Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Did you ever listen to the song, "Wouldn't it Be Nice?" by the Beach Boys? I loved this song when I was a teenager. I remember listening to it thinking when will this get here? When will I be married? Who I will be married to? Will I have kids? When can I be past this teenage stage?????

Then a few months ago, I heard this song on a show and thought WOW!! I'm there! I'm where this song talks about. I'm married, I have kids and I'm an adult. It snuck up on me and I didn't even realize I was there. It's funny how fast life goes. I know I'm only 31 and looking back whereas our parents are in their 50s and looking back, and as I posted before my grandmother is 80 and looking back. Childhood is here and gone in a blink even though while we're in the midst of it, it feels like forever. Then I'm sure our grandparents think middle age was here and gone in a blink of an eye. It makes me want to hold on tight to my kids because before I know it I'll be 50 and they'll be in there Wouldn't it Be Nice stage of life. Where does the time go?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Turkey in May

I am a planner and have always been one. The majority of my in-laws live with in an hour of us and in the past years since I've had kids I have taken over hosting and planning of a lot of our events. When you have four kids it becomes a question of what is easier hosting or driving to a multitude of places? And in our extended family we have 4 sides we celebrate with...which is the territory with divorce.

My husband and I had the first grandchild and when those first holidays crept up I made a decision. We love to cook and have people over so I decided I'm going to invite everyone over to our home and start the tradition for our family that overall we have all the celebrations at our home (thankfully everyone was open to this). The luck of a stay at home mom is we have time to plan and prepare. We have time to think out the celebration and then ask everyone else if they're keen to the ideas. If they are then I make my plans.

My grandmother-in-law turned 80 this past Saturday.

After some commiseration with her daughters I decided to throw her a party at my house on her birthday. In the past year, she stopped driving and her cousin who normally takes her places was out of town so I wanted to make sure my husband and I (at least) did something for her on her birthday. How sad would it be to sit at home all day (alone) on your birthday, let alone a major birthday like this one!

I sent out the evite and then called her to ask her what she wanted to eat on her birthday. And what did she say? She wanted a turkey dinner!

I was slightly concerned I wouldn't be able to find one but thankfully at my first store I found a fresh (not frozen) turkey. I decided if we were going to do turkey, we'd go all out. Over Thanksgiving, I brined our turkey and decided I would do that again because it turned out so yummy. We roasted our turkey, made stuffing and mashed potatoes. For our appetizers, we had salsa, spinach dip, some watermelon and strawberries. I had bought canned cranberry sauce (bought forgot to put it out) and we had planned on making a salad but because everyone enjoyed the appetizers so much we didn't need the additional food. Normally, we try to have something green too but I figured we'd all enjoyed watermelon and strawberries so we'd had some fruit at least!

I'm happy my husband and I have so much fun having people over. We love to cook and to share that with others. I think partly why we wanted a big family is in 20+ years we want to be having our kids and their kids over for big family gatherings and meals. I think so much bonding can happen over food at the dinner table while breaking bread. I just pray that at least some of my kids live near us so this dream can come true!

It's also a time for my husband and I to spend together while doing something we enjoy. We get to create dishes and memories together. I look forward to the days in the not too distance future when our kids can participate in the cooking. Our boys will all ready help crack eggs, bread chicken and dump ingredients into a bowl when needed. I want my boys to cook as well as my husband does! What a wonderful thing to be able to pass along to kids, the ability to cook good food!

I recommend all of the recipes I posted! We made the spinach dip with only half bacon (because an aunt is a vegetarian and we wanted her to enjoy it!). Also instead of cooking the vegetables in the bacon grease we cooked them in olive oil. For the stuffing we used 1 vegetable bouillon cube in 4 cups of boiling water instead of chicken stock, again so the aunt could enjoy the stuffing. The stuffing still tasted wonderful so if you are cooking for a vegetarian the chicken stock is easily replaceable!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yummy Sausage and Broccoli Alfredo

I didn't take a picture but a couple of Fridays ago we made this incredibly yummy (not healthy) Alfredo dish and I wanted to share.

