Saturday, December 15, 2012

A different kind of pizza



Butternut Squash Pizza. 

Cut squash into rounds, not too thin and bake @400* for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and flip over. Top with:  veggies, sauce, cheese, sausage, pepperoni, etc etc. Whatever you want!  Put back into oven and bake until done.

Here's a few photos of my yumminess:




 Yummo!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thankful

On this last day of November, I am thankful for several things:

*my writing talent

*My awesome family

*my wonderful church family

*warm socks

*hot coffee


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 24

Today I'm thankful for the Savior. When I think about how much He loves me, it just blows me away. Thank you, Jesus, for everything!

Day 23

Today I'm thankful for fuzzy slippers! The floor is cold and slippers are a neccesity.

Day 22

Today I'm thankful for my brother and sister.

Day 21

Today I'm thankful for my mom. I'm thankful she was one of those 'mean' moms who made me polite, respectful and eat my green beans. (blech!)  I'm thankful to have a great mom!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20

Today I'm thankful to have a washing machine and dryer.

Day 19

I'm thankful for my dishwasher. It ran three times yesterday!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18

Today I'm thankful for my dad. He's always there when I need him, and I love him. Thanks for everything, Dad!

Day 17

Today I'm thankful for my husband. For his sense of humor, his dedication and most of all his love for me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16

Today I am thankful for my wonderful children. I've been blessed with five children, each of them different and awesome in their own way. It's not always easy, but I wouldn't change one thing. Children are always a blessing, especially mine!!

Day 15

Today I'm thankful for the friends I have made in my life. From good friends in elementary school to the false ones in junior high and high school, to the true friends I've finaly made in my adult life, I am thankful for them all. 

Day 14

Today I'm thankful for another sunrise. Watching the sun rise always feels like a gift to me, like a special moment not everyone experiences. Thanks, God!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13

Today I"m thankful for freedom of religion. I'm blessed to be able to attend whatever church I choose, pray to God and tell others about Him.

Day 12

Today I'm thankful for that I live in the United States of America. It's not perfect, but it's still a great country.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 11

Today I'm thankful for all the men and women who have served and are serving in the armed forces. Thank you so much for your sacrifice and protection.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10

Today I am thankful for being from NE Kansas. Most people laugh when they hear that, but those that laugh don't truly know what Kansas is like. All they know is the way the state and its inhabitants are protrayed on television (hello Criminal Minds!).  Northeast Kansas is beautiful, with lots of trees and hills and it is so incredibly green that whenever I go back, I am amazed by the absolute greenness of the place.

I love Kansas. I love that whenever I think of home, I think of the tiny town where I grew up, where I walked to my grandma's house after school, where on Halloween I roamed around with a pillowcase to collect candy.

I miss it, and it will always be home, no matter where I live.

Day 9

A little behind here.

Today I'm thankful God provided Tom with a job that has enabled me to stay home with our kids. At times I've wondered if it was the right choice, but all I have to do is look at my children and know that it truly was.  I'm happy to be a stay at home mom!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8

Today I am thankful for where we live. The view from the back of the house is awesome. It overlooks two ponds (our neighbors's on each side) and I've seen deer, coyotes, lots of geese, a few swans, not to mention all the birds and squirrels that come up near the house to eat birdseed. It is so worth everything to see how the kids love the big backyard.

Thanks, God, for leading us here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7

Today I am thankful for my church. I am also thankful for the opportunity to work in the AWANA program, in the Sparks club.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6

Today is Election Day. I am grateful to live in a country where free rights, free speech and the privilege of voting is something I can choose to excercise.

Day 5

Today I am thankful for my husband. After 21 years, I still want to be with him all the time and I never get bored. He keeps me laughing!  I love you, Tom.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4

Since today is Sunday, of course my thoughts go to my salvation, and how grateful I am to the Lord Jesus Christ for all He's done for me.

