Sunday, March 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (March 29)

I know it's SONday, but I might not have access to the computer tomorrow, so I'm posting my menu plan today. Last week I made every meal on my menu except for the whole wheat penne with pasta sauce, but none of them were on the scheduled days. They got shuffled around to fit better with my husband's work schedule.

Here's the plan for this week. I'm avoiding the grocery store this week, so that was the basis for the plan this week.

Sunday, March 28
Whole wheat penne, creamy tomato sauce, caesar salad

Monday, March 29
Visiting friends

Tuesday, March 30
Beef Borscht Soup (using soup bone and leftover roast beef in the freezer), cheddar cheese bread (new recipe)

Wednesday, March 31

Thursday, April 1
Teriyaki Salmon (new recipe) over rice, mixed veggies

Friday, April 2
Chicken Macaroni Bake (from freezer), mixed veggies

Saturday, April 3

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thoughts on Homeschooling (Part 1)

I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts on homeschooling and why my husband and I think that homeschooling our children is a better choice for us than sending them to public school. If you choose to send your children to public school, that is your choice. If I choose to home school my children, that is my choice. If we did not think it to be the better choice for us, we would not do it.

*First, a disclaimer. I am not opposed to Christians who decide to teach in public schools. In fact, I am very grateful for the Christian teachers I had as a kid. I also know that we need Christian teachers to write up curricula and things for us homeschooling parents. Is it tough to be a Christian teacher in the public school system? I think so. Does it mean it's impossible? Absolutely not. I think for some people it can be a very respectable career choice. I also want to clarify that although I believe homeschooling is, in general, a better choice for Christian parents, sending your kids to public school does not necessarily mean that they will "fall off the path," or rebel. Likewise, homeschooling your children does not necessarily mean your children will not "fall off the path" or rebel. My husband and I are both examples of kids who, by the grace of God, did not "fall off the path" even though we came through the public school system. We remained quite strong in the faith throughout public school and university, although I know I had several struggles with choosing the right path in middle school. I am convinced, however, that by homeschooling our children, we can provide a more firm Christian foundation for our children.*

I was not home schooled in the traditional sense of the word, although my mom did teach me to read before I started kindergarten. My husband was not home schooled, either. However, we are both now very pro-homeschooling. You may wonder, how did we get here? I will now attempt to explain how we got to the position we hold now.

A little background info...

I was in the public school system for 13 years. I went to a school in a very small town and was blessed to have a few Christian teachers and friends. My parents were also very involved in my studies. My mom was not afraid to call up the teachers (probably to the annoyance of many of them :) ) and inquire as to what we were learning, what we were doing, etc. Several times my parents removed me from the classroom and I sat by myself in the library while most of the class watched certain movies or did things my parents did not approve of. I also stayed home from most Halloween parties, as my family did not celebrate Halloween. I really did not mind at the time, and looking back, I'm very thankful for how plugged in they were to what was happening/what I was learning at school.

I distinctly remember going home one day and telling my parents that my Grade 1 teacher told us that people are just like animals. I remember saying that people were not the same as animals; they are different. Whether or not the teacher was referring to evolution at the time, I cannot recall, but it just shows that my little brain was working overtime as I tried to discern what the teacher was telling me compared to what the Bible says. I remember being upset over what my teacher had said because I believed my teacher was wrong.

One of my most vivid memories of elementary school was when a group of First Nations people came to our school to do some of their traditional dancing and teach us about First Nations culture. One of the First Nations leaders then asked us to all pray to the Creator together. I recall one of the teachers motioning for us to bow our heads for the prayer. I refused to do so. I knew that they were not praying to the God of the Bible, so I did not participate. How I knew this was wrong at such a young age, I do not know. Perhaps it was because I was saved at a very young age (about 5) and the Holy Spirit prompted me that this was wrong.

Fast forward a few years to middle school.

Grade 7. My teacher was not a Christian. I remember one time during class he said that the Bible contradicts itself and proceeded to quoting half of a Bible verse to make his point to the class. I remember trying to explain to him what the rest of the verse said and how it made perfect sense and was not a contradiction.

Grade 8 or 9. Health class. S-x education. It was incredibly embarrassing to learn about such an intimate thing and to have such frank discussions among male classmates. Enough said.

