Thursday, January 31, 2013

The First Month Wrap Up

Month One of 7 is coming to a close.  It is amazing to me how blessed we are.  I know I keep saying that.  But, it blows my mind that God has provided for us so richly and we go through everyday life not even realizing it.  Much less continually thanking Him for His goodness and provision to us.  Part is a feeling of entitlement, we work hard therefore we should have, but part is also a little fear of not having enough.  Not trusting Him enough for our daily provision.

As we come to a close I feel a tad bit guilty.  It is hard for us not to waste.  Not to take food for granted.  At this moment I have a fridge full of leftover soup, three cooked sweet potatoes, a package of hot dogs and container of lettuce, applesauce, three tomatoes that are on their way out, not to mention carrots and condiments and plenty more.  All just sitting there waiting to be eaten.  And, try as we might, I am not sure we will get to all of it before it spoils. (I can only eat so much!)  ;)

That really is heartbreaking to me.  That we can be so gluttonous as a family.  Obviously we have made changes, but that is not enough.  We still are not being good stewards of our food.  I don't know why I feel it so profoundly.  But I do.

Maybe I think of the boy we sponsor in Abbas, Ethiopia and the little bit we send him a month has to feed and cloth his family.  Maybe I think of the pictures that an acquaintance of mine posts of Facebook about the need in Haiti.  I know we can do better.  Spend less.  Eat less.  Plan better.  Realize we just don't need it all.  And take that extra, give it to God and let Him bless a family in some unknown region of the world who has nothing.

I just don't know.  I have been affected by our food experiment.  For the better I believe.  I know I am not done with this.  I don't want to be done, until I can thank God continually for His provision for us.  And then take our extra and use it for His glory.  Then I just might be done.  With the food that is.

Next month is clothes.  The author wore only 7 pieces of clothing for a whole month!  Two pants, shoes and four different shirts.  I have been pondering that a great deal.  This is an area where I know I can use a new way of thinking.  Again, such an area of not much gratitude and an over abundance of stuff.

We won't start month two until February 11th.  I will have plenty of time to think about and pray about how God might use this experiment to refocus our brains on less of us and our junk to more of Him and His love.

Can't wait to share what we are going to do . . . .

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PW: A Much Better Week

My friend and I, who are cooking through the Pioneer Woman's cookbook together, watched the movie Julie and Julia or Julia and Julie.  I can't remember which way it goes.  Anyway, it is about this young married woman who cooks through the Julia Child's cookbook in a year.  Now that is tough.  It was a great movie by the way.

Anyway, she had a few hiccups with the recipes but they always seemed to come out just right.  I am still struggling with the "coming out right" part.  This week the taste, yet again was fabulous.  But, I am severely lacking in presentation.

First on the menu was a Spicy Caesar Salad.  We ate it as the main course and added grilled chicken to it.  The salad had homemade cornbread croutons.  I loved just munching on them by themselves.  Best when slightly warm.

Again, the recipe for the dressing had some type of pepper that I had never used before in a sauce that I had never heard of before.  I am so in the dark!  Most of the fresh ingredients had come from the farmers market that morning. (More on the fresh veggies and fruits later.)  The dressing had just the right amount of tang.  It is another dressing hubby would like to keep handy in the fridge.

I will admit, the presentation on this one has been the best so far.  Wouldn't you say?  The kids liked it also.  Hubby's favorite dish so far.  He loves a good salad and he loves a really good dressing!

Next up, a couple of days later was the Best Grilled Cheese Ever and it is aptly named!  One bite and I was hooked.  In fact, I ate most of my grilled cheese while making the kids.

I was bummed that I didn't take a picture of the finished sandwich.  It looked awesome.  I guess I was too busy eating it!  Another recipe the majority of the family loved.  Yay!

This week was much better, though, in my ability to actually make the food.  I didn't struggle quite so much.  Probably because it was a Spicy Caesar Salad and The Best Grilled Cheese Ever.  And I know my way around a salad and a grilled cheese so I wasn't too far out of my element.

Today, on the menu is Cauliflower Soup and the Make-Ahead Muffin Melt spread for tomorrow's breakfast.  It all sounds yummy . . . .

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Routine

I function way better having a routine.  A rhythm for the week.  I seem to accomplish so much more and better yet, I even get to do things that I enjoy doing.

