Monday, March 30, 2009
I'll be getting to see my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin and we'll get to shop at a Christian bookstore for the first time in ages and a Target too. I'm packing lots of snacks, activities, and of course, my Ergo and stroller to help me manage 3 kids in the stores alone. And we'll be bringing FOUR kids home! A friend from church has a little 3-year-old girl in Billings visiting her dad and we are giving her a ride back to save her mom 10 hours of driving in bad weather.
Alathia helped me make bread the other day and made a whole loaf all by herself (except some help with measuring ingredients) from start to finish.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Laura’s Easy Salsa Skillet
Laura says, "This was the 1st dish I ever made as a newlywed! It’s now one of our favorites!"
1 lb. Lean hamburger
1 jar salsa (preferably chunky)
½ cup sour cream
1 cup water
½ tsp. Salt
2 C wagon wheel pasta (uncooked); you may use fiori pasta or something else if you can’t find this.
Cook beef in 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Cook 8-10 minutes until brown. Stir water, salsa,
uncooked pasta and salt into beef. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until pasta is tender. Stir in sour cream and cook just until hot! Enjoy!
Norwegian Venison Stroganoff
1 Chunk Stew Meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 can mushrooms
¼ c. chopped onion
2/3 c. red cooking wine (or beef broth instead)
1 c. sour cream
Sprinkle cubed meat with salt, pepper, and paprika. Let sit for ½ hour. Brown meat in butter in skillet. Take meat out with a slotted spoon, leaving juices in skillet. Fry mushrooms and onions in skillet with juices and butter and saute 10-15 minutes. Stir in red wine and sour cream in the skillet and simmer. Add meat again. Cook 10 minutes. Serve over egg noodles. This is really, really good!
Circle of Friends (COF) was a newsletter I published for 3.5 years to share recipes, mom tips, and encouragement with young moms. Now that I am no longer able to publish it because of costs, I am sharing the best of it here on Saturdays!!!
Friday, March 27, 2009
For those of you who live in buggy MN, you may want to buy this hat for your kids. I haven't tried these kinds of hats so I don't know if they work, but $3 isn't a bad price!
2. Made a taco lunch for my family and cleaned up. Fed baby 4 bottles and peas and some crackers. Fed the kids two snacks so far today in addition to meals!
3. Chatted with a gal in the finance department of a Montana hospital and found out we may be able to get some financial aid with one bill. (But if not, Samaritan Ministries will cover it.)
4. Spent a lot of time (too much!) thinking about how to spend my birthday money. Lots of ideas! Debated for a LONG time on putting it towards a dishwasher, but decided that dream may have to be put aside for a while.
5. Washed a load of laundry and put folded laundry away.
1. Need to go to the used book store where a friend who works there is holding a Dave Ramsey book for me for pick-up
2. Didn't get to the county clerk's yet to obtain a copy of my bro's marriage license for the errands I'm doing for him. Oh well, I have a couple of weeks to get this done.
3. All the dishes. But at least the silverware (what I hate doing the most) is done and put away.
4. I still haven't found the bottom of my laundry pile. I try to do 2 loads a day, but if you skip a day, you're way behind! Mt. Everest!
5. Haven't packed yet for our trip to Billings coming up.
How about you? Join in and share by going to Bless Your Family and linking up to the Done and Undone post, or share in the comments on Heather's post what you did and didn't accomplish today!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Unlike my friend Kristin's daughter, my daughter wasn't into taking pics yesterday so I had to self-time and that's why they are kind of blurry.
My sweet sis-in-law Kandi made me these quilted hot pads and sent me a funny card saying that even though we are getting older we will always be major babes. I got this and the gift below in my mailbox right on my birthday, which is suprising since the mail can take anywhere from 4-8 days between here and MN.
