Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Midnight Rendevous!



One of my favorite things about all three of our children is their ability to wake up in the middle of the night, play with mom and dad for awhile, and then go peacefully back to sleep. Sometimes they stir, other times we just plain wake them up! These times are totally some of my favorite memories! They are always so giddy happy to spend some one-on-one time with mom and dad!
Last night was McClain's turn. He woke up when I put Carson's breathing treatment on him, so I just took McClain with me back downstairs. I love these middle-of-the night times. McClain is especially funny--he will only whisper to us. He was so super cuddly and wanted to play peek-a-boo.
I've heard from other moms that this activity is a rare thing and that most kids wouldn't happily wake up to play and then go back to sleep just as happily. What a little blessing we have! I love it!
I hope little Ruby enjoyed her night back in her own bed. What a sweet little baby! We're continuing to pray that she will regain her strength from surgery and be strong through chemo. My brother-in-law just went through chemo and he actually almost got angry when we told him Ruby had to have chemo. He said no one should ever put a baby through that because it has such terrible affects on the body. We know that Ruby needs this to get rid of the cancer, but boy, are we praying for God to give her strength and endurance! I know God is a God of Miracles, and I just continue to trust and pray for one in little Ruby's body!
Well, no recipe today! We had bacon and eggs for dinner last night. Probably not really a healthy dinner, but everyone LOVED it and it was fun to enjoy "breakfast" with everyone in a good mood...we're not good morning people!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cake and Frosting!

Why do embarrassing things always have to happen to me?
On Saturday, after Cloe's party, I switched my Facebook Update to "Londa is eating leftover cake." Now, first of all, I hate that update thing. I don't know why I even typed in an update.
SO, later that evening, I changed my update--but the whole eating cake thing kept coming up. I tried to clear it, switch it, trick it...finally I gave up & went to bed looking like a glutton!
Sunday afternoon, I thought I'd check out my Facebook to see if the update would change. NOPE! It would even change for like an hour and then switch back to eating cake. We went to church and I came home to check it out again (yes, I was obsessed with looking like I was eating cake now for 24 hours...vanity...I'll confess). STILL eating cake! I changed it, the new update again stuck for an hour or so, and then just magically went back to eating cake. My super computer literate husband was having me reboot, delete the cookies (that's an ironic name, huh?), and do all sorts of weird things. It finally stayed changed yesterday when I switched it to an update about Ruby. Phew! Now I hope I can clear the status today!
SO, since I must obviously be obsessed with cake, I thought I'd post the recipe I used for Cloe's cake and buttercream frosting. I'll admit--it was good. (but not obsessively, eat it nonstop for 3 days good!)


Cake:
I know there are a lot of really good recipes for cake from scratch, but I was in a hurry and also needed to know that the cake would turn out well, so I bought 2 Vanilla Betty Crocker Cake mixes. It just so happened that the lady checking us out at Target was the cake decorator from the bakery, but they were so busy, she had to check. (I love it when God does things like that!) She told me their bakery uses milk instead of water and the mix will always taste like it's from scratch. It totally worked! ALL of Cody's family raved about the cake and asked for the recipe! (hmmm...2% milk!)

Frosting:
Through Facebook, I've gotten reconnected with a friend from college who's a pastor's wife and has a cake business on the side. She shared her buttercream frosting recipe with me! It's SO yummy! (I'm pretty sure it will clog an artery, too!)
1 c. Crisco
1/2 c. butter
2 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. cold milk
Cream all together really well with a mixer. This frosting was super easy to use and is great for decorating, too!

So, there you have it. My cake obsession...I'll not be updating my facebook with any talk of food from now on!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Seven!

This week has felt pretty heavy with sad news, busy schedules, and rainy days. So, this weeks' Sunday Seven are going to be mostly light-hearted! "A cheerful heart doeth good like medicine!" Enjoy this dose!

1. Hmmm....awkward picture! Yet totally funny! I'm SO thankful for these crazy boys! They will never cease to crack me up! This will also be a photo to tuck away and pull out someday when pretty girls start hanging around!

2. I'm so thankful for birthday clubs that send wonderful freebies and help us "budgeted" families give our children extra special treats! We enjoyed Build-a-Bear, Coldstone, Chik-Fil-A and still get to go to Red Robin, Great American Cookie Company & Toys R Us!


3. Cake decorating is not my gift, talent, or expertise--but thankfully, Cloe's cake came together just like we wanted it to! Cody helped me unwrap all the candies and tasted them for quality control!

4. Cloe got her ears pierced for her birthday and didn't even flinch! She definitely didn't get her pain tolerance from me! She looks so beautiful! There were 3 little boys staring at her from outside the mall window. When she got done, she turned around at winked & waved at them. They were so embarrassed, they tripped over each other trying to run away. ha-ha! I love my little girl!

