Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Thousand Gift, Chapter 5

We are back from Disney . . . you can expect a post later in the week.

On Friday before we left I finished reading chapter 5 in One Thousand Gifts. It was another really good chapter. It was all about thanking God through the hard stuff, and just being thankful that He is in control, good or bad. I only have one quote, and it is actually a verse from the Bible. Isaiah 14:24 "Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand." After the verse, Ann says, "As God plans . . . so it stands" on page 88. Again, I just love the profound depth of her short statements. God plans it, so we don't have to stress about "what ifs." We just need to be thankful that whatever it is (good or bad) will bring Him glory. That is always our goal as Chistians. It is a hard concept to practice, but it does become a discipline if we practice enough.

Continuing the list . . .
31. Husband's eggs over medium two mornings in a row
32. A confident, swimming four year old
33. Spur of the moment shopping with sister-in-law
34. The Dollar Tree (where everything is truly 1 dollar)
35. Elmo pool party for two babies turning 1!
36. Closets full of clothes
37. Fresh ciabatta bread
38. No cooking all weekend:)
39. Tim and George getting to spend quality time together
40. The double stroller

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Favorites

Things I am LOVING right now . . .

1. Prayer Pail
Have you gone on "Pinterest" yet? If not, you need to. I recently saw a "pin" of a prayer pail. I loved the idea. You just put together a small pail with craft sticks inside. On each craft stick you write one prayer request. (We let George pick ours). Each night George picks out one stick, and he prays for the request with our dinner prayer. It is really sweet, and I am LOVING this new tradition.



2. Disney World
We used to take George to Disney World almost every month until he turned three. He was free until then, and we had Ethan around that time. It is definitely a lot harder to take two kids to a theme park, and we didn't really want to pay all that extra money. Needless to say we haven't been in a year (besides Mickey's Christmas Party in December). We are finally going this weekend to celebrate a few milestones. WE. ARE. SO. EXCITED. George is sleeping with the notebook I bought him for the characters to autograph.


3. An Almost Walking Baby (this is a love/hate relationship)
Little Ethan took 8 steps today. He used one leg for six of them and went in a circle, but they were steps all the same. I feel a little bad because I am not as eager for him to walk as I was George. I couldn't wait for George to walk because I was just so excited for each milestone. Now I realize how fast they grow, and I want time to slow down. I am not sure how many more babies I will have and each minute brings me closer to them growing up. I know it is inevitable, but I can't help but wish they could stay my babies forever:)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Beach - Then and Now

I am going to try to participate in the "Gussy Sews" inspiration workshop each week. She sends out a prompt that we can interpret however we would like. It is a fun way to delve into a little free writing. I used to love this kind of thing in my college English classes.
Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

This week the prompt was . . . BEACH.

The meaning of that very direct noun has changed for me over the past four and a half years. Before I had my son I looked at the beach as a relaxing place to get a tan and people watch for hours on end. I had even been known to take a long walk or two on said beach. I loved the breeze coming off the water and the thousands of shells at my finger-tips. I would have so much fun day-dreaming about my future or reading the newest book I had picked up. All in all, if you would have asked me 4.5 years ago, I would have definitely described the beach as a delightful, relaxing place in which I loved to spend as much time as I could possibly spare.

On April 23, 2007 my description drastically changed. I bore a tiny human being, and all of a sudden I couldn't even think of bringing this little bundle of joy out into the stifling hot sun, not to mention the gritty sand or dirty water. I pretty much boycotted the beach that first summer. Then he became one, and I decided to begin taking him to the beach to "play." He proceeded to eat sand, get pummeled by waves, and pretty much require my constant attention to stay alive.



At that point, my relaxing, delightful place became another playground in the rotation of our weekly outings. A place I went to tire my son out. A place I went to entertain him. Basically, a place for him, not me. I sound bitter, I know (that is the sarcasm), but actually I don't mind. I know that his years of wanting to "play" with me are short. I know that very soon I will go back to going to the beach by myself because he would rather go with his friends. I know that one day I will be taking his kids to the beach. I am holding on to these snapshots for dear life because although the beach has changed . . . it is still very much a happy place.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chicken Tetrazinni

Here is what we are having for dinner . . .

Ingredients:
*2 cups of spaghetti, cooked and drained
*2 cups of chicken, cooked and diced
*1 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup
*1 small onion, sauteed and chopped
*1 small can of mushrooms
*1 cup chicken broth
*1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (more for top)
*2 cups frozen broccoli

How to make it:
1. Bake and chop chicken
2. Cook and drain spaghetti
3. Saute chopped onion in olive oil until brown and cooked down
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
5. Mix all ingredients (I just mix them in the baking dish I will be putting in the oven)
6. You can put bread crumbs, parmesan, and pieces of butter on top at this point if you would like (and I think you would like, so do it).
7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until heated all the way through
8. I usually serve it with bisquits or cresent rolls.

Sounds delicious, right? Well, let me assure you - it is!
Here are some tips I have picked up from making this quite a few times. I always (and I mean ALWAYS) just double this recipe and put one of them in the freezer. The best and most space-efficient way to freeze this meal is in a large freezer ziploc. You can lay it flat in the bag, and it takes up hardly any space at all.

I highly recommend doubling it because the spaghetti becomes a whole box, the broccoli becomes a whole bag, and the chicken is about 3 large chicken breasts which is usually the way Pulix sells them anyway. I just think it makes it easier to make it all at once, and then you have a meal for another night ready to go. On the day you want to cook it - You just let it defrost for a couple hours. Put it in a baking dish, and then put the topping on it. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.
Two dinners for the work of one . . . I like it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Thousand Gifts - Chapter 4

This chapter was very pertinent to my life right now. It was all about slowing down to enjoy each moment of this one life that we are given. There are no "do-overs." We have to thank God for what He has given to us each and every moment - even when things couldn't get more hectic.

One of my favorite short quotes this week was, "Haste makes waste." It was on page 66. She talks about how life isn't an emergency, yet we always treat it that way, especially those of us with kids. I know I am guilty of always looking towards the next thing. What are we doing next? What is next on my list? When do I need to do the next load of laundry? When can I start preparing breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks? The list goes on and on.

She continues with this concept on page 77. "Don't I always have the choice to be fully attentive? Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus." I just need to concentrate more on thankfulness for the moment I am in right now. Watching George eat, having a conversation with him about his favorite Disney ride or character, laughing about our morning, helping him get the pasta on his fork. Watching Ethan play, feeding him each bite, helping him take his few steps, singing songs with him, loving his cute four teeth. These are the moments I will miss.

Now, on with my list . . .

16. George swimming with confidence
17. George and George relaxing on floats in the pool
18. Adult conversation with my mom
19. Screaming contests in which the baby participates on command
20. NKOTBSB concert
21. Steak 'n Shake at midnight (just like the college days)
22. Nouna's stain-fighting powers
23. Anticipation of mini-vacation
24. Generous parents and friends
25. Only two more days till we get hubby and daddy back
26. First full church service in 11 months
27. Nursing a sleepy baby
28. After-bath smells
29. Daddy's special spaghetti sauce
30. Six weeks under the same roof as my brother (didn't think it would ever happen again after we "grew-up")

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Singing Bee

Can you guess this song?

"Chinese like a manattee in my head,
I can't see what your singing like.
Na-na everyday, like my heart is beeping everyday"

What? You can't figure it out?? I couldn't either because that is my four year old's version of the song, "Replay" by Iyaz. Don't judge our music. It has a good beat.



Here are the actual lyrics. It makes his version a little more understandable:
"Shawty's like a melody in my head,
That I can't keep out. Got me singing like,
Na, na, na, na everyday - It's like my ipod stuck on replay."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Listen Up Everybody If You Wanna Take a Chance . . .

This is my NKOTBSB recap (with pictures). My hope is that if you never have the chance to make it to one of these absolutely incredible experiences, this post will give you a good taste of the deliciousness.





We started the night off with a pic of Nic and I in our NKOTB shirts that she found at Gap outlet. Yes, these boys have been around for 25 years, and yes, normal stores still carry clothing with their picture on it. If that doesn't make you a legit musician, I don't know what does.
Moving on . . . We drove to Orlando and ate dinner at Cheesecake Factory. We had quite a few interesting conversations with waiters about our choice in clothing. We weren't embarrassed, though, because we are so proud of our boys.