The fall semester was kind of a wash.  It was very educational in that we did a ton of traveling and therefore learned a lot about geography.  We got to hang with family and friends.  So that was cool.  But, our formal education never really got into any type of rhythm.  We just didn't get very far.  And we always seemed to be playing catch up.  Or just doing what we needed to do.

But, starting this January things have changed.  And I really, really love it.  We have been to the library a couple of times.  We have been able to cook and bake together.  I have even had a chance to learn a little bit about crocheting (which is one of my goals for 2013).  We have read great books, watched movies, hung out with friends.  I have had time to think.  Just a little bit anyway.  We seem to be moving forward.  Actually finishing school books.

We have had time for Science and Geography and Latin and Art and Time Line.  We been able to memorize some scripture and pretty consistently read through the Bible and have some quiet time.  We have had a spelling test and Nature Girl has been doing a fair amount of writing.

We are even getting chores done.  Bathrooms are cleaned, floors vacuumed, shelves dusted and we are even able to help daddy in the garden.  My car is cleaned out every week and ironing is done.  And for some strange reason, our school day is ending considerably earlier.  After lunch we are almost through with school.  We usually just have reading, quiet time and cleaning up.

I know it is January and I have no idea what the rest of our months will look like, but January has been nice!

As I look back, the only thing I can say is routine.  It is a simple routine.  Not over reaching.  Not trying to do too much.  Just the opportunities to get things done.  I am so thankful for that and I hope it continues for just a few more months . . .

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A 7 Update

Just some musings about how it has been going here with our experiement:

1.  Our fridge, freezer and cupboards are getting cleaned out.

2.  I have had to be creative.

3,  EG keeps asking for dessert after dinner, even though we are on week three of no dessert.

3.  We are planning our first day back of all the stuff we have "banned."  Coffee and Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, pizza for dinner and malts for dessert.

4.  I also have been thinking a lot about how this will affect how we go forward as a family.  Wasting food is definitely something I want to continue working on.  Cooking smaller meals.  Make monthly tickets we can use to get take out or fast food.  If the tickets are gone for the month then no fast food or take out.  I might give up my "after the kids go to bed" dessert.  I will still eat dessert but maybe with them now.

5.  The thing I miss the most is the coffee!  I really, really can't wait to drink a nice hot cup of crazy strong coffee.

6.  I had to explain yesterday to someone at church what we were doing.  I don't think he got it.  Worst of all, I think he thinks we are a little cracked.

7.  It has totally made me think about every aspect of food for our family.  From cost to nutrition.  And how truly blessed we are by all that we have.  And to be a better stewards of the blessings of food that God has provided us.

This is just month one and I have heard a little bit about what is to come in the following 6 months.  Part of me can't wait to see what other challenges lay ahead for our family in our quest for "less of me and my junk and more of Him"  . . .

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Hunter Gatherers

My men!  On Monday my boys were able to go fishing.  Fishing on a boat which Boop has never done before.  Thanks to my nephew who invited them along.  

The plan was for them to get up at 6:30 and leave by 7.  The minute daddy was awake Boop was up and dressed and ready to go.  Needless to say he was excited!

They drove about an half hour away and the three guys spent the beautiful day fishing and catching 5 fish!  They were hoping for Reds but ended up with Trout.  A fish is a fish if you ask me.

Anyway, they got home around 5 o'clock and cleaned the fish.  Now we have dinner for one night.  And they had tons of fun.  Could they be any cuter . . . 

Monday, January 21, 2013

PW: Second and Third Tries

I am totally not a cook!  I am so out of my element in a kitchen it isn't even funny.  Well, that is not true.  To the casual observer it is probably quite hilarious watching me fumble around.

Anyway, weeks two and three were not quite as successful as week one.  But, I am having a blast trying to figure it all out!

Week Two of cooking with Pioneer Woman consisted of Fried Chicken Tacos and Orange Marmalade Sweet Rolls.

The sweet rolls I tried on a Saturday because I had to get up at 6AM just to get them started.  And we still didn't eat them until 9AM.  I do some baking, so honestly, I thought I would be OK.  Things started out fine, until I noticed the dough was a little "runny."  But, I had followed the directions exactly so just kept plugging away.

