Wednesday, February 29, 2012

wlw: side dishes

I'd like to think that side dishes are more than just something to accompany the main know, like an after thought. Sometimes though, that is what happens in our home. I will make a wonderful main dish, usually some form of protein and then I think just before I am ready to serve it, that I better throw some kind of a vegetable on the plate and so into the microwave goes some frozen veggies...drained and seasoned and thrown on the plate to be called "supper". 

This week my friend Alicia, the Snowflake is posing these questions:
  • what do you like to have with your favorite entrees?
  • do you have some great recipes for vegetables?
I often prefer the side dishes...when I pre-think and prepare them with thought, rather than an after thought. I am pretty lucky too because my children LOVE vegetables! I mean really??!! How often do you find a 5 year old, whose favorite vegetable is mushrooms and who will also eat tomatoes, broccoli and olives? I also have a husband who will try anything once....even if he didn't like it as a child and will often agree to add it to the "like" list.

Our favorite vegetable sides are:
  • asparagus - par boiled or steamed and then tossed with a smitch of butter and garlic, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. 
  • stir fry - which consists of whatever is in the crisper at the time...often mushrooms, peppers, onion...sometimes snap peas, carrots and celery but we have also been known to add broccoli, cauliflower and corn
  • salads are also a big side - sometimes I will add bits of apple of raisins/craisins to add a fresh sweet flavor to a plain green salad...bacon bits(homemade of course) and grated cheese are nice alternatives too
Our favorite "starch" sides:
  • risotto - made with milk and vegetable broth...sometimes adding vegetables as well
  • rice - depending on the main, I may cook it in broth or apple jucie (good for pork) and add different spices to change the flavor
  • potatoes - my favorites are sweet potato and those small red ones
As far as recipes go....well, I am a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl and often even when I am looking a a recipe, will change it on the spot. I do have a favorite broccoli salad recipe though. I got this from my aunt and again, never stay true to the recipe but here it is.

2 bunches of broccoli - cut into bite size pieces
1 medium onion (I like red for taste but mostly colour) chopped
1 cup each sunflower seeds and raisins (or craisins)
1 cup crisp bacon -  drained and chopped
1 cup salad dressing (mayo)
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp vinegar
Mix together broccoli, onion, sunflower seeds, raisins and bacon.
In a separate bowl mix salad dressing, sugar and vinegar.
Pour over broccoli and toss.

Last week was a good week on the scales. I was down 1.3lbs (I weigh in on Saturday). I was making smarter choices and I was on top of the really does make a difference. I only got out to Zumba class once but I did go for a walk during the week.
This week has been a different story but i won't know for sure until Saturday. Until then....

Monday, February 27, 2012

joy dare...counting 151-171

 "...the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is."
~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Full Right Where You Are

151-153. hot flavored coffee from my Keurig, a 5 year old blessing over PB & J, family time around the supper table

154-156. a blank sheet of paper just calling for ink, freshly fallen snow that has not yet been trampled on, a hand knit sweater that is cozy and warm

157-159. being side tracked in one store which delayed us enough to miss witnessing a train crash only a few blocks away (something I am glad the children did not see in person), his quick sprint to the store for cream-so my coffee would be "just right", a needed hug from his little arms followed by an "I love you, mommy!"

160-162. tin buckets to hold the utensils, a table where my kids put together puzzles, a serving tray that seconds as a "coffee station" in the kitchen

163-165. this post from my beautiful friend, Barbie, this song which was introduced in Sunday service, this verse that Pastor Herman shared about our "dress code"

166-168. favorite running shoes that are wearing through on the sole, new washer/dryer being delivered tomorrow, the old blanket on our bed

169-171. character traits in each of my children-an amalgamation of both parents yet unique in each, sunlight dancing off the window, her smile as she proudly does her own hair for school

finding joy in the daily grind...learning to appreciate the little things...looking deeper and seeing more...counting the blessings! 
Join the Joy Dare with so many others, over at A Holy Experience. I use Ann's prompts to inspire unique places to find joy!

Friday, February 24, 2012


At first sight it looks good enough to eat

right off the counter or from the fridge

but wait....can you see it?

Maybe not right away or even to the naked eye

It's covered in dirt and grit

maybe insects or pesticides

Before we use any of this

we need to wash it, wash away the yuck

Isn't it so with ourselves?

isn't it so that God must wash us

wash away our dirt and grit,

make us clean so we can be used by Him
"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."
Psalm 51:2

I'm joining Lisa-Jo of The Gypsy Mama for 5 minute Friday where we right for the joy and freedom of writing. Not worrying if it is right but just pouring out from our hearts with a one word prompt. 