Ali woke up and bounded into the kitchen to tell me, "It's your birthday! You're 57 now!" I told her it was actually 27, so later in the day she got into a drawing mood and drew me about 4 different birthday cards folded up in envelopes. I would open the paper to find the whole page covered in A's, L's and I's. Then she would tell me, "It says, Have a Wonderful 20th Birthday Mama. I love you! Love, Ali." It was very cute and I'll be saving those for life!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Today is my 27th birthday! I'm going to be a copy-cat and request as other bloggers have done on their birthdays, that my silent readers de-lurk! If you read my blog, but have never commented, or rarely do so, please leave me a comment and introduce yourself!
And for those of you who do comment often, let me know:
Why do you read my blog?
What are your favorite kinds of posts that I write here?
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
It's been a week since I started rising before my children and all I can say is "WOW!!!" I am so excited about this new discipline in my life and hope to continue to make it a habit. I'll give it another couple weeks of experimentation, but even after plenty of challenges this week, I can already tell that it is a huge blessing to my life and one practice I hope to continue throughout my years when children are in the home, especially during the busy homeschooling years.
The Lord faithfully woke me up before the kids and I somehow managed to sneak out of my room without Justus waking half the time. A couple of mornings he was the one God used to wake me up and I fed him, put him down, and resisted the temptation to crawl back in my warm bed and instead headed out to plan, pray and read. Whenever we seek to draw closer to God it seems our enemy doesn't like it and sure enough, this week, Justus, who had been sleeping really well, had a few nights of continual wakings every hour or so which had me totally exhausted combined with my early rising and later nights. On Saturday, which I have given myself as a "day off" from the early rising and usual schedule, I was so desperate for sleep I fed Justus and then returned to the bedroom to hound my husband to get out of bed whining "Didn't we agree you'd get the kids up just one day a week?" Thankfully he let me sleep in until about 8:30a.m. and I caught up on some sleep and therefore survived the weekend. Adjusting from my night owl schedule to "early bird" schedule is difficult, especially as I have no opportunity for naps, but my body is making the adjustment and I feel absolutely ready for bed now at 10 or 11 which is unbelievable for me since I used to consider that an early bedtime (yes, even while pregnant with my third kid after a day with toddlers.) This 3-kid thing has really thrown my body for a loop! Juggling 3 sure has changed me whereas having 2 didn't in the area of bodily fatigue!
But in spite of the extra grogginess as I adjust to my new schedule and try to kick myself in the rear to go to bed earlier, this early rising thing is the cat's meow! It is amazing how refreshed I feel and ready to tackle the day when I've had time to think, time to pray, time to sit and plan out my day, etc. I feel less overwhelmed and way more productive. I feel more like a human instead of just a slave who is roused out of bed by her masters who are loudly demanding food. I can go potty in silence, have a cup of tea, and refresh my heart and mind before the clamor begins and when it does, I have a much more patient and "I'm ready to be your mommy" type of attitude. Today I even went into the kid's room with a big smile as I heard them stirring and waking up! The old-sleep-in-as-long-as-you-possibly-can-and-pretend-you-don't-hear-the-kids mommy would have never done that!
The extra planning time for my day has helped me to get more accomplished and work smarter. If I start the day with the kids yelping for breakfast, I can so easily forget this or that that needed to get done in the morning and if I try to sit down mid-morning and make my daily to-do list, I'm always interrupted and forget important things on it. Having silence has made such a HUGE difference! I suppose one could make a list the night before, but there is something about a new day and a new project that really gives me a big boost in motivation. By getting up early, I was able to start my yogurt batch earlier, eat breakfast with the children each morning instead of trying to wake up and get dressed while they eat, make a hot breakfast one morning, have a nicely cleaned off table to eat off of (which to me cultivates a haven-like atmosphere so much more than a cluttered table), and have things ready to bless my kids right away and save myself from hearing endless pleas for juice or cereal while I stumble around trying to open my eyes.
Getting up earlier has also helped give me a jump on getting showered and dressed right away and I'm finding time to even curl my bangs again! So, although I am a bit more tired, I think it's totally worth it and encourage those of you out there who want to have a smoother day to try joining me in the next couple of weeks of the experiment! As I mentioned before, this practice may not be the best if you are in a hard season of life that is physically draining.
