Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cleaning the Bathroom, Pinterest Style

I am going to admit something to you. I HATE cleaning, and the two things I hate to do most are washing the dishes (we'll save the reason for some other post) and cleaning the bathroom. I just plain do not like cleaning the bathroom, it's dirty, smelly, and takes a good chunk of time to get really clean. BUT, thanks to Pinterest, I have found a better way to clean my bathroom. In fact, it's so easy (and almost chemical-free) that Mr. R., who's only 5 1/2, can do about half of it. This literally takes 15 minutes if you clean the shower and wash the floor, even less if you're just cleaning the sink, countertops, and toilet area.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Plan a Menu

Last week our assistant pastor's wife asked me to speak to a group of our church ladies on how to plan a menu. It was definitely something new for me as I have never done any sort of public speaking regarding my menu planning. I am including my notes from this as a post to hopefully be a help to you as you write your menus.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Twisted Cinnamon Rolls

Our family loves cinnamon rolls. I found an absolutely delicious recipe before we ever had the kiddos and would make them for special occasions. Since adding 4 to our family, I don't make them as often do to time constraints so I decided to try my own variation on the traditional cinnamon rolls.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Multi-Grain Bread

I decided not to use my loaf pans the day I took the picture,
which is why it looks more like French bread.
I decided to try my hand at making a multi-grain bread for Miss S.'s birthday. I wanted something that combined oats, wheat, flax, and something with a little extra texture so I included sunflower seeds. The bread turned out delicious and everyone enjoyed it! Love it when that happens. :o) Here's what I used:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cinnamon Craisin Oat Bread

I have loved cinnamon raisin bread ever since I can remember. It was always a special treat when we would visit my grandparents, who happened to live just up the road from us. I've wanted to attempt making some for quite a while now and today was the day, since I was out of bread and didn't want to take the time to load 4 kids in a minivan and run to the store for some. I didn't have any raisins on hand but had just picked up some craisins on Friday so I decided to try my own variation on the traditional cinnamon raisin bread.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Savor it!

Jared and I believe that God has completed our family and we do not plan to have any more kids. (We've heard it all where that topic is concerned so please do not judge, or at least keep your judgments to yourself with regard to our family's size.) With that said, my baby girl is now going on 14 months and I am officially done with the baby stage of life. I have never had one of those longing moments where I wonder if we made the right decision in choosing to have "only" the 4 kids, but I do think to myself quite frequently lately that I wish time would just slow down a bit... Mr. R. will start Kindergarten this year and Miss E. preschool. Miss A. is potty trained, and Miss S. is weaned and walking. They are getting so big so fast and lately I feel like they grow all the faster with each blink of an eye. I recently read an excerpt from a book and it made me think and reflect a bit, which I seem to be doing a little more of lately. 

The excerpt goes something like this, "life is not an is our only dessert - too brief, too sweet, too delectable to hurry..." (Ann Voskamp)

In all my extra pondering lately, I have come to the conclusion that life is just too busy and I must slow down and savor the moments. I rush through my day to get everything "finished" - the house cleaned, laundry done, sewing work completed, shopping lists and menus filled out, etc. but feel as though I've missed out on some much needed and neglected TIME with my little ones. 

Yes, there are days where I feel like I am on the verge of insanity with the constant pulling in 5 different directions by the people I love so deeply. Yes, there are days that time cannot seem to move fast enough toward bedtime for my four little blessings. Then I think about the time that my own mother spent with my sisters and I reading books, working in the garden, and just being there for us. I want to duplicate that for my children. I am just forewarning any of you who follow my blog on a regular basis that posts may end up being a little late from time to time as I am learning how to balance my hobbies in light of the need for both my children and me to have more time (both in quality and quantity) with each other. I must learn to savor the moments (both mundane and exciting) and lean more fully on God's grace for the difficult ones.

Monday, August 13, 2012

[Chocolate] Banana Oat Muffins

[Chocolate] Banana Oat Muffins
This is one of my "concoctions", of sorts. I've learned how much of this you can substitute for that and such so I decided to try something new for one of our usual breakfast-on-the-go Sunday mornings. It turned out wonderfully delicious! Most of the kiddos had theirs finished off before we were even halfway to church.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Men's T-Shirt to Peasant Top Upcycle

I happened upon a $3 men's t-shirt at JCP a few months back and finally got a chance to "upcycle" it. :o) First off, I wear an XL and decided to buy a XXL so I'd have more fabric to play around with, but going up a full size probably isn't necessary. 

