Sunday, December 19, 2010

He is our Healer...Dad's Healer

Yesterday and today have been good days but hard days for me. Two of my cousins came down from Long Island to visit my Dad , and we had a really great time seeing them. When we went over to my parents house to see them and visit with my family, I saw that my Dad was in a LOT of pain. I could tell that it was the worst pain that he has ever had. It is so hard to see my Dad , my loved one, in so much pain...and there is nothing that you can so to help alleviate it.

I have not written a lot about my Dad and what he has been going through on my blog. It is a very personal subject to me, but I did feel that I wanted to express a little bit of what I am going through today.

I love my Dad . He is a fighter - he always has been. My Dad grew up in "the city" (Queens) and definitely had his fair share of fights that he went through as he was growing up. He moved to Long Island when he was 16 years old (fast forward), and that is where I grew up. He was always my protector, and I knew that if anyone ever "laid a hand on me" that he would take out their knees with a baseball bat, because that is what he told me ever since I was little! The baseball bat was in his closet and thankfully it stayed there, because there was never a need for it to be used. Besides physically protecting me, my Dad was also my spiritual covering/protector. Dad has these great big hands that I have always loved to hold, and I loved when he prayed for me. I just knew that when Dad prayed, God heard and I would feel better quickly. He prayed with such power, and he still does.

My Dad is still a fighter. He has been battling cancer for 12 years now, but it has only become really hard, weakening, and painful in about the last 6 weeks or so. I cannot even comprehend that amount of pain that he is in.

So, I spend time with him, hold his hand and enjoy every moment that we are together. I allow myself to cry when I am home, and pray to God for the healing of my father this side of heaven. I ask the Lord to renew my father's strength, to take away the pain, to flush the cancer out of his body and give him many more years of healthy living with his family. I ask the Lord to strengthen my mom, and sister and myself, and our other family members. I believe that my Dad is going to be healed. This is not the end for my Dad

God is good and He is God. He is the same God that healed the women who touched the hem of Jesus' robe about 2000 years ago. My sister reminded me that the women was battling the blood disease for 12 years, and in an instant, she was healed. You know what? He is the same God that healed my pastor of stage 4 leukemia, and his life and story have definitely been an encouragement to my whole family.

This has been a tough weekend for me (and of course Dad). However, with every tear that would well up inside of me and fall down my cheek, I still know and hold on to the fact that God is God and He is our Healer...Dad's healer.

One way that I have been encouraged is through song. I am thankful for every song that would be streaming through my mind, that I would suddenly start singing, or that would come on to the radio that I was listening to. They were exactly what I needed at each moment, and I hold on to each and every word and promise that He has given to me, my Dad and my family. I choose to praise and worship Him.

But as for me, I will always hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Would Like To Do...

There are so many things that I would really LIKE to do, but rarely find or make the time to so those things...and as I am writing this, there are even MORE things that come to my mind that I would like to do, such as:

Blog more - I would really like to do this more. In fact, I have another post that is waiting to be finished and a few more posts that are in my head! It is hard for me to sit down and make the time for blogging.

Build furniture - I would LOVE to build some of my own furniture. My friend Tiffany has built quite a few pieces in her home and I SO wanted to build some furniture with her...but I feel that now is not the time. If you really want to be inspired to get crafty, I encourage you to visit Tiffany's blog - she is SO talented and creative! There are other things that I need to tend to at the moment, so building furniture will have to be put on hold. However, I am hoping that I will be able to build things that are found on the Knock Off Wood website.

Read more books from cover to cover - I guess I need to make the time to do this. I read a little here and there, but I have not been able to get through a whole book in a long time. I tend to read a little bit in one book and then find another book to start, so I guess I am a bit of a "Book Hopper."

Organize my home - ok, I know that this is a process. I feel that I need some furniture to help with this, and then I face the dilemma - do I wait and build something at some point, do I buy from IKEA or some place that it not too expensive (but I don't want the furniture to fall apart!), or do I save for a nicely made piece of furniture...not sure about this. At the moment, I am trying to declutter and not hold on to things because, "I might need it someday." - yes, I am sometimes like that!

Begin painting and decorating my home - I often feel like I don't know where to begin...and by that, it is really just choosing a room. I also need to learn how to decorate. It seems silly to say that, but I don't feel like that side of me has been developed, and I am not sure how to develop that yet. However, I feel that I am on the right road for choosing paint colors - I think! LOL!

Get more sleep at night - I am a night owl, and that needs to change. This seems like one of the easiest things to change, but it really had not been. I need to change this though so that I have more energy to continue to be the wife, mom, sister, friend, child of God that He has called me to be. So, with that in mind, I am going to end this post, set it to post tomorrow morning and go to sleep!

What are things that you would like to do/change in your daily life?

Friday, December 10, 2010

And The Winner Is....

#1 Chels!

I used to generate the number of my winner, and it picked #1! That does not happen too often, but obviously, it does happen!

So, Chels, I will be contacting you about the prize pack that you have won! Please respond within 24 hours, or I will have to choose a new winner! Congrats!

Thank you all for participating in this giveaway! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Giveaway: V8 V-Fusion + Tea

I was asked to sample, review, and giveaway the new V8 V-Fusion+ Tea, which is a juice beverage with the fruit-and-veggie benefits of V-Fusion plus the natural antioxidants of green tea. The goal of this new drink is to provide a delicious, lower-calorie option for afternoon refreshment (just 80 calories per 8oz serving). I was excited to try this new beverage and to provide a giveaway to one of my readers (yes, YOU!).

I was so excited when the BIG BOX arrived on my front porch and I found THREE FULL-SIZE bottles of the V8 V-Fusion+ Tea drinks, plus a new reusable shopping bag (and pretty tissue paper to boot!). I could not wait to taste test these new drinks, but before I did, I checked out the ingredients and found that there were a bunch of fruits and veggies found in these tea drinks - in fact it is 50% juice! That is a lot of juice to pack in to a tea drink! The one ingredient that I was not too happy about was the sucralose. We try not to bring artificial sweeteners into out house, so I knew that I would probably not buy these drinks again...but I was willing to taste test them, and I had some excited participants!

I gathered some small plastic cups and began the taste testing with Brady (4 years old), Smiles (2 years old), Dawson, and myself. Here are the results:

Pomegranate Green Tea

*Brady - Gave it a thumbs up
*Smiles - said "It was really good"
*Dawson - liked the taste
*Me - liked the taste, but could not taste the tea part of it. The juice taste was good and I would go for seconds!

Raspberry Green Tea

*Brady - Gave it a thumbs up and he asked for seconds of this one when the taste test was over
*Smiles - said "It was really good"
*Dawson - he enjoyed the taste of this one too
*Me - I did NOT like the taste of this one. I did not taste the raspberry in it at all. I would not drink this again.

Pineapple Mango Green Tea

*Brady - Gave it a thumbs up
*Smiles - said "It was really good" and he asked for seconds of this one when the taste test was over
*Dawson - he liked this one too
*Me - this was my favorite one. I enjoyed the Pineapple and Mango flavors and this would be my first choice for seconds.

I would have to say that my order of preference is Pineapple Mango Green Tea, Pomegranate Green Tea , and then if I was totally parched and needed a drink, I would then reach for the Raspberry Green Tea. I like the idea of the V8 V-Fusion+ Tea drinks - more fruits and veggies is awesome, however, I do not like the fact that they sweetened it with sucralose.

Now for the fun part - the GIVEAWAY!!!

What do YOU receive, you ask? EXACTLY what I did! Three FULL-SIZE bottles of the V8 V-Fusion+ Tea drinks PLUS that nifty reusable shopping bag - and who couldn't use another one of those!

What do you need to do to enter?

Complete one or more of the following:

Entry #1: Comment on this post for your entry in the giveaway.

Entry #2: Post a link to this post on facebook - and let me know about it in the comments below - that will give you your second entry to this giveaway.

Entry #3: If you become a follower of this blog (or you already are), let me know in the comments below - that will be your third entry. NOTE: I don't blog so people 'follow' me...and I am not the most regular blogger, but I figured why not give you a shot at a third entry.

This giveaway is open until, Thursday, December 9th and I will randomly choose and winner and post that on Friday, December 10th! :)

A few things for you to check out:

1. V8 V-Fusion + Tea has a Facebook page

2. The Fabulous Flash Performance “Bottle Song” - I LOVE to watch "flash mob" performances, so I was excited to check this out!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Place Cards

I had a great idea for a Thanksgiving craft for the kids to do - turkey place cards! I found an idea online for the general "look" of the place card, and then I got out my construction paper and traced and cut out the body of the turkey. It took longer than I thought it would to cut out!!! I knew that I needed some help to prep this, I called upon my artsy hubby, and asked him to cut out the feathers and do something for the beak and gobbler thingie. I have to say that the beak and gobbler thingie looks A-MA-ZING!!! We decided that it would be better for Dawson to glue the feathers together in a fan (displayed below), rather that have the boys attempt to do that part, since we had 15 place cards to do!!! So, here are the parts that Dawson did, and then we had the boys glue the turkey on to the feathers and then the completed turkey on to a place card (we used a folded 4x6 index card).

The finished products: My 4 year old wrote all of the names on the cards - didn't he do a fantastic job!!! I LOVE how the "Y" got carried to the top of the name, since he ran out of room!

This one says "Grammie" - I love it!

This is my favorite - "Mommy" :)

Our Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

It has been way too long since I have been able to post something here, but things got a little busy around here since we hosted Thanksgiving! We have been hosting Thanksgiving for the past 5 years! This year, we had a total of 15 family members that came! We had a really nice time and had way too much food...but it was fun to taste so many different types of food that was brought along! And to top it off, I had a root canal on Monday! Glad to eventually be rid of that pain...but I still have a little pain - I suppose from the root canal procedure itself! Well, enough of my pain...on to a new recipe that I tried for Thanksgiving!

I have not made it a habit to include dinner rolls as part of the Thanksgiving meal, although my mother in law made challah bread a few times - and that was so good! This year, I decided to try a new dinner roll recipe that I will have to share with you! It came from my new cookbook, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining. And, no, it was not made in the slow cooker! It was one of those recipes that could accompany a slow cooker meal.

The Recipe:

Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

1 package (scant 1 Tablespoon) active dry yeast or 2 tsp. instant dry yeast, such as SAF
1 cup warm low-fat or whole milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs separated
3 T unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T cold water for brushing
1 T sesame seeds (I used about 1/2 T)

1. In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in warm milk. Add a pinch of the sugar and let stand for 5 min. Add the remaining sugar, sweet potatoes, egg yolks, butter, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour to form a soft dough.

2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes (I usually spray my hands with nonstick cooking spray before doing this). Place in a bowl coated with nonstick cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 28 balls (I did 32) of equal size. Roll each ball into a 10-inch-long rope (I just did it in my hands); tie each rope with a loose knot. Place the rolls 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

5. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with the cold water (you probably only need one egg white and can use the other one for something else), and brush the mixture over the rolls. Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds. Baked until lightly browned, 15 to 18 minutes. (watch this - mine were done in about 12 minutes)
**If you like, bake these at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes, until cooked through but not browned. Cool, then store in the freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, defrost in the bag and bake as directed.

***Making these made me decide that I REALLY want to try and make soft pretzels!

The Results:

Everyone LOVED the rolls! My sister asked to take some home with them! Be sure not to bake them too long, or they could get a little dry. I would definitely make these again! :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

THE Soccer Cake!

Time sure does have a way of flying by! Soccer games has been over for almost 2 weeks - and I am just getting around to posting a photo of the soccer cake that I made for our soccer party! It was so much fun to learn how to pipe the frosting on to the cake - thanks sis! My sister is an awesome cake maker/decorator, and taught me some of the basics to piping the frosting out. I think that it turned out pretty great for my first time, and ALL of the kids LOVED it! I love being a soccer mom!!! GO BEETLES!!! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Recipe: Gingerbread Cake (or muffins!)

I have never used Stevia in baking...or really in anything, but my sister in law inspired me to try it out! So far, I have only tried one of the recipes that she gave to me, and I think that the muffins tasted great...although I did over-cook them a little bit since I forgot to shorten the baking time, since I made muffins instead of a bread! Oops!!! My boys did not really like the taste of them...maybe because they were not really moist or it was a taste that they are not used to. I am going to make them again...and I will remember to shorten the baking time!!! Try them out and tell me what you think!

Gingerbread Cake

1 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar (Substitute 1 tsp stevia and about 1/2 cup oats)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup molasses
1/4 cup boiling water

1. Mix all ingredients together. (I mixed wet together first, then added dry ingredients and then added the hot water)

2. Pour into pan - bread/can pan or muffins

3. Bake for 350 degrees for 35 minutes, if in a bread pan.
**I dropped the temperature down to 325 degrees and I would bake them for 15-20 minutes, so that they remain moist.

I would include a photo of the muffins, but I guess I forgot to take one! So, just imagine muffins with a dark brown color! YUM!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recipe: Chicken Cacciatore

This is a recipe from my cookbook, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. I have not made this version of the recipe before, but grew up with a similar version of it. However, I believe that this was the main (only?) slow cooker recipe that my mom made and was tired of it! I wanted to try new and different slow cooker recipes, which led me to find this cookbook, thanks to my friend Anne H. I have refrained from making this recipe for year, but I am tempted to try it again because this recipe in this cookbook is quite a bit different from what I grew up with and I like how they suggest to thicken the sauce. Enjoy!

Cooker: Medium or Large round or oval
Setting and Cook Time: HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or LOW for 6 to 7 hours

16 ounce jar Italian marinara sauce, such as tomato basil or about 2 cups of homemade marinara sauce**
1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and sliced into half moons
1-3 cloves garlic, to your taste, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 4 chicken drumsticks, skin removed (or you can use 4 chicken quarters)
6 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 T all-purpose flour
2 T water (optional)
2 T dry white wine (optional - I always like to add wine when they call for it!)

1. Layer half of the tomato sauce and all of the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and chicken in the slow cooker (in that order). Sprinkle the mushrooms on top and cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through (180 degrees in the thigh), 2 1/2 to 3 hours on HIGH or 6 to 7 hours on LOW. The chicken will add some juices on its own to the dish.

2. Transfer the chicken to a warm platter. If you wish to thicken the sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, water, and wine until smooth. Stir into the sauce in the cooker, turn the cooker to HIGH, cover, and cook until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes (or transfer to a pot on the stove and cook there - be sure to stir constantly). Pour the sauce and vegetables over the chicken and serve.

**this is a little different from what I grew up with. I think it was more like add tomato sauce and then spices like basil etc.

I think that this always tastes good with rice or pasta - whatever suits your family's taste! If you try it out, please let me know what you think...and if I should give it another try!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

End of the Season...

The next two weeks wrap up Brady's first soccer season. It has definitely been a journey for all of us. Dawson was the coach, I was the team mom, Brady enjoyed soccer most days...but does not like bumping in the other kids(!), and Smiles was a wonderful encourager...and got to practice with the big kids at the last two practices!

Last night was the last practice. Saturday is the last game and the end of the season party, and then we have our awards ceremony on the 14th. I am excited to end the season with a party for the kids...and I am going to make a soccer ball cake for the kids! I will be piping the frosting all by myself! It will be the first cake that I have done on my own! My sister is also making one and will be teaching me how to do the frosting!

Today we bake!

Friday we frost!!

Saturday we PLAY, FEAST, and CELEBRATE!

**photos of the cake will be coming soon!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Homemade Frosting!

Saturday night, my husband got together with his two brothers to play a video game. Dawson decided to make a "box" cake to take with him to celebrate his oldest brother's birthday - which was actually on Sunday. Dawson mixed up the cake and took care of the was fun to watch him have fun in the kitchen again! :) However, when we looked for frosting, we realized that there was none in the house!

I was about to send Dawson out to the store to buy a new tub of frosting, but I decided to turn to my "Go-To" cookbook, How To Cook Everything, to see if there was a recipe to make your own frosting...and there was! I was so excited that I had all of the ingredients: butter, confectioner's sugar, milk, vanilla and unsweetened chocolate - since I wanted to make the chocolate butter cream version! It was really easy to make and tasted great too! I think that I may make my own butter cream frosting from now on!

Doesn't the cake look great! The boys helped Daddy put the rainbow sprinkles on top!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Breakfast the Slow Cooker Way

I wanted to try something new...well, I always enjoy trying something new, especially when it involves cooking! When looking through my new slow cooker cookbook, the breakfast section grabbed my attention.

It was interesting to read about the various hot breakfast cereals that you could make for the early morning meal, but the ones that caught my attention were the recipes for the steel cut oats. I heard of steel cut oats about 3 years ago, and wanted to try cooking them in the slow cooker, but I was never able to find them in the grocery store...but they were there, in the "healthy/organic" aisles! Anyway, when I was talking with my Mom about the steel cut oats, she said that she had some, and was not using could take them and have some fun with a new recipe! Yay! :)

I decided to try the recipe that included fruit and spices because I felt that it would be tastier than plain oatmeal. One potential problem that I had was that I was using a medium size slow cooker and the recipe called for a small size slow cooker. So, I was hoping that it would not be overcooked. I love the fact that this cookbook tells me what size of slow cooker that I would use for each recipe. I have a large oval slow cooker and a medium round slow cooker (don't you love the one that is pictured above! It is was my Gramma's!). I am trying to decide if I "need" to invest in a small size slow cooker...we will see...

Well, when I woke up the next morning, I was sad to see that Dawson had not tried any of the oatmeal! He later told me that he did not know if it was done or not - I was actually making it for him! Well, I tried it and I have to say that it tasted pretty good - you know, they way oatmeal tastes with raisins and spice cooked with it! Dawson tried it later and he liked it too - he said that it was nothing out of this world, but it's oatmeal and it was tasty. He did suggest that I try some other types of recipes with it too - and maybe make some baked oatmeal...although that is not a slow cooker breakfast! It was a little chewier than "regular" oatmeal, but not in a bad way, just different. If you like oatmeal, I think that you would enjoy steel cut oats in the slow cooker. I would definitely make it again. One thing that I like about making breakfast in my slow cooker is that my husband has a hot breakfast to eat in the morning - and so do the rest of us, and I don't have to wake up early to make it - it is already done!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's In Your Freezer?

Do you know? Do you REALLY KNOW EVERYTHING that is in your freezer…or do you just have an “idea” of what is in there? Meat and veggies and who knows what else was bought when it went on sale at the grocery store, and then "thrown" into the freezer for a later meal...

I knew that I had some chicken, fish, veggies, fruit, maybe some shredded cheese, herbs and ravioli in my “inside” freezer…but, I did not know exact quantities. I decided that I needed to take an inventory of my freezer (like I did with my garage freezer) and reorganize it too. When I did this, I even found a few “surprises” in there - like some turkey soup that I made about a month ago!

Taking the inventory was really easy…although I had to be really quick when sorting through the food in the freezer, so that the food would not start to defrost! I used a free printable Freezer Inventory” form that I found on It is a really helpful and easy to use form. You just write down the item that you are placing in your freezer and the number of items - you document this with slash marks. Then, when you take it out, you make another slash mark, to make an “x”.

This form is going to help me to keep my freezers organized, and I can be sure that all of the food will be used and not lost! Check it out!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anyone Really Can Cook!

I really believe that anyone can cook. You need to be able to read and follow directions, and if you can, then you will be able to place delicious meals on the table! The types of meals that you cook, is up to you! Find a cookbook (or cooking website) that you like and begin to experiment and have fun in the kitchen!

