Wednesday, December 19

my house is closed today

On Monday, I made this (Boeuf Bourguignon) and decided that mushrooms are not, as earlier suspected, evil.  They are just "tolerable" but the rest of this was to die for. YUM.

On Tuesday, I finished this quirky fellow

along with some other projects, so now my kitchen table looks like this.

Tuesday, I made more of a dinner mess (but I am in the middle of cleaning it up)

there is no excuse for my island to look like this.  a little too much fun and not enough work I suspect.

I have stuff on chairs that doesn't belong

my laundry is piled up (clean, but piled up)

and I haven't done my hair.
So please don't come over today.  My house is closed for renovations.

Thursday, December 6

investing in sanity

Our weeks are pretty crazy, it seems.  But then again, I like a simple life. And when things get off just a little bit, or mama gets sick, well, you know what happens.  Chaos upon chaos.  Or maybe it just happens to me?

This week our schedule got all wonky for the beginning of the week, and by this morning, we were all begging for a change of scenery.  The children were sick to death of their mother, and the clutter and dirt in this house were driving me a little past the brink of insanity.  On more than one occasion I had to get out my go-go-gadget arms and hang on tight.

So this morning, I dropped the kids off with a friend who is also their usual farm-day sitter, (they came with me this week to the farm) and I cleaned the house whilst I paid for child care.

Best. Investment. Ever. (okaaaaaay, best investment in a long while)

I think I'd rather do this than hire a house cleaner.  Almost.  I really REALLY hate to dust.

But seriously, there are many Things You Can't Do while kids are around in the cleaning/dejunking department, can I get an Amen? Because when kids are around, and you find a random part for a toy you know has long been missing, the 1200 square feet of house becomes 12 square feet of house and they Know What Your Plan is, and there are voices loudly protesting the throwing away of such useless plastic part.  In our house the same thing happens with Sunday school papers, doodles, and stickers that have lost their stick.

So it's been a cleansing day.  In more than one way.

SO thankful for sitters, for friends, and for breaks.  Because sometimes all you need is 3 childless hours to get things done!  (tomorrow, I get to do it for someone else! YAY!)

Monday, November 19

a fond farewell

So we've had a tree removed.  SO thankful to our friend from church for taking it down for such a great deal! He did a great job and we are so glad to have the messy cottonwood out of our lives!  Hurray, no more sticky seed pods sticking to bare feet, shoes - no more raking up messy little sticks during EVERY season, no more air full of stifling cotton, no more giant trunk obscuring my view of the play area - all very good things. 

Praising God for this blessing - so thankful!  The tree could have quickly become a hazard to our home and it can do no harm lying on the ground in chunks!  Sounds like there are a few people interested in coming to get the majority of the wood - so until then, we have a fun jungle gym in the back yard.  Anybody know any lumberjack games?

a TREAT for you!

So - last week I posted a giveaway for one lucky reader - today I have something for FREE for all my readers!

Have you heard of Treat?

Treat is part of Shutterfly and is an easy way for people to create and send one-of-a-kind greeting cards. YOU create the card (you can even make one with those crazy photos you have been saving for a special occasion), and the company mails them!  I can see this being a good way for me to actually start getting birthday cards out on time!  You can even add a gift card if you want to!

SO, today and tomorrow, thanks to the generosity of the people at Treat,  you can create and send a totally personalized greeting card from Treat for FREE. Whether saying thanks for Thanksgiving, wishing a friend happy birthday, or simply sharing the holiday cheer with a just because card, Treat lets you create a one-of-a-kind card that is sure to impress.
YEP, one free Treat card good only on Monday 11/19 & Tuesday 11/20 for YOU with code: TREATBLOGR - Have a great time creating, everybody!


(this is a sponsored post - thanks, Treat!)

Tuesday, November 13

We have a WINNAH!!!

The winner of the $50 Tiny Prints giveaway is.....


Please get your info to me right away!  Congratulations, and have fun creating!

(special thanks to for an impartial pick)

Friday, November 9

Tiny Prints (and a weekend giveaway)

It's no secret that I love a good deal - but there have been times when an online "deal" ended up being a disappointment when it arrived - poor quality, a different color, etc. - we've all been there!

