Thursday, July 31

He Finally Lost It...

Truthseeker finally lost his first tooth! As you can see, he was quite excited. The tooth fairy left him $2.50. If I remember right, I think I got a nickel, when I lost my first tooth. How times have changed.

Tuesday, July 29

Muffin Tin Monday and Shrimp Sushi for me :)

Muffin Tin Monday consisted of (l-r) Oreo cookie, mini colored marshmallows, Kraft mac and cheese crackers, almonds, turkey slices, cheese taco, string cheese, carrot sticks, more cheese taco, ranch dip, apple slices, caramel ice cream topping for apple dip.

My lunch... Homemade shrimp sushi.... YUMMO!!!

The Aftermath of Last Week's Storm

Last week, around 7 p.m. the emergency weather sirens went off all over town; for about 8 minutes, that is. So we gathered the kids and went to our designated "safe place" in our home (Scott's and my bathroom), and we waited out the storm. The storm was loud, but no tornado's were sighted, and was over rather quickly. After the storm, we looked in our backyard, and noticed that our outdoor table had been flung over, and shattered. The umbrella, was also broken. Oh well, we said, at least we were safe.

The next morning, the kids wanted me to take them to the park for a picnic. To our surprise, this is what we found. Funny how it seems that only a tornado could do such damage, but I guess strong winds can rip trees out of the ground as well. Didn't know that.

On a sad note, a family of campers in Springfield lost their 4 YO that night, as a tree fell on their tent. Even sadder still, is that this morning I just heard that their 9 MO. daughter died last night in another camping accident. They had 5 children, and now only have 3. Camping can be dangerous, if you don't keep a constant eye on your kids. There are many things that can happen, and they can get hurt, if not watched carefully. It's just too bad that this tragedy even happened.

This storm provided a huge learning experience for the small ones. We talked about how storms can be very dangerous and strong, and discussed how to stay safe during them.

Right after I posted this, I caught something on the news that said the the 9 MO was struck by lightning, and the parents had to make the painful decision to stop life support on her, yesterday. These last few storms have been really bad ones. I will be praying for the family. Please do the same.

Monday, July 28

Our Camping Trip this past weekend.

Friday afternoon we drove up to Weldon Springs State Park to go camping with our Church. We had such a nice time visiting with everyone and praising God, in all his glory. The weather was perfect. This picture is of Thumbody and I at our campsite.
Our dog Nana really enjoyed camping with us.
Truthseeker showing my how strong he is.
Thumbody also wanted to show me how strong he was.
Movie Star!!!
Thumbody helps Daddy string the poles.
Waiting patiently to fish.
Truthseeker fishing. He says he got 20 nibbles. In actuality it felt like he got over 100 nibbles. They were really biting, but were very quick and very smart. After about an hour of baiting the hook with worms for him, I decided to let him pick the most colorful lure he wanted out of Daddy's tackle box, since it was unlikely he was going to catch anything.
Thumbody fishing. Notice his "Red Green" shoes? The bottom fell off his sandal the 2nd day we were there, so we duck taped it back on. I figured, we were camping, who cares what he looks like.
The beach at Clinton Lake.
Thumbody swimming with Daddy.
Truthseeker swimming. He is never without his goggles.

Thursday, July 17


This has been all the rage on many blogs that I have encountered lately. I happened to have seen it first on Merranda's blog, and many others since then. What a great idea, I thought. Getting our kids to eat bits and pieces of new things, and leftovers. Most of the mother's do this on Monday, and call it Muffin Tin Monday. I have used this method on any given day, that I have bits and pieces of leftovers to get rid of. It has worked well. Whoever thought of this idea should be commended. This was Muffin Tin Wednesday at our house last week. I plan to use this again today. Hey, maybe they will even try the shrimp sushi I made yesterday. Hmmmm.... doubt it.
Well, our muffin tins above are actually mini muffin tins, as I don't believe my kids would eat more than that for lunchtime. Starting at top left we have bing cherries, ham slices, macadamia nuts, blueberries, colby/jack cheese, almonds, fruit cocktail, circle crackers, animal crackers, m&ms/yogurt covered raisins, avocado slices, toothpicks as utensils. The boys ate it quite well, which is a plus considering my picky eaters. Have you ever tried this, or something similar? If so, please reply to this post.