Fast forward to high school.

I had several Christian friends in high school, thankfully. On more than one occasion, I walked out of class during a movie or something else I found offensive or inappropriate. Often I was not the only one who walked out. I remember learning evolution in history class (I think it was history class) and then writing exams and writing at the beginning of every answer "According to the theory of evolution..." Thankfully, my high school science teacher was a Christian and thus, he did not cram evolution down our throats. In fact, I remember him talking about how some of the theories of evolution did not make scientific sense. He was still required to teach us about evolution, so he said we could just research the theory on our own and write a short essay about what the theory said.

I got engaged to my husband when I was in Grade 12. A few of my teachers were really not impressed and they let me know loud and clear. You are probably wondering, what does that have to do with homeschooling??... try to stick with me here :-). I was told things like I was throwing away my life, wasting my life, ruining my life, wasting my brains, etc. Oh..and I had better still be going to university, they told me. One even told my mom she was losing sleep at night over my decision to get married so young. May I take a moment here to explain that none of these teachers opposed to my decision knew my husband from a hole in the ground. I don't think many of them had even met him! Now I truly am not meaning to brag here, but because I did well in school, I was expected to go to university. I was told I should become a doctor, teacher, or something "important" because if I became "just" a stay-at-home-mom that would be wasting my life, right?...note sarcasm here. (HA! If you only knew me you would know I would make a TERRIBLE doctor. The sight of blood makes me queasy and I get grossed out by things very easily :-) ) Do you see what I'm getting at? The public school system does not value the aspiration of some young women to be "just" a homemaker. When I made it clear that that's what I wanted to do, I was basically told I was wasting my life! Public school teaches children to make a so-called "valuable contribution to society". Become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, dentist, social worker...anything but "just" a stay-at-home mom. (Because, you know, it's not like raising and training up the next generation is of any importance, right?) No, the government would rather have us moms work outside the home and "contribute to society" so that society can teach our children its worldly ideals through daycare and public schools. The government would rather tax the one-income family in order to provide a benefit to the two-income family by providing them with daycare subsidies, for example.

Let's face the facts; society DOES NOT value the traditional family made up of a bread-winning dad and a stay-at-home mom. In public school I can guarantee that our dear daughters will not learn how to become biblically-minded women. I can guarantee, however, that they will be indoctrinated with feminist ideals of being as career-minded as possible as opposed to home-minded. (Just for the record - I am not necessarily opposed to some women, especially single women, going to university or having a career, either). In public school our sons and daughters will learn that the family unit should be egalitarian not hierarchical in nature, and thus our daughters will be implicitly taught to become more masculine and our sons will be implicitly taught to become more feminine. What does the Bible teach about the family unit? But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3. Sounds like hierarchy to me.

Our children will face enough pressure from the world to fit into its ideals in everyday life just by living in this world. Do we really need to send them to public school for 30 hours a week to learn more worldly ideals? Why would we send them to school for 6 hours a day to a place that is trying to destroy everything we've been trying to teach them at home? How much time will we have to take to un-do all that the school system is teaching our children?

No, children, we did not evolve from apes; God created man in his own image.
"But my science teacher said..."

No, children, a big bang did not create something out of nothing; God created the heavens and the earth.
"But my science teacher said..."

No, children, it is not okay that Suzy has a mom and a mom; God says homos-xuality is a sin.
"But my social studies teacher said..."

No, children, Bobby's truth is not "Bobby's truth" and Suzy's truth is not "Suzy's truth"; God says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Him.
"But my social studies teacher said..."

No, children, it is not okay to to have s-x before marriage as long as you use protection and are "safe"; God says that s-x is for a husband and wife in the confines of marriage only.
"But my health teacher said..."

No, children, it is not okay to have an abortion; God says life begins in the womb, and thus abortion is murder.
"But my health teacher said..."

No, children, humans are not going to "save the earth" by doing something about "climate change"; God says that
in the coming of the day of God, He will destroy the heavens by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat. Now, that's global warming!
"But my science teacher said..."

No, children, it is not okay for you to practice yoga; Yoga is a Hindu practice and Christians are not to participate in other religious practices."
"But my phys. ed teacher said..."

