Thursday, November 28, 2013

Full of Thanks

Adding children to our family has made me recall and reflect on the family traditions that Kelly and I grew up with and spend waaayyy too much time thinking about the traditions we want for our own family.  I actually felt pressured last year to have elaborate holidays with all kinds of meaningful traditions.  But then reality kept hitting me over the head and reminding me that HB was only eight months old and he wasn't going to remember if we did things the same since he was an infant or not.  As we head into our second Thanksgiving with children I wanted to share a few of our Thanksgiving traditions which are not guaranteed to stay the same forever.  :)

Last year (or was it the first year we were married??) we shared a meal at some friend's house and they had a jar on their table that contained little slips of paper with notes about what people were thankful for (Thanks Amy!).  I loved the purposefulness of this activity and the conversation starter that is also provided for dinnertime convos.  We adopted this tradition for the month of November with the hope that it would increase our gratitude for the things we take for granted.  We wanted to extend our Thanksgiving from one day to a longer period of time.  Most nights we each take a moment to write down something we are thankful for.  At the end of the month we read them all out loud and then save them for our family scrapbook.  {Note: I have not yet scrapbooked this page yet.  Surprised?  I didn't think so.  I hope I can break the cycle of not scrapbooking for a whole year.}  As a twist on this tradition, I wanted to share something about each member of my family.

  1. My hubby: I am thankful for your tireless work ethic.  You do what it takes to make ends meet without complaint.  This does not go unnoticed.  I am grateful for the chance you have afforded me to stay at home and raise our children.
  2. My son: I love our snuggle time.  You would sit on my lap for hours as long as we read books and paged through magazines.  I cherish this time as I know someday you won't want to sit on momma's lap any longer.
  3. My daughter: Your facial expressions are priceless and you are only six months old! It's almost like you know a secret.  I so look forward to the day we become friends.
  4. My Lord: last, but surely not the least.  I am grateful for the depth of your grace for I have faced my own dire need for this more in this last year than ever before.  Thank you for doing for me what I could never do myself by sending your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for me.

Without making this post too long, I wanted to share one more tradition that is a bit more light hearted: watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  My paternal grandmother, Katherine, and now my Dad always turn this on on Thanksgiving morning.  And with that said here are a few fun facts to end today's post.

  • There are 50 million viewers who tune-in to watch and 3.5 million on-site spectators!
  • The highest balloons reach 60 feet high!
  • The parade started in 1924, running a total of 86 times only taking a break for three years during World War II.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

If it can go wrong, it will go wrong

Have you ever had one of those days where if something could go wrong it would go wrong?  That was totally last Thursday.

I had Katherine's 6-month well check and the pediatrician was distracted which frustrated me to no end.  I locked myself out of the house and I had two sleeping babies in the car.  I realized I forgot to replace the hide-a-key which was hiding on my kitchen counter.  I ran over something on I-10 while driving to get my husband's house key and my tire popped.  Both jacks in my truck no longer worked.  And the icing on the cake? My spare tire was flat too.

A "side of the road" selfie with HB.  Captured during one of the moments where he was  not frustrated and crying.

That day was certainly one where there were plenty of opportunities to complain to the Lord.  As all of this was happening though God was gently reminding me of the two week study that I had been participating in through Good Morning Girls.  The theme of this particular study was "Thanksgiving" and for the past two weeks we have been reading scripture every day that pertains to giving thanks to the Lord.  Despite blessings or challenges, we are to come to the Lord with thanksgiving for he is the Rock of our salvation.  (Psalm 95:1) I am so grateful for the past two weeks - I had a full cup of scripture to draw upon yesterday as one frustrating incident after another occurred.  Not to say that I didn't have a few moments where I was on the brink of breaking down.  But through it all, I kept feeling thankful.  And the true praise for that can only be given to our God. 

I share this story, one, because it is humorous, and, two, because I was made aware of the importance of scripture in our lives once again.  I surely would have lost it more than once yesterday  had I not had 10+ scriptures running through my mind about giving thanks to the Lord in all circumstances and at all times.  Regardless of the season of my life I have reason after reason to come to singing praises and shouting joyfully to the Lord.

Oh, and I can't forget to make mention of how thankful I am for my handy hubby.  He left the AI (artificial insemination) class he was in to rescue us.  He was truly my knight in shining armor yesterday.  Love you babe!

