Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thinking Cap Thursday - Calm

Today I worked a 12-hour day. Yesterday I worked 11 hours. My brain is full and I have done nothing but think for the past few days.

Today after I got the kids in bed I went outside for a run (for more on my bizarre running adventures as of late, check out my other blog MILF in the Making). As I ran I realized that my brain was satisfyingly empty. I was calm. It was just me, my iPod, and the rhythm of my tennis shoes hitting the pavement. Now, I know I was thinking, but it wasn't conscious. I was in my own little world, and I was loving it.

When I was done running, I lay down on the driveway listening to Dave Matthews and staring up at the stars while my body cooled down. The stars were absolutely breathtaking. As I lay there, doing nothing but listening to Dave and feeling the cold cement beneath me, I realized that sometimes we think too much. Sometimes its good to just BE in the calm moments, in the now, in the quietness.

I went inside and got my daughter out of bed. We lay on the cement together, pointing out shapes in the stars and playing with each other's hair. It was a simple moment, void of deep thoughts or personal revelations. And it was perfect.

So my thought for this Thursday is this... take some time to not think for a while and just BE.

(P.S. If you really want to do some thinking though, pop on over to Single Dad Laughing, and read his article "You Just Broke Your Child." Its about Dads, but applies to Moms too. It really spoke to me and inspired me to be an even better Mom to my kidlets.)

Wonderful Wednesday

Words cannot describe this amazing concoction. You may just have to drive to Port Angeles to experience it yourself. But I'll tell you - I had my own personal cup of wonderful today. Mint Brownie Batter Hot Cocoa from Bella Rosa. Oh-my-wonderfullness. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tantalizing Tuesday - Confetti Quesadillas

This recipe is, in one word, superb! I got the basic recipe from a Family Fun magazine and have played with it until I found the concoction that is just right for my family. This gets eaten up incredibly fast, and I feel good serving it because its full of veggies and healthy protein.

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a resounding 5! Its mild enough for my children, but nummy enough for me. And like I said, its healthy!

Confetti Quesadillas
1 c. frozen corn, defrosted and drained
1 c. shredded zucchini, squeezed dry using paper towels
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 t. taco seasoning
2 c. shredded Mexican cheese
4 large flour tortillas

1) In a large bowl mix together corn, zucchini, cilantro, black beans, and taco seasonings.
2) Mix in cheese.

3) Fill a tortilla halfway full with mixture, and fold tortilla in half, creating a half-circle.
4) Cook on an oiled pan until cheese is melted and tortilla is browned and crispy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scrappin' Saturday - Chore Charts

I have managed to make it 3 "Scrappin' Saturdays" without a single scrapbook page getting done. Or started for that matter. I haven't even picked out pictures or drawn up a layout!

But what I did do this Saturday was to make the chore chart/system that I saw over at Making the World Cuter. I've been wanting to do this up for about 3 months now, and have even had the stuff sitting around to do it. But just haven't gotten around to it. So I made up my chart (8 chores per kid - the ? is their cue to ask Mommy for their special daily chore like cleaning up the living room, helping change the guinea pig's cage, etc). They chose today to hang it in the hallway near their bedrooms.

I've got their little envelopes, bags, etc for them to give (10% to tithing), save (20% for when they are 'big kids'), and spend. Tabby already is planning to save her 'spend' money for her birthday. What she plans to do with it then, I'm not sure. But that's her plan.

I also went to Doodelbugs scrapbooking store in Sequim for the first time today. I picked up a few pieces of paper to make invites to a Halloween party for the kiddos, plus kits to make these cute little boxes. They hold Hershey's nuggets, but I think I'll figure out something different to put in for the kids.

Family Fun Friday - Recharge

My Family Fun Friday consisted of me, a fuzzy blanket, and a good book. My kids were having their fun over at Mima's house, and me...well, I was enjoying the company of one! I have realized, as I get older and the longer I'm a single mom, that sometimes in order to have those family fun days, one needs a bit of time to recharge and have some 'me' fun too. This weekend I am ignoring the dust bunnies and paperwork. I'm even ignoring the lesson plan I need to have written for early next week. Yups - I'm ignoring it all, and just having a nice, long recharge, so that next Friday I will be totally ready to tackle some family fun.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday - Fall

I LOVE fall. Love, love, love it! The rain and fog, the beautiful leaves, the sweaters and thick scarves, pumpkin steamers and hot apple cider, homemade soups making the house smell good, oranges and reds and yellows everywhere. Its simply...well...wonderful!

Tantalizing Tuesday - Parmesan Asparagus

This recipe should have the subtitle "Asparagus for Beginners." It was incredibly simple and unbelievably tasty. YUM!

I got the recipe from, which if you don't use as your cooking Bible, you really should. You can find the recipe, complete with pictures, reviews, etc here, or you can use mine below. The only change I made to that recipe was to use garlic powder instead of garlic salt (simply because that is what I had). Plus, as I always do, I just eyeballed the measurements. I think I went a bit stronger on the cheese and a bit less on the garlic.

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a 5. I loved it, my kids loved it, and it turned us all into asparagus fans.

Parmesan Asparagus
10 pieces of asparagus
4 t. EVOO
1+ T Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 t. garlic powder

(1) Brush asparagus with EVOO.
(2) Bake at 400 for 6 minutes, roll them over, and bake for 6 more minutes or until tender.
(3) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

MTM meets FHE - The Prodigal Son

So, you may be wondering how asparagus and chocolate kisses have to do with the prodigal son... Well, it does if you're doing it Veggie Tale style! It is movie theme night over at Muffin Tin Mom, so I figured we'd try that too.

Tonight we had our muffin tin meal, talked about the story of the prodigal son, and then watched "The Wonderful Wizard of Has." A nice relaxing evening with family, a Bible story, plus both kids discovered they liked asparagus!

