Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Taco Soup

1 box chicken broth
1 box beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black eyed peas
1 can chopped green chiles
1c. frozen corn
1c. frozen peas
1c. chopped purple onion
1lb. ground beef
2-4 cloves garlic minced
2Tbsp. taco seasoning
1tsp. cumin
1tsp. chili powder
1tsp. celery salt
1Tbsp. olive oil

In skillet, saute onions, then add ground beef.  Put 1Tbsp. taco seasoning on meat, stir and brown.  Once brown stir in garlic and take off heat.  Put all ingredients in crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours.  Serve with grated cheese and tortilla chips. Serves 6-10, freezes beautifully.

Monday, December 26, 2011


I love holidays!  I love getting together with family and just enjoying being together.  Enjoying lots of good food and time together.  This year has been especially wonderful. :)  So thankful to have such wonderful family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Time is Here!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

37 Weeks

I know it is a crummy up shot.  
That is because the camera was sitting on the edge of the sofa.  
You get the idea though. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Fun

During our Thanksgiving festivities, Ryan was giving me a hug and well, it's not as easy as it once was, so Ryan wanted to show that he's getting bigger too.
We stood in mom's kitchen to compare and have a laugh.  And in case you can't tell he's actually trying REALLY hard to look as big as possible(pushing his gut out and arching his back).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nursery Time

This was given to us by Ryan's sister.
It's so wonderful!  It matches our mural.

 This is hanging above the crib.  You can't see the detail, but it's much prettier in person!

 This cute little replica of our mural was made from craft foam by a family friend.
It is now secured to the wall with the fun little yarn hedgehogs using the shelf.

 And this is our completed mural.
I think our little girl will know her name!  It's plastered everywhere in her room. Hehe.  We are so thankful to have been so blessed by our friends and family helping us prepare for her arrival. Sometimes I just sit in the nursery and stare at all the pretties we've received.  It is an amazing blessing!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Childbirthing Class...really?

A few months ago my OB handed me a folder with lots of information in it to read when I got home.  I saw a flyer for Childbirth and Breastfeeding classes offered by the hospital at no charge and was thrilled.  I knew we needed to go to these and was excited to get tips on things we could do to prepare for birth, as well as excersises to practice for labor. 

At the beginning of November we went to our first class.  There were 3 classes scheduled for Childbirthing, and 1 for Breastfeeding (we'll attend that one tomorrow).  We went to our first class and to my horror arrived 2 minutes late( I HATE being late to anything.  I'd rather be 20 minutes early sitting there twiddling my thumbs than walk in 1 minute late.)  Sure enough the instructor was already well into her lecture.  I never did learn her name.  I don't even know if she actually introduced herself.  It still bothers me that I don't know her name. 

Well, everything I expected class to be was wrong.  This was not meant to be a hands on experience where you practice techniques for getting through childbirth.  Nope.  This was a full on 'what they should have taught in sex education' class.  Let me tell you, if they taught this in sex ed in high school or middle school, or both, the teen pregnancy rate would decrease dramatically!  I was already pregnant and somewhat prepared, and kept thinking; "REALLY?  I have to do WHAT?  Can we turn this car around?  Is there any way to take it back...maybe we can press pause and do this whole baby thing in 10 more years."  Don't get me wrong, I'm THRILLED we are having a baby, and it's something we knew we wanted....but holy cow graphic videos batman.

So what was class?
Night 1: Well, the first was a powerpoint about the stages of labor, what happens during/after delivery, and a video of a live birth.  On the first night.  Two hours.  I watched a mucus covered baby come out of a woman's vajayjay.  I could have gone my whole life without watching that.  I don't want to see my own baby coming out of me, much less someone else's.  Also, there was a table with about 30 different props sitting at the front of the room.  I thought, well, at least we'll have SOME hands on with all that stuff....nope.  It just sat there.  I think she picked up one thing on the table the whole time. Well, actually two things.  She used a baby doll and a skeleton of a pelvis to show us how the baby should be positioned and move through the birth canal. 

Night 2: This was a video of a c-section.  Could have gone my whole life without watching that.  A second video that showed a number of women in labor.  I think this was an attempt to teach us birthing/relaxation techniques.  I didn't get much from it except that a lot of women in the video used a birthing ball and one sat in the shower a lot.  Being in the shower sounded like it could be useful.  I logged it in the back of my brain.  Then we took a tour of the hospital.  This was quite useful and reassuring becuase she told us about some of the many security measures in place to keep baby and mom protected from crazies.  I felt a lot better about that after hearing what lengths they go to for protection.  The tour was good, but there is a large part under construction so it was a bit disjointed.  What I took away from the tour was that the showers don't drain properly (which means the ONE thing I thought would be most helpful as demonstrated by the video was probably the ONE thing I'd be least encouraged to use to cope with labor).  Awesome.  Oh well. 