Anyway...back to my story. I married my best friend and sweetheart straight out of high school and I moved with him so he could continue his university studies. At the time I was convinced I would never go to university, much to the dismay of my former teachers. I worked for the first year of our marriage to help pay for school. My husband and I were never opposed to homeschooling, but we weren't dead-set pro-homeschooling either. We just didn't really give it much thought at all for the first 2 years of our marriage.

The second year of our marriage, I caved in to society's pressure and decided to go to university to study to "become" a teacher.

That's where I'll pause for today.

Click here to go to Part 2.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Odd Hobby

I have an odd hobby. At least, I think it's odd. I love looking through cookbooks. I'm pretty sure cookbooks is my favourite genre (if it counts as a genre, lol). I could literally spend hours just looking through cookbooks and then writing down recipes that I would like to try. I also could spend hours looking for recipes on the internet just looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, for example, which by the way, I have yet to find :-).

Some people like to knit, some like to crochet, and some like to scrapbook. Me, well, I wish I liked to do those things. Maybe if I actually knew how to do those things, I would like it. I don't know. But for now, I'll just stick to my good ol' cookbooks!

Anyone else have an odd (or not-so-odd) hobby?

P.S. If anyone out there has an amazing chocolate chip recipe they would like to share, please do! I love trying out new recipes and am still looking for the one chocolate chip recipe that beats all the rest. I have come close to finding it, but it's still not quite what I'm looking for. And yes, I have tasted the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I just haven't been able to bake it yet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Creation Speaks of the Creator

My brother took these pictures last Fall close to where my parents live. He gave me permission to share them with you. Please do not copy them or reproduce them without my or his written consent. Thank you!

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:20

Monday, March 22, 2010

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

*Update: I used to make 6 loaves but find that 5 loaves works better with my bread pans. I used to put sunflower seeds in it, but we now prefer cracked wheat instead. I also experimented a bit with the whole wheat to white flour ratio and have adapted my recipe to what we now prefer. *

This is the bread recipe that I use most often. It has always turned out for me and tastes delicious. It is modified from a recipe I saw on a website about a year ago. The crust is crispy/chewy and the bread is very soft. I make 5 loaves every 2 weeks or so.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

2 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 additional cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 Tbsp lemon juice
7 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups (approx.) white flour (enough so that dough no longer sticks to sides of bowl)
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup cracked wheat
4 tsp salt

Directions. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the 1/2 cup of warm water. In Bosch, mix 3 1/2 cups warm water, honey, molasses, oil, eggs, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add yeast mixture and stir. Gradually add 5 cups whole wheat flour, beating well after each addition. Add the flax and cracked wheat. Stir well. Let this mixture stand 15 minutes until mixture is very light. Stir in salt and the rest of the flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Put into a large greased bowl and cover. Let rise in the oven with light on until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down and shape into 5 balls. Form into loaves, placed in greased loaf pans, and let rise covered in oven with light until until doubled. Bake at 375 F for 25-35 minutes - until bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Menu Plan Monday (March 22)

Last week's new recipe, Baked Salmon with Spinach was fantastic! It was delicious, healthy, quick, and simple. Can't get much better than that! Instead of serving it with herbed rice, I had it with brown rice with a little bit of cream cheese mixed in.
Here's the simple recipe:

Baked Salmon with Spinach

2 salmon fillets
About 2 cups fresh spinach
1/3 cup sundried tomato and oregano dressing
2/3 cup sundried tomatoes

Place the salmon on a greased baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients and spoon over salmon. Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes. Serve with lemon wedge.

Oh, and I also made a buffalo sauce for our homemade chicken fingers last week that was really good. I plan on updating my recipe for that soon with the buffalo sauce recipe.

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday, March 22
Eating out for lunch, visiting family for supper

Monday, March 23
Chicken Quesadillas (using leftover chile lime chicken in freezer), carrot sticks

Tuesday, March 24
Crockpot teriyaki steak, stir fry veggies, rice

Wednesday, March 25
Spaghetti and meat sauce (from freezer), caesar salad

Thursday, March 26
Farmer's Sausage, Perogies, mixed veggies
Friday, March 27
Tuscan pizza, carrot sticks

Saturday, March 28
Whole wheat penne with creamy tomato sauce (tomato sauce, italian spices, mushrooms, spinach, and a little cream cheese), caesar salad

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Day in My Life...

I saw this idea on the Keeping the Home blog and decided it would be fun to participate! I went around yesterday and tried to take pictures as I went about my normal activities. Thursday is my baking/kitchen day, so this is a typical Thursday at my home. I have tasks assigned to each day of the week that I usually stick to but no set schedule of when the tasks get done during the day. I am a "to-do list" person and just try my best to get everything crossed off before I hit the hay.Some days I still have a couple things left to do on my list at the end of the day, but no biggie, they just get bumped to the next day! Now for a very detailed and long-winded post :-) ...

7:00 A.M. My daughter (my favourite alarm clock!) wakes me up to nurse. I nurse her, put her back to bed, and then get up and go to the kitchen to start my bread. (Most days I get up for the day between 8 and 8:30 when my husband and daughter get up, but on Thursdays I try to get an earlier start.) Besides, I figured there was no point in going back to bed for an hour after I was already awake.

In the kitchen at 7:14 a.m. I'm still in my jammies at this point. LOL. I bake 6 loaves of bread every other Thursday. I try to bake/make at least 2 different things every Thursday. Things I might make include cinnamon rolls, cookies, soft pretzels, buns, squares, pies, etc.

On Wednesday night, I always put out all my bread-making things (flour, Bosch, oil, molasses, etc.) on the counter, so that when I get up on Thursday morning, everything is ready to go.
While my bread was kneading in the machine, I put a beef roast in the crockpot to cook on low all day until supper time. Both my husband's and my parents raise cattle, which we are very thankful for! This roast will "make its own gravy" - a good thing since I'm a terrible gravy-maker. LOL.

While the dough rises, I make some coffee and toast for myself for breakfast. We aren't big breakfast eaters in our house. I always have something to eat in the morning - usually toast or a smoothie. But my husband usually just takes a mug of coffee to work with him and might eat a piece of bread with jam for breakfast on the run.
At about 8:30 our daughter gets up, so I change her, dress her, and feed her apples and oat cereal for breakfast. My husband leaves for work.Then, I finish getting dressed for the day (I was still in my pj's until this point)
Next, I make the bed and tidy up the bedroom.
Back into the kitchen. The dough is done rising, so I punch it down , shape into balls and let rest for 15 minutes
While the dough rests, I sit down, finish my coffee, and read a chapter from the Bible. I am currently reading through Exodus. Then I got up, shaped the bread into loaves and let rise again.

10:00 A.M. I nurse the baby and put her down for a nap. I take a little break to check my email, browse facebook, read a few blogs, etc. Then I work on organizing some photos on the computer and burn them onto a cd so they are ready to develop.
Now it's time to put the first 3 loaves of bread in the oven
! (no pictures of this all, sorry!)
While the loaves were baking, I did my weekly Thursday cleaning routine and tidied up - dusting, wiping coffee and end tables, wiping dressers, bookshelves, piano, etc. I don't have many cleaning tasks today, since my focus is in the kitchen on Thursdays.

Daughter wakes up from nap. Shortly after that, the bread is done!

Lunch time. I had a tuna salad sandwich on fresh bread, spinach salad, and olives (my fave!).
Right after lunch I changed the baby and fed her lunch (carrots).

Time to play pat-a-cake, one of my baby's favourite games!
Then, I baked a batch of cupcakes. Here they are out of the oven. I overfilled a few of them. oops. LOL.
Then I finished peeling potatoes for supper and put them in the fridge.
Time for a break! I went on the computer for a few minutes. Then I nursed the baby, put her down for her afternoon nap, and I took a short nap, too.
After my rest, I iced and decorated the cupcakes.
Then I hopped on the treadmill for 30 minutes of exercise. I usually exercise 4-5 times a week. After that, I nursed and changed baby, put the potatoes on the stove to cook, carved the roast, cooked a few veggies, made the gravy, and Voila...!
Supper is ready! Roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies. We ate at 5:45 p.m., shortly after my husband got home from work.
Then, I cleaned up the kitchen while my hubby fed the baby supper (mashed potatoes, carrots, rice cereal)