(in our MTM - "Junior" asparagus, peas - VeggieTale characters, cheese coins, crunchy noodle hay - from the scarecrow, candy - representing the things Jr did that weren't good for him, watermelon hearts - representing God's love and forgiveness)

Spiritual Sunday - Voice of the Spirit

A friend shared this with me. I really loved it and thought I would pass it on to you...

Family Fun Times Friday - WalMart Disaster

This week's second life lesson: Do not attempt a trip to WalMart as your Family Fun Times trip. Especially if you're shopping for a vaccum and kitty litter. Your children will inevitably turn into whining terrors the instant they walk through the doors of WalMart (its the lighting, I swear!) You will inevitably turn into that frazzled, frumpy looking mom with a crazed look screaming, "Get back over here. Don't make me count to three! I swear! I'm going to! 1-2-Come on! 1-2-I said stop it! If you don't stop it..." You will end up buying far more than a vaccum and kitty litter, and your children will cry all the way home.

Learned this one the hard way too.

Needless to say, Family Fun Times Friday was not particuarily fun.

Thinkin' Cap Thursday - Lessons from the Kitchen Sink

This week's life lesson: The garbage disposal does NOT like rice. At all. And unless you want to spend your hour lunch break scooping rice out and plunging your sink, you will not feed it to your disposal. I learned this the hard way.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday - I'm Such a Dork

I am such a dork. But, you've got to admit, I'm a loveable dork. :)

My new thing I find wonderful - Dungeon Seige II. Yes, you can laugh. You can say it too - I AM totally dorky. I got into D&D computer games a few years ago, and must admit that I spent an unhealthy number of hours attempting to slay ogres, memorize new spells, and complete quests. I was recently introduced to some new games including this one, and I must say, I'm hooked. I am looking forward to the kids' bedtime so I can play!

Tantilizing Tuesday - Easy Rice Pudding

I got this recipe from Sandra Lee's SemiHomemade magazine, and then made a few adjustments. It was super easy, and tasted pretty nummy too!

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a 3.5. It tasted good, but didn't really strike me as the right consistancy for rice pudding. It was more like sweet rice (if that's all I'd been 'grading' on I would have rated it higher).

Easy Rice Pudding
Minute Rice - however many servings you want to make
Vanilla bean ice cream
cinamon, to taste
nutmeg, to taste

(1) Cook rice according to directions.
(2) While still hot, mix in vanilla bean ice cream until reaches the consistancy you want.
(3) Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.
(4) Serve warm, cold, or room temperature (I prefered mine warm).

We Interupt Your Regular Programming...

...for fun with my bestest buddie Laura (check out her blog for pics of her weekend here hanging out with me) and camping with Adam!

Laura and I did the stairs in downtown PA, figured out the books for our book club for the next 18 months (!), decided on some cards to make, and did some meal planning. Best of all, we hung out, giggled, and got some 'girl time!' It was sooo nice to see Laura and get to spend some time with her. It had been far too long!

Last minute I decided to join Adam and his kida on a camping trip. We went to Jim Creek, which was possibly the nicest campground I have ever been to. He got a little cabin, so all 6 kids had a 'sleepover' in there, while Adam and I each slept in our tents - him in his 6 man and me in my 5 man. We had smores, and an improvised meal I dubbed "goulash-alicious" (see recipe below - I've sized it down a bit - this should serve 4).

Anyhow, I am now back into the 'routine.' Stay tuned!

Goulash-alicious (an improvised campout meal)
We were supposed to have tin foil dinner, but the meat was frozen and by the time we got it defrosted over the fire we also had pretty much cooked it too. I also forgot my BBQ sauce and my seasoning salt - so this is what I threw together instead.

1 lb. ground beef
1 family size can of baked beans
3 carrots, sliced thinly
2 potatoes, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
brown sugar

(1) Make individual tin foil packets for carrots (with a bit of butter), potatoes (with a bit of butter and some salt), and onions (with a bit of butter and a spoonful of brown sugar). Seal well and stick all 3 packets in the campfire, directly on top of coals.
(2) Meanwhile, cook ground beef in a pot over top of the campfire until nearly done.
(3) Check the tin foil packets regularly - the onions will be done first. Vegetables are done when tender.
(4) Mix baked beans in with ground beef and heat until bubbly.
(5) Mix in carrots and potatoes.
(6) Serve in bowls, and garnish with carmelized onions. Num!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thinkin' Cap Thursday - Other People's Passions

Today I was going to listen to an iTunes lecture or research something online and write about all my new-found knowledge.

Life dropped a happy surprise in my lap tonight though. Adam and a student of his flew in to Port Angeles for a cross-country trip. So the kids and I got in the car and drove out to meet them. We got to see the helicopter come in for landing, which as you probably can imagine, was the highlight of the day for the kids (and if we're being honest, for me too). We then drove them back to our house for them to have a break and to figure out their flight plan back.

Watching Adam teach his student was amazing. I LOVE watching other people doing things they are passionate about. Watching Adam you could see he was doing something he was good at, and something he really enjoyed. It made me want to be a fly on the wall and watch him teaching more often.

There is something incredibly intruiging and exciting about watching other people do something they are good at or passionate about. You see them in a new light. Its almost, to me, like you see them in their true form. They are the person they are meant to be. They SHINE.

I hope others can look at me when I'm doing the things I do best. I hope they can see me shine and appreciate that in me, and say, "Wow...that is what she is meant to do!"

Anyhow, its late and I'm tired and I'm not totally sure this post makes sense... but just some thoughts to ponder on this Thinkin' Cap Thursday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday - Little Things

A perfectly ripe nectarine at lunch
Cute little kid toes
The promise of a bubble bath