Wednesday, July 16


Well, I am proud to announce that I have finally found my camera. I had forgotten that I took it to the water park last week, and never unpacked our beach bag. That's where it was. Anyway, after I found my camera this morning, I couldn't resist cutting a few of the beautiful flowers that are growing in our yard. Everything seems to be in full bloom. Don't flowers make you feel good on any given day? I just can't imagine our world without them. Thank you God...Some of the flowers I cut for our kitchen table include purple cone flowers, rose of Sharon, and pink pansies. Don't you think that they color coordinate so well?
Here are photos of my rose of Sharon bush out front. I love this time of year when it's in full bloom. The next two photos below are of this same bush.

The photo below is of my plum tree. The plums are ripe, sweet, and juicy. The kids and I had such fun picking a few, and tasting them this afternoon. I need to pick them all by Friday, before they fall to the ground.
My lilies always bloom in the spring, and this day lily plant always blooms around this time of year. Such a beautiful bloom, don't you think?
I was so surprised when every purple cone flower plant that my friend Michelle gave me to transplant this year bloomed. I have over 10 blooms. Thanks Michelle, they are beautiful.
The rest of the photos below are of my pink pansies that I planted earlier this summer. I bought them all for less than $5 a bunch, at Walmart. I have always had luck with pansies, and I just love how they look.

Sorry, I don't have time tonight to finish what I was blogging about yesterday. I will try to get to that tomorrow. Enjoy the photos.

Tuesday, July 15


Well, I still haven't found my camera. I remember asking Scott to fetch it for me sometime last week when we were going somewhere where I thought I might need it. I don't remember where though. Hopefully it will turn up.

Back to what I was discussing yesterday in my blog, with my little anecdotes added in for good measure, I will begin at number 21.

