Saturday, April 30, 2011

Menu Plan for the Week of May 1st

I can't believe that it's already May! Wow the year is flying by!

My mom came up this weekend so I was able to go grocery shopping today minus the kiddos. What a treat! I have decided that since our fridge, freezer and cabinets are overflowing with food, we will be having an "Eat-What-We-Have Challenge" for the month of May. I will only be buying fresh produce and dairy each week, when necessary. Otherwise, we're going to eat what we've got because, by golly, we've got a lotta food!

Here is my menu plan for this week:

Sunday: Beef tacos with refried beans and guacamole

Monday: Birthday dinner for my brother at my parents' house in Chattanooga

Tuesday: Chicken Fried Rice with Teriyaki Vegetables and Egg Rolls

Wednesday: Pan Sauteed Portabella Pasta with Roasted Garlic & Sun-Dried Tomatoes (from The Whole Foods Cookbook), salad and garlic rolls (Watch out, Dracula!)

Thursday: Chili & Cheese Baked Potatoes with steamed broccoli and mango

Friday: Pizza Night!!

Saturday: Girls' Night Out (Leftovers for Kate & Daniel)

Have a great week!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mother's Day Out and Summer Break: A Mommy Plans

For several weeks now I have been fretting over it, biting my nails in trepidation. I've started lists and made charts and still don't feel peace. I wake up in the night with cold sweats, worrying about it.

What am I talking about?

The end of Mother's Day Out. For the entire summer.

Three whole months.

I know what you're thinking: "What a horrible mom! She can't even handle taking care of her own children. And it's not like she has 4 or 5 kids to manage. Just two!"

But I have grown to anticipate...crave Tuesdays and Thursdays with just Cora. Don't get me wrong. I adore my firstborn but let's just say she's a fireball, and there are days when we both need a break from each other.

Honestly, I believe Kate would prefer to be at "class" rather than home most of the time. And why wouldn't she? There she can play with her friends, swing, jump in the bouncy house, make crafts that mommy is far too incapable of doing, and get away with just about anything, including taking short naps and eating only her favorite parts of her lunch. But she has fun, she smiles and her cute little face lights up when we pull into the entrance and she realizes we're almost there. I think she rather enjoys rubbing it in Cora's face that she goes to school and Cora doesn't.

And Cora and I go home, and while she naps, I clean house, cook, write, read and just relax without a two-year-old demanding constant attention. Then, when Cora wakes up, we play, read books, and play some more. It's quiet and peaceful and a break that I love.

Yes, I once felt guilty sending my daughter to a place where someone else takes care of her and teaches her but that is no more. Now I see Mother's Day Out as the blessing it truly is: a time and space for Kate to build her own friendships and develop in new and different ways as well as a special place just for her and a time for me to spend with just Cora and, during naps, a time for me to be still.

There are only two more weeks of Mother's Day Out, and I know that means I need to get organized. So, I'm making monthly and weekly plans for fun outings including trips to the Nashville Zoo, the Warner Park Zoo in Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium, and The Discovery Center as well as free places like Barfield Crescent Park, the Greenway, the library, and various playgrounds around town. Also, we'll be going strawberry picking in Wartrace and swimming at the Rec Center.

In addition to field trips, I'm trying to plan more at-home learning activities for Kate. We already "do school" but I need some new, more advanced workbooks. Plus, I need some good craft books to keep my active child stimulated and motivated. Any suggestions?

With all this planning, I'm actually getting excited about having Kate home every day because we can start a new routine. And Cora will finally be able to take consistent naps.

Yes, we'll be resuming Mother's Day Out in the Fall, but for now, we're planning for the summer.

If your children will be out of Mother's Day Out, preschool or regular school for the summer, what do you plan to do with them?
I would appreciate any ideas or thoughts.

Finer Things Friday: My Life

(46) Wonderful Easter time with my family including a delicious meal that I didn't have to cook! What a blessing!!

