Friday, February 24, 2012

Re-prioritizing.

The other day I posted a whiny list about the things I needed to-do.

Then I posted a link to the post on Facebook because I think that some of you might actually read my blog. ;)

Then someone commented  "My bucket list is: die having LIVED every day of my life to it's fullest according to God's will."

THEN my to-do list seemed a bit less important.

I get so caught up in being this woman who serves many different roles in life that I often find myself forgetting to serve my wonderful God.


In the evenings, while performing the usual evening tasks I often push away personal time with God for almost any other thing I need/want to do. Things. Things that in the end will pale in comparison to the glories of heaven.

So maybe I should do a little life prioritizing and make sure that I daily set aside some time to simply thank God for what the day has brought & I have a feeling if I do that, he'll help me feel a little less overstretched. He's good like that.


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On a side note, with this "relax a little" mindset, I ignored my pretty much set weekday schedule (sister jokes says that I'm too scheduled and I schedule everything) of "pick up Zeke, go straight home, make dinner, take a bath, play, get him in bed by 8" in favor of spending 20 minutes at the school playground near the house. You don't have very many 70 degree days in February. It was lovely.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

One more time...

Just giving another go @ the Linky Followers Blog Hop hosted by It's So Very Cheri before my small brain forgets completely about it. Google Friend Connect is gone for non-Blogger peeps after Feb. 29th (and rumor has it eventually for everyone) so if you want to keep up with your favorite blogs guaranteed, join the Linky Followers Blog and find some new ones, stay connected with your favorites, and of course, don't forget meeeeee. ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

To Do List (cringe).

I sat down last night & started thinking about my "to-do" list of things I want to accomplish at some point in the near future. Not things like 'clean the kitchen, wash the rugs' but things like 'paint my bathroom cabinets.'

It's long.

I have a table of pending crafts, a few lamp remodels for mine & sister's houses, a light cover to attempt, several empty wine bottles for various Pinterest pin's I've seen, a sign for our front door, a decrepit wooden bench to stain & seal. Of course, you might cringe if you saw my office/craft room....one huge chunk of space is currently dominated by Zeke's crib that I need to find a temporary home for until we grace Zeke with a sibling. I even have a sewing machine from my grandmother that I've had for about a year now & haven't sat down to figure out how to use it even once.


Past that....I want to paint our bathroom cabinets. And our bathroom. Currently, our bathroom is sporting a nice single coat of cream colored paint over the previous baby blue. It's been that way for about 9 months. Speaking of painting, I want to repaint Nathan's & our bedrooms (which I'll probably hire someone to do, frankly, I'm sick of room painting.) Plus, I still haven't painted the one tiny quarter wall of paneling that our entertainment center used to hide.

Beyond paint, the state of my landscape & general outdoor curb appeal currently just looks pitiful. My Christmas wreath? Yea, I tossed it on the ground over the porch on December 27th. It's still there big red bow & all. Plus, I want to build a paver patio & expand the landscape. We have too much grass to mow & not enough areas to entertain.

We remodeled our laundry room some a couple years ago but I want to overhaul the rest of it. Install some cabinetry if I ever find some super cheap or free, find a nice piece of furniture to remodel for a laundry table, hang some rods/shelving for a hanging space. It would be nice if I got Noah to build me an laundry line for drying outside, too.

I think I'll just stop now.

Oddly enough, now that I've typed this all out. I feel a little better.

I suppose this isn't my usual type of post. I ramble more in person than I do in writing. Anyways, here's to emptying another wine bottle to add to the table while I decide what to tackle first. ;)

Mommy Playdate.


I have not only a pretty awesome sister but two pretty awesome sister-in-laws, too. It's nice to have those kind of people in your life. They don't judge me when I act a fool in public, when I roll my eyes at my kid, when I get us lost driving anywhere farther than 15 miles from home (mostly that's just Charlene and she's equally directionally challenged), when I act like a kid myself, when I don't clean my house, do my dishes, or shower or...well, you get it by now. I do love them.

I also enjoy taking outings with them to entertain the children. Sometimes they are kid playdates...though many times they double as Mommy playdates.

Example: This past Saturday, Charlene & I took the kid's (5 of them) to Hands on Museum. (If you've never been to Hand's On, you should go. I loved it when I was a kid & apparently, I still do.)

I apologize for the closed eyes picture, Charlene. That blended reflection thing was too weird to skip.


Don't worry. We we're mostly watching our children. We didn't hog all the playtime...they actually got to play, too. See...


We'll be heading to see the Fresh Beat Band in April. So when you see a blonde, a red head, & three kids dancing like monkeys on the balcony - stop by and say hi. We don't bite. (Zeke might though...)   

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Linky Tools

I've heard a bit about Google removing the Friend Connect tool for non-blogspot bloggers & that maybe it will be gone for all bloggers. I've noticed many bloggers are now adding the Linky Tools to their pages in order to not lose the blogs they love to read. I've added one to my site if you would like to use it to follow me & if you have changed yours, please let me know so I can continue to follow you! I've included a linky list from It's so Very Cheri so you can add your blog or find others who are switching.

Just scroll down to the bottom to add your link & it will show up. I figure it's better to do it now than than later :) Follow if you'd like & let me know if you do so I can return the favor. O yea, & have a stellar day! :D

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Keychain Pendant

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12

I love this verse. It just speaks to me as a perfect verse for Noah & I. To me, a marriage centered around God is hard, if not impossible, to break. Our marriage has had it's struggles but we have emerged even more whole & with a wonderful relationship. I've been really wanting to make something for him using this verse & I decided to create a key chain for him for Valentine's Day. It's the least girly way I could think of. ;)


Supplies:
  • beveled pendant from Michaels
  • Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
  • Mod Podge
  • scrap book paper (I used a cream linen)


First, I trial & error printed the verse in different fonts & sizes. Once I found a font that fit right into the pendant, I printed onto the card stock & cut it out. (I wanted a Cricut machine about this time...)



Next, I brushed a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the bottom to help with adhesion & applied the cardstock to the inside.



I then brushed a little Modge Podge on top (let it dry) and fill in the rest of the pendant with the Modge PodgeDimsensional Magic. Let dry for 24 hours.



You'll notice that I made more than 1. I made one for my niece & a keepsake pendant for Zeke (which didn't turn out so great in the end.)
I added it to a keychain I already had & braided 3 cords of hemp together to also attach.


You will likely notice that it's not perfect. Let's have a little discussion about these pendants:


A: This was the second time I made these same pendants. The first time I did not think to adhere the paper to the pendant & once the Dimensional Mod Podge was in there it leaked underneath & made nasty wet looking splotches. Fail. 



B: Bought the pendants, resized the fonts & paper (you may have noticed in the pictures at the beginning that the font isn't the same.) I did exactly as above. They were beautiful. I laid them out to dry on my table & then my sister came over a few hours later & plopped her butt up on the table. You know what happened? She sat on them...one of them actually fell off her butt into the floor which is the point that I realized she sat on them. Fortunately, for the most part, I was able to repair Noah's. 
Natalee's necklace didn't have as much luck. It ended up with bubbles & a huge wet patch. You know what though? She 4 so loved it anyways. :) 

I've also learned a few things about making these dimensional pendants...like don't let your sister sit on them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Butternut Squash Risoto

Last night was another round of Pinterest cooking. I am really enjoying this because A: it's food and B: it's therapeutic to enjoy the simple socializing with my sister and/or friends while cooking.

Our main entree: Butternut Squash Risoto

Let me start off by saying that I've never eaten anything with squash in it & I had no intentions to. I also had no idea what a scallion was. Until the last year, I've not really been one to "branch out" foodwise. BUT, I really liked this dish so if your hesitant over a little squash - don't be. Give it an adventure bite.

You'll need:

  • small butternut squash (& a chainsaw) Why a chainsaw? Because it's really hard to peel a squash. We actually broke the peeler trying. The peeler that my sister had to leave and go buy. It was a cheapie peeler though...
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup Arborio (risoto) rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 32 oz chicken stock/broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
So you want to peel & cube your squash and chop your veggies. Note: After the broken peeler & failed attempts with a knife, we decided to cut it up & then cube the inside.

 Yes, I do realize that the bottle is mostly empty. ;)


In a saucepan, bring your squash & chicken broth to a boil & allow to cook until squash is tender. (About 12-15 minutes for us)


In another saucepan, add butter & sliced scallions & cook until tender. Add your rice & allow to cook slighty (it will be shiny) & the onions to brown on the edges. (5-7 minutes)


Pour the white wine into the rice and constantly stir until absorbed and then repeat this step with 1/4 of the chicken stock at a time. (Wine, stir until absbored. 1/4 chicken stock, stir until absorbed, 1/4 chicken stock, stir until absorbed, 1/4 chicken stock, stir until absorbed, 1/4 chicken stock, stir until creamy)


You could probably mix in your squash & green onions whenever but we sister didn't until the last step.

You should end up with a nice creamy rice & can now salt/pepper to taste & top with Parmesan cheese.