I packed my husband's lunch for the next day. Roast beef sandwiches, apple, pudding.
The dishes are done, food put away, and the kitchen is clean again. Then I had a shower.
Then it is time to sit down and read a story.
After that, we went out to the store for a bit and purchased a few things. We bought seeds for our first garden! As soon as we got back home, I nursed, changed, and put our baby to bed (about 8:45 p.m., a little later than her usual bedtime between 8 and 8:30)
After baby was in bed, I made us a blueberry yogurt smoothie and we went downstairs to relax and watch a sermon on the internet. We watched a good one by Jacob Prasch (sp?) about intrepreting the Bible. We really like to watch sermons on the internet in the evenings. After that, we read a few chapters from the Bible and I read a few pages from a book. Lights out was 11:45 p.m. But, at 12:15 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. baby was up again to nurse. We're working on that. LOL.

I really believe that God has called me to a full time ministry to my family at home. I believe that God's Word makes it clear that a wife and mother's highest calling is to glorify God by joyfully fulfilling her God-given responsibilities of being a help-meet to her husband and a mother to her children and being a "keeper at home" whenever possible. I am convinced that I have the best job in the entire world. I am SO thankful for my husband and daughter!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Work

I think this poem by Mary Lou Burkholder is simply beautiful.

My Work by Mary Lou Burkholder

I have the greatest work in the world;
The job of rocking a baby to sleep,
That of guiding his tottering feet,
A baby's clothes to launder and fold,
A precious life to shape and mold,
A drink to give from a little cup,
At night his toys to gather up,
Hurts to heal and fears to quell,
A baby to keep clean and well,
A stack of diapers to put away,
Oh, what a happy worthwhile day!
I am a "Mother."

I have the greatest work in to world;
A husband to encourage when things go wrong,
When he comes from work to greet with a song,
Denims and shirts to wash and mend,
A helping hand, when needed, to lend,
Three times a day is meals to cook,
To strive to be my best to look,
His back to rub at the close of the day,
For his faithfulness to God I pray,
When hubby's in the field I take lemonade,
for all these tasks his love has paid.
I am a “Wife."

I have the greatest work in the world;
A home to keep happy, clean and bright,
Make things go smooth and strive for the right,
Jams to cook and jellies to make,
Cookies and pies and bread to bake,
Washing, ironing, and sewing to do,
So many tasks, will I ever get through?
Lettuce to wash and peas to pick,
floors to scrub, lost items to seek,
Dishes to wash and windows to shine,
These and many more tasks are mine.
I am a "Homemaker."

Help me, Father, to faithfully work,
Forgive if I unconsciously shirk,
give me the patience and love I pray,
To keep myself in duties way;
With all the hustle that each day brings
May I not neglect the needing things;
Each day to spend time alone with Thee
That Jesus Christ be seen in me.
Thank you for husband, our home, our girls and boys;
Thank you for love which brings me much joy.
Thank you, Lord.

Mary Lou Burkholder

Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (March 15)

Last week's new recipe, Chile Lime Chicken Tostadas was pretty good. I actually didn't find any tostadas, so I made homemade corn tortillas instead, which worked out just fine. Next time I make the chicken I will probably add more lime juice and chile powder for a bit more flavour. I used 3 large chicken breasts, which fed us for 2 meals plus leftovers that I put in the freezer to use in chicken quesadillas sometime. I also made White Chocolate Cranberry (Craisin) Squares. They were alright, but not my favourite. I probably won't make them again. I'm not a "raisin person" to begin with, so it's probably no surprise that these just didn't quite do it for me.I'm more of a caramel-y, chocolate-y, super-high-in-calories-dessert type of person.LOL. These are not overly sweet, so I'm sure there are those out there who would enjoy them. I ate one or two and then put the rest in the freezer to bring out when company comes over.