Haven't heard of Good Morning Girls before?  It is an online bible study for women.  For more information, check out their website here.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gourmet Cooking Class

Throwback Thursday: Gourmet Cooking Class

My mother has informed my siblings and I that she no longer needs any gifts of "stuff". She is at a point in her life where all she wants to do is clean out junk so that when she dies there is less of a mess for us to deal with.  Her words, not mine.  I appreciate her effort although I haven't really thought that far in advance yet.  Now, how does that relate to this delightful post on a gourmet cooking class? Instead of gifting my mother a tangible gift to place on a shelf last Christmas, my sister, sister-in-law and I gifted her a gourmet cooking class for the four of us.

Myself, Anna (my sister), Gretchen (SIL), and Mom
We selected a date in March of this year to attend "Italian 101" where we actively participated in creating a gourmet meal that would later be our dinner! Anna and I carpooled and met up with my mom and Gretchen.  A humorous side note: I was in my third trimester with Katherine and one of the weird pregnancy side effects I often encountered was motion sickness while driving.  I totally got carsick on the way there.  I started crying and my sister pulled over - at first on the left side of the 101 (super busy freeway in Phoenix) which was a little scary and then eventually she pulled entirely off the freeway into a parking lot so I could get out. Driving helped alleviate my motion sickness for some reason so we switched spots and off we headed again.

Our meal consisted of:

·         Wild Mushroom Cannelloni with Lemon Thyme Cream Sauce
·         Chicken Saltimbocca with Creamy Polenta

·         Chianti Poached Pear with Cinnamon Semi-freddo (my fave!)

Anna rolling out her pasta with some assistance.  This took a little practice at first but was quite fun to practice.  Now...I only need to practice using my own pasta roller at home!

We cut the long strips of pasta into rectangles, cooked them in boiling water and then used them for canelloni.

The Chianti Pear dessert was awesome.  I have never had a semi-freddo before and I felt like I could have eaten a gallon of this. Semi-freddos are not for those who are afraid of raw eggs though.  It was fun to learn some new kitchen techniques, like how to make pasta from scratch, and the people watching was pretty fun as well.  We sat with some interesting people.  Overall it was a super fun night making memories with my mom and sisters.  It turned out to be one of the best gifts we had given!

Merry Christmas in March Mom!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Naughty Cornbread

Whatcha Making Wednesday: Naughty Cornbread
(Tammie Zimmerman)

Tis' the season to make chili  and cornbread, is it not? I love chili and I love cornbread and I especially love the recipe I am sharing today.  I saw it on a friend's Instagram so I will give her credit but I'm sure there are other variation out there.

-1 recipe cornbread (I use my mom's recipe but you can use a box mix as well.)
-1 yellow cake mix

I apologize for the super long grocery list. Hehe.


Mix the cornbread recipe with the yellow cake mix recipe.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  Test it just like a cake for doneness by sticking a toothpick and making sure it comes out clean.

This recipe is definitely more cake than bread but I promise you'll never go back to regular cornbread again!  Never!  Enjoy:)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I'm becoming a hoarder

Or so says my husband.

HB and Katherine had Daddy all to themselves as I went to help the local FFA Ag Sales team with their last practice as their volunteer coach.  As I do each time I leave Kelly with the kids, I leave a list with a few reminders that includes general times he can expect to feed and bathe our children, et cetera.  Kelly does a great job making sure tummies are full, little bottoms are dry and everyone goes to bed generally happy and pretty much clean.

This time though, Kelly took his responsibilities over the top.  (We use the phrase "over the top" around here to describe exceptionally great things and often with saracasm as we refer to exceptionally not so great things.)  Earlier that same day I had made a pile of papers that Kelly needed to go through which included a few pieces of mail, some forms and a few other items that I cannot remember at this point.  I didn't mention the pile to Kelly before leaving however upon my return I was pleasantly surprised that he saw the pile AND sorted it (read: thrown away).  I was actually more than pleasantly surprised.  I was down right delighted.  I sang his praises about being a great husband and daddy and then I noticed that the remaining pile which contained my papers looked significantly smaller.  So much so that it warranted me rifling through the papers to take account of the situation.

I asked him if he accidentally went through my pile to which he replied, "Yeah, you are kind of becoming a hoarder."  I then asked what he threw away out of my pile and he looked totally oblivious so I walked over to the trash can and started pulling out our mail-in ballots for the local election (totally not important), several handouts from the pediatrician that I had just gotten that morning from HB's 18-month well check and a handful of other documents.

My husband's initiative to clear off our counter that night brought us both a good chuckle although I would not go so far as claiming to be a hoarder of paper or any other item for that matter.  I will admit that I have a genetic disorder for something I inherited from my mother called "stack and pile" disease where I basically suffer from stacking and piling papers and other important items around my home.  I go through piles as I have the time, sometimes re-stacking after sifting and organizing.  Hoarding though?  Naw, that's a step too far.