Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here's What's Cookin'

4/1: Pad Thai (from Dayna)
4/2: Oven Stroganoff (from Amy C)
4/3: White Lightning Chicken Chili (Pampered Chef)
4/4: Home-made Pizza
4/5: AWANA/Musical (sandwiches)
4/6: tofu stir fry and brown rice (Skinny B****)
4/7: CASHA night/Okte night at McD's
4/8: taco macaroni skillet (from some Carnation baby magazine from 2002)
4/9: chicken broccoli alfredo (campbell's easy recipe)
4/10: pancakes and sausage
4/11: ? burgers?
4/12: Easter Sunday/dinner at the lake
** yes, some of these are repeats, but we didn't get to all the meals last round **

Saturday's Celebration

Saturday was a fabulous day...we celebrated NCH's 7th birthday with 4 of his dearest friends. A neighbor watched our younger 3 children, and off we went - Mom, Dad, NCH, and friends P, B, O, and S. We took the boys to the GE Theatre at Proctor's and watched an incredible 3-D movie about sea monsters. My hubby and I sat in the row behind the boys so we could see them better, and what fun to watch them reaching out to "grab" the 3-D jelly fish!! They really seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards, we headed to Friendly's for sundaes. I can't tell you how amazing it was to watch these boys interact...they're growing up SOOOO fast!!!! It seems like just yesterday I was giving birth to my boy...I'll save that story for another time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chicken Cutlets Classica Fontina (recipe from "Chicken: Delicious Creations" cookbook)

4 TBSP butter, divided (I used soy and it was great)
8 oz fresh mushrooms, cut into slivers (I used a large container from the freezer - my mom had previously satueed them and they worked out great)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
flour for coating
ground pepper
1/3 c dry white wine
2 TBSP sherry
4 oz fontina, cut into 8 slices

Preheat oven to 350; heat 2 TBSP butter in large skillet over medium heat; cook mushrooms until tender. Remove mushrooms; set aside. Remove liquid from skillet and reserve.
Roll chicken in flour to coat; season with pepper; heat remaining 2 TBSP butter in skillet over medium heat; brown chicken, turning once. Remove chicken; place in 9 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with mushrooms; set aside.
Add wine and sherry to skillet (along with reserved liquid.) Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour wine mixture over chicken.
Bake until chicken is no longer pink, about 20 minutes. Place slice of fontina cheese on each chicken breast. Return to oven. Bake until cheese is melted, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Makes 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

You're Free!

This happened 2 days in a row, so I thought I better write about it:
My girls were eating lunch at the kitchen table. When they finished, I cleaned their hands and faces and said to them,
"Ok, girls - you're free!" (meaning they were free to get up from the table and go play.)
KBH (age 3) retorted, "No, I'm four!!!!!" (note: when she says the word "three" she pronounces it "free")
Another note - she will no longer let us call her by her name. Instead, she insists we call her "Big Girl."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Turning 7 or 47?

NCH cracked me up today...we were riding in the van on the way to a birthday party. My mom had called and I told NCH I would wait to call her back after I dropped him off at his friend's party.
He said, "Yeah, you'd just chat on and on. Ladies love to chat!"
I asked him if men like to chat, too.
He said, "No, when a man calls, he says,
'Do you want to go play basketball?'
'Ok. See you. Bye.'
But when a lady calls, she says,
'Do you want to come over for dinner?'
'Ok, let's chat about it.'"
I almost drove off the road laughing! Is he about to turn 7 or 47?!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Meal Planning/2nd Half of March List

As a mom of 4 busy kids, I find it very helpful to plan my meals ahead. What works best for me right now is to plan 2 weeks of meals at a time. While the 2 older kids are at AWANA on Sunday afternoon (and the 2 younger ones are home napping with Frank), I grocery shop. Twice a month, it's a "major" list, twice a month, it's a smaller list. We get our milk at Stewart's mid-week, and sometimes I have to make a quick run for fruit or fresh bread. I have found we spend FAR less shopping less often. We also eat out FAR less if we have meals planned out ahead of time.
Here's The 2nd Half of March Meal List:
3/16: Veggie Enchiladas (Skinny B**** in the Kitch)
3/17: broccoli quiche, apple-bran muffins, applesauce
3/18: tilapia w/ginger sauce (modified from South Beach's Orange Roughy in Ginger Scallion Sauce), veggies, rice
3/19: chicken cutlets fontina, salad, bread
3/20: make your own pizza (on spelt shell from Green Grocer)
3/21: out!! (sandwiches for kids and babysitter)
3/22: AWANA night/sandwich night
3/23: buckwheat soba pad thai (from Dayna!!)
3/24: quesadillas w/beans, guac and salsa
3/25: chicken soup and rolls
3/26: oven stroganoff over noodles, red cabbage, peas
3/27: family party for NCH?
3/28: breakfast for dinner
3/29: AWANA night/sandwich night
3/30: taco soup w/blue corn chips
3/31: white chicken chili