I got an email from Tiny Prints asking me to blog about their Photo Holiday Cards, and I must say - I got a few different cards from a few different companies last year, and the Tiny Prints cards did not disappoint.  The company has gone further this year by introducing their new Premium DoubleThick™ Matte Paper. (I am a sucker for thick paper)

When you visit Tiny Prints, please be sure check out the ornament cards - I think the idea is pretty neat, and a circle design will be a standout!  I also love how there are multiple layouts and personalization options available for the card designs!  They also have a Special Offers page which is great for penny pinchers like me!!

Another thing that makes them great is the fact they have offered a coupon code for $50 off a total order to one of my lucky readers.  How exciting!  Just leave a comment telling me that you'd like to be entered in the drawing! Two entries if you link a card you like from Tiny Prints!  The giveaway will end on Monday November 12th at midnight! 

Anyone can enter; Tiny Prints ships to over 200 countries and also will address & mail your cards for you.  However, the prize code does not apply toward shipping and cannot be used with any other discount.  The prize must be used by 12/14/2012.

This is a sponsored post but the opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 8

October (and a sneak preview)

I've started and stopped several blog posts. Obviously nothing has posted since the end of September.  I stopped linking my blog to Facebook due to concerns I had and am still considering a permanent breakup with that confounded social network.  I feel like it's similar to junk food - so horrible - yet so delicious!

Our October seemed to pass in a whirlwind of last-of-harvest scurrying, sickness, sleep, and more exhaustion.  Each year, I feel more poignantly that life is indeed a vapor.

The kids are doing great.  We're enjoying our homeschool adventure and LOVE being part of Classical Conversations.  We keep it simple and parts of me wonder if we're doing enough but we're also learning child-directed things that traditional school would not leave opportunity for - and I had clear confirmation a week or so ago that we made the right decision for this year for our family.  God is good to give us assurances like that.

Aaron is reading everything he sees with a curiosity and hunger that is awesome to watch.  I love being part of this reading journey with him.  He is starting to write stories on his own, is constantly asking excellent questions and is equal parts crazy kid and maturing person.  It is humbling to be tasked with parenting this child.  He is pretty neat.

Evan is growing like a weed and is showing interest in drawing people and making forts.  He loves to have fun and he's our little TV junkie. He is very empathetic and is working on his listening skills.  :-)  He's always ready to help and loves his sister to the moon!  (he loves his brother too)

Cadence is getting around quite well, but like her eldest brother, tends to err on the side of caution and is only standing unsupported when no one else is looking or when something gets her attention and she forgets to hold on.  She's very much attached to her little dolls and is quite adept at communicating most of the time.  I personally think she's brilliant - but I'm sure I am biased.  She also eats more than I do every single day.

Very soon - a giveaway!  I was contacted by TinyPrints to do a sponsored post - free code for $50 off YOUR order is in the works! Stay tuned!!

Friday, September 28


This month came and went with such speed!  I think this is becoming a phenomenon as I *ehem* get older.  Time goes faster and faster!  This week, Michael and I both realized at separate times that we'd both used "twenty years ago" to refer to 1992, which we both feel like was just yesterday!  (granted, we were 12, but still.)

Home school is going very well, with Classical Conversations as our weekly (Monday morning!) call to action.  I'm so glad for the community and grateful for the support and inspiration.  I never would think to have my kids memorize so MANY facts (Latin? the Greek and Roman gods? The parts of cells? Prepositions? History Timeline?) and am excited to watch Aaron memorize with ease, thrive and enjoy a classroom-type setting.  Evan gets the bonus of doing memory work with us, especially as we listen to the CC memory work song CD in the van.  We're finishing up week 4 already!  WOW!

We are waiting on a few additional school books as we were finishing up books from the kindergarten phase of things.  We are planning to spend the remaining time in our current math curriculum on money - Aaron is so excited!  I loved Singapore Math so much that we're going to keep going with that, and little does Aaron know, but *math tests* are in his future!  Oh, boy!

We're also adding a handwriting program as soon as we can, and hopefully next month, we will be able to add in our formal Bible curriculum.  I'm pretty excited about that, too.  This method of gradually adding subjects seems to work for the transitioning 1st grader and the transitioning mama who is trying to find a balance between homeschool, housework, date nights, prior commitments, errands, exercise, and sanity!

I LOVE love LOVE watching my kids learn.  I'm so blessed to have the opportunity!

Monday, August 13

school, and such

Selfish. Unable. Afraid. Sheltering. Possessive.