My husband LOVES sausage so I try to buy it every once in awhile to tie into some sort of meal. Our local Henry's had chicken sausage on sale so I bought a Parmesan chicken sausage and figured I'd make an Alfredo with it. When I spoke to my hubby on the phone about it he said he didn't want traditional fettuccine noodles to go with it so when I went to buy noodles I found fusillioni (which are fusilli but fatter).

You need three different pans/pots to create this dish. First cook the pasta according to directions, second cut up and cook the sausage in a separate pan and third you need to make the Alfredo sauce in small/medium sized saucepan.

Alfredo Sauce:

1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
minced garlic (we like garlic so I use more but if you don't like garlic as much use equivalent to one clove)
1 1/2 cups cheese (we used Fontina but to make a less fattening version Parmesan works)

Melt butter in sauce pan and the combine with heavy cream, when sauce thickens add garlic, cheese and season with pepper and salt to your liking.

For the remaining dish you need:

2 Italian Sausages
1 or 2 bunches broccoli
1 cup spinach

Cook sausage and then add the vegetables to soften some. Once that is cooked through and the vegetables are a texture to your liking mix in the Alfredo sauce and noodles. It's so amazingly fabulous and only have it some times when you're really craving Alfredo! :)

Life in a Household of SIX

I always get off to a great start on blogging and then I crash and burn. Life starts to happen and it's all I can do to keep up on my day to day let alone do anything extra. It isn't that life isn't good or going well it's just there is so much going on I don't have time for the little extras that I would like to be doing. I think blogging is the new way to vent out thoughts, frustrations, joys and whatever else is going on and I wish I had more time to sit down and do it!

I also feel like I get off to a great start on exercising, eating better, feeling better and then I crash and burn on that. I think my life needs to be about little steps as opposed to the big ones. The bigger the step the harder the stumble it seems. There are so many things that are out of my control and so when I take the big steps forward, the path I'm on seems to have a curve that I'm not expecting and I trip. Whereas if I'm taking baby steps I'm able to adjust when there is a curve I didn't see.

In the past 2 months, I managed to throw my back out, have a husband start working out of town, have a teething daughter, and a bunch of other never ending adjustments in changing kids and life. I've learned with parenting 4 children as soon as I think we've gotten into a groove, a child starts a new habit or has a slight change in how they process life and then suddenly we're starting all over again in the groove and how we all function together
let alone how I process in my life and my thoughts. I've realized lately that I really struggle with jealousy and maybe even envy of others. I have never thought of myself as a truly jealous person yet I'll find myself thinking I wish I had that person's self control in eating, or their ability to go to the gym. I'll think their life seems so much easier than mine or why do they get those things and I don't? I have to remind myself that the Lord has been good to me and is good to me. "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me" (Psalm 13:5-6).

Maybe my husband is hardly home and can rarely take time off but when he is here, our household has joy in it and we have fun together. Some husbands work 8 to 5 and are home all the other time but there isn't happiness and joy. OR other husbands may not be working but they're out at the bar after work with co-workers or they come home and sit in front of the TV the rest of the evening. I have to remind myself that even though all of the time isn't perfect we have a lot of wonderful, amazing times. But it's so easy to fall into these jealous thoughts that can create tension when I complain out loud to my husband and can make me feel ashamed of myself that I can't be content with what I have.

Speaking of my wonderful husband is he built a fort/swing set in our backyard that the kids LOVE!
We'll add a swing to it eventually but the kids have so much fun swinging and playing pretend on the fort part. What is truly amazing to me is my husband just drew this out one day, figured out what wood he needed and then built this. He didn't use plans or anything! I could never do that.

One more thing I wanted to share was this article I read today. The article got me thinking about the baby steps and how in this life it feels easy to blow everything up so big that it seems daunting and not worth even trying. I think in parenting and in the rest of life sometimes simple is easier and even better, but I take it one day at at time because life is a constantly moving, shifting deal. But the article put a huge desire into me to write this so that's how it ties into my day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week Two

I was happy to get on the scale this morning and see another 1 1/2 pounds gone. I was a little worried because my eating was not as great this past week. I did walk 9 miles though so I'm sure that was helpful to the cause of calories in and calories burned! I am hoping to walk 15 miles this week. It's amazing how wonderful it feels to be out and about walking! I so enjoy the sun and the blue skies.

