Monday, January 30, 2012

Favorite Pasta Dish


I used to make resolutions to make a new recipe every week. I never follow through. And since I haven't even made New Years resolutions yet this year it's a mute point any way. However, I did try three new recipes this week a lone! For a family that sticks with the same old same old that is pretty impressive.


The first recipe I used was from real simple. It was marked as kid friendly and it delivered on it's promise! I did make a few changes to it. I am sharing the recipie bellow along with changes I made marked with *.

Ingredients:
12 ounces rigatoni
1 Tablespoon olive oil *(I used a garlic and herb infused oil for extra flavor)
1 Onion sliced. *(I omitted this as I cannot stand onion and neither can my 4 year old)
6 Ounces fully cooked chicken sausage links sliced.
1 Small head broccoli, cut into florets and stems sliced.
81/4 cup Vinegar 
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan (I used shredded instead of grated)



Directions:
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onion stirring often for 3 minutes (I of course skipped this step). Add the sausage and cook, stirring until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and 1 and 1/4 cups water and simmer covered, until the broccoli is tedner, 5 to 6 minutes. * I substituted 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar for the 1/4 cup water. I loved the extra kick it gave it. If I hadn't been making it for kids I probably would have used more vinegar.*

Toss the pasta with the sausage mixture and any remaining liquid and the Parmesan. 




Positive reviews all around!!!

I also made this recipe for potatoes casserole. I made is Sunday morning for breakfast before church. It was super yummy. I was planning on only making half of a portion. I halved everything and then accidentally added the full amount of potatoes. Oops. I added some extra cheese on top and it still ended up being really good. Possibly even better for breakfast than if I had used the full amounts of the ranch mixture.

I also made Nun Puffs from my Better Homes and Gardens cook book and loved them so much I made them twice. I will have to make them again soon and share that recipe with you all. So what are you guys cooking this week? Trying anything new?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Weekly Five


The beauty of facebook is that it lets you stay in touch in ways previously not available. My family actually has a facebook group. It makes things like making Christmas plans way easier it also let's us be more of a daily part of each others lives. One things we do is post a weekly five. A simple recap of our week. I thought I might start sharing mine here on my blog as well. So with out further ado...

My weekly five: (or my list of finally)
1) I finally organized my craft space and cleaned my basement. This is huge!
2) I also finally got Josh's dad to drill some holes in a plaque for me.
3) I finally finished my first quilt for myself!
4) I finally left a group on facebook that was proving to be rather toxic for me. I have found a different group of doll makers to connect with who remind me of why I love doll making.
5) Maddie is sick again. I am a little worried about her as two other kids from her class are also sick. One with croup another with an infection and both with fevers hovering around 103.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

 I love facebook, and blogs, and pinterest, and tumblr. I love the chance to look into other people's lives. I love feeling inspired and up lifted. Some days though after an hour of two browsing these sites I look around my still messy house and feel like such a failure. I am not the only one either. I stumbled across and amazing blog lately about reality verses the online life we portray. Check out this blog for the full blog post. The writer puts into words what so many of us have felt at times. I can even connect with the first paragraph as my husband and I discuss growing our family. It was encouraging and challenging at the same time to read this blog. I know in my effort not to complain I have probably presented a false image of what my life is. So I thought I would share a does of reality today.


This is what my sewing space looked like yesterday morning. Sad truth is that this is a HUGE improvement over where we were a few months ago. After putting in some serious time I finally got it picked up.






This is what my sewing space looks like now. It is far from the gorgeous, inspired studio spaces I drool over online. It's hardly pretty. It has concrete floors. Concrete walls with paint pealing. It's cold. Very cold. It's in an unfinished part of our basement with no heat. But it's clean. Well at least this half of the space is. The other half where we store stuff and do laundry looks like a tornado hit it. As does the finished part of the basement since in cleaning like crazy I parked the kids in front of the tv and the ripped the living room to shreds. But I am proud of it non the less becuase having a clean designated space to sew has been on my to-do list for roughly 4 years!!! And that is reality! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beating the Monday Blues


It's is Monday. It is cold. It is rainy. My head is still foggy from a horrible head ache last night. But despite all of that it's been a pretty good day.

Yesterday we beat the cold by hanging out with friends most of the day. Lunch in the early afternoon and a few games of cards, hot tea, pinterest browsing, and just being together in the evening. Thankful for friends that are more like family.

Today I am staying up beat with lots and lots of hot tea. I went to the grocery store, which combined with all of the above was a recipe for disaster. However the check out lady was so helpful and gracious and managed to save me money. I ended up walking out with a week of groceries for $50.00, and two smiling little girls. Not an easy feat for a rainy Monday!

What is keeping you positive this dreary day?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sanctity of Life Sunday


Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday. For those of you who don’t know what Sanctity of Life Sunday is, it is typically observed the third Sunday in January.  Different churches address it in different ways, but most use at least part of their Sunday morning or evening services to discuss abortion, euthanasia, cloning etc. The church my husband and I attend chose not to make that their primary focus this year (though they have done so in the past), but it was mentioned.

As I sat in the service I found myself wondering what exactly I was supposed to do about the “problem” of abortion.

Is the way I am living my life contributing or helping the situation?

Children are a treasure. But I wonder if in our fervor to act on this truth we aren’t in fact pushing people away.

I was married to Godly man and surrounded by family and church when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. And I was terrified. Despite growing up in a great home I felt as though I had no idea how to be a mom. I remember wondering a number of times who in their right mind would think it was a good idea for me, hardly more than a kid myself to be responsible for another human life.

I can remember multiple conversations with kind, loving, well meaning women who told me over and over again what a gift motherhood was. How being a wife and mother was the highest calling of a Christian Woman. How fulfilling it was to raise up the next generation of Godly leaders. How much they missed those days of being home with their little ones, cuddling, and snuggling, and changing diapers. How sweet it was to nurse their children and how bonded they felt with them during the process. How they cried when their children were finally weaned.

These women meant well, but let me tell you, after talking to them I was ready to give up before I even started. How on earth was I supposed to live up to this ideal motherhood? I was 22, married, and surrounded by a supportive community of family and friends. And I felt completely inadequate for the role of mother as it was presented to me by many well meaning “church people”.  I can’t even imagine how I would have reacted had I been 18 and unsure of how those around me would respond. Actually I can, and you can bet your bottom dollar, abortion would have crossed my mind.

As it was I wasn’t able to embrace the thought of motherhood until a very insightful woman in my life spoke very honestly with me. She admitted to crying after learning of one of her pregnancies. She admitted to questioning her desires to be a mother. She admitted feeling sad for a long time after coming home from the hospital. She gave me wise counsel on how to handle the stress, and trials of motherhood. And, when I was ready, shared her stories of sweet moments, and all the reasons she loved being a mom. She painted mother hood as something real, something attainable, something I could do. Not the high calling of a saint.

In our attempt to value children, have we sugar coated motherhood? In our desire to inspire are we pushing away those mothers of young children who are struggling to find the joy in changing diapers. So often our heart is in the right place, but the way we present things is not always the most helpful.

In our attempt to “help” are we actually pushing away the women who need our encouragement the most. Are we so intent in living out Proverbs 31 that we unintentionally pushing away those who feel less successful. Are we ministering to the broken in our lives in real, genuine ways, or are simple handing out scripture like band-Aids.

I am thankful for the women in my life who listened to God’s prompting and supported me in possibly  unconventional  ways when I needed them  the most.

“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Proverbs 5:20

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January So far



Two months into January and I came down with a nasty cold that had me wiped out for a good week. Instead of a top to bottom house cleaning I ended up curled on on the sofa with White Collar, hot tea, and my Nook Tablet.


I have been able to sneak in some time with friends though. Including a family playdate before the kids best friends went back to school. The kids had a blast and played dress up and tea party.



Today we had family and nearly family over for a lunch of chili and hung out for a while. I even had enough energy afterwards to put together a quick tutorial for my MOPS group news letter and even cover some cork board for the kitchen and office nook in the living room. Hoping this means my energy is back up and that I will have a productive week. Lots on the slate including a trip to the store front that I have some of my product int. Have to fix up my display and figure out what I want to stock for Valentine's day.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years


Today was our first real day of the new year. "Real" in that it was back to routine and regular schedule. I  cleaned and organized, sorted and discarded. I opened the windows and aired out our bedroom even though it was the coldest day we have had so far this winter. That's not unusual though. Pretty standard to have 60 degrees days well into December and not hit really cold weather till closer to February. I drank tea and took time to color in coloring books with them. As an added treat we pulled out the play dough they got for Christmas and made snow men, since we have yet to have any real snow this year.

Happy new year!! May God bless and keep you all.

~Joy