Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Feeding a friend…

I’m going to see a friend from my Bible study tomorrow. She’s due with her 3rd child in a month, and she also has a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. She’s feeling achy and frustrated, and I so remember being where she was about 5 months ago.

So I thought I’d bring her dinner…. Ok, well, not really, but, sort of…

I’m bringing her all the ingredients for Beans and Rice Soup. I put them in a gift bag, measuring out the rice and the taco seasonings in little separate sandwich baggies. I threw in a box of corn muffin mix, and I cut up half a link of turkey smoked sausage, which I will throw in her fridge. Food Lion has been running a lot of specials lately on low sodium canned chicken broth, and I’ve stocked up.

Here’s the tally on what it cost me to try and bless a friend a bit… plus the few minutes it took to put it all together and print out the recipe.


1 smoked sausage link, chopped: $1.29

1/3 c. rice: $.10

2 cans of beans: $1.58

2 cans chicken broth: $1.10

2 T. taco seasoning: $.25

1 can diced tomatoes: $1.24

Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix: $.50


Total: $6.06


If you’re wanting to help out a struggling friend, but you don’t have a lot of time or energy to make a full meal, you might consider trying something like this instead. We’re all just doing what we can, right? =)


We’re starting nap training here, so let’s see how much I can write before the timer goes off in 6 minutes, and I go to rescue Ben. =)

Good times at my parents… but not really the break I was hoping for. Ben wouldn’t let me hand him off, and he didn’t sleep well. Mom and Dad both came down with a stomach bug, back to back, and I spent a good bit of time worrying that we would come down with it. I was relieved to get into my own bed late on Christmas Eve.

And I think I’m ready to spend Christmas Even in town from now on. It’s been a lifelong thing for me to go to my grandma’s or great-aunt’s on Christmas Eve, but I think it’s time for us to move on to creating some of our own traditions on home turf. The buildup to it and the long drive home late are more than I can handle well right now…

I was pretty worried about this morning, to be honest. I haven’t handled the boys with much joy in the past few weeks, and I hate that. Ben has gone backwards on sleeping well at night, and I know that’s been part of it.

Today has been the best day I’ve had with them in awhile, and I am more than grateful. It’s a rainy, rainy day, and we’ve stayed in our pajamas. Actually, I let the boys put on some new, special pajamas for Pajama Day. (Thanks, Aunt Kelli!) We did lots of reading, snuggling, imagining, playing playdough, and eating popcorn for lunch, etc. Ben napped well, so I was able to spend some good time with my big boys. They got more eye contact, kisses, and big hugs from Mommy than they’ve had for awhile, and it showed in their sweet attitudes.

I can’t make everything right in the world for everyone I love. Oh, how I wish I could! But I can create joy in my own house by pushing out of my exhaustion funk….

Ok, times up, and he’s still crying. =) Catch ya later!

Monday, December 12, 2011

“…. Great things…”


“Then it was said among the nations,
   ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’

The LORD has done great things for us,
   and we are filled with joy.”

Psalm 126:2-3

My life right now is a whirlwind of babies and toddlers and playdough and meal prep and hurried emails… and it is tough to find a place to be still and know that He is God.

That being said, I got one yesterday. Ben has been up and down every 2-3 hours all night long for the past few nights, and Saturday night was particularly bad. (I know it’s the 3 month growth spurt, and it will end eventually.) I could barely move on Sunday morning when the alarm went off, and I dozed past shower gettin’ time. It was at that point that David told me to stay in the bed, and that he was taking everyone to church. (Thank God the baby will take a bottle of formula from time to time.)

I haven’t been all alone in my own house for that long since before the baby was born. I slept until 10:30, took a shower, and settled in with my Bible study notebook. Now, I’ve been getting my study done so I can participate at Community Bible Study on Thursdays. Usually, I’m scrambling to do most of the lessons on one day. Holy Spirit insight is hard to come by in those moments. =)

But it wasn’t hard to come by on Sunday morning, all alone in my room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows. I had a chance to sit and listen and ask God what He wanted to tell me. I got to take time to notice and pay attention to the finer points of Scripture. I saw a theme develop, and I remembered another devotional book I’d gotten to skim this week. I saw that a couple of similar things were standing out in this lesson. I found myself noticing God’s spirit telling me to remember not to be so “relevant” to my unsaved neighbors that I looked too much like them. How many things that He wanted to tell me have I missed in this season of life? I mourn that.

The verse above was in my lesson for the day. I remember reading it and smiling. And when David opened his Bible last night to do our nightly bedtime reading, can you guess what he read? Yep… Psalm 126.

I believe that God wants to encourage me that He can speak to me and show himself to me even in this crazy time of my life. He is gracious to show me that He wants a relationship with me when I show the smallest step in His direction. And the Lord has done great things for me. I see His care for me in the sweetest things.

My mentor mom emailed out of the blue to tell me that she’d be doing my table decorations on Tuesday. (She doesn’t read my blog, as far as I know.) Problem lovingly solved! I didn’t go over there this morning (as originally planned) to discover a scheduling glitch that meant we couldn’t set up after all. A good friend brought by a delicious leftover homemade calzone for my lunch today… along with a little baggie of chocolates. And despite my sleepiness and grouchiness to start off the day, my big boys played together lovingly all morning. Their kindness to each other warmed my heart when I really needed extra grace.