5. This may seem like a funny thing to include in this list. We have been praying for a long time that God would heal Carson's asthma, and he had been breathing great for almost four months. But on Thursday, he started wheezing and getting all rattly again. I had to really step back and thank God for even this asthma. It's a time that I do cherish as I get to hold and cuddle my squirrelly boy for each breathing treatment. We'll still keep praying for healing, though!

6. Again--it's about the in-laws! They really are pretty great! My mother-in-law, Carolyn, came on Saturday morning and took the kids for a walk while I decorated for Cloe's party. Then she took them out for lunch, helped with the party, cleaned with me afterwards, took us out for supper, paid for Cloe's earrings, spent the night and got our kids ready this morning, took us out for lunch, AND brought me Pancheros (my favorite!) after church! I know, I'm really spoiled!

7. Most of all, I'm thankful for a God who doesn't give us more than we can bear. A God who loves for us to delight in Him. A God who gives us encouragement and strength constantly! A God who loves me more than I can even fathom! A God who gives me circumstances to grow my faith and develop endurance, patience, and perseverance. A God who is my rock and my shelter. I'm thankful for my friend Lydia testifying this to me in a way that I never could have imagined! I know that God is being glorified and I'm so thankful to have a very small piece in offering Him the glory through this trial. I pray that I would be found a faithful servant in these circumstances, too!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Morning Glory Muffins

I'm sitting here, deep in thought, pondering life, when I realized the lyrics to the song on Cloe's cartoon are quite interesting. It was all about making excuses so you wouldn't have to go to work. The whole song was actually, deep down, quite horrible. The only good thing was that Sunday was the day of rest--I guess they acknowledged a "Biblical principle" without even knowing it! Phew, changed that channel!

Now for what I was going to post:
Little Ruby is in surgery right now. I'm so nervous I feel like I could throw up. I can't imagine how Lydia must be feeling! I'm just begging God for a miracle. It feels like such an overwhelming situation, but yet, I know God is totally in control and He has some purpose for bringing this into Trent and Lydia's life. Lydia keeps telling me that she now understands those feelings a mom gets when she hears devastating news about one of their children. She wants to be able to be an encouragement to those moms. I'm so proud of her--not even having Ruby well yet, and she's already looking for ways to be a light!
I'm also a little more nervous today because Carson starting wheezing again last night. It felt like the weight of the world crashing in when I heard that dreaded sound. We have been begging God for a miracle in Carson's little body and thought God had healed Him from his asthma. It had been almost four months since we had to do treatments--it was wonderful! I feel horrible even letting this bother me. I know the circumstances could be much worse (obviously), but it still means that my little boy has to go back on medications and steroids that completely alter his little personality. My heart feels as heavy as those ominous storm clouds coming our way. I know God can still take this asthma away, take Ruby's cancer away...I can't quit trusting! I found a verse this week that I LOVE: Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Last night I was getting some breakfast things ready for Cody to take to the hospital and my heart was just so heavy for this whole situation. I don't know if Lydia will notice or even want to eat this morning (and that's totally ok), but I found this muffin recipe that just screamed her name to me! I think these may be the most healthful item ever to come out of my kitchen! I love Lydia like a sister and if God would let me, I would take this from her in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I only could offer muffins--and the tons prayers that went into every single one! I love the name, too--Morning Glory! God promises that His mercies are new every morning--GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS!

Morning Glory Muffins
INGREDIENTS
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup sugar
2-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 egg whites
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup crushed, drained pineapple
1/2 cup raisins (I used cranberries)
1 medium tart apple, peeled and
shredded
DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In another bowl,
beat the egg whites, egg, applesauce, orange juice, oil and vanilla. Stir
into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the carrots, pecans,
coconut, raisins and apple.
Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or use foil liners; fill
three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick
comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire
racks. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.
Printed from tasteofhome.com Apr 24, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Birthday Celebration!


We're celebrating Cloe's 5th birthday like the holiday that never ends!
Wednesday, she was the start helper at school and got to take special treats--Dirt Salad! We made chocolate pudding at put it in 3 oz. green cups. Then we topped it with crushed Oreo cookies and tucked in a gummy worm. We used lollipops for our birthday flowers. The kids loved them!
After school, my sister and her 2 kids picked up Cloe and took her out for lunch, to the zoo, and to Target to pick out a present! She had so much fun she wet her pants when she got home! (Yeah, literally! Her poor little small bladder doesn't handle too much excitement very well!) It was alright, though. She got a bath and we headed off to Cubbies at church where she had more birthday treats to pass out! This time they had flower sugar cookies! I'm so glad 2 kids were gone--Cody & I really enjoyed the extras!