I started the project by turning the shirt inside out. 
cutting out the shirt front and back

"Philly Cheesesteak" Pizza

Bottom: Completed and delicious!
(BBQ Chicken Pizza is at the top of the picture)
I was making up homemade pizzas for dinner on Friday and Jared just happened to get home from work a bit early so he decided that we would attempt some homemade Philly Cheesesteak Pizza.
1 pound pizza dough (I had some whole wheat dough in the freezer from the local grocery store)
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic herb butter (just minced herbs, garlic, and butter)
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
2/3 cup skim milk
1 dollop of light sour cream.
1/2 lb steak, thinly sliced
1/3 of a green pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 of a medium onion , thinly sliced
1 cup Italian blend cheese, divided
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Menu: July 30-September 2

It's been just another crazy week, especially for not having anything really on the calendar. I guess better late than never. :o)
Here I go, another attempt at a monthly menu. I'm trying to save as much moola this month as possible since we will be remodeling our bathroom, which I'm very excited about. I'm trying to plan simple, healthy, and inexpensive meals so this should be interesting... I'm going to be following a new format this time around, each week will feature different types of food i.e. Tex-Mex, Salad (lettuce or pasta), "Italian", Comfort Food, and Soup or Sandwich. We usually have one leftovers night and one out-to-eat night.

July 30-August 5
  • Tex-Mex - Tacos with black beans and rice
  • Salad - Grilled chicken salad bar and fruit salad
  • Out-to-Eat Night
  • Soup or Sandwich - Ham and cheese wraps with fruit salad and chips
  • "Comfort food" - Pizza, side salad, fresh fruit and carrot sticks (we had bbq chicken stuffed crust and philly cheesesteak stuffed crust pizzas)
  • "Italian" - Tortellini with pesto, chicken, and veggies
  • Leftovers
August 6-12
  • "Italian" - Bowties with creamy pesto and chicken, carrots, green beans, and french bread 
  • Soup or Sandwich - Sloppy Joes, potato wedges, and fresh fruit (got to get as much in while it's in season) 
  • Tex-Mex - Beef and bean chimichangas (we top our chimis with shredded lettuce and all the usual taco ingredients - guacamole, olives, salsa, sour cream, etc.)
  • Salad - Taco Salad with homemade taco bowls
  • Out-to-Eat Night - planning a double date with some friends
  • "Comfort food" - Red beans and rice
  • Leftovers
August 13-19
  • "Comfort food" - Crockpot Italian Chicken, side salad, and fresh bread
  • Salad - Grilled chicken salad bar and fruit salad
  • Tex-Mex - Tacos
  • Out-to-Eat Night
  • Soup or Sandwich - Sub sandwiches and fresh fruit
  • We've got a family reunion today, which should be lots of fun.
  • "Italian" - Spaghetti, side salad, mixed veggies, and French bread
August 20-26
August 27-September 2
  • Tex-Mex - Cowboy Skillet (at the request of Jared)
  • "Comfort food" - Chicken pot pie (making up a double batch and then freezing one pie for next month)
  • Soup or Sandwich - Chicken enchilada soup
  • Out-to-Eat Night - I'll be heading to a birthday party with the kids while Jared is at the wedding rehearsal.
  • Leftovers  - We have a wedding tonight and Jared is officiating so the kiddos will  most likely be having leftovers with the sitter.
  • Salad - Simple Italian Pasta Salad (rotini, grilled chicken, olives, cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions, homemade garlic herb dressing, etc.)
  • "Italian" - Calzones and a side salad
Your turn: Do you have a usual pattern for you weekly/monthly menus?
As of late, I have had quite a bit of "menu" writer's block. Let me know if you have any recipes that might help. :o)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Temperance: Eating for Weight Control (Updated 8/2/12)

Update (8/2/12): On July 28, I ran my first 5k. I finished in 35:18 and really enjoyed doing it. Jared ran with me and only beat me by 1 second. I felt really good afterward like I could run another mile or two, which was very exciting for me considering the first time I ran for 3.1 miles I thought that I was going to die!

Unfortunately, my weight is up a bit (201.8) but I have been far busier than I should be over the last few weeks. I need to slow down some and focus more on doing what needs to be done.

Here are some pictures from our 5k.
Before the race

about 15 minutes after the race
I look just a bit different than I did at my heaviest.