The other day, I made a chicken soup, black bean soup and apple sauce. That evening, my mom came over to watch Smiles for about an hour or so and she taste tested the different things that I made, and told me that I was a great cook! That made me smile. The chicken soup recipe was actually hers! I did not puree the whole entire soup base (like she does) - we like to have some chunks of carrots and celery to chew on while we are eating our soup. Did you know that if you do puree part of your soup, it makes your broth thicker? I have learned that probably in the past year.

Chicken Soup - This is such a delicious recipe! I tripled the recipe for this so that I could freeze it. I froze some of it in plastic storage containers and have read that if you place saran wrap over the top of your food before you freeze it, it will help to prevent crystals to form on the top of it. I also froze some of it using the freezer bag method, where you place the bag on a flat surface (like a jelly roll pan) and freeze it completely flat before storing it in another part of your freezer - this helps it maintain a flat shape and not some weird shape.

Black Bean Soup - I wanted to make a soup from my new slow cooker cookbook, and decided to try the recipe, Old-Fashioned Black Bean Soup. I am always a little excited and nervous when I try a new recipe…wondering how it will turn out. I left out the ham bone/ham hock, I did soak my beans overnight, and I did use the optional sherry in the recipe. My beans never came to a boil in the crock pot in the first hour, but I continued with the recipe anyway. To my delight, it was SO delicious! Dawson really enjoyed the taste and I made a second batch of it to share with my family when we watched football together on Sunday! It was a hit. I froze enough for two separate meals, with the freezer bag method.

Applesauce - Everyone should make this! It is SOOOO easy to make! There are a few different ways that you can make it (depending if you have a food mill or not). I do not have a food mill, so I peel the apples and then use my corer/slicer to chop the apples. I throw the apples into a huge pot and fill it to the top! Then I place about a half inch or so of water at the bottom of the pot and cover the pot, turn the heat to medium, wait until it boils, and then I turn the heat down a little bit so that it is simmering, stirring it now and then. After about 30 minutes or so (once the apples are mushy), I take it off of the stove and mash it with a potato masher, and there you have it - fresh homemade applesauce! YUM! You should try it! As you can see, I chose to use plastic containers to freeze the applesauce. The plastic bag method should work too, but for some reason, I wanted to freeze it in these 3 cup containers. This is the first time that I have frozen a lot of applesauce. I am excited that I will have homemade applesauce to feed to my family throughout the year! I think that I have made about 8 quarts of applesauce so far and I have MORE apples to process! I think that I will make some apple crisps to freeze too! :)

So, there you have it - 3 recipes that I have tried (ok, well only one recipe was new to me), have enjoyed and frozen part of that I can enjoy it on another day! One thing to remember - be sure to label anything that you are placing into your freezer - date and name of item. You don't want to try and figure out what mystery meat is in there or what mystery red tomato-y things are in there - I don't think that it is sauce! I have those tomato-y things defrosting in the refrigerator as I type in order to figure out what it is! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reading For "Pleasure"...

Recently, I have purchased about 6 (or more?) cookbooks! I found some great deals at our local bargain outlet and purchased cookbooks that were priced at $14-25 for about $3-7! What a steal! I love to read the intro to the cookbooks before I begin using them. I feel that it gives me an idea of what this chef/cook is thinking when they put the cookbook together, and I think that when I read it, it excites me to try some of the recipes, which is the point of buying the book!

I will probably jump around a little bit with the cookbooks that I am using, but I will be sure to let you know where the recipes came from. At the moment, I am mainly using three different cookbooks (with a few other recipes thrown in here and there!). Which cookbooks am I using? You will find out soon enough!

I hope that you enjoy my journey of trying new recipes and hearing honest reviews of each recipe that is featured. I try to capture my thoughts as I am prepping/cooking/serving the recipes. I have been writing my thoughts down in a paper notebook (and then transferring them here) and have been thinking…I think that I need to get a computer notebook or laptop or something that is easy to transport…any ideas of what I should get? Let me know!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's For Dinner????

“There is no reason why dinner should not be on the table every night.” That is what I am thinking after surveying the amount of food (mainly meat) that I have purchased on great sales and have frozen in our freezer. However, I do find that it is not always easy to carve out the time to cook a healthy meal and have it ready by the time that Dawson comes home from work. Don’t get me wrong…I really enjoy cooking and I love to try new recipes and delicious recipes. In fact, I am not sure what recipes I really cook “a lot.” Well, maybe taco salad, since it is an easy meal to make with ground meat (turkey for my family!). However, time seems to get swallowed up and before I know it, the clock says 4:30pm…and I am not sure what I am going to feed my family! This does not happen all of the time, but since we started our 4 year old in soccer and preschool, it seems like it has happened more than ever before and I was tired of it and wanted it to change!

So, I have made strides in the past month to changing what has happened in the past. Writing out a menu for the week was not the only thing that would help me (and I really have not done that yet - that will come soon!). I needed to have meals that were already prepped and only needed to be cooked or reheated, and I am not referring to buying frozen or packaged meals. That is not the answer that I was looking for!

What I decided to start doing (again) is referred to as freezer cooking or once-a-month cooking (although I do not cook for the whole month!). There are many different ways to do this. You can plan and prep/cook the meals by yourself or with a friend or two. Cook for 1 or 2 days straight, or break it up into many days, maybe by simply doubling a recipe and freezing half of it for another day - whatever works for you. I decided that the best way for me to do this was by myself, plan the meals out with using a specific type of meat (either ground turkey, cooked chicken, boneless skinless chicken breast, etc), and cook each week or every other week, or whenever I felt led to cook or if the freezer is getting a little low! Some weeks I don’t only prep/cook the main course meal. I have also cooked/frozen apple sauce, muffins and healthy cookies. It has been fun, and I have begun to become more organized in dinner planning and prep. I am definitely inspired by the recipes and the process and my family has been enjoying the benefits of it…a homemade, delicious dinner every night!

What have I been making??? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Throughts About Banners and other things...

I should be working on the banner for my son's first "All Sports Parade," but instead, I have been procrastinating a little bit. Scratch that. I have been taking a little break from my busy (but good) day.

Today, I decided to take the boys to Hershey Park. We met some of our good friends there and did not get home until about 3:30ish. It was a really fun day today. The kids were all well behaved and I enjoyed watching them smile as they rode the rides, talk with each other, and ask me to go on a ride with them too! :) I also enjoyed talking a little bit with my friend, between helping the kids on and off the rides or riding the rides with them! :) The monorail was a lot of fun - we were able to ride it two times in a row! I learned something while I was riding it - don't point out something to your kids if they do not have the same view as you, because they will want to see it...and you have already passed it! (Thrills taught me that one!)