These are words that people have used to describe our decision to keep Aaron at home for first grade.  Interesting. Thankfully, a wise person once told me, when I was pregnant with Aaron, to decide who we were going to listen to as far as advice and then smile at everyone else but ignore them.  It was good advice.

The journey to home education has been a strange one.  I'm a teacher, born of teachers, and it would make sense to just follow the traditional education path for our kids.  It all started with a class, audited after I had already graduated with my degree in education.  It was a class about homeschooling.  It was then I learned about the classical model of education as a feasible and desirable option, and was more than intrigued.  I'll save the long rest of the story.

We're going with Classical Conversations.  There is a new community starting in Midland, and it seems like a good fit for us - some "classroom" for Aaron, one day per week, (with six other 6-7 year old boys!) and all the benefits of a classical education, along with some excellent guidelines and accountability for me.  We'll continue with Singapore Math and our current reading program, as well as adding in some Bible curriculum that I've really wanted them to be exposed to.

I'm excited, and a little bit scared.  There will be a four year old needing a little preschool and a baby who will just be walking and into everything soon.  There are details to work out, but we'll cross that bridge.  Soon.  And God gives grace, as much as we need, appropriate for moms who send their kids to a traditional school or moms who take on the schooling themselves.

But I do know this - it's what God has called us to do.  Called me to do.  And I can let those ugly words roll off my back - by His grace.  He is continually reminding me that these are the children He has given me,  and there is a lot to learn about them, a lot left to discover - and for now, we are to do that in conjunction with home schooling!

Friday, August 10

and the winner is...

Well, your odds of winning this year were pah-ritty good.  Out of 8 entrants, Rebekah Shaver, you win!!  Congratulations, you can share the celebration!  Here's hoping this year is the best one yet!

Thursday, August 2

happy birthday to me! (and you, and you, and you!)

So, it's my birthday, and it's already been really, really great.  I got an uninterrupted night's sleep from Cadey, favorite birthday gift EVER.  I got to video chat with a great friend from college (we share this birthday!) and we agree - life just gets better after 30!

 My mom and dad have the boys, they're cooking up something today and I'll join them at dinner time.  It's just me and Cadey today.

I'm planning on doing a few things that are impossible with 3 kids like vacuuming out the van, getting some jewelry fixed, shopping without hurrying, you know, exciting stuff like that.  I'm also getting my first haircut in about a year.  And maybe, just maybe, putting together the delicious looking cake you see on the left, with modifications. 
(photo credit)

But today is also about giving.  I'm giving away presents!  It's going to be something great, just you wait and see. I love surprises - so if you don't, this is not the giveaway for you.  Hint?  You want a hint???  It will be a collection of a few of my favorite things...something to read, something delicious, and something fun.  Also, there will be a Pampered Chef favorite, because, you know, I sell that great stuff. 

For an entry in the drawing, please leave a comment on the blog - tell me something about birthdays - the most memorable one for you, the worst birthday cake ever, the funniest gift you've gotten - anything.  Just do that, and live in the US (or have a US mailing address), and you're eligible!  The giveaway will be open until Thursday the 8th. 

Wednesday, July 25

on birthdays

August is coming, and it's been since June that I posted.  Life is busy, I'm doing my best to spend less time online and more time in real life, and facebook photos are quick to upload, and statuses (statii?) so quick and easy to update that blogging has taken a back seat.  Our summer, so far?  Looks like this.  Our dinnertime on Monday?  Looked like this.

Birthdays - Aaron's 6th, mine the next day (33!) and then Evan's 4th on the 15th.  It's crazy, birthday month.

Birthdays are good.  Getting older, also good.  What a gracious God to allow us time to know Him here on earth, to build relationships with others, to reflect, to grow, to observe - it's amazing.  Lately, I've been praying with much fervency, that my children will come to know God for themselves; that they will know re-birth in Christ, that they will be made alive spiritually.  Only God can do this work, and it's hard for me to wait!

Six years old seems like a really big deal.  Six years ago, yesterday, I was blogging about my due date, getting larger than life, and updating everyone on the condition of our home.  And looking at that picture - I think I was the biggest with that first baby...thank goodness!  It's been an amazing 6 years, that is for sure.  We have seen God work and watched Him continue to be faithful to us.  How humbling!

Four years old is nothing to sneeze at, either.  Four years ago, I was cleaning up things that I had forgotten about and posting articles about VBAC while trying to decide what God wanted us to do about the birth of child #2. I was also getting ready for the garage sale I would never forget.  I thought I had weeks and weeks, but I really only had weeks.

Anyway, check back on the 2nd.  I'll be having my annual (is it the FIFTH annual, really!?) birthday giveaway.  So you'll want to come back for that.  Even though last year's winner didn't get her prize package until several months later (uh, sorry Rach!), she did get it.  And so will you, if you win.  Can't wait to see you back next week...

Wednesday, June 13


Fingers clinging,
Eyelashes resting sweetly on flushed cheek
Monstrous sighs, milk-drunk, content.
Sweet baby girl, your needy days are fleeting
And so soon I will long to rock you,
Hold you close,
Snuggled into my neck.

Tuesday, June 12

same yet different

These are pictures of our kids between 9-10 months.  Notice any similarities?

It's so fun to watch them grow. I love these kiddos and love my life!  Thank you, God, for so many blessings!

Thursday, June 7

family updates

So, this blogging business is getting sporadic for me again. The only good thing about it is that my email is no longer inundated with offers for sponsored posts.  That is a very good thing, since my email box is stuffed to overflowing with other junk that I need to sit down and weed out.

Cadey is growing.  This is a very big deal, because she wasn't for a couple months.  I cut out dairy, and that seems to be helping.  Yippee for weight gain!  She's also doing lots of cool things, is seconds away from crawling (on her knees instead of this army crawl she's got going on) and has sprouted three teeth.  Her favorite food of the moment seems to be pinto beans.  She's such a happy girl, and I'm trying to soak in every minute.  It's taken me three kids, but I'm finally beginning to realize the importance of slowing down and soaking in everything.  9 months have flown by. 

Evan is entering the supertalkative three year old phase.  He is hilarious, adorable, and busy!  I'm constantly cracking up at his facial expressions and one-liners. There is a new level of interaction with us, too, which is great.  We are also STILL working on potty training with Evan. I keep trying to remind myself that it won't last forever. Mostly I think that he can't possibly know how hilarious he is, but then again, he is his father's son, so...

Aaron will be finishing kindergarten here in the next few weeks (or maybe the end of summer) and we still are praying about what to do for first grade in the fall.  I'm looking into Classical Conversations, which has a new group starting in our area.  It is very appealing - we shall see!  Aaron is definitely a HUGE helper around here, and he loves it.  We are seeing such growth - in every way.  He's getting so tall, so capable - it's sometimes hard to believe he's just 5!  I'm trying to soak up the days with my oldest boy, and stuff down the panic at the realization that he's going to just keep growing, and that most likely it will feel like it's getting faster & faster!

Michael has been adjusting to some new things with his job - he is now traveling 2 days a week to template countertop jobs - his boss accepted a contract through Home Depot and that has brought tons more work, new guys on the crew, and some long hours. We are so thankful for a steady job and God's provision, and are also looking forward to a slow down once the systems get adjusted.  We are also watching the real estate market closely and praying about when to sell our home and when to buy another one to remodel.  God knows and has perfect timing!

My parents are done with school for the summer!!!!!!!  YAY!!  And will be working on finishing up the inside of their addition.  I have a feeling we'll be over there a lot this summer, and I can't wait.  I have such an awesome family.  My brother Nate was just here for a week, visiting - it was so great to reconnect with them and get to know their girls.  Many fun visits ahead, I am sure.  I wish Michigan was located in a more westerly direction.  Right between Oregon & California would be good! 

Wednesday, May 9

Gluten Free Fig Bars

So I've been craving Fig Newtons, ever since I started buying some all natural whole wheat fig bars for my boys for an occasional treat.  They've gobbled them as I sat watching and drooling.  HA!

So I found this recipe and decided to tweak it, as per usual.  I really like simple, and I really dislike mixing flours. The only GF mix I allow in my kitchen is Pamelas.  I recognize the ingredients and that is enough for me. I also don't need to be dairy free or egg free (the original recipe is) Also, I don't usually use refined sugar in baking, preferring honey, but this time I did because I was making other changes and I really wanted these to turn out well the first time.  Next time, honey in the dough.