21. Drink good coffee, eat good food. Well, not only will good food make you physically feel better; good food and drink can emotionally make you feel good as well. I love sushi. I've said it here before. It just tastes so fresh and good. It makes me feel good to eat it. So my emotional well being is satisfied, along with the fact that sushi is physically good for you as well. Who doesn't love a good cup of coffee? I can hardly pass Gloria Jean's in the mall without stopping in for something to drink. Skaterboy loves this little shop as well. When we are together at the mall, it is a must, that we stop there. Sure... we could save the $10, and make something at home, and I do, but on occasion I feel it's okay and good to splurge on the good stuff in life. We only live once, right?
22. Razzle Dazzle on occasion. This kind of goes along with what I said above. How often do we have a chance to get all dolled up, and go somewhere? Not often enough, I believe. We live in a very casual society these days, and it's important to remember to do this at least once or twice a year, or more.
23. Age Exquisitively. When the kids were really little, and I was busy, busy, busy, I made the mistake of losing myself to what was needed of me by others. I became invisible. Everything I did, was for other people. I didn't exercise. I didn't eat well. I didn't take care of myself. I thought that being a mother meant that I was to give all of my self to my children. I now realize how wrong that belief I had was. I am living in this world also, and deserve to be happy and healthy doing so. I didn't have to give up taking care of my family, to take care of myself, I just had to prioritize. I think that is what makes us stay young. If we walk around looking like we just climbed out from under a rock, then we are not going look or feel good. I feel at my best when I am looking my best. This includes when I am at home alone with the kids. No one can see me but them, and they don't care, but I see me, and I care. I am important too.
24. Stop and realize. Sometimes we have to take a step back, and look at where we've come from and where we are going. It's important to do this in all areas of our lives. Financially, spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc. It's important to address each area of our lives on a regular basis to discover what it is that we want in life, and how far we are from getting there.
25. Obey the laws. This goes without saying, but I think that it also means that we should do what we feel is right in any given situation. If we are making mistakes all the time, we can and will not be balanced. A balanced life is a stress-free happy life. If you have children, it is very important that you not only practice what you preach, but you stand up for what you feel is right. If you don't, your children won't either.
26. Breathe. This means relax. Don't let stress bog you down. I know from experience that when I get stressed, or feel overwhelmed, I will force myself to take a deep breath, take a walk, or sleep on it. All these things will help you feel renewed, and allow you to have a better perspective on what needs to take place.
27. Designate a sacred spot. When I was a child, I had this very special spot out in the woods behind our house and I would go there to be alone. I love to be around people, but I cherish being alone. I love having the whole house to myself at times, and have the freedom to do whatever I would like to do. It's a wonderful feeling to have a place all your own. I sacred place that you can go to reflect, and reenergize. This blog that I started last year, is one of my sacred places that I can go and fill with whatever I want. Whether anyone reads it or not, I feel that I need to have a place that I can go and express my feelings and thoughts about things, just to be able to get it out. Not necessarily to be heard. Although encouraging remarks are always welcomed, and appreciated.
28. Put up with some discomfort. Let's face it, life is no bowl of cherries. We are human, and our bodies were not made to last forever. In our lifetime we will face many challenges, and many of those challenges will involve some sort of pain or discomfort. Some will experience more pain than others. The point is, that sometimes it takes a little pain and discomfort for us to learn whatever it is that God is trying to teach us. Sometimes we have to endure some discomfort, in order to see the big picture. It doesn't help to complain about it, unless it's to a doctor, who can help you. I don't recommend self diagnosing on the internet. I have done this, and it caused me additional stress. See a doctor and relieve you mind. If you don't have a doctor you can be open and honest with, it's time to find another one.
29. Draw from the past. Looking at where we've come from can help us in more ways than we can imagine. Look at mistakes you made in the past, and vow to never make those again. Look at relationships that you may have ended, and try to heal those if you can. It will make you feel better, and maybe make someone else feel better as well. It's hard for us to forgive people. It's not in our nature to forgive. It's so important that we learn to forgive however, because if we go around with a hell-bent attitude our whole lives we will become miserable people that no one wants to be around. There is always the chance that the recipient will not forgive you back, but isn't it worth it to know in your heart that you did all you could to help reestablish the relationship? That in itself is a very big thing.
30. Watch your words. So many times in the Bible it is commanded by God that people should watch their words. I have been guilty of this many times. Anger can make us say things we don't really mean, or intentionally hurt someone beyond measure. Sometimes it takes years to forget hurtful things that have been said to us, in anger. Words can cut like a knife, and murder someones spirit. I read something so profound in a book titled, To Train Up a Child, by Debi Pearl and her husband. It said that children are like balloons, tied to us with many tiny strings. Each time we yell, or say hurtful demeaning things to our child, we are cutting a string. When all the strings are cut, the child will no longer respect the parent, and will look elsewhere for guidance. IMHO, I feel that this is why there are so many problems with today's youth. We can retie these strings by saying encouraging things to our children, and vowing not to cut any more. I made the mistake of cutting a lot of strings with my oldest son. I have to admit that I didn't have a clue as how to raise a teenager, when I started. His early teenage years were very rebellious. He didn't feel that he could confide in me about things, so he went looking elsewhere. It has taken a long time to try to tie these cut strings, and I am still working to tie a lot of them. The important thing is that I continue to try, and not give up. If you are a parent that believes that you haven't yet cut any strings, or are the parent of a very young child, start now building those strings up. Make them thick like rope, so they will be hard to cut. This will pay-off in the long run. This works for other family members, and spouses, as well.
31. Ask for what you want. So many times my husband has asked me to tell him what it is that I want him to do, or say, or buy. Sometimes I will beat around the bush a little (especially if it's something big) and he hates that. So many times we assume that our partner is in tune with what we are thinking, and they are not even close to the same page we are on. I have been hurt by things that I thought that my husband was feeling, and he not even have a clue what I am hurt about. If you want something from your partner, whether it be physical, emotional, or tangible, ask for it. This includes our bosses, as well. Speak up, and you may get the raise or promotion you've been seeking. If not, you will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you asked, and may be able to ask what it is that you can do to achieve that goal. This will add to your self worth, and accountability.
32. Become an unhurried woman. This can be done. I once multi-tasked everything in life. My life was crazy, and out of control, until I stepped back and took a look at what was happening around me. It's so important that we slow down. We don't have to be superwoman. No one has ever given us that title, nor do we want it. Take things in stride, and schedule your time wisely. I chose a few years ago, to not put my kids in every little thing, even if my friends were doing it. Kids can not feel the security of home, when they are never there. Plan ahead. Let them pick one thing that they are interested in, and plan around that one thing. Church is a big priority for us, so we plan around that. 4-H is another big priority for us, so we plan around that, once a month. We try to do as many things as a family, as possible. Scott and I plan one night a month for us to enjoy each other's company alone. Everywhere else we go, we take the kids. It's important for them to know what a post office looks like; what the bank looks like; what the grocery store looks like. This does not mean that we should not take some time out for ourselves once in a while. This is also important. I have a few friends that I scrapbook with once a month. It is important to keep up with these relationships, simply because it makes us feel good. We schedule our calendar for the next month, a few weeks ahead. The schedule rarely has to be adjusted, and we make sure we have lots of home time in there as well.