(47) A beautiful bunny rabbit blanket for Cora made by a dear sweet friend from my old church on Signal Mountain

(48) Five boxes of fabric and notions for sewing from my mother-in-law and Granny Ann so that I don't have to buy any material for quite a while! Thank you!! Now to learn how to sew. :)

(49) Surviving severe weather with only a few limbs down in the yard while many others lost their homes and even their lives

(50) The Mother's Day Out program at Kingwood Heights Church of Christ where Kate has learned Bible stories, songs, and important life lessons like how to play with others and share and which enables me to spend special one-on-one time with Cora

(51) Watching men dig up our house to fix the foundation and thankful that we have the resources to pay the costly bill

(52) Our beautiful girls finally getting to ride together in their wagon although short-lived because Kate pushed a crying Cora out of her lap. Ugh.

(53) Spring! Everything is green and I feel revived and energized just when I most needed it too. Thank you, God.

(54) Cora's developing personality and how sweet, mellow and independent she is. How wonderful for Mommy!

(55) Kate's strong will. Yes, it is a constant battle of the wills right now but one day she will do amazing things.

(56) This blog and the opportunities it affords for me to write, something I truly love to do.

The Lord continues to bless our family so richly. Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

On Sunday afternoon Daniel and Kate planted twenty tomato plants in our garden that Pop Pop, Daniel's grandfather, gave us last week. So, now we have four rows of tomatoes, two rows of lettuce as well as a large pot behind the house, and two rows of onions.

As you can see, we seriously need to do some weeding!

We ate a good bit of the lettuce in the pot last night with our supper. Delicious! So tender and sweet! Call me cheap, but I just couldn't bring myself to spend $4.00 for organic lettuce this week. So we are eating our own, homegrown.

I also have planted some herbs that are slowly starting to sprout. This rainy weather has been good for the greens, but we'll need some sun in order for the tomatoes to produce.

This snowball bush is one that came originally from my Mema and Papa Garner's house and now grows at my parents'. I have many fond memories of the snowball bush growing up, and in many ways, it serves as a visual reminder of my family, even though my grandparents are no longer with us. I plan to take it with us whenever we move from here one day.

Also, I just got an email today that I won some organic seeds in a giveaway from Amy's Finer Things. YEA!!! I'll be getting some garlic chives, Peruvian purple chile, and Victoria sage. I've been wanting to plant some sage and buy chives every year, so these seeds will come in handy! Plus, our family loves peppers. I have never heard of Peruvian purple chiles--sounds exotic--but I'll let you know how they turn out.

What are you growing?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kitchen Tip #1: How to Make Your Own BBQ Sauce

We love barbecue in our family. Whether barbecue pork, beef or chicken, it doesn't matter. And I can't seem to keep bottled barbecue sauce in the house. But if you have ever read the label on the bottle, you will see that high fructose corn syrup is often the number one or two ingredient in most brands.

Since I am trying to reduce and eventually eliminate all HFCS in this house, I decided to make my own BBQ sauce from scratch, using ingredients I have on hand. It's super easy to make, keeps forever in the fridge because of the vinegar, and is very cost-efficient. Plus, you can be creative and add whatever ingredients your family likes. We like a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.

So, here's how I make BBQ sauce in THREE easy steps:

(1) Get out your ingredients and dump them in your pot.

I'm using the following, but feel free to use what you like and vary the quantities if you like your sauce sweeter, tangier, hotter, or milder.

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I've also used honey, which is good.)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
A dash or two of hot sauce (if you like)
Pinch of salt and some ground black pepper

(2) Bring to boil on medium heat; reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness.

(3) Taste! That's it! If you like what you got, you can brush it on your meat. Or, if you made it hours before you plan to use it like I did, let it cool and then refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of barbecue sauce, so if you want more, you can double the recipe so you'll have some extra on hand for leftovers or future meals.

Bring on the barbecue!!!

An Addendum to Yesterday's Post

Lest anyone be concerned about the state of our marriage, I wanted to add that my post yesterday was an attempt to address an issue I personally need to work on: putting my husband first, tending to his needs, and being respectful and submissive to him as the head of our household. Since children have entered our lives, my priorities have shifted: Kate and Cora often take precedence over Daniel. And that's wrong, I know. It's something I have to change. Kate and Cora will not suffer if breakfast is postponed while Mommy fixes Daddy's lunch. Besides they need to learn that they are not the center of the universe, and they also need to see how a husband and wife are supposed to interact.

My post yesterday was merely a reminder to myself (and others who might need it) that if you want to have a close, loving relationship with your spouse that extends beyond the child-rearing years, you have to look beyond the present and into the future, and you have to start working NOW. For me, that means watching TV with Daniel instead of diving into my book or catching up on my emails, or taking time to snuggle in the mornings even though both children are awake and wanting attention. It means finding times when we can be together, just the two of us, and spending much-needed moments together. It means foregoing all the chores I need to do and just sitting and talking. And it means praying together, about our present and our future.

These days are precious, everyone of them. Our children will grow up and leave home in just a few short years. Then, it will just be the two of us. I want to know that I have done everything I can to be the wife I need to be.

Monday, April 25, 2011

To My "Hero," My Husband...

I have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. Or at least that's what I have been told many times by people who know and love me. I just see what is directly and immediately ahead of me and anything else--whether to my right or my left or way behind or in front of me--is out of my range of vision.

The past, well, I don't remember much of it. The future is not something I think much about. Yeah, I pray for my girls' futures and look forward to one day being able to return to school, but I don't really have long-term goals or even short-term ones for that matter. I'm here. In the present. Doing what needs to be done right now. Today. Laundry, fixing meals, changing diapers, cleaning house.

And that's not a bad thing, I don't think. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." I am a worrier, but that is another blog post for another day. Still, even if I'm not worrying about tomorrow, I need to be planning for tomorrow. And not just tomorrow but the days and weeks, months and years afterward.

I need to be more forward-looking and thinking. I know God has great plans for me for my future (Jeremiah 29:11), but I desperately need to stop, breath, pull my head up out of the ground for a minute, breath some more, and search the clouds. And I need to ask God what He wants me to do now, where He wants me to go, and then trust in His wisdom and guidance.

I know God gave me my husband Daniel because He knew that by myself my shortsightedness would get me nowhere fast. Daniel is always thinking about the future even if he doesn't verbalize it to me. It's amazing how different we are and yet how perfectly compatible our differences lend us to each other.

And yet I know that I take him for granted entirely too much. We were watching the Steve Carrell movie Date Night a few months back and were both struck by the idea of married couples losing their intimacy and love for one another and slowly coming to resemble roommates, a change that often comes when children enter the picture. That's what I feel like we are sometimes, just roommates. I run the household affairs and he brings home the bacon. We stay out of each others' way and try to just "get along."

It's easy, for me at least, to be so consumed with Kate and Cora that I only think about Daniel when I need a breather and wonder when he'll be home to relieve me. That's sad but true. And while I don't appreciate him like I should, I love him with all my heart and thank God every day for him, for his selflessness and generosity, his love for his girls and me, and for his ability to see beyond the immediate: to remember when we first met and how I bought a brand new dress just to impress him and to plan ahead for when our girls go to college and it's just us.

As I think right now about the future, I know Daniel will be there, but I don't know how our relationship will look. If it will resemble close roommates or, hopefully, be something much much more spectacular. I do know that right now I need to be working toward improving our relationship so that down the road we are still together, happy, and in love, just like when we first met. Our future depends on what we do RIGHT NOW. And that's what I need to be preparing for.

I love you, Daniel, and I'm sorry for not being who you need me to be.

Menu Plan for the Week of April 24th

We had a wonderful Easter day with my family yesterday, and, thanks to my mom, we have leftovers for supper tonight! Yea! No cooking for me!

Here are the plans for the rest of the week though:

Sunday: Lunch with the family courtesy of my mom

Monday: Leftover Easter lunch (roast, potatoes, carrots, creamed corn, fried squash, and bunny cake)

Tuesday: Barbecue chicken (Kroger has Perdue split breasts for $0.99 a pound this week!), corn on the cob, and salad with homemade ranch dressing

Wednesday: Pintos and cornbread with fruit salad (bananas, apples, and oranges)

Thursday: Moroccan Pan-Roasted Seafood with linguine (from the Whole Foods cookbook) with steamed broccoli

Friday: Pizza Night! (Mom will be here so I plan on fixing two pizzas: (1) Meatsa! Meatsa! for Daniel and Kate and (1) All Veggies for Mom, Kate and me.

Saturday: Chili (I know the weather is warming up, but I always love homemade chili. Plus, we can eat leftovers on nacho chips or baked potatoes. Yummy!)

What are you fixin'?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Finer Things Fridays: Keep Counting Your Blessings

In many ways this has been a rough week. Kate has been challenging us more than usual and also not sleeping as well. Yes, I'm sure those problems are not mutually exclusive. But we've had to resort to shutting her bedroom door, which has met with lots of screaming. Cora's teething has gotten so bad that I took her to the doctor just to rule out an ear infection. She just screams and is also only taking 30 minute naps. And I have been anxious about what to do about my thyroid situation. So, let's just say, "Thank God it's Friday!"

Still, as I sit in the present peace and quiet of my cool house, as potatoes and eggs boil for potato salad and as I reflect on this week, I can see God's hand everywhere, and I realize how much He truly loves His creation.

(36) Telling Kate the story of Jesus -- His death, burial and resurrection -- using the Resurrection Eggs we made and being so amazed at what she retains;

(37) Watching Cora crawl around the house, trying to follow her big sister and me;

(38) A kind friend from church offering to lighten my load by taking Kate for the day and the cute dress they made together;

(39) Daniel's love and generosity every day and not feeling guilty for the new sandals I bought;

(40) Pictures taken by a sweet friend, Rebekah Baker, on a blustery cold Saturday afternoon;

(41) My two girls in their Easter dresses resting briefly from hugging and loving on each other;

(42) Making chicken broth with leftover chicken bones and vegetables and thanking God for teaching me how to be a good steward of what He blesses us with daily;

(43) Dyeing Easter eggs with Kate and only losing my temper one time, despite spilled dye water and cracked eggs, and loving that Kate's favorite part is putting on the stickers;

(44) My girls with smiling faces; and

(45) Finding a chiropractor who may remedy some of my thyroid problems but still needing to pray for God's wisdom in making this decision.

And the peace and quiet are gone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Monday Morning Blessing in the Midst of Chaos

Have you ever woken up in the morning and just known you would be praying all day long? Maybe your baby woke up crying at 5:30, which in turn woke up your two-year-old who would not go back to sleep. And then both kiddos pooped in their diapers, so you have to clean not one but two bottoms. Then, you survey the house and see the kitchen sink piled high with dirty pots and pans, the laundry basket overflowing with dirty clothes, the compost bucket spilling over with eggshells and veggie remnants that needs to be taken out.

It's an overwhelming feeling that can bring tears to your eyes. This was how I felt this morning. And as I rocked Cora, tears poured down my cheeks.

Yes, I was having a pity party, party of one. But some days you just want to go about the daily chores and not have to tackle all the countless extras that should have been done yesterday.

Some days you just wish there wasn't ANOTHER dirty diaper to change.

Some days you wish a maid would show up.

Some days you want to sleep in, just until 7:00.

Some days you wish you could have some quiet time by yourself.

But then the baby takes an extra long nap and your toddler sits on the couch and reads her books by herself and a good friend from church calls and offers to keep said toddler one day this week. And you get that much needed time to yourself, and you feel a sense of peace rush over you that you know can only come from the Lord. He ALWAYS knows what we need, when we most need it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Resurrection Eggs: What We're Doing This Easter Week

You've probably seen these at Lifeway. In fact, you may even have some of your own that you do with your kids every Easter. I first heard about Resurrection Eggs from my sister-in-law, Jen, and thought they would be a great way to teach Kate about the events leading up to and including the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. She's at that age where she loves opening up the eggs and constantly asks, "Where's my candy?" when she discovers they're empty.