Mrs. Jo's goals for Week #2 in this experiment:
*Weekends are tough because we often watch a movie together or have some couple time and always seem to go to bed way later than we should. Time to relax, talk and connect as a couple is way more important than "my schedule" but I want to balance them both so I don't feel utterly pooped on the weekends doing this early rising thing. I hope to combat the staying up too late by telling myself that I cannot get on the computer after 10pm and that we need to try to get the kids in bed and start date night right away instead of dinking around and doing chores or surfing the net looking for a good movie to watch for an hour. Planning ahead by choosing a movie the day before and getting the kids off to bed a little more efficiently (not reading to them for a half an hour before bed on date night) would help out in this area.
Next week I'll report on how I'm doing at getting myself to bed earlier. Please share how your first week went if you are participating with me in this experiment! Also, a question for any of my blog readers out there, "What is your biggest obstacle to overcome in order to start rising before your kids?"
Monday, March 23, 2009
I've shared bits and pieces of how God has taken care of us during this time of temporary scarcity. From anonymous gifts of money to wedding and groom's dinner leftovers, God has poured out His provision on our family during this time. We still haven't had to dip into savings yet and we discovered this month that we are surviving on $1,500 a month!
My brother and his new wife came back from their honeymoon last Tuesday and then flew out on Thursday to go to Florida for their huge reception at Anna's church and yesterday they arrived home to Honduras. It was sad to say goodbye and see them go knowing it will be a few years until we see them. I'm definitely going to look into getting a webcam! Hard to imagine that Justus will be about Ali's age next time they are around and Ali will be in 2nd or 3rd grade!
Because part of their honeymoon involved "camping" in a frigid, remote cabin deep in the Big Horn mountains, they had bought lots of groceries for their trip. They spent a few nights in a fancy resort lodge in the mountains and then headed to this cabin. Due to freezing temps, green wood Colter split, and no water, they decided after two nights of what my brother termed, "misery" they would head to a hotel in the closest town. I can't say I blame them! Their olive oil froze solid overnight and they had to walk 1/4 mile in to the cabin hauling their gear on a sled. They had to melt snow to wash dishes and their dishwater froze solid in the sink overnight too. In spite of all of this, Anna enjoyed this rustic trip and had a good time roughing it. Colter, the die hard mountain man/cowboy didn't!
So, when they returned home for a few days to open and pack wedding gifts and sort their things, they gave us three huge bags of groceries. How exciting and yet another way God takes care of us! We got a bag of snacks (most unopened) crackers, chex mix, etc, 10# bag of potatoes, jar of olive oil, some fancy spices and seasoning packets, eggs, tangerines, bread and english muffins, jelly, tea, etc. I also got to take as many gift bags as I wanted from Anna. My stash was getting low so I'm excited to have tons of pretty gift bags, tulle bows, and tissue paper now and it's perfect timing since we know about 7 couples getting married this year!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Mouth-Watering Fetuccini Alfredo
Serves 6 Adults
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1.5 cups shredded parmesan cheese
16 oz. Fetuccini noodles
1 large or 2 small cooked, diced, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (optional)
Heat butter and cream on stove on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Cook noodles separately. When cream mixture bubbles, stir constantly. When it thickens, after a
few minutes of boiling hard, add parmesan cheese. Toss the alfredo sauce with the hot noodles, and add chicken cubes. You may add a teaspoon of Italian herbs or serve with parsley if desired to make it look fancier. A wonderful dish for company; goes well with home-made breadsticks, garden salad, or a cooked vegetable.
Ashlee’s Chocolate Crepes
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
pinch of salt
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk, warmed
2 T butter, melted
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 t pure vanilla extract
2 T sugar
1 1/2 cups Hot Fudge Sauce (see recipe below for homemade hot fudge)
4 ounces sliced almonds, toasted
Makes 16-20 crepes
Hot Fudge Sauce
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 T butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup half and half
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Makes 2 1/2 - 3 cups
In medium saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar and half and half, and continue cooking until thick. Gradually add condensed milk. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm. Keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator; reheat before serving.