Thursday--This morning we actually had to convince her that today was her birthday even though her party is Saturday and she was the helper at school yesterday. Life can be so confusing! However, once the presents came out, the fog lifted! Cody and I gave her 3 little gifts and let her tear into them before the boys got up. We got her a new dress, a set of Barbie makeup (watch out world--we've got purple lipstick!), and a princess book.
After everyone was dressed and ready to go, we headed to Target for our weekly trip. I think we bought 20 pounds of candy for her Candyland Birthday Cake! I'm going to love having those extras around next week during naptime!
Then we headed to Creative Kidstuff. I love this toy store! They were giving away free trees today! We got our little Poplar seedling and picked up a cute little bracelet for Cloe, too.
For lunch, Cloe picked Wendy's. I love her young sense of the value of a dollar! Well, actually, she just loves cheeseburgers! It cracked me up how she thoroughly enjoyed every bite and gave us a play-by-play about how "galicious" it was! We sang "Happy Birthday" to her when she stuck the french fry in her cheeseburger. The boys thought that was riotous! We even met Dr. Jay Jensen--the dentist from Restoration Dental. He walked by us and the kids recognized him from tv and all his adds at the mall. (Maybe that's bad...) He said "hi" and pointed out his picture. Then he actually came back and formally introduced himself and talked to the kids for a minute. How funny--like we met a celebrity or something!
Next, we headed off to Build-a-Bear to pick out an outfit for Cooper. I love this store--they send a $5 gift certificate for every birthday--child or bear! We got a cute little sundress and then put Cooper through the whole air bath, new bows, and dress up.
Lastly, Cloe got her special ice cream treat from ColdStone (another birthday club that well worth signing up for!). She picked the Strawberry Special--it was strawberry ice cream, graham crackers, whipped cream, caramel, and strawberries. It sounds weird, but it was actually pretty good. By this time, everyone was super worn out and ready to head home!
After lovely long naps, we had Cloe's pick of spaghetti for supper. The boys loved this! What a wonderful mess that was to clean up! I'm glad they ate so well, though! Some things are just worth the clean-up!
We all sang to Cloe and enjoyed yummy cupcakes for desert! Then we headed outside and played until it started to rain.
I think I probably enjoyed Cloe's birthday just as much if not more than she did! It was such a fun day! I'm so thankful for my little girl!

Cloe's Birthday

Today my sweet little Cloe turned 5! I can't believe five years have passed since that dreary, rainy day at Mercy Hospital that ended with the sun coming out, a full rainbow, and a beautiful baby girl!
I've seen on several blogs where moms write a birthday letter to their child, so here it goes! Maybe someday Cloe will enjoy reading through this little blog! (Guess the secrets will be out then, too!)

My sweet little Cloe,
Five years ago when the doctor placed you in my arms, my heart immediately felt like it was going to burst with love for you. That love has grown so much deeper and stronger than I could have ever imagined. You are such a sweet girl who's always looking out for other's feelings and trying to make people smile. I love your hunger to learn about God and to have the Bible read to you. I love how you sing old hymns at the top of your lungs. I love how you try to teach your brothers to be kind and loving (and sometimes get a little tackled in the process).
You are so special to me (and your daddy, too)! I beg God to put a gigantic hedge of protection over you everyday, especially as you head off to kindergarten this fall! I pray that God will show you your need of a Savior and that you will accept Christ soon! I also pray that God will protect your health and keep you safe from disease and illness. I pray that you will surrender your heart and life to do whatever God wants you to do with your life. I pray that someday you'll find the perfect man that God has for you & that you'll both have kept yourselves pure for each other. I pray that God will give you good friends who also love God and will encourage you to keep growing!
There are so many things I pray for you on a daily basis, but the most important is that you'll glorify God with your whole life.
I'm humbled that God chose me to be the mommy to such an amazing little girl! I hope you know that I'm trying to be the best mom I can be, with God's help, and I pray that you'll forgive when I don't exemplify the godly characteristics that I should.
I hope we are always as close as we are right now! I love how you chatter my ear off and love to go shopping with me! You are my very special little girl! I love you with all my heart!
XOXO
Mommy

A cute article

I was reading an article on getting kids to eat veggies and giggled out loud as I read this paragraph!
"But my real solution? Honestly? You're going to hate me because this is not a quick fix in a freezer bag or the key buried in a sloppy joe. It's patience. I put kale on his plate and put kale on his plate and put kale on his plate, and my son tried it and grimaced and we praised him for trying it and pages flew off the calendar and his beard grew down to the floor, and then one day he ate it without comment. And then one day he ate it and said, "This is actually not as bad as I thought!" After which a pair of bluebirds draped around my shoulders the very banner of joy."
I'm waiting for the bluebirds and banners at my house!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I LOVE Mondays!

