Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why do I make dinner?

So last night I thought I'd be brave and give this a try...

Well, You know, My way.
I made a whole wheat pizza crust

1 1/2 cups hot water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar OR honey
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups whole wheat flour { Or you can do 2 cups white 2 cups wheat if you don't like whole wheat}
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Just whisk the hot water and yeast together and then add everything else and I just stuck it in the mixer with the dough hook. A warning though. If you have a kitchen aid they are NOT meant for whole wheat dough. {Read the manual, it says it in there} My mom and I have blown through 2 kitchen aids that way. Yes, I still used one of my kitchen aids, The one that the top part doesn't wobble on. But I'm just waiting until both of those completely die before I have to drop a few hundred dollars on a new mixer. So just to save you the annoyance, I thought I'd let you know.

Then I just chopped up the leftover rotisserie chicken breasts from the previous nights dinner. {I told you I haven't made  dinner 2 nights in a row.} Chopped up some fresh broccoli added 4 oz of 2% cheddar cheese and one can fat free cream of chicken soup, and 8 oz of fat free cream cheese. And Added a bit of salt and pepper.
Then you spread your dough on your cookie sheet pretty thin, and then cut it so that you can braid it.
I used a pizza cutter.
Then you put your filling down the middle and braid over top of it.
Bake at 375 for about 30-40 min. depending on how thick your dough  was.

Now would you believe that I went through all  this effort, and NO ONE ELSE WOULD EAT IT! Oh I was so mad. Now you're wondering... Why would she advertise a recipe that no one else would eat? It was good. Like really good. And it totally looks impressive. However... Mike doesn't eat anything and has no taste buds, therefore his opinion means nothing. This is a man who prefers boxed mac n cheese over homemade. And packaged take n break cookies vs homemade chocolate chip. And the man that lives on fast food... I mean, I always thought I'd marry a man who adored me for my cooking and baking skills... {They are off the chain, It's a gift I was blessed with by my sweet mommy} He won't eat 90% of what I make. Need I go on? And well, The kids would have ate it, Had the oldest one not wanted to try it. Monkey see monkey do. So, I have decided that cooking doesn't need to be one of my "priorities" right now. Remember how I was feeling overwhelmed and said I can't do it all. Well, cooking for a family that doesn't care one way or the other if it's homemade or not, has fallen to the bottom of my priorities. Maybe mike's annoying eating habits are a small blessing in disguise right now. Yes, They will be fed healthy food...Mostly it means we will be eating at Nana's more often for a while...

Friday, October 28, 2011

So let the count down begin. I'm so excited about this it's not even funny. I am running the Disney 1/2 marathon on January 7th with 2 of my best friends in the world... 

Sarah "Biggest Disney nerd I know" Poor
She's in the blue.

And Ashlar "Hulk" Larkin
She's the one in the yellow. You know, The one that's not me and has "Hulk" triceps.

I haven't really been running a whole lot these days. The last time I really ran was in March at the Gate River Run. I was 4 months pregnant with Brent. That was kind of my last hoo-rah. So I haven't really ran since then. It's not really comfortable to be pregnant for your 4th time and run... And that run is only a 15k {9.3 miles.} The farthest I have ever run is 19 miles, And Obviously I'm in no shape to do that right now. So, I have my training scheduel, and I am ready to go. It's going to be a long training road back to 13.1 miles. 
The best thing about this is that we are taking a girls weekend! No screaming kids, No dishes, no laundry... Oh it's going to be AWESOME!
Any other takers???

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin cookies

I found the inspiration for this cookie on Pinterest. However, I had a few issues with the original recipe and so here's my version. I'm going to be honest, These are really freaking good. 

Pumpkin Cookies:
1 Cup butter
3 Cups Sugar
2 eggs
Mix in:
1 large can pumpkin (30 ounces) {NOT PUMPKIN PIE MIX, PLAIN PUMPKIN}
Now add:
1 Tablespoon vanilla
5 cups flour
And then add:
 3 tsp. cinnamon
 1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Now, bake @ 350 for about 10-11 minutes. Let cool.

