Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Book List: update

I still have two or three books to read yet before I complete the entire list I compiled at the beginning of the year, but I did get through most of them and was definitely challenged, uplifted -- and hopefully changed as well. I'm finding I have less time to read these days, yet there were still a few more books that made their way onto the list as the year went along:

Who Calls Me Beautiful?: Finding Our True Image in the Mirror of God

  I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy
This book made me cry!

The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well
With moving this summer and setting up home in a new house -- this book contained some creative ideas and tidbits.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
Warning: don't read this unless you want to think differently about all the stuff in your house and activities in your life. [smile]

My favorite book of 2012? That is a tough question, but I think it was Rachel Jankovic's
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches

If you are a mom -- read this book.
If you are a big sister -- read this book, then read it again after you have babies of your own.
I think I'm going to put this on my 'to read list' every year. Down to earth, easy to read, and humorous at times, each chapter contains little gems to make you smile and words that will encourage and give strength.

Now to begin compiling a book list for 2013...
Any suggestions?

What are you hoping to read?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

First Christmas

{eight month cutie-pie}

"Please tell me one of these is for me?!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry be your Christmas,
peaceful be your home,
joyful be your family,
blessed be each one!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

three years and counting

Happy anniversary, Dan!

My fondest memories have been made with you
and I'm looking forward to making many, many more.

You're pretty much my favorite 

of all time in the history of ever!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Asparagus 'N Spaghetti Squash

Here is another recent creation that came out of my kitchen earlier this month. I'm sure the original recipe is good, but it called for lots of ingredients that I didn't have, but I did have other ingredients in my fridge that I knew would cater to our personal preferences. 

And it turned out delicious! So here is my recipe. If you've never tried spaghetti squash -- I highly recommend introducing yourself to it with this delectable dish!

1 spaghetti squash
1 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
2-3 slices bacon, cooked and diced
3 T crumbled feta cheese
1 T fresh chives, chopped
1 C asparagus (I used frozen)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then place spaghetti squash cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven and set aside till cool enough to be easily handled. (You can also microwave the squash if you want it done in a more timely manner).

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the oil, onion, and garlic till tender. Using a large spoon, scoop the pulp from the squash and add to skillet along with remaining ingredients. Cook another 5-10 minutes (or just until asparagus is tender).

Serve with baked or grilled chicken (or anything, really!) It would make a great side to most any meal.

Hm-mm-m. So fabulous!

(And obviously, you can add more bacon/herbs/cheese to cater to your personal preference!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Simple Christmas


Friday, December 07, 2012

seven month sweetie

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

any-way-you-want muffins

These are seriously my all time favorite muffins. 

Not only is the actual muffin delicious, but I've done a lot of experimenting with them and they always turn out fabulous. Since the latest experiment was with cranberries, that is the recipe I'm sharing. 

1 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1/2 C sugar (or honey or sorghum or whatever natural sweetener you prefer)
1 egg
1/3 C oil
1/3ish C milk (not an exact amount, I know -- but you'll see why later)
1 tsp vanilla
1 C cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 C white chips or almond slivers (or both!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Measure dry ingredients into mixing bowl.

Into a measuring cup, pour in the 1/3 C oil. Add the egg, then fill with milk to the 1 cup line. Beat mixture, then add vanilla and sweetener (if using honey) and pour in with the dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. DON'T OVER MIX.

Add 3/4 C of the cranberries and chips or nuts. Mix, then pour into greased or lined muffins tins. Sprinkle the remaining cranberry pieces on top. Bake in oven for 8-12 minutes or until deliciously golden and the house smells amazing.

Oh -- and the muffin-liner will come off easier if you let them slightly cool before eating. [smile]

And like I mentioned previously, these adapt super well to whatever you have on hand or is in season. I've listed below the things that I've tried and had great success with:

  • 1 C blueberries
  • 3/4 C peaches & dash of cinnamon/nutmeg
  • 3/4 C chopped strawberries & handful of butterscotch chips (Not to downplay how amazing these muffins are with cranberries, but seriously -- go buy strawberries and butterscotch chips and try this combination. I'm not sure what gave me the idea to try them together to begin with, but they are a raving success and oh, so delicious!)
  • 1 large or two small smashed bananas & handful of chocolate chips/nuts
Let me know if you do any experimenting of your own with this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


sound asleep

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1 Thessalonians 5:18

In everything give thanks;
for THIS is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

If THIS is God's perfect will for me at this moment,
can I not thank Him for it?

If this is precisely where He knows I must be in order to know Him more fully and glorify Him with my life, how can I complain?

Do I really think I know my needs better than the all-knowing, all-loving Creator of the universe knows them?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

my lil' girl

Since it has been 21 days since I've posted pics of the li' girl who fills my day with slobber, diapers, smiles,and giggles, I thought it was time for a few quick snapshots. [grin]

 Not only did she discover her toy cupboard this week, but she is learning new skills by the hour, it seems!

 Crawling all over, pulling herself on anything that will support her weight, clapping, jabbering and learning new sounds; she also cut three more teeth last week! 

She's a very busy little girl. And have I mentioned that she is a people person? If there is someone to interact  with, the toys strewn across the floor are non-existent to her!

 Such big blue eyes. 

I love that baby. I'm so thankful she gets to call me mommy!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Saturday, November 03, 2012

Every Life Matters

People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I've noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: they hold the unshakeable conviction that EVERY LIFE MATTERS.

They get excited about one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren't determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they're satisfied with small changes. Over time, small changes add up...

They don't do anything to call attention to themselves, they simply pay attention the the EVERYDAY needs of others. 

-Becky Clark

"I was hungry and you gave Me food, 
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, 
I was a stranger and you welcomed Me...
for I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, 
you did it to Me." 

Matthew 25:36, 40

Monday, October 29, 2012

soup weather

With the changing of leaves and the temperatures drastically dropping, it calls for pulling out the fuzzy socks, cozy sweaters, and favorite soup recipes!

Or if you like experimenting in the kitchen, it can also mean looking for new recipes in hopes of adding to the stash of favorites. I came across this recipe and couldn't wait to try it. I made a few revisions to compliment what I already had in my pantry and to also include our preferences. For instance: when it comes to soup, meat chunks are always preferred over shredded meat. [smile]  

Hm-mm-m. I love the hearty fall vegetables and savory flavors. 

Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
7 cups chicken broth
2 small/medium potatoes
2 boneless chicken breasts
2/3 cup quinoa
1/2 acorn squashed, fully cooked and peeled
1 1/2 cups spinach
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
favorite soup seasonings (salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, etc...)

Begin by simmering the oil, carrots, onion, and garlic for 10 minutes.  Scrub and cube the potatoes, then add them to the soup along with the broth and seasonings. While that simmers for another 10 minutes, cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and rinse the quinoa. Add them both to the soup and simmer until chicken and quinoa are fully cooked (around 20 minutes). Cut the squash into cubes and chop the spinach;  add with the cheese and simmer an additional 3-5 minutes. Toast some bread and enjoy!

(I haven't tried this recipe in the slow-cooker yet, but I think it should adjust quite nicely.)

And now that I've told you about one of my new favorite soups, typed up the recipe, and looked at pictures of it, I have worked up an appetite for a big, steaming bowl of this delicious soup. Thankfully I have leftovers in my fridge...  [grin]

What are a few of your favorite things about autumn?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

treasure today

You will never have this day with your children again.

tomorrow they'll be a little older than they are today. 

this day is a gift. breathe and notice. 

smell and touch them.

study their faces and little feet and pay attention.

RELISH the charms of the present.
-Jen Hatmaker

"Okay Mom -- that is quite enough five month-old pictures..."