Well, there is more... but I need to go for the day. I will continue tomorrow. I hope you have enjoyed reading and learning with me. Enjoy the photos I have posted below. They pertain to yesterday's post.

Have a great day!


Monday, July 14


No matter how true the statement above is, I realize that there is a bigger picture to be seen in this comment. As I was sitting blissfully this morning, drinking my coffee, and reading Stacy Julian's blog, I realized that there are more important things in life than wondering where I put things. It's so complicated being a woman and a mother. There are so many stereotypes of the perfect housekeeping/decorating/do everything woman/mother. I have to honestly admit that I have become a very negative person because of all the stereotypes that I have focused my attention on, and have worked so hard to try to accomplish, and fallen short. My mind is always cluttered with what must be done, what needs to be done, and what I want to do. The latter being pushed to the side, most often. It is most often a struggle, and most days I don't feel fulfilled. Hence my negativity. I have to look at this closely, because negativity spreads like the California wild fires, especially when you get together with a group of negative minded women, who share in your disappointments and unfulfilled life. You lose sight of the joy, and the blessings. Whether we believe this or not, we are truly blessed. Maybe it's contentment that I find a hard bit to chew.

So getting back to this morning, I was reading Stacy's blog, and came upon a book she is currently reading called, Creating a Charmed Life, by Victoria Moran. Yeh... I thought, she must have a charmed life. Yet, when I read Stacy's words I see that she is completely honest in her thoughts and feelings. I love that about people. Who don't beat around the bush, tell us what we think we want to hear (I have been guilty of this one), and open up with their feelings, imperfections and all. This, I feel is what makes us human. Not robots with no feelings, like a lot of people have become, but true and honest human beings. Communication is one thing that is deteriorating in this society, IMHO. People are becoming emotionally/spiritually numb. In fact, I have felt this way many times.

So I started reading an excerpt from this book, and found it to be very fulfilling, and life changing. Here are some of the chapter titles. How do you feel about these when you read them?

