Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Cake

Can you guess?? See the entire cake HERE.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Kid Friendly Friday - Letter Matching

We have had this Leap Frog letter toy for years and I finally got it out for Little Bit. She liked hearing the letter sounds (A says a, A says a, Every letter makes a sound, A say a and A) but doesn't keep her attention for long. She isn't really at that stage yet.

SOOOO, instead we are using the letters for letter identification and matching. On the side of a file cabinet I taped a big piece of paper, traced the pieces and wrote in the letters.

We take all the letters off and I hand her letters one by one, telling her the name, have her repeat it, then she matches the letter and puts it on the chart. She LOVES it. We have to do it multiple times each time. Her big sisters can do it with her as well. After just one day she has gotten quicker and even knows some letter names before I say them.

This post is linked to

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Plain, Plain

I was excited to read The Whole Bible Story; Every That Happens in the Bible in Plain English by Dr. William H. Marty but was disappointed once I got into it. Although it is a good resource it was not an exciting read. Dr. Marty states that it has very little commentary and is not a paraphrase (i.e. The Message). He is telling only the facts. Knowing his purpose, he has achieved this. There is no doubt that Dr. Marty knows his stuff and it is written so it is easily understood. I was expecting something different that was not the intent of the author. It is not written to take the place of Bible reading and would be a good book for someone not familiar with the Bible who otherwise may have a hard time reading the Bible from cover to cover.

The chapters are made up of major themes told in biblical order with sub chapters of different stories, each starting with the main characters and setting. A few maps are included.

I received this book free from the publisher, Bethany House Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Easter Pictures

Finding an egg on her string! Each girl has a different colored ball of yarn attached to her basket. They go around the house following their yarn to find eggs and little treats. The house is a crazy yarn filled mazy mess!

After an easter egg hunt with their cousin and grandparents.

Such a sweet picture with Papa and the girls!

Hooked on Phonics??

Mimi brought home from kindergarten a paper that she was listing different community helpers. Here is what I found. Can you guess each helper??

1. nurs
2. construcsen workr
3. busjivre
4. garbejmen
5. armemen
6. goffer
7. coche
8. siintise

Gotta love phonetic learning.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Good Way

The One-Day Way, by Chantel Hobbs is so simple but so correct. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday or what you plan on doing tomorrow to make your life better. The choices you make right now are what is going to make you successful. We usually make lofty long term weight loss goals, where we should be seeing our goals achieved one day at a time.

Chantel was overweight at one time and when she finally reached her breaking point she was able to break the bad habits and make new ones. First you must deconstruct what unhealthy habits you have acquired and the way of thinking that led to this path. Next, a vision needs to be created on what you want to look like on the inside and outside. From there you will build your new mind set on the levels of faith, food, and fitness. Chantel guides you through these steps quickly and easily.

Two things that really make this book different are the first day fast and the daily challenges. She points out, like everyone should know, by consuming fewer calories than you burn, and exercise is essential for heart health and core strength. Not rocket science. The first day fast is used to let the dust settle, give you a clear mind and let you focus on spiritual strength. She does not advocate fasting for weight loss but rather to regain perspective. She also advises a one meal fast each week. The daily challenges are great for competitive people and those who need to see successes each day and right away. They can be food challenges, such as going the day without sweets, or eating only veggies for snacks. Examples of daily faith and fitness challenges are also included.

Meal plans for weight loss (1,400 to 1,600 calories) and maintenance (2,000 calories) are included and are made up of meals that are easy, readily available, and inexpensive. A strength-training workout is included that uses minimal equipment (medicine ball and resistance band).
The book is a good resource for someone trying to loose weight without a fad diet, which means you really need to change your habits and work at it! There is no magic solution, The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to the basics.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through Blogging for Books.

Rate my review HERE! (thanks!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carmelized Onion Pita Pizza

I made caramelized onions in my crock pot last week and they are so easy and yummy. I have heard caramelized onions are great on pizza so I tried them on my pita pizza. THEY are right! SO good and less than 3 minutes prep time. Seriously. Cut a pita in half (to make a full circle but with half the pita). Spread a little pizza sauce, cheese, spices, and caramelized onions. Put under the broiler in the oven and bake until your cheese is a little melty and golden. Enjoy!

To make the caramelized onions, slice 4 or 5 big onions into your crock pot. Add a stick of butter and cook on low for 12 or so hours until they are golden brown. Save for all the little things that would be so much better with caramelized onions (which is a lot of things, if you think about it).

This post has also been linked to:
Mouthwatering Monday at Southern Fairytale
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Hearth and Soul at A Moderate Life
Recipe Swap at Prairie Story
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Part-Time Vegan Cookbook Review - Cuban Black Beans, Sweet Potatoes, and Rice

I try to incorporate meatless dishes into my menu plan so was very excited to be able to review the cookbook, The Part-Time Vegan: 201 Yummy Recipes That Put the FUN in Flexitarian by Cherise Grifoni. I read cookbooks like novels and this one was is well written and funny so it was a joy to read. The first chapter is entitled, Veganism 101 and gives a background on the vegan lifestyle and ingredients that are typical in the vegan pantry.

The chapters are broken down into Dips and Appetizers, Easy Breakfasts, Salad Dressings, Salads, Super Soups, Vegetable Dishes, Rice, Pasta Dishes, Grains, Tofu, Seitan, TVP, and Tempeh, and Dinner Plans (which plans your meal of appetizer, main course, and dessert), and Desserts. As I went through I had several recipes in each category that I bookmarked to try (I have even used TVP before so that chapter wasn't completely out of my mindset....although I'm not really on board with the Tofu, Seitan and Tempeh, which you could do a little meaty substitutions here).

I can't wait to try the Homemade Tahini, Easy Breakfast Blackberry Bread Pudding, Cranberry Apple Stuffing, Pumpkin Cream Pasta, Easy Garlic Quinoa, and Raw to Die for Apple Pie with Berry Topping (among MANY others). Most recipes are very easy to make and easy to substitute out ingredients you don't have.

I am not interested in a vegan diet but know that many of the recipes in this cookbook will become family favorites. I recommend this to anyone trying to get more veggies into their diets. You will not be disappointed!

Here is the first recipe I tried from the cookbook. Amazing! Healthy! Incredibly easy!

This book was sent to me by the Thomas Nelson Publishing company through their BookSneeze program in exchange for honest review.

Cuban Black Beans, Sweet Potatoes, and Rice
Serves 4

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 grande sweet potatoes, chopped small
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1/4 cup vegetable broth (I used chicken broth because that is what I had, I know, not vegan and also used 1 and 1/2 was burning to the bottom of the pan)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon lime juice (I used 2 to 3 Tablespoons)
splash hot sauce

1. In a large pot set on medium-high, saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil for about 3 minutes.

2. Lower the heat to medium low. Add all other ingredients except the lime juice and hot sauce. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

3. Add in lime and hot sauce and serve while still all warm and steamy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just Getting Up

We tried out a blender muffin recipe and Little Bit got to lick the spatula. This is how her hair always looks when she gets up. Too funny!

New Cake/Cookies

Here's the baby shower cake I did last weekend. So fun!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Max On Life - Book Review

Max On Life is a collection of questions about God, grace, conflicts, prayer, romance, children, work, money, heaven, hell and everything in between, received and answered by Max Lucado. There are big questions that are simply answered, all backed by scripture. The book is broken up into 7 topics; hope, hurt, help, him/her, home, haves/have-nots, and hereafter. There is a topical index, scripture index, and a recommended reading list to address specific struggles more specifically. An addendum is included that addresses would-be writers.

No matter what stage you are in life or what level you are in your Christina walk, whether you are contemplating deep theology or looking at everyday events, this book is beneficial. If you are a new Christian it has many questions about faith. If you are a new mom it addresses some parental concerns you may be having. It gives good insight if you have lost a loved one and are struggling with your relationship with God. Not only does it deal with your questions it is a great resource to help people around you.

Some of the questions that caught my interest were:

More than anything in the world I want to be a good mom to my kids. How can I be the mom God wanted me to be?

The seven-year-old son of our neighbors died last week. They are devastated. So are we. What can we tell them?

Why should we pray for help when God already has a plan? He’s going to do His will anyways, so what difference does it make…..

I am a fan of the way Max Lucado writes, with lots of stories and anecdotes. He doesn’t claim to have the end-all answers to these tough questions but can back up everything he is teaching with scriptural references. I would recommend this book and will certainly use it as a reference in the future.

*This book was sent to me by the Thomas Nelson Publishing company through their BookSneeze program in exchange for honest review.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

No Internet

Hi Everyone! We have been without Internet for a few days now :( I had to come to Panera to finish a book review that had to post tomorrow. I miss reading everyone's posts and hope to be back soon! I'm on my husband's laptop and found this picture from last summer. Our big girl - not at all scared of fish :) Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Weekend

It was Tourist Day for Kindergartners on Friday. The kids really get into it.

Both big girls performed in Arf! the Musical. Mimi was Benny the Beagle and Bigs was ChiChi Chihuahua. They do so well on stage. No stage fright at all.

Mark's softball girls had Prom on Saturday and wanted the girls to come and take pictures with them. My girls thought they all looked like princesses.

Rice and Lentils - a quick pantry meal

I found this recipe tucked away somewhere I knew I would find it (from years ago) and threw it together for lunch last week. I forgot how easy and how tasty it was!

Rice and Lentils
1 cup lentils (whatever color you have)
1/2 rice (I used white although you could alter the cooking time for brown)
6 cups water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam marsal
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp salt
caramelized onions (optional, I just finished caramelizing onion in the crock pot so had some on hand)

Mix lentils, rice and water in a medium saucepan. Heat until boiling, cover, turn down to low and cook 30 minutes. Take off  heat and add spices and onions, if using.

Easy. Filling.

This post has also been linked to:
Mouthwatering Monday at Southern Fairytale
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Hearth and Soul at A Moderate Life
Recipe Swap at Prairie Story
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Cake

This is my third cake within a week with another scheduled for next Friday. Each time we bake, Little Bit's first question is, "Is this for us?". She sees so many cakes leave the house without so much as a bite. I do let her lick the frosting off the mixer paddle :) She thinks that is just as good.

Check out my new cake at SarahBakes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Little Leprechaun

Don't you love the hat/beard combo that was brought home from kindergarten after St. Patty's Day? SO cute!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spaghetti with Fried Egg and Bread Crumbs

I have been wanting to try this recipe for awhile now and I'm sorry I waited so long. One of my favorite tastes is runny egg yolk soaked up with toast, and if that makes you squirm, you don't want to read any further. This recipe cost about $2.50 TOTAL for my family of 5 with plenty of leftover garlic noodles. Bonus - everyone liked it (or at least a part of it :)!

Speghetti with Fried Eggs and Bread Crumbs
(adapted from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook)
3 slices of bread
6 Tablespoons evoo
2 Tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves. minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 pound speghetti
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
7 eggs (adjust accordingly - the recipe says 4, one for each serving but I used two eggs for each adult and 1 for each child, and it fed us all with lots of leftover pasta)

 Preheat oven to 375. Pulse the bread in a food processor or blender to get course bread crumbs. Toss crumbs with 3 tablespoons evoo and season with salt and pepper. Spread crumbs over a baking sheets and put in the oven until golden brown - 8 to 10 minutes. You want them nice and crispy - browner the better. Set aside. Don't try them or you'll risk eating them all before dinner is ready.

In a small sauce pan combine 3 T evoo, butter, garlic, pepper flakes (if you are using), and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Warm over low heat about 8 to 10 minutes. You want to make the oil nice and flavorful.

Cook pasta according to the package directions and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta, transfer back to pot, add reserved pasta water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, most of the parmason, and garlic evoo mixture. Toss pasta well. Cover to keep warm.

Fry your eggs (however you prefer, but the yolks must stay runny). I spritz evoo in my cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Cook on one side for about 2 minutes, flip and immediately turn off the burner. Some of you probably think it's unheard of to flip. Do it however you like but keep those yolks runny.

Plate the pasta, top with an egg, left over parmesan cheese, parsley, and lots of bread crumbs. Poke your yolk and use that for the sauce to mix this wonderful plate of goodness together.

I'm drooling. It's really easy and yummy. I had an egg over the leftover pasta for two breakfasts in a row and was sorry I didn't save any bread crumbs. They were delightful. I also put my pepper flakes on at the end because I was the only one who wanted some heat.

This post has also been linked to:

Mouthwatering Monday at Southern Fairytale

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace

Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff

Hearth and Soul at A Moderate Life

Recipe Swap at Prairie Story

Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Let's break Bread together at Wit, Wok, and Wisdom