Thursday, September 27, 2007
I tried planning all 3 meals and it didn't work very well for me - it was overwhelming and usually more than we would normally eat in a day. :) I found myself frustrated and I just needed the flexibility to do what worked for that day. So, I just plan dinners and try to keep things on hand for breakfast and lunch. We typically have cereal, oatmeal, or cereal bars for breakfast (occasionally eggs or pancakes) - the boys and I are not big on breakfast (and Andrew is usually gone earlier). Lunch is often sandwiches (pb&j, egg salad, tuna, grilled cheese, or cheese toasties), crackers and cheese, or scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruit etc. Just keeping a list of breakfast and lunch ideas on the fridge or taped in the cabinet would be helpful and I really need to do that.
As far as meatless is concerned, Andrew doesn't really care so I try to include a few meatless meals here and there. But if it's not your cup of tea (it isn't for many people I know), just plan other things. :) I try to do a variety of ethnicities, types of meat etc. I use less meat by putting it in things (like fajitas or stir-fry). Andrew often takes leftovers for lunch so I don’t plan in a leftover night.
I do try to incorporate a lot of organic products but we are not 100% organic at this point and I don’t know if we ever will be. I still use refined sugar in baking and don’t plan to give that up any time soon.
I am easily bored by the same food all the time, so I work to change up dinners to keep it interesting. :) I read cookbooks and magazines for inspiration. I probably spend about ½ hour – 1 hour per week planning the meals and making shopping lists. It’s fun for me and I get excited about cooking!
Most all of the meals I plan are ready within an hour or less which is important at our house. I don’t know about the rest of you but meal prep time is zero hour for my kids. They are demanding, want held, cry, fight etc. I often give them a little snack and/or drink and have them spend a little time hanging out on the couch and I go play with them or read to them when I have a break. Any other ideas for this time of day? I try to have dinner ready or nearly ready by the time Andrew gets home (between 6 & 6:30). Some days are better than others. :)
I’m contemplating doing a theme for each night – Monday (crock pot), Tuesday (Mexican), Wednesday (beef) etc. I’m not sure if this would be stifling or helpful. It may be an idea I try and then reject – we’ll see. :) Have any of you done this?
Hope that helps, it’s a bit trial and error and as with most things, it's really what works best for you, the cook! I’m gradually learning what works and what doesn’t and the great thing is that there is always next week!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
We went to Chicago for Calvin's post-op appointment today - it went well and you can read about it here.
I'm teaching beginning and advanced biology this year to a few homeschool students. It's my 1st year teaching advanced (I'm really just doing labs and tests with them and answering questions) and my 4th year teaching beginning biology (I took last year off). They both meet at my house on Thursdays.
I had dinner with one of my best friends last night and it was such a great evening! We used to work together and I really miss not seeing her several times a week!
Cooking and baking are so much fun! I'm already starting to think about our Christmas Open House and what new recipes I'll make (December 15 is the current plan and you are all invited! :)).
Anyway, things are busy but good. The boys are awesome and I love being a mom!
We will go back to Shriner's in February for a full team evaluation again and we'll know more about what will be next etc. As far as we know, the gum graft will be the next surgery in probably 5 years or so.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
If you would like other lentil recipes please feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail - I'll be happy to pass them on.
Let me know it you try it! Hope you enjoy it!
Carrot Lentil Casserole
1 c. carrots, finely chopped (I did just a little more)
3/4 c. dry lentils
3/4 c. brown rice, uncooked
1/2 c. green pepper (I just added a whole small one)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained*
1 1/2 c. chicken broth or vegetable broth*
1/2 - 3/4 c. shredded cheese (I used an Italian 4 cheese blend but you could use whatever you
Combine all ingredients except cheese in a slow cooker.
Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours. (It took 5 hrs. in my crockpot.)
Just before serving, stir in cheese until melted.
*Original recipe called for 1 c. tomatoes & 1 c. broth - this didn't seem like enough to me so I added more - it definitely needed it.
