Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007


I haven't really had an absence of things to say here recently, I've just been rather unmotivated to get on the computer. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things, but we've been really busy, and frankly, I'm exhausted. After Bible study tomorrow, I am completely wide open for the week... I'm looking forward to it. Maybe after some genuine R&R I can return with my usual wit and excitement. For now, here's a little gem from our annual "Trunk or Treat" from last night... couldn't you just eat up that little strawberry?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Vision Forum

I've been "blogstalking" a few homeschooling mom blogs here lately... many of you know that it's our desire to homeschool our children, so it's a delight for me to be able to read about Christian families who are successfully and joyfully doing just this. It's through reading Kim's blog that I found out about something called Vision Forum.

Vision Forum is a pretty remarkable resource for Christian families. I'd encourage you to read about it. Anyway, they have a catalog (accessible online) chock full of incredible books, CDs, DVDs, and more. I looked through it for the first time because of the contest Kim is hosting over at her blog. I figured I'd enter just for fun, so here's my "wishlist" of Vision Forum publications.
  • Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God
  • Family Man, Family Leader
  • Webster 1828 Dictionary
If you'd also like to enter for the chance to win your wishlist, check out the rules here. It's worth your while just to check the catalog out! (By the way, you only have until Midnight on October 26... )

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's about time!

Are you kidding me? The high today is sixty-one degrees! Oh blessed day! It's finally fall!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Breaking News

Phoebe Kate can put in a pacifier all by her big girl self. She has dropped it onto the exersaucer tray three consecutive times. And three consecutive times she has put it back in her mouth. It takes her a second to remember which end she wants, but she can do it, friends.

This very same big girl is wearing a 9 month outfit (!) and quite possibly made the sign for "more" at lunch today. [We're waiting for confirmation on the sign; it's also possible she was just excited and happened to bring her hands together as I was trying to teach her the sign.]

Okay. I'm supposed to be folding her laundry while she plays independently. More to come, eventually. It's a busy week, kids.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


What a sweet, sweet family we have... and even better, Daddy's being fun and letting Phoebe eat sand. Really.

In spite of the deluge that has been our trip to the beach, we've been able to steal away a few moments in the sand, if not with the sun at our backs. We're still optimistic about a Christmas card picture, but we'll see! It's been wonderful just to be a family, hanging out.

In a word? Memorable.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Drift Away

After a series of several busy weeks in a row (is it really the middle of October already?), we've escaped. It's been a while since we've gotten away for a whole week. Michael is still having to work (hence the laptop and ability to post), but he manages to steal away for some time in the pool or in the sand. And I'm sure that working at the beach is infinitely better than working in an office. Surely.

Our little waterbaby
loves the water. Oh, I had my suspicions from the way she loves to splash in the bath. But oh my goodness. Even though the water was frigid, Phoebs loves just floating around and kicking. She got to try out sand today, too. [Note: by "try out", I mean feel, touch, kick, and eat.] We were a little unsure of the ocean because of jellyfish lurking in the tide, but we've got plenty of time to get in it!

Yesterday was also Phoebe's 7 month day. Seven months! And in the last week, she has changed
tremendously! I can't even imagine what she'll be doing at eight months. We do not have a picture with an Edgar's strawberry cake, but mom is making me a birthday cake this week while at the beach, so I'm sure we'll have a family picture then. :) Anyway, here's an update on all the exciting things that Phoebe is doing at 7 months:
  • sitting with great confidence for as long as she pleases
  • "creeping" across the room... she does this great push-slide-shove thing that works for her to get things that she wants... jake, glasses, shoes, whatever.
  • pushing up onto her knees and rocking back and forth (she's going to be a crawler soon, I can tell!)
  • babbling -- she started this yesterday -- saying "blah, blah, blah", seriously!
  • eating cheerios, rice puffs, and little bits of whatever food we want to share with her (Mops may have given a bite of doughnut, and Pops may have let her try some cobbler...) with great enthusiasm
  • manipulating her toys with hands, and not just her mouth
  • understanding sign for more and all done, but not signing yet on her own
  • trying to pull up (unsuccessfully), but leading to a lower crib
  • chewing on ice in her "Popsicle", but not showing signs of teeth
  • sleeping like a champ both during the day and at night
  • delighting all those around her!
We are so blessed by our little Phoebe Kate... what a fun seven months we've had! And speaking of, she's probably about to wake up from her last nap and tell us it's time to go out to supper.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Everyday Gourmet

