Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's cookin'?

First of all, I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day! We've been so busy lately and time is just flying by. One blessing that we've had is that some friends of ours offered to let us come pick some peas in their field! How great is it to have fresh produce!? We always had this growing up and I just assumed that everyone had piles of ziplock bags of fresh vegetables in the freezer ready to use. Now I'm realizing all the work that goes into it...but also the benefit! It's exciting, but I'm trying to hurry and get these peas shelled and put away before they go bad!
It doesn't look like much, but I guess I'm slow because it's taking me a while! The pile is a little smaller now, but there's still some there!

Now for what was cooking for supper the other night. Just your typical easy supper...tacos. This time, though, I made it with ground turkey instead of beef. I used to use ground turkey in a lot of recipes, but we kind of got sick of the taste, so we had to go back to beef. But with all the things that go on tacos, the meat isn't the only flavor. So they turned out really good. One thing that I love is to take some of the taco seasoning packet and mix it with some sour cream. It's awesome! It makes a great kind of tex-mex sauce that I put on my tortilla first and then add on the rest of the goodies. Even though I just used a package of flour tortillas, I have made homemade tortillas before and I thought I would include the recipe. It's really good and easy...just a little more time consuming. We used to make these in Thailand because they didn't sell already made kind in the grocery store in our town. My recipes says it'll make 2-4 tortillas, depending on how big you like them.

Homemade Tortillas
  • 2 cups flour (often we would use whole wheat flour)
  • 3 Tbs. shortening (I use Crisco)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup water (add it last)

Mix first three ingredients together. Make an indention about the size of an egg and put water in. Work in gradualy. Cook about 1 min in a pan...no oil.

Pretty easy, huh?! I think they would be fun to make with kids, too. They're very tasty!

God bless!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Birthday dreams

Since I was a little girl, I've loved my birthday. I guess it helped that I am a fourth of July baby. I love the fireworks (just for me, right?!), swimming, having slumber parties (when I was a teenager), and just getting to hang out with family and friends. As an adult, I still have some of those birthday wishes in my heart, but I'm not able to do the same things I did when I was young. I've got a husband and kids now! :-) But that doesn't mean that I can't have a fun celebration. I usually end up celebrating for a couple of days instead of just one. This year will be no different. We're going to head to Macon for a day so that I can hang out with my family there, and do some fun things. We're going to eat at this cute little restaurant called Twila Faye's Tea Room in Bolingbroke, GA. We've been going there off and on for years and it's so fun! That'll be for lunch. I've already told Joe that there must be a trip to Krispy Kreme! Joe doesn't give in on that place because we know that it's fattening. He knows it's a weakness of mine. But for my birthday, I'm going to get a dozen of a variety of doughnuts and we're going to bring them back to Eastman if there's any left and we're going to EAT THEM! Yay!

I can't wait. We're even going to have some coffee with them! I want to get some good new shoes for my birthday gift to myself...and from the fam. I want something comfortable, supportive, and something I can wear casually or possibly to church. Multifunctional. Any suggestions? I'm not a good shopper, so I would love some help! My sister was thinking about getting some of these:

What do you think? I think they're so cute. They're by Keen. Anybody have these? Anyway, for the actual birthday we're going to go hang out with some friends from church and have a cookout/hangout. I'm really looking forward to it! And my mom is making me a chocolate cake. Have I mentioned that I LOVE my birthday! :-)


Saturday, June 27, 2009

VBS is done....and today was family fun!

Here's our little VBS crew. We pray that these little ones were able to learn a little bit about Jesus this week as we studied about Peter and Jesus and Jesus' other "helpers". I love the Veggietales song that has the line, "I guess little guys can do big things, too!" I hope these little guys...and gals....will grow up to do big things, too!

