Monday, July 29, 2013

Menu Monday and a Meatball Recipe

Good morning and happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend and is well rested and ready to face the week!

A couple weeks ago, I decided that to make our Sundays more relaxing, I would start putting food in the crock pot before church so that when we get home from church and everyone is ravishingly hungry and the baby needs to be fed and I just want to get into my comfy clothes, food will be ready so everyone can eat when they want and I can slip into my comfy clothes and nurse the baby. Everyone's happy.

We finally returned to church this week after a few months off and surprisingly, I was prepared to do this. I was a little pressed for time but this recipe for Hawaiian meatballs is super easy to throw together! Of course I had to make the rice and carrots but if they were so starving that they couldn't wait, they easily could have eaten the meatballs without the other stuff. At least a few to hold them over.

 
For the rest of the week, our menu looks like this:
 
MONDAY: Meatball Leftovers
TUESDAY: Balsamic Chicken
THURSDAY: Burgers & Brats
FRIDAY: Leftovers
SATURDAY: Steak
 
Have a great week everyone!
 



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Today's Wanderings


I was running errands today- you know, trying to fit everything in between baby feedings- and one of my stops was at a friend's house I'd only been to a couple of times. After wandering for a bit, I found her house, dropped off her goodies, then as I was driving away, I gloated to myself: "I can find my way anywhere if I wander for a while."

Then a thought popped into my head: "you can find your way through life if you wander, making a few wrong turns- eventually you'll get to your destination. BUT God has a PLAN, a map so to speak, for your life and when you follow it, you'll get to your destination so much quicker and easier!"

I am constantly seeking God's plan for my life and while I'm not sure what his complete plan for me is, what the final destination is (I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!) I do know that as long as I follow him, turn by turn- maybe more like a GPS than a map- I will get to my destination, the ultimate plan God has for me in the best way possible.

My thought for you today is don't wander; keep your eyes on God, trusting him to show you the way turn by turn.


 
 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

First Two Zucchini Recipes

 

Finally got some baking done today!

This Zucchini Chocolate Cake is one of my favorite recipes. It's very moist and tasty. My kids even like it! I, um, forgot the oil so I was a little nervous about how it would turn out but I really don't think it affected the end product.



Just pulled the Zucchini Bread out of the oven and it smells equally as tasty. I can't wait to try it!


 
 
Both of these recipes took the smaller of two zucchini that I had. If you get your hands on some zucchini this summer, I highly recommend trying these recipes!
 


Friday, July 19, 2013

Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini!

My dear, sweet neighbor gave me not one but two zucchini from her garden this past week. When her kids brought the first one over, I was ecstatic! I couldn't wait to get busy cooking and baking. I am pretty sure my husband thought I had lost it.

It was a hot week, though, and we spent a lot of time at the pool and as little time as possible with the stove and oven on.

The boys are gone for the weekend and we're looking at cooler temperatures so I plan to get my baking done soon. Me, the kitchen, and zucchini!

Here is what I will be making: chocolate zucchini cake, zucchini crisp, and zucchini bread.

I will post the recipes along with pictures tomorrow when I'm done creating!

Aren't They Beautiful?!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Morning Routine and Kids' Chores


Along with being huge on making lists, I need to have a routine. Actually, I don't know if it's the routine I need or the excuse to make another list. HA!

At any rate, I thought I would share what we've been doing lately. Here goes the list:

I usually stay in bed until Emmett wakes up (which was 6:30 this morning- yawn!) I get up and feed him and then we start our day with
  • Coffee
  • Breakfast
  • Devotions
  • older boys do one job, get dressed, make beds, brush teeth while I get the baby bathed and dressed
Pretty simple. After that, pretty much anything is fair game. It is summer, after all!



Right now, I do my own devotions and reading whenever I get some peace and quiet. Sometimes that's in the middle of the night, sometimes it's in the middle of the afternoon. I would like to find a routine when it comes to this. Much as I hate to admit it, I think the best way to accomplish this would be getting up earlier and at a set time but that would mean missing out on snuggle time and I'm just not sure I want to give that up.

Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like?

For the boys' chores, I took this post from Organizing Made Fun and tweaked it a bit to fit our needs. Well, maybe it was partially out of laziness. I didn't want to take time to make the cute cards she has so I used popsicle sticks.



I changed the "rules" a bit, too. They have six 15 minute sticks for screen time and they each have five jobs. Each day, they have to do one job after breakfast and then the stick goes in my jar. For every 15 minutes of screen time, they have to put a stick in my jar. When they're gone, they're done with screen time for the day. They also can't bank screen time. I haven't told them that yet, though, and they haven't brought it up. At night, I put all six back in the kids' jars for the next day. If they misbehave, I take away screen time or have them do a job out of their jar. When their jobs are done for the week, they start drawing out of my jar and hey, some might get done twice! There are also bonus screen time sticks for when they deserve a reward. The bonus sticks don't expire at the end of the day, they can save those up. And, if one is mean to the other, the one  who is being picked on can give his brother one of his jobs to do right then as a consequence. I can see now we're going to need more jobs in the jars!