Was it good? Yes. Very good actually. Would we make it again? Probably not. Rissoto is a complicated riceWe made about double the recipe so it took about 1.5 hours from start to finish. This recipe would be great to for special occasions or at home dates but not for everyday dinner.

We also made some Cauliflower Poppers while we waited. (Tasty, healthy, salty snack)
Plus, we kinda made last week's Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries again. (Give us a break...they're amazing.)


Cauliflower Poppers

In my new quest to eat healthy & fresh(er), I've got to branch out on the veggies man. I've recently discovered a new love for Cauliflower. I think Cauliflower has to be a highly ignored vegetable but it shouldn't! This recipe works great for a tasty, healthy, salty snack. (I didn't take as many pictures of this because I was multitasking other kitchen stations, too.)

You'll need:
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped (try to keep it like florets & use very little stalk)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
(I used 1/2 tsp sea salt & 1 tsp of sea salt/black peppercorn mix. I'm also sure you could add quite a few spices to this to make it taste different)

In a mixing bowl, combine chopped cauliflower, olive oil, salt & pepper. Mix until thoroughly coated.

Line a baked pan with foil/wax paper & place the cauliflower (Don't allow pieces to overlap)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees & bake for 1 hour. (My oven is ancient so I baked mine @ 375 for 45 minutes). Turn the cauliflower 1-2 times to brown on each side.

Remove, sprinkle with parmesan cheese to taste & enjoy! I did heat up a little spaghetti sauce and use it for dipping but they tasted great by themselves.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chicken Bundles

My sister loves to cook and she's stellar at it (see notorious Cinnamon Roll Fail) I suppose it's also obvious that I'm not near a good a cook as she is but I have discovered recently how much I enjoy cooking. I understand you Paula Deen, it's therapeutic.

So, we've decided to start a once weekly cooking night based off Pinterest recipes. I know, you Pinners have tons of recipes pinned but just how many have you actually made? Well, never fear: we'll make them for you.

Last night's dinner recipe was: Chicken Bundles.

Makes 8. You'll need:
  • 4 oz of cream cheese, softened
  • A rotisserie chicken, shredded (The recipes called for 13 oz canned chicken but the rotisserie sounds so much more delish & proved to be excellent, plus we have a leftover rotisserie idea below)
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 2 cans of cresent rolls (we used Pillsbury)
  • 1 tbsp of finely chopped onion
  • 3/4  cup cheddar cheese
  • Topping: 1/4 cup melted butter, parsley, Parmesan cheese

First, you want to shred your rotisserie chicken. You won't need it all - just a little more than half. (If you want to go ahead and shred the rest & set aside with the carcass. Yes, carcass. Best word I can think of right now.)


 Mix the chicken, cream cheese, parsley, onion, & cheddar cheese together to create your filling.



Next, unroll the crescent rolls into squares (4  per pack). Stretch the dough out slightly & pinch the center closed, fill, & fold.(Use a ice cream scoop or a large spoon to fill to help with measuring)


Got that? Pinch.Fill.Fold.


Place bundles on a greased cookie sheet. Spread a little melted butter over each one & top with parsley & Parmesan cheese. (Note: we did Parmesan & parsley on some & poppy seeds on others. The Parmesan & parsley was our favorite.)




Bake @ 350 for 20 minutes and......VIOLA!
 


Beautiful. Let me tell you; these are gooooood. We are happy cooks. (This is sister. Sorry, I wasn't gracing you with my Team Twilight tshirt & end of the day hair)


Here's what we did with the leftover chicken carcass (NOT the meat), onion, and some carrots:
We boiled then simmered it for an hour to make homemade chicken broth. Tonight I'll be using the broth, leftover shredded chicken, & more carrots to make some homemade chicken noodle soup.


O, and here's what we had for dessert.


Have any suggestions for what we should make next week's Pinterest cooking night?

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

I wasn't sure anything could beat the super delicious Chicken Bundles. I was wrong.

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries.

You'll need:
  • 1 lb of fresh (preferrably large) strawberries
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3-4 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • graham crackers, finely crumbed (is crumbed even a word?)
Using a melon scooper (or a paring knife in our case), remove the center of the strawberry creating a small cavity.

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, & vanilla extract together until creamy.


If you have a fancy filler tool, good for you. We don't so we create one. Place a sandwich bag in a small cup, fill with your mixture, make sure all the mixture is in one of the two bottom corners, snip of the tip & squeeze.


Fill the strawberries & top with crushed graham crackers. In our case, we completely overfilled them.

Enjoy!