Here's my modified dough recipe.  All amounts are approximate.  That's why there are pictures.
2T coconut oil
4T butter
1 1/2-2 cups Pamela's Baking Mix
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp good quality vanilla

And here's my modified filling recipe
8oz dried figs
2 cups apple juice
pinch of salt

I followed the directions at the original recipe, de-stemming and chopping the figs, cooking them down together with the apple juice, creaming the oil/butter together with the sugar, adding the eggs and vanilla and then I basically added baking mix until the dough looked good to me.  Be advised that the fig filling made a lot more than I thought it would.  So I also made a second batch of dough and made a few tarts, and a few sugar cookie type things.  You definitely need to double the dough and make 2 batches of these little gems, or be ready to freeze 1/2 the fig filling for next time.

figs/juice after cooking
dough consistency
fig puree
puree in 9 x 9 on top of dough
top crust

the mistakes baked out

Final thoughts - I cut these into 25 squares, and it is a 9 x 9 pan.  That size bar is good for holding.  The fig filling kind of soaks into the bottom crust, which is very tasty but not ever so sturdy. They are SO GOOD.  Michael doesn't really like desserts, but these taste so buttery that he tasted, dutifully, and returned for more (not out of duty).  When they first are done, there is a really nice crisp to the top layer of crust, but after storing them in an airtight container overnight, the crust has a definite softness.  Either way is delicious!

If you test the flour blend in the original recipe, let me know!

Tuesday, May 1

of chicken most delicious

So I've been on a "real food" lifestyle change around here, but that doesn't prevent me from making this chicken. It's so good. It's so easy. It's so good. This is one of my few remaining holdout recipes that includes processed ingredients. And you could totally make this with homemade mayo (which I have not made to date) so I'm not that far off, right?! 

Chicken, 3 large boneless breast pieces, cut in half the long way (to make them thinner)
Mayo, about 2/3 cup, or a big spoonful
Mustard, (spicy brown or other grainy type works best) about a tablespoon, or a good healthy squirt
Onion Powder, a generous sprinkle, or green onions/chives
Cheese, any kind, about a cup shredded
Corn Flake or Bread Crumbs (I use GF)

Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, your choice of onion flavoring, and cheese together until it makes a thick mixture. Spread on the chicken, sprinkle generously with the crumbs of your choice, bake, covered, at 350* until done.  Serve with whatever you like. (I'm a sucker for fresh green beans or asparagus, personally) Uncover for the last little bit if you like a crunchy crust.


Sunday, March 11

the brotherhood.

Evan: Aaron, get back here, I'm trying to presto you into a princess!!!
Aaron: I don't want to be a princess!!!
E: oh, a prince then. PRESTO! you're a prince!
E: a mad prince. you're a mad prince!

(cough cough aCHOO!)

They are sick today, but they are still cracking me up!

Thursday, March 8

Surviving and Thriving

It's no secret that I'm not a HUGE fan of ladies' meetings or conferences - at least, not the type of meetings I imagine they are. I've never been a girly-girl, rarely been excited to sit around whispering hushed secrets of laundry stain removal (obviously), time management (obviously) or sharing "prayer requests" while other women nod knowingly. Raised eyebrows optional.

Of course, the few times I've actually gone to a church retreat or conference or seminar, it was about 300% better than I expected.

A big part of me hungers for a woman to speak God's Word in a practical, deep, knowing way - without the trappings of "we women" and "you know how it is, ladies." Because I'm just a believer, hungry for God and His Word, true Christian fellowship, adult conversation about things that really matter, and I happen to be a woman.

And maybe other women really love those trappings, and I'm just the odd one (no surprises if that is the case) and I know God uses it, because He can and does use anyone at any time to accomplish HIS purposes. And lately, He has been using that phrase, that I heard at a women's conference, to be my mantra.

This work that He has me doing is not easy. It's not the hardest thing anyone has ever done - don't get me wrong. My friend Heather is now in Heaven, and the struggle of her journey these last few months doesn't even compare to my daily life. And, my daily life isn't even that different from what people and families have done for generations, with varying degrees of uniqueness and difficulty. It's not a comparison game, this work, our struggles.

I do know that is that it is the hardest thing I've ever done, and I do struggle with what God wants me to do. I pray, I worry, I wonder. I cry out for wisdom, I wallow in failures, I choose joy and I choose self-pity. I change diapers, I nurse a baby, I home school a crazy kindergartener, I corral and/or occupy a busy three year old, I make a lot of mistakes, I learn much of grace - and at the end of the day, I'm exhausted. In a very, very good way.

I would love to say that I love every minute, but I don't. I don't love the sibling spats, I don't love watching my beautiful children's eyes darken in defiance, and I don't love my reactions. I don't love sin, I don't love watching people I love suffer, I don't love wondering if I'm really getting to the heart of the matters at hand, and I DON'T love knowing that it's a process and I'll never really know the answer to 93% of my questions until the answer is no longer relevant.

However, there is a lot that I do love. I do love those hilarious quotables, the giggle fests, the made up stories, the hugs for no reason at all, the "I love you mommy" whispers, the slow, milk-drunk grin of the baby, the lightbulb moments, the good news, the supportive arm of a loving spouse, the excellent (albeit endless) questions, and so, I'm doing more than surviving.

Sometimes God lets me step back, and look, and see this tiny part of what He has already done, and it is awesome. It's this strange and wonderful painting of darks and lights. It's uniquely ugly and uniquely bright. It's something I could never have dreamed up. It's breathtaking.

I have to seize this calling, this thing He has created me to do, and I have to cling to Him, to lean on Him heavily. He wants me to trust, to let go of my own ideas, the desire for things I can't know or control, and grasp this, grasp Him. It is then that I thrive.

"14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?" (1 Cor 2:14-16, niv)

Monday, March 5

Cooking a Little Extra

I found a picture of a gorgeously organized freezer on Pinterest the other day, and drooled. And then I repinned it for inspiration.

This is not that picture, this is my freezer. It's not nearly as pretty, but it definitely works for us. See that box marked "premade" - the former amazon box? That is my lifesaver.

Someone commented on my gorgeous inspiration freezer photo - that a friend of theirs couldn't afford to buy ahead that much. A valid thought - not too many can just fork out enough money in one chunk for a month's worth of meals. But...just about everyone CAN afford to do modified freezer cooking. This is not to say that everyone HAS to, but it is very, very helpful for any busy mom.

The first time I did freezer cooking, for real, was when Cadence's delivery was pending - I had a goal to get it all done by 37 weeks of pregnancy. I wanted at least a months' worth of main dishes, and I got it done, praise the Lord. I mentioned in the post that I spent $150 on the food, but in reality it was a little more than that, if you figure in what I already had on hand (included ground beef I had in the freezer.) I can't tell you how awesome it was to have dinner ready to go. I got used to how easy it is. And now we do modified freezer cooking.

So, if you can't afford to buy a whole months' worth of food in one week and cook it up, you don't have to! If you don't have space for a whole months' worth of food for your freezer, that's fine! This photo here (the one with the processed meal in it?) has main dish items - or parts of main dish items - for 9 meals in those little quart size freezer bags. It's totally do-able.

Anyone can benefit from the ease of having a meal or two in the freezer (the type of meal that isn't a frozen pizza). My favorite items are precooked meats. This type of thing means that I can get a dinner together in less time than it would take to go pick up fast food. Which is KEY when the troops are hungry!

Below, from left to right - meatballs (36) 3 meal-size amounts of chicken taco filling, 2 cups of cooked and chopped chicken in a bag.

Bear with me - I'm going to tell you what I do. Last week, chicken was on sale for $1.69/lb at a local meat/fruit market - so I bought 10 lbs of chicken for $17 – this equals meat for 9 meals for 4 eaters (2 adults and 2 hungry boys)

Chicken Tacos 3 lbs = 3 meals + leftovers -Chicken ($5) + Salsa ($2- 1½ cup) + taco seasonings (cumin, chili powder, seasoned salt -a few cents) a total of around $7 for 3 meals. I divided the meat up into 3 qt size ziploc bags, squished out the air, and froze them flat.

2 lbs cut up chicken pieces frozen raw (1 inch cubes) for tikka masala or stir fry (3.38) in ziplocs frozen flat. For stir fry, I use wheat-free soy sauce, onion or onion powder, garlic or garlic powder, and sesame oil and whatever veggies I have. My family really likes broccoli slaw in stir fry. For Tikka Masala, I use a modified recipe that is a little complicated, but I freeze the chicken IN the marinade to cut down on time.

The remaining 5 lbs, I baked and cut into chunks for casseroles, soups, wraps, chicken salad, etc. ($8.45) Divided into 4 bags (a little over 2 cups per bag) also in ziplocks frozen flat.

We'll eat a couple chicken based meals this week, and still have enough for the next week, when I'll cook extra beef and make a couple bags of beef taco filling for the freezer, or a double batch of meatballs, or double the amount of burgers for the grill (I like to season the meat for patties with worchestershire sauce, Mrs. Dash Steak blend, and salt), freeze them and use later.

The next week, I might have a couple chicken meals left, so it's time for pork - I might buy a pork loin if it's on sale and cook 1/2 of it in the crock pot with garlic and onion, then shred it up and have pulled pork for BBQ sandwiches, or BBQ pizza, two or three meals' worth - then cook the other 1/2 with mild banana pepper rings and garlic and onion and have a Qdoba-like shredded meat we serve with rice and beans for a delicious meal - and I'll have two or three meals' worth, frozen in bags.

So each week when I shop, I just buy the meat that is on sale. I do enjoy cooking, so on the days when I have the extra time, I make a meal that doesn't involve anything pre-cooked. Or some days I'll do a crock pot meal and skip the freezer meals. So it's not a freezer meal every day.

I've been meaning to do the same with baking - make a double batch of muffins and freeze some for quick breakfasts, etc. but I just haven't made the time.

That, and my kids smell muffins and they're pretty much already gone.

And this is how excited I am when I don't have to wonder (or work very hard) at what is for supper.


Thursday, March 1


I am now an affiliate. If you could help me out by coming here first when you have an amazon order, and clicking through the "Shop Amazon!" link to the right, I would appreciate it so much. I get a percentage of the sales in amazon credit.

You guys are the best.

Friday, February 24

our reality

Today was a big day. We finished the kindergarten reading curriculum. Nevermind that it's not comprehensive, we've been supplementing. It was just really fun to get to the end of the sticker path and earn the "I DID IT" sticker. Bonus, Aaron is super excited to start the first grade HOP curriculum.

Here's how we'd like to think homeschooling goes - the photo to the left. Sunlight streams through the window, the table is wiped clean, and all is blissful as the boys soak in the wisdom and knowledge I have to share with them.

And here is how it actually goes:'ll have to add me on google+ to watch the video.

Monday, February 20

I'm so (un)impressed.

Mitt Romney left a voice mail at my house last night. No, really. It was his voice, telling me how sorry he was to have missed me and that he would "be in touch" I am soooooooooo bummed that I missed him.

*end sarcasm*

Dear people who use auto-dial services,
Please don't pretend to be a real person calling me. In fact, please stop using auto dial services. Especially please don't use auto-dial to smear someone else in politics. Send a letter or run your ads on TV like usual. Just don't call me. And for you companies that use auto-dial to advertise your services or worse yet, ask me to hold for the next available operator? Same thing. Don't call me. That is all.


PS, I am equally annoyed by recordings answering the phone and telling me "I didn't understand that response"

Friday, February 17


The days slip by. They do. And before I know it, I'm looking at pictures from what seems like last week, and hair has grown, and leaves have fallen, and somehow we all kept going, and growing, and learning. Somehow things that need to be put away stay NOT put away, and somehow we find time to plan date nights, craft a Pinterest pin, dig out schoolbooks semi regularly, dust occasionally, update Facebook, make dinner, make beds, change diapers, and love my family. I do love capturing moments like this one. I want to pause the days. They move, they slip through my fingers, and will soon be gone.

Tuesday, February 7

Colorado Family Time

Michael's sister Sarah called a few months ago to let us know about some great deals from Southwest. We were able to spend a week in Colorado and had a great time with the family - all but one of the siblings were able to come. Eleven cousins and five siblings together in one place = a crazy good time! Here are a couple pictures of Michael's side of the family! (more on Facebook soon!) We went to the zoo, hung out at the house, ate a LOT of Mexican food, laughed and talked. It was great to catch up with everyone in person!

Wednesday, January 4

four months

Cadence is four months old. I can't believe it! Here are some of the things she's been doing lately:

1. grabbing toys and passing them from hand to hand
2. watching all the action all around her
3. sleeping a lot
4. grinning at us all and giggling a lot
5. eating her toes
6. sitting up almost all by herself
7. getting kissed and hugged by her brothers (almost to excess)
8. rolling over
9. making us all smile
10. helping reality set in - that we do, indeed, have a girl child in our home.

Cadence, my dear - you are a joy! We love you!!