Thank you, Jesus, so much. I don't deserve it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3

Tonight I'm sitting in front of my computer after a long day of kids, cooking, dogs, laundry and writing, and the thing that stands out tonight is the ability to write that I've been blessed with.  Thank you, God, for this ability, for this talent. I'm grateful.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2

Today I am thankful for:  the sunrise, sunshine and the birds that come to visit and eat the seed I scatter for them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 1 of giving thanks


This is our Thankful display. Tonight all of us wrote something we wanted to thank God for on a leaf.

Mom--husband and kids
Dad--kids
K--family
E--church and family
J--family
N--grandma and grandpa

and the best for last:

L--breakfast.

Yep, that's right folks, breakfast. I'm actually surprised he didn't say 'candy'.   Heh.

What would you like to thank God for today?


30 Days of Thanks

My family doesn't know it yet, but for the month of November we will be giving thanks for something everyday.  I plan on making a poster or book of somekind for this. (yeah, yeah, should have it already done, but whatever)

It seems like Thanksgiving is overlooked nowadays. I mean, Halloween decorations show up in August. August, people! That is ridiculous.  And anymore, Thanksgiving is sort of forgotten, with all the Christmas frenzy that starts this month. Who really slows down and considers all we've been given? 

So anyway, that's the plan. Since I'm also participating in NaNoWriMo this month, it will be interesting, to say the least.

Look for a post later today or tonight (tomorrow?) about Day 1 of 30 Days of Thanksgiving.

Friday, September 7, 2012

September, How I Love You

I'll admit--September is my favorite month. It's my birthday month, true, but that isn't the only reason. As much as I am a summer girl, I love fall the best. The changing leaves, the crisp air, the start of long sleeves, jackets and boots...oh yeah, I love it. But only if the summer was hot,and this year's was, so I know I am going to be ready for cooler weather.

September is a good month. 

There was more that I was going to stay, but it seems to have fled my head, so that's it.

Oh yes, now I remember!

The dishwasher! My parents were kind enough to buy us a new one, and it finally arrived today and my fabulous DIY husband installed it. The girls are very grateful for this fantastic machine, as am I!

Hip hip hooray for dishwashers!  I always thought it was not a necessity, but after washing dishes upwards of three times every day, I think differently. Maybe if I didn't have five kids it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but there it is. Seven people generate LOTS of dirty dishes!

Yay for the dishwasher! Whomever invented this machine, I salute you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bento Lunches


Isn’t that a fun word? Bento. Bento. Bentobentobentobento. *ahem*

Okay. So I’m kinda liking the bento boxes for the kids—especially for the littlest guy. He likes having so many choices, and eats much better than if he has only one choice. His box is simply a glass container with smaller containers nestled inside. I want to get some of those silicon baking cups, too. Then I'd be able to squeeze more stuff in there. The older kids have Easy Lunchboxes, that I bought on Amazon.
 


So the little guy's bento breakfasts won't win any cuteness awards, but he liked them and ate them, which is the whole point, yes?  My older boys nixed the idea of cute veg cutouts and the like, darn it.  Well, I still have the little guy, and he appreciates cuteness still. :)

Speaking of which, it's time to get his breakfast ready!
 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Best Banana Bread Ever




See that deliciousness? Moist, flavorful, yummy. The only thing that could have made it even more tasty would have been adding walnuts. I forgot. Bummer.  At any rate, there's only about two slices left, and I baked it yesterday. Everyone knows banana bread is better the next day.

This is the banana bread my mom always made, and although I've tried other recipes, this is the one I always come back to, because it's the best banana bread ever.


Banana Bread

2/3 C. shortening (I always use Spectrum organic non-hydrogenated)
1 2/3 C. sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 C flour (I used white whole wheat)
2/3 C buttermilk (or sour milk by adding 1 Tbl vinegar)
1 1/4 C. mashed banana
2 eggs
*note: more milk might need to be added if you use whole wheat flour

Stir shortening to soften. Sift in dry ingredients. Add bananas and half milk and mix. Beat 2 minutes. Add rest of ingredients and beat. Bake@350 for 1 hour. Makes one large loaf, depending on the size of your bread pans. Or fill muffin papers and bake until top springs back when touched.