Today's word: GRIT

Won't you try it?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

wlw: supper


In our home we call the meal that falls between 5 and 7pm, supper. Some call it "dinner" but for me that leans to something a little more formal and here in our home, formal eating is not a big thing. We are casual, comfortable people and our meals are indicative of that! Sometimes this can cause some issues though. Being too casual about meal time often leads to not being prepared...making last minute decisions because of lack of planning, leading to some not so great choices...or just dropping the whole prep thing and running out for pizza. NOT a great thing when we are trying to eat healthy!

This week, Alicia the Snowflake, asks:
  • What are some of your favorite entrees?
  • What are your go to meals when you are short on time?
  • Have you tried any new recipes lately?
Around here, our favorites are meatloaf...and I would share a recipe but when I do cook, most of it is straight out of my head and out of the ingredients that are in my kitchen. I don't think my meatloaf is ever exactly the same and I make it at least 3 times a month. We also like chili, stir fry and anything with chicken. Again, any of these meals are created with whatever is in the kitchen at the time.

Pre-planning has always been difficult because if I don't feel like eating what is on the created "menu" then I also don't want to cook it and often don't! I sometimes wait until mid day to decide what I "feel" like eating...but if I don't "feel" like anything....that's what leads us me, to making poor choices and grabbing pizza or something.

When I do pre-think, for those days that are a little more rushed in the evening...I head straight for the crock pot. I make everything in there!! Chicken with BBQ sauce or pasta sauce and add a little cheese right near the end. Chili or stew are also quick this way. I cook all of my roasts in the crock pot along with the potatoes and carrots! Stir-fry is also one of my quick "go-to's" and I will throw anything in it. Sometimes it is strictly veggies but often I will add chicken or turkey kolbassa. 

As far as trying any new recipes....I am definitely  going to try the Bacon Bar-b-que Meatloaf that Alicia has suggested. Like I said, meatloaf is one of our favorites and my hubby is the biggest bacon fanatic you will ever meet....I think I know what's for dinner tonight!!!

This week when I went for weigh in...of course we had just gotten past Valentine's Day, which my [very supportive ;) ] husband spoiled me with my very favorite chocolate. I tried not to indulge in it all at once but inevitably I ate all of it before weigh in. 
Drum roll please.....I am down 0.6lbs. Not great but I will take it!!! 
*i enjoyed every morsel of that chocolate* 

Monday, February 20, 2012

joy dare...counting 130-150

 "And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me"
~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Full Right Where You Are

130-132. baskets full of yarn waiting to be knitted or crocheted, a self portrait of a darling curly red head (just in case you couldn't tell from the drawing), old,  tattered, falling apart hand stitched quilts that are still lovingly used

133-135. the truth of this verse, the family I have been blessed with, encouraging words of a friend

136-138. a few hours of sleep lost...which was spent in prayer, a new outdoor nature area to spend time with the family, new friends

139-141. little legs in deep snow, long trails through tall trees sprinkled with sun rays, an ingenious idea for the kids to be able to ride behind the ATV on sleds

142-144. being able to bless others through music, being blessed by the music as it speaks to my own heart, learning a new song that touches and teaches me

145-147. a new knitting pattern, the genuine words of a loved one, the little ones memory verse

148-150. the purchase of a new washer/dryer...on Valentine's day, an outdoor hike on a Sunday afternoon, heading to bed an hour early and talking past "bedtime"

As I find, search, dig, uncover and acknowledge these little things as pure joy, I grow! I grow closer in relationships with family and friends. I grow deeper in love and appreciation but I am able to do this because I also grow in Him!

I am joining many others with Ann, as they count their Joy gifts. Will you take the dare?

Friday, February 17, 2012


He makes me smile
...and laugh...
like side splitting, tears rolling, snorting laughter

Not just with him
but at him and at myself
He's a bit a a joke-ster....very light hearted
He doesn't like to take things to serious

He makes me realize that it's ok to make a mistake
it's ok to not get it just right
and it's ok to laugh at it later
...when the pain or embarrassment is over...

He helps me get through the tough stuff
offering encouragement and support
...and prayer...
for me, with me, over me
He spurs me on, helps me strive

He's the shoulder I cry on, 
the rock I lean on, 
the one I share my everything with

He is the one God placed in my life 
at the right time...even though I didn't know it at that time

He loves me, trusts me
He says I am beautiful
....not just outside, but beautiful from the inside...
and when he says it, I know he truly means it
it's not just what his eyes see but what his heart feels

We find joy in each other
we are content...we are happy
we are delighted!

I am delighted!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

wlw: lunch


Lunch...the midday meal. For many this is the second meal of the day...often smaller than dinner. But for me...this is frequently the first "real" meal I eat and often depending on the quality of this meal determines how my snacking later in the day is.

This week, Alicia the Snowflake asks:
  • what do you like to eat for lunch?
  • do you have any favorite lunch recipes? 
For me lunch happens around 1pm. I run a home childcare business and often don't eat while I am feeding the little ones because they require a lot of hands on assistance. Once those little ones have settled down for a nap, I will make myself a bite to eat and enjoy it!

My lunch really depends on the weather! When it is cool outside I lean towards foods that warm me up. My favorite is soup...I love minestrone soup and can eat the whole 2 serving can...but that is still only 4 points on the WW plan. I usually add some protein, either in the form of a meat (black forest ham or chicken breast) or cheese and I will have a few crackers as well. If I feel like I am still hungry after that I go for fruit. I also have a phenomenal recipe for soup that I make quite can find that recipe here. It is so filling and with the kale and spinach it is so good for you!! It is a definite "go to" for me!

When it is warmer out I always lean towards salads. I love to create with salads. I may incorporate chicken or egg on my bed of greens but I also will change it up by using spinach instead of lettuce, adding Mandarin oranges or craisins and sliced almonds. 

In the cooler weather I lean to a warmer drink as well...tea or coffee but in the summer I love water with lemon or crystal lite. My down fall is diet soda and that is a year round thing!! 

I also have a down fall of sometimes eating the leftovers from dinner the night before and if those were "treats"like pizza or pasta with cream sauce....well then I am in for a poor weigh in. That's of course what happen to me this past week. I indulged a little and only lost 0.1 lbs....but I was wearing jeans at weigh in, so.....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

no greater love

Valentines Day....
a day to share with our romantic partner. 
A time to express our love through gifts of 
food, candy, chocolate, flowers, cards, hand written poems
....and the list goes on.....

But where does love come from?
....think about it.....

 We love because He first loved us!

Our God loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us.

My friend Amy of Make Me a Mary reminded me yesterday in her post that He is our true Valentine. 
He loves us deeper than any other! 
So when you are celebrating with your special someone
....remember you are His special someone....

He gave the ultimate sacrifice for us...a true sign of love
Take that sign and apply it to all those in your life deep and true.... honest and sincere.... like there is no tomorrow.... like it is Valentines Day....everyday.... everyone, anywhere, anytime....

Are you ready to spread the love??

Monday, February 13, 2012

joy dare...counting 109-129

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, ~ a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spared days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.
~George Herbert


109-111. the vastness, the colour, the white {as snow} ~ all reminders of Him and His love for me

112-114.  her hair (which matches her vibrant personality), his lips (which kiss me tenderly but also speak words of wisdom and encouragement), the early valentine he made with his own little hands

115-117.  his Mr. mug, the closet door that keeps falling off the hinges (so glad my guy is handy), the child size table and four chairs that the "littles" enjoy their meals and craft time at

118-120.  a testimony that touched my heart deeply, a reminder to storm Heaven in prayer, lunch with good friends after church

121-123.  my two littles playing together and giggling as they hid from daddy, my hubby as we share our day stories, a friend who not only laughs with me but makes me laugh too
124-126.  a kitchen cupboard clean and reorganized, this song as it played during my cleaning spree, that quality is better than quantity

127-129.  three beautiful children and their wonderful "other half" that do not know the Lord, a cancer diagnosis of a brother in Christ, a birthday passing of a grandparent{in love} I was never able to meet but meant so much to my hubby

Are you up for taking the Joy Dare! I am using Ann's list for inspiration...try it!

Friday, February 10, 2012


serving tray created by: {ReDeemed}

He heads out the door...not just for a few hours, but a few days...and I let him. 
I let him head to places unknown, with people I have not met...or maybe briefly. 

He leaves and I worry!

About his safety, about his contacts, about the situations he may be placed in.
About so much that is not in my hands, that is not in my control.

And it's not that I don't trust him...I do, with every ounce of my being. 
But I don't trust them...I don't trust the unknown.

And so he goes and I pray.
I pray to the One I trust even more.
The One who has it all in control and knows the circumstances 
and the outcome before it even happens.

I place him in His hands and I trust!
I trust that the evil one will not get his hands on him.
I trust that He has him in His hands.
That he is protected from the unknown.
I trust that he will return to me safe and sound.

And he does and I am thankful!
Thank you God, the One I trust!

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding"
Proverbs 3:5
 Linking up with Lisa Jo for 5 minute Friday
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