Thursday, January 31, 2013

3 Things, timed edition

Quick...I have to leave to pick up the kids from school in 10 minutes!

1.  The treadmill:  Enjoyed my walk today and read some spiritually uplifting magazine articles at the same time.  Great combo!

2.  Food:  Food is good, right?  Today I was thinking of hot cocoa and thinking of the health benefits (who knows if it is true) of cinnamon and honey and decided to make hot cocoa with honey as the sweetener, real milk, and cocoa powder.  Then, of course I added cinnamon.  Yummy combo!  It's cold outside and that really warmed me up.

3.  The SUN:  By far the best thing about today is that the sun is shining.  We had 3 days of intense fog, followed by a little blizzard, and then today it was cold, but the sun shined bright.  Boy, the sun sure helps my mood.  I loved it!

Thanks for your kind words when I was struggling yesterday over my friendship/social issues lately.  Like with most trials, I am and know I will be grateful for what it is teaching me and doing for me. I've struggled this year, but I think I've faced things down that I would have just ignored had I the distraction/help of a social support network.  Of course, I still know I want and need that but I've learned a lot about myself this year.  Anyway, gotta go!  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

3 Things...How many days has it been?

1.  Took my little boys to Panera Bread and as I was walking out was super excited to have something to share with you I was thankful for!  Ha ha...I'm kind of an emotional wreck and its downright sad that I'm struggling to come up with stuff some days. The good news is not only did I get to eat my favorite food in the world for lunch, the boys (especially my 5 year old) were so thrilled they got to go to a restaurant   I swore off eating out a few years ago, including fast food, so this was a very rare occasion for him.

2.  I was going to mention Downton Abbey again...and well, now I have :), but what kind of emotional trauma did they put us through Sunday night???!!!!  But I'm always grateful for something fun to watch with such strong acting.

3.  This blog.  I'm short of friends these days, and what that means in my life is short of talking opportunities.  I don't realize how much of a talker I am until I don't for a chunk of time.  I'm glad I have a place to write and where I feel welcome (even though it is me welcoming myself :) to share my thoughts.  Any of you who read this, I just want to say thanks.  Thanks for being that friend to me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Peanut Butter Playdough

I'm re-publishing this high protein snack recipe, because it's been so popular here in our house :)

A recipe so easy your toddler can (and will!) make it:

1 C peanut butter
1 C honey
1 1/2 C powdered milk

Mix first two ingredients and then add a little of the powdered milk at a time, kneading it in until the playdough is no longer sticky.

Let the kids play!  Cookie cutters and rolling pins work great.  And if they put a piece or even a handful in their mouths?  No sweat.  It's a high protein snack my kids (and I, shhh!) love.

P.S.  I got this recipe from my preschool teacher when I was three.  It's near and dear to my heart and I love sharing the fun with my own sweeties.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thankful Today

1.  Friends, for my brought playdates and plans for future ones and it gave me a reassurance that we'll be alright here after all.  It's been slow coming, but comforting.

2.  Thawed, marinated porkchops, cooked to falling-apart perfection in the crockpot.  Glad I had those in the freezer!

3.  My number finally came up.  After months on the waiting list, the library graced me with Downton Abbey, season 2 this week.  It's been like a delicious dessert to devour.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

High Protein Breakfasts

High Protein Breakfasts

  • Scrambled Eggs Topped with cheese
  • Fried Eggs
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Greek Yogurt
  • adding nuts and milk to cereal
  • omelet
  • hot ham and cheese sandwich
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Turkey Sausage
  • Regular bacon and sausage of course too :), I just prefer the turkey
  • powdered protein smoothie or shake
  • if you have a roll or bagel or sweet bread, smother it with cream cheese
  • add nuts and milk to oatmeal or other hot cereal
(originally posted April 2012)