The only glitch I've come across so far: yesterday, one of them was not listening to me so I had him go draw a stick out of his jar. His reply was "yippie! I get to clean the bathroom!" Yes, my boys like to clean the bathroom. Weeeiiiirrrddd.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Beauty


 

I came across this from The Mom Initiative in my Facebook news feed the other day and whoa, did it make me stop and think.I read it over and over again. Hmmm... If my inner beauty became my outer beauty, how would I look?... I'd be a mess, that's for sure! I'm kind of all over the place, as I imagine many of us are. I have a big heart, love to serve others, am compassionate. But I am also angry and mean and yell, too. This drives me absolutely bonkers. I have prayed about it and given it over to God a hundred times but it still manages to weasel its way back in there. 

In this blog post from Mom Heart, Amanda reminds us that we are God's masterpiece. It's hard to see myself as a masterpiece, that's for sure. Despite all my fears, failures, and faults, I am His masterpiece. How do we get this message from our head to our heart- to where we KNOW it and believe it to be true? Lean into God, let go of the fears, failures, and faults, focus on the victories and the goodness inside. Don't let the ugly mask the beauty. Work every day to overcome the obstacles, the not so pretty things on the inside. And don't get discouraged when those ugly things rear their heads, no one is perfect and we're always going to have something to fight against. Just keep fighting it and don't give in to it.

And, God, bless my husband and my kids as they put up with me while I deal with it and give me grace and patience to help them work through the things they struggle with.


French Press Mornings



Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Fitness Focus



I was doing some blog browsing this morning and came across this wonderful post about being lean. In the post, Molly asks "How lean do you want to be, and will you sacrifice what it takes to get there?" Whoa. Good question.

I've always strived to be lean. It's never happened. I get frustrated and angry, let it control my mood, and go to extremes to try and achieve leanness. But after reading that question and thinking on it for just a moment, I had an a-ha! moment. I have never achieved it because I've never been willing to make the sacrifice it would take to get there. Imagine that.

Then I gave it a little more thought, asking myself "so what sacrifices are you and are you not willing to make?"

I AM willing to SCHEDULE my workouts. They are a part of my routine, just like making dinner and vacuuming the carpets.

I AM willing to work out 4-5 times a week and to give it all I've got.

I AM willing to eat fairly healthily by eating smaller, more frequent meals and not skipping meals. Also by drinking more water.

I am NOT willing to be a food Nazi, counting calories and denying myself treats on occasion.

And since food is 80% of the battle and exercise only 20%, therein lies the reason I will never be super lean.

I like to work out and I've always made it part of my routine to ensure that it gets done. I also like food. I like to eat out and I like to indulge sometimes. I'm not willing to give that up.

I've had my epiphany. Now to come to terms with it.

From the post on being lean, I stumbled on this post about fitspo and how awful it is. And you know what, I totally agree. I sometimes find it inspiring but more often than not, it discourages me because I then start to compare myself and push myself to achieve something that I'm never going to achieve which bums me out because I can never reach my goal.

Jen also poses this question: "When do we come to peace with the fact that being healthy doesn't necessarily mean we'll be really lean, and being really lean doesn't mean we're healthy?"

I actually was pretty lean two years ago. I loved to admire the outline of my muscles in my arms when I was blow drying my hair. All of the clothes that are currently too snug on me were falling off of me. I weighed 20 pounds less than what I did last year when I got pregnant for Emmett, 35 pounds less than I do currently. I wasn't healthy. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating, I was working out a lot, and had other unhealthy habits.

My new focus is to let go of the idea of being ultra lean, to be healthy, eat as healthy as possible, and workout often.

What are your fitness goals? What are you willing to give up or not willing to give up in your quest to reach these goals?



 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Super Easy!


Two easy things I did yesterday:

Crock Pot Creamy Black Bean Chicken from Chef In Training

and organized the bathroom drawers. Picked up drawer organizers at Target for $1 each. I'm sure they have some similar ones at the dollar store. Here are the before and after pictures:

 
 




















Now I'm wishing I had bought a 3rd for the boys' bathroom.

The chicken was so good! I've made it before and took it to the in-laws when people were over swimming and it seemed to get everyone's approval there, too. The only one who has an issue with it is my middle child who doesn't like beans. For him, I just pick them out ;) It's so easy and tasty and truly a tried and loved recipe! I hope you try it, too!!

In the crock, getting ready to cook

Just slap it on a tortilla, add cheese, salsa,
cream cheese- whatever- and devour!

 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Two Months!


I am not kidding when I say I didn't think I would make it through the first month. I think it nearly killed me. No joke. But here we are, my babe is two months old and by golly I made it!!!

Two Months Old!

The first month, I was tired and sore. I could hardly muster up the energy to nurse Emmett. Mother's Day was bittersweet. The worst ever and the best ever at the same time. Around five weeks, he started only waking once during the night. That made a world of difference. I started to feel like a human being again. By six weeks, he was sleeping all night. Phew! Just in time for summertime and the older kids home all day, which means no more naps for me.

We are closing in on nine weeks now and things are great! Emmett is such a good, happy baby! He is so content and laid back. He's been on field trips, to field day at the school, on multiple shopping trips, to the park, on walks, to the pool. You name it. And he just goes with the flow. Of course he sleeps through a good portion of it but when he's not sleeping, he's smiling. If he gets fussy, it's because it's time to sleep again.

Sleeping by the Pool!
It was definitely an uphill climb but as he sleeps better and is more alert and interactive, smiling and cooing when he's awake, I see the fruits of that and know that it was so worth it!