1. First and foremost... simply create a charmed life. How? You ask.
2. Follow your heart. How many times have we wanted to, but haven't. Something to think about.
3. Get ample shine time. This could go both ways. Make sure you make time to be out in the sun most days, or make sure you place yourself in a position in which you feel appreciated, and self worthy.
4. Take Ten. How many times have we asked ourselves...if I only had 10 minutes? Give it to yourself, you deserve it. I deserve it.
5. Play your free square. I take this to mean that you are giving yourself permission to take the day off, or opt out of a prior commitment/engagement without feeling guilty.
6. Practice the vacation principle. This is one I had to learn the hard way. For quite a few years after the young ones were born, I felt that vacations were not necessary, and a waste of money. Now I see things much clearer, and realize that not only is it necessary to take a vacation, but healthy. How many of us are able to see things a bit clearer when we are on vacation? I know that my creativity is in full swing while I am on vacation. My mind is refreshed, and renewed. Very important stuff, in my book.
7. Conserve your energy. It is so important for us to not focus on every worry or concern in our life. It will drive us nuts. Why worry? Let go, and let God. As we have so often repeated to ourselves. Added into this, would be the fact that we as people, have emotions that are so strong sometimes that we spend a lot of time and energy focusing on making a point, or getting our own way. Don't waste your energy on feeling this way.
8. Coexist gracefully with the unresolved. This goes along with the statement above. Gracefully put underlying issues out of your head. Give yourself permission not to think about them. It's okay. We are imperfect human beings with imperfect bodies, and imperfect thoughts. Learn to be happy with what we have to work with.
9. Invite adventure. If you are anything like me, you will understand that I am not an adventure seeking person. Adventure does not excite me, nor interest me in many areas. However, I realize that in order to live a healthy and abundant life, I must create some sort of adventure. This is hard for me. I have made the commitment to schedule some sort of adventure once a month, in order for this task to be fulfilled.
10. Give up your mountain. I understand this to mean, "Get off your high horse!" Why do I have to be so hell-bent about everything? Why am I so critical? Especially toward myself and others. I hate it when people judge/assume something about me incorrectly without knowing the whole story or feelings behind it. Others must hate that also, when I am critical of them. I must work on this one.
11. Acquire discretion. I take this to mean... "don't air out all your dirty laundry." People don't need to know (nor do they want to) everything about you. It's not necessary to tell each person you meet everything that goes on in your life. Men especially hate this. My husband just wants the facts, most of the time. He can't process everything I say, and all the feelings I convey, at one certain time. Most men can't. If I give him a list of honey-do's, I have to list only the things I want done, not the reasons why I want them done, and what time frame I have in mind for it all to take place. I have learned that this is not important to a man, and only aggravates them.
12. Enjoy your eccentricities. I love this one. Sometimes I focus too much on how I appear to others, or how weird my thoughts and intentions are. I need to be more like my Grandma. I can picture her, even now, in her 80's, rolling down a hill, just because she wants to. She has done this, by the way. I believe that part of her longevity is that she is eccentric. Not so much in a verbal way, like most people would think of an eccentric person, but in a quiet subtle way. She will wear what she wants, when she wants, and do what she wants, when she wants. I love this about her. Enjoy what makes you different. Who cares what people think. If you want to roll down a hill... do it with pride!
13. Enhance your environment. This one I need to work on too. Simplicity is all the rage right now. It's a great thing to simplify, but I feel people can go overboard in this area. A home should not be considered a sterile environment that has no beauty or warmth. I have a friend who believes so strongly in simplicity, that her home is very cold when you enter it. It feels like you are walking into a showroom. I am nervous to bring my kids over to her house, as I am fearful that they my leave a fingerprint. This friend has children, but you never see them playing inside the house. They are directed outside in the backyard until bedtime. I sometimes wonder what they do on rainy days. The point is, to surround yourself with only the things you love. My Grandma does this also. She has gone on quite a few trips to different countries, and has brought back numerous trinkets and souvenirs. She surrounds herself with these things. Every room in her house has something from one of her trips in it. These things remind her of the wonderful trips she has gone on, and the wonderful experiences she has had. I feel this is very important. Over the years, my Grandma, and my Mom and Dad, have brought me back numerous souvenirs and gifts from other countries. I love displaying these things, not so much as to remember a memory, but because they came from somewhere I haven't been, and also because they were given to me by someone I love. I also love displaying my children's, my husband's and my own creations. They are artwork in their own right. It's a concrete reminder of accomplishment when you see something of your own creation, on your wall. What could be better than that?
14. Retire your too-too. Sometimes I make lists that seem a mile long that I feel need to be accomplished. By the time I finish the list, it's time to start over again. What is the point? Not to focus on every little thing that needs to be done. Perfectionism is overrated. Now I'm not saying that it's okay to be a slob. I mean, if your kids think that the place to find a pair of socks is in the laundry basket, then you might need to be doing more; but what I am saying is that focusing on having the perfect house with perfect landscaping with drive you crazy. Like those people who mow their lawns with a chris-cross pattern. It seems excessive, to me. However, that may be one of their eccentricities. I do believe that the person with the chris-cross lawn wouldn't expect you to have one, unless it's something that is important to you too. Go through your list of things to do, and simplify that. What things are not that big of a deal? OCD is not something to be admired. They may have clean houses, but they are miserable, trust me.
15. Do the next indicated thing. Follow your list in the order in which you write it down. That means when you are making a list for yourself, and I am assuming that you are a list-maker, like me, plan the enjoyable things as well. Write down the 10 minute breaks, write down the 30 minute walk in the sunshine, write down the 1 hour meditation time/reading a book, etc. Then practice following your list the way it was written. So many times I have written a list of things that needed to be done, and at the very bottom were all the things that I wanted to do, including spending time with God. Many times it is bedtime, and I am not even close to the bottom of the list. I have spent the whole day doing for others, and no time was spent on myself.
16. Live your life in chapters. This is very important too, because in our mind we connect past experiences with the present. Instead of thinking that something is behind us, and leaving it there. I focus too much sometimes on mistakes I have made in the past, and let them creep into my daily thoughts. This is unhealthy. Leave those chapters where they are. It's okay to peek back at them from time to time, so we can reflect on where we have come from, but don't let them consume you. It's easy to do this. For years I punished myself for my first marriage, and the mistakes I made. I see now that this was very unhealthy. No one can possibly feel the same way you did at any given time, in any given circumstance. Leave those alone, start writing new chapters.
17. Enlarge your world. I believe that we must look farther than our own front door, in order to experience everything that God has created. Open up doors to places that your have never been before. Make a point to experience these things. This also includes stepping outside ourselves and doing things we may not feel comfortable with, such as, bringing food to a lonely neighbor, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or even speaking up on something you believe in. It can broaden your world, and change your perspective.
18. Change with the seasons. This can mean 2 different things. One way you can look at this, I already put into practice. The other is more complex. The first way is to find a place in your home to display seasonal decorations. Mine is the fireplace mantle in the living room. I have a friend who uses her dining room table, and only changes the centerpiece with the seasons. I decorate my fireplace mantle to match whatever season it is. For years I have wanted to sew a mantle scarf for each season, but haven't yet. I will have to put that on my list. Each year my seasonal decorations change a bit, and I always photograph my decorated mantle from each season as a reminder of what I or the kids did. It can be simple or complex. After I am done with this post, I will post a few photos of my mantle, for an example. The more complex way that you can look at this would be to focus on the "seasons of life" aspect. Be open to accept what season in life you are currently in. This is extremely hard for me. I don't like to accept that fact that I am 40. I don't like it one bit. I hate that I am 40, but there is nothing I can do about it, besides try to make the best of what age I am. I can try to become healthier, and more physically fit, and conscience change in other areas, but I must accept that fact that I can not change what age I am. It's only a number.
19. Factor in downtime. I already mentioned this somewhere above. Make sure you are giving yourself time to reflect, and relax. Last night I was laying in bed with a sore throat. How I wanted someone to give me a cup of hot tea, or hot soup. Ahhh... wouldn't that be nice? To lay in bed and have someone wait on me all day. I then put that thought out of my head as I listened to my husband snoring beside me. I need to make time for that. Even if I have to hire a sitter, and make my own soup and tea. Remember that you are important too.
20. Complicate selectively. I love this one! When an issue arises (and it will) think to yourself whether you really want to get involved in this one or not. Some things you have to get involved with if it involves yourself or your children. Getting involved in other peoples issues is another story. When my FIL died suddenly last year, I was thrown into a place where I never should have allowed myself to go. Yes, it was my job to be compassionate, and helpful, however I never should have allowed myself to get into discussions about financial responsibilities of my husband's surviving family, or the care giving of his brother and uncle. I made that decision to get involved, and I suffered extreme stress from it. I should have selectively opted out, and forced them to take care of their own problems. It would have been better for everyone. What ended up happening was I gave them permission to be dependent on us, which was not good for them, or us. In the future I will have to be more selective in what I let complicate our lives.