Monday, September 24, 2007
We had pretty good seats.
Mommy & Patrick - he was a little nervous at first. :)
Well 5 ½ years later and many eggs later, I still have my egg boiler. It is awesome! It’s quick and precise and most importantly, mindless. :) You can do soft boil, medium boil, and hard boil eggs. I use my egg boiler regularly and would replace it if it broke. What a surprise! I highly recommend this small kitchen appliance which really doesn’t take up much storage space after all. :) It may not be necessary but it sure is great and I never wonder how long I've had my eggs in or if they are done!
Do any of you have kitchen gadgets or appliances that you love and wouldn’t want to live without?
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
These questions were raised:
Do you agree or disagree with this family's view of environmental stewardship?
I agree (as I previously wrote) with the general concept of environmental stewardship. I believe it is clear that we are to take an active role in conserving and caring for the earth. God set forth these mandates in Genesis (see Genesis 1 & 2 especially). I sincerely appreciate that they are looking beyond the health benefits and looking at how best to protect and manage the world entrusted to us. It was hard to tell how much the article was slanted to portray this family as ultra-conservative wackos. :) To the extent that they "believe the Bible demands an organic or natural approach to agriculture" as a tenant (or essential) of the Christian faith, I disagree. I also feel that their attitude towards insects was strange.
Do you think that promoting organic foods and good nutrition are tenants of a Christian lifestyle?
The 6th commandment is "thou shall not murder." The implication (or positive) of this commandment is that we are to preserve life. I believe that part of preserving life is caring for our bodies. I do think that promoting healthy living is an important aspect of Christian living but perhaps it goes a little far to call eating nutritious, organic food a "tenant of a Christian lifestyle". And, as I have said before, good eating and nutrition will look different for every family. Not everyone can afford to buy all organic foods and some do not feel that it is necessary but I definitely don't believe this means that they are failing to live a Christian lifesyle.
Oh, I really liked this description/definition in the aforementioned article, "Organic agriculture emphasizes crop rotation, composting and the use of animal manures, avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides that organic farmers say contaminate food, wildlife and the environment." As an aside, we have not been able to start a compost - when we tried, our dog went out and ate the things on the compost and was sick. The carpet suffered and...you get the idea.
One of the things I'm most disturbed about is that many, many people I know choose to eat healthy but don't think about the environment much at all. I mean it's all well and good to be healthy but what good is it going to do us if the world is falling apart. I really think nutritious living and being eco-friendly go hand in hand. So, next time you go to the store ask for paper instead of plastic or better yet, bring your own bags. :)
The other thing I really don't understand is why the city charges for recycling. This makes no sense to me - wouldn't more people recycle if it were free and easy? Our solution is to just drive our recyclables to a donation bin (we are trying to do better about this).
**While I appreciate some of the views expressed by this blog, I disagree with others.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The boys probably think it's the greatest store ever because I let them each push one of the child carts and that's what we put the groceries in. We didn't need very much (other than cereal) but we meandered through the store checking out various items. Andrew and I love Trader Joe's sparkling waters especially the grapefruit and orange so I picked up one of each. We also brought home a wholegrain baking mix, organic mac 'n cheese for quick lunches, and some organic plain yogurt. Sometimes I buy cheese there - they have an awesome variety. They also have delicious hummus. And if you are a wine drinker, they have many different kinds, very reasonably priced.
They also have great eco-friendly reusable bags - they range from .99 to 1.99 and they even have insulated bags. The one pictured here is the one I bought today - itsn't it cute?! I really like that stores are offering these type of bags but this is by far the coolest one I have ever seen! Now if only I can remember to bring it with me when I shop!
So that was our outing for the evening. Oh, I forgot to mention that we also came home with 4 balloons - the boys made a few friends along the way. :)
The boys favorite book right now is My Little Word Book. They look at it and excitedly identify pictures and make appropriate animal sounds, car noises etc. It is adorable!
Patrick said his first prayer last night thanking God for the day, Mommy, Daddy, Calvin, & Pippi (with some help, but he repeated all the words). He was so sincere and sweet.
Calvin loves to sing and after we sang 'Happy Birthday' to my Grandma on Sunday, he stood in the middle of all the people, held up his finger, and said, "wight, wight, wight!" Translated this meant,"Let's sing 'This Little Light of Mine'." We obliged and he was thrilled. It's his favorite song - we sing others but this is definitely the most requested.
Every day is a wonderful adventure being parents (okay, admittedly some of them aren't our favorite kind of adventures). :) We love watching our boys grow up - they are so funny! They keep us on our toes and certainly keep us laughing. It's so much fun!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Calvin Amirkhan Joseph
Patrick Murat Rudolph
We can't believe how much they have changed! They are definitely not the babies we brought home! We are so proud of our little men - they are learning so much and growing like weeds!
There were lots of vegetables, fresh baked bread, pies etc., some fruit and honey, and a little meat & eggs. This market did not have very much organic produce but my feeling is that locally grown, fresh food is good no matter what. :) The prices varied but seemed pretty good overall.
I bought peppers (way cheaper than the store!), lettuce, spinach, bread, and we splurged on a couple sweet rolls for a breakfast treat. :) There are only a couple more weeks until this market is finished for the season - it is open Saturday mornings 7:30-10:30a.m.
It was quite different than the Creamery market - I can see going to both on a weekly basis. We were remembering this morning how great it was when we lived in Florida - they had a Green Market every Saturday in the spring & summer which was HUGE! We also went to an outdoor market (year round) for our produce quite a bit.
On an unrelated note, we met our boys one year ago today after having travelled for many, many hours. It was a great day and the start of one of the most beautiful chapters in all four of our lives. We are so blessed and thankful - we couldn't have asked for anything better! Later, I'll write more on the boys' blog to commemorate this special day and of course post pictures. :)
Friday, September 14, 2007
This is a quick post to say - I won a drawing! And not only did I win this drawing but I also won a drawing a couple of months ago (a super cute diaper bag!). I don't know what to do with myself - I usually don't win anything!
I won Ciao Bella's Hand Cream & Soap Gift Set (I picked the lemon verbena). They specialize in natural body and skincare products. I can't wait to try them!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
We went to the Farmer’s Market at Trader’s Point Creamery last week and the prices were overall very good and of course the quality was fantastic! They had a wonderful assortment of meat including pork, beef, and lamb, various fresh vegetables, dairy products, and even some baked goods, honey, and different wines. Many of the products are organic. The really great thing is that this is a year round farmer’s market. My favorite thing that I bought was fresh mushrooms – I could buy exactly what I needed instead of a whole package at the grocery store!
Andrew and I have been talking a lot about supporting local farmers and being more environmentally minded (like taking our own cloth bags to the store – lots of stores offer them these days). We aren’t going totally green – yet, but we have really been convicted about our responsibility to care for God's creation. I am troubled by the general idea that being conscious of the environment equals being politically liberal. We need to change that perception!
Anyway, here is a brief glimpse at some of the recipes we’ve been enjoying:
Monday: chili & cornbread
Tuesday: mushroom meatloaf patties w/pan gravy, herb mashed potatoes, & steamed broccoli
Wednesday: pumpkin black bean soup & warm homemade applesauce
Tonight: leftovers – it’s been a busy day :)
Friday: chicken quesadillas, fresh salsa & guacamole
I’m pretty new to all of this but I hope it sticks. Menu planning has been very freeing for me and is saving us money! I’m planning to incorporate a homemade pizza night into each week using an easy crust recipe and whatever veggies we have leftover. I’ll let you know how it goes. And I do still go to the regular grocery store – not everything is fresh and seasonal. :)
***A caveat for me is that even though I know that using cloth diapers is totally a better thing for the environment, I’m just not able to do that right now. :) Props to those that do, I admire but definitely do not envy you (except your budget!)!
I'll leave you with these passages:
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Last year, in a brilliant attempt at understanding this passion of our husbands, my friend, Becca, decided that the girls should start their own league. And so we did. And most of us had a good time. And we understood a little more. And we know more players names. And we even know roughly how good they are. And our husbands are proud of us and pleased they can talk about it with us. We still don’t know what a tight end does and we may never but we do know that starting the right one is important. :)
And so, it was with much anticipation that we hosted the annual FF draft on Labor Day. There were 12 guys huddled around their computers eagerly drafting their perfect team and 6 women chatting, asking each other advice on choices, and checking the cheat sheets (mostly printed off by their husbands) to pick another player for their team.
After the draft and the first week of games, I find myself strangely drawn back into the madness. I was disappointed that I lost my first game by less than a point and hope to do better – if only I had started different players! While I don’t read everything about every player, I do think about who to start and check on their status come Saturday. And yes, you will even find me watching some football and understanding more than I ever thought possible and yes, I’m actually enjoying it!
So here’s to another year of fantasy football – hope I win! :)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I am so excited for Jeff and Abbey as they welcome their son into their family. They are also blog friends (we've never met in person) but I came across their blog when they were just beginning the adoption process. Their adorable son is from Taiwan. Congrats Lands - we are so happy for you and so thrilled that another beautiful child has found a forever family! God bless all three of you!
And finally, I remember clearly this day 6 years ago. I was at work when the planes hit the World Trade Center. What a terrifying day! Please take time to say thank you to those serving our country, to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom, and to say a prayer for the families that lost loved ones so unexpectedly on 9/11.
Monday, September 10, 2007
A) Laugh & hang up.
B) Tell them to come down to the front desk and then you can tell them.
C) Ask if everything is okay and offer to call 911.
D) Put a manager on the phone.
E) Act bored and say you aren't sure where a hospital is.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Well, the kids went to bed just fine – Calvin woke up but I already told you about that. I was having some trouble sleeping when I heard a little snoring; I got up to check to make sure it wasn’t Calvin - he was sleeping peacefully. Suddenly, the snoring escalated. People, it was like freight train going through the small hospital room. I have never heard such awful sounds. It was incredible! I could not sleep. I tried plugging my ears, putting my pillow over my head, and thinking about something else - all of that did pretty much nothing to block the horrific sounds. Thankfully, the kids slept through it.
Finally, I caught a few hours of sleep. Quite frankly, I think that if you snore, you should have your husband stay instead. I also think you should warn your roommate that you snore. And I just have to say, her husband probably had the best night of sleep he has ever had since he married her unless, of course, he snores, too.
WARN PEOPLE IF YOU SNORE!
Thursday, September 06, 2007
This picture sums up my trip to work. Thankfully, my husband rescued me - we switched cars and I left him behind changing the tire with two kids in tow. What a great guy! Lest you think I'm a horrible person, these facts should also be noted: I was late to work, I had a patient waiting, Andrew had agreed to be in charge of the boys until the sitter came, and I took him to lunch (well, maybe he took me but whatever! :)).
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Love this picture - really captures the change and his eyes are gorgeous!
These cups entertained them for quite some time today! They make great hats. :)
A different look at his mouth - see the dimples?!
Loving each other - most of the time!
Calvin looks awesome - I'll take a picture today and post it later. He is able to eat more which has been good for all of us. We had a little scare on Monday when he and I were playing and he fell face first on the carpet and started bleeding from his mouth. I think I was more hysterical than he was! It turned out that his tooth had hit the inside of the lip bruising it and causing the bleeding but it did not damage the surgical site as far as we could tell. He seems to be fine!
Today we are hanging here at home - Calvin has a swollen hand due to some circulation restriction overnight. Hopefully the swelling will go down (there is circulation to the hand) but trying to get a 2 year old to keep his arm elevated is a challenge! You just never know what curveballs will come your way. :)