(Thanks to my cousin Ashlee for serving me this yummy dessert and giving me the recipe. Originally published in October 2005 Circle of Friends newsletter.)
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Have you ever felt like there was reverse peer pressure in your world?
Peer pressure is often thought of as pressure to fit in through being popular, modern, cool, beautiful, or talented. Yet, it can appear in subtle forms, even among adults, and in a variety of circumstances. In my circle of life, if I tried to look trendy and "fashionable" I would get a lot of raised eyebrows and comments like "must be a city girl" under the breath. People in our area are plain and simple and all about what's practical and comfortable.
If I wear a skirt that's 10-20 years old or "pioneerish" I get rave reviews at church. Brownie points if it is from the thrift store or has some western flair to it! The stereotypical homeschool-mom-denim-jumper would be totally "in" here. But wear something modern/trendy and folks will think you are vain, silly, or are squandering your husband's money.
Whether it's real or imagined, or just among my Christian community I do not know. I do know that like attracts like so perhaps simple folks are drawn to being my friends because I prefer simplicity too. And at my church, the women are more likely to be cattle ranchers, rock climbers, or backpackers than they are to read fashion magazines or care about trends.
I just think it's strange that I feel "safer" and more "accepted" the plainer my clothing looks.
Where have you experienced peer pressure in reverse?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Daily Docket reference page from Simple Mom. Print your own here.
Simple Mom's weekly chore chart is also free for download and is very helpful to just glance over once or twice a week. I don't check it off, but since it is in a plastic page protector, I could use a dry erase marker if I wanted to. It's just a handy reminder of the main chores that should be done weekly around the average home.
I know it's not Tuesday yet, but I had to share that today, Day One of the Early Rising Experiment has gone really really well! The Lord woke me up about 30-40 minutes before my kids and I managed to sneak out to the laundry room where I could turn on a light and read some chapters in my Bible and jot down a schedule for the day. Justus woke up in the middle of the schedule-making but I was able to feed him quietly and pray and cuddle him and then finish my schedule holding him. I squeaked in a shower just after the other kids woke up and then made them french toast for breakfast. I felt like my day started off in an AMAZING way just because I had those precious moments of silence to pray and plan before I was hit with the endless stream of tasks and my noisy blessings continual chatter. I was a little groggier-feeling today from my day beginning earlier, but that can be fixed by going to bed even earlier tonight!
I'll share on Tuesday how this experiment has worked out for the whole first week!
Now that I've taken a quick moment to post this I'm on to finishing supper and vacuuming the living room. After supper we'll go say our goodbyes to my brother and his new wife. (boo-hoo) Later, when the kids are in bed and King Jo is gone at Youth Group I will finish up laundry tasks while I'm listening to Deuteronomy on CD. I have struggled to keep up with my OT reading but have found that listening to 10 chapters once or twice a week while I do a mindless task is the best way for me to keep up with my goal of reading through the Bible in a year. I will also finish hospital bill paperwork since that really needs to get done and is on my MIT list.
And if you happened to notice that my kids' needs aren't listed on this page it is because they comprise most of my day and I don't need a list to tell me to feed them and change them because they will let me know (or my nose will) when they need attention (and all of you moms know this is about every 5 seconds!) I don't need a list to tell me to cuddle them, discipline them, help them, dress them, or read to them. They are the biggest part of my day, but sometimes in keeping up with them, I can neglect the household chores or paperwork tasks if I don't make a list and try to stay organized!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Duggar family from Arkansas is a large, Christian, home schooling family that has received television coverage because they have 18 kids! Go to: http://www.duggarfamily.com/ for more great recipes from this neat family!
*I brush with melted butter before popping in the oven. These rolls are wonderful because they only take about an hour instead of 3 or 4 hours and they are really tasty! These aren't very healthy but they are tasty and fun to make for a treat once in a while!
Temporary scarcity has caused me to cease publishing my Circle of Friends newsletter, but I am sharing "The Best of COF" with you here on Saturdays featuring my favorite recipes and tips!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
He really does have some hair!