After a long and busy week, my sweet hubby suggested that we go and do something fun today! We didn't have time to go anywhere far, so we just decided to take Sophie to the bouncy place again (the same one we've been to before). We got to have a lunch at Burger King (we don't have one here in Eastman) and Sophie got to play on the HUGE castle-like playground. We were so proud of her as she climbed up and down all types of stairs (she's still working on building up her leg strength...this time last year she was barely walking!). Then Daddy and Sophie played on all the bouncy things for about an hour when Mimi, Aunt Karen, Uncle Danny, and two of her cousins, Austin and Layla, showed up to play. They had a BLAST! They played and played for about 2 or 3 hours there. Sophie even went up and down the big slide by herself! We headed over to Fatz restaurant...gotta love those poppyseed biscuits with cinnamon butter...YUM! After a delicious meal we headed home. What a fun day. Thanks, Daddy! Sophie and Isaac are snoozing...hopefully for the rest of the night!

Blessings to you and yours!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Whatcha watchin'?

Over the past several years I feel like the Lord has led me on a personal journey of cleaning out my mind. This is an ongoing journey and I'm still not where I need to be. Before I elaborate, I also want to say that this is something God has done in my life, so I don't want to seem to be condemning those of you out there that don't share the same conviction. But God has been good to lead me in this direction. I needed it. From the time I was pretty young, I really didn't limit myself when it came to movies, TV shows, or books. I read or watched pretty much anything that seemed good. I loved soap operas, romance novels, a good love story or action film, etc. But I also struggled with replaying those stories in my mind...and most of those were causing me to be discontent with life. I didn't realize it at the time, but most of those "stories" are totally not realistic. Duh, right?! But when you're single, and you read or see these romantic couples, you think that's what you're missing out on! After college, I went to Thailand to teach missionary kids and was surrounded by Godly men and women who challenged me...especially in what movies I saw. It was hard at times, but it was so great to have friends who would be willing to walk out of a movie if it was not something we should see. So my book and viewing choices began to change. So did my struggles. My mind was clearer and a little more free from the things I had been struggling with. When I came home from Thailand and got married, my husband didn't go to movies much. When he did go, he was very guardful of what he saw. This has impacted me in a huge way. It was an even bigger challenge for me, as it limited even more of what I watched. But it drew me closer to the Lord, and has helped me to be protective over my mind and the mind of my husband. Now that we have children, I realize how much they absorb from the tv. We've already had to correct Sophie on some words she's repeated from the tv. It is a huge challenge for me...but as I want to know Christ more and honor Him with what I put in my mind, and the minds of my children, I press on! Here is a website that I use like crazy. I check every movie on there before we go to the movies or rent a movie. I think it has tv shows and music on there, too. It's put out by Focus on the Family and it's called Plugged In.
Check it out!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Adventure Reader

I've been an avid reader since I was very young. I've read more books than I can count. My taste in books has changed a lot over the years. I used to love reading Tom Clancy books (The Hunt for Red October is one of my favorites). In college I got really interested in reading children's literature, mainly because I was studying to be a teacher and had to take a very difficult course in children's literature....and really enjoyed it! As I've gotten older, my tastes have gravitated towards Christian fiction. Specifically westerns. What is it about these western stories that I love so much?! Maybe it's the setting...they're always set in beautiful places that I've yet to see with my own eyes. The women that are the main characters in most of the stories usually have some kind of problem, of course, but amazingly determined, smart, resourceful, and with it being Christian fiction, are seeking the Lord in the story. It's hard to put it into words, but it's so fascinating to me. Even though I think westerns are my fav...I like stories set in other places, too. I just basically love to read. Christian fiction is also very comfortable to read because they don't contain bad language or other things that may cause a stumble. I just finished a book tonight so this topic is on my mind. I wanted to recommend some of my favorite books and authors. My goal is to read more classics, too. I plan to read some with Sophie and Isaac as they get older.
Christian fiction authors/books I've enjoyed...

I love all the "Love Comes Softly" series by Jeannette Oake...and a lot of her other books. Kristen Heitzmann is also a favorite. This series, the Rose Legacy, is one of my number one western favorites. The last one, by Tamera Alexander, is what I just finished. I stayed up late last night and have been stealing moments all day to sit and read it. It was great! I've read some other great westerns, but the author's names have slipped my mind at the moment. I'm blessed to have a church library to check out books from!
I could go on and on about books...I have lots of children's chapter books and picture books that I love, but I think it would take up too much space! Maybe some other time.

**Pray for me as this week is Vacation Bible School at our church. I'm teaching the 2 year old class! My little girl is in there and I've been challenged as a mother and as a teacher this week. I know God has a lot for me to learn through this experience. The look on Sophie's face in this picture says a little about how worn out we are...I'll hopefully blog more next week! Until then...God bless!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Fun!

We've had a busy couple of days and Father's Day was no exception! But I can't complain a bit...I love the activity. If only I could be active and keep my house clean at the same time....but that's another story! We had a great Sunday School lesson and a great sermon this morning. We loaded up the car after church and headed to Mimi and D's house (my parents). Joe spent some time yesterday with his family. We had a great meal and good fellowship with my immediate and some extended family. Sophie wore a special dress that some friends of ours gave us from Brazil. Very cute!
Here's my little cutie posing in her new dress!

Here's the special Daddy in our lives with his little ones. Sophie wasn't really into the picture taking, but that's how it goes sometimes. She told Daddy, "Happy Father's Day" all throughout the day. It's so fun to see her grow and talk to us.

At my parent's house, Sophie got a special gift from her Aunt Karen. I think this is such an awesome thing you can do for you kids, grandkids, or even your niece or nephew. She made people magnets. Not only are they ADORABLE, but Sophie has already loved looking at them and saying the names of her family members. They also have numbers, shapes, colors, and the names of family members on them. Aunt Karen put magnets on the back so that we could keep them on the fridge. They are also numbered in order by age! So fun! I would love to make some of these for some of my other family members!

I hope you all had a wonderful, blessed day!! I praise God for fathers!

Friday, June 19, 2009

His first swim!

Tonight some good friends of ours who are members of our church invited us to come eat and swim at their house. It was so much fun!! It was the perfect day, too. It was plenty hot outside, so the water felt WONDERFUL! This was also little man's first time in a swimming pool. He seemed to really enjoy it! He looked so cute in his little swim suit, too :-D. I'm so thankful that the Lord not only meets our basic needs, but He also provides fellowship and fun with fellow believers. I'm so thankful for our friends. God is so good! I hope you're keeping cool out there...I know it's sure hot in Georgia!
God bless!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's Cookin'?

Tonight I needed to do something kind of of quick...well, at least most of it. The thing that took the longest was the spoonbread...a favorite of Sophie's and a recipe I got from my friend Catherine when we were in Thailand. The other part of the meal was just a can of green beans with potatoes and ham flavoring and some talapia. This is how I did the fish...

My favorite way to do the talapia is to put a little butter with some garlic salt and dill weed on both sides. I have one of those small George Foreman grills and it is great for doing talapia. My favorite seasoning for this particular fish is Pampered Chef's dill seasoning. It is awesome on this fish! I also picked up a tip with the Foreman Grill...if you put Reynold's Release Foil on it before you plug it in, you can still cook your meat with a lot less mess and clean up. Much easier!

Now for the favorite dish...
  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 can (16 oz) creamed corn
  • 1 cup of sour cream (I just used the whole 8 oz container of light daisy)

Mix the ingredients together and put into a square casserole dish (I used the 8 x 8...or 9x9...I can't remember). Cook on 400 for about 1 hour. It'll be kind of moist when it's done, but it'll be brown on the top. Good stuff!

Hope you enjoy!

Blessings to you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sweet girl

One thing that my hubby and I have observed about Sophie is that she has a sensitive heart towards certain people. We've noticed that she's very sweet to her grandparents, people at the nursing home, and even people we've visited at the hospital. It's almost like she senses those who need special care or attention. Our prayer is that the Lord has given her a sensitivity to those in need. We encourage it and I'm so thankful that she's that way. Here she is with my grandmother, her great-grandmother. My parents kept Sophie for me for a few days last week so I could recouperate and they took her to see Grandma. Mom told me that Sophie was just kissing all over Grandma that night. I hope that she continues to be that way as she grows up. I'm so thankful for God's blessings...especially those that come from my little ones!
God bless you!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Story time at the library

Today we went to the local library's story time. We went once last year, but Sophie wasn't really into it. I thought this year she would be old enough to enjoy it. She did well for a two year old...she wasn't very still but was relatively quiet and participated in the activity (making a kitty cat from shapes). I must admit I'm probably a little too overbearing...I want her to sit down, pay some attention, and most of all, be obedient and have good manners. Probably a little high on the expectations, but I can't help it! I'm glad she said thank you and overall did quite well. I'm looking forward to taking her more and with time she'll keep improving. I know she's learning and she's very young. I guess it's the teacher in me that wants her to do well, and the mother in me wants her to have good manners and obey me. With God's help, she'll continue to grow into a sweet young lady. And I will grow into a mother that allows her some freedom, but still protects her and teaches her with love and patience. It was a fun day!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Little Wiggly Worm ;-D

Our little man is growing. We've got this little tent-like thing that someone gave us when Sophie was born. I love it! It's from One Step Ahead (you can get a free magazine from them if you go their website...they've got some really cool stuff!). It's called a pea pod, I'm pretty sure, and it'll fold into a small round pouch that has straps that makes it easy to carry. It also comes with a little one layer sleeping bag type blanket, a small inflatable mattress, and a little pump to blow it up with (the little pump comes in handy for other things, too...like a blow up baby pool!). It's got UV protection and zips up if you want to take it outside or to the beach. Very handy. So we would put Sophie in there when she was little and now little Isaac gets to go in there. But he's learning how to wiggle and scoot his way out of there...as you can see. I wonder if he's going to be more active than Sophie was. I guess we'll see!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I did it....well...we did it!!

When Sophie accomplishes a task or something she really wanted to do, we'll sing this little song...it goes...I did it, I did it, I did it, I did it, I did it.....I did it! I think it came from Dora the Explorer or something like that. Well, I felt like singing that song today, except I need to change it to...we did it! I gave my friend LeeAnn a call today and asked her if she could help me with my sewing project...or help me with my machine! She said I could go by her house this afternoon and she would help me and I could use her machine. I did and it was so much fun!! She showed me some things I could do with Sophie's dress, helped me with my little blunders, and also showed me how to start on the machine. Then she let me do most of the sewing! What a great teacher she is! She wanted me to feel like I had done the project...but I couldn't have done it without her! All I had to do when I got home is put the ribbon through the top. I let Sophie try it on to see if it fit and she didn't want to take it off! I can't wait for her to wear it to church tomorrow. I may like this sewing thing! :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

A day of activity

Today I was able to go to a big homeschool fair in Perry, GA. I went last year and enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun to go again this year! They always have lots of great used books to look at and a good bit of homeschool curriculum to take a look at. Each time I've been I've gotten ideas for what I would like to do with Sophie when she gets a little older. It makes me more and more excited about homeschooling her! I was also able to get her several Veggie Tales videos, an Elmo video (she's already watched it once and loves it!), Cinderella, and the cartoon Robin Hood. We have a VHS player in our minivan, so these will hopefully provide some new entertainment!
After the fair, I went to Hobby Lobby for the first time. What a neat place! My friend, Machelle, was going, so I kind of followed her over to the fabric dept. She told me they have great fabric there. I headed over there and saw lots of cute stuff! I got a little bit and my wheels started turning on a potential project I have wanted to do for Sophie. Ok...but I have about zero sewing abilities! But for some reason I believe that I will be able to sew her something! But this time...I actually took some action! No one was at the house to help me get started with my great-aunt's sewing machine that was passed to me from my grandmother. Mom has used it before, but I haven't! Well, I get that baby unfolded from it's little table and start trying to figure it out. Immediately I dial Mom's number. She couldn't remember all about the way mine works, so I got the manual out. I got my bobbin threaded!! Yay! I got it in, and threaded my needle. Then I started practicing and ran into a few issues. I kept practicing and thought I got it. Then I got out my fabric that I had already cut out and pinned. Here it goes...my first seam. It went pretty well until something messed up with the machine and I have a bunched up stitch and then no stitch at all for about an inch and a half. Boo! Mom suggested I stop and try to get someone over to help me figure out what's going on. I didn't get even part of the way done, but maybe someone will be available tomorrow to come help me figure it out. But hey...I got pretty far for never having done this on my own before. And who knows...maybe I'll end up liking this sewing thing!!
Here's the old Singer and my cute fabric on the side. I hope the little dress turns out!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Queen for a day

Well, this morning we loaded up the car and headed to Macon so that I could go to the doctor. Coughing hard for the sixth day has taken it's toll and I had to get it checked out. I found out that, yes, I have a prescription-worthy cough and have an ear infection! Who'd a thought?! Mom comes with me and the kiddos to the appointment and we decide to go to Ingleside Village Pizza for lunch! Yay! That place is AWESOME! Dad met us there and took Sophie and my niece with him so that mom and I could have some "girl time"...well, girl time plus a little one in tow. Mom, Isaac, and I headed off to a new mall in north Macon and Mom told me she was going to take me shopping. She told me I was Queen for the Day. We had so much fun trying on dresses and both found one for my sister's wedding that will be in September. Then we got smoothies at Smoothie King. I've never had one from there before and it was good. Mom then told me that she and Dad would watch the kids and I could go get a pedicure. Wow! Mom knew just what I needed. Then Mom cooked a great supper for all of us and she and Dad are keeping Sophie until Friday so that I can get some rest and recuperate from being sick. Being Queen for the Day was the sweetest, greatest thing I could've ever wanted today. I needed that this week. Thanks, Mom! I hope all of you moms out there get to be Queen for the Day sometime soon!
God bless..

Monday, June 8, 2009

Love this book!

I mentioned before that for Sophie's second birthday, we had a storybook party. My friend LeeAnn came (she's an Usborne books consultant) and basically hosted for me. One of the books we put on Sophie's wish list was this book. Her uncle got it for her. We just got it this past week because it was on back order. I started looking at it the other night and it is AWESOME!! I would highly recommend it if you enjoy cooking and learning about other parts of the world. The pictures are very colorful and give great step by step instructions. A few of the recipes call for some ingredients that might be hard to obtain, but for the most part it's doable. It also has special pages introducing different fruits and vegetables from around the world. I'm looking forward to doing some of these recipes with Sophie along with studying the different countries that they come from. You could develop an entire Social Studies unit based on this one book! (Can you tell I used to be a teacher?!) I always loved Social Studies when I was in school. I hope to pass some of this on to my kiddos. I also hope that I can pass on world vision that will encourage the kids to pray for God to work in the hearts of those in different parts of the world. Anyway, I couldn't pass up a chance to recommend this to all of you!

God bless!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Weekend Adventure

Well, we definitely had an adventure this weekend! Joe performed a wedding this weekend in Douglass, GA, so we had planned to go on Friday night, come back, go back on Saturday for the wedding and then come back again. We were going to leave Sophie with a family member and just take Isaac. Friday morning, our family member called and told us she was sick and one of her children was getting sick, too! We felt bad for them! We had to think fast, be spontaneous, and decided to get a hotel room in Douglass, pack up, and get the kids ready! So we loaded up the minivan and headed on our way! The adventure begins! We had a fun time, even though I had developed a cold. I took Sophie to the indoor pool, even though it was COLD, and we had fun splashing around. We didn't get a whole lot of sleep...Sophie was sleeping on a blow up mattress part of the night and with me part of the night. Isaac slept with me the first part of the night and in his pack-and-play the rest. We did get a late check-out--YAY! The wedding was nice and we headed back late Saturday night. I've still got a cold (please pray for me!) and we got to catch up on some rest Sunday. We'll add this one to the list of Daniel family adventures!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pizza fun

My friend Elizabeth had a fun idea a few months ago for her son's little birthday get-together...making homemade pizzas! Sophie loved it (as seen above)! And the pizzas were very good. She had some pizza sauce in a jar to go on it and we added cheese and other toppings...turkey pepperoni, onions (which surprisingly Sophie loved), and ham. I thought this was a neat idea and wanted to pass it on. Here is her pizza dough recipe (from moneysavingmom.com):
Homemade Pizza in Less Than 30 Minutes

Pizza Crust:1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix.

Dump onto a floured surface.

Knead into a smooth dough (five minutes or so).

Roll out and press down onto a greased pizza pan.

Add toppings. (Have fun and be creative with this! Our favorite variety is salsa or barbecue sauce, diced cooked chicken, and cheese.)

Bake at 450 degrees F. for around 12-15 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.
By the way, you can make up a double or triple batch of the pizza crust dough and freeze the extras if you don't need it. This speeds up the preparation even more as all you have to do is pull out a bag of dough and a bag of chopped cooked chicken in the morning and then put the pizza together right before you're ready to eat. You can also freeze the pizzas already cooked but I doubt it would ever stay uneaten long enough to make it to the freezer around here!
Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Loving cream cheese! (*slightly edited...*)

Ok...I don't know about ya'll, but cream cheese is awesome to me!! I could eat that stuff with just about anything! Something I did today that I got from my friend Keisha is to pour salsa over cream cheese. It was great with the sandwich I had for lunch. I actually have been eating my salsa with reduced fat wheat thins and I like it just as much, if not more, than eating with tortilla chips. My grandmother gets pepper jelly...which I normally would have nothing to do with...and pours it over cream cheese...and it's awesome for parties or as a snack. One of my favorite party foods or even a great dessert for the family is fruit pizza. It has cream cheese, of course, and it is very good! Here is the recipe, complements of http://www.cooks.com/ (one of my favorite websites for recipes):

Fruit Pizza

  • 2 packages of cream cheese
  • 1 roll refridgerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • Pizza pan
  • Assorted fruit...suggestions: kiwi, strawberries, mandarin oranges, blue or black berries, bananas, marachino cherries

Spread cookie dough over pizza pan. Cook the crust as directed on wrapper. In a bowl, microwave cream cheese until soft. Add vanilla and sugar. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of cooled cookie. Cut and lay fruit in circles. Serve immediately.

Hope you enjoy! *Another great way to serve it is to just bake the easy sugar cookies that are already sliced and let them cool really good and then spread the mixture over it and put the fruit on there. That way you can have little individual fruit pizzas...easy to serve and you don't have to cut! Great for kids, too!* I will hopefully post some great party food recipes soon. My family LOVES to do party foods for family get-togethers, game nights, etc. If you have any great recipes, I'd love to have them...especially if they're fast and easy!

God bless!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Playing with Water

Our little girl, Sophie, loves to play in the water. Saturday I thought it would be good to take her outside and let her play in the baby pool and with the water hose. It just seems like lately we've been staying inside a lot. I'm always feeling like I'm tired or need to catch up on something in the house after being busy over the weekend. I felt like we were due for some outside activity. Boy, did she love it! She was having a blast with the hose and the baby pool. The water was cold, too, even though it was warm outside. Here she is having fun...

Not only does Sophie love to play in the water hose outside, she loves to play with water on the inside, too! Mommy has a fun time keeping Sophie out of the toilet! So that leads us to the next story about Sophie playing with water. Poor Cindy doll. Cindy came to us from Thailand. She was given to me several years ago by my friend Sherry as a gag gift on my birthday. Little did she know that one day my little girl would claim Cindy as her own! Cindy is almost as tall as Sophie. Sophie was toting her around the other day and before I could turn around, Sophie had dipped Cindy's feet in the toilet! Cindy got her first foot washing and, poor thing, had to be hung to dry.

Isaac thought it was pretty funny, too! Hopefully the next time we play in the water it'll be outside and not inside! ;-)

Blessing to you and yours!