Mondays are Cody's day off, and I love the time our family gets to spend together! We have had several "interrupted" Mondays, so it was wonderful to have our normal fun day back!
Our friends Mike and Liz hung around for part of the day, too. Cody and Mike took Cloe to school and Liz and I hung out with the boys. Cloe LOVES Mike and thought he should sit in the back seat with her on the way to school. (He didn't though:).) Then for lunch, we traveled down to Spaghetti Works--KIDS EAT FREE on MONDAYS! That is absolutely the highlight of the whole day! The kids love the salads and usually just make a small dent in their spaghetti or pizza, so we have enough leftover for lunch on Tuesday! It's cheaper than McDonalds when the kids eat free!
It was such a beautiful day! We enjoyed coffee from Java Joes and then our family hung out and watched some construction workers pour cement into new sidewalks. I love how curious our kids are about the world around them!
Then on the way home, we picked up the COOLEST murals for the boys room! They are better than anything we could ever have imagined! Cody and I just sat and stared at them in the living room while the boys napped! Our favorite artist painted them! I can't believe how God continues to bless us with things that are "more than you could ever ask or imagine." I don't know if the murals are exactly what that Bible verse would be "bent" toward, but these murals really are a huge blessing as we start to make our Big Boy Room!
The day actually continued on a high note--even though it included a visit to the dentist...augh! My mouth is still rilling from the digging! The dentist is the guy I use to nanny for and he happened to find a small little cavity (another augh!), but he offered to fix it and then--for free--whiten my shady tooth in the front! That's a huge blessing, too, since insurance doesn't cover the whitening of teeth--too cosmetic! I'm so glad to fix that dumb gimpy tooth! He also wants me to give his daughter piano lessons! I'm praying that I'll soon have an opportunity to share Christ with our dentist and the kids! I LOVE those kids and can't wait to be apart of their lives again--even if it's just a 20 minute lesson!
So, now the kiddos are in bed, Cody's reading his daily Bible reading, and it looks as if I'm just rambling on!!!
Tomorrow it'll be back to the grindstone of slaving over the hot stove! Weekend fun will be over! Oh well--this week has a lot of fun in store--Cloe's 5th birthday is Thursday! I love my little princess!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Seven

I'm stealing this idea from another blog I saw, but I think it's a pretty cool way to end my Sunday / start my week!
1. I'm so thankful for awesome in-laws who faithfully come super early on Sunday mornings to dress my children, feed them donuts, and most of all, love on them!
2. Our awesome church family is just blowing me away with their love and concern for little Ruby and their encouragement for "the staff" as we wait for a new pastor! I think I got the most hugs and hand-shakes today & it was amazing to see eyes full of compassion and love. I love Willow Creek!
3. My sweet little Clainey does somersaults like a crazy circus clown all around his crib. It is the CUTEST thing I think I've ever seen!!!
4. Cloe got the cutest little pixie hair cut ever! For her birthday, Grandma Carolyn treated her to a haircut at the Aveda Salon. (Actually, I'm trying hard not to real with jealousy over this one!) Another great mother-in-law moment!
5.Being with our friends has been really refreshing and fun! Mike did have a moment where he "cleared the room." That was awkward. Probably shouldn't have counted that in this list! (shhhh.....)
6. This is beginning to sound like the In-laws fantastic Sunday Seven...but Dave, my father-in-law, gave me $25 for the pop cans of ours that he took to the redemption center in Creston for us. (You have no idea how helpful this is rather than struggling with 3 kids to chuck all the cans in those machine--which I always break!) AND the "father-in-law" brought me back a Tropical Smoothie from Dairy Queen! I know! A treat I don't even buy myself! I love it!
7. I guess this stems back to the in-laws: My AMAZING husband who continues to amaze me at his sensitivity to God. The man who's moved to tears at the sorrow of others, sensitive to my every need, helpful in every way, so full of integrity that it literally made his body ache to have his questioned...I could go on and on, but God knows! I'm couldn't be more thankful for the love of my life!
That's it! My Sunday Seven!!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The greatest project!