My rules are working so far which I'm excited about! My Bible is being read along with a devotional by Charles Spurgeon called Morning and Evening: Daily Devotional. Along with my Bible being read my laundry isn't piling up! What a relief that is! The verse that has really stood out to be thus far is Proverbs 14:29, "A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly."

The verse is really reflective to me as a mom and wife. When I'm impatient with my kids or husband a lot of times I end up feeling foolish and wishing I could take back my words. My prayer for myself is that I will learn to be patient and to reflect on the situation before opening my mouth. It's amazingly hard to do that when I've been hearing whining for minutes on end and want to pull my hair out. But I hope if I pray in that moment and ask for wisdom that I will be wise instead of foolish.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I do not love to clean my house. I do not get joy out of dusting or vacuuming. Dishes and laundry are just necessary chores if my family wants to eat and wear clean clothes. My problem becomes if the laundry has piled up all over my room in clean and dirty piles and if I can't find the counter then I can't get to other things. I can't clean my bathroom if I have to put all the laundry away. I can't clean my kitchen floor if I have all the dishes and other stuff that has accumulated on my counter to worry about.

In the 2 years I've been a full time SAHM I have finally realized that I have to give myself rules. With 4 kids, a husband, a house and life I can't afford time drains unless my responsibilities are done. So my first rule is I can't read, do the computer or Blog unless I've read my Bible. If I'm reading up on diets, child rearing and whatever else it all doesn't matter unless I've spent time with God. If I'm not spiritually fed then the rest really doesn't matter. I will get to bed at night and realize I didn't even think to crack open my Bible yet I read parts of 3 other books during my day. I think if this is a rule then when I sit down to read something I have to ask myself did I read my Bible first?

Unfortunately, my spiritual "feedings" will be chaotic. I don't have a quiet corner to go hide in while I do my devotionals. I don't have a wake up time where I could go have 20 minutes to be with God because I never know when my kids will be up and with the way my nights go I don't have the mental capacity (yet) to drag myself out of bed earlier than when my first kid decides to wake up. I wouldn't be very spiritually challenged if I'm exhausted and cranky. But a year from now that SHOULD change. I SHOULD have more of a schedule with all of my kids and have an ability to count on more sleep but I'm not holding my breath.

My second rule is I can't be on the computer or Blog unless the laundry is folded and put away and the kitchen is cleaned up. If these things are all ready done for some reason then I have to find 2 other things that need to be done, i.e. vacuuming, dusting, cleaning a bathroom, etc. That way I'm getting household stuff done. If I'm not getting it done it means I have a baby who is crying every time I put him down.

Some of my friends are amazing at keeping their house up and I think either they like it or it's just so ingrained that they just get it done. I think my problem is I find it boring. I love putting together budgets and figuring out the weekly meal plan but when it comes to keeping up the house, I'd rather be snoozing. I just have to force myself into a routine and hopefully it won't be too time consuming in the end because I'll have 1 or 2 loads of laundry to fold instead of 6. I'll have clean kitchen counters which will lead to dusted shelves, vacuumed and mopped floors and clean bathrooms. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Week

I am excited to report that cutting out most of my sugary snacks, "white" carbohydrates (my daily bagel) and trimming down in the amount of cheese I consume resulted in a 3 pound weight loss! On the one hand, I'm excited and happy to see results, on the other hand it's like breaking off the tiny tip of an iceberg. Maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration since I don't have 100s of pounds to lose but it still feels daunting to know I haven't been in my healthy BMI weight since my early/mid 20s and to get back there is going to be work!!

Thankfully I'm nursing, which on a selfish side results in a burn of 500 calories a day! I'm walking which is also burning some additional calories and I'm eating better. In 2 weeks it all becomes habit right? Breaking of the old and bringing in the new? It is raining today but I'm hoping it will be clear enough to walk to go pick up my son. I don't want to start this week by NOT walking!