Night 3: A pediatrician came to talk to us about what happens once baby is born.  She told us some of the things they check for in baby and gave us a timeline of checkups/vaccines during the first year.  That was helpful.  And we got to leave early. On the way out they gave us some free diapers and wipes.  Not many, but it was a nice freebie from Huggies who donated them to the hospital.

Tomorrow we go to a class about breastfeeding.  I have no idea what to expect after what we got during the childbirth class. If anything significant happens you'll hear about it.

Although the class wasn't what I expected or hoped for, it did present some useful information.  My initial OMG after the first video or two has subsided and I'm at peace with whatever happens.  I'd still like to take some sort of class that teaches actual excersises for during labor, but I don't think that is going to happen.  I managed to find a handful of resources online that gave me some ideas, but I figure my body will tell me what I need when I need it and we'll just figure it out as we go. 

Adventure; HERE WE COME!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Not just a holiday

Thanksgiving isn't just a holiday, it's an attitude, and it shouldn't be reserved for one day each year.  It should be a constant in our lives.  Having an attitude of thankfulness, having a grateful heart can immensely change one's outlook on most situations, and by changing our outlook, we can often change our response to a situation or surrounding.

Some recent examples from my life:

1.  I'm pregnant.  I'm thankful that God gave us this blessing, and can therefore see the many blessings we are receiving in a situation that we feel completely unprepared for in many ways.  We did not intend to have children yet, but God knew we needed this miracle baby at exactly this time for a number of reasons, some of which we've seen, some we won't see for many years to come, and some still that we may never know about at all.
If I had not decided to have a grateful heart toward this situation I would be filled with fear for the unknown, stress over financial needs we've incurred and needs yet to come, and anger that we weren't in control.  But with a thankful heart we are TRULY blessed beyond measure with this precious gift.

2. Due to said pregnancy I've not been crafting much lately.  It would be easy to get frustrated with myself and angry that I haven't had time/energy to sew/quilt as much as I was doing this time last year.  However, with a heart of thanks I'm able to see not crafting so much has given me time to rest peacefully, time to read entertaining books, and less stress over getting things done.  I have really enjoyed the time I have been able to spend in my chair reading and just being still.

3. I'm unable to travel at this point.  If I did not have a thankful heart I would be sad that we don't get to get away for a little while because I always enjoy our trips away.  Even if it is just a weekend or short holiday trip it's nice to be in a different environment for a short time.  However, I'm thankful I get to see family who are willing to come to us.  Thankful I get to sleep in my own bed and set the thermostat for my own comfort.  Thankful I don't have to pack my closet since I never know what will work from one day to the next.  Thankful that I know exactly what is going into our meals and that I can change my mind about what to serve if it doesn't sound good to me. Thankful that I won't have to deal with the foreign smells that come with being in some place other than home.  Thankful I don't have to be couped in a car for hours on end.  Thankful that I can choose the programs we watch on television.  And most of all Thankful for the quality time we will have at home enjoying our family during this special time of year.

These may seem silly, and some of them really are simply because I am pregnant and that makes things different, but really the message is clear; Find the good, find the happy, find your thanksgiving.  More often than not, one small aggravation or upset has numerous opportunities of thanksgiving attached to it.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More Change

Still looking at some changes I made when I had that crazy influx of energy.
This is the garage floor.  I know it doesn't look like much, but trust's HUGE!  Before there was a stack of boxes and junk at least waist high...some of it shoulder high(for me).  Now, there is FLOOR!  How awsome is that? Very.  Yes there are still some things in the floor to be trashed or put away, but the majority is all put away or in the dump by now.

This is the new shelf Ryan put together for me.  It probably looks quite messy to most people, but it's a huge step up from where we were.  On the top is our basket o' tissue paper, and paper towels.  I save every piece of salvagable tissue paper I get and reuse it all through the year.  It was almost 3 years before I had to buy any new tissue you know how much that saved me?  I don't, but I know it's a lot because we have a LOT of birthdays and gift giving occasions in our family and I tend to bag better than wrap. 

The second shelf has grocery bags and gift bags.  The third shelf holds small kitchen appliances and holiday deocrations.  The fourth shelf is our picnic basket and extra boxes for gift wrapping. The bottom which is actually the floor space under the fourth shelf holds our fryer, and some other miscellaneous items that don't have a home.  You can't see them right now because there is a new back of tissue paper blocking the way.  It has now made it's way to the proper basket instead of the floor.

Having this new system has been very helpful, and I would like to eventually have the garage lined with these shelves instead of miscellaneous large pieces of furniture.
We'll see, maybe in 3 more years I'll get there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pictures of the Progress

Remember how I said I cleaned?...Well, here is the proof! 
Again, no before pictures for comparison, so you can't fully appreciate all that has happened here, but trust me it's a big accomplishment.

This is how the pantry looks now.  It doesn't seem like I wouldn't be able to reach, but in reality the microwave comes up to my that cabinet is pretty tall, and there is another shelf above the uppermost one in thispicture.

This is the pantry door with new shelves for baggies and aluminum foil, etc.  Saves a lot of space, and uses space that was previously wasted.  Also you can kind of see where I hung the collander on the wall inside the pantry to free up cabinet space by the stove.  :) 

This is a new sorting rack for cutting boards, cookie sheets, baking stones, etc.  It freed up a lot of space next to the oven, and instead of stacking them on top of each other they stand side by side.  It makes a lot less noise, and takes a lot less effort to get them out of the cabinet now.  Oh, and that opening is only about 10 inches...not standard by any means.  Whoever built our house made sure that NOTHING was anywhere NEAR standard sizes so that we could never order premade anything.  It's fun finding solutions that work in such small and wierd spaces.(sarcasm?....yes)

And our knife drawer.
Before these were all just laying in the drawer with several other cutting tools like the pizza cutter.  Everytime you opened the drawer everything shifted, and you always had to use extra care finding the right knives.  Now they are neat and the blades are hidden.  Love it!  Moved the pizza cutter to a different drawer and all our Chef's/Butcher's knives hang above the stove on a magnetic strip.

Yay for organization that has some bit of promise to stay organized by natural tendencies(meaning I won't have to keep redoing it year after year).  I know the pantry is an ongoing organizational issue, but at least some of the kitchen is now self organizing. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


About 2 weeks ago I finally ordered a shelf to get the garage in better order.  This is something I've wanted to do for quite some time, but could never manage to part with the money for the shelf, so I used some birthday money and made it happen.  Last Friday I came home from work fully intending to take a nap, after I brought packages in off the porch, but then had the sudden overwhelming NEED to clear the cabinets in my kitchen and reorganize.  (This was most likely spurred on by the other things I purchased when I bought that free standing shelf.  Things like an in-drawer knife block, a cookie sheet organizer, and some on the door pantry shelving for baggies and aluminum foil.)  So, I did.  I sat down in the floor with all my pots, pans, lids, cookie sheets, and baking stones and completely rearranged the cabinets surrounding the stove.  I even wiped out the cabinets.  It felt nice.  Until I stood up....then I was in some pain from sitting on the hard wood floor for so long.  But, I was proud of the progress.  Then I went to the living room and decided I had earned some rest time, sat down to read, and about one whole minute later jumped back up and went back to the kitchen.  I started staring at the pantry.  It just made my skin crawl.  It had been bugging me for a number of weeks, but hadn't had the energy to deal with now that I did, well, it had to happen immediately.  I took everything I could reach off the shelf.  Then, I stood and stared.  There was an entire shelf I could no longer reach because I'm not allowed on the step ladder at this late date of my pregnancy.  I thought I'd just wait for Ryan to get home and help me, then after 30 minutes staring at it I remembered I had a long pair of tongs with large rubberized ends that I use to reach spices over the stove.  I found them...and started yanking things off the shelves.  I had to tip toe a bit and really stretch to reach some things in the back...but eventually I got it ALL!  Triumph!!!  I cleaned the shelves I could reach and put in contact paper I found for $1 at the Dollar Tree, then started restocking the shelves in a completely different way.  It was wonderful to finally have things in a better order, and to clean out old canned goods that had gone out of date.  I pulled all canned goods out of the pantry, because in our kitchen they go on a wire rack on the cabinet next to the stove so they are in better reach.  They only sit one deep in the rack so you can always see what you have, and they don't take up any extra space that way because the space was completely unused before.  I took the gadgets and machines I don't use very often and put on the higher pantry shelf(using my long tongs) so they wouldn't take up precious counter or cabinet space anymore.  I even cleaned out my pot holder drawer, utensil holders and made some extra space in upper cabinets next to the stove for things like olive oil, salt/pepper mills, and other food items used often near the stove.  It was a phenomenal accomplishment.  I didn't touch the cabinets with dishes, glasses, or glass bakeware, but I still managed a LOT for one afternoon!  I was so proud, and was finally completely worn out enough that I went and sat down for about an hour.  Then, after that my husband came home and put together my garage shelf for me.  Guess what?!  Another wave of HAVE TO hit me.  And I cleaned the garage too!  It's not perfect, but there is a definite floor space now.  Instead of having a one foot walkway from the kitchen to the drink fridge and workbench, we now have an almost empty floor aside from some furniture and larger trash items that need to be hauled away.  :)  YAY.  Do I have before pictures?  No.  :(  I'm partly glad because it's a bit sad how horrible I'd let things get these last many months, but sad too because you can't really appreciate the progress that was made.  However, I am THRILLED with the results.  There is still more to do in the garage in way of cleaning out and organizing, but wow is it ever about 1000%.  So, when I told my mom about my wonderful cleaning out she said I needed to be careful because when the clean bug hit her it meant it was time for baby to come on home.  I told her I didn't think that was the case for me, but I'm being careful anyway.   When we went to our birthing class the next Thursday they said if you have a sudden burst of energy, and the need to clean everything in the house, baby might be on the way.  Ryan and I just laughed.  We think it will still be a while before Lila gets here, but at least some of the cleaning is done. :)  Pictures to come later.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nursery Update 8; Mural

A couple of critters at the base of the tree.
On the left we have Ms. Hedgie, a hedge hog who is getting a flower from Mr. Squirrel. You can't see all the detail, but it gives you an idea.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nursery Update 7; Mural

Blurry Picture, Sorry.

A little peek at what I've been working on.  This is a little bird on the dad thought it looked like a fish.  Oh well.  It's still fun to look at.  He has some pals in the tree too!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fried Rice

Sorry, no picture.  It got eaten before I thought about it, but all know what fried rice looks like right?  Right.  So, here's how to make it at home.  It's really easy.

1lb. chicken tenders (I pull the meat in bite size pieces off the tendon)
1Tbsp. olive oil
3c. minute rice
3c. water
1 stick butter
1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables ( I prefer the ones with mostly snap peas)
salt/pepper to taste
1tsp. celery seed
1-2tsp. yellow curry powder
2-4 Tbsp. lite Soy sauce
1 egg (optional)

In a large skillet, drizzle with olive oil, put chicken pieces in, and stir with curry powder, celery seed, salt and pepper.  In a separate pot, cook your minute rice, or if you have a microwaveable rice cooker cook rice that way.  (If you don't have a microwave rice cooker, invest in one.  It's worth all $15.  It looks like a plastic version of a stew pot.  And it steams the rice really nicely.  You just put equal parts minute rice with equal parts water and cook about 5 minutes, then fluff with fork.)  When rice finishes set aside.  Cook chicken until done throughout, then add frozen veggies.  In separate non-stick skillet melt butter, and stir in rice.  Coat rice with melted butter and let cook 1-2 minutes.  Push rice aside to create a blank space where you can scramble your egg in the same pan, then when the egg is mostly cooked spread it through the rice.  Carefully add the chicken/veggie mix into the rice or vice versa and mix together really well.  If you are like me it's a little much to put in one skillet, so stir carefully as not to lose any to the floor.  Or, split it between the two skillets.  Add your soy sauce to the mix and stir well.  Serve and enjoy.  Serves 4-6 easily with hearty portions.  If you serve this with something else it could easily serve 6-8. 

This recipe stores well in the refrigerator for about 1 week, also freezes and reheats well if stored properly.  I like to use Ziploc Freezer bags with all the air squeezed out.  Just write the date on it so you know how long you've had it.

Note: If you like different veggies you can add whatever you'd like, the frozen bag just makes it easy and cheap.  The onion, mushroom, snap pea blend is great, so is the broccoli, water chestnut, snap pea, and pepper version.  I just get whatever sounds good.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nursery Update 6

I made this for Ryan for Father's Day.  He loved it, but said if we have a boy I'll need to make a new one that doesn't have glittery pink puff paint on it. :)  I guess it's good we are having a girl.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dressing up the Bag

So I was given a great gift once called a Miche Bag.  
*Miche Bag does not know who I am, this is not a paid advertisement.*  
The base bag looks like this;
It's a purse with interchangeable shells or coverings and handles so you can change the look of your purse without having to move all your stuff to a new bag.  You just take the magnetic cover off and put a new one on.   Genius isn't it?  I have loved my Classic bag for quite a while.  Well, they also have the big bag;
And I wanted one.  The classic base that I first showed you is actually a great size.  Not too big, not too small, unless of course you carry a book and bottle of water with you everywhere.  Or, numerous snacks and toys and other things that women carry in their purses.  That's why you have the big bag.  I thought I needed one because it would be great for traveling.  So someone generously gave one to me.  The cover wasn't exactly my taste, but I'll use it for certain times of the year.  I decided to just use the base by itself for a while until I can get another cover.  The base itself is quite pretty.  Then, I decided to make it a sash...and ended up with this;
Ain't it purty! :)  I like it a lot.  I think I'll make some more!

I LOVE my Miche Bags, but you don't have to have this particular bag to do this!    If you have a purse that you just love and don't want to get rid of you might try making it a slip cover, or putting a ribbon around it.  Sometimes the accessories need to be accessorized too!