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.