High Protein Lunches

High Protein Lunches

  • Chicken Salad on lettuce
  • Chicken Salad Sandwich
  • Tuna Sandwich
  • Add nuts and seeds to salad bar salad
  • Add cottage cheese to salad bar salad
  • Hamburger (get bun or fries but not both to cut down on carbs)
  • Lunch meat and cheese (in a sandwich or alone)
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Peanut butter on toast
  • add protein powder to green smoothie
  • Egg salad sandwich
  • canned or homemade chili
  • Leftovers of chicken stir fry or chicken curry from dinner the night before
  • Leftover grilled fish and veggies
  • Bean burrito

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

High Protein Snacks

As a general rule, I have a hard time eating enough protein.  I found this when I had to change my diet for gestational diabetes and other times in my life where I have needed to regulate carb cravings.

High Protein Snacks:

  1. string cheese (alone or wrapped with some deli turkey)
  2. almonds and a piece of fruit
  3. Peanut butter and cut fruit for dipping in it
  4. Meat dinner leftovers
  5. High protein slim-fast shake
  6. Ham roll-ups (appetizer with cream cheese and green onion)
  7. black bean salsa and corn chips for dipping
  8. hummus and veggies (its been years since I've had hummus, I need to buy some!)
  9. real cheese and crackers
  10. Peanuts and chocolate chips
  11. Hard-boiled egg
  12. Deviled eggs
  13. celery with peanut butter
  14. veggies dipped in a sour cream dip
  15. cottage cheese with fruit (canned pineapple with the juice is my fave)

Today's Happy 3 Things

1.  I started piecing together a yellow and gray chevron quilt top.  It looks so cool.  I'm excited about it.

2.  I got lots of cleaning done...although it was mostly because of a nagging anxiety that followed me about all day.  It's partly because I started a new medicine that has been working great in other ways but hasn't tweaked the anxiety yet.  It's beating the alternative, though, so I just try to keep myself busy between doses of Xanax :).

3.  I did my treadmill walking, my Scripture reading, and our family scripture time.  Besides the no wheat thing (that only lasted 5 days) I've been able to implement a lot of positive changes this January.  I'm trying to just appreciate those and give myself grace for all the things that can swamp me if I realize all I'm not doing or should be doing better...that's where #2 comes in.  But I'm trying to give myself that grace.  Trying every day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Again, I'm Grateful

1. Cash:  We started a cash budget for our household goods (food, toilet paper, diapers, etc.).  This is the part of the budget I am in charge of so it's a new experiment for me.  So far I am really enjoying it.  I came in under budget last pay period so I had a little to roll over.  It's invigorating to feel like I have a little control over that.  When it was in accounts it was easier for things to be transferred over or out depending on other needs.  This way I am spending less, but also feel like I can try to save towards fun things for myself.

2.  My house:  I am really just loving it.  It takes me a long time to adjust to new changes, and even though we've moved 15 times (if I counted right) each time it is hard for me to adjust and feel at home.  It's been just over a year now since we closed on this house and I'm really starting to feel at home and like it's my home.  Being a real homebody that is a nice feeling to have.

3.  My passion:  I spent this morning's treadmill walk listening to TED talks again and one of them was about career passion.  I'm invigorated and inspired by such talks as well as frustrated.  It always starts me down a thought path of wondering what my passion is and if I've somehow missed something.  After finishing my walk and starting up the stairs it quietly hit me again.  I AM living my passion!  I made the choice 10 years ago to leave a great career to start one I literally felt called to.  I am a mom.  I am so grateful.  I am motivated to push myself harder to achieve the goals I have as a mom.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Rustic Sewing

My highest selling item this Christmas season was a rustic Christmas tree skirt made from this canvas and frayed white cotton.  After the holiday sewing rush I decided to make a table runner for myself.  I love natural materials and I really enjoy seeing this bit of "me" on our desk each day.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Today's 3 Things

1.  Diapers...I'm glad we were out of diapers.  It gave me a reason to get out of the house.  I haven't gone much of anywhere for awhile because I feel *so* sick.  But I got out and it was nice.  My car is driving so nice and smooth! :).

2.  I cleaned one room!  The living room...vaccuumed it too.  I also got three loads of laundry done today.  For feeling like I do, I am glad I'm able to keep the essentials moving along.

3.  comfy clothes...when I went out in public I realized I was still wearing my jammy pants and half (accidentally) bleached t-shirt...oops!  Still nice to wear when I don't feel good, though.

Today I am Thankful

  1. That I have a warm home and a car that runs well.
  2. That I survived :) (I am still feeling so sick.  It's been two days on the antibiotic...maybe in a few more I'll feel better).
  3. For the Library.  And books.  We go several times a week, and I love having so much free information for our family...books, movies, magazines, etc.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Scrap Quilts

I checked a few books out of the library and am now intrigued with the history and creative fun of Scrap Quilts.  They were so much of what made quilting a part of our history--using what was leftover to make something new, and beautiful.  I love the resourcefulness and creative spirit they show.

Because of that I've been saving and cutting my scraps to start one of my own soon.  Until then, I thought I'd show you some decorating inspiration starring this type of quilt:

Have you ever made a Scrap Quilt, or better yet, decorated with one???  Tell me more in the comments...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Car Pics

I love this collection of pictures.  Because I really love the photographer.  My five year old likes to document what is most important to him.  

Of course he picked a willing assistant to help place the props in the right position.

And pose if necessary....

I sure love these sweet boys!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What Went Right, day 5

This'll be about yesterday....

  1. Did my treadmill walking, and found out I can listen to my church lesson manual on my phone.  The two lessons I listened to were SO enlightening.  That was great.
  2. Went to the doctor and got antibiotics for my sinus infection.  I have a hard time finding doctors I like and I grumble about bedside manner, but taking a step back I realize that is such a luxury of our day.  Just stepping into a clean, new office building...being seen by someone who is also clean and washes their hands :), and leaving with the opportunity to purchase medicine that makes an illness seem like no big deal.  I'm very thankful for medical advances.
  3. My five year old had his preschool day.  I am so grateful for his preschool.  He learns so much and it gives us all a highlight to look forward to three days a week.  And it makes the other days feel like relaxing days "off" rather than just another day of home-life.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Family Work

How many of us does it take to put a bed together?

Well, just one.  You know Casey could do it blindfolded with his hands behind his back, right?  Or something like that.

But thankfully, he is kind enough to allow the kids to pitch in and I love to see them work together :).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What Went Right, day 4

  1. Downton Abbey, season 1 (Need I say more?)
  2. Was sick, but hubby took kids to church.  Thus #1 happening.
  3. Hope.  
Oh, and 3 of no wheat.  A friend pointed out this article to me and while I find it scientifically kind of fear-mongering with no real basis, hey, I like to try to things :).  I think I'm an excellent candidate to test his claims because I have been tested for Celiac disease with a strong negative result.  So any change I notice will not simply be undiagnosed disease.  I'll let you know how it goes, either here or my Facebook page.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What Went Right day 3

  1. Got out of the house for a bit!  It hasn't happened much with my van being worked on and well, cause I am a stay-at-home mom, right?  It's there in the name :).  So all I did was go get groceries at wal-mart, and watch people yell at their kids :/ (ugh, that gets me down every time) but I did get out.  And the van was wonderful!
  2. We got new tires on the van.  After all the work my husband did, then getting new tires and alignment made for a very smooth driving experience today.  As old and kinda ugly the van is getting I really love how it drives and how convenient it is for kid haulin'.  And its nice to not have a car payment, of course.
  3. I'm feeling thankful, very thankful for our home that we were blessed to get.  I thought about this as I was returning home from wa-lmart in my newly fixed van and looking at the bikes and things along the wall of the garage.  When we lived in our student housing "village" it was really hard on everyone to find places to store bikes, work out how to share/not share them, etc.  We are really lucky to have our own place.  I have to admit the thought process of gratitude started with the stabbing memory and pain of missing the people around us in the "village."  But as I drove thinking about this I thought about how much I missed Texas in our first few years here (still do some days!) and that it got better by making the best of my life in the village.  There are a lot of ways I could improve my happiness in this area, so I'll be praying to figure out the right ones to work on.

What Went Right day 2

  1. Vacuumed the toy room I organized last night.
  2. Got all four kids into the dentist this morning for their check-up.  It's been almost a year...I had stressed about making the appts for some time, finally made the appointments a few months ago and finally got it done today!  yay!  Only one child out of four has cavities so that feels like a win...who knows how it'll feel in two weeks when she gets them filled (and capped on a couple).
  3. About to head downstairs to do my daily 30 minutes on the treadmill while listening to TED talks.  It's become a favorite ritual of mine...some "me" time that is free and has health benefits :).
If you ever want to pop in to tell me what went right for you today, feel free!

Friday, January 11, 2013

What Went Right Today

3 Things:

  1. I did my daily walk on the treadmill.  I enjoy the feeling of walking so much, I wonder why I have to force myself to do it.  Grateful for the motivation of a new year, though!  While walking I like listening to TED talks through the app on my phone or reading the book suggestion newsletter from the library or magazines from the library.
  2. I kind-of like driving a truck!  :)  My husband has been fixing things on my van, and was waiting for one more part to arrive to finish.  So, its kind of torn apart.  Since he carpools for work, the truck was here to drive and besides the precariousness of exiting the's been a little fun to drive so high up and "big" on the road.  
  3. Organized the toy room - while hubby was in garage fixing my van-while kids watched the Christmas movies we ordered a little late :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Positive. I'm on Board.

Do you remember when I shared my "3 Things" for a week after reading it was one of the ways to be happy?

Well, that info re-appeared in my life in the form of this TED talk ( should watch it). But he said 21 days.

So 21 days it is.  I'm going to write down three things that went well each day for 21 days.  The catch (which might be good for you dear readers) is that I might write some in my journal too.  Or they might all be here.

Either way, I'm back on board.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The most important thing is STILL the most important thing

Recently I have had decision-making and a gamut of emotions related to my choice to make caring for my children my full-time work.

I thought I had made that choice when I left my job 10 years ago.  But some choices you have to make again and again.

Sometimes I start to think that the only answer (when medical bills come in, insurance comes due, more groceries are needed, we'd like to take a trip, the car breaks down, we need supplies to fix something on our house, etc.) is for me to get a job.  But what I've come to learn, that my place here is important.  

Important in my children's lives and in the greater plan God has for my life.  Someday I may work.  Maybe soon, maybe not.  But today I am here.  And it is richly rewarding to watch my son play legos while I am holding him and breathe in the scent of his head, and know that he is still the most important thing. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

{justlikeacoffeshop} Hot Cocoa Recipe

1/4 C water
2 T baking cocoa powder
2 T sugar

Combine these in a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to make a chocolate syrup like the coffee shops use (only yours will be better because you are using REAL food, not chemical concoctions).

Then add this to 1 1/2 C milk (2% is what those shops use) and microwave again for a minute and a half to two minutes.

It's steaming hot!  Time to top with a dollop of real whipped cream and maybe a sprinkling of cocoa powder.  Enjoy!  And put that $3.50+ back in your pocket :).

(updated on 1/8/14)

I found a recipe on King Arthur Flour's site that uses butter.  I need to try this!

“In a medium saucepan, melt and stir together –
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup natural cocoa
1/2 cup brown sugar
“Add 2 cups milk, a quarter cup at a time, stirring and returning to a simmer between additions. When all the milk is in and warm, add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, just before serving.”

Monday, January 7, 2013


I don't remember ever seeing it myself, but my mom played the viola when she was young.  She also wore her hair with a scarf like this when I was little.  Sometimes I look at my oldest daughter and see so much of my mother.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I'm putting together some of my favorite clips that make me even days later when I remember them :).

Here are a couple: