Cookbook by Pillsbury.  I picked up a few of those little grocery store check out lane cookbooks at a garage sale and can I just say? Jack pot!

I'm calling it...

Crock Pot Minestrone

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
1 medium stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove minced
2 - 14oz. cans broth 
1 19 oz. can cannellini bean, drained and rinsed (19 oz?  I used 15 oz.  I can't say I've seen 19 oz. cans...)
1 15 oz. can kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz Italian -seasoned stewed tomatoes, undrained and cut up
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
3 oz. spaghetti, broken into thirds 3/4 cup  (I used ditalini, the little thimble pasta.   Small shells would work too.)

In 31/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except spinach and spaghetti.  Mix well.

Cover and cook on low setting for 7-9 hours.

About 20 minutes before serving, stir thawed spinach and spaghetti into soup.  Increase heat setting to high.  Cover and cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until spaghetti is tender.

This soup was fantastic.  We all loved it, including Chloe, who has been bit of a picky pants these days.

A few suggestions...  I made a double batch.  It was enough for a meal for 4.  well, 3.5.  I also froze one serving and had one extra bowl.  All that to say, I highly recommend at least doubling.I used extra broth, as I had a 32 oz. box rather than cans.  I used the whole thing.  I didn't have two cans of kidney beans, so I only used one.  I prefer cannellini beans anyway, so it was fine.  DON'T be tempted to add frozen spinach.  It will cool down the whole pot and mess everything up right at dinner time.  If you forget to thaw your spinach, just pop it in the microwave for 5 minutes right before adding it to the soup.  Also - you could use plain tomatoes, but I would not recommend it.  There is really no other seasoning, side from salt and pepper and the basil and such in the italian style tomatoes really flavors the soup.

So there you have it.  Crock pot Minestrone works for me!  Check out more helpful tips at We Are THAT Family.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And Then I Fell Off The Face Of The Earth. Again.

I really want to be a real blogger.  One who writes every day.  One who has lots of people that read and comment.  Heck, if someone wanted to pay me?  That would be awesome.

But as it is, I think my record, from just a couple of weeks ago, is 10 posts in a row.  Oh, well.  I will keep trying, if you will keep reading. 

Are you there?  



The good news is that I have been busy!  How about that?  I'm slowly returning to my old self. The one that used to leave the house.  

Every day.

Fall is my favorite time of year, and this fall is lining up to be one of the best!  Our MOPS group kicked off a couple of weeks ago, and I have joined the steering committee.  I'm so looking forward to collaborating with a great group of women, to serve another great group of women!

There are several things going on at our church and I'm really looking forward to plugging in.  We started attending the church when Chloe was 4 months old, and that was just the worst time to try to get connected.  So we didn't.  And we aren't.  But all of that is about to change.  I recently volunteered to work with The Baby Closet, which is a ministry that helps to provide families in need of baby and children's clothes and equipment.  I was blown away by the sheer volume of stuff that had been donated and was therefore going to be available to those in need. I definitely plan on being involved in this ministry long term.  What an amazing blessing.

Did I already mention that I joined a Community Bible Study group?  I'm really excited about it.  I've never really done a formal Bible study.  The ladies that I've been grouped with are phenomenal and I just know that we are all going to grow and learn so much!  

I was always a chronic over volunteerer.  When Chloe was born, I made a conscious effort to stay home, focus on her and learning to be a mommy.  I did that for a long time.  One day, I just woke up ready to get back in the game.  

It feels good.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just So You Know

I think The Trysting Place could be back on the upswing.  Apparently, my spiritual standstill is over.  At least that's what it's looking like.

Praise God.

I've been trying to blog here every day, but I definitely don't have time to do both.  I will continue to try to post every day, but sometimes it will be here and sometimes it will be there.

In case you care.

And in keeping with the random...  We had our first BLTs of the season today.  And since I don't eat pork and we didn't have lettuce, mine was really more of a T.  But it was still pretty tasty.

The End.

Friday, September 11, 2009


What does a cow say?


What does a duck say?

Noise that sounds like a 1st grader during a phonics lesson practicing the sound that K makes.

What does a sheep say?


That is one obnoxious sheep.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Breaking News

At least it was this morning.


On American Idol?

I don't know what to think about this new development.

I'm not even gonna lie, despite all of the teasing I did here, here and here, I'm not sure American Idol is going to be American Idol with out Pauler.  I was actually sad, when I first heard she may not be staying with the show, and very surprised when it turned out to NOT be a publicity stunt. (Or if it was, it appears to have backfired.)

If I got to pick my very own personal perfect replacement, I don't have a clue who that would be.  What I know, is it most certainly wouldn't have been Ellen.  Not because I don't love Ellen, because I do.  I think she is truly a delight.  I just never would have pictured her at that table.

I'm not saying I think it's a bad choice, just a highly unlikely and rather peculiar one.  I hope she surprises me and makes it better than it's ever been.

I don't see that happening, but I've been wrong before.

One thing is for sure, she will fill Paula's shoes when it comes to the dancing at the judging table. Let's just hope she doesn't try to straddle it like she does her little coffee table.  That would be way over the top.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Calling All Cooks

I mentioned in this post that I make a lot of the same stuff over and over.  It's easy, and I don't mind keeping some things in life predictable.  It's easy to keep the pantry stocked and I always know dinner will turn out like I'm expecting it to.

But I'm getting bored, ya'll.  I need to mix it up.  

I like making casseroles.  I wish I could afford (and had the time) to make Grilled Ribeye With Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce with a side of salad, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.   I mean, that would be super fantastic.  But let's be real, I have a hard enough time getting the one pot of slop to the table over Chloe's over zealous not to mention loud encouragement.  (Glass half full people, glass half full.)

So, I'm open to suggestions.  Do you have a delicious dinner you would recommend.    It doesn't have to be a casserole, but casseroles welcomed!  I love the crock pot and will be kicking that puppy into high gear in the coming weeks.  I can't face eating soup right now, but as soon as the temps start dropping, will be eating soups at least once a week.  The only other stipulation is it has to be reasonably affordable.  If it calls for gouda or saffron, I probably won't be making it. If it calls for beans and rice?  Well, then I'm there.

I really miss the days when I paid other people to feed me.  I wish I could claim to have had a personal chef, though that's certainly not the case.  Come to think of it, had we saved what we had spent at The Clarkston Union (home of the most amazing macaroni and cheese known to mankind) Miyako (a Japanese steakhouse) and Mesquite Creek (killer fajitas.  seriously.  the bomb.) we probably could have afforded a personal chef.

So bring it on, do share your favorite recipes.  Pull me out of this rut before we all starve to death.

And in totally unrelated news...  GLEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!  I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Little of This and Lot of That

The husband and I had us a little relaxing get away this weekend.  It was heavenly...  Until we got home Sunday night, and Chloe, who can apparently smell relaxation, woke up and refused to go back to bed until 4:30 AM.  

Sometimes, I think I should have named her Murphy.

We enjoyed peace and quiet, golfing and shopping.  I'll give you one guess who golfed and who shopped.  I do not chase the little white ball.  I have scads of better ways to waste my time...

We had dinner in Acme.  Not to be confused with Acne.  I did not see the cartoon weaponry and munitions plant, but it has to be there somewhere.

We also drove to (almost) the top of the Leelenau Peninsula and watched the sun set.  It was pretty cool.  My husband is full of useless trivia regarding all things astronomy so I learned why the sun looks orange and why the sun appears to move more quickly once it's close to the horizon.  I promptly forgot, so don't ask.

The park where we watched, was named after Mr. Peterson.  Who was buried there.  I found that a little peculiar, but peculiar can pretty much be counted on when you're that far from civilization.

And now the laundry beckons, so I release you from the cruel and unusual punishment that is reading this pointless blog post.

My apologies...

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Labor of Love

In honor of the Labor Day, I thought I'd participate in Shannon's MeMe.  It's about...well, labor. And not the kind you get a day off from, either.

How long was your labor? 

Approximately 30 hours.   Fun, right?

How did you know you were in labor? 

I was in excruciating pain whenever I would lay down.  It was impossible to sleep.  Oh, the foreshadowing...

Where did you deliver?

In my bedroom.  Yes, we planned it that way.


Unless Gatorade has a very dirty secret, no.



Who delivered?

I did.  To the waiting arms of two amazing midwives.  The third midwife was dispensing gatorade and rubbing me.  A lot.  

If you want to play along with this meme, just cut and paste the questions into your own blog, and leave a comment so I can read yours! 

And, Happy Labor Day - I hope you aren't laboring like this today.  Or if your 10 months pregnant and really want to be?  Then I hope you are.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Are You Ready For Some Pizza Dip?

Oh, how we love the pizza dip. We were introduced to it by our friends at the Pampered Chef, but I have tweaked it and made it my own.


1 8 oz. block cream cheese (You're welcome, Boomama)
1 15 oz (ish) can of pizza sauce, or your own homemade
1 8 oz. bag mozzarella cheese (Or more. Less is more doesn't apply to cheese.)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. finely chopped rosemary
1 Tbs. finely chopped thyme
1 Tbs. finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Regarding the herbs - Use fresh. If you can't use fresh, do it anyway. If you really can't, 1 tbs of Italian seasoning would be a very sub-par substitution, but I will not guarantee your results using dried. Trust me on this one... Also - I suppose you can roughly chop your herbs, if you prefer, but don't hold me responsible for large green things in your teeth. I don't want to have to chew my herbs, I just want the flavor. But by all means, do what you feel is best with the herbs. I'm no herbologist.

Now. If you are fancy and need to peddle kitchen gadgets while making this dip, you will mix the herbs, parm and cream cheese and spread that in the bottom of a pie pan or similar sized casserole dish or whathaveyou, then pour the pizza sauce over that, then top with cheese. This method dirties a lot of said gadgets, though don't be fooled I own two or seven of all of them. What I've been doing, is dumping everything in my small crock pot and letting that gadget do the work for me. It only needs to heat through, so you don't have to leave it in there all day. Keep a close eye on it, even on low it might burn if left too long.

This dip can be served with fresh crusty bread, or bagel crisps. I get mine at Sam's and I think they are New York Bagel brand. I used to use Nonni brand, but that must have been when I was a Costco girl, because I can't seem to find those anymore. Honestly, you could just go ahead and eat it with a spoon, but then it might not qualify for the DipTacular... So spread it on something and enjoy!

If you need more artery clogging goodness, click on over to Boomama for the Diptactular.

Baby Steps Out Of The House

Yesterday, I managed to get myself, Chloe and Uncle Matt all out the door before 7 AM.

Impressive, right?  Don't mind me while I pat myself on the back.

It's so much easier when I can do it fresh out of bed, and it doesn't hurt that I didn't have a choice in the matter, either.  Taking Uncle Matt to work has it's advantages.

So we ran errands like nobody's business today.  We were gone for 4 hours.  We both needed a nap by the time we got home, and I needed a chiropractor for all the lugging in and out of my precious cargo...

Starting next week, Chloe and I will be attending Community Bible Study once a week.  We'll be driving through approximately 27 communities, likely passing several other studies, to get to a community 1 hour from here, in order to be with great friends.  We will have to be up and out of here bright and early and will be gone all morning.  I'm really looking forward to being with friends, being out and being in God's Word.  I know Chloe will love being with other children and having a chance to play with someone other than me. 

Thursdays may end up being our favorite day.  Or they may be a reality show in the making. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's Thursday and I'm Thankful Again

Today I am thankful:

  •  that unconditional love lives at my house.
  • for peanut butter cookies.
  • my massage lady can squeeze me in this week.  Praise God and Hallelujah.
  • that hubs and I are getting away for some good old fashion (extinct around these parts) quiet time this weekend.  (Cue Angels for the doxology.) 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Real Best Part Of Waking Up

Scratch that whole last post...  The REAL best part of waking up, is reading whatever hilarity Boomama is currently sharing.



The Best Part Of Waking UP

Hmmm, I guess if I'm being honest, I'd have to say the best part of waking up would be not having to.  The second best thing would be coffee, except that I can't drink coffee.

Yes, you read that correctly.  

I can't drink coffee.

It's not just coffee, either.  Ever since I gave up caffeine whilst pregnant, I really can't take even a little bit of it.  It's hard to know for sure what the real problem is, since I always consume my coffee with a Holy Heaping Mother Load of sugar on top.   I have to wonder if it isn't the whole 1 cup of coffee to 6 tablespoons of sugar that creates the wicked combination that my poor body just refuses to tolerate.

There is a boring back story.  Wanna hear it?

Once upon a time in a land far far away, I had a job.  A real one.  Where you have to get up, try to look cute and then go there.  It was a tough life.  One of the ladies I worked with brewed Starbuck's coffee in her cubicle, and let me just tell you, I'm pretty sure there is crack in that coffee.

I was hooked.  I had to have my Starbuck's.  No other coffee would do.

I come from a long line of addicts, so once I realized I was one of them, I needed to do something about it.  So I kicked my crack habit, and returned to the occasional Latte for a treat. No more morning crack for me.

Well, apparently this short period of addiction reprogrammed my DNA.  Each time I would have my occasional Latte, or Macchiato, the strangest things would happen to me.  I'd get shaky, my tummy would hurt (I could go into greater detail with that one, but we'll leave it alone), but the most disturbing symptom was the paranoia.  Seriously, I was like Harrison Ford in the Fugitive.  Always looking over my shoulder.  Expecting oncoming vehicles to hit me head on.  Worried that all my eyelashes would fall out and never grow back.

Let's just say it was more than a little peculiar.

When I finally figured out what was going on, I started ordering decaf Latte's.  Obviously.  That seemed to help.  Once in a while I would forget, since this really only was an occasional treat, and I would quickly be reminded of my, ahem, condition.

Fast forward to pregnancy, I quit all things caffeine related, EXCEPT CHOCOLATE, because hello?  I was pregnant.  I continued to avoid the caffeine while nursing and even had to give up the blessed chocolate when Chloe was about 4 months old.  (What's that sound?  Oh, a trumpet.  Taps....)  

Fast forward to the movie theater a few months ago when I got the full sized Coke Icee and drank the whole ding dang darn thing.  Big mistake.  Again though, with the sugar...  Is it the caffeine or the sugar?  Or the lethal, cracky combination? I still haven't eaten chocolate, but I'm terrified that it will cause similar issues when I do...

So the best part of waking up?  I guess I'll go with Sanity for 500, Alex.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

If you didn't see the right Friends episode, than just pretend this post has a different title.


Today was the very best hammock weather.  I got back from dumping Uncle Matt off at work, if you call working for two hours and then going fishing with your boss work, that is...  Anywho, I drove up the driveway, took one look at the beautiful blue sky and planned to jump in the hammock as soon as Chloe went down for her nap.  That's exactly what I did.  And it was glorious.

I love fall.  It's my absolute favoritist.  I love wearing jeans and a t shirt.  Maybe a sweatshirt.  I love the cool crisp mornings.  And soup.  I love me some soup in the fall.  Oh and tea.  Hot tea. 


I've been reading like mad lately.  I have read three of the best books ever in the month or so.

The Secret Life of Bees By Sue Monk Kidd

Same Kind of Different As me By Ron Hall and Denver Moore

The Help By Kathryn Stockett

I highly recommend all three, but The Help?  I don't know how to put into words how much I loved this book.  I've been sad when I've finished books before.  The whole missing the characters, wondering what they are up to, etc...  But this book....  When I would tear myself away to do something else, like laundry or eating...  All I could think about was the book.  Out for dinner with my husband, I say - "I can't quit thinking about this book."  I finished last night and I just want to now what happens next.

Nothing.  Because the people aren't real.  It's just a story.  I can't convince myself of these facts.
Read it.  Then email me.  I'd love to chat about it...

Princess Consuela, signing off.

Friday, August 28, 2009

It Is August And I Am Cold

What in the Sam Hill is up with this summer?  Seriously! I hate summer and even I'm scratching my head.

I do seriously hate summer, by the way.  

Okay, hate is some strong language.  I'll say this, it is far far far and away my least favorite season.

Fall is my favorite.  Good thing, too, as it is, apparently, here.

I'm snuggling under a blanket right now.   So much for global warming.

I'm not complaining, I promise.  I'm just perplexed.  Didn't August used to be the hottest month, or am I disremembering?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for the small things.  

  • Not being in a hot rush this morning.  Especially since I forgot my purse and had to whip a U turn, to go back for it.
  • Not getting arrested for driving 85 while ROCKING out to Sing, Sing, Sing by Chris Tomlin.  I'm pretty sure this would not have gotten me out of a ticket - "I'm sorry, Officer, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is speeding..."
  • A precious baby girl who sat happily in her stroller for 2.5 hours at the garage sale.  Mind you Elmo had a lot to do with that.
  • Elmo.
  • Having sweet friends to chat with while peddling old junk and making lotsa coin!
  • McDonald's.
  • Warm socks.
What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When Things Don't Go As Planned

This post could also be titled, Confessions of A Control Freak.  Catchy, right?

I'm such a planner.  I wish I wasn't.  I wish I was all, "Whatever, dude..." 

Not so.

So when I make plans, especially involving other people,  and then they fall through?  I'm not going to lie, my feathers?  They get a little ruffled.  Again, wishing I were more the "whatever, dude" type.  I think I would live longer, that's for sure.

I remember being in elementary school, and this one friend would always make plans with me and ALWAYS BAIL!  Usually, at the last minute, when it was too late to find something else to do.  That used to drive me nuts.  These days, I try to be super understanding when other people have things come up, or need to change plans.  Often times, it's a relief.  That way I don't have to leave the house...  ;)

No, these days, it frustrates me to no end, when I have to change plans involving other people. I hate that feeling of letting people down.  Unfortunately, the way I have dealt with this, is by not really making very many plans.  Probably not the best choice, but honestly, more often than not these days, when I make plans, I have to cancel them.  

It makes me think of these verses in James:

13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 

So, Lord willing, I'll see you on here tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hopefully I Don't Lose My Mind

This week is going to be a DOOZIE!!!  Hopefully, in the very best way.  Let me just tell you, of all the weeks to be fasting from complaining?  Had I known what was in store, I may have held off on posting this...

I've mentioned Uncle Matt a time or ten, right?  Well, he got a job!  I am overjoyed for him and really believe that today is the first day of the rest of his life!  Unfortunately, priority one is getting him a vehicle, since I am Taxi Girl, until he can do that...  Not a big deal.  I love my brother to tiny bits and pieces, so I'm down to do whatever I can to help him get up and running.

Here's the deal, though.  My husband is going out of town for work, so I will be flying solo with getting Matt to and fro, all week.  Oh, wait.  Did I say solo?  I meant, along with my darling Chloe, who doesn't usually get up quite so early.  Ha!  Neither do I!  I'm telling you, we will be considering it PURE JOY!!! this week.  Oh yes we will!

So, I guess we'll see if I've got what it takes to leave the house every single day this week.  4 of the 5 days by 7 AM. Okay, I already know that I absolutely do not have what it takes. Jesus - I need your strength!!!  

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Closets Are Empty But My Heart Is Full

We are doing a little remodeling around these parts...  And by we, I mean my husband.  The carpet in the downstairs bedroom and bathroom needed replacing approximately 15 years ago.  Not putting carpet in a bathroom at all would have been my first choice, but since I was four when this house was built and my family wasn't involved in the building of it, no one asked my opinion.  So carpet it is.  

But not anymore...  Today that nasty carpet met it's maker.  Well, not really, but it did get, quite literally, kicked to the curb.  Take that, you shag carpet.  And don'tcha come back no more, no more, no more, no more.

My lovely role in all of this was cleaning out the room and three closets.  Yes, a dream come true.  Three closets.  Until it's time to empty of all of their contents.

I'm still recovering.

Oh the things that I save, people.  I had a beautiful collection of card board boxes.  Priceless, I'm sure.

Much of my time this weekend has been spent going through my greeting card collection.  This one is priceless, in the eyes of this words of affirmation lovin' gal...  I loved holding cards that my dear gram selected just for me.  And reading of the exploits of all my girlfriends, some of them from nearly 20 years ago. 

WHAT?  2o years?  I'm not that old, are you that old?  Because I'm not that old.

Really though, where does the time go?

I love going through years of cards in one sitting to see that my mother-in-law gave me the same birthday card two different times, so did my dad - but he takes the cake with giving me the same Valentine's card three different years!  He says he must of really liked what it said.

One of the biggest blessings, though - is seeing card after card from the same friend saying how important I have been in her life and how priceless and irreplacable our friendship has been to her.  And another friend who said, no less than 7 times, on different occasions, that she hopes all the good I've done for others would come back to me.

It's one thing for someone to write something sweet on a card, then you read it and think, wow - that's really sweet.  But to be able to sit down on a Sunday afternoon years after the words, sometimes the same exact words, have been written over and over again, and read through dear friends' heartfelt messages and the best part, to be able to still call them your closest friends?  That just blessed my heart like nothing else.

So even though my closets are empty, which of course means the rest of my house is a DISASTROPHY, my heart is filled to overflowing with the loving words of the dearest friends anyone could ever hope to have in 10 lifetimes.  And that is worth countless hours of sorting through all of the random junk that I've been collecting all these years.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I've Got The Power

Of life and death, you know... In my words.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the
power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Are you tracking with me?

This post, by one of my old pastors, has me thinking, dear friends. That and my brother. He's got me thinking, too. My brother has been staying with us for a couple of months. He is trying to find a job, but not having a lot of luck. He helps us a lot around the house and in the yard, to earn his keep. He has been absolutely wonderful. Who knew my house could be so clean? I surely didn't.

I've noticed something about my 22 year old brother. He rarely, if ever, complains. He is so incredibly gracious and appreciative and springs into action as soon we ask him to do something. He is bored, broke, frustrated and I'm sure, at times, wishing he didn't have a 16 month old for a roommate. But he doesn't complain about any of those things.

I need to learn from that. I am learning from that. I tend to be a bit of a complainer, I'm ashamed to admit. I don't put it on my to do list, it just seems to happen.

From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Luke 6:45 Ugh. One of my many internal malfunctions.

I love what Craig said, "When I complain, it reveals that I believe that things should be different than they are."

I had never thought about that... Like I'm entitled to better weather, or something, right?

So, I'm ready to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Whenever I complain, whether to myself or someone else, I plan to turn it around. I have found when I have been working on cleaning up my language, (yes I come from a LONG line of potty mouths, and that stuff runs deep.) correcting myself immediately and out loud is the fastest way to turn it around. I expect that it will work similarly, when trying to focus on the positive and vocalize my gratitude instead of my complaints.

Wish me luck! Better yet, pray that God would change my heart because seriously, from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Lord, change my heart and help me to be intentional about using the power of words for blessing and lifting others up and ultimately bringing glory to Your Name!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Uncle Matt + BB Gun = Bye Bye Batty Batterson

Last night was a much needed and anticipated Girl's Night Out.  Great food, great friends, and a great movie.  It was just what I needed.

While Momma was away, Daddy and Uncle Matt had a little excitement.  It would seem that we've had a bat living in (on?) our front porch light fixture.  One night, I was letting the dogs out and my brother (Uncle Matt) was behind me and saw something swoop past my head.  I had no idea, so the neighbors were not awakened by a blood curdling scream.  Not that they probably would have cared, since I hollered like I was being murdered in the last 30 seconds of birthing my baby at home and the cops never showed up.  Apparently, they are some heavy sleepers, our neighbors.

I digress.

There have been, shall we say, droppings, under that fixture and we couldn't figure out what the story was.  Don't bats party at night and sleep all day?  That's what we thought, so we found it perplexing that the make-shift Bat Motel was always vacant during the day.  Daddy has gotten the fly by treatment a couple of times too, so apparently we have a bat that has his days and nights mixed up.  Or should I say had...

So while Momma was out enjoying adult conversation, (that all too often is about kids, but at least not with kids), and the greatest Macaroni and Cheese than can be found within a 500 million mile radius of this fine solar system, Daddy and Uncle Matt went bat hunting.

Okay, that's definitely making it seem more dramatic and exciting than it actually was.  I do that sometimes.  Okay, all the time.

Daddy goes to let the dogs out, looks over at the light fixture, sure as the world, Batty Batterson is dangling in all his upside down glory.  

At this point, they began to plan the demise of Batty Batterson.

Apparently, Uncle Matt is a pretty good shot with the BB Gun.

While I'm glad I wasn't here for the execution, I am a little sad that I missed the perfect opportunity to say to my brother - "You'll shoot your eye out!"

Works for Me Wednesday - The Grocery List

I am a creature of habit.  Especially when it comes to cooking.  I like to try new recipes, but I come back to the favorites time after time.  I have A LOT of tried and true recipes, so I can go weeks with out repeats and then start the cycle over again without getting burn out on the classics.  And I do switch it up every now again.  When I find a winner, I add it to the repertoire and it just makes the cycle another day longer.

I bore you with this to tell you about my grocery list.  Since I make much of the same stuff over and over, my grocery list rarely changes.  I have made a master list of all the items I keep on hand on a regular basis and it really works for me.  I have an excel spread sheet with everything I buy on it.  I have multiple columns for pricing.  I buy certain things at Walmart, certain things at Aldi, certain things at Sam's and a crap ton of stuff at Kroger.  I also go to Meijer when the sales lure me...  I like to keep track of the prices at each store so that when I get a coupon or something seems to be really cheap on sale, I can see if it beats the best price.  If so, I stock up. If not, I wait and stock up the next time I'm at Sam's, Aldi, Walmart, etc...  

Another reason this master list really works for me is because, as you may remember from this post, I have a small or maybe gargantuan issue with getting out the door.  If I'm going to the grocery store, I never go without my coupon binder, where I also keep my master list.  If I run out and forget my mini-list, you know - the one with milk, eggs, sugar - whatever I've completely run out of, then I can just scan through the master list and jog my memory that way.  I can also look at my meal list, the list I've made of all of the go to meals I make over and over, and see what's coming up and then do a mental inventory of the pantry.  Do I have olives?  Do I need tomato sauce?  It's really helpful in so many ways.

For more helpful tips, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Love Food, Will Travel

I've been watching this show on the Food Network, The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  Many of the chefs and hosts on Food Network talk about, well, the best food they've ever eaten. 

I'm watching my third episode and I had to pause it to go find something on which to write all of these amazing restaurant suggestions!  Because, seriously - I'd probably fly to San Diego just to eat this peanut butter and banana stuffed french toast.  Hello?  When does my flight leave? If you find yourself in San Diego, check out Cafe 222.

I love to travel, and I love to eat.  I always search area restaurants before going on vacation, and I always plan my days based on where I want to eat (and shop).  A weekend in a city with tasty food and bargain shopping?  That's what I'm talking about...

Apparently, there is a place in Chicago called Ann Sather, that makes these ridiculous cinnamon rolls...  Em, are you getting this?  I want it.  Right now.  I think my blood sugar would crash like WHAT if I tried to eat that thing for breakfast, but we could always have a respectable breakfast in Roscoe Village and then go to Ann's for dessert.  I'll be there in 5 hours, Em.  Leave the light on for me.

I'm not exactly a fan of the corn beef hash, but I suppose I'm a little more likely to find myself in Cleveland than San Diego, so I thought I'd make a note of Big Al's Diner.  I think my hubby would be a fan.

Jacques Torres NYC - Wicked Spicy Hot Chocolate?  I think I'll pass.  But if you like hot peppers ground up and mixed in with your hot cocoa, then go on with your bad self and check it out.  I can't have chocolate, anyway...  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Never Knew I Had So Much Will Power...

Until I went an entire year without eating chocolate.

Yes, you read that right.  I haven't eaten chocolate in over a year. 

Here's the reader's digest version...

I found out when I was 21 that I was allergic to chocolate.  I looked the allergist square in the face and said.  "Oh, well."  I didn't get rid of my dog either, so you might say I wasted that trip. I actually found out I was allergic to scads of things I ate all the time.  Things I didn't even know you could be allergic to.  Like pork.  And potatoes.  Seriously?  Potatoes?

So I continued to go on about my business for the next 10 years.  I ate what I wanted when I wanted.  Cantalope, cucumbers and green peppers made my throat itch and since I was scured my throat might close, I actually stopped eating those items.  But the potatoes, chocolate, peanuts - for crying out loud - I continued to eat them.

Fast forward to the birth of my daughter.  When she was very young it seemed she always had a rash on her face.  I was convinced that it was the SPF in my lip balm.  I switched lip balms.  It was not, in fact, the SPF in my lip balm.

I had stopped over to my midwife's, and she was convinced it was from food allergies.  Could it be?  Could it be that my eating things that I probably shouldn't was giving my precious little baby a rash, not to mention ruining countless photo ops?  I started paying closer attention to what I was eating and how it seemed to be effecting her through my breast milk.  

I did not like what I found.

Chocolate was the worst.

Isn't it funny though, how I didn't care that my own body wasn't a huge fan, but the minute it caused harm to my baby, I was like - Boom!  Cold turkey.  Good bye to all of the loves of my life.  Mom's are funny that way, no?

So.  It has been a year since I quit eating chocolate.  Now.  To make a long story, that I already promised to keep short, longer...

I was one of those oh so lucky/blessed souls who dropped my pregnancy weight with no effort whatsoever.  Even my doctor looked at me funny when I went in to my 6 week check up and was basically back to prepregnancy weight.  Was it the breastfeeding?  Maybe.  Probably.  About 4 months into breastfeeding, I stopped eating all of the foods I was allergic to.  I continued to lose weight.  This was perplexing to me.  I nursed for a year and then weaned.  At this point, I was 17 pounds lighter than when I conceived.  I continued to abstain from the offending foods.  I figured if my diet remained unchanged, it would be a a true test of what was helping me stay so slim.  I had heard tales of friends losing weight while nursing, only to gain it back after weaning.  So I waited.  2 months went by.  Then 3.  Then 4.  No change in weight.  Meanwhile Girl Scout Cookies went on sale.  Sweet Mother of Thin Mints, I wanted to eat chocolate.  I continued to wait.

Can you believe I caved on potatoes first?  

Me neither. 

I've decided to add stuff back slowly and observe the changes as I go.  Can you tell I was a science teacher in a former life?

I think, chances are good that chocolate is the culprit.  I don't know how long I'll hold off. Lately my thoughts have been overwhelmed with:

Klondike Bars
Dove Chocolates
Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
Triple Chocolate Meltdown Cake from Applebee's  - Oh how I miss you TCM Cake!
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Skorr Bars
Mackinaw Island Fudge Ice Cream
All manner of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, most especially Chubby Hubby and Mint Chocolate Cookie
Hot Chocolate
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
No Bake Cookies
Peppermint Mochas
Thin Mints
Andes Mints
York Peppermint Patties
Homemade Chocolate Covered Cherries
BROWNIES!!!!!!!!!!!!  How could I forget the BROWNIES!?!?!?!?!

And so many other things that I can't seem to think of right now.

God help my waistline and grocery budget, if and when I go back to the dark side.

Oh yes, the dark side.  Dark chocolate Lindor Truffles. 

Praise Jesus, Hallelujah.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why I'd Make A Perfect Hermit

I really struggled to get myself out the door, before I had a child.  Now?  Oh. My. Word.

It's just easier to stay home.

I wouldn't call myself a morning person, but I am more motivated first thing in the morning.  If I don't get out early, I only have about a 20% chance of getting out at all.  It's really kind of sad.

The other day, I really needed to go to the grocery store.  I mean really.  When you have a 16 month old and the answer to Got Milk is no?  You go to the store.

Plus, I forgot to cancel my subscription to The Grocery Game before it billed me A LOT OF DOLLARS, so I need to maximize my stock pilling over the next several weeks, to make up for it.

So we get up.  Chloe has her breakfast.  The plan is to get out the door ASAP.  I opt to go with a fast getaway, rather than looking cute.  I'm fairly certain, I'll see 17 people I know, as a result of that choice.  Whatever.

I have multiple stops to make.  I bring lots of water and goldfish crackers.

I have to print the grocery game lists.  I can't get my coupons to print.  I need to pack a cooler, so I can hit more than one grocery store.

Where is her hat?


Where is my purse?


Where is her other shoe?

Only God knows.

I'm sweating by this point. (Accidentally typed swearing, which is of course not true.  Ahem.)

Why are we doing this again?  

Right.  Milk.

I may have to buy something a bit stronger...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some Things Never Change

We went to the county fair last night.  Oh, how I adore the fried food.   We took Chloe for her first fair experience, and she loved it!  The animals, the carousel, the elephant ears.  She has never laughed so much in such a short period of time!

When I was young, I looked forward to the county fair more than anything else.  My best friend and I would go practically every day for the week it ran.  I hadn't been in years, and it struck me how everything was in the same place that it used to be 20 years ago.  I couldn't believe that all the food trailers were arranged exactly as I remember them always being all those years ago. 

I'm not a fan of change.  I never have been.  It's inevitable, of course, so I manage to deal with it one way or another.  I never could have imagined how much my life would change when Chloe was born.  I know that it's normal and that everyone experiences it, but it doesn't make it any easier.

I really never could have imagined that the best friend who I spent every summer and every day of fair week with could die when she was 25.  

So if I have a point, which I'm not sure that I do, it's that seeing that some things never change, like where I get an elephant ear, is very comforting to me.

The end.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

This week, We Are THAT Family is hosting a Back To School edition of Works for me Wednesday. I don't have any school aged children, but once upon a time, in a land far far away, I was a school aged child.


Back in the day, I used to freeze my juice boxes.  I would put it in my lunch in the morning frozen solid and by lunchtime, it would be icy cold and ready to drink.  Or super slushy and ready to be enjoyed for dessert with a spoon.  Either way, I was a very happy camper.  It can also serve to keep a sandwich or fruit cup cold.  (A frozen container of yogurt also works!)

Speaking of lunch, I had planned to share some recipes for what Chloe has been eating, lately. She is 16 months old, and while she does have 6 teeth, they are all in the front and are really not terribly useful in chewing food.  I find that she basically swallows much of what I give her whole.  I'll give you one guess as to how I know this.  Ahem.  Anywho...  I feel better if I run her meat dishes through the food processor.


1 lb. ground beef, chicken or turkey browned and seasoned with chili powder, garlic powder and cumin - to taste.

Once browned, I put this in the food processor and give it a whir.  Then to the food processor, I add:

1 can of black beans drained and rinsed.
1 can diced tomatoes.  I buy no slat added tomatoes for this purpose.
1 cup corn frozen or canned - heat if frozen.

I give it another quick whir, then I spoon meal sized portions onto a cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, freeze for a few hours and then put the servings all together into a large freezer bag.  When it's time to serve, I put one serving into a Corelle bowl and microwave for 1 minute. (If you can avoid microwaving in plastic bowls, you should.)

Another item I like to keep in the freezer is applesauce chicken.  For this, I just brown ground chicken and whir it up with some unsweetened applesauce and a little bit of cinnamon. Sometimes, I feed her this for breakfast.  She loves it!


1 lb. ground beef, chicken or turkey - brown and put into the food processor.

To the food processor, add:

1 jar of Newman's Own Marinara Sauce.
half a box of frozen spinach thawed and drained

Once the sauce is done, combine it with cooked alphabet pasta.  This is the perfect sized pasta for Chloe, so I don't grind it up.   Once everything is combined, I do the flash freezing I mentioned above.

The last time I made up meals for Chloe I made a variation of her favorite:

Instead of black beans, I combined the sweet potato puree with browned ground chicken and the other half of the box of spinach.  Cumin is a great spice to add to this recipe.

Chloe is really wanting to feed herself, these days.  She's not great at it, but she is learning.  The recipes above are great ones for practicing.  The texture of the meals work well for sticking to the baby spoon.  I usually give her a spoon and have one for me to use, as well.  She can practice, and I can feed her in between bites.  She's happy with her spoon and feeling good about herself.  She's not fighting me for the spoon, she's not making too big of a mess, and it doesn't take us a sweet forever to get a meal in her!  Cheerios in milk or yogurt, or cottage cheese with finely diced fruit also work well for practice for breakfast.

What finger foods do you give your toddler?  I don't really want her eating her body weight in hot dogs every week, though she sure does LOVE them...  I give her grilled cheese, lots of beans, and sliced cheese sticks.  I'd love to hear your go to toddler foods!

For more great tips, especially Back to School tips, head over to We Are THAT Family for Works For Me Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Random Information That Will Definitely Not Change Your Life

I finally have a fully functioning DSLR camera!  I got the Canon Rebel XTi.  I took 7 pictures of Chloe and then she cracked her head on the wall and now has a mighty fine bruise above her eye. We're all about the perfect timing around here.  I've waited for almost two months to take pictures of her to my little hearts content.  Then she bounces her little skull off the wall, the day I finally can.  Grrr.

I have been really struggling with a few things lately, things that I mostly don't want to discuss.  So I won't.  I think there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I sure would appreciate your prayers.  The Lord knows.

If I don't get a handle on my laundry soon, I might cry.  Or set it all on fire.  I suppose it'll depend on my mood that day.

I watched The Bourne Ultimatum tonight, and I had to pause it on several occasions to take deep breaths and drink ginger-ale due to all the motion sickness.  From a movie?  Seriously?  Who's idea was this?  Was it intentional?  Why?  Why would you do that to us?  Pretty good movie, though I gotta say, I don't know about a 4th...  It seemed to me they were running out of ideas for the 3rd, as it is...

I'm really looking forward to the county fair.   I think Chloe is going to love walking through all of the animal barns.  And oh how I love the elephant ears.

I really wish I wasn't watching Elmo's World at 2 Am on this fine Tuesday morning.  You can thank Chloe for the 3 minutes of your life that you'll never get back...  I certainly hope she goes right back to sleep with out any back talk as soon as it's over.  Please Jesus? Thank you, Amen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Smile Filled Day...

I almost titled this post Best Day Ever!!, but not only would it probably be untrue, it would also expose me as the woman with the lamest life ever.  I guess I'm okay with that...

Have I blogged about my inability to get out of the house?  I've always had it, but the condition has worsened considerably since Chloe came on the scene.  Most days I don't even bother pretending like I'll go out, many days I have grand plans that never come to fruition and once in a blue with green polka dots moon we manage to leave the compound.

I wish I were kidding.

That's not the point though.  Apparently, we had a fancy moon last night, because today, Chloe and I ventured out to, wait for it....  The grocery store.  No - two grocery stores.  

Can I just say, we had the best time!  She was so well behaved, which is not the norm when she's tied to a cart...  Aside from the fact that she did a little disappearing act with my grocery list at Meijers, it was probably the best time her and I have had together at the grocery store.  

As an aside, do the elderly ogle over your children at Meijers?   The employees at Kroger fall all over themselves, but it's the customers at Meijer. This cute little old man asked me on which aisle he could find one for himself.  Love it.

So after getting lots of great deals, playing kissy face with my girl all through Meijers and even rewarding her for being such an excellent shopper with some clearance boats for the bath tub, we headed home.  Chloe fell asleep for like 2 minutes on the way and apparently ruined herself for her afternoon nap.  If there is anything I can count on, it is this: The day I desperately need a nap, Chloe decides she does not.  In her defense, I probably wouldn't be able to sleep if I put that in my pants, either, but you know.  Even with clean britches, the moment had passed. 

I expected that this was going to make for a really long afternoon.  Which I guess, technically was true.  It was two hours longer for her than normal.  I thought she would be a crab apple supreme, but she wasn't.  We danced.  A lot.  We played tea party.  I did a head stand.  She thought that was hilarious.  I did some crazy sit ups that doubled as a pony ride of sorts for her. We danced more.  We played some very one sided hide and go seek. We laughed a lot.

This went on for approximately four hours.  

We must have done a few more things.

But we just had the best day. 

 And I loved it.

The End.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Praying for Stellan

Will you join me in praying for Stellan?  If you have no idea who he is, that's fine.  God does.  If you are interested in his story, visit his mommy's blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

**Updated to change recipe.  I knew I shouldn't have posted this with out making it again first.  So sorry!

I made a comment about this recipe on my facebook status update yesterday, and a couple people asked for the recipe.  I thought I'd share it with the whole wide world.  Or the world wide web.  Or both people that read this blog.

This recipe was birthed from a Spinach and Artichoke dip that I used to make a lot.  One day, I decided to make it a meal.  It's a big hit around here.  I hope you like it, too!

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

1/2 - 3/4  box of pasta - I generally use bow ties, but anything will do.
1 jar of prepared alfredo sauce - I use Bertolli.  Maybe one day I'll get fancy and make it from scratch.
1 box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained - I'm sure you could wilt fresh spinach if you are feeling extra spunky.
1 cup (ish) cooked chicken.  When I first started making this I used packaged precooked chicken, but I can think of eleventy things I'd rather spend 5$ on these days.  Now, I like to put frozen chicken breasts or thighs in my crock pot and then use that.
2 cups chopped marinated artichoke hearts - I get an enormous jar from Costco and then use a lot of them.  You can find small jars at the grocery store, but I really don't want to know how much that will run ya...  Also - I find the flavor from the marinade super delicious, so I would never advise you to use artichokes in water, but hey - do what you gotta do.  
4 cups of mozzarella cheese - Since I don't have any relevant commentary, I'll tell you this. Did you know that they put something on the shredded cheese so it won't clump?  I wish I didn't know that.  I have a friend who always buys blocks and shreds them.  I will probably consider doing that.  The thought of taking the time to do that make me want to cry a little.
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg - If you watch Rachael Ray, you know that nutmeg goes great with spinach dishes.  I also love it in scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese.  Not Kraft, though.  That would just be weird.
Salt and pepper to taste

Okay.  Overwhelmed yet?  That was a lot of info.  Very much in the style of Must Share... Let's try this another way, in case you want to print it out or something...

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

1/2 - 3/4 box of pasta 
1 jar of prepared alfredo sauce 
1 box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained 
1 cup (ish) cooked chicken, chopped  
2 cups chopped marinated artichoke hearts
4 cups of mozzarella cheese 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Combine alfredo sauce and seasonings. After thawing spinach and squeezing all the water out of it, chop it and add it to the sauce mixture. Chop artichokes and add them.  Chop chicken into bite size pieces and add that.  Stir in the cooked pasta.  Mix 2 cups of the cheese into the casserole.  Spread into a 9 X 13 pan and sprinkle 2 cups cheese over the top. Bake at 350 until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbly.  Probably 30-45 minutes.  Enjoy!  To make the dip version, leave out the pasta and chicken.  Serve with tortilla chips or bread.

Disclaimer:  This is one of those recipes that I don't actually have a recipe for.  The above is my best guess.  Good luck!  Also - you know how some recipes are low fat and really good for you?  Yeah, this is the opposite of that.