On another note, I made homemade granola bars yesterday using this recipe. I am happy to report they are yummy and my kids will eat them! It dawned on me last week that my kids eat a lot more processed crap than I ever did. It wasn't something I was intentionally doing (feeding them a lot of processed foods) but when I really thought about what they were eating it added up quickly. This was my beginning in figuring out how to make at home some of the stuff they consume and just switch it out. This coming weekend I'm going to try making homemade peanut butter and I'm hoping they will like it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Very Own Recipe Book

Isn't the internet amazing? I can pull up a search engine, type in a recipe I am thinking of making and after I click search I have dozens to choose from! I love it! I found though that sometimes I'd create my shopping list, put a recipe down on my menu for the week and then later I wouldn't be able to find the recipe. So I went to Target, bought a 3 ring binder with 5 inserts and started my own recipe book.

I have 5 categories in my recipe book: breads, breakfast, desserts, main course and sides. In the sides portion I also include sauces. It's been great! I have so many recipes all ready in each category and we've tried the majority of them. There are a few that have become common meals in our household.

I just think it's easy to go eat out. It's easy to say oohhh I want orange chicken or sour cream enchiladas so I'm going to head down to my favorite Chinese, Mexican or whatever restaurant. The problem with eating out is the portions are huge and it costs more than eating at home. The internet has brought so many amazing recipes that are as good tasting if not better than what we can get in any restaurant.

I've been encouraged on how many recipes we've found online that taste awesome that we can make at home. Not all of it is easy to make here at home. When we decide we want orange chicken we know it's going to be an hour event just to make it! But we're able to decide do we want it breaded and fried in oil tonight? Or do we want it not breaded and quickly seared in olive oil? I love knowing every single ingredient that we put in our food and into our mouths. It gives me a lot of power instead of obliviously eating something filled with tons of fat and sugar.

If you like to cook or have a husband who likes to cook I recommend creating your own recipe book. It's fun and when you find recipes you love, they are right at your fingertips to make again.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Day After Hump Day

Dinner last night was tacos and not exciting enough to blog about. I went grocery shopping Saturday and decided to implement the being better about eating on Monday. Really in themselves tacos don't have to be unhealthy and we'll still eat them. But last night's just weren't exciting.

It's funny how as soon as I became active (more active) the change I felt. I've walked at least 1 1/2 miles every day this week and am all ready feeling positive effects. I feel better about myself and have more energy. I have an over all exhaustion that won't go a way until kids are sleeping through the night but as far as my outlook and brain activity they are all ready better. It's only taken walking 40 minutes every day and eating more veggies and less carbs/sugar! :) I had thought that carrying around a toddler and baby was exercise and I'm sure my arms are stronger and building muscle but it isn't enough.

I just hope that this can become a permanent life style for me. There's no reason unless it's 100 out or pouring that I can't walk my kid(s) to school. It saves on wear and tearmy car and provides so many benefits to myself and my kids. The Vitamin D alone is awesome!

Also for all of you out there contemplating a better eating life so you can be healthier and/or lose weight, I really think you have to implement some sort of exercise into your routine too. I've been so less tempted by sugar with the exercising. I think I gravitate towards sugar for a high of energy but I'm getting that by my walking and by eating better. I know in the past when I've said okay time to eat better! The day I start I decide I really need chocolate chip cookies, I bake a batch and eat way too many of them that same day! It could be my attitude too but I think eating well and exercising really go hand in hand. You can't have all the benefits unless you're doing both!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Red Lentils

My main goal in eating while I'm researching is to eat at least the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, to reduce my desserts to weekly instead of daily, to reduce the amount of dairy and meat I consume and to change the type of caffeine I ingest or maybe ax it all together. Starting on Sunday I took out my daily mocha which was homemade using the Starbucks Mocha blend (40 calories in a serving), my expresso machine (negligible calories in the coffee beans) and 1% milk (130 calories). By taking out that daily treat, I'm saving myself 170 calories and one serving of dairy.

Yesterday, on my way home from walking the kids to school I stopped by a health food store that is across the street from our house. I bought a pound of lentils figuring I had enough vegetables here at home to figure out something to make with them. My goal had been to have a totally vegetarian meal but with the recipe that I used it didn't quite happen. This recipe is a Lentil Soup Crockpot recipe that I found online and tweaked some. Next time I make this I may just make it with water instead of the chicken stock I put in it and see how that tastes because I think it wouldn't make much of a difference and then I would have my vegetarian meal.

I am not going to post a picture because it just looks like orange mush and who wants to see that? Anyway, here is the recipe:

1 lb lentils (I used red)
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup onion
5 garlic cloves minced
2 big or 3 medium potatoes (peeled and chopped)
6 cups of chicken broth/stock (I ended up needing 7 cups, what I did was boiled 7 cups of water and put 4 tspns of chicken bouillon in it)
Then season how you like it. My husband has this seasoning called Tony Chachere's Spice N' Herbs Blend that he loves and I used that. Then at the end we ended up adding some salt. I try to be careful with salt because you can always make something saltier but you can't undo it!

The recipe I originally read called for a can of plum tomatoes and didn't say anything about potatoes but that didn't sound good me and I didn't have the canned tomatoes so I just swapped it out. I also think you could pretty much use any vegetable you would like. Next time I may do a couple of colored peppers and broccoli instead of the carrots and celery.

Get your crock pot out and after washing the lentils stick the lentils in the crock pot. Next put in the chicken broth along with your vegetables and seasonings. Cook on high for 3 hours and then low for another 2 to 3 hours. And you'll have a yummy, filling soup!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Should I blog?

I look at these women who Blog. Not just women but women who have kids, cook amazing meals, take pictures of these amazing meals, homeschool their kids, etc. I don't know how they do it. This maybe my only Blog post this year. I have 4 kids and they are enough to keep up with not to mention my husband and my own personal desires.

Daily I've been wondering how does one do it? If you are religious how do you have a personal relationship with God? If you are a parent, how do you meal plan and get your kids to eat healthy? How does one be a good, patient parent? If you are overweight or just out of shape, how do you find time to work out? Some days (okay really most days lately) I don't do much with any of this. I am a mom, so I parent, I have to do that but the rest goes out the window. The only schedule I have to follow is taking my eldest to school and picking him up and taking my second to speech twice a week. Other than that our days are free! How lucky am I? I have no boss to report to and can pretty much do what I want.

Starting yesterday I determined doing whatever I want isn't making me a healthy, happy individual and that things need to change. I think change is the hardest thing to do, we easily become stuck in ruts. Some of us are in better ruts than others but when you decide to get out of your rut it isn't easy.

My youngest is 2 months old and I've decided even though some nights are sleepless it's time to move on past the I have a newborn, I can't....(fill in the blank). Because really I can. My husband gets 6 or 7 hours of sleep per night and he still drags himself out of bed at 5 am, drives 1 hour 40 minutes to work, works at least 9 hours and then drives home. He does this every day and even though he doesn't have 4 little people depending on him all day/all night every day/every night it's taxing on him. So while I could just hold down the couch and whine that I'm tired and that my children gave me a headache, maybe if I was up doing something they wouldn't be whining on top of my whining and we'd enjoy life more.

So my plan is (unless the weather isn't conducive) at least walk my eldest to or from school once a day. If I can, do both, walk for both pick-up and drop-off. Secondly, read up on eating, child-rearing and God stuff. :) That means I have 4 books going right now, Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper (God Stuff), How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids will Talk and Raising Cain (child rearing stuff) and finally Crazy Sexy Diet along with various blogs (health stuff).

The second part of my plan is implementation. Eating well (starting yesterday), exercise (the walking), being more patient with my kids and husband (child-rearing plus marriage work) and reading the Bible at least to my kids at dinner and trying to also find time to read it for myself (spirituality). Writing all this down means I'll have more success right? I'm hoping if I can through 21 days that this will have become habit and I'll have a happier body, spirit and a happier husband and kids.