We finally got to the concert a few minutes late. We had a nice time enjoying Matthew Morrison's dance moves, while we anxiously awaited in introduction of our main men. They came on around 8:30, and we were hooked from the first moment on. The New Kids would sing a few songs, then take a break while Backstreet took the stage. It went like that for around two hours. Around 10:30 we got a BIG surprise - Boyz 2 Men performed 3 songs. Can you even believe it? Here are some of our emotions over the course of the concert:



It ended around 11:00pm with an excellent rendition of "Hangin Tough/Backstreet's Back" performed by the two groups together.


We had parked on the top floor of the parking garage, so it took a long while to get out. We also almost ran out of gas in the process, which is another story for another day. We finally got home around 2:30 am, and I will forever bask in the glory that was NKOTBSB (with a side of Matthew Morrison and Boyz 2 Men).

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Right Stuff

I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why I will be "out of the office" (as in out of my stay-at-home mommy duties) for the evening. My most wonderful friend, Nicole, bought me tickets to the NKOTBSB concert for my birthday. Yes, my birthday is in February, so I have been waiting for this day for 170 (or so, not that I counted or anything) days.

We are heading to Orlando TONIGHT for the big event!! I am so stoked (you like how I threw in some 80's lingo for the event??).

It is difficult to get away to say the least, even for the afternoon/evening. I have so many things to do before we leave like pack up all the kids' stuff to take over to my mom's because she will have them from around 2 to 8. Then Tim will get them and bathe them and put them to bed.

I really wanted to stay over night to get even more hours "off the job," but poor Ethan needs me (well, one part of me, anyway). He will be going to bed for the first time in his almost 11 month life without nursing tonight. I feel kind of bad, but then I think about the almost 11 months that I have literally been attached. I think one night will be ok, but one night and one morning might throw him over the edge.

Anyways, hope you all have a wonderful evening, and expect a full report on the insanity when I get back.

BTW: If you don't know what NKOTBSB stands for - #1: You need to get out more. #2: You can click on the link because I know you are dying to know what my obsession is all about. #3: You probably don't know what BTW means either, but I am going to leave that one a mystery for now. I can only enlighten you so much with each post. If I keep alive some mystery, it keeps you coming back for more:)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Easiest Roast Ever

Back with another easy, delicious recipe . . .

Crock Pot Roast & Veggies:

Ingredients:
3-4 lb. roast (I usually use chuck roast because it is cheap, but you can use anything)
bag of carrots (peeled and chopped)
bag of celery (washed and chopped)
2 large onions (cut in fourths)
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
1 cup warm water

To do:
1. Put Roast in crock pot
2. Cover with veggies
3. Mix soup mix with water in a separate bowl.
4. Pour over roast and veggies.
5. Cook for 8 hours on low.
6. Serve with mashed potatoes or side of your choice.

Done and done!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Thousand Gifts - Chapter 3

This chapter began the application process of what has been read thus far. I really enjoyed getting into the "nitty-gritty" of the book. Ann talks about the start of her "list" of one thousand gifts, and I was so challenged to begin my own. I can't wait for this heart of gratitude to take over my life as I accept this gift of joy that He freely gives. At the end of these chapter posts I am going to start adding some of the "gifts" from my list. I challenge you to begin your own list. Put them on some sort of portable journal, so you can have it with you at all times.

On page 48 Ann says, "Thanks is what multiplies the joy and makes any life large, and I hunger for it." This is pretty self-explanitory but so profound at the same time. We all want more joy in our life. Without the over-abundance of thanks we can't get it - plain and simple. So why is it so hard sometimes?

On page 54 she goes on to say, "In naming that which is right before me, that which I'd otherwise miss, the invisible becomes visible . . . God is in the details; God is in the moment. God is in all that blurs by in a life - even hurts in life." Again, such a good word. God is SO in the details. I have had conversations with people (Christians, in particular) that don't believe God is in the details. They would say He is only concerned with the "big stuff," but that is absolutely not true. He cares about it all - big or small. He is right there as I change Ethan's 5th nasty diaper of the day. He is there as I wash my dishes. He is there as I discipline George. He is in it all. It is up to us to recognize it.

Lastly, my favorite quote from this chapter is on page 57. "Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy." Don't you want that gift? You just have to "open" it. You just have to receive it. You just have to recognize it. That is what the list is all about.

My gifts list:
1. Dance parties before bed
2. Family (as in whole family) dinners
3. 4 year old fingers running through my hair
4. Air conditioning
5. Brothers sleeping in the same room
6. Baby smiles at 7am
7. Being awakened by soft kisses at 9am
8. Reading in quiet - even for a short while
9. Baby's morning nap
10. Baby's first steps
11. Going to Nouna's for dinner
12. Whitney's help around the house
13. George jumping up and down as he plays Wii
14. Food in the freezer for meals to come
15. Naps with the 4 year old

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Day in the Life . . .

I decided to do a "day in the life" post, since some of my (5) readers don't live close by us and don't have kids. I am sure you wonder what stay at home moms do all day, and you may even be wondering what Louise, specifically, does with her time. I have come to answer all these deep quiestions for you today. You can thank me later.

This was our play by play for yesterday, Monday, July 18th.
6:50 am - We hear Ethan cry in the monitor, so Tim goes and gets him to bring him to me to nurse. I nurse him and hope he will go back to sleep (for Tim's sake), but it doesn't happen.
7:15 am - Ethan crawls all over us and all over our bed until we fear he will jump off, so Tim finally gets up with him and lets me sleep. Yes, he is very sweet to his grouchy not-morning-person wife.
Between the hours of 7:15 and 8:30 am I have no idea what goes on because I am in sweet slumber.
8:30am - I hear Ethan screaming because he likes to yell between bites of breakfast. He doesn't cry, just yells at the top of his lungs until you put another bite in his mouth.
8:45 am - George comes in my room to tell me he finished all his breakfast, and it only took him one hour today. That is quite the record, little dude.
8:50 am - Tim comes to kiss me awake (even though I am already awake) and tell me to get out of bed because he needs to go to the library and someone has to watch these crazy kids.
9:10 am - I finally get out of bed when I can't hear Ethan crawling around anymore because who knows what he is getting into.
10:00 am - I put Ethan down for his first nap. I let George play Wii for a while, and I put laundry in the washer . . . more specifically my sheets because Ethan puked on them while crawling around this morning.
10:30 am - I go in my room and read a chapter of One Thousand Gifts, while George comes in and out to give me the play-by-play of his game.
11:00 am - I put away last week's laundry that has piled up in my room.
11:15 am - I tell George his game time is up. We have our daily conversation of asking for more time, which is a no. He finally gives up and begins to play with some toys.
11:30 am - Get in a little computer time. I may or may not shove a peice of homeade banana bread in my mouth and call it breakfast.
11:35 am - Ethan wakes up, so I feed him lunch while he screams (yes, he does that at every meal).
Noon - I feed George his lunch. I forget to feed myself lunch.
12:45 pm - We are out the door for a Thrift Store/Publix run. Aunt Whitney is coming with us for moral support (thank God).
1:00 pm - Do some shopping at the thrift store. I find a few tin buckets - I have been wanting to make a "prayer pail" for our table, so I think I found just what I needed - score!
1:45 pm - Publix time. I put the kids in one of those racecar carts so they could sit next to each other. Ethan takes George smooshing him for about 15 minutes, and then I get to carry him the rest of the time. He did eat a cookie like a big boy taking bites, though, so that was pretty cute.
2:30 pm - Get home and unload the car. I was hoping Tim would be home for lunch, but I didn't get my wish. He walked in 5 minutes after we finished . . . typical.
3:15 pm - Laid both kids down for naps, and Whitney and I took off again for another grocery store called Aldi, while Tim was home eating lunch.
4:15 pm - We get home and unload once again. Fortunately, Tim was there to help this time. I saved the heavy stuff like watermelon and bottled water for this trip, so it all worked out:)
4:20 pm - I laid down with George because he couldn't sleep and needed cuddles to fall asleep. I probably dozed off for a few minutes too:)
5:15 pm - This began my long afternoon in the kitchen. It began with making homeade salsa in the food processor. If you have one you know that it isn't the easiest thing to use. It is very convenient, but it takes a while to get the hang of putting it together. Needless to say, that took a little while.
5:45 pm - Ethan wakes up hungry - surprise, surprise. I made him his dinner. I try to give him all finger foods for dinner because it is hard for me to spoon feed him while making our dinner at the same time. He sits in his seat at the table and watches me cook while yelling (he is doing the yelling, not me).
6:15 pm -Peeled and cut up carrots and celery for my brother.
6:20 pm - George gets up from his nap and wants a drink.
6:30 pm - Washed and chopped lettuce and tomato for our tacos that night.
6:45 pm - Began browning meat for taco night.
7:00 pm - Peter comes home from working out, so we chat in the kitchen.
7:30 pm - Dinner is on the table, but Tim isn't home from the library. We decide to eat anyway, because tonight is a very special night. The Bachelorette is on at 8, and that has somehow become a priority. I don't even like her, but I am just being honest here - I have been sucked in.
8:00 pm - Sit down to watch the Bachelorette without doing any of the dishes - big mistake that will catch me later.
8:15 pm - I use the commercial break to bring in the laundry. Fold while I watch. I am the queen of multi-tasking, can't you tell?
8:30 pm - Tim comes home. I give him a kiss. I also let him know that I am aware he is hungry, but the kids need to get in bed so could he please give them a bath before eating. Yes, I have been here all night, but I need to watch this important show. Thanks, babe:)
8:45 pm - I use this commercial break to nurse Ethan and put him to bed.
9:15 pm - I use this commercial break to tell George to go potty and brush his teeth because it is his bedtime.
9:30 pm - I kiss George goodnight from the couch, and his daddy cuddles him before bed.
10:00 pm - I beg Tim to clean off the table and do the dishes, but I think I have used up all his niceness today, unfortunately. I get off my bum, and spend the next hour cleaning the kitchen from the debacle of taco night (and maybe dinner the night before as well, who knows?)
11:00 pm - Sit down and write my blog post about my dad's birthday. It is only three days late. Hope he doesn't mind.
11:30 pm - Remember that I have to put the sheets back on my bed and cringe. Tim does help me with this, since we both sleep in it.
12:30 am - Finally get in bed, while Tim studies on the computer in our room.
1:00 am - Drifting off to sleep . . .
6:50 am - We hear Ethan crying in the monitor . . . you get the picture:)

Great job if you made it to the end . . . that was LONG!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big George

Forgot to give a shout out to my pops on his birthday. He turned "old" on July 15th. This is for him.


Big George (Little George would be my son who is named after him),


You are such a wonderful father and grandfather. We feel so blessed to have you in those roles that no one else could fill but you. We know so many people who have no respect for their fathers, and I am so proud to say that I could never put you in that category. You have given so much of yourself to your family, and I hope my kids can say the same about me. You gave of your time even with an extremely busy schedule. I will always remember you standing outside at whatever sporting event I was involved in with a video camera in hand. You would be in a full-on suit in the blazing heat but never seem to care. You were just so proud to watch and cheer me on.


I love you, daddy, and I will always cheer you on,
Lou



Sunday, July 17, 2011

For Peter and Whit, Whit

Today is my brother and his wife's one year wedding anniversary. Seriously? Why yes, seriously. My little bro has been married for a full year. I cannot believe it has been 365 days since he said "I do." I can't believe it has been 365 days since I walked down the aisle 8 months pregnant with Ethan (btw, that child will be a year old in one month). I can't believe it has been 365 days since my sister cried her eyes out all the way down the aisle. I can't believe it has been 365 days since my grandmother forced the doctors to let her out of the hospital, so she could be there.

My favorite memory of that day was of my son George. He was the ringbearer, and looked super cute in his mini-tuxedo (everyone else told me that, I am not being biased:). On the morning of the wedding we were in the church taking pictures, and we told George not to step on the rose petals that covered the white aisle that Whitney would walk down. He obeyed, which is usually his way. Later on we all stood in line to walk down that same aisle. All the bridesmaids went, and then it was time for the ringbearer. Well, he was cued to begin, and we all saw him hesitate a bit and then carry on in an extremely slow manner. He was three years old at the time, so you might think this is typical behavior for a three year old who was shy or unsure. Those two qualities have never charactarized my son, so I knew something else had to be going on. Sure enough we all began to notice that he was hopping and side-stepping to miss each and every rose petal on the ground. No one had told him that at this point in the wedding it was ok to step on the petals. He made it down the aisle eventually, and everyone in the audience could not beleive his obedience and determination. I tried to tell them, but his actions spoke louder than words that day.
So many milestones mark that day. It was an unforgettable event. I know it was one of the most important days Peter and Whitney will ever have, but I also think it makes my top 5 list so far in my life. I got to watch my brother make a covenant with God and his choice of girl to spend everyday for the rest of his life loving her. I got to watch my husband stand next to my brother as his best man. I got to watch my three year old son walk/hop down the aisle in his adorable penguin suit. I got to stand on the stage and feel my unborn baby kick and squirm to let me know he was a part of the day too. It was such an incredible day, and I am so happy to have each and every memory.


Whitney has a blog, and she wrote a sweet post today about her memories. Go there and give her some love - Whitney Writes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sweet Boy

Last night around 9 pm I realized that I had lost one of my earrings. I was sitting on the couch with Tim and George. We looked all around the area I was sitting, but the earring was no where to be found. They aren't particularly expensive earrings, but they were a special gift from my mom. I really, really love them, so I was feeling sad.

Earlier in the evening I had read my two boys two books in George's bed for "cuddle" time. Tim had an idea that maybe the earring had fallen out then because Ethan tends to get a little rough during cuddle time. Unfortunately, he was already asleep in that same room, so we couldn't look for the earring at that point. I would have to wait until morning.

This morning George came in our room crying as soon as he woke up. I asked what was wrong, and he told me that he had found the earring last night and put it in his hand. He was hoping to hold it all night long, so he could surprise me with it in the morning. Come on?? Is he the sweetest child or what???

He and Tim went back in the room to look for it at that point. They found it in the bed somewhere, so George came running back in my room with his hands behind his back. He said, "mom, I have a surprise for you." He produced the special earring that had been found. It is even more special to me now:)

Friday, July 15, 2011

One Thousand Gifts, Chapter 2

I finshed reading chapter 2 and watching the book club video yesterday. It was another incredible chapter with so much to ponder. I could never read more than one chapter a day because it is just so thought-provoking. I want to let it all sink in before jumping to the next idea. I am going to continue with writing out a few quotes from the book, and just giving you my thoughts as I read. Again, I really encourage you to read this book if you haven't already.

The whole premise of this chapter is the Greek word, "Eucharisto." It envelopes the meaning of thanking God for His grace in all circumstances, which will in turn bring us joy. One of my favorite quotes from this chapter is on page 33. Ann says, "As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning - now, wherever, meaning - here."
This shows me that we can always find a true sense of joy if we look to the ways God has blessed us. There are more ways than any of us could ever count. No matter what we go through or how many bad times we have, God is always blessing. We need to be thankful for His grace. That is the only way to acquire true joy. I want that ever-abiding joy. Don't you?

In another place on the same page she talks about "the things we need to see before we die." People seem to think they have to have a list of things to see or places to go before they die. Ann has a different perspective, and I tend to agree with her. "The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now." It all goes back to the idea of giving thanks in all circumstances. That is all we truly have to do before we die. He has given so much. The only thing we can give back and the only thing He wants us to give back is thanksgiving.

Lastly, she gives a wonderful thought followed by a question. "Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks. In everything?" Why, yes, Ann, I believe you taught me that it is in everything.

Amen and Amen:)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ranch Roasted Potatoes

Let me start by saying . . . I have a folder on my computer for recipes. I get them all over the place. I copy them into Word documents straight from the internet. Needless to say, I have no idea where I got most of them. I am not trying to take credit for other people's genius ideas.

Ok, now that I got that off my chest . . .

This is one of our favorite side dishes. It has two qualities that I always look for in recipes. It has very few ingredients, and it looks so much harder than it is:)

Ranch Roasted Potatoes:

Ingredients:
1. 1/2 a bag of 5 lb. potatoes (you can use red or yellow)
2. 1/4 cup of olive oil
3. Ranch dressing dry packet
(obviously just double the last two ingredients if you make the whole bag)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Cut potatoes into eighths. Make sure each piece has some skin on it.
3. Put potatoes, oil, and ranch packet into a large ziploc bag. Shake them around to coat well.
4. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread potatoes out evenly on the baking sheet.
5. Bake for 15 minutes.
6. Take out and flip once, then put back in for 15 - 20 minutes or until roasted.

Delicious and easy. Does it get any better than that?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Thousand Gifts - Chapter 1

I have started reading the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. I have only read chapter 1, but I am really enjoying it. If you feel like you need a book to encourage you to recognize God's goodness in all circumstances, then this is for you. I wanted to take out a few quotes to flush out here on the blog, so I have a way to come back to them as I read. Hopefully, they will encourage you even if you never read the book in its entirety.

On page 15 she talks about Adam and Eve. "Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin on ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave. Isn't that the catalyst of all my sins?"
I found so much depth to this simple statement. Isn't that the catalyst of all my sins - ungratefulness? I can make a choice at any point to either be grateful for all He's given or ungrateful for all that has been taken away. Adam and Eve were allowed to eat off of any tree but one. Why were they ungrateful for that? Why did they think God was withholding something from them? Don't I do the same thing each and ever minute? I want to choose gratitude because I know that is how I can edify my relationship with the Lord.

In another section of the chapter Ann talks about her brother-in-law and his wife. They lost two baby boys at 4 and 5 months old. She has a conversation with him about the goodness of God. She tells him that she would have written the story differently for him. He tells her, "Just that maybe . . . maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds."
Again, it just made me think. How could someone who has lost two children to a horrible disease have this thought process? He compares it to the story of King Hezekiah in the Bible. He asks for 15 more years of life, and God grants it. In those 15 years Manasseh is born, and he is the one who leads the Israelites to do more evil than all the heathen nations around them. We don't know how the story would be different, and aren't we thankful for that? We should be. It gives me a totally different perspective on so many things.

This chapter reminds me of the song, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord. "He gives and takes away . . . but my heart will choose to say, blessed be the name of the Lord."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Forgot to turn on the monitor

So . . . about 7:30 this morning I woke up and felt out of sorts, because I hadn't slept until that time in the last ten months. I hit Tim to wake him up and see if he could hear Ethan on the monitor. The boys have been sleeping in the same room for the last month or so, so I nurse Ethan in the morning whenever he wakes up. It is usually between six and seven. Needless to say, we forgot to turn the monitor on last night. Right about that time we hear Ethan wimpering from the living room. I immediately panicked. Did George (the four year old) take him out of the crib? Did he climb out? Tim darted out our bedroom and found my sister-in-law, Whitney, holding Ethan. (Peter and Whitney are staying with us for the summer:).

The story goes - About 7:15 George begins yelling "Mommy, Daddy, Peter, Whitney." Thank goodness, Whitney heard him and went in their room.

George immediately says,"Good morning, Whitney" with a big smile on his face. Then he says, "Can you please watch Ethan for me because I really need to go to the bathroom, and I don't want him to get hurt?"

How sweet is that? He is such a good big brother. I guess Ethan woke George up (because who knows how long he was crying). They played together with Ethan in the crib until George had to go to the bathroom, but he didn't want to leave Ethan by himself.

Moral of the story is . . .
1. Brothers are so sweet at this age. I love that George loves Ethan so much. I was a little worried since they are a little over three years apart, but George really enjoys Ethan's company and vice versa. I know it will only get better as they get older.
2. Thank goodness for Whitney (btw - this is your shout out). I don't know what would have happened if she didn't hear him. We might have had an accident or a very upset baby. So, thanks, Whit, Whit. You rock!
3. Try harder to remember to put on the monitor because it is pretty important.
4. I can't believe I actually considered 7:30 sleeping in. I guess motherhood makes you think crazy things:)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Brothers & Sisters

Have you ever seen the show?? If not then you should. It really is a good show about family. They aren't the "ideal" family by any means, but they are realistic. All the children are full-grown adults, which makes things more interesting. They each have their own stories, but they are all intertwined at the same time. I have only watched the first ten episodes (because they are on Netflix, and I can watch them at anytime during the day or night). I have really enjoyed them, and it has made me want to have a big family even more. I love the interacting they do with both each other and their parents.

Don't get me wrong . . . I don't want to "be" them. I think that is tacky, anyway, wanting to be someone on television. I know tv is tv, but it is just cool to see a show where all five brothers and sisters are close and have inside jokes that no one else could ever understand. I am one of three children, and we definitely have those jokes. We will laugh at inappropriate times together, and everyone else thinks we are crazy. I like it that way. I hope my kids do the same thing. I hope (dare I say it) they can make fun of their parents with each other. Siblings have such a special relationship, and no one can ever duplicate or replace it. I am hyper-aware of that after watching this show. Lesson learned, Brothers and Sisters, lesson learned.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Is it always worth making a buck?

Just a thought . . .

If you were an author and your book ended up in the Dollar Tree how would you feel??? Some say who cares because you are still making money on it, but I fee like I may feel like I sunk to the bottom of the barrel. I bought a book there today that was originally $24.00. It had a tag on it from Borders that said, "Bargain price, $7.49." Then I bought it for $1.00 today. I would compare it to working really hard on something you thought you could sell for a fair price, and then having to give it away at Goodwill because no one wanted it. See it as you will, the Dollar Tree is not a high end book store, but again, selling is selling in this economy . . .

Again, just a thought:)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mema

Today we are heading out to surprise my mother-in-law for her birthday. I wanted to write a little "Ode to Mary" because it is probably pretty rare that blogs have "odes" to mother-in-laws. Mine is something special, so she totally deserves it.

Tim and I got engaged after dating for three months. I think I had met his parents once or twice before that day. Needless to say, I did not know them very well when we got married. I did know him well, though, so I figured his parents couldn't be too bad to raise a Godly man like him. They seemed like sweet enough people in all the short visits I had had with them, so I didn't think twice about marrying into the Bettelli family. (After all, my mom always told me that you marry the family, so I kept that in mind while dating . . . and you should too, all you non-marrieds).

After we were married and even more so after we had George, I began to appreciate my in-laws so much more. They live four hours away, so we didn't get to see them too often, but each visit became sweeter and sweeter the more I got to know them. They are both such caring people who would give anything they had to anyone of their kids or grandkids. My grandma always said that they are a picture of the Holy Spirit, and I think that decription is right on.

Specifically, my mother-in-law . . . she has taught me so many things in the almost six years I have been married to Tim. She loves her kids and grandkids more than anything in the world. She is a great homemaker and truly strives to be better at it everyday, even though she has been at the job for many, many years. She has given me Tim's favorite recipes, so I can make him the things he loves the most. She has truly been such a help to me in this journey of motherhood and homemaking that I am in the midst of right now. Above all else, though, she has taught me a lot about Jesus. Not just in conversation, but in how she lives her life. She is a picture of grace, and I want to be like her when I grow up:)

Mema,
We love you so much! You are a wonderful grandmother to my children, and the best mother in law a girl could ask for. I know you love me, which I heard once is even more important than loving the person:) I am so thankful for your mothering abilities because you raised my husband to be the loving husband and father that he is. Thank you for praying for us everyday . . . you know we need it.
Love to ya,
Lou

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Back to life . . . (You fill in the rest)

I'm BAAAAACK. Like you care:)

Been a little while since I dabbled in this here world of blogging, but today is the day I decided to give it another try. My sis-in-law inspired me by helping me put a cute little background to the blog. I really like the looks, so now I just need to really like the content. That shouldn't be too hard since all the "content" I get throughout the day comes from a four year old and a ten month old. Both are boys, so not only are they small people, but they are man people.

I am expecting this to go in a direction of . . . funny mom stories (cause I know there aren't enough of those out there . . . although I seriously doubt any of them can hold a candle to my two handsome chilluns), recipes that I usually steal from other blogs, maybe some pics of my sa-weet outfits that I put together (that was sarcasm), a little theology/Jesus evidences in my life, and so much more (or less).

Hope you enjoy the ride as much as I do, while I try to be "anxious for nothing."