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back in the Kitchen Again


Back to school means more time in the kitchen. My kids take their lunches every day and I try very hard to give them healthy lunches. That’s not to say they don’t have chips or a cookie, because they do sometimes. Usually they take a tortilla wrap (yummy uncooked ones from Costco) filled with beans or lunchmeat and cheese, or grilled chicken, etc. Other times it’s a sandwich. This year they have bento boxes (Easy Lunchboxes) so it’s fun coming up with stuff to fill the sections. The only drawback to this particular bento is that the lid isn’t leakproof, so that does limit the menu a bit. I actually have more freedom/fun making the little guy’s bento for breakfast and lunch. He’s not that great of an eater, being 3 ½, but seems to like having a choice, and he gets excited about the bento like his older brothers and sisters.

Tomorrow is food shopping day. I’ve always struggled with making menu plans for whatever reason, so this time I am going to make menus after the trip instead of before. That way I already know what I have and can plan accordingly. I need to do some prep work this week for breakfasts and lunches, just to make my life easier. J

I have a bunch of coupons and a list of all the deals at the stores for tomorrow, but I’m not sure how many we will get to all in one trip. Even though they are only 6-8 miles away, with the traffic, it seems longer.

So we shall see how this menu planning after grocery shopping works. I will post pics of my haul and later the menu and let you know how it went.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reflections on the first day of school

By 8:40 this morning all four of the school age kids were gone, leaving me with my 3 yr old, henceforth referred to as 'shadow'.  It was a good morning, no hissy fits or fighting, all the lunches were packed the day before, so this morning went as smoothly as it could.

The main thing I notice once all the kids were gone was how absolutely quiet it was. No chaos, no interruptions, screams, yelling, etc etc. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Not that Shadow was silent all day, but as noisy as he is when his siblings are around, he's a pretty quiet guy by himself. Plus, all that annoying obnoxiousness only emerges when he has to compete for attention. To his pleasure, he had Mommy all to himself today.

And it was a good day. I missed the kids, but it was nice all the same. Summer was wonderful. I think maybe the school year will be a good one as well.

On the black board I wrote a question: How was your first day of school?
 Here are their answers:

K--Easy (12th)
E--loooong (9th)
N--Long and really stressful (not sure what's stressful about a 2nd grader's day, but oh well)
J--Easy (5th grade)

Both girls collapsed and took a nap and woke up refreshed.  They both got up at 5am to catch the bus @ 6:40. Not sure if they will continue to get up that early. Time will tell.


Three days of schoo this week, then the weekend. I'm thinking that if I want to go to the library Saturday morning it will just be me and the boys. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yummy Oatmeal Squares





I found this recipe on another site,  Oh She Glows, and while it was good, the addition of Nutella and the removal of the banana has made these bars particularly outstanding. So here's the recipe with my changes.


Oatmeal Squares

2.5 cups rolled oats, divided
3 Tbl chia seeds
1/2 cup + 1 Tbl ground flax
1 tsp cinnamon (we like cinnamon, so it's a heaping tsp)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 cups milk (any kind; I've used almond and cow with the same results)
1/2 cup maple syrup or any liquid sweetener (I've used molasses and honey)
heaping spoonful or three of Nutella or peanut butter or almond butter, etc
1 Tbl vanilla
*side note: did you know that most vanilla contains corn syrup? I was shocked! Now I buy Spice Islands brand, which contains no corn syrup)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8 inch square pan or line with parchment paper (why is that stuff so oversized? Why isn't it the same size as wax paper?)

2. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup of the oats until a flour forms.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients first, and then add the wet and stir until combined. Taste the batter and add more sweetener/nut butter to taste. Add nuts if you like.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out. Bake for 35-40 minutes until it springs back slowly when touched. Baking time will vary. Cool before cutting.

The kids don't really like these, but the husband and I think they are yummy. They're filling and a good snack.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trees are amazing

I'm sitting on a bench at Civic Park while the boys climb and jump and have a great time on the play equipment. A maple tree shades most of he area, which is a good thing because it is H.O.T. this morning. When I took my walk this morning at 6, it was 79*.  Yep, pretty sweat-inducing. Now, it's 93, but not here in the shade. It's actually quite pleasant.

