Psalm 30:5

"...across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter." --Psalm 30:5

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Other uses for Spinach

We got two large tubs of baby spinach from church this week, so my challenge this week has been to find ways to use it!  It went into the Stromboli last night, and it's going into the vegetable soup tonight.  But it's also been a huge player in salads and smoothies for the week.

Mike is pretty picky about his lunch, and he likes to make it himself, but we're gradually finding some things that he'll let me prepare in advance.  One is a salad-in-a-jar.  Normally, I'd put the dressing in the bottom, but Mike prefers to take the dressing separately.

This one has (from the bottom on up): cucumbers, tomatoes, grilled chicken, feta cheese, spinach, bacon, and candied walnuts.  The dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette (garlic, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and olive oil).

I've also been making smoothies each day as part of my efforts to eat less "junk".  I usually just shove the spinach in to about half way up the blender, add some frozen berries, 2-3 oz of yogurt, add some juice, and a third of a banana.  The spinach really helps me get through those afternoon snack cravings!  Looks disgusting, but I promise, you don't even taste the spinach!  Sierra loved hers this morning.  :-)

What do you use spinach for?  (Seriously, I still have 3/4 of a tub to use up!)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Signs of Civilization

Sierra seems to be a perfectionist.  She watches and listens to things for a LONG time before she attempts them.  She's also pretty conservative (ie: not adventurous).  She didn't walk till about 16 months, started climbing stairs around 17 months, and has only recently (23 months?) started to full sentences.

She's had no interest in using a fork until recently, partially 'cause she couldn't hold it like Daddy and Mommy did.  But she's getting there.  So it was so nice to see this at dinner last week.


And then this was the next night....where she's trying to eat out of the cup...with her mouth....

...oh well.

Some Sort of Stromboli

Every weekend, I ask Mike if he wants anything specific for dinner that upcoming week.  He usually doesn't have a whole lot to request, but this week, Mike made a request for Stromboli.  I'd never made anything like this, so it's all been trial and error, but the reviews were wonderful!  The wonderful thing is that you can adapt this to whatever sort of fillings (or leftovers) are available!

I started by tossing some ingredients in my bread maker on the dough cycle--man, do I LOVE that thing!

Pizza Dough
1 cup water, room temperature
3/4 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 2/3 c bread flour*
1/2 c plus 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour*
1 3/4 tsp yeast

When the dough finished, I rolled it out and brushed it with a bit of olive oil.  Then, I layered on my "stuffing": today, that meant baby spinach, diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken / bacon / feta cheese (leftovers from last night's salad!), some Parmesan and oregano, and then a bit of onion for Mike.  I think the only problem was that I had too much good stuff in there!

(Jordan munched on some Cheerios while I worked, though he preferred the frozen peach that came next!)

I put the roll on a greased and floured baking sheet or bread pan and set it somewhere warm to rise for 20-30 minutes.  (On a winter day in a cold house, I often turn the oven on to low for a bit, turn it off, let it cool a bit and just let the bread/dough hang out in the oven with the heat off for a while.)
I brushed the top with olive oil just before baking for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

I let it cool for a few minutes and then slice and then we ATE!!  SO delicious!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pull-Apart Pizza Bread

I'm not on Pinterest; I have enough things to waste my time with these days!  But I do enjoy seeing some of the things that others "pin" via Facebook.  A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a recipe for Pull-Apart Pizza Bread.  Here's my trial version, and it was on the menu for this week!  Turned out pretty well, though next time I'll add more dough.


1 lb. fresh pizza dough (I'd recommend 1.5 after making this!)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 package sliced pepperoni
diced tomato
other "toppings" as desired
1/4 cup of your favorite dipping oil

  1. Start with some fresh pizza dough--in this case, I pulled some ready made dough out of the freezer: whole wheat from the store.  (Ideally, I'd make my own in my wonderful bread machine and get to smell the dough as it works,  You can't do everything.)  Tear it into pieces, and toss some or all into some oil mixed with Parmesan cheese, garlic, and a bit of basil and oregano. (You can mix whatever you'd like with the oil.)
  2. Layer the dough pieces in a bread pan and "top" with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni or sausage, veggies (if desired), and repeat as desired.  End with a layer of dough pieces.
  3. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Enjoy!  We sure did!


I caught Sierra trying to use my breast pump today.
Here are a few other recent moments:

"I hep baby doll pay pano."

"I clippin' baby's nails."

"I hep Mommy cuk."

"I feedin' Ehmo."

"Baby drinkin' mihk."
(I didn't manage to get a pic of her "nursing" her baby.)

What else does she see?!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Crying may last for the night...

...but I sure hope not!

10 pm. I’m sitting on the sofa in the living room listening to my son cry. He’s woken up, it’s not time for him to eat, and he needs to go back to sleep. Mike just gave him some more medicine (cutting teeth is the worst!) and offered him a pacifier (which he refused). Now he’s on his own. 

 I wish I could help him out. I wish I could comfort him and make it all better. And I could. But that wouldn't be what he needs. He needs to get himself to sleep. If I go help him, he’ll be up again tomorrow night at the same time. If I don’t, chances are, he’ll sleep through it next time around. 

 As I sit here, I’m struck by the fact that this is only one of many times that I’ll have to stand on the sidelines, content to watch or listen to my children struggle to figure something out on their own. They’ll have to navigate the world of jobs, friendships, relationships, finances, and even parenting. And long before any of that, they’ll have to figure out how to eat with silverware, get dressed on their own, pick up their toys, and express disappointment without throwing things on the floor. 

 I wish I could spare them the pain and frustration of learning these things on their own. But pain and frustration are a part of life. I want them to live. I want them to live long, full lives with healthy , wonderful experiences and people. I want them to reap the benefits of the same pain and frustration I sometimes wish I could spare them. 

So I’ll stay here, listening to Jordan gradually quiet himself. I’ll stay here because I believe in his ability to figure this out himself. And by staying here, I’m letting him know that I believe in him. 

 At least that’s what I’ll tell myself tonight.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Here's hoping!

I'm gonna try to resurrect this thing.  I feel like I've read that so many times on so many blogs.  And here it is on mine!

It's been a while.  Life happens.  I got out of the habit of writing.  I stopped thinking of events and happenings as blog posts and simply let them be.

We had another baby.  We've adjusted (for the most part) to life with two young kids.  Sierra loves her brother.  Jordan's fascinated with his sister.  Magnet spends a bit more time in his crate.  Mom and Dad sleep less.  Rio seems rather unchanged.

And six months later, I'm finally getting back into some of the things that make me feel like I'm more than a childcare provider.  I'm couponing again and shopping [more] wisely.  I'm cooking and baking for my family and I'm loving it!  I'm not really cleaning yet, but we've gotta have something to strive for, right?

And I'm gonna make an attempt to keep writing.

Here's hoping!