Saturday, December 31, 2011

  Can't believe it's already New Year's Eve and we're so close to 2012. It's even harder to believe that some 30 yrs ago the year 2012 was the year that some movies had us look like we were flying through space when we got into our cars.. haha.. just a funny thought to me.  :)

 With the New Year beginning it's always so fun to hear what everyone has as their "New Year's" resolution. So what are some of your goals, resolutions, or plans for this year?

 Adam and I have a goal to pay off our expedition {Woo-hoo}  and do some DIY projects around the home {that's another Woo-hoo from me, not so much Adam}  :)  Lastly, to make our way back up to Ohio to visit his side of the family, it's been a long 3 years since we have done that.

 Thinking back on the year 2011, which has gone by so fast, it's fun to ponder on all the exciting things that took place, so here are just a few memories of 2011 for me..

January 3, 2011
My "bubs" Connor was born!
Weighing in at 7lbs

Less than 12 hours later, on January 4, 2011 his sweet cousin
was born. Brooklynne weighed in at a tiny 4lbs
{mama & baby healthy & happy}

Teeth were lost...

Slumber parties to be had...

{Update on Connor and Brooklynne}
Patiently awaiting the Big surprise to come...

Another sweet cousin, Anna Lynne!

Elizabeth's baptism with daddy & papa.. so sweet!

Trying "food" for the first time..

Proposal's to be had..
{This is my brother-n-law proposing to his girlfriend}

{Update on Connor, Brooklynne, & Anna}
Sweet babies!

Swimming lessons..

Camping trips..

Fireworks on the beach..

First bike rides...

Tropical storms on the beach...

Times of remembrance, prayer and thanks!

Crawling, chasing balls.... growing quickly

A beautiful 10 years shared thus far.. love him!

A very blessed, happy New Year to you and your family!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

 With the cold air settling in, it's time to change up our dinner menu to the more rustic and hearty meals like chili, roast and potatoes, soups with cornbread, ect.
 That is one thing I love about weather changes, because as the weather changes, typically so does my menu. It's always nice to be able to change up the dinner menu because we get so tired of eating the same thing over and over again.
 One thing I decided to make a few weeks ago was some home made croutons and I'm so glad I did.  :)  They were delicious!   On top of being very cheap... and you can't beat cheap! 

 It's a very simple little recipe, but it made plenty to last us for quite a while.  We had them on salads, in soups and sometimes they even replaced potato chips at lunch time for the kids since they really liked them too.  :)

  Since I knew I was going to be making the croutons I decided to take pictures along the way with the intention of "blogging" about it.  Silly, I know, but I always enjoy pictures with recipes, so although this is very simple, I thought I would share it with you.  :)

Any kind of bread will do. I had many different kinds of french bread that was in my freezer, so that is what I used. 

You then cut your bread up into cubed pieces. How big or small is completely up to you and your preference.  I wanted mine a little bigger so that they would be crunchy on the outside but still a little more soft on the inside.

I used a packet of ranch dressing seasoning. Although you can use any kind of seasoning you would like. Even just plain ole salt, pepper, & garlic powder will give you great tasting croutons.  I just happened to have a packet of this and decided to try it.

After you have cut up your bread. You then will need your dry seasoning of choice and olive oil and prepare to get your hands dirty!  :)

Turn your oven to 325degrees. You want to cook your croutons on a lower temperature to give them time to cook evenly through.  Arrange your bread cubes onto a single layer sheet or, in my case, I used a roasting pan with sides.  Important thing is that you want to be sure to keep them in a single layer or else you will overcook some & under cook others.
Sprinkle your dry seasoning all over your bread cubes, be sure to get your hands in there so that every piece of bread gets a good season to it.  After you are finished with your seasonings then you  want to drizzle your Olive Oil, or "EVOO" as Rachel Ray would call it (I think of her almost every time I use my Olive oil. :) ) all over your bread, again don't be afraid to get your hands in there. ;)  Just be sure to not over do it and saturate the bread to much, or else you will have very crispy croutons!
 Place in the oven and "Voila" you have yourself some delicious croutons! 
Don't you smell them already?!  They not only taste wonderful, they also make your house smell wonderful too! :)
Just be sure to freeze any croutons that you are not going to eat in a freezer zip lock bag. Whenever you are ready to eat more, just toss them back onto a cookie sheet at 250degrees and cook until their thawed and crisp.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

 I was reading a post that a friend of mine wrote about Christmas shoe boxes she was making with her children to send to the military serving over seas.  It was a beautiful post, with pictures of she and her children putting these boxes together and she was using this as an opportunity to teach them about giving. 
 So I had a "deep thought moment"  :)  I was reminded of a situation that happened about 5 yrs ago. It was a tough situation, people were doing things that were so dishonest, not necessarily toward me, but in the lives of people they loved and were in covenant with. I was angry & confused. I just felt lost!  Although I was not the one experiencing the situation. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what it meant to be a mommy, wife, friend, and child of God.  This, however, was really testing my entire understanding on all of those things. I was enjoying my happy place on earth in my bubble of important things. Having babies, buying our first home & mini van. Swapping stories about nursing, labor and delivery, & what Dr's we were using. I was having fun, feeling complete... then this happened!  Now I know this is sounding dramatic, but we all have our "ah-ha" moments that force us to mature and grow, they come in all shapes and sizes and can be different for us all, this just happened to be one of mine.  I was going to learn more about forgiveness, compassion, and mercy.  I was going to learn that there was more than just the life I was living in at the moment. 
*Although, just to clarify.  Those years of starting my family, buying our first home, swapping stories of babies, nursing, bottles and Dr's. were years of joy & building relationships with great women. They are some of my fondest memories that I hold dear, so I'm not implying that is a "bubble" of false living.  ha ha.. just want to make that clear!  :)
 I realized something about this friend who made some bad choices. Besides some of the obvious issues that lied beneath, as well as  some that are more personal.  She lacked understanding her purpose, and season that she was in.  This caused her to loose joy  as a woman, wife and mother. 
  It's so easy to become discontent, envious, & competitive through out life. There are always people who have more than you, easier situations than you, better husbands than you, etc.  It can be just as easy though, to find joy when we  find contentment, peace, and learning to accept our seasons in life.  When we find contentment with those seasons, we also find our purpose, because with every season comes a new purpose to be shared along side our husbands.
 We all need purpose, without it, whats the point. We all want to know we are making a difference in someones life. 
    So here is just a "shoebox" filled with thought...  :)

It's just to easy to feel lost and forgotten when you are doing the same thing over and over again. It has a way of robbing your joy when you don't know why your doing it. People can handle that feeling very differently. Some pull away feeling hopeless with no meaning, some may become resentful and angry, some become entitled, justifying their reasons for being unfaithful, neglectful or even abusive.

 All the while your greatest purpose and calling in your life is sleeping in the room next to you, or right beside you. They're snuggled up on the couch with the blanket and thumb in the mouth, or the one with the game controller who hasn't heard the last few times you've called for them to come get the crying baby while you're cooking dinner. The ones doing their homework, even the one throwing the tantrum on the kitchen floor.  :) 

 Embrace your seasons in life, even this one will pass and with it will come another season.  Embrace your calling and the purpose you are given.  Most of all remember that God is your strength!  He doesn't expect us to be "Super woman" nor does He bite is nails anxiously hoping we get all of our daily chores & work done, or to be perfect in all that we do. He just wants us to be teachable, content, peaceful, joyful & virtuas, as is a Proverbs 31 woman a beautiful example for us, so is a Psalms 131 woman...

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me. Psalm 131

Be Blessed Mama's!  :)