Basically, each day your child gets to open one egg. Inside is an object that corresponds to the scripture for the day, beginning with the Last Supper and ending on Easter Sunday with the empty tomb and a risen Savior. You can share the scripture with your child, being as simple or complex as is appropriate for him or her. And also talk about what the object inside the egg means. I know Kate will be looking forward to opening a new egg every day just to see what is inside.

Because we are trying to save money, I decided that we could make our very own Resurrection Eggs. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who helped me scavenge for all the symbols to put inside the eggs while the girls napped this afternoon. Because we are only a week away from Easter, we will be doubling up on some of the eggs so that we open egg number 12 on Easter Sunday.

So, all you need are the following:
(1) a dozen plastic eggs
(2) a Sharpie to number each egg (1-12)
(3) the symbols to go inside each egg (see below), and
(4) the scripture references to share each day with your child.

And the nice thing is that you can save your Resurrection Eggs and reuse them every year. You might want to throw the crouton/bread away though!

1. (Bread - crouton) Matthew 26:26 While they were eating Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples. "Take and eat it," He said, "This is My body."

2. (Coins) Matthew 26:14-15 Then one of the twelve disciples, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and asked, "What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you?" They counted out thirty silver coins and gave them to him.

3. (Purple cloth) Mark 15:17 They put a purple robe on Jesus. . .

4. (Thorns or toothpick) Matthew 27:29 Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and placed it on His head, and put a stick on His right hand; then they knelt before Him and made fun of Him. "Long live the King, of the Jews!" they said.

5. (Scourge-a small piece of rope or thick string) Mark 15:15 Pilate wanted to please the crowd, so he set Barabbas free for them. Then he had Jesus whipped and handed Him over to be crucified.

6. (Cross) John 19:17-18a He went out, carrying His cross, and came to "The Place of the Skull," as it is called. (In Hebrew it is called "Galgotha.") There they crucified Him.

7. (Nails) John 20:25b Thomas said to them, "Unless I see the scars of the nails in His hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in His side, I will not believe."

8. (Sign) Luke 23:38 Above Him were written these words: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

9. (Sponge) Matthew 27:48 One of them ran up at once, took a sponge. He filled it with vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink.

10. (Spear or sharpened stick) John 19:34 One of the soldiers plunged his spear into Jesus' side, and at once blood and water poured out.

11. (Rock) Matthew 27:59-60 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and placed it in his own new tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away.

12. (Empty) Matthew 28:6 He is not here He has risen just as He said.

I have adapted the scripture and symbol references from Courtney at Women Living Well. Thank you, Courtney!

I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Menu Plan for the Week of April 17th

Last year's Easter picture: Lacey, Ellie, Robbie, and Kate. This year we'll have Cora and Holly, too!

I am so grateful that I don't have to fix a big Easter dinner for everyone. Not yet at least. Instead, we will be enjoying lunch at my parents' next Sunday after an action-packed weekend of egg hunts, weddings, and lots of food! I'm looking forward to some time with family, especially people we only see at major holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Oats with peanut butter
Cinnamon toast with oranges
Cereal with strawberries and bananas
Breakfast burritos
Fried eggs and toast


Black bean burritos with pineapple
Tuna sandwiches with carrots


Sunday: Visiting Granny and Pop Pop (eat out)

Monday: Breakfast for Supper [Spinach & mushroom frittata, bacon, cheese grits, and biscuits with jam]

Tuesday: Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce, salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and rolls

Wednesday: Pinto beans, corn on the cob, and cornbread

Thursday: Mahi-mahi fish tacos with refried black beans, Spanish rice, and fresh salsa

Friday: Easter / Birthday Dinner for Jeff (Daniel’s brother) at the in-law’s

Saturday: Easter lunch at Mema Jean’s and then a wedding

Our Easter Project

Creativity is NOT my strong suit. When I have to be creative, I call my mom or an elementary teacher friend for help. But thanks to the internet I don't have to look far for ideas to keep my two-year-old actively engaged in something besides picking her nose. So, when I came across this kid-friendly Easter project that involved glue sticks and multicolored tissue paper, I knew Kate would LOVE it.