Cream Cheese Icing:
  1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
Gradually mix in: 3-4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

2-3 Tablespoons milk. Until desired consistency is reached.  You want it kind of thick.
{I don't ever measure my frosting I just eyeball it}
Blend until smooth. Ice cookies. {I use a giant piping bag to make the icing pretty.}
These make great sandwich cookies too!
Store in the refrigerator. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I raised you better than that.

Oh dear...  We had another incident at school. Blake was having a rough day, and I knew that he was going to because of the morning that we had at home. So I dropped him off and was hoping for the best and that being at school would make him a bit happier... Not so much. I walked in the classroom to pick him up and his teacher proceeds to tell me that Blake was pushing kids, Telling her that he wasn't going to do his work, and so she sat him down to have a talk with him and he told her that she needed to be quiet. When she told me that I was so embarrassed. I know that we have raised him better than that, and he knows that that is absolutely not appropriate behavior. We are SO strict about our children using manners and being polite. Everything is yes ma'am yes sir or no ma'am no sir. We got home and Blake walked himself into timeout without being told to do so, He knew he was in HUGE trouble. He spent 10 minutes there, And then we had a long talk about it. I believe in rectifying the situation with whomever you offend, So, Thinking that a simple apology that I MADE him say to her, was not sufficient for the disrespect shown, I racked my brain thinking how I could better help him understand that what he did would not be tolerated. So I made him write her a letter. It may sound like a small task, But this is a 4 year old who is just learning how to write all of his letters. It took him over an hour to write:

Miss Michelle,
I am sorry for bring rude and disrespectful.
I will do better and be polite.

I wish I had taken a picture of it, Because it was really cute, and the first sentences that he has ever written. {Yeah, That's one for the scrapbook eh?} But it took a lot of effort from him and I felt like at least we had taken the time to teach him and not just breeze over the wrong doing because that would be less effort on our part, And an hour of my day that I could have spent doing something else.
I'm sure there will be much worse situations that we are going to have to deal with as they grow up, and I am so not looking forward to it. Why doesn't someone tell you all the things that go with parenting before you decide to have a cute little baby? I can assure you that I was not thinking that I would be spending an hour showing my son how to write a 2 sentence apology letter to his preschool teacher, When we were deciding that we wanted kids. If this is only the beginning of my kids doing dumb things that I have taught not to do, And I know it is... I can only wait... Bring it on. {insert sarcastic eye roll here}

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm all about setting and achieving goals. I especially need it in my life right now.
There are long term goals, That are worth sacrificing a few things now, to achieve a greater cause, and there are shorter term goals.
Whichever they are they take sacrifice, but all that is forgotten when the feeling of accomplishment runs through your body.

Example- I hate running. True statement. I hate feeling of my lungs burning, I hate the pain in my knee, I hate how stiff my arms get, and hate having to run down the road straightening my arms while I run looking like an idiot, {If you run you know what I'm talking about, Otherwise just skip that last sentence} I hate the brick wall that I hit when I take the first step of mile 12, It gets me every time. But there is something that pushes me to run faster and further when I think I can't take another step. The feeling of running over the finish line of a race. Feeling the tears stream down my face after I finish, knowing that I have done something that I thought I couldn't. Every single step I take in training for a race, the hours spent on the treadmill or the road, are worth it in that very second.
Any time I Accomplish a goal I set for myself I feel like I am in control of the appetites of the flesh, and that my mind is really in control of this physical body. My spirit is stronger than the natural man.
Right now, There are a billion things I could set goals for. I'm not where I want to be in basically any aspect of my life. {But really? Is anyone?} So I'm taking things one baby step at a time.

My goal for each day this week- One load of laundry washed and put away.

My goal for this week- Make dinner every night. How I'm getting there- I'm writing a menu, grocery shopping for it, and sticking to it.

My goal for the next month- Lose the last 10 pounds. I'm going to get there by being PERFECT at every meal until the scale says 123. {The gym goes without saying}

I get overwhelmed when I think about everything I have to do. But when I break it down and look at the baby steps that it takes to get the goal, I can do it.
When I think that in the next month I have to be perfect in my diet... I think "Yeah right." But when I take it one meal at a time, I can do it. I can't say that I could eat perfectly for the next month. However, I can say that I can eat a perfect meal. And do that again and again and again. And pretty soon, look what has happened. Mission accomplished.

Friday, October 21, 2011


So, I'll be honest, I feel like I'm just starting to get the hang of being a mommy to 4 kids ages 4 and under. I've been feeling super overwhelmed the last few weeks. It doesn't help that Brent has been our most "needy" child. He has to be held constantly, or he screams, and he doesn't just scream himself to sleep, he just keeps screaming until you pick him up. Thank heavens, He has gotten much better the last few days. He's also a typical newborn and is up every 3 hours at night. We're working on that.
Postpartum depression is a beast, and it gets worse after every pregnancy. It's been rough, And it took me a long time to get attached to him. But it's getting better. Much better. {Who's idea was it that on top of sacrificing your body, Suffering for 9 months, You have to have depression on top of that. Clearly God is a man.}

I haven't made dinner 2 nights in a row since he's been born. Laundry is a bear, But It's usually clean and caught up. However, I have learned that I just can't do it all right now. I got some help with the deep cleaning. I can keep things picked up, and tidy, But I just don't have time to dust, bleach the showers, and clean the base boards. I will find somewhere else to cut the budget. It was either that or I was going to go off the deep end. I HATE a dirty house, I can't function, it consumes me. And I will say it has helped take the feeling of being overwhelmed way down.
NICU bills are... I don't even have a word for them. However, I'm grateful for the care that he was provided, I'm grateful to be able to pay them, I'm grateful for health insurance, And I'm grateful that it's the last time we will have to pay them. And hey, That's just one more thing we can claim on our taxes. And just as a little tip, If you have medical bills and are able to pay them in full, ask for a discount if you pay the balance at once instead of getting on a payment plan, You can usually get a 20-30% discount. If you can afford it, It will save you in some cases thousands of dollars in the long run.
Well, Long story short, 4 kids has been rough on me, I admire anyone who has more. And if you're contemplating having 4 kids in 4 years, think about it LONG and HARD.
There are lots of pros, I'm done being pregnant. I will be a very young mom and grandma. All of my kids will be out of the house by the time I am 42...Oh the possibilities, Missions, travel, hobbies, All while I have the money to do it! My kids will all be at the same stages in life. I love that they are close and play together so well. And I'm grateful I got them all. I have some health issues and don't know that if we had waited that I physically could have carried them all.
There are also some cons... I'm momentarily giving up some freedoms that my friends with only one or two kids have. Or friends that have some kids in school and only one baby at home during the day. Shopping trips are hard. My kids are very well behaved and listen very well, But there are 4 of them and there are no shopping carts that hold 4 kids and still have room for groceries. There are 6 people to make messes and I don't have any kids that are big enough to really help. I mean they can pick up toys, but they can't do a load of dishes, or fold the laundry, or scrub the bathroom. Its hard.
I'm not looking for pity, I chose this. And I love it. And in the long run, It will make things much easier that they are all so close together. And I do put a lot of the pressure on myself, But it's good. Life is really good. It's fun, I love the chaos, And I love them. I love doing crafts with them, I love teaching them, I love holding them, I love being a mommy. They are the things that matter most. That's why I was put on this earth. To be the Mommy to these 4 precious children that God has so generously entrusted to my care. Yes, It's hard. But I can do it. Philippians 4:13


So I know tacos aren't rocket science, But I will tell you that they can be healthier. Here's how we do tacos.
Extra lean turkey breasts.

Whole wheat tortillas. You can find the recipe here.  ( I grind my own wheat,) Or you can just buy them at the store.

Homemade Taco seasoning (If I'm in a pinch I use the target brand packet because it doesn't have any nasty stuff in it.)

2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon onion pwd
1/4 teaspoon garlic pwd

ALWAYS use 0% Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It tastes identical, But its nutritionally superior to sour cream. { And just a little tip, so you dont just have a huge glob of "Sour cream" in one spot, put it in a zip lock bag and cut a corner off, Then you can use it like a piping bag, and have "sour cream" in every bite, not just one big glob in one bite}

Use shredded spinach, They will never know the difference. Seriously. It's got more nutrients. Iceburg lettuce is basically worthless vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant wise, And spinach is a powerhouse.

If you have to have cheese {and yes, I HAVE to have cheese} Use 2%.

Use black beans instead of refried beans. They taste way better anyway.

And of course load up on avocado, tomato, onion, salsa... Just be sure to check the sodium content of your salsa, Sometimes they sneak a whole bunch of that in there. 

Okay, go eat some nutritionally superior tacos. MMMMMM...... TACOS!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I seriously can't find 2 seconds to catch my breath. Here's a peek at what we've been up to. Along with a million other not so fun things, Here are some of the fun things.

There's been a TON of sewing going on in this house. Halloween dresses have been made for my girls. And I helped a few friends make dresses for their girls. I also helped make a few Halloween shirts for some friends. Then there was the Orphan Annie dress for my niece. This was an adventure. I didn't have a pattern at all, And was up until the wee hours of the night finishing it. I've never been so happy to put my sewing machine away. And my sweet buby cleaned up the house for me that night...Dishes vacuuming and all.
We've been trying to get into the Halloween spirit. So we made these cute little pumpkins out of rice krispy treats, And some cupcakes. The kids had fun decorating, but didn't really have a huge desire to eat them. Blake came and asked me for some Brown rice and fish...Go figure. And last night he was lecturing nana on how hamburgers are not healthy. {That's what she served for dinner, Although they were whole wheat buns and organic angus beef, We couldn't convince him otherwise.} Anywho, We're busy, and I don't know if things are going to slow down any time soon. So until they do, I am making no promises on how often I can post. I wish I could be back at it everyday, But there just isn't time right now. There's a season of life for everything, And as I am learning, This is basically my season to do nothing but change diapers, feed kids, and clean up messes. Blogging now has to take a back seat. Well, Maybe not a back seat, maybe a middle seat. Because I do enjoy it, and it makes me happy. So, I am off to feed a baby.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

These will be the death of me.

HOLY CRAP THESE THINGS ARE GOOD!... I mean, If I had tasted any, I'd bet that they'd be good. You know, because I'm still on 40-30-30, and I don't cheat. Okay, So I took a little taste. It was teeny though. And it's the first time I have cheated in 4 weeks. My kids ANNIHILATED the pan of them in about 2 seconds.
I can't take credit for this recipe. Pinterest is going to be the death of me... Or the death of seeing 123 pounds on the scale. Will power has been taken to a whole new level folks. I LOVE LOVE LOVE sugar cookies. {As if I hadn't made that clear before} And I KNOW sugar cookies. I've tasted DOZENS of recipes made by a variety of people. And yes, I have my favorites, And no, I'll never tell whose cookies are my favorite. {Probably at least 12 of you reading this are wondering if it's yours... Wouldn't you like to know. It just goes to show how many awesome friends I have that brought a crazy pregnant lady cookies. Thanks guys. I really love you.} However... This recipe might be my new favorite. The texture is perfect, The icing is amazing... It's just LOVE in your mouth. And it's SO SO SO easy and fast.
I hate rolling and cutting sugar cookies and having to wait and refrigerate the dough. They are too much work and too time consuming. Problem solved. This recipe. And if you still really want cut out cookies, you can cut them out after they bake and cool. That's what I did.

Sugar Cookie Bars
Source: BreeAnn Fankhauser

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla {I used a Tablespoon. I like vanilla okay}
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp lemon zest (optional) {I did not use it}

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda and stir with a whisk to combine. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan). Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean (they won't look done so do the toothpick test). Cool completely and frost.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 of an 8 oz block) softened
1 tsp vanilla {I used almond extract and vanilla}
¼ tsp salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp milk
food coloring (if desired)

For frosting combine butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar in 1-2 cup increments until combined, then add milk a little at a time and mix until smooth and spreading consistency. You may not need all the milk! Spread over cooled cookie bars.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My favorite protein shake

The Orangie Porangie. That's what my kids call it.

1 cup orange juice
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 almonds
8 ice cubes. (I like mine thick)
2 packets of truvia

That's it. Blend all that up in the blender and deeeee-lisssshhh.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I am not paying $100 for a t shirt...

So I found this shirt while daydreaming at Anthropologie.  But it was $100 freaking dollars. FOR A T-SHIRT!!!
It's cute, But it ain't worth $100 bucks! So I got to thinking, I could make that so easy. So I did.
First I bought a plain long sleeve T-shirt from Target. They are on sale this week for $10.

Then I pulled out some leftover black jersey knit fabric I had in my fabric bin. (Maybe 3 inches wide, and about 6 yards long, I wanted a lot of full thick ruffles, You don't have to use that much) And ruffled it with my ruffling foot. You can ruffle it by hand but it will take a while. And if you do use a ruffling foot, Just be warned that stretchy knits are harder to ruffle with the foot and take some patience. But it's still faster than doing it by hand.

Then I pinned it where I wanted the ruffles. And Yes, I tried it on with the pins before I stitched it because I wanted to make sure they fell where I wanted them to, And yes, I did get stabbed several times.

So for $10 I have a ruffle shirt that I actually like better than the one at Anthropologie. Because I got to determine how full I wanted the ruffles and where I wanted them. And if you can't see the pictures really well, Sorry, I'm too cheap to buy a nice camera. So I just use my Iphone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another way to save money and feel pretty.

I have a ton of things I want to blog about, but I just can't find the time right now.

I think that it's really important to do things for yourself, especially right after you have a baby and aren't quite feeling like yourself. Well, one thing I love is to have my nails done. Not so much being at the salon, but just having them look pretty. But it is SO expensive. Well, I had gotten around it being so expensive by having them just paint my nails instead of a full mani or pedi.  Well, The problem with that is that they chip so fast. So... Here is my solution.
Yep, Did those myself. I found a french wrap kit at Sallys.

A french wrap is just a little piece of white plastic that you glue to the tip of your nail. No chipping and it lasts about a week and a half and then they just peel off. The kit cost $30... Hear me out. You're thinking for that price I'll go to the dang salon... The kit has enough tips for 12 times. Thin and thick whichever you prefer. Plus the salon top coat that you can never find...The super awesome kind that is really shiny and dries super fast. You know what I'm talking about right? Plus the glue, and 2 nail files. So, Long story short, It takes like 10 minutes from start to finish, You don't have to go to the salon, and pay for a babysitter, and its way cheaper. It comes out to about $2.50 each set. I pointed out to Mike, I went from spending $40 for a full set, To about $12 to just have them paint my nails, and now, down to $2.50. I'm finding that I really don't have to give up any of the luxuries of life while being on a super duper don't spend money budget. I just have to be a bit more creative and try new things.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween crafts with the kiddos!

So in celebration of Halloween month, {Yes it's a month long celebration in this house, Not just one day} I've picked a few crafts to do with the kiddos.

Yesterday we decorated cupcakes. I made green cupcakes and orange frosting and let them go crazy with sprinkles, Autumn mix, and Halloween peeps. I put the frosting in little ziplock bags and tied a twisty tie, So that it didn't spill out the top. They LOVED frosting them by themselves.
So on the list of projects...
Sucker Ghosts.
Pumpkin bracelets. You can find the tutorial here.
These cute little Q tip skeletons.
How stinking cute are these footprint witches?
Ghost pizza for dinner!

Chocolate dipped ghosts! My kids are going to go CRAZY for these things.
And of course, you all know my sugar cookie fetish.
If y'all have any other cute ideas I'd love 'em!