But trees....they are one of the most amazing things in Creation. Look at all they do: provide shade, food, building materials, writing materials, peace, and let's not forget beauty. Everyone's yard looks better with a tree or six. :)

Instead of taking trees for granted, take a moment to really notice the trees today. It's the small details that can give a lot of pleasure sometimes.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Too long

I can't believe it's been well over a month since I posted an entry. (You'll notice I didn't say 'since I blogged'.  I despise the word 'blog' and all of its incarnations.)  What can I say? It was the usual stuff, life, lack of interest, lack of a subject, yeah yeah, whatever, right?

So we finally broke down and turned on the A/C, which promptly broke at the beginning of July. Nice, eh? But we were really blessed and got a new motor without it costing us anything. God is pretty amazing!

I've been outside mostly, and I don't do a lot of writing during the summer, so I'm not sure when I'll write again. Heh.

Here's some photos of what's been going on this summer:



Our one head of broccoli--delicious! Next year I'm going to plant a ton of it.


K's wildflower garden. The finches love it.


A recent visitor.

 I'd add more photos, but my stupid camera's date is messed up and I'm tired of trying to find the picture I want! Frustrating!  Hopefully I'll update sooner next time. :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Goals and no A/C

Summer is officially here; school has ended and there's been a collective sigh in the house. Now if only the weather will clue in...

It's always a good thing to have goals, so here are mine:

*work on potty-training with Foo-Foo. Not exactly a fun time (is it ever?) since he doesn't really seem to care too much, but he does like wearing underwear, so it's a start, anyway

*walk at least 5 days a week, I'd like it to be 6. These walks are normally 60-70 min, unless I have the boys with me and we go to the park. Then and easy 30min.

*Keep writing. I've submitted to six agents so far, and have plenty of manuscripts to work on, so all's good in that area.

*have activities for the boys to do a couple of days a week. Right now tin can robots are in the works.

*Finish painting entryway, dining room and bathroom, then get to work peeling off border in the boys' room. I swear, wallpaper hates me. Really, it does.

That's it for now. Wait, what's that about no air conditioning?

It's no secret that I hate the stuff, and it keeps kids from going outside in the summer. We had a few days of brutal heat last week, and we were probably the only ones who didn't turn on the A/C. I'm not sure if we're saving any money running fans, but the benefits are pretty good. The boys went outside where it was cooler without me having to shoehorn them out the door, as I've had to in the past to get them out of the coolness.  Pretty awesome, I'd say. Plus, at least for June the weather appears to be in the upper 70's-to upper 80's, not a problem.  To me, it's worth it.

I really believe being dependent on A/C makes people not so tough, not able to handle the heat. Don't get me wrong, I like having it on in the car and when I go places, but at home I quickly tire of it. I hate being cold when I want to be warm, like when I get out of the shower. Hate that so much.


That's what's happening around here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Layered Salad from OhSheGlows



Here's a delicious salad that Foo-Foo and I made tonight. You can change the vegetables to suit your own tastes, of course. 

Here's the recipe from Oh She Glows, with my changes in parentheses.

For the salad:
1 cup uncooked wheatberries (bulgur wheat)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup edamame (I subbed zuchinni instead)
1 cup diced carrots
1.5 cups diced red pepper
1.5 cups diced green pepper
(I used about 6 sweet tricolored peppers)
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
Salt, to taste (I forgot this)

For the dressing: (makes four 1/4 cup servings)
2/3 cup 100% pure orange juice (I juiced two oranges)
1/3 cup 100% pure apple juice (I didn't have an apple, so I used a bit of pineapple juice)
1 Tbl apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl fresh minced ginger
1 Tbl fresh lime juice
Salt, to taste

I also added a bit of Bragg's Liquid Aminos to the dressing, as it didn't have the right taste for me. You could use soy sauce or tamari instead of the Bragg's, if desired.