Well, I need to get back to figuring out what beetle pattern I am going to use for this banner and I need to stop stressing about the banner! It is very simple and basic, so I don't know why I am stressing about it. And yes, the name of their team is the "Beetles." I know, your knees are shaking at the sound of their team's name! These 4 and 5 year olds are so cute! :) We have a great group of kids that we were blessed with. Ok, I am really getting off now and getting to work on this banner...or maybe going to sleep!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Smoothie Time!

I am praying for my Dad today and you can join me too! We are praying for complete healing and peace for my Dad.

On another note...I made a smoothie for my kids today. My kids love smoothies! (So do I!) I decided to make a peach smoothie. To 1 cup of plain yogurt, I added 3 large peaches...and then I decided to add 1 apple and 1 medium carrot. Why not!

Guess what flavor stood out the most???

The Carrot!!!

I don't think that the kids noticed too much, but that is what I tasted, and you know what? It was pretty tasty. It reminded me about the juice drink that my dad has been drinking: carrots and apples juiced together. It made me smile.

I love my dad.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Feeling a Little Emotional

Tonight is one of those nights where I feel so full of emotions. I don't know whether I am going to cry or just have this feeling for a little bit. I don't mind crying. In fact, I feel really good after I have that kind of emotional release, but I just don't feel like I am actually ready to cry yet...just have that lump sort of in my throat.

I am not really sure why I have that lump in my throat. There are so many things that can be attributing to Dad's health has definitely been on my mind a lot lately. He has been battling cancer for about the last 12 years. You would probably not realize that he has cancer when you are around him because he has a positive attitude about it and does not look sickly. I don't talk about it with people either...I guess I have not really known what to say, except, "He's doing okay and please pray for him to be healed here on earth." Various drugs have helped to control the increase in the cancer multiplication, but they are no longer working, so he is not on any type of medication at the moment. Right now, a second opinion is being looked into, and diet changes have been made. I know that this is not about me (well, I guess this post is!), but I am definitely effected by what is going on, and it is really hard for me. This is my dad, and I love him. I don't want him to leave this earth yet. I cannot imagine life without him and his stories, his laughter and his hugs. I know that I have to take advantage of getting all of that from him and all of my family members, because truth be told, we don't know how long that any of us will be here on this earth. I wish that I could do something more than pray for his complete healing here on earth. Okay, so I have cried a little bit while writing this. The lump in my throat is gone...although the emotions are still there.

I know that I need to lay my burdens and feelings down before Him. I need to release everything to Him, and I know that He will fill me with His peace. No matter what happens, God is God. I have to trust Him and look to Him in all things.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What's For Dinner???

I was doing so well with making my weekly dinner plan a few months ago, but then "things happened" and I got tired and then sick with strep throat, and I got out of the habit...and I LOVE that habit...planning dinner is a GREAT habit to get into!

So, I sit here - for only a few more minutes - with a sad little face, because I do not know what we are going to have for dinner tonight. Well, I actually did decide what we will have for dinner tonight (just made the decision - it will be chicken that is in the freezer that is already in its marinade and maybe couscous, because it is easy to make and a salad and fresh veggies).

My point that I am trying to make, to myself, is that I need to start making weekly (or monthly) plan for dinners so that I do not have to "panic" about what I am going to serve my family in about an hour or so from now! Maybe I will have to plan some more freezer cooking days. I LOVED having meals that were ready and waiting for me to cook in the freezer. One thing that I will have to do different is plan when I will do freezer cooking ...Once a week? Every other week? I have realized that I really do need a plan and schedule in place for makes my life so much easier!

Well, off to make dinner...and decide what the rest of the dinners will be for this week! :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Getting Organized: Laundry Week 1 Review

I made it through my first week of my new laundry schedule, and I have to say that I really like it!

Here are the things that I liked about it:

1. I did not have to "think" or "decide" what laundry to do that day - my schedule told me what to do!

2. I would start a load first thing in the morning, and it was usually done and put away by the time that Dawson came home from work!

3. If I needed to do any "extra" loads, I could easily fit it in (such as a heavy comforter that I wanted to store away)

4. I did not have ANY laundry that needed to get done this weekend.

5. The laundry is "piling" up and it is not bothering me one bit - I know when it will get done! (and it is not "that bad" - I only have two children...although they do know how to get their clothes pretty dirty at times!)

6. I made sure that I folded and put away all of the clothes that I washed ASAP - that made it really nice to go to bed at night and not have a pile of unfolded clothes on our bed or in a laundry basket on the floor.

7. I am sure that there are some other things, but I cannot think of anything more at the moment! :)

At the end of this week, I also decided to look back over the week and to evaluate what I could improve about the laundry schedule or anything else that was related to laundry. So far, this is what I came up with:

Improvements Needed:

1. I think that I will have to try out the laundry schedule for a few more weeks to see how it really works for me. Like I said, so far, I really like it!

2. Right now, I have 2 hampers - one for lights/white and the other for darks. I would really like a 3-bin laundry sorter, but I am not sure which one I would like to invest in (because they are not cheap). I want one that is durable and will not fall apart...any suggestions??? (so far I know not to buy one from Target). I want a third compartment for Dawson's dress clothes - it would make it a little easier on me.

Last week, we did not go out too much because Smiles was diagnosed with strep throat, so it will be interesting to see how a busier schedule will impact what time of day that the laundry is done this week. Can I still get it done first thing in the morning, or will it have to wait? I know, the suspense it killing you! LOL Well, I am pretty excited about anything that makes my life a little more's the little things in life - right? :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting Organized: Laundry

A few months ago, I had the privilege of speaking at our Mom's In Action Group at our church. I spoke about "Servanthood" in the role of wife and mom. I really had a great time speaking with the ladies and sharing with them what God has done in my life and what He is currently doing. One topic that I spoke about was laundry.

Laundry is a job/chore that is never completely done. You may "catch up" one day, but before the night is over, there are tops, bottoms, socks, etc. that are placed back into those empty hampers!!! The piles begin to form, and the mole hill turns into a mountain...if you don't stay on top of it! Sometimes, I have felt like "I just need a break" from doing laundry...unfortunately that break turns into a week or two...or until someone runs out of underwear, or my husband gently tells me that he has nothing to wear to work the next day! OOPS!!! "Are you sure that there is NOTHING that you can wear tomorrow, hunny????" I really do want my husband to look nice the next day at work, so I throw something in the washing machine and notice the piles that are in front of me, waiting for their turn to take a spin in the machine.

There has to be a better way to stay on top of this "chore"...without passing it off to another family member...although that is not a bad idea, however my 2 and 4 year old sons only know how to stuff the clothes into the washer and press the start button...I need to do the soap!

Flylady had a great idea - do one load a day, from start to finish. This means: wash, dry, fold and put away. Great idea, seriously, but somehow, this really did not work for me. (and I really do like Flylady's ideas!). I needed something more, but I did not know what.

Recently, I have been motivated to get more organization in my life and declutter my house so that I can start putting my dreams into reality. I have been praying and asking God to help me in this area - to stay motivated and to give me ideas and inspiration to get these things done, and I believe that he helped me do this!

So, last week, I decided that I need to come up with a laundry schedule that specified what would be washed on each day of the week...and leave the weekends free from laundry! I also decided that I needed to tackle my mountain and "catch up" with all of my I ended up doing about 15 loads of laundry! I could not believe it!!! Now, that did included things like winter jackets that were waiting to be washed and stored away and tablecloths and various things like that...but still! WOW!

So, here is a peek at what my weekly list looks like:

Today was the first day, and I was really happy to get through my list and "be done" for the day. Tomorrow is a new day and I will be washing whites/lights...and there is a blanket that I took off of my son's bed that I want to wash and store for the summer, so I think that I will throw that in too.

I am really excited about my new schedule, and it seems like it is something that I will be able to easily keep up with.

So, what will my next organization project be...stay tuned!

Friday, May 28, 2010

And the Winners are...

The winners for the following contests are:

1. Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield - is comment #1, TCC (since this was the only comment that was left...I did not need to do anything special when choosing the winner!) - I will be getting in touch with you soon

2. "got milk?" bundle giveaway - I used the random number generator at and the number chosen was #1!

Congratulations, Nonya, you won the gift pack and I will be contacting you soon!

Thank you to all who entered!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"got milk?"...another Giveaway!

I grew up drinking milk like it was water. We drank it all of the time and I really enjoyed it. I don't drink nearly as much as I did growing up, but I still enjoy having a glass of it now and then...I am more of a water drinker now!

I give milk to my sons to drink at each meal and inbetween meals too, but they differ in the amount that they will consume each day. My four year old enjoys drinking milk and I have no idea how much he actually drinks each day. My two year old is a different story. He drinks it because that is what his mommy gives him to drink (besides his apple juice/water mixture) getting him to drink 16 oz (two sippy cups) is not easy - sometimes, he will drink three cups worth, but I know that it is good for him...and he LOVES cereal with maybe we get another 6 oz in to him?!?

Well, the annual "got milk?" tour is coming this way and I am excited to be a part of it again! The name of their 2010 tour is "Milk the Moment.” Read more about it below and then be sure to enter the giveaway!

The 2010 Milk Mustache Mobile “Milk the Moment” Tour has taken to America’s streets to educate families about the importance of healthy eating and will be making a stop in Harrisburg from May 27-29. This year, the tour is traveling coast-to-coast to showing moms that serving milk at dinnertime is an easy, and affordable, way to encourage healthy eating among her family and provide her children with the nutrition they need.

Did you know:
· Research supports the importance of parents’ role modeling a healthy diet for their kids; studies show that moms who drink milk are more likely to have daughters who drink milk.
· Research also demonstrates that kids who eat family dinners have higher fruit, vegetable and calcium intakes than their peers.
· Research shows that family dinners also are linked to better academic performance and mental health for kids.
· That three out of four Americans aren’t getting the recommended daily dose of calcium.
· Milk is the easiest way to get the 9 essential nutrients that you need every day.
· Milk, at only 25 cents a glass, offers more nutrition for your dollar than any other beverage.
· Leading health and nutrition organizations have recognized the valuable role that milk, including flavored milk, can play in meeting daily nutrient needs, and helping kids get the 3 daily servings of milk recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Health tips:
Check out a few interesting facts on how choosing milk can positively impact your family meal’s nutrient content.

• By serving fat free milk in place of that regular soft drink at the table with a typical meal of spaghetti, a side of broccoli, fruit and bread, you add an additional 300mg of calcium to your meal. Likewise, you increase vitamin D by more than 650 percent, and potassium and magnesium by about 30 percent (Visit for full dinner nutrition information).

• You want your family to be healthy and hydrated. And remember, beverages besides water can help with hydration too. Make the most of their dinnertime drink to help your family get the recommended three servings of milk each day. Along with a nutrient punch, milk is nearly 90 percent water!

• In recent years, soft drinks and sugary fruit drinks have been edging out milk at mealtime, but these drinks do not provide the nourishment kids need. Studies show that kids who regularly drink nutrient-rich lowfat milk (including flavored milk which has the same nutrient package as white milk!) have better quality diets and tend to be leaner than kids who drink little or no milk.

During the Milk Mustache Mobile events, you can:
· Play a fun, dinner-themed football toss activity sponsored by the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which encourages healthy eating and 60 minutes of daily exercise
· Find out the benefits of setting the table with milk at the Mom/Health Tent
· Sample ice-cold milk from local dairies
· Speak with a registered dietitian about the benefits of milk and how Milk can help families stay healthy and relieve stress
· Pose for a celebrity-inspired Milk Mustache souvenir photo
Enter for a chance to win a trip for the ultimate family dinner experience with celebrity chef Tyler Florence

Event Schedule:
· Thursday, May 27, 6pm – 8pm, Harrisburg Senators Baseball
· Friday, May 28, 1pm – 6:30pm, Hershey’s Chocolate World
· Saturday, May 29, 11am – 4pm, Hershey Park

And now for the GIVEAWAY!

One "lucky" winner will receive a special bag of fun-filled prizes, which will include:

A "got milk?" T-shirt (size small), yummy recipes ideas, a lanyard, a frisbee, a pedometer, and chocolate milk mustache stickers!

To enter, please:

1. Leave a comment and a way for me to contact you. Deadline to enter is Saturday, May 29th at 8pm. (only open to USA residents)

2. The winner will be chosen randomly and I will contact you by email!

That's all!

If you are in the area, I hope that you are able to stop by and join the "got milk?" tour!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giveaway and a Review: Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield

I never had sensitive teeth until about a year ago. After one of my cleanings, one of my bottom molars was really sensitive. I called the dentist to ask them why does it feel this way and what should I do? Their response: "Well, this sometimes can happen is the hygentist "digs" too deep" - or they said something along those lines. They also told me that this really can't be healed, but to try a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. I tried one for a little while, but then stopped because my gum area felt a little better. However, the pain would still come and go, and I am not sure really why! If I touched my gum with my finger, I would be in pain, and that was not a very fun experience!

Well, about two months ago, I was asked if I wanted to review Crest's Pro-Health Sensitive Shield line of oral care. I said sure...I have nothing to lose, and maybe it will help heal my gum/tooth area that was causing me pain.

So, after trying out their Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield Toothpaste, Oral-B Pro-Health Gentle Clean Toothbrush, and Crest Glide Pro-Health Floss for Sensitive Gums, I am happy to say that my tooth/gum area is not sensitive like it used to be.

I grabbed the following from their website, because it explains exactly what I must have experienced in order for the sensitivity to subside in my tooth!

Sensitive toothpastes work by either occluding exposed dentinal tubules (Crest Pro-Health) or by desensitizing the nerve endings in the dentinal tubules with potassium ions (Crest Sensitivity Protection). Sensitive toothpastes also contain fluoride, which has been shown to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. For a complete oral care routine, combine sensitive toothpaste with a soft-bristled toothbrush, mouth rinse, and wide, soft dental floss."
So, now that you know briefly about my experience with Crest's new products, I would like to give you a chance to win your own bundle of Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield products!
So, what do you need to do to win?:
1. Leave a comment and be sure that there is a way that I can contact you if you are indeed the winner!
2. The winner will be chosen randomly
3. If you are chosen, I will be sending your snail mail address to the marketing company that contacted me and they will be the ones that will send the bundle to you...only enter if you do not mind me sharing your info with them - they will only use the info to send you the products!
4. Deadline to enter for this giveaway is Friday, May 28th at 4:oo PM EST. I will contact the winner by email as soon as I am able to!
Good Luck!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I have always had pretty vivid dreams at night. I thought that everyone did until I started to talk with other people who said that they rarely remember their dreams. It is pretty neat. I feel that it is one way that God talks to me. I could go into some details about that, however, there is different dreaming that is taking place in my life that is new and fun and exciting!

I have begun to dream about how my house can be. How I want the rooms to look, what furniture I may want to add and subtract from each room. I have begun to realize that I can customize things and change things to be the way that I really want them to be! I have a long way to go in this area, but a spark has been lit! There is so much that is on my mind right now - things that I need to do, things that I want to do, waiting for catalogs to arrive, checking out some new-to-me blogs!

This new phase in my life is fun. I am enjoying this type of dreaming and planning. I have a long way to go...but I have to say that I am enjoying this new part of my journey!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blogging...just haven't had the time!

I have thought about this blog of mine...really I have...but I have been so busy with trying to do some other things in my house and life, that this has "suffered" a little bit.

So, what have I been up to...Oh just watching soaps and eating bon know, what every SAHM does! HA! Just kidding...I don't even watch any TV during the day, except an occasional show with the kids!

OK, what have I REALLY been up to??? Well, that will have to wait for another post!

In the meantime, stay tuned...I am going to have a giveaway for you soon...just need to take the time to write about it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Helping to Relieve Stress

Dawson's company has been blessed with a lot of work...unfortunately stress comes along with that blessing of work. There are deadlines to meet and more hours to be spent on the jobs than they actually have, so with that...comes overtime! With overtime comes less time with your family and less sleep...which bring on more stress which can be expressed in different ways. Dawson has actually had a break from overtime for the past 1-2 weeks, but there are other co-workers who now have "their turn" with working overtime with the projects that they are working on. It is not fun, but it is a necessity.

So, I am going to try and help to bring some smiles and cheer into their office! I am going to be very busy in my kitchen over the next few days...baking some goodies and maybe making some chocolates too. Reaching out to those guys (and a few gals) with one way that I know how, and that is through baking!

Right now, my list includes: brownies, mini banana muffins and chocolate covered pretzels!

What would you include on this platter of goodies? I would love to hear any suggestions that you may have!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Prayin', Prayin', Prayin'!

My husband, Dawson, is studying to take an EIGHT HOUR test in April! You read that correctly - 4 hours in the morning, then they have a lunch break, and then 4 hours in the afternoon! Does not sound like a fun Saturday to me!

What is this test all about? It is the PE exam, or Professional Engineering exam. It is not an easy exam, and they test of such a vast amount of knowledge! He has been going to a review course every Tueday night from 6:30-10:30 pm since November (I think?), and next week is his last class. Tuesdays are very long days for BOTH of us! He leaves between 7-7:30AM and is not home until about 11:15PM (the class is about 45-60 minutes away from where we live). He brought his study materials to my parents' house and has been studying there for about 2-3 days each week. I am very proud of him!

So, I have been doing a lot of praying for him - that he will be able to absorb everything that he is reviewing and studying, and that when he goes into the exam, there will be a peace that washes over him, and that he will be able to complete all of the problems and pass! Hoping to share great news with you in June! (that is usually when the results arrive)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Cookies...and Marshmallows too!

I had some chocolate wafers that needed to be used up and I also had some heart shaped sugar cookies that I made that needed to be, I decided to do a fun little activity with my four year old, and here are our results:

Brady asked if we could dip marshmallows too, so we did...and I added the bananas for fun - but I thought that they were hard to dip and keep in their shape! We had a lot of fun dipping - and Brady enjoyed lots of samples as we were decorating the cookies and marshmallows! I think that they came out so pretty...and the boys have been enjoying the final product of our little activity.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dinner's in the Freezer!

On Sunday night, I realized that I still had two HUGE packages of chicken in the refrigerator that REALLY needed to be washed and "dealt with." I was so tired, but I knew that I needed to do something with this chicken. I did not want to just wash it and freeze it...I wanted to make it into some meals for the family! So, that is what I did...and got into bed about 3 hours later!!! (Should have started sooner - oh, well!)

I was able to get about 8 meals out of it...which does not include the leftovers that most will provide! Since I am only serving 2 adults, one four year old and one 2 year old, four chicken breasts will feed us about 1 1/2 dinners. I was pretty psyched about it!

So, you are probably wondering what I made, aren't ya? Here is my list!

1. Chicken Pistachio (Salad) x 2 (South Beach blue book p.141)

2. Oven Fried Chicken with Almonds x 2 (South Beach gold book p. 217)

3. Balsamic Chicken x 2 (South Beach blue book, p. 151)

4. Chicken Capri x 1 - I prepped the chicken by pounding it out and will make it either tonight or on Wed. (South Beach gold book p.214)

5. A Citrus one from a Rachael Ray cookbook, and I cannot remember what it was called - I wrote it on the package though! It is one that I can grill.

I am so excited that I was able to do this! I have been wanting to do some freezer cooking and get a little ahead of myself in dinner prep, and I was able to last night...unfortunately way later than I intended to stay up though!

Oh well, at least I don't have to worry about a chicken dinner for a little while, because I know that dinner is in the freezer! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Funny Kid-Sayings

My kids are so adorable and I love to listen to them pronounce something a "little bit" makes me smile.

Here are a few of the most recent ones:

Smiles (2 years old)
"frigilator" = refrigerator

Brady (4 years old)

background: he was sleeping in Smiles' room, and when I closed their door, he said:
"Smiles, look at the stars and meat-eaters (on the ceiling)! Look at the stars and meat-eaters!" = Meteors

I know that there are more that they have said recently, but those are the ones that came into my mind at the moment and brought a smile to my face!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring is Here!

The first day of spring was a gorgeous one yesterday! Our whole family was outside. The boys rode their new big wheels and bikes (with training wheels). They also enjoyed wearing their new helmets and Brady even wanted to wear his new elbow pads and knee pads - too cute!

All three "boys" (including Dawson) drew some fun pics with the sidewalk chalk, and I think that Dawson outdid the elephant that I drew last week...well, I know that he did - drawing is effortless for him...not so much for me! :) The boys also enjoyed hitting the ball off of the "T" and pushing the toy lawnmower around too! I enjoyed taking a few hits with the bat also...and the boys enjoyed running after the ball! It was a fun, sunny day and I look forward to many more of these!

I may even break out the finger paints next time!

Dawson also took some time to prune the pear and apple trees that we have in our backyard. I am really looking forward to eating out pears...and watch the birds peck away at our apple tree. We have never been able to eat any of the apples from our tree - they do not grow very well, and the birds get to them first....but our pears! I love our pears! They are so tasty and we usually get so many of them! I will have to wait until August rolls around, then I will be able to taste them! In the meantime...I have been thinking about growing a vegetable garden this year! I need to do some quick planning and get moving on my ideas...we will see if it actually happens this year!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We got a bunch of snow yesterday...maybe 4 inches...but it was enough for us to do this:

I had so much fun building the snowman with my boys! Don't you just love the branch sticking out of the head of the snowman! Brady told me that is was the snowman's hair! So cute! I hear that we are suppose to get about 10+ inches this weekend! Can't wait!

Friday, January 29, 2010


The last week and a half have not been the easiest. Dawson has had to work overtime almost every night, the kids have been sick - fever, cough and gagging on mucous while coughing which led to my 4 year old throwing up about 5 times, earlier this week we got water in our basement, and then I started to get sick yesterday! Because of the sickness, we had to postpone the boys' "kids party" that was scheduled for this Saturday...

You know what I kept telling myself and others - it might not be great, but there are people out there that are worse off. Some people don't have a job, their kids might be in the hospital and maybe they are foreclosing on their home. It's all in how you look at it....


While I was laying in bed last night trying to get my head to feel better, I was conversing with the Lord and He brought some clarity on a few things that I have been asking his guidance on. Did it actually take me getting sick for me to stop and actually wait on Him and listen to Him? I guess that it did at the moment, and it also reminded me to take time with the Lord - which is not always easy for me to do - I let other things get in the way of that time. That is something that is going to have to change.

So, although I am not thankful that we have been "hit" with some of this "yuckiness," I am thankful that it made me slow down and think about life. I am thankful for the life that God has given to me and the family that He has given me.

Perspective. Think about it.

Oral-B Giveaway: And the WINNER is...

Since I only had five people sign up for my giveaway, I decided to choose the winner in a very scientific way. I wrote the numbers 1,3,4,5,6 on separate pieces of paper (I skipped 2 since, Emily commented twice. lol). Then I folded up the pieces of paper, threw them up into the air and let my 4 year old choose the winning piece of paper!



I will contact the winner by email!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Giveaway: Oral-B Gift Pack

Although Christmas has passed, Valentine's day is right around the corner! Many children will obtain some little sweets either from their parents or from a party at school. My children are not in school yet, but I will be giving them some Valentine candy, since they are my little Valentines! One thing that we will be sure to do is to continue to brush our kids' teeth after they eat the candy (well, maybe not RIGHT AFTER they eat it...but at least by that night!) Although I do want them to enjoy their treats, I certainly do not want my kids to get cavities ever...especially at a young age!

Thanks to a representative from the Oral-B company, I have learned about the importance of having a toothbrush designed for the stage that they are currently at and I also learned how to continue to teach my children to brush correctly. It is important to teach our children good oral hygiene, which includes correct brushing and flossing techniques, along with using a toothbrush that is designed for their current age.

EDIT: There was a video that I am not able to embed for some reason! Check out the video here that was taken at a blogger event in New York that features some great information from Dr. Jennifer Salzer, M.D., who is a dentist and a mother too.

I did appreciate the information that was included in this video. I was given a toothbrush for each of my children to "try out" and I have to agree - they really love the character that is on their toothbrush! They look forward to Pooh or Tigger "helping them brush their teeth"!

Here are a few other tips that Oral-B Stages put together to "Make Brushing Fun"

  • Brush your teeth with your child to set a good example. This also helps your child to learn by watching and imitating you.

  • Choose toothbrushes and toothpaste with popular kids’ characters, like Oral-B Stages, to help establish positive oral care routines with familiar friends like Winnie the Pooh or Disney Princesses.

  • Sing your child’s favorite song, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” for two minutes to encourage brushing for the dentist-recommended time. For older children, play a song from their favorite pop singer for two minutes.

  • Making your child’s brushing routine fun will encourage proper habits early and help prevent oral care issues later in life.

  • For more information please visit,

To educate parents about children’s oral health, Oral-B Stages and have partnered to provide parents a unique and easy way to document key ‘Smile-Stages’ in their children’s oral health development. Smile-Stages are important milestones in children’s oral health development, such as their first smile or the loss of their first tooth. A Smile-Stage is also a specific time of year when children’s oral health is especially important, like Christmas. Now that Christmas is over and parents have all those adorable photos of their kids in their Christmas best, parents can capture their children’s best Smile-Stages moments by visiting creating personalized multimedia scrapbooks that can be viewed and shared online. Be sure to check it out, if you are interested in making one!

Now, for the GIVEAWAY:

A representative for the Oral-B company will be giving one of my readers with a gift pack filled with Oral-B products to try out! It will most likely look like the gift pack that is pictured above. How cool is that!

All that you need to do to enter is submit a comment which includes a way for me to contact you (either an email address or through your blog). This is open to bloggers and nonbloggers. Only one comment per person.

Comments will be closed on Friday, January 29th by 5pm. I will then choose a winner and contact that person!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

They're Just Talking!

We went to the Farm Show on Saturday with Dawson's brother and his two boys, and we had a really fun time. The kids enjoyed seeing and petting the cows and the sheep...well, Smiles did not like the sheep very much - they were too loud for him. We kept telling him that they were talking to each other. So, now when Smiles tells someone about the Farm Show, he says something like this:
Smiles: "sheep...BAAAA...talking"
Besides petting the animals, the boys really enjoyed seeing the large farm equipment, sitting on the tractors, and drinking the delicious milkshakes - which are SOOOO good! It is like drinking ice cream that has melted a little bit - YUM! We had a great time and look forward to going again next year!