All you need is a piece of cardboard, glue, tissue paper cut into different size pieces, and scissors. Simply glue the tissue paper pieces all over the cardboard. (On her site Jennwa uses a mixture of water and glue to paint over her completed cardboard, but I didn't have any regular glue.) Then, cut into whatever shapes you want. Like Jennwa, I went for the Easter egg and cross. And Kate chose to hang our finished products from our dining room chandelier. Rather pretty I think.

What I also liked about this art project was that it gave me a chance to discuss with Kate what Easter is really about: the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pinecone Bird Feeder: A Fun Toddler Project & A Walk Down Memory Lane

Every Sunday I plan the week's activities. This is a must-do with an energetic least it is for me. If I don't have plans in place, I find she watches a lot of TV and pretty much drives me crazy all day long. But we have a limited budget, so the activities must be free or pretty cheap. So, after working in the garden this morning, I found we still had some time to spare before lunch and nap time (Cora took an exceptionally long nap this morning) and I began to panic. Then, I saw the pine cones. Kate had found them in the yard this past winter and we'd put them on her bookcase in her room. So when I saw them my mind went back several eons to elementary school when we made bird feeders with pine cones, peanut butter and birdseed. Do you remember doing this in school? I wonder if they still do it.

Of course Kate was thrilled at the prospect of feeding the birds, so we set to work. I didn't have any birdseed so we used oats instead. Kate really just enjoyed eating the peanut butter out of the jar.

After gathering the peanut butter, some oats, and tying some kitchen twine around the pine cone, I proceeded to slather peanut butter all over the pine cone--top and bottom, inside and out. Kate helped a little with this but preferred eating the peanut butter.

Then, we rolled the peanut butter-covered pine cone in the bowl of oats until it was completely covered. So easy a 2-year-old can do it. Although it was a bit messy.

Then, we went outside and hung our beautiful pine cone in the tulip poplar tree in the front yard.

Now Kate and I are both watching diligently for a bird to land on our pine cone. As we went back in the house, my little innocent child was calling, "Here birdie, birdie, birdie..."

A fun, quick, and easy activity that anyone can do and that will keep Mama from resorting to Dora or Mickey Mouse.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

MODIFIED Menu Plan for the Week of April 10th

MODIFICATION: So, after reading the recipe for the Goulash over Smashed Red Potatoes, I decided this did not sound very appetizing to me. I like the goulash my mom used to make: with okra and all kinds of vegetables. So, the Latina half of me opted for Beefy Bean Burritos with homemade salsa. We're still using the ground beef that defrosted in the fridge, just in a slightly different way!

Also, when Kate and I were working in the garden this morning, we discovered enough kale to fill a gallon-sized plastic bag. So, we will be having some on Wednesday with our beans. Yum!

I'm home with a sick baby this morning so decided to post our menu plan for the week. I also decided to add breakfast and lunch as well as snacks too. I'm always looking for fresh ideas, especially for lunches and snacks, so feel free to comment and let me know what you serve your kiddos throughout the day.


Oats with blackberries and blueberries
Cinnamon toast with oranges
Breakfast burritos
Eggs and toast
Cereal with bananas


Ham sandwiches and fruit
Black bean and cheese quesadillas
Pizza bread and yogurt


Granola bars
Fruits & Veggies (I'm lovin' the organic carrots at sweet!...Kate even eats them.)
Cheese & crackers


Sunday: Roasted garlic chicken, potato salad, baked beans, biscuits & cantaloupe

Monday: Goulash on smashed red potatoes with sautéed zucchini

Tuesday: Bowtie pasta with chicken sausage and steamed green beans

Wednesday: Northern (white) beans with smoked sausage and corn cakes

Thursday: Chicken and dressing with roasted corn on the cob and broccoli

Friday: Pizza Night!!