The website is still in its infancy, but I thought I'd move my recipes to a new blog. It'll be easier for me to keep up with, and still use this blog for all of my family-related stuff. I'd love it if you'd check it out over the next few days, leave some comments, and make a link to Everyday Gourmet, at I hope it's a helpful and fun resource!

Saving Up

So, having moved from two incomes to one about eight months ago, I am having to refine our spending in all areas. The Lord provides generously for our needs, but we also want to be good stewards of what we had. I think Phoebe has learned to be a good steward of her Cheerios... notice how she's storing some up for later? (This is her favorite thing to do with the Cheerios, at least at this point... she has figured out how to get them to her mouth better, but it still takes some work to eat them!)

While Phoebe's Cheerios will taste just as good they way they are (provided they haven't made a stop in the mouth and gotten soggy) zipped up in a baggy for later, my leftovers rarely do. Using leftovers wisely, and making the most of my grocery list, has been a HUGE help to our budget.

Storing up "leftovers" is always good, but you've got to know how to use them. Here are some meal ideas that use all of your leftovers wisely.

Roasted Chicken
Basic Chicken Stock

White Chicken Chili

Monday, October 8, 2007


My big, big girl... when I called the doctor this morning to make her 9 month appointment (in December, by the way), I realized I forgot to ask her a question last time I was in. The question? When can my little girl start eating finger food? I certainly didn't expect it to be any time soon; she's all gums! Well, friends, since she's sitting up and interested in what we're eating -- it's time to start!

Phoebe embarked on her big girl food adventure with a couple of scoops of cheerios. She thought they were a blast to play with, and loved trying to pick them up as they magically scooted away from her hand. At first, she treated Jake -- dropping each Cheerio off the side of the tray. Pick, drop. Pick, drop. Pick, drop. Then she figured out that she could put these tiny little things in her mouth... the trick was getting them in there! With a little assistance, we managed to try one. We were totally unsure about it, but she grinned when it went down the hatch! I'm sure it'll take a few weeks to master this, but I'm so proud of the way she's trying!

In other big girl news, we're working on drinking from a sippy cup and we sat up in the cart at Costco for the first time tonight. I think October is going to be a big month of firsts for my little bitty girl!

Gullible is not in the Dictionary

I am a very trusting person. I prefer trusting, because that, my friends, is a virtue. Gullible just makes me sound, well, dumb. Anyway, this has been the topic of several conversations this weekend. I suppose I've been particularly gullible? I don't know.

Last night, I had just finished reading
Anne of Green Gables and was laying in bed. Michael was trying to get his laptop up and running. I have no idea where it came from, but I wanted to know why the heck a codpiece was called a codpiece. So this is the story Michael tells me:

Do you know anything about cod? Cod are freshwater river fish (probably untrue). In order to catch cod, fishermen have to stand waist-deep in the water to catch them. Anyway, catching cod is a very difficult profession. These fish are like, well, the kamikaze pilots of the rivers. They swim around, but they don't just benignly allow their enemies to attack -- they attack first, even if it's too their death. Well, picture our friend the fisherman: waist-deep in water, full of kamikaze fish. Wouldn't you want to protect your jewels?

Friends, I believed this. I would have gone on believing this if my husband was not gracious enough to immediately
repent of his leading me astray. And reading this? I cannot believe that I, even for a second, believed this. Oh. My. Goodness. Am I gullible or what?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Like Whoa

I'm too tired to post. Seriously. I thought that a day game would be less strenuous; I was totally mistaken! Although it was lots of fun, I'm now a little (okay, a lot) sunburnt, sleepy, and ready for bed. Although the above picture has nothing to do with the Tide, I thought it'd be a perfect Saturday picture. Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Me Too!

"Oh Mommy, can I take a picture too?"
Simple pleasures, simple delights...

Thursday, October 4, 2007


So, my fall resolution is supposedly to start using my slow cooker, so that on days like yesterday, I don't actually have to worry about dinner. It'll be like June Cleaver has slaved all day in her pearls in my kitchen. Except if a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step... let's just say I'm still working on making my packing list. The step hasn't quite been made yet. :)

So after our walk yesterday, I needed to get supper on the table. I had already planned to give Michael a "comfort food" meal for last night since I knew he'd had a really long day at work. Fortunately, some of his favorite comfort foods are exceptionally easy. So easy, I can make it in my sleep -- literally. I think that's been the theme for supper this week! Anyway, I'm posting some yawn-worthy recipes... so that if you're as pooped as I am, you, too, can put supper on the table.

First: the drink you'll need in order to get through the cooking.

Iced Mocha
Serves One
  • Fill a tall glass with ice
  • Pour about half a glass full of cold coffee (I seldom drink all the coffee I ambitiously make in the morning)
  • Add 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup (the 50% less sugar by Hershey's is great)
  • Fill the rest of the glass with cold milk
  • Stir
  • Resist giving yourself a freeze-headache by sucking it down as fast as I know you will want to
I have yet to try this in the blender as a "frappuccino", but I'm sure it would be marvelous. Anyway, it's a great afternoon pick-me-up, and it's a whole lot cheaper than running out to Starbucks.

So after you've had your caffeine fix...

Simple Beef Stroganoff
Serves Six (even though there are only 2 of us, we make the whole batch -- great reheated)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 a small package of mushrooms, diced (if your husband hates mushrooms like mine, still include them... we just make them either extra small so they're not noticeable or extra large so he can pick them out; but it DOES make a difference)
  • 1 package of onion soup mix
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 small can of beef broth
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 8 oz of medium egg noodles, cooked and lightly buttered
In a pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Add ground beef and mushrooms, and cook until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in onion soup mix and stir well. Then sprinkle flour over meat evenly, and stir for about 30 seconds until flour is no longer raw. Stir in broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sour cream and allow to bubble for another 7-8 minutes, which is exactly how long it will take for your egg noodles to be done. Spoon beef over noodles, and voila! Super easy, super comforting. If you want to get fancy, add some fresh parsley chopped over the top.
Michael particularly loves this beef stroganoff because once, when we were dating, I tried to make him some Rachael Ray stuff that involved dijon mustard. Kids, don't do it. Don't put mustard in it. We still laugh about it.

And one more super easy pasta dinner...
Easy "Sketti"
Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of basil
  • 1/4 cup of parmesean cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place garlic and red pepper in a cold skillet. Add oil and heat on medium low. Cook about 3 minutes until garlic begins to fill your kitchen with a great smell. Add ground beef, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Brown beef. Stir in can of tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Stir in seasonings and cheese. Allow to simmer on low for at least 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Serve with your favorite pasta and some garlic bread.

Note: Having grown up Italian, I am accustomed to sauce. This is not sauce. This is my easy, "I don't want to slave over a hot stove for four hours" stuff. It's good. It's comparable to what you might get out of a jar, but I think it's cheaper (key) and tastier. If I was of the "canning" type, I would can this stuff so that I would have my own personal stash of jarred spaghetti sauce on hand.

So anyway...
here's a few ideas to get your table full tonight! Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

While the Cat's Away

Every month or so, the LIFE group girls get together to celebrate that month's birthdays. It's perfect, because, a)the girls all get a night out; b)we end up not having to buy birthday presents, just chipping in a few dollars for the birthday girl's dinner will do; and c)the husbands take care of babies. After a lunch with a very curious six-and-a-half-month-old, I very much appreciated her being in the capable hands of her daddy last night. I asked Michael to take pictures, and he happily obliged. Except on looking at this picture, do you realize that my child is sitting up on her own on the counter of all places? And where is her daddy? Well, let's just say he's the one holding the camera. YIKES! (Sorry, Mops, if that gave you a coronary. We're all fine!)

I so love that Daddy plays differently... I just sometimes wish we didn't have proof! :)

Callahan and her daddy also came to play while the big girls were out. I'm sure it was fun for Michae
l to have a little distraction, and I think the littles had a great time too! Callahan was also well-loved by Jaker, and I think she loved him in return. Let's just hope that Phoebe is still Jake's favorite! It's been a busy, social week for us... I'm thankful for our end-of-the-week wind down. I think the older Phoebe gets, the more of a homebody I get!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results

October is my absolute favorite month of the year. I adore fall, and usually by the end of October, fall has ushered itself right on in -- whether the south approves or not. Anyway, I'm reading for the first time ever, if it can be believed, Anne of Green Gables. And I'm loving it. Anne is absolutely hilarious, and I pray that my little girl is half as imaginative. I believe that this will be a bedtime read aloud of the best kind, when she's just a little bit older.

Anyway, here's what Anne has to say about October:
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it?"

As for that Diana? Well, let's just say that an October tea ended up with Diana flat drunk off currant wine. Whoops!

One More

I actually don't remember what I sat down to post here. WHOOPS. I probably should abandon ship, but I have precisely 8 minutes to finish drinking my coffee before Phoebs must be scooped from her crib (which really should be lowered pretty soon; I busted her on her knees and holding onto the top rail). We have Bible Study this morning, and then I'll be spending the afternoon getting some goodies ready for Michael's big meeting tomorrow. WHICH MEANS...

...I am likely to forget, again, that I am meeting girlfriends, without our babies (except those that have them in utero), for dinner tonight
...I am also likely to forget lunch with girlfriends tomorrow, with our babies, at Zoe's

SO FRIENDS. Please. Help me remember. I joked while I was pregnant that Phoebe was stealing my brain cells; she'd be the smartest baby around. I'm now realizing that was true -- her thievery was permanent, and I'm totally losing it. If I talk to you today and I make no mention of "fun plans with friends", this means I have forgotten again. And I don't want to forget again again. Seriously.

By the way: the above picture is posted to show my new "mom 'do" it!

Monday, October 1, 2007


I've just peeked in on Phoebs, and realized that I have a secret. After six and a half months, I've figured out how to check on her without actually entering the room. See, her new favorite lovie to sleep with is this giant lamb blanket thing. (Precise, I know.) Anyway, it usually ends up over her bottom when she conks out... and I can see Little Lamb from the doorway. If it's still, she's asleep. If it's moving... well... get her next meal ready. This is nothing short of miraculous. I praise the Lord every day that she takes at least one real nap a day. [Note: I have no complaints! She is a beautiful nighttime sleeper -- even when she wakes us up singing in the middle of the night -- and so having great naps during the day are just a true bonus. But we're all happier when she does nap well.]

Another secret: the other night, I kind of flaked on my planned meal for Saturday. As in, I was vile, and chose to slam pots around rather than lovingly roll out pizza dough with my husband. But I had a total go-to dinner sitting in my fridge, and I was thankful for it. I thought some of my friends would be thankful for a 5 ingredient supper, too!

What to make when you have nothing in the fridge: Chicken Parmesean
Serves 2 (but you can easily make this for 4, 6, 8, whatever)
  • 1 large chicken breast, butterflied
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce (or, you can use a cup of prepared spaghetti sauce like Ragu)
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
Heat a small amount of oil in a large nonstick skillet. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Saute in skillet for 5-7 minutes, or until one side is golden brown. Turn over, and allow to cook for 3-4 more minutes. Cover chicken with entire can of sauce (this will leave lots of runover) and reduce heat to LOW. Allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes. Top chicken breasts with cheeses, and place entire pan in a 450 degree oven. Allow to bake for 5 minutes, or until chicken is done and cheese is nice and bubbly. In my house, the leftover sauce in the bottom of the pan (which ends up seasoned and cheesy) goes on top of angel hair pasta. Serve with a steamed veggie, and you've got good eats. [Ladies, I would recommend that you sweetly ask your husband to clean the pan, though.]

As I was thinking about this recipe, I thought it would make a really yummy mexican version too: use Rotel tomatoes, mexican 4 cheese blend, and taco seasoning for the chicken. With a guacamole salad or black beans, you'd also be set.