1. In a medium sized pot. add quinoa and 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce head and cover and simmer until fluffy, about 15-20 min. Do the same for the wheatberries (bulgur), but add 2 cups of water and cook until tender and chewy.

2. Meanwhile, chop the veggies. In a bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

3. When the grains have cooked, grab your pint-sized mason jars and add into each: 1/2 cup wheatberries, 1/4 cup green pepper, 1/4 cup red pepper, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/4 cup carrots, 2 Tbl parsley adn 1/4 cup edamame per mason jfar. You may have to push it down a bit. Repeat as necessary. Makes enough for 4 mason jars, with a bit left over. Alternatively, you can just mix the salad together into a big bowl with the dressing. The salad will keep in the fridge for 5-6 days.

*note: the veggies are all raw


It is quite a tasty salad, light and satisfying, and very open to variations.




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finally!

Yes, we are finally finishing up the painting downstairs in the dining room and entryway. Yes, it's amazing. And next week we'll be finishing the bathroom! Wait, maybe I shouldn't say that.... For awhile we've been searching for the 'perfect' mirror for the bathroom. Meanwhile, a small mirror from Target propped up in the window has been the only mirror. Nice, huh?

And those shutters are also going. A nice idea, but I've hit my head way too many times on them to like them. When folded they take up a lot of room. Yeah, that's a phone on the wall there, too, in reach of the toilet. As if. That is destined for the kids' toybox for sure. Maybe even today.

I'll post pics of the diningroom/entryway later, cause while it won't take long to finish the painting, it's going to take a lot of effort to get all the crap sorted and put away. Yes, I know I wait too long to do things like that.

Here's the bathroom wall, waiting for a mirror and lights, which we do have.

It will be nice to have these two projects crossed off so I can move on to the boys' room next.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hey, I guess it really is winter!

Yep, there's about 5-6 inches of the white stuff outside, and the kids couldn't be more thrilled. As for the grownups who have to do the disposal....well, we're not so thrilled. I found myself wishing The Cat in the Hat would stop by with his little alphabet friends, especially little cat Z, the Vroom.  Dyno Dad gave me a lesson on the snow blower last night (yeah, nothing like clearing your driveway after dark) so the next time it snows, I can do it.  Yay. Brr.





Monday, January 9, 2012

Homemade Crackers and Sprouts, Too

Today Foo-Foo and I made crackers, putting our own spin on a recipe from Maria's Country Kitchen. The original recipe called for the baking tray to be 'slathered' with olive oil, in addition to the 1/3 cup olive oil in the dough, and so I did as directed, but the result was not the best. I found the crackers to be too oily, and the flavor too strong. So the next batch (so easy to make) I added chia seeds and dill weed for added flavor and sprayed the tray with cooking spray and then a bit of olive oil instead. The resulting crackers were much more palatable and yummy.

 Homemade Crackers

2 Cups flour (a mix of 1 cup white whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all purpose flour)
1 tsp salt
2/3 Cup warm water
1/3 Cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tbl Chia seeds
1 tsp dill weed

1. Heat the oven to 375*
2. Mix all ingredients together until it makes a soft dough.
3. Heavily spray a baking tray with cooking spray

4. Put dough on the tray and smooth it out to cover the whole bottom.
5. Cut the dough into squares with a sharp knife.


6.Sprinkle with salt and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Yummy!

I also started some sprouts; they should be ready tomorrow or the next day:

Mung beans on the left (these are the kind you see in the grocery store, but don't buy them; grow your own. Easy and much safer)  The seeds on the left are a spicy mix of alfalfa and other seeds that I can't remember since I threw the bag away a long time ago. (oops)

If you've never sprouted seeds, I highly recommend it. Not only are the sprouts tasty, they're incredibly good for you. Don't try sprouting beans from the grocery store, though. Those have more than likely been treated with chemicals. Obtain beans/seeds specifically for sprouting either from a health food store or online.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday That Feels Like Monday

What does that mean? Is it all about perception, or is it all about what confines us: clocks, calendars, labels.... what would the world be like if we had no clocks, days of the week, calendars? Would life be more spontaneous or at least more free?

I think it would.  What do you think?