Saturday: Leftovers

Friday, April 8, 2011

Finer Things Fridays: More Blessings Than I Deserve

And the beat goes on! I love thinking about what I have done this week and praising God for His great blessings in my life. It puts my trials into perspective and reminds me of how much He loves me!

(25) Daniel's 33rd Birthday! What a blessing to have someone in my life who knows how to make me laugh when I desperately need it and keeps me balanced. Plus, CAKE! I made a Boston Cream Pie in celebration.

(26) Cora sleeping through the night for an entire week and both of us getting much-needed rest

(27) Watching Kate share her toy phone with Cora who only wants to chew on it

(28) Seeing the look on Cora's face--her eyes lighting up and grinning from ear to ear--when Kate comes to play with her

(29) Finding tiny lettuce shoots coming up in the garden and knowing it won't be long before we can eat fresh organic greens

(30) Having time to read a lengthy book but also realizing what a literary snob I am

(31) Laughing as Kate dons her orange Home Depot apron and "Olympic" gold medal on our trip to the library and realizing how innocent and cute she is but also, more importantly, that it isn't worth the battle to make her take them off

(32) Having the energy to do some much-needed spring cleaning including washing curtains and rugs--Thank You, God, for the sunshine!

(33) Learning how important it is to LISTEN to God instead of TELLING Him what I need and want

(34) My wonderful parents and their love of serving others and how they have so richly blessed me in their influence

(35) A patient and compassionate Father who never gives up on me!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Prayer Request

I'm one of those people who is never happy. Ask my husband and he will quickly agree. I am always wanting more. Not more stuff necessarily but to be more, to do more, to excel. I have always been this way. When I was in school, I worked hard to be in the top of my class. When I got my first job as a paralegal, I couldn't just be a paralegal: I had to take classes at the university and even study and pass the paralegal certification test. When I first started couponing, I couldn't just clip the newspaper coupons: I had to make a price book, pore over all the ads, run to all the stores and get the best deals, and stockpile like there was no tomorrow.

I take pride in my ambition because it opens up new opportunities for me. However, it is also Satan's way of worming into my heart and mind and making me constantly question who I am and what I'm doing. I can't sit still. I have a hard time relaxing and just being because there is always more to do.

My heart is heavy right now because I know God's plan for me is to raise my girls and love and support my husband, and yet I want to do more, to be more. For a while now, I have felt a burden on me to serve others. And while I'm not a great cook like my mom, I do enjoy preparing food for others. There's just something about the feeling you get when you know you have lightened someone's load. When you know that food was the last thing on that person's mind because they have lost a loved one or are taking care of a sick child or a new baby.

I know that God is glorified when we serve others, and I want to serve Him as He has so richly blessed me. My prayer request this week and for the weeks and months to come is for wisdom to see what God wants me to do and for courage and strength to carry out His will. Help me, Lord, to see the opportunities You lay before me to serve Your people that You may be glorified.

If you are a praying person, please pray for me like Paul did for the church at Colosse:
"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Colossians 1:9).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Menu Plan for the Week of April 3rd

Tomorrow, April 3rd, is Daniel's birthday. The big 3-3! We're actually going to my parents' house for his birthday dinner after the girls get up from their naps, so my plan is to have my b-day meal for him on Monday since we won't be home until tomorrow afternoon.

Here is my menu plan for the week:

Sunday: Mom's home cooking! Yea, I don't have to cook!!

Monday: Rib-eyes, mac and cheese, green beans, and a special birthday cake

Tuesday: Breakfast for supper (sausage, eggs, fried taters, biscuits and homemade strawberry jam that I made last week)

Wednesday: Black bean tostadas with fresh salsa

Thursday: Chicken Parmesan on whole wheat linguine with steamed broccoli

Friday: Pizza Night!!

Saturday: Leftovers