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday, March 14
Going out to eat and visiting family

Monday, March 15
Family coming over and bringing steaks to bbq (first time using the bbq this spring!), some type of potato and veggie

Tuesday, March 16
BLT sandwiches, tomato macaroni soup

Wednesday, March 17
Homemade baked chicken fingers with plum sauce, spinach salad

Thursday, March 18
Roast beef, mashed potatoes, mixed or roasted veggies

Friday, March 19

Saturday, March 20
Baked salmon with spinach over herbed rice (new recipes-will share if they turn out), salad

*For more great meal ideas visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Chicken Fingers & Dipping Sauce

This is a much healthier version of chicken fingers you get in a restaurant. Quick and simple to make. The coating has a nice zip to it and the dipping sauce is really good! We usually have them with salad.

Baked Chicken Fingers & Plum Sauce (or Buffalo Sauce)

Chicken Fingers
2/3 cup bread crumbs
3 Tbsp cornmeal
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried vasil
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut chicken breasts into strips and place in separate bowl. Beat egg with a fork and pour over chicken. Toss to coat chicken with egg. Roll each chicken strip in crumb mixture and coat well. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is no longer pink inside.

Dipping Sauce:
3/4 plum sauce (use store-bought plum sauce, apricot jam, yellow plum jam, or peach jam)
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp mustard
Combine jam, vinegar, and mustard in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Serves 4.

**UPDATE** Just tried this EASY Buffalo Chicken sauce for the chicken fingers and my husband absolutely loved it.
Here it is:

1/2 Cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
5 Tbsp butter

Add butter and hot sauce to saucepan. Stir until butter melts but do not allow to boil. After the chicken fingers have been cooked, toss them in the hot sauce and serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing. So spicy and good!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hello Again, Energy!

Today I feel SO much better! Not sure if I slept more soundly or if it was the cup of coffee, but I'm thankful nonetheless!

We are currently in the process of trying to retrain our 6 month old daughter to sleep better through the night. I'm pretty sure we messed up somewhere along the line when she was younger and "trained" her to wake up constantly in the night and that is why we are having more difficulty with this now. But, we are now on a fairly consistent schedule, which seems to have helped a lot. The times may vary by about half an hour sometimes and we are still working out the kinks seeing as we have only been on this schedule for the past couple weeks, but generally this is her sleeping schedule.

Wake up around 8:15 a.m. for the day
Down for morning nap around 10:30 a.m. until about 11:45 or noonish
Down for afternoon nap at about 2:45 p.m. until around 4:00 p.m.
In bed for the night at about 8 p.m. (never later than 8:30 p.m.)

She doesn't sleep through the night yet (although she did a few times when she was younger), but last night she did sleep from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. which is a vast improvement from a few weeks before where she was up 4-5 times a night (talk about exhausting!). Last night she was up 2 times and the night before that she was up only once. I am really aiming to get her sleeping through the night in the next few weeks.

Anyway, I have many things to catch up on today seeing how I didn't get my usual things done these past few days. Sometimes if my husband works a weekend, he is home for 2 days during the week, and then we tend to run lots of errands and spend time as a family so I don't get my usual tasks done for the week. Sometime I plan on sharing the cleaning and laundry schedule I follow.

Here's my to-do list for today (which is a lot different than my usual Thursday to-do list since my schedule got thrown off a bit this week). Usually Thursday is my kitchen day where I bake bread, cookies, squares, etc. and my only cleaning tasks are dusting and wiping dressers and coffee tables, but today I'm catching up on a lot of housework instead. Not sure if I'll accomplish it all, but I'm going to give it a try!

  • Clean the bathtub/shower (usually Tuesday's job, but didn't get done)
  • Thoroughly vacuum entire house (Wednesday's job, but didn't get done due to my energy zap yesterday)
  • Mop all floors (Also Wednesday's job, but didn't get done!)
  • Write out and mail a few cards
  • Daily Bible reading
  • Clean car seat and base (only once every month or two)
  • Tidy up the kitchen (a multi-daily one) and bleach sinks (about once a month)
  • Tidy up all bedrooms (daily)
  • Dust (Thursday's job)
  • Wipe coffee tables (Thursday's job and as needed)
  • Wipe dressers (Thursday's job)
  • Make a few phone calls regarding family activity this week
  • Treadmill for at least 30 minutes
  • Make up some baby food (cooked carrots, apples) to freeze in ice cube trays
  • Make white chocolate cranberry bars (new recipe)
Well I have plenty to get caught up on today, so I better get to work!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Energy Zap

**Update**Well, it's 8 p.m. and I still haven't opened my book or sipped on my tea and the house is half-tidied up. LOL. But, thankfully I am feeling quite a bit better. I ended up having a half hour nap in the afternoon while the baby slept and after that I felt much better! I still didn't get everything done today that I would have liked to, but there's always tomorrow. And now, the baby is in bed (hopefully for the night), hubby will be home soon from work, and I hear a cup of tea calling my name...but I changed my mind since I first wrote this post...I'm having a chai latte instead of the honey lemon tea! yum!

I think I might just declare today a "sick day." I have no idea where my energy went today, but it just sort of disappeared. I feel tired today and am wondering if I might be coming down with something. This morning my lungs, head, and throat felt a little funny and I was a little stuffed up. I can just sense that my body is trying to fight off something. Know what I mean? I do have several things I would like to get done around the house today because it is looking a little disastrous. So, I think I'll just do what I can to tidy up, do a load or two of laundry, and then take the rest of the day to cuddle my baby, and sip lots of honey lemon tea while reading a good book. Speaking of books, I just sent The Pilgrim's Progress back to the library, and I have to admit that I did not get it finished. I still would really like to read the whole thing someday, but I only got about a quarter through it and I've had it for 2 months now, so I decided to give it a bit of a rest and read it some other time. I just started reading the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. I have never read any of her books before, but so far I am finding the first book quite interesting. It is set in the Roman Empire, shortly after Christ ascended to heaven. I'm only a few pages in, though, so I don't know much about it yet. Anyway, I think I'm going to go tidy up the house and then make myself that cup of tea. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First 5K Run

This is my last week of the Couch to 5K program. Yesterday I completed my first 5K (or more accurately, 3 miles, which technically is slightly less than 5Ks) in 30 minutes. I remember about a month ago I wasn't sure if I would be able to do it or not because I could barely run for 8 minutes straight, but the program really worked for me. I think the key for me was that it only takes 30 minutes three times a week, so I had no excuses of not having enough time. I also liked having a goal to work toward. Now hopefully I can keep it up....LOL. I am going to try running at this pace for the next 2 weeks or so, and then I may try to increase the distance or pace somehow to keep myself challenged. I have been running at a 6 mph pace and then increasing to about 7 mph for the last few minutes. Anyway, I do highly recommend this program for anyone who wants to begin jogging and is totally out of shape and doesn't know where to begin. I definitely had my doubts about it, but it did work for me.

On a personal note...I seemed to have reached a plateau on losing weight. Since I have begun exercising again, I have lost 16 pounds (since the end of December) and weigh 10-15 pounds less than I did before I was pregnant. I still would ideally like to lose another 4-9 pounds by mid May, so I think I will have to change things up a bit to try to overcome this plateau. I may try exercising a little more and see what happens, but I'm going for long term success, so I don't think I realistically can change things too much more. But even small changes toward healthier eating and exercising can make a difference over the course of a year.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (March 8)

I didn't do any baking this past week, but on Saturday I tried making homemade onion rings for a little snack when my husband got home from work in the evening. They stunk up the house like crazy, but they tasted pretty good! I also tried making a homemade London Fog drink, which was quite good. This week I plan on doing a bit more baking. I prefer to use butter instead of margarine in most of my cookies. I think it's because cookies made with butter have a better flavour, in my opinion. This next week I want to try a new recipe, White Chocolate Cranberry Squares. I'll have to see if I get around to it or not. I would also really really like to try making Maple Walnut Fudge. I have been craving fudge lately! If they are successes, I will share the recipes sometime.