This is where I need to stop for the day. There are more that I will post tomorrow, but my time is up. I hope you have enjoyed reading today's blog, and hope that I have provided some insight into making your life feel a little more charmed :)

Till tomorrow...

PS. Dinner the other night was delicious. Only I would cut back the citrus used in the couscous a little next time. Half of what I said would be good, I believe. Salmon was awesome. Salad was good, and the dessert was simply divine. There are no pictures as promised, because I can't find my camera!!! LOL...

Saturday, July 12

Dinner Tonight!

This is really a funny story, and probably one I have mentioned before, however I relish few challenges in life other than cooking. I am a very imaginative person when it comes to art, sewing, and cooking. In all other aspects of life, IMHO I am very hum-drum, and don't challenge myself in ways that I probably should. This is one of my many downfalls.

So when it comes to cooking, for instance, I love a challenge. Especially because I work with a limited budget for food, and have to be creative with what I've got to work with. With that being said, I can relay to you a secret that I have hidden from my family for years. I cheat! Not in a fundamental sense, but being that I am a virtually non-creative, and visual person, I have to see something in order to copy it. In that sense, I am able to transform things, in my own way, and make it my own. I am not sure why this is, but I can pretty much see something done once, and be able to fix something, sew something, paint something, etc... with much effort, and little thought. I believe I have an organized brain, maybe not so much on the outside, but more so on the inside. I am able to organize thoughts, and put those thoughts in practice, and have the capability to try things that most people would not feel experienced enough to try. The result is not always perfect, but most often functional.

One of my best devises for cooking would be the Food Network Channel. Now, I don't have the time or inkling to sit and watch episode after episode of cooking shows, but do tape shows that I find interesting on the DVR, and watch them when I do have the time. I have been known to not have a clue what will be for dinner at 5 p.m. at night, and watch an episode of Rachael Ray's 30 MM, and have dinner on the table by 6. Last night being one example of that. Occasionally, I will go to the Food Network website, and type in a protein, or veg. we have on hand, and form a complete menu within 10 minutes time. I don't always have all the ingredients listed, but I improvise, and this has never failed me.

So this morning while drinking morning coffee, on this not-so beautiful day, I began watching a Food Network program called Rescue Chef. I have maybe watched it one other time, but I became interested in the fact that they were cooking with salmon. My brain began to start processing the information that was being spewed at me through the electronic box in my LR. I thought to myself; we have salmon in the freezer. Then, as he continued on with the ingredients, I would think to myself, I have that... don't have that...but could use that... etc... This went on through the whole program. After the program, I had dinner planned, went to the freezer, took out the salmon, and then went to the computer to print out the show's recipes. So this is what we are having, including my improvisations:

Citrus Baked Salmon

4 slices fresh lemon
4 slices fresh orange (these will be changed to 1/4 c. lemon juice, and 1/4 c. orange juice)
4 skinless salmon fillets (have)
salt and pepper (have)
2 tbsp. fresh dill (garden)
2 tbsp. sun dried tomato in oil ( this will be changed to 1 can drained diced tomatoes, and 2 tbsp. EVOO, Aldi brand... )
2/3 c. white wine ( changed to 2/3 c. white grape juice)

In a 9x13 pan, pour 1/4 c. lemon juice, and 1/4 c. orange juice. Season each fillet with salt and pepper, and then place in pan. In a small bowl, mix dill, tomatoes, and oil. Divide mixture on top of salmon. Drizzle with white grape juice. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 min. Take out 15 min. before baking, so it can come back to room temperature. Bake at 375 for 8-10 min.

Roasted Vegetables and Couscous

1 sm. zucchini
2 red peppers
1 sm. eggplant (don't have any of this, so I am omitting this from my recipe.)

EVOO (have)
Salt and Pepper (have)
1 1/2 c. couscous (have)
2 c. vegetable stock (this is being changed to 2 cups water and 2 chicken bullion cubes.)
1/2 tsp. salt (have)
1/2 tsp. cumin (have)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (have)
1/2 tsp. paprika (have)
1/4 c. orange juice (have
1 tbsp. fresh parsley (freezer)
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro (freezer)
2 tbsp. evoo (have)
1/2 lemon zest and juice (this will be changed to 1/2 lime zest and juice, which I have on hand.)

In the original recipe, it says to cut up vegetables, and roast at 375 for 10 min, after coating with evoo, and salt and pepper. I am taking this completely out of my recipe, not because I don't like roasted vegetables (I love them), but because I don't have any on hand at this moment in time.

I did realize that I have been making my couscous completely wrong, by following the package directions on the box. Mine always turns out dry, and without much flavor, so I am looking forward to this new method.

Place couscous in heat proof bowl and mix with salt, cumin, ginger, paprika, and orange juice.
Bring stock (chicken bullion) to boil. Pour over couscous. Cover with a plate for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with fork. Stir in parsley, cilantro, and evoo. (Toss with roasted veg., if you're doing it that way.)

Citrus Vinaigrette dressing for salad

The original recipe calls for watercress, which I don't have, but will be using fresh romaine lettuce from my garden.

Whisk together:
1 orange
1 lemon (don't have these, so I am using 1/4 c. lemon juice, and 1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. evoo
1 tbsp sesame seeds (don't have, will omit.)

Toss with salad greens.

Fresh Fruit Parfait w/ Yogurt

2 peaches
2 kiwi (don't have, will be using fresh sweetened cherries that a friend gave us a few days ago)
1 c. blueberries (have)
1 lemon, juice and zest (1/4 c. bottled lemon juice, and zest from lime (which is left over from couscous recipe)
1 tbsp sugar (omitting because cherries are already sweetened.)
2 c. plain yogurt (have)
1 tbsp poppy seeds (may have/not sure/don't really like/might omit)
mint (garnish/freezer)

In a medium bowl combine cherries and blueberries, lemon juice. Mix and sit for 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir 2 c. yogurt and poppy seed (optional). In clear glasses, layer ingredients starting with fruit mixture, yogurt, fruit, and so forth.

So there you have it. Our dinner for tonight. I will take pictures tonight, and post them tomorrow, if I can.

Enjoy!!! Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 9

Today :)

It is 8 am on a Wednesday, as I sit looking out the window on this glorious day that God has provided for us all to enjoy. The boys are still sleeping. It is my time to focus on the day ahead, and worship God in my own humble way. God is so good!

I have been doing a bible study on the Titus II woman. This has been such a difficult struggle for me because I really don't want to be a Titus II woman yet. I don't want to be the older woman giving advise to younger women, although I have a few friends that I frequently visit with, that are in actuality, younger moms. I just am uneasy about accepting the role as an older woman. I never thought turning 40 would be so hard. I somehow feel that a door has been slammed in my face, and I now walk the path of middle age.

I have asked the Lord to help me accept this new role, and to be open to what He wants, and not what I want. Why am I so sad lately? I have never suffered from depression, or even postpartum depression.

Some great things have happened to us recently though, that I feel compelled to share. We have found a new church. As some of you know, it has been a struggle leaving our beloved old church. We have made so many friends there, but will continue with those relationships. We are Christians after all, and God in my humble opinion, does not favor one denomination over another.

It was a long difficult decision to leave, but I felt that I was no longer growing as a Christian. I was staying the same. Not hungry, like I used to be. It scared me. I thought at first that it was because I was burnt out from teaching Sunday School for so many years. Dealing with 22, 2 & 3 year olds 2 Sundays every month, would drive anyone insane. Then I thought maybe it was because our family was grieving the loss of Scott's dad. Scott's aunt talked to me a lot about becoming Catholic. Scott and I knew in our hearts that that was not for us. I was trying to make sense of it all. The stress of dealing with 3 additional family members was taking it's toll on me. Scott's family has severe processing problems. Scott does too, and he admits that. Sometimes I wondered whether I made the right decision to marry Scott, although I didn't recognize these problems when we were courting. I have to be honest, and say that I have lost it quite a few times with them. More than I should have. I just never thought I would be helping raise a BIL, a UIL, and a MIL, plus a DH. I remember once, after Scott and I were married for 2 or 3 years, I was going through some old papers in our file cabinet, tossing out things that were no longer relevant, and I came across Scott's medical records file. Of course I peeked, I was his wife. I would expect that he would peek at mine. It had lots of records from when he was a kid up to his adulthood. On most of the records the doctor had listed Scott as mentally retarded. How could that be, I asked myself? I felt betrayed. Had they mixed up his documents with his brother's? I was confused. After being married to him for so many years, I can see what the doctor meant. I love Scott with all my heart, and always will. He was my angel sent from God. Yet, I feel sad because we will never have the relationship that we would have if he were "normal". I use that term lightly, because in most ways he is normal; and what does "normal" mean anyway? That someone conforms to certain standards set by someone else. How many of us are really "normal"? Actually, in a moral sense, he is more "normal" than most people. He has very moral standards that he stands behind. This was one of the things that I fell in love with. I sometimes wonder if his narcolepsy is a result of his handicap? I pray each day that my children will not have these processing issues. Skaterboy definitely does not, and Truthseeker doesn't appear to either; Thumbody, I am still unsure about.

So I have all these mixed emotions going on, and possibly early menopause to boot. Why me? God has lead me in many directions lately, and of course, they were all good directions. He always points me to scripture, and that helps tremendously. When we were seeing problems in our old church, and the ways it was being run, God directed me to the books of Timothy; When I was feeling blue about all the stress I was under, God led me to Proverbs, and Revelation; And now, I am being let to Titus. Why Titus? I ask Him. I am sure he will reveal His answer to me someday, even if it isn't here on Earth.

My outlook lately has been better. The new church I believe God has lead us to, has brought back my joy, and hunger for the Lord. I feel at peace. Which I haven't felt in a very long time. I am joyful to worship our Lord again. I no longer feel like Satan is clouding my vision, and my focus is not on what Satan will do to us next, but what God will do. He is so much stronger and wiser. Satan has no power over Him. Everything feels right now, as it should.

Have a Great Day :)