And in all that He whispers, “See, I have been good to you. Have joy…”

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I’m stressed.


I think I’ve decided that when I get enough nights of interrupted sleep, my body gets nauseous at the slightest provocation. I’ve felt bloated, mildy nauseous on and off, and crampy for a week. No period coming… he’s only 3 months old. And, no, I’M NOT PREGNANT. I took a test, since my symptoms were starting to freak me out. Then my brain went to the “Well, I’m probably just going to die of ovarian cancer because stomach issues are the only way you can tell if you have it, and then I’ll leave my three small children motherless, and that’s just great because they won’t diagnose it because they’ll just tell me this is normal for an exhausted, breastfeeding mother….” train wreck line of thinking. I don’t have irritable bowel syndrome. Dr. Wikipedia told me that. Maybe celiac disease? Or paranoia? =)

I like parties… but not this year. I’ve had two Christmas parties this week, and I haven’t enjoyed them nearly as much as I would’ve liked. I wanted to fall asleep in my CBS small group time on Thursday. And you’re going to have to dynamite me out of my house this weekend because I’m not leaving for anything other than church. My children are watching Kipper the Dog on YouTube every day right now. (Yeah, yeah, but that’s something we don’t do at our house, so it makes me feel bad. No judgment on you who do tv and videos, I swear.)

If you give me one more thing to do, I might go ballistic on you. I found out on Tuesday that I am responsible for doing the table decorations at our MOPs Christmas meeting next Tuesday, and that I have to bring a casserole. This means that I have to get a friend to watch my kids so I can go on Monday to the only available set up time. I had to borrow stuff from our mentor mom to decorate with, and when she casually mentioned that I’d have to go to Michael’s to buy candles for it, I wanted to either break something or fall on the floor crying. Or both. (I’m borrowing some from a gal in my small group, thank God, so no breakdown this week.)

But the worst of it is that I didn’t want to go to the park with my big boys this morning. And I usually always want all of us to be together on Saturday mornings. I’m desperate to teach the baby how to nap somewhere other than my arms, so he needed to stay here anyway, but it bothers me that I was glad to have the excuse.

Ben slept pretty horribly last night. Between the 3 of them, we’re both up multiple times a night because somebody fell out of bed, somebody’s having a growth spurt, or somebody started crying for no particular reason. So, yeah, it’s been a bad several months of sleep now, and I guess it’s just leaving it’s mark. My body feels worn out.

Please pray that I start feeling better this week. If I don’t, I’m going to have to make a dr.’s appointment, and I don’t want to add that to the list of things I don’t have the energy to do. And also, please pray that I will have joy in my boys and in my husband and in my job right now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Ellen’s Chicken Noodle Soup

I love soup weather. Now, we haven’t actually had much of that yet, but I’m pretending. (It’s been a ridiculously warm December so far.) I light the candles in the kitchen in the evening, put on a classical Christmas Pandora station, and start chopping vegetables….

And I’m especially proud of this recipe. I tweaked and added and subtracted from a few chicken noodle soup recipes so much that I think I can safely call this one my own. David and Seth raved about it, and it’s even better the second day.

Ellen’s Chicken Noodle Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

2 small carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t. ground thyme

a generous dash of marjoram

10-11 c. chicken broth (or combination of broth and water and bouillon)

salt and fresh ground pepper

2 c.  medium egg noodles

2 c. chopped, cooked chicken (2-3 breasts seasoned with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning - roasted)- (do this earlier in the day while your children are wrestling and throwing toys at each other)

1-2 T. butter

Melt butter in the bottom of a stockpot and add all veggies. Sprinkle on salt and pepper, and saute for a few minutes. Then add broth and seasonings, and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender, 5 - 8 minutes more. Add the chicken, warm through and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

baked Chimichangas…

Hey, all. Baby boy let me slip away from naptime in Mommy’s bed, so I get a few minutes to myself today. Whoopee! (That’s why I’ve been scarce around here, BTW. Naptime is short and usually all accounted for.)

I’m making one of my favorite recipes tonight, and I’m tripling it. I always get compliments on this recipe, and I’ve made it a several times for friends who have had babies, etc. It freezes wonderfully, and I can’t think why I didn’t think to do this before Ben was born.

Baked Chimichangas

1 1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken

1/2 c. picante sauce or salsa

1 c. shredded cheddar (we like sharp)

2 green onions, chopped, or 1/2 regular onion, chopped

1 t. cumin

1 t. garlic powder

1 t. onion powder

1 t. salt

1/2 t. black pepper

1/2 t. dried oregano

flour tortillas


Preheat your oven to 400. Combine everything in a large bowl. Warm tortillas briefly in the microwave on a wet paper towel to make them pliable. Put some of the mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Fold sides of the tortilla over the filling and place seam side down on a cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Figure out how much filling you put in the center of each tortilla, and put enough of it in a freezer ziploc to feed your family for a meal. Freeze and enjoy!

I got this recipe from a great cookbook. I don’t buy many, but I bought Family Feasts for $75 a Week, and I haven’t regretted it.