By the time I had the dough rolled out and had drizzled it with butter and was trying to spread the marmalade around, I realized there was something seriously wrong.  The dough was the consistency of some type of glue.  And when I went to roll it, it just kind of flopped over, with me having to sort of scoop in up and roll it.

Now, I have never made sweet rolls, but I have seen it done and it didn't look like any thing I remembered or like the the pretty picture in the cookbook!  But, I wasn't going to waste my dough and I was certain I needed more flour but, alas, it was too late.  So I kind of smooshed it together and then attempted to cut it in 1/2 inch pieces.

Getting it from the counter to the baking dishes was hilarious because it was all kind of schmoozing everywhere.  I ended up just flopping it into three baking dishes in no real pattern and tossing it in the oven to let it bake.

When it was done, it looked more like a cobbler then sweet rolls.  I drizzled tons of icing on it and made the kids eat it (no wasting you know) and, even though it looked suspect, it tasted pretty good!  Some of the kids liked it more than the others but that isn't so unusual.  I had so much left over that I tried to make it look pretty enough and brought it to church the next day.  Those who were adventurous enough try it said it was good.

Note to self on the sweet rolls:  add more flour, if necessary.

Next up was the Fried Tacos.  Again, epic fail in making them but the taste was good, even though presentation was disastrous.  Everything went according to plan, until had to to fry them.  I have never fried a food in my life.  Now, I didn't say I have never eaten fried food.  Hubby has always done the frying and I am not a big fan of frying because it is soooo messy.

I thought for sure hubby would be home by the time I started frying so if I got jammed up he would step in and save the day!  But, he was running late and I had to fry all by myself.  Well, that isn't totally true because my sweet LM came in the kitchen and tried to help.

The corn tortillas just kind of kept falling apart before they were fried crunchy.  At least that is what I am blaming it on.  It was mostly my lack of technique.  As the frying went on, the tacos got a little better.  Again, the taste was really good.  She uses a lot of spicy pepper type flavor which we enjoy.

Week three was White Chicken Enchiladas and Homemade Salsa.  PW has me doing things I just don't know about!  Grilled peppers until their black.  Hmmmmm.  Added into the enchilada sauce and it was fabulous.  This was a meal that totalled my kitchen.  My friend said her kitchen looked like a war zone when she was done.

Again, the presentation was not very appetizing for the enchiladas but it was really tasty.  As with some of the other recipes, we will probably tweak this one to make it more family friendly.  Like using flour tortillas instead of corn.  

The salsa was a big hit.  And we don't know why we ever buy jarred salsa!

I really am learning a ton.  And I am more and more confident in my abilities in the kitchen.  Next up Spicy Caesar Salad with Cornbread Croutons and The Best Grilled Cheese Ever . . . 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Things I Live For

So, as a family we are doing fairly well with this 7 experiment.  Hubby makes cracks about not having dessert but we are all staying the course.  The kids had a sleepover and they had dessert that night and, now that I think about it they had a treat at church last night.  My thoughts about that are, they didn't ask for this so sometimes I let a little bit slide.

Two things I have noticed that I live for:  dessert and coffee.  Over the course of a bunch of years I have tried to have a regular quiet time in the morning before the kids get up.  I brew some great smelling coffee, sometimes light a candle and read my bible and pray.  The mornings I get up and do this I am always so thankful I made the effort.  But, it has become somewhat apparent to me that I actually get up to drink coffee.  And spending time with God comes in a close second.  Because I don't have coffee in the morning I am so less likely to get up and do my quiet time.  I am a little ashamed and very much thought provoked by that.

Secondly, I am at a loss at night when the kids go to bed.  For years I have saved that time for me to eat my dessert.  A positive, peaceful ending to my day.  I would turn on the TV and get my cookies and milk and just veg for a little bit.  It is such a habit and routine, that even my friends know that is what I do.  Honestly, now that I haven't been eating my dessert, I feel lost and little bit incomplete.  Honestly, like something is missing.  It all seems so shallow!  ;)

A few observations I have made:  I am probably gaining weight because after I have fed the kids the leftovers, if there is anything left, I have to eat it.  Whereas before I would have probably just tossed it in the garbage if it was just a serving or so.  I have been known to eat PB & J on an end piece of a loaf of bread.  I didn't do that before.  Yesterday for lunch I had spaghetti sauce, just spaghetti sauce on a piece of bread.  The spaghetti sauce is now gone.