Recipe Review: Last week's new recipe Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken with Veggies over Rice was really good! I will definitely be making it again. I got it from a church cookbook and modified it just a bit. Here's the recipe:

Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken with Veggies

1 small onion
4 carrots
1 celery stalk
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1/2 green pepper
3-4 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Cut onions, carrots, celery, and peppers into chunks. Put in casserole dish. Brown cubed chicken in frying pan with oil. Add chicken to veggies in casserole dish. Whisk together remaining ingredients, and pour over chicken and veggies. Cover and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Serve over rice.
Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday, March 7
Lemon Chicken Rice Soup (from freezer), homemade pizza pockets (from freezer)

Monday, March 8
Visiting family

Tuesday, March 9
Whole Wheat Penne Pasta, tomato sauce, caesar salad

Wednesday, March 10
Chili Lime Chicken Tostadas (new recipe)

Thursday, March 11

Friday, March 12
Pizza Night (Tuscan/spinach pizza & all dressed), caesar salad

Saturday, March 13
Leftover pizza, garden stuffed baked potatoes (recipe below)

Garden Stuffed Baked Potatoes (Modified a bit from the same cookbook-really good!)

4 Potatoes
2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup ranch or caesar salad dressing (or sour cream)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F. Saute onions in butter. Pierce potatoes and microwave on high for 12 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes. Slice off tops. Scoop out pulp and mash pulp in a bowl. Add onions, broccoli, salad dressing, salt, pepper and cheese.Brush outside of potato skins with oil. Spoon pulp mixture back into shells. Place on baking sheet and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.
*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday, hosted by*

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tour of My Home

*Update January 2011 - We are in the process of doing some minor renovations (new baseboards, painting doors, etc.) and decorating and painting. I hope to post some updated pictures in the near future. *

We just purchased our first home a couple months ago. It still could use some new paint and decorations to make it more to our taste, but we are really thankful to the Lord for providing it for us.

Back entrance just inside door. Coat closet and a half bathroom to the left of the back door.

Still standing in the back entrance. This is what you would see if you came in the back door. We have a glass door between the back entrance and dining room. It is mostly for decoration. If you go up the 2 steps, to your right is the dining area/kitchen, or straight ahead is the front entrance with the oval glass window.

If you walk up these steps, immediately to your right is the dining area/kitchen.

Dining area. My parents have lent us their old dining table and chair set to use.
Closeup of the picture on our wall in the dining area that we just purchased. We are slowly starting to add things to decorate our home. I would like to paint the dining/kitchen area a different colour someday - maybe red!
Kitchen. I had to stand in the pantry to take this picture. I really like that I can look into the backyard while doing the dishes!
The bi-fold white doors hide my walk-in pantry, one of the features I really like about this house. Also notice my little kitchen helper :)

Pantry in the kitchen. Bulletin board, extra bags, apron, recycling

Right side of pantry.
Back into the kitchen, right beside the fridge. Cd player, which came with the house, is really nice to listen to while I work in the kitchen.

Inside a cupboard. Spices and cooking things on bottom. Baking things in middle. Pans on top

Another cupboard. There are homemade soft pretzels in the clear container on the cupboard.
Cupboard right above the dishwasher.
Front entrance and living room. These vertical blinds came with the house. Someday I might like to replace them with tiebacks or drapes, but they do the job for now! :)

Living room. The piano is being lent to us by my in-laws. I LOVE it and play it every day! The binder on the coffee table is my Home Management Binder. Sometime I will give a tour of it.

**UPDATE! I got rid of the purple vertical blinds and replaced them with some green/taupe curtains.**
Here is a new look at the living room. (Oh, and we have a different clock for now, too.)
Here is a look at the living room with the old verticals that are now downstairs in storage.

Hallway.The closet on the left is where I keep my vacuum cleaner, cleaning supplies
, and extra jackets.

Main bathroom with bathtub/shower combo. Want to find a picture for the wall someday.
Linen closet in the bathroom for towels, toiletries, etc.
Baby daughter's room. Could use some decorating touches, but that will come eventually.
Change table that my grandpa made when I was a baby.
Spare room. Used for storage right now. Games closet that is in the hallway.
Master Bedroom. Would like to repaint it sometime and get our wedding picture on the wall.

This is the basement.To the left is a bathroom.Bathroom in the basement. It has a shower, toilet, and sink.

Family room in the basement.Italic
Family room and fireplace.

Spare bedroom in basement. I would like to learn how to sew sometime.
Laundry room. To the left is a huge storage room, but I won't show it cause it's kind of ugly. (but very practical!) LOL.

We also have a nice backyard and deck, which I really like, but no pictures of that. Sorry!

Thanks for visiting!

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