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Tough Cookie is Going to Kindergarten?!

I should be entering receipts on Quicken right now, but I had to share a couple of thoughts:
I registered CAH (aka "Tough Cookie") for kindergarten last night. I can't believe she's growing up so fast! I just had to take a moment to reflect on how she fought to enter this world. I found out I was pregnant in December of 2003 and was THRILLED! I had been doing the ultra-controlling thing of "hurrying" conception along...ovulation predictor kits, basal body temperatures, and charting were what I thought was necessary to conceive. It had taken over a year to conceive the twins (born/died in utero at 14 weeks on 4/23/01), then NCH was (thankfully) conceived quickly. But this next time was over a year, so beep-beep-beep went my thermometer every morning. EVERYONE I knew was pregnant and I LONGED for another baby. Finally, it was my turn! I was delighted! But at the end of January, when I was 9 weeks along, I was taking the stroller out of the van...suddenly I felt a rush, like my water had broken - but way too early. I put the stroller away, answered my 22-month-old son's questions by saying we were all done at the store and we needed to meet Daddy at the doctor's....the ultrasound technician saw the baby and the heartbeat was fine. The doctor (the one I don't care for) came in and said it was likely a matter of time, we were to go home and "watchfully wait", the miscarriage could take 2-10 days. I had a subchorionic bleed and would probably lose the baby. I was devastated, but I hadn't given up hope. The baby's heart was still beating!! So I watchfully waited and stayed in bed. This was much harder than I ever thought it would be. NCH was my life! The sun rose and set on him. I did EVERYTHING for him. Only I could make his lunch, give him a bath, care for him "properly"!!! Well, what a wake-up call! My husband did a fine job, as did the many friends and family members that came to help. We had friends praying around the world for this little baby. At a subsequent ultrasound appointment, the technician nicknamed the baby "one tough cookie" as the baby continued to grow and thrive inside. The restrictions were eventually lifted, and in April, we were told this was a baby girl! I was elated! As the oldest of 8 granddaughters, I was so happy to have a girl who could wear all the dresses and bows my mother had saved over the years. Life got back to normal, until mid-May, when I began to bleed badly...back to the OB office...panicked, as I had grown to love my little girl and yearned to meet her on her due date in August! This time it was placenta previa...the placenta was completely covering my cervix, putting us both at risk. Back to the bed I went, still not happily. Couldn't I just be normal? A few weeks later, I failed my glucose tolerance test, and had to test my blood four times a day (now I realize it was bed rest-induced gestational diabetes!) I followed the dietitian's plan to the letter and never once "spilled" any sugar. By early August, I was eager to schedule my c-section (necessary due to placenta previa.) Again, my controlling personality was coming out - let's pick the section date and make our plans. But SURPRISE! As the baby grew, the placenta was pulled away from my cervix, so I no longer had placenta previa! Now I could deliver normally (great news) but I had to wait until labor began (can you believe I was annoyed I couldn't pick my date?!!) Well, August 7th, labor began. I finally went to the hospital around dinner time, only to be sent home at 11pm - labor had slowed down, so home I went. On Monday, August 9th at 6am, I contracted regularly as I sat in a rocking chair knitting, then watching the Little People with NCH, finally heading to the doctor and quickly to the hospital...CAH made her arrival shortly thereafter...with the cord snug around her little neck!! Her first APGAR was a 1, and she was blue and floppy. I was beyond terrified...after all we'd been through, was I going to lose her now?!!! They gave her oxygen and her APGAR jumped to an 8! I trembled so much I could barely hold her...but oh she was beautiful!! Not just a mom thinking her baby is beautiful, but really like a doll...she took to nursing right away. She pleasantly snuggled on my lap as I wrote out her birth announcements in the hospital. She was a joyful, content baby from day one. Even now, she seeks to please, and God uses her every day to remind me that I am NOT in control, that I need to show love and be joyful, even though it is in my nature to be orderly and tough. CAH has asked me, " Are you happy, Mama?" if I frown too much. She runs to me to give me a hug just because. I can't leave the house without her calling, "Hug and kiss!!" My fear is that she will become someone's doormat. I want her to be loving and joyful but to be able to stand up for herself. I have seen "pleasers" get hurt and I don't want that for her. I know she is not mine, but God's and He will use her to reach others. It is so scary to pray that your child will love and serve God , especially when you want to specify HOW your child will serve and list your "conditions" to God!
What am I trying to say after all of this?
1) I am not in control. God is, and isn't that wonderful?!!!
2) Our children are on loan to us...we love them SO much, but God loves them even more than we do!
3) This moment will pass so quickly. We have to enjoy this moment while preparing our children for the future.
4) It's not our job to make our children happy, but to make them holy (yikes! tough one!)
5) "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."(Romans 8:28) What a testimony my "tough cookie" is to God's love and faithfulness!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Getting Started...And An Ending

I am having such difficulty with my second blog entry. My issue is not knowing where to begin...I'm a blabbermouth...very wordy...extremely talkative. There is so much to say! Do I talk about my pregnancies, my upbringing, what I'm making for dinner, the ups and downs of marriage, my current sore throat??? What is weighing most heavily on my mind right now is the fact that NJ is 17 months old, and my husband just had a "V" yesterday. I can't believe I will never be pregnant again! Never experience the overwhelming joy of feeling my baby kick inside me...never...well, I won't dwell on it. Instead, I am savoring every moment with my 17-month-old. Right now, he's watching a "Miss Pattycake" DVD in awe. His favorite song is "10 Men" and he loves to sing along with the chorus "Thank you, thank you Jesus" and do the motions with it. He is curious about everything. I love to just sit and watch him think, learn, and explore. His hair is so silky...every time I kiss his head, I think, "I will never be a mom to a baby this age again!!" It makes my heart ache, but it also challenges me to put my best effort into my kids, not just "getting through the day," but making it a great day for loving and learning. This is easier said than done, however! I love that God's Word says His mercies are new every morning.

Skinny B Pad Thai Recipe

"Skinny B**** in the Kitch" - Pad Thai
Serves 3-4
6 oz rice stick noodles
1/4 c agave nectar
1/4 c mirin (rice wine)
3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sriracha (or other chili sauce)
2 tbsp refined coconut oil (I used EVOO at a lower temp)
14 oz extra-firm tofu, cubed
1/2 red onion, cut into 1/4 in. slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, halved lengthwise and cut into 2 in. pieces
2 c bean sprouts
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro, mint, or combo
1/4 c chopped roasted peanuts
4-8 lime wedges

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the agave, mirin, ketchup, tamari, lime juice and sriracha; set aside.
Heat oil in large wok or skillet over high. Add tofu and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add red onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add noodles and agave nectar mixture and stir-fry until the noodles are softened and evenly coated with sauce. Add scallions, bean sprouts and carrots and stir-fry until all the ingredients are well combined and heated through.
Transfer the pad thai to plates or a platter; garnish with cilantro or mint, peanuts and lime wedges and serve.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In the Beginning

Wow, my first blog! Isn't it funny - just a few months ago, I thought blogs were dumb...a waste of time, something only people who were full of themselves did. Since then, I've had the pleasure of reading a few friends' blogs and I've been blown away by the love, the passion, the sincerity, the raw honesty, the humor, the grief, the "special-ness" of each posting. I now see blogging as a way to record special memories, to cathartically work through a variety of feelings and situations, to bond with others, and to leave a legacy for friends and family. I've been reluctant to begin blogging due to being rather busy raising 4 children, but I find myself updating my facebook "status" very often, and posting notes that might be better suited to a blog. Of course the frequent requests of friends that I should start blogging has helped get this ball rolling! The final step was waking up yesterday morning and finding that my husband had created a blog spot for me...complete with the color scheme he knows I love! And so my blogging adventure begins...