I have been cleaning my plate at meal time as well.  My hubby dishes up our plates and fills them kind of full.  Normally I would just leave what I could not honestly eat.  Now I have to clean my plate.  As do the kids.  Needless to say, I fix my own plate from now on and we give the kids smaller portions and then they may ask for seconds.

And, we just make way too much food for all of us.  We have it available so we just cook it.  I need to learn portion control with our food prep.  All and all, it is having a really great effect on how we approach food.  I think some of the things I think about will actually stick when this whole thing is over.  Well, except for the coffee and dessert part!  I am going to be more mindful of the food we have in the house, buy only what we need.  Try really hard not to just waste food.  Just because we can.

My desire is really to have less of all of it and more of Him.  I am totally amazed by how we are blessed by the Provider. And, as with other things He blesses us with, we must also be a good steward with our food.  How we buy it, eat it, share it.

I have not had some profound spiritual moment that just rocks my world.  And that is OK.  I have had lots of those moments in just doing life with my husband and family and friends.  But, I have had many small moments of gratefulness and thanksgiving for God's continued provision for our much undeserving family . . .

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Verse A Week

I saw this great chalkboard on Pinterest.  Up top it said verse of the week and you could erase it and change it and it looked so pretty.  It was on a old cupboard door that was painted and distressed and then painted in the middle with chalkboard paint.

I had to have it.  (Right now we right on a very big, not so pretty whiteboard.)  So, I went to the Etsy sight.  Only to find out that the beautiful, highly useful chalkboard was like $44 with $12 shipping.  That wasn't going to happen.  So, I explained to hubby what it was that I saw and wanted.  And, lo and behold, I have it.  Thanks to the cupboard he saved when we redid our bathroom.

I love it . . .

Monday, January 14, 2013

7: An Experiemental Mutiny Against Excess

The name kind of says it all.  Now, I am going to tell you the background of my story about the above mentioned book.

For Christmas I received a gift card to Barnes and Noble.  The day after Christmas I sent an email out to some peeps to get good book recommendations so I could spend my gift card.  I got a lot of really great book recommendations.  All of which I am going to read at some point in my life.

One book recommended kind of stuck out.  It is, in a nutshell, a woman's diary about her journey against our mindset of excess in America.  What started her journey was that she and her family took in some refugees from a hurricane in their area.  One of the children walked into her home an exclaimed "Dad, this white dude is rich."  And so it started.

She has taken seven areas of her life and assessed them in the context that we, as Americans, are a country that lives in excess.  It is a mind set.  According to her research our nation is in the top 1% of wealth in the world. (According to my pastor, who preached on something similar this past weekend it is 20%.)  Regardless, most Americans are so wealthy that we don't really know what a true need is.  It is what we do, who we are as Americans.  We have throw away everything.  If something breaks, we don't fix it, we throw it away and buy a new one.  Sorry, I digress.  We will get to that subject on a later post I am sure.

Anyway, her book is set up in seven areas that she feels she has excess in her own personal life.  She is not laying guilt on anyone, she is just assessing her life and writing about it.  With her end goal being "Less of me and my junk and more of Him."  Him being Jesus.  The seven areas are: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress.

So, for example, I have read through her first chapter and it is all about food. The author loves food and loves to cook.  And she feels this is an area of excess for her.  I think she kind of lives for it, simply speaking.  So, she decided to eat seven foods for one whole month.  Just seven foods.  No condiments, no sauces, no extras.  Chicken, avocado, eggs, apples, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread and spinach.  And just water to drink.  And only salt and pepper as additives for flavor.  No mayo or butter or dressings.

In her book she journals her feelings and struggles in a very humorous way.  She really is, I believe, just trying to figure out, when enough is enough.  And I am reading her journey.  She has a counsel that encourages her and lets her know what is acceptable on a sweet potatoes and what isn't.  The counsel is also doing some type of food reductions, assessments as well.  But, with different specifics.

So, back to my story, so far, about the book.  Anytime I get a good book recommendation, I share it with a couple friends who I feel might be interested in it.  I knew eventually I would read the book but I felt it was going to be one of those books that was going to make me get out of my comfort zone.  So, I was putting it off.  For now.

My friend bought it and started to read it.  Then she and I discuss it and it was really making her think.  So, a couple days later when she was over, she gave me my birthday present.  And it was the book 7.  With a cute little note that said if she was going to be "wrecked" over the book (meaning thought provoked and moved to do some thing in a big way) I needed to be wrecked with her.  Gotta love good friends!!

So, now about 5 of us are going through the book together and we have set up our own little book club on the Internet.  We each are approaching the book in different ways.  My friend is doing almost exactly as the author did.  Seven foods, only, for four weeks.  The rest of us have variations to some degree.

So, that is the background for now.  My next post will be what I think of 7, Chapter 1 and how it has affected us this far and what we have been doing with the information.  Because no matter what, the book makes me think.  I am good at thinking.

Stay tuned for more on our family's experimental mutiny against excess . . .

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Love Tuesdays

I love Tuesdays because we have no where to go.  We are home all day and I do my best not to schedule anything on Tuesdays.  Don't tell anyone but sometimes we do school in our PJs.  Well, at least I do!  If I have planned just right I get time to bake.  I do enjoy baking.  I usually make muffins or cookies.  This week I made bread because EG requested honey bread.  Whole wheat bread with local honey.  Yum!!

I wish we had more Tuesdays in our week . . .

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

I had a fabulous birthday.  The only thing that might have made it better was if hubby would have been able to be home all day to watch football with me.  I have told him how lucky I feel he is by the fact that he is married to a woman who LOVES football and basketball and baseball!

Anyway, the kids and I hung out most of the day.  I cooked my birthday dinner and made my birthday cake.  But, that is exactly what I wanted to do!  I wanted to try out the recipes in my new cookbook.  And on my birthday I felt I could do whatever I wanted!  And that was it.

The Sunday before, Sissy and her boyfriend came over and we had fabulous hamburgers on the grill and birthday cupcakes.

I was spoiled rotten by great birthday gifts.  Angel food chocolate, a spa day, homemade hair clips, a gift certificate to Starbucks, a Vera Bradley small cosmetic case, sunglasses, the book "7" and a subscription to Garden and Gun magazine.

Forty-five might not be so bad . . .

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bragging On My Son, Again!

I can't help bragging on him.  I think part of the reason why is he is doing things I just can't.  Or just don't understand.  Which amazes me.  Especially at his age.

I had read an article about a dad with 6 boys.  The mom was saying this is how the oil gets changed in her car her husband sits down at the table in the morning with his paper and a cup of coffee and tells one of his middle sons to go change the oil.  The son does it.  Some one asked well how do you know he did it right.  The father said that the boys had watched and helped a number of times and showed them how.  The first time the son did it himself, the dad checked the work and the kid did great.

So, I told the story to hubby and Boop happened to be sitting right there.  Hubby turns to Boop and says how do you change the oil in mommy's car.  Boop proceeds to go on to tell his daddy and me how he changes the oil.  Step by step.  He missed some of the technical terms and one small step, but other then that he said everything perfectly.  His daddy was proud.  As was I!

When we first bought our van, I ran into the side of a ditch.  The damage was the front piece of plastic under the front passenger fender  torn off.  But, for over 2 years I have been riding around with it that way.  The other day, the plastic piece was hanging so far to the ground it was dragging.  I was scared to death it would catch on something and tear completely off.  Hubby said he would fix it with a plastic zip tie when he got home.  Boop over heard the conversation and asked if he could fix it.  Daddy said sure and he would check his work when he got home.  When daddy checked, there wasn't a thing that needed to be changed.  He had done the job perfectly.  All on his own.

Then last night, hubby needed some prep work for our propane tanks on the camper because we are going camping this weekend.  He gave me instructions to give to Boop to get the job done.  With screwdriver and adjustable wrench in hand, Boop when out and completed the job.  (With a little help from me because some of the screws and nuts were rusted.)  When Boop ran into trouble he would think of a solution and call daddy.  His solutions were good.  Some just better than others.

Like I said, a lot of what he does is stuff I just don't know much about.  So, the fact that he can do this stuff and do it well, is crazy to me.  Hubby says he has a knack for that type of stuff.  A fix it guy, an engineer, a problem solver, he understands how things work and how they go together.  Of course, I am bias, but, I do think he has a gift.

One proud mama (and papa) . . .

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year's Eve

Last year was the first year I let the kids stay up.  It was really uneventful.  We watched a movie, the little guys fell asleep, I turned on the NYE programming on TV and immediately turned it off, then found Abbott and Costello and waited for midnight.  I am pretty sure I feel asleep before then.

This year, in an effort to be a fun and cool mom, I just felt we needed to do a little bit more.  Make it special, make memories, celebrate the holiday.  So, thanks to Pinterest, I got this great idea to blow up balloons, place little slips of paper in each one saying something fun for us to do, and mark them for each hour leading up to midnight.

Well, my day got busy and I never did get the notes written to put in the balloons to get at the grocery store.  But, I was not about to give up.  I wanted NYE to be fun.  To be memorable.  So, I had to make a Plan B (I should always have a Plan B.)  We had extra brown bags (and I think I saw this on Pinterest as well) and I decided to decorate the bags and put slips of paper and some props in them.  I think it was just as effective. Except for the missing balloon popping each hour.  I guess we could have tore the bags open for more affect.  I digress.

So starting at 8PM the kids each took turns opening the hourly bag.  The little guys got the earlier hours for obvious reasons.

Eight o'clock was probably my favorite one, well tied with 9 o'clock at least.  We are currently reading Swiss Family Robinson.  Boop had asked about coconuts the other day so I had bought some canned coconut milk (they drink it in the book real coconut milk, not canned ;))  I also bought a real coconut and some bananas (which I put in the brown bag.)  So, at 8PM we hammered open a coconut, ate the meat and a banana, drank coconut milk and read a little bit of the book. 

At nine we planned 10 Days in Europe.  Love, love these games.  We also have 10 Days in Africa.  They are so much fun and the kids are learning geography and they don't even know it!

Ten o'clock I had put my iPod in the brown bag and we were going to dance, dance, dance for a little while.  But, by then, the little guys were sound asleep on the couch so we opted to watch House Hunters instead.

At 11, the bag was filled with hot chocolate and popcorn, so we fixed that all up and started to watch Abbott and Costello (our new NYE tradition.)  I fell asleep but could hear the big girls laughing and laughing!

At 11:55, Little Mama woke me up and we celebrated the New Year with hugs and kiss and cookies and milk.  The girls finished watching Abbot and Costello and we all slept in the living room.

That was our memorable and fun New Year's Eve.  It is gonna' be a great year . . . 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Pioneer Woman and Me

This is going to be a total advertisement for the Pioneer Woman.  If you haven't heard of her, I encourage you to check her out.  She started out as a blogger.  She lives on a ranch, likes to cook and homeschools her four children.  We have two things in common.  I love ranches and we homeschool.  The cooking not so much.

But, about a month ago, probably more, a good friend made my hubby some really great ranch dressing (she knows he loves ranch dressing.)  The recipe just happened to be out of The Pioneer Woman's latest cookbook.  I had asked to borrow it so I could check out the recipe.  Then I started to read it and fell in love with her, her life and her food.  She cooks real food.  I like to call it "meat and potatoes."  The kind of food my family is use to.  And her story is pretty good too!

So, for Christmas, I got her first cookbook as a gift and for the second time in my life, I sat down and read a cookbook.  The recipes were great.  And doable!  I loved the step by step directions and her pictures that went along with the recipes.  I picked out a few I wanted to try before we went back to school.  My plan was to make my birthday dinner along with her fabulous sounding Coffee Cream Cake.

Between the time I got my cookbook and my birthday, a friend got up with me about cooking through the cookbook together.  I thought that was a great idea!  There are over 100 recipes so that means about 2 a week.  I got to choose the first two because I had already picked out some recipes to do for a birthday dinner.  Ranch Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower and the Coffee Cream Cake for dessert.

Honestly, I spent most of the day, this past Tuesday, in the kitchen.  It was really kind of fun.  It isn't something I could do just any day though.  I just don't have that much time to prepare a meal.  Not that it was difficult, just a little more time consuming them my normal crock pot meals!

But, the end result was fabulous.  Even the kids liked the dinner.  The cake was rich and really all you needed was a sliver.

Of course, my pictures don't do the food justice.  It really tastes a whole lot better than the pictures show.  But, I had to memorialize the event.  Expect more pictures of food in the future.

Hubby had to do the grilling.

The bread crumbs and butter will be used on other veggies as well.

I need to work on plate presentation.

The recipe said drizzle on the icing.  Now I know why.  If you pour it on, it runs off the sides quicker than it has time to set.  Lesson learned!  (I made notes in my cookbook on post it notes so I wouldn't make the same mistake twice.)

I do not have a cake knife.  And, I have noticed, a lot of other tools necessary to cook/bake.  And, unfortunately, I figure it out too late in the game.  I am making a list of cooking/baking utensils that I will be needing to complete our adventure!

Anyway, I am very excited to cook through the book with my friend!  It is going to be a great and unique experience for me.  And along the way, the family and I will get to eat some really great meals . . .

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ice Skating In The Sunny South

Friday we took the kids ice staking.  It was 60 plus degrees.  Not your typical ice skating weather.  And the ice was synthetic, made out of plastic.  Crazy!  Only the big girls skated.   Boop forgot his socks and it looked like a little much for EG.

The big girls had fun though.  They roller skate a little bit so they thought it would be like that.  But, it really isn't.  It took them awhile to get the hang of it.  And, boy, was it fun to watch!

At one point, Little Mama was cruising across the "ice" so fast and she kind of trip and fell.  But, I guess because she was going so fast, she flew across the carpeted part and almost went head long into the fence.  It wasn't really funny at the moment.  But, when she got up she was smiling and I started to laugh.

Towards the end, Nature Girl was crossing the "ice" pretty fast with her head down.  There were two boys coming at her from the side.  By the time she noticed, they were about ready to crash.  She did a stunt roll with one shoulder down to avoid the accident.  Again, at that particular moment it wasn't laugh out loud funny.  But, when I saw she was OK I had to laugh.

It wasn't quite the same experience I had has a child.  But, I suppose it is the best that is going to happen down here in the sunny south . . .

How She Rolls (or Sleeps as It Were)

Sometimes I feel bad for her.  The other kids had very strict bedtimes.  Everyone was in bed at 8:30 when they were her age.  (Well, there was a little wiggle room for Boop because I do remember him falling asleep on the couch as well.)  That's just the way it was.  But, as the older kids get older, and they stay up a little later, so does she.

We still read almost every night.  And EG usually stays up with us.  But, many times this is what happens.  She is sound asleep, in what seems to me to be the most uncomfortable positions.  I guess it helps she is young and flexible.

I usually pick her up and put her in bed.  And she never stirs (until about 2AM when she joins us in our bed.)

Sleep is overrated, right . . .

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Morn

My kids are spoiled.  No doubt about it.

Big gifts this year were a hipster for NG, camera for LM, BB gun for Boop and a doll house for EG.  They also got a lot of other great gifts.  Gift cards to Barnes and Noble (which they spent the day after Christmas).  They each also got a Target gift card and a credit card gift card which they are saving for just that perfect thing.

They got clothes and towels and socks and underwear.  A game and movies.  I know I am missing stuff.  We had such a great morning giving and receiving.  The kids really enjoyed "shopping" for each other.  The Market Days money certainly helped.

I think the adults did alright as well.  ;)

When I had mentioned at the beginning of the holiday season that I really wanted to make an effort to keep Jesus as the focal point, Boop asked if he could read the Christmas story from Luke before we opened presents.  And, of course, I agreed!  When Christmas morning came, I actually read it because it was a little hard for him to get through by himself.  I was pretty impressed with the kids because I thought they would be a little impatient.  (Another tradition born!)

My beautiful babies Christmas morning.  All smiles.

Robes from Grandma which they love.

NG and her hipster.  (She takes it everywhere.)

Little Mama and her camera.  (She is a great picture taker.)

EG loves her dollhouse.  Even the big kids play.

We did the BB gun like in the movies A Christmas Story.  It was tucked kind of behind the tree.  Daddy said "What is that I see back there?"  So funny.

We had a great dinner of pork roast (another excellent job by hubby), roasted green beans and hashbrown casserole.  Because we had so many people it ended up being a buffet style meal, which worked out really well.  All kinds of baked goods for dessert made by mom, the big girls, Sissy and me.  Very relaxed and casual.  Just the way I like it.

It is hard to believe another Christmas season has passed . . .