..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WFMW: Packing Tip

Don’t you hate packing? I’m in the midst of packing my bags for our stay in the hospital and trying to decide on what to take vs what I’ll actually need. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Among the essentials i.e. our CD player with music for the delivery room, cooler with snacks, baby take home outfit, etc…is perhaps the most important of them all ….your toiletry bag!

This is a definite must! No matter where you go or where you stay, you can’t do much without these personal essentials!

When I was a working mom, I got into the habit of always having a little overnight bag packed with all my toiletry items. I can’t tell you what a big help this has been especially when you’re in a hurry!

For me, the key to keeping my toiletry bag stocked and always ready to go is having a drawer or basket at home stocked with extra travel goodies. You know, the travel size shampoo, deodorant, lotion, etc…, that you get at Wal-mart or Target. I also love collecting the goodies provided by the hotel and adding them to my collection at home.

Secondly, when I return from a trip and unpack my suitcase, I try to take a minute to restock items needed (if any) for my toiletry bag. This makes for easy and happy packing the next time around!

Tip: I learned on one of my last trips that in addition to the essentials, (shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc…) stocking your toiletry bag with make-up is very important. You never know when you’ll need it! To cut down on the expense, my “extra make-up” supply is whatever I can find at Wal-mart, Target or Walgreens.

I’ve even gotten my husband on board! Though not as cute as mine, I got his little black bag stocked and ready to go! Now on to my girlies!

So, as I’m in the midst of packing for the hospital right now this is one less thing I have to do! I love that feeling! It works for me!

For other WFMW tips be sure to visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Nursing Covers!

Here is another nursing cover I made last week! This now makes number 3!
Can you tell I'm enjoying it?!
This is proving to be a fun little hobby!

Not only have I gotten to know some great gals in our sewing group but I'ts also been a great time hanging out with my sister who just moved here from Florida. She was an interior design major at University of North Texas and has been giving me some great pointers!

Who knows, it may be an additional way to make a little extra cash down the road. I'm thinking about selling on e-bay and seeing how it goes!

I've already picked up some more fabric; a zebra print and polka dot print! Though I'm really trying to craft these nursing covers, I'm hoping to branch out a little bit. I've already purchased a pattern to make a purse out of the extra fabric I have at our next sewing meet up.
Can't wait to get cranking! The hardest part is finding the time and of course not staying up too late!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chicken Drumsticks and Vegetables

The girls enjoyed dinner tonight! I couldn't believe my 3yr old told me, "hmmm mommy the carrots are good!" I was floored! She never ventures off from green beans, lima beans and corn.
Since the kids were outside playing with the neighbors, I had dinner cooking slowly. I cooked the chicken on a very low heat along with the vegetables allowing the vegetables to really soak up all the flavor from the chicken and spices.

Chicken Drumsticks

Bacon Strips (optional)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Thyme

1/2 tsp Basil
1 medium onion

1 celery cut up

red potatos, quartered

Mixed veggies (carrots, green beens, broc)

Corn on the cob (optional--my girls love!)

Directions: Place Chicken in pan and grill on low heat. Add thyme, basil, salt, onion, celery, bacon. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add mix vegetables. Cover and cook for additional 15 min or when tender.

Tuesday: Stuffed Sweet Peppers (slow cooker recipe from Taste of Home)

3 med sweet red peppers

2 med sweet yellow peppers

1 jar speghetti sauce (14 oz, divided)

3/4 pd Italian Turkey Sausage Links

3/4 cups uncooked brown rice

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped tomato

1/4 cup parsley

2 tbsp olives (optional)

1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Directions: Cut tops off peppers; chop tops and set aside. Discard stems and seeds; set pepper cups aside. Reserve 3/4 cups spaghetti sauces; pour the remaining sauce into slow cooker. Combine the sausage, rice, cheese, onion, tomato, parsley, olives, garlic poweder, salt, itlalian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and reserved chopped peppers and spaghetti sauce. Spoon into pepper cups; place in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hrs or until peppers are tender.

Wednesday: Taco Salad

Thursday: Left Overs

Friday: Kiddy Favorites

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions....What's Baby Boy's Name??

So, we're a few weeks away until our expected due date, March 17th and we've yet to finalize baby boy's name! It's driving me crazy! I don't know why but Tim and I are having a hard time landing together on that one special name that you just know that's it...that's the name!

You'd think by now I'd be use to it....

From Noah to Isabella
Because we did not find out the sex of our first child, we went to the hospital prepared with a boy name and was 99% sure of our girl name. Noah for a boy and Isabella for a girl. The catch was was that we had already been calling the baby Noah without even knowing the sex. In fact, I grew so attached to what I thought was "baby Noah" that Tim and I seriously contemplated calling the baby Noa even if it was a girl (BTW--there is a girl in the bible named Noah). Right after the baby was born and they told us it was a girl, I remember Tim whispering in my ear, "so, what do you think..Noa or Isabella?" I gave him the honor of deciding and of course now I couldn't see it any other way! I'm so glad he picked Isabella!

We decided on Elianna's name a month before she was born. I had been agonizing over a name (much like I am doing now) when Tim came home one night and said, "you have to listen to this new Christy Nockels song...I think I found our girl name."

Being that Christy Nockels is my favorite Christian aritist and curious about what on earth he was talking about, I immediately told him to pop in the CD and play it for me. I loved the song and when I heard the name I knew that was it! That was our name! So, that's how we got the name Elianna.

Baby Boy
So here I am. Same story different baby. We do have a few top picks (Noah still being one of them) but we've yet to reach that sold out, "that's it" feeling! If you're wondering what's different about baby number 3...why don't you go with Noah like you originally planned on doing when you were pregnant with baby number 1? The answer is we definitely haven't ruled it out. It's still one of our top picks, but something is definitely different about the name this time around. I'm not sure if it has something to do with how attached I got with with thinking it was a boy the first time around, calling it by that name for so long and then finding out that there never really was a Noah. Sounds crazy I know, but I really can't explain why I'm not hands down, sold out, gotta have that name this time around?

I don't know...maybe it's not as practical as I thought for two people to reach the same sold out feeling on a name.

What do you think? What's been your experience here?

When I think about any major life decision we've ever made, we've always been so "here." To me, choosing our child's name fits in that category! Just feels weird not be on the same page and time is ticking!!

(check out my baby spinning like crazy in the count down box...feels like he's spinning franticly over there for a name!)

*****Addition to this post*****
Tim and I are reading and discussing names right now...and this is what we came across. Pretty ironic and funny.

What is johnny cash's middle name?


Johhny Cash was born J. R. Cash (his parents couldn't agree on a name, just initials), taking the name John R. Cash when he entered the military, and then Johnny Cash when he took to the stage. Note that his father was "Ray" and his mother's maiden name was "Rivers," so the "R" probably stood for one (or more likely, both) of these names.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Check Out Them Hot Pink Boots!

Check out my root toot tooters (One of Tim's red neck sayings! :) ) in their new hot pink boots! I just love them! Aren't they fun! The girls wore these to church on Sunday and looked so cute in their little pink dresses.

Little Elianna's are actually two sizes too big, but as long as she gets to look like big sister she doesn't mind! Best part is is that mama got them both on clearance!

Isa's bright pink boots were only $4.98 at Target!
I also found these cute little flip flops for summer for only $2.98.

I love when I find deals especially since I'm not much of a bargain shopper...just requires too much patience and effort, but hey I'm definitely getting better!
Speaking of deals...The Bargain Shopper Lady has some great tips on online bargain shopping. She gives some great tips on how to find clearance prices on line and how to find and use coupon codes for additional discounts!
Be sure to check out her link to Victoria Secret Sweater Sale for $8.00.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm so late in getting this out today! Better luck next week!

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: Hot and Spicy Chicken (From the Paleo Cookbook)
We had this tonight and the family loved it! I left out the chiles and was still pleased with all the flavor this dish had. I also added brown rice and mixed vegetables. My 3 year old even thanked me for dinner!

2 chicken breasts, diced
1 tbs oil
½ tsp red chillies, finely chopped
1tbs sweet paprika
2 tsp oregano, finely chopped
½ tsp honey
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper

Fry chicken in a pan with olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add chillies, paprika, oregano and honey and cook for a
further 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add lemon juice, water, salt and pepper and cook covered
for a further 15 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary

Tuesday: Lamb Balls with Tomato and Basil Sauce (Also from the Paleo Cookbook)
I'm substituting ground sirloin for lamb...not as interesting I know, but hey it works!

500g minced lamb
1 egg
2 tsp oil
1 tbs oregano, finely chopped
2 tsp sage, finely chopped
1 tsp ground paprika
2/3 cup diced tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
½ tsp salt
1 tsp arrowroot

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, fan-forced.
To make the lamb balls, combine all ingredients well in a mixing bowl. Roll into 12 balls and place on a baking tray lined with
baking paper. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until well cooked.

To make the sauce, place diced tomatoes, basil and salt in a medium sized pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes. In a cup, place
arrowroot and a few tablespoons of water and mix together until there are no lumps. Slowly add into the simmering tomato and
basil sauce until mixture has thickened slightly.
To serve, place meatballs on a plate and poor tomato and basil sauce over the top.

Wednesday: Left overs!

Thursday: Thai Chicken Wraps (From An Ordinary Mom. We didn't get to try this afterall last week so we'll give it a shot this week!)

1 lb chicken, thawed and cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 carrots, grated
Chopped cilantro
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cucumber, quartered
2-3 cups cooked rice (I prefer brown.)
Wraps or tortillas (We like the Garden Spinach kind.)

Peanut sauce (You can buy it at the store or make your own, see below.)
Marinate small chicken pieces in soy sauce and ginger for 10 minutes - 1 hour. Cook chicken in a skillet. In a wrap, layer the rice, cooked chicken, carrots, cucumber, cilantro and green onions. Pour the peanut sauce over the filling. Wrap like a burrito. Enjoy!
Peanut Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
Blend in blender until smooth.

Friday: Kiddy Burgers and Baked

For more great ideas, hop on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mom Time

We had 4 new faces at Mom Time last night! It was great hanging out and spending time getting to know one another a little better!

Our discussion time centered around the diverse roles that we as women have. Not only are we wives and mothers, but we're also daughters, sisters, students, girlfriends, neighbors, lay ministers, career women, and etc...
We wear so many different hats and have so many different things pulling for our time, attention and affection. How do we balance it all?

At times, being so many things to so many different people can be very overwhelming. We
obviously can’t do everything. At some point or another something has to give.
What I am discovering more and more is that different seasons of our journey require different priorities, therefore we must be in tune with the season that we're in. Knowing this will help give us a little more direction and focus and will help us to know what things to say yes to and what things we need to say no to.

Secondly, once we identify those roles that take priority, we must draw near to God to find out how He would have us fulfill the current roles he has placed before us. What is he trying to teach us through this season of our journey? Is motherhood teaching you how to be more patient, selfless, etc...? Or maybe you're learning about forgiveness, kindness and how to better serve others through a strained relationship with your sibling, boss, or your own mother. This was the focus of our discussion last night that led to some great discussion!

Looking at Scripture: Exodus 2:1-10 and Hebrews 11:23
Moses' mother had a very difficult and challenging role before her when she was faced with the sudden news that Pharoah had issued a law declaring that all male infants should be killed.
Think about your children right now…can you imagine the horror of this news? What would you do? How would you respond?

She was not only a mother, but she was a wife, a citizen, nurse maid, and etc.. As a mother, how could she hand her baby over to be slaughtered? However, as a citizen, she would be breaking the law, risking her own life as well as the life of her other children and family members if she did not obey the decree.

In her heart, she knew she needed to trust God. Scripture tells us that she took her baby and wrapped him up in a papyrus basket and placed him in the Nile River. She instructed Miriam, Moses sister to follow the basket keeping watch over Moses in hopes that Pharaoh’s daughter would discover him. Wow! What an act of faith!

I can't imagine having only those two choices before me; either handing my baby over to be slaughtered or sending him out to float in a basket along the river. Neither one of these choices sounds very appealing to me!! What a difficult and challenging role Moses' Mother faced.

Though our circumstances may be different from Jochabed, we too have some challenging roles that God has placed before us.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Think about one of the most difficult roles you have or have had. It could be as a mother, a caregiver, as a boss, a student, etc…Share how you navigated or are currently navigating your way through this tough assignment?

God equipped Jochebed with the strength and faith she needed and as a result, her faithfulness in her role opened up the door for God to raise up a great leader that would lead the Israelites out of bondage. Through her faithfulness and obedience, God used her to accomplish His purposes.

2. What do you think God may be accomplishing in your life through this challenging role you identified? Where do you need his insight and guidance?

As you identify what roles take priority given the current season you are in, draw near to the Lord and discover all that God desires to do in and through you during this time. Whether you are a stay at home mom, a career woman, sister, daughter, etc...God has uniquely positoned you.

Like Jochebed, He too can use you to accomplish his kingdom purposes. Whatever your role, whatever the challenge, let each tough role bring you closer to God, as you learn to rely on his power and faithfulness to fulfill his purpose for your life!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Getting organized feels great! Now that I finally have down my weekly home cleaning schedule and have seen the benefits of keeping to that schedule, I have become more convinced of another area that I need to get more organized in...meal planning! Taking time to plan and prepare our family meals a week in advance is another helpful way to organize and reduce stress.

For someone who passionately hated cooking, I can't believe I'm going to even give this a try! I mean, up until a year ago, Tim did all of our grocery shopping and cooking. He's a great cook and can whip an awesome meal together with just about anything! Needless to say, since he loves cooking and I don't, from early on in our marriage it was just natural for him to do the cooking while I did the clean up.

However, when I decided to make the transition to a full-time stay at home mom, it made sense for me to take the lead in this area; especially because it is important to me to keep the girls on a schedule. When dinner is late, it pushes back bath time and our bedtime rountine, which inevitably causes unnecessary stress and interrupts mommy and daddy time! :)
So cooking our dinners is one thing, but meal planning? Something I never thought I'd consider. While I've always had an pretty good idea of what's on the menu for the week, there are the occasional times that I'm standing in the kitchen pressed for time, wondering, "Hmmmm....what should we eat tonight? What have we already eaten? What does Tim want? What will the kids actually eat?"

With that in mind, I have become more and more convinced that it may be better and easier for me to have a more strategic rountine, especially with the baby coming. Another thing that helped pushed me to at least give meal planning a try was this convincing post I read at the OrgJunkie!

As I too began to ponder ways that meal planning would benefit my family and I, here is what I came up with.

10 ways meal planning would benefit me and my family:

1. Will Reduce Stress-I hate standing in the kitchen pressed for time trying to figure out what to get on the table.

2. Staying on Schedule--Will help me get dinner on the table at the same time each night.

3. Staying on Schedule, Reducing Stress--If dinner is late, then it inevitably pushes back bath time, reading time, and all the other goodies that are associated with the bed time routine!

4. Save Money--eliminate last minute trips to the grocery store, thereby cutting down on the grocery bill.

5.Save Money--Will enable me to be more strategic when grocery shopping, thereby purchasing only the items needed for that coming week.

6. Save Money--I may be able to incorporate the use of coupons if I already know in advance what meals to prepare for and items I will need.

7. Healthier Cooking--intentional planning will help me prepare healthier meals and allow me to cater to specific diet needs.

8. Creative Meals--I would love to use my crock pot more! Planning meals in advance may help me take the time to venture out i.e...try new recipes, use my crock pot, and etc..

9. Staying Organized-Will help me keep the pantry and freezer stocked with ingredients needed for that week's meal. I will be able to prepare a meal with all of the necessary ingredients, instead of having to come up with a dinner to fit the ingredients that I have...this is obviously much harder and leads to repeated dinners!

10. Family Time--Tim and I like to eat dinner, just the two of us at least one night a week. This will help me to make sure that I am protecting this time each week by making sure the kids are fed in advance and on time.

If meal planning can help me reduce stress, cut down unnecessary expenses, stay organized, eat healtier, increase family time and help me to be a little more creative, why not give it a try!

So here goes!

Here are my meals for the coming week!

Monday: Taco Salad

Tuesday: Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce

· 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 pounds)
· 1/4 cup butter
· 1 0.7-ounce package Italian salad dressing mix
· 1 10-3/4-ounce can condensed golden mushroom soup
· 1/2 cup dry white wine (if desired)
· 1/2 of an 8-ounce tub cream cheese with chives and onion
· Hot cooked whole wheat pasta (optional)
· Snipped fresh chives (optional)

1. Place chicken in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. In a medium saucepan melt the butter. Stir in the dry Italian salad dressing mix. Stir in mushroom soup, wine, and cream cheese until combined. Pour over the chicken.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Serve chicken with sauce. If desired, serve with hot cooked pasta and sprinkle with chives. Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday: Spinach, Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

· 3 cups water
· 1 14--ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
· 1 10-3/4-ounce can reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
· 2/3 cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
· 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
· 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
· 3 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey (about 1 pound)
· 2 cups shredded fresh spinach

1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine the water, broth, cream of chicken soup, uncooked wild rice, thyme, and pepper.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
3. To serve, stir in chicken and spinach. Makes 6 (1-1/2-cup) servings.

Thursday: Valentine's Day--My day off!

Friday: Tai Chicken Wraps (from ordinary mom)


1 lb chicken, thawed and cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 carrots, grated
Chopped cilantro
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cucumber, quartered
2-3 cups cooked rice (I prefer brown.)
Wraps or tortillas (We like the Garden Spinach kind.)

Peanut sauce (You can buy it at the store or make your own, see below.)
Marinate small chicken pieces in soy sauce and ginger for 10 minutes - 1 hour.

Cook chicken in a skillet. In a wrap, layer the rice, cooked chicken, carrots, cucumber, cilantro and green onions. Pour the peanut sauce over the filling. Wrap like a burrito. Enjoy!

Peanut Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
Blend in blender until smooth.

So there you have it! For more great menu ideas visit org junkie!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sewing: My Second Nursing Cover!!

Last night I finished my second nursing cover! While my first nursing cover was a little dressier, I wanted to make one that was a little more colorful and casual. It is made of 100% cotton and can be used for everyday wear. I love the colors! Isn't it fun!

Although I ran into a few problem areas my sister, Jennifer who recently moved back home and lives just a few houses down was here to help. She taught me a few great tips as well!

Considering the few snags I ran into, it really only took me about 3hrs to make. Not bad...especially when you're really enjoying what you're doing!

With that in mind, check out the other pattern I picked up....so fun! I can't wait to get started on this one!

I would love to finish this one by the end of the weekend, but we have a whole weekend full of church activities and family birthday parties so we'll see how it goes!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Roasted Squash Soup with Apples and Brie

I had to share this great soup that my neighbor, Terri made us...it's absolutely delicious and the girls LOVED it! Makes a great baby first food too!

1 large butter squash
1 carrot
1 medium onion
1 leek, white portion only
2 Tbsp butter
8 cups chicken stock
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sugarsalt and freshly ground pepper
8 oz. Brie Cheese

Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down on pan and bake at 350, about 45 minutes.

Chopp carrot, onion and leek into 1in pieces and place in large pot. Add butter-do not brown. Add cooked squash and add to vegetables. Add stock and bring to a boil.

Add apple, bay leaf and sugar. Simmer uncovered for 40min. Remove bay leaf and puree soup in batches. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut Brie into 1/2 in pieces (remove skin). Place cheese in bottom of soup bowls and fill with hot soup. Garnish with chives.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Drum Roll Please........

And the winner of the Bloggy Giveaway is the Holladay Family! Congratulations on your new Ross King CD, "Perhaps I've Said Too Much!" I know you will enjoy it just as much as I have!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Bloggy Giveaway! More to come in the future!

To view the complete list of Bloggy Giveaway winners click here!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I've Got The Bug....

I've officially become demosticated! For quite some time I have been wanting to learn how to sew and now that I've been home, this desire has grown even stronger.

To my surprise, I received a sewing machine for Christmas. Although, I did attempt to watch the instructional DVD that came with the machine, up until now, it's been sitting in the box. I guess I've been a little intimidated and unsure of how exactly to get started.

However, today I finally cracked this baby open thanks to the help of some other ladies who helped jump start me in this process! We had a sewing shin dig at Catherine's house which was very productive and of course lots of fun!

Aside from the delicious breakfast spread Catherine had for us and the great conversation, we all had an opportunity to work on our own individual projects. Morgan and Erin were so helpful and patient in guiding us through this process (thanks again ladies!). Everyone was at work, from decorative napkins and coasters, to pillow cases and nursing covers. It was a blast!

Here are some pics of us hard at work:
Casey's First Stitch!

My First Stitch...What Concentration!

Check out Julie behind me!

Erin,Catherine and Stephanie

Juile working hard!

Sarah meticulously cutting

Here is what Sarah and I were working on; which is sure to come in handy when our little guy arrives!

Morgan, has been very successful at making a few of these herself and was a great teacher! (Check out some of her sewing projects here! Not to mention, these cute little party favors she made us!)

Pin Cushions

A few hours later...here was our finished product!

My Nursing Cover Up: I LOVE it...isn't it gorgeous!

(I can't wait to make another one!)

Sarah's nursing cover

Catherine's Pillow


Can't wait for the next one ladies!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pink and Blue

Pink is the color around here, plastic shoes clicking on the hard wood floors, and little twirling princesses singing and dancing all around! Even our dog is a girl!

Though Tim loves his girly girls, his anticipation is growing as we count down the days left until baby boy arrives. I know he can't wait to add a little more testosterone to the mix!

Here are few things he asked me to make sure NOT to let his boy get into while he's at work...

Or this

I think Tim is planning on flooding the house with camaflouge, trucks, trains, overalls, and guitars! What fun awaits us all!