Our MOPS meeting on Friday was seriously my most favorite one ever! Abby did an awesome job with our little crafty project! I know she doesn't like to toot her own horn (I love that silly phrase) but boy is she talented! It comes so naturally for her and she makes it look like the easiest thing in the world! Thankfully, she doesn't mind remedial artists like myself and just helped me along the whole time! (you didn't mind, right!?!?) I LOVE the finished the pieces! I'd post pictures, but I haven't painted the frames yet. Trust me, they're cool!
So, I've been inspired to put more birds in our home. I'm really loving the bird thing, now, too! Pottery Barn Kids has the cutest new girls bird quilt--I wish we could have gotten that one for Cloe. I do love her room, though, and am just planning to add some bird artwork.
Two of my friends told me about etsy.com, so I've been checking out their bird selection. Here are some ideas for what I'd like to do next. I'm also going to try and get some good silhouettes of the kids...at least I'm aspiring to do it! Spring makes me feel SO ready for NEW and FRESH decorating!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Little Ruby


God has been bringing Psalm 91 to my mind ALL WEEK! The words, which I didn't think I had memorized, have just kept coming to mind throughout several different situations. Then today, whammy, the worst situation I could imagine has happened to our really good friends, Trent and Lydia.
They just found out today that their 6 month old baby girl, Ruby, has neuroblastoma-- a form of cancer. I feel so terrible for them. I can't imagine how overwhelmed and broken-hearted they are feeling right now. On Monday, Lydia had told me she thought God might be taking her through this small scare (seemingly small at the time) so she would be better able to relate to moms with sick children. Now she's so deep in a real medical trial. I know she's trusting God, and have even heard "rumors" back from the hospital about the great testimony they are having with their faith in God through this.
I'll write more about this tomorrow when we find out the stage it's in. Here's 91. It's full of comfort and hope. Please pray for Ruby!

Psalm 91

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh no!


Do I look like this, seriously?
This picture was actually taken the Sunday before Cloe was born--almost 5 years ago!

Here's why I ask, last night I was holding the boys' hands and getting Cloe to follow along when this little old lady said, "Oh my, you certainly have your hands full." Yes...friendly reply, blah, blah... "Oh, and number four on the way. Oh my!" I quickly said no, I'm not pregnant. Then Cloe, is her most charming of ways, looked at the old lady and said, "She's lying!" The old lady looked and me and "smiled, knowingly." I told her I wasn't and scolded Cloe. Then the old lady looked at Cloe and winked and Cloe just grinned and nodded. AUGH!
SO, I guess I'll be looking into the Flat Belly Diet. Seriously. It's so wonderful when children learn to talk and "make their needs known." BUT this whole humor thing is really taking me for a loop! We'll be learning about appropriate joking today!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Londa's Quesadilla Cafe

We LOVE quesadillas at our house! I've gotten pretty creative with them, too! We have a kids' version, Londa's special, and Cody's hot-to-trot quesadilla! Anytime we have college kids over, we usually end up with a new twist, too!
Here's how you start:
2 Flour tortillas (the whole wheat kind are actually pretty good, too)
Lots of Cheese
Spices and veggies of your choice

Kids' Special:
I lightly butter the tortilla and put it in a hot pan. Then I top it with cheddar, mozzarella, or any other cheese I have on hand. Sometimes, I sneak in a few small pieces of broccoli. Top this with another lightly buttered tortilla. Flip carefully. Snip into pizza pieces with kitchen sheers.

Londa's Special:
To save a few calories, I just spray my tortilla lightly with cooking spray and put it in a hot pan. Then I top mine with a little of an Italian Blend or mozzarella cheese. Next I place several thin slices of tomatoes and few leaves of fresh spinach (if I have it on hand). Then I sprinkle the whole thing with dried basil. Top it with a little more cheese to hold it together. Place the top tortilla on and flip really carefully! Cook it until it's golden brown and crisp on both sides.

Cody's Hot-to-Trot Version:
Place a butter tortilla in a hot pan. Top with cheddar cheese (most recently I tried cheddar/jack jalapeƱo cheese). Next I sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes and diced green onion over the top. If we have extra taco meet on hand, I also add some of that...Top with tortilla and cook until super golden and crispy.

Other things we've added include mushrooms, grilled chicken, banana peppers, leftover shredded Italian beef, scrambled eggs, bacon, black beans and a host of other veggies!

I think someday it would be great fun to own a Quesadilla Cafe! I could just list off ingredients and customers could make their own unique creations. Then we could have famous people create one. Maybe we could have one called the Jeriann special (yeah, we think a lot of our weather lady)! So, there's the dream. Probably one that will have to stay in the closet, but at least it's there and my family is enjoying it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

So this recipe may be a little silly for me to post considering it came from 1 of only 2 people that read this blog! (Thanks for the recipe, Abby! Thanks for reading, Alisa!) BUT, these enchiladas are SOOOO good! At least by posting it, I know it's saved for future reference! I added black beans to the kids and mine. On Cody's, I put a big long strip of super hot sauce --the kind that has naughty words on the label because it's sooooo hot!  These seemed like the best comfort food in the world for another day of our endless gloomy, rainy, cold spring!

Chicken Enchiladas


5 T butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
4 ounces green chilies, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 T chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
2/3 pound Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese
12 flour tortillas

Cook onion in 2 T butter, then combine cooked chicken, chilies, and onion in bowl. Melt 3 T butter and blend in flour and seasonings. Whisk in chicken broth. Stir until boiling and then add sour cream and 1 cup cheese. Stir 1/2 cup of sauce into chicken mixture.

To assemble, dip one side of tortilla in sauce (lightly), spoon chicken filling in center, sprinkle some cheese on top and roll tortilla, placing seam on the bottom in a 9x13 baking dish. ( I usually need this plus a 8x8) Continue until mixture is used. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas, sprinkle with rest of cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350.

This can even be doubled and frozen!

Thanks, Abby! :) When you're a famous artist, I'll fix these for my family and tell them all about how I knew you back in your beginning days as a "starving artist." Then I'll pull out the murals and reminisce on the good 'ol days of being a lonely stay-at-home mom...just going from one sale to the next, one recipe to the next...ha ha!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A little braggin'!




Usually I find myself regretting having told people how naughty my children have been. I don't want to become one of those negative, nagging moms! So for the last few days, I have really been noticing what little angels my 3 darlings have become. (Not that life has been perfect, but God is really showing His faithfulness!)
A huge problem in the past has been the anxious squeals that come out as food or vitamins or treats are given to one sibling while the others wait. I've been working so hard on teaching patience--something I still have to teach myself daily! Well, we're getting there! I can pass out vitamins and the others just stand pleasantly waiting! Yeah! I told them today how proud mommy was for their super job at patiently waiting! McClain said in his little gruff voice, "Yeah, I wait nice!"
Another triumph has been a little peace so I can use the bathroom--alone. Carson popped his head in the bathroom yesterday and said, "Bye, Bye mom! See ya! I'm goin' to work!" Then he just left and played with Cloe and McClain. So nice, compared to the fighting for who can stand closest to mommy while she goes potty. I know--that's gross, but I guess I'm just that cool! :)
I love how my children beg for Bible Stories at night, sing at the top of their lungs "Amazing Grace", run over and give "unasked for" love with hugs and kisses, ask each other for forgiveness and say they are sorry...
I think my little ones are starting to just grow up too fast! Carson wants to sit on the potty all the time and McClain just randomly started counting to 10. Yesterday Cloe sat and "read" her Bible (with her sunglasses on) for almost 20 minutes. She told me last night that she thought she would ask Jesus to be her Savior soon. She also told Cody one night that she really wanted to follow Jesus. We've explained salvation to her, and I think the understanding of it all is slowing coming. I'm excited that she is so tender to God and even is understanding what it means to follow Christ.
I'm so thankful for the wonderful children God has given us! Even when it's hard to stay consistent with discipline, days like today make it so worthwhile! I know God is faithful--He's given me strength on days when it's hard to be a mommy and has shown that obedience brings blessings!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

I'm getting all geared up for summer! I love summer! Biking, swimming, walking, flying kites, playing made-up games in our backyard, VBS, sun tanning, garage sales, eating ice cream, drawing with sidewalk chalk, grilling, picnics, parks, county fairs, gardens, camping (well, all but the last one!).
Last night I decided to try out a new recipe for a summer treat. It's a sneaky, healthy treat! AND they were awesome! SOOOOO yummy--you won't believe they're healthy for you! I think the recipe could be adjusted to make different flavors, too, by adding berries or peaches... Give it a try!

Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

2 c. lowfat plain yogurt (I used Activia for extra good things!)
1 c. sugar
1 c. lowfat buttermilk (I used 1 c. 1% milk w/ 1 tsp. lemon juice--let it stand for 5 min)
2 T. lemon juice
2 tsp. zest of lemon
Lowfat Graham Crackers (Broken into small squares--FASTCO brand comes in sm. squares)

Whisk together yogurt, sugar, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cover and freeze for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until mixture starts to thicken.
To form the sandwiches, scoop out and then press about 1/4 c. of the semifrozen yogurt mixture between 2 graham cracker squares. Wrap each one in cling wrap and freeze until firm.
YUM!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Crystal Grapes

Need a little romantic treat? A special snack for guests? A sneaky way to get your kids to eat grapes? Here it is! Our family is crazy about Crystal Grapes! Every where we take them, people can't figure out the yummy coating on the grapes! Here it is! It's so hard, you may never want to read this blog for another recipe idea again! (hint...sarcasm!)

Crystal Grapes
1 large bunch of grapes (any seedless kind is fine)
1 pkg. gelatin (flavor of your choice--we like raspberry)

Wash grapes and pat dry. Sprinkle dry gelatin over grapes and gently toss to coat. Don't toss too much... YUM!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ladies Retreat


Windmills, sprouting tulips, Dutch letters, quaint shops, Smokey Row Coffee...PELLA! We had a Ladies Retreat at the Royal Amsterdam Hotel and it was amazing! The little things I enjoyed: trying Cheese Burger Chowder at Smokey Row (Thanks, Abby!), buying my first "rubber" headband, a little gift bag from Renee on my bed, finding the coolest inexpensive shop of jewelry made in third world countries, Dutch pastries for breakfast, windmills and wooden shoes, quiet and charming Main Street shops, time with the girls... The interesting memories: finding out how many of my friends have wet their pants and more...recently, seeing poor Tessha's feet with 2,000 blisters (cute shoes though), trying my best to break up a "fight" and calm the poor girl, and so many more memories!
It was so refreshing to come away from the hectic yet sometimes mundane routine of life and be refreshed with the friendship of great girls and the amazing message of God's Word. Judie Colyer from Ankeny E-Free came and spoke to us. She's an amazing gal that I've known since college, but continue to be amazed at her passion to share Christ's love with others. (Like the picture??? Cody says I have wayyyy too much time on my hands!)
I was challenged in so many areas of my life. I am a DAUGHTER of God! I've been adopted by a Heavenly Father who is full of grace, love, and mercy. I love Romans 8:32 that says God gave up His only Son and will graciously give us all things! I've been freed from my former "father"--the father of lies! My life in Christ is LIVING! I have power to defeat sin, to change my ways, to live for Christ! I am a disciple of my LORD! I love the term "followers of Christ." God is calling us to share Christ with others! That's an area that I've been lacking in. What's the cost: rejection? ridicule? Don't I trust my Heavenly Father to empower me to be a witness? I do love Christ and I pray that God would be pleased to use me to share Christ with others!
One particularly challenging lesson came for me right during the retreat. We had 2 ladies with mental challenges join us . On Friday, I really fought those feelings of rejection, pride, selfishness. I wanted to have fun with the girls, not reach out. I outwardly showed concern by making sure someone was taking care of them and befriending them, but inwardly, I just hoped I could just stay clear. (gasp...too transparent into my sinful head!) However, on Saturday, those girls found their seats right at my table. That was ok; I could "love" them for the morning. But God was working on my heart. It doesn't come naturally for me to converse with handicapped people--it never has. But that doesn't excuse me from sharing the love of Christ with them. Christ says, "When you are weak, I AM STRONG." As I sat there and confessed my pride and selfishness, all while trying to soak up everything Judie was saying, one of the girls leaned over and asked the time. Immediately, she flew into a panic and stood up. She was started to get angry. God just lifted me right up out of my seat and helped me lead this girl out of the room. It turns out, her handicapped boyfriend only gets to call her at 10:00 and it was 5 minutes until 10:00. Her friend Brandi had turned off the phone, and the call was going to be missed. I tried to calm Sandi and then tried to sneak back into the session to demand that Brandi give me the phone. She reluctantly handed it over. I'm not sure of Sandi's mental capacity. She kept telling me that the palm reader said God wrote on her hand that she should be with Brian. (I was so angry at that palm reader for bringing MY God into her evil doings!) I explained to Sandi that God had a plan for her life, not the lines on her hand. We were able to get the phone call. Sandi immediately shoved the phone up to my ear. I had to laugh--after all that intensity, talk to the boy, don't give the phone to me! All that wordy story is just to say--God totally worked on my heart to fill it with compassion, knock down my pride, and show me that His strength is sufficient when I submit to being willing to love EVERYONE as Christ does!
The retreat has really shaken up our ladies' hearts. I'm so excited for what God is going to do at Willow Creek! As my good friend Lydia says whenever she's overwhelmed with gratitude, "I could just kiss all you ladies!" That's how I feel as I'm so proud of the godly ladies God has placed at Willow Creek who are now even more on fire to share the love of Christ with others!
Here are a few pictures of the fun & fellowship we had!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Some Recipes to pass on!

So, I'm a little (a lot) under the weather, and there's not been a lot of real cooking going on in our house. I did join in on an email recipe exchange, though! Here are a few recipes I got today. I thought they looked really good and not too difficult! Enjoy the beautiful snow today! (When do we get to quit experiencing winter weather?) Take some extra vitamin C, too!
And, lastly, don't eat cantaloupe for awhile--it all started there, led to salmonella poisoning, and opened the door to catch Cloe's strep throat...ugh!

Chicken Quiche

1 Unbaked Pastry Shell
1 C Shredded Swiss Cheese
2 tbsp Flour
1 tbsp Wylers Chicken flavoring
2 C Cooked Chicken or Turkey
1 C Milk
3 Eggs Well Beaten
¼ C Chopped Onion
2 tbsp Chopped Green Pepper
2 tbsp Chopped Pimento (optional)
French Fried Onions

Preheat over to 425. Bake shell 8 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350. Toss cheese with flour and bouillon. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour into shell and bake 40-45 min or until set. Top with French fired onions during last 5 minutes of baking. Let stand 10 minutes.




Deep Dish Breakfast Pizza

1 lb. sausage
1 pkg. (8) crescent rolls
Topping:
5 eggs, beaten
¼ cup milk
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Brown sausage and drain. Separate crescents into 8 pieces and place on ungreased 12 inch deep dish pizza pan with points toward center. Press sides and bottom to form a crust, sealing perforations. Spoon sausage over crust. Top with shredded cheese. Prepare topping. Pour over pizza. Bake at 375 for 15-25 minutes. Yield: 6-8 servings

Note: You can add green peppers, onions, mushrooms, ham, bacon, any cheese as you wish.




Baked Potato Soup

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 large or 3 medium baking potatoes, baked or microwaved
Salt and pepper to taste
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons sliced green onion

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until tender. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in broth and evaporated milk.

Scoop pulp from 1 potato; mash. Add pulp to broth mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture just comes to a boil.
Dice remaining potato skin and potatoes; add to soup. Heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with bacon, cheese and green onion. Yields 4 servings.


Easy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
(perfect for winter or a snowy April day!)

1/4 c slivered almonds
3- 10.5 oz cans chicken broth
2- 10.5 oz cans cream of chicken soup
1- 10.5 oz can crean of mushroom soup
2 4 oz cans sliced mushrooms, drained
1 c carrots, sliced
1 med onion, chopped
1 c raw, wild rice
2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
garlic- season to taste

Place ingredients in crockpot on:
High for 4-5 hours OR Low 7-8 hours

(note: if you double this recipe, only do 1 1/4 C rice, or it will explode!)




Pineapple/Green Pepper dip

2 pkgs Cream Cheese, softened (I used the 1/3 less fat)
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 cup green onion (this is the right amount...not really oniony like mine)
1 can crushed pineapple, drained

Mix it all up and dip with Wheat Thins.





Salted Nut Rolls

Base:
1 box Yellow Cake Mix
1/3 cup Butter/Margarine softened
1 egg
3 cups Marshmallows

Topping:
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter/margarine
2tsp vanilla
12oz peanut butter chips
2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups salted peanuts

**Heat oven to 350. Combine base (except marshmallows) until crumbly. Press into ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake 12-18 min until light golden brown. Immediately cover with marshmallows. Return to oven 1-2 min until marshmallows puff. Cool. Heat syrup, butter, vanilla and chips over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat, stir in ceral and nuts. Spoon warm topping over marshmallows. Chill. Cut and store covered.



Peanut Butter Finger Bars


½ cup butter or marg. ½ t. baking soda
½ cup sugar ½ t. salt
½ cup brown sugar ½ t. vanilla
1 unbeaten egg 1 cup flour
1/3 cup peanut butter 1 cup quick oatmeal

Cream sugar and butter, blend in next 6 ingredients. Stir in flour and oatmeal. Spread in 9 x 13 greased pan. Bake 20-25 minutes in 350o oven. Remove from oven and sprinkle 6 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Return to oven for a few minutes so chips are soft enough to be spread over bars. Cool, then drizzle on peanut butter frosting.

Frosting: Mix ½ cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup peanut butter, and 2-3 T. milk

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some big news!

So, Cody and I thought we were done with three...but!










Sorry for the lame April Fool's Joke! I've always loved this little holiday, but have never been very good at pulling any spectacular prank off. Every year in elementary school, I would have the bus driver drop me off at my grandparents' house and then call my mom and tell her I was in big trouble in detention at school. To which she always replied, "Ok, Londa. I saw the bus stop at Grandma's now hurry home, you have to practice the piano before supper." Yes, I was a nerd. While other kids built forts and rode their bikes, I played the piano.
Then as time went on, in college, I'd call home and say I was engaged. Usually they'd ask who I'd started dating overnight...I was such a lame girl!
Then after marriage, it was the call home that we were having a baby. My mom would get really excited for about 30 seconds until she looked at the calendar...
When I was a teacher, I'd give the kids mini-heart attacks and pass out the spelling tests a day early, tell them we had to skip recess and do more work...I'm sure they thought I was a nerd, too!
SO, I've never pulled off the greatest April's Fools Joke, but the day is fun! I'll have to think of something the kids can pull off on Cody tonight! Need to keep the lamo pranks going! (Hopefully the kids won't outsmart me!)

HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY!