Thursday, December 29, 2011

Picture Post & Baby Countdown!

Excited about the toy puppy that walks and barks from Grandpa and Grandma.

Her very "cheesy" smile :-)

Presents from Mommy and Daddy this apron sewn by me, the book God's Wisdom for Little Girls (what a sweet book...highly recommend!), and a play castle. I actually picked up the play castle at a garage sale last summer for only $3. I had no idea when I picked it up that with the parts and everything it came with, it's worth 100 x that brand new. She was pleased as punch about it and plays with it a lot!

Christmas Day was SO warm this year, although a little bit windy. A bunch of our family went skating at my grandparents' house on their pond. Ellie LOVED being on the ice, carried around by her Dad and Grandpa. She talked about it for days after. "Skates? Skates? Maybe when I'm older?"

And....the baby countdown is ON! My due date is about 2 weeks away. I saw my midwife today, and she said this baby is READY to come! The head is very, very low, and it's been that way for a couple weeks already. Of course, I'm not going to get my hopes up for an early-ish baby since Ellie was 11 days overdue. I'll be shocked if it comes before it's due date. Oh yes...and it's going to be a big baby. Yay...

We haven't totally decided on names yet. I'm not packed up yet. And...the baby's room is not ready yet. I have some work to do...

So, So, SO happy and thankful to be with the midwives; I'm feeling confident that a VBAC is very possible. In fact, one of my midwives has a 100% VBAC success rate with her clients so far. Both are absolutely fantastic, and I know that I will not end up with an unnecessary C-section this time. I totally trust that they will do what they can to help me avoid one this time around, and if I end up with one, well, I can accept that it was the Lord's will and necessary.
Joyfully anticipating this little one's arrival....I can hardly wait!! :-)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Who is that Baby Born in a Manger?

During this busy Christmas season...

We hear Joy to the World! the Lord is come playing through the speakers in the mall.
People who do not know Him sing about Him.
People who do not know Him talk about Him.

But, who is He?
Who is that baby born in a manger?

manger and cross

photo credit

Have you stopped to think about who He really is?
Have you stopped to think about why He came?

Does He matter to you?
Does He make a difference in your life?
Or do you just celebrate the birth of a "special baby" every year around December 25th because it's the thing to do?

Was He just a good example? A good teacher? A mere human who lived a good life?


"For unto is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord"

Is He your Savior? If you claim He is, do you know what He saved you from? Is he your LORD?

These are important questions.

The birth of Christ, although very important, would have been meaningless if that baby had just stayed in a manger instead of growing up to lay down His life on the cross, shedding His blood and dying for our sins. It would have been meaningless had He stayed dead in a grave instead of conquering sin and death by rising again.

The Bible says that baby, the Son of Man, came to seek and save that which was lost.

Has He found you yet?

...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Candy Cane Bark

Christmas baking doesn't get much simpler than this! Be sure to only make this if you are planning on taking it somewhere. It's dangerous...very dangerous... to keep this stuff around the house.

Candy Cane Bark - yields one 9 x 9 pan

1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
20 mini candy canes (approximate - I didn't really count or measure)

Preheat the oven to 250 F. Line an 9 x 9 inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Spread out semi sweet chocolate chips in pan with foil and let melt in oven for a few minutes. Spread melted chips with a spatula to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes or until completely cooled and hard. Spread candy canes on a cookie sheet, cover with a tea towel and crush until quite fine. Separate out the bigger pieces from the very fine pieces and candy cane dust. Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave on medium power for a few minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add some of the candy cane dust and very fine pieces to the melted white chocolate. Spread white chocolate mixture over cooled pan of semi sweet chocolate. Sprinkle remaining candy cane pieces on top and press down gently with a spoon to help pieces stick. Put in fridge to cool completely. When cooled, lift foil out of pan and cut into squares.


Growing Home

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baking Powder Cheese Biscuits

Baking Powder Cheese Biscuits - yields 2 dozen

4 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup cold butter
2 cups milk, or less
2 cups cheddar cheese

Mix dry ingredients together. Stir in grated cheese. Cut butter into mixture with pastry blender until pea-sized. Add about half the milk, and mix by cutting with a metal spoon. Keep adding milk until a soft dough is formed. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead by folding, about 8 times. Roll out to about 3/4 inches thick. Cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 F for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Growing Home

Monday, December 19, 2011

Menu Plan

As I was typing this up I just had to add in Ellie's comments as she's playing with her doll. It's so funny listening to her play!

"Are you supposed to speak that way? No, don't speak that way."
"Look at me in the eyes when I speak to you."
"Don't push. That's not very nice. You need to be nice to ____ (cousin's name)"
"Here, let me help you. You don't have to be afraid."


I'm trying to keep it pretty simple for the next few weeks since we'll be busy with all the family gatherings, I'm not sleeping much, can barely walk anymore, and I seriously feel/look like I'm ready to burst any day. People are shocked when I tell them I am still 3 weeks away from my due date. Yep, I'm hoping it's not a 12 pounder. And if I go terribly overdue

I'm so thankful my husband LOVES soup. It's one of his favourite meals. He would happily have homemade soup several times a week, which is nice because soup is simple and usually fairly healthy. Here's the plan for this week:

Oven Toasted Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Easy Homemade Tomato Soup, Leftover mashed pototoes

Homemade Pizza (no-rise crust) & Caesar Salad


Beef Barley Soup & Cheese Biscuits

Chicken Fingers, Oven Fries, Veggies & Dip

Saturday - Christmas Eve

*For more meals ideas visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oven Toasted Ham & Cheese Sandwich

Most of my family knows I am picky when it comes to sandwiches. I never was much of a sandwich person and usually had leftovers in my lunch as a kid. Bologna, peanut butter & jelly, salami with butter on white bread...I'd probably rather wait till the next meal :-) However, I find it hard to pass up a really good sandwich, wrap, or sub. A good sandwich with some type of protein, veggie, and cheese on whole wheat is my pick for a simple, balanced lunch. This one is a winner in my books, and I will definitely be making it again.

Oven Toasted Ham & Cheese Sandwich - yields 2 sandwiches

4 slices of bread
4 tsp mayonnaise
4 tsp Dijon mustard
4 slices (or more) ham
1 tomato, thinly sliced
2 slices cheese (use whatever cheese you prefer)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Spread 1 side of each slice of bread with mayonnaise and place 2 slices on greased baking sheet, dressing side down (helps it brown.) Spread with Dijon mustard, 2 slices (or more) of ham each, a slice of tomato and slice of cheese. Top with remaining bread, dressing side up. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and bake for another 5-7 minutes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Feminine Friday & 36 Weeks

Did another week really just fly by? I cannot believe that this baby will soon be making his/her appearance! We are SO excited (and a bit nervous, too). I feel like I'm about to pop any day and hoping I don't go too much overdue. The baby has already dropped a bit and according to the midwife the head is very low already, so I'm enjoying some relief from the heartburn with the tradeoff of "other pains" from the baby dropping. Walking...make that, waddling... is no fun these days. With Ellie I was 11 days overdue, so I'll try not to get my hopes up for a slightly early or on the due-date baby.

Linking up to Feminine Friday.

In other news, Ellie has been sleeping better this week, but unfortunately I haven't been able to take much advantage of that due to the discomforts of pregnancy. Oh well. I remember sleeping better with a newborn than I did being pregnant in the later weeks. We'll see how that goes this time around. In potty training news, I have sabotaged progress way too many times in the last couple months. This time I am determined to be more consistent and to embrace the accidents. This week she's been totally diaper free other than for naps and bedtime. We are doing alright, and I think if I stick with it rather than giving in and giving up, this will be it. I plan on getting rid of the nap time diaper after Christmas if she can stay dry. Speaking of consistency, we are really trying to get on board with consistent discipline. Oh it is difficult some days...okay most days. I am trying to focus especially on obedience and bad attitudes. We are going for first-time obedience, and I am trying so hard to follow through every time with either training or appropriate discipline depending on the situation. We are making slow progress, I think...I hope.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce - original recipe from here

ground beef

onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 small cans tomato paste
2 15 oz (398 ml) cans tomato sauce
1-2 cups water (start with one cup and add more if needed during simmering)
3 tsp basil
2 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red chili peppers
1/4 cup red wine (optional, but it really enhances the flavour)

Directions: In a large pot, brown ground beef with onions. Drain off fat. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Add red wine, basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and crushed chili peppers. Stir well and bring just to a boil. Turn down and simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Add more water during simmering if needed.

Note: I often use this same recipe for lasagna

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Turkey & Rice Casserole

This is a great way to use up leftover turkey & dressing.

Turkey & Rice Casserole
- serves 8

2 cups cooked and chopped turkey (or chicken)
1 cup diced celery
1/2 small onion, diced
1 cup sliced almonds
4 cups cooked brown rice (approx 1 1/2 cups uncooked)
1 cup light mayonnaise
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water

Combine all ingredients. Place in a large casserole dish. (I get 2 medium casseroles with this recipe.)

Topping: Mix 3/4 cup crushed cornflakes with a tsp of melted butter. Sprinkle on top. Alternatively, you can spread leftover turkey dressing on top. Both ways are good.

Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

photo credit: Can't wait to try these easy Rolo Pretzel Turtle treats from Comfy in the Kitchen

Stressed. Out. Yep, that about sums it up. The busyness of the season mixed with pregnancy hormones has me feeling like I'm on a roller coaster. One moment I'm feeling pretty calm, cool, and collected. The next moment I am feeling like I have a bazillion things to do before the baby arrives and no time to do it. Lists are my friend. I think. Ah well, sooner or later I will have a little bundle to cuddle and snuggle and it really won't matter what I did and did not get accomplished on my list. See? There I go from completely stressed out when I first started typing this post to suddenly calm and collected at this moment.


Here's the plan for this week:

Lunch: Went out after church
Supper: Hubby threw in a frozen pizza since I was out and about getting a few groceries and things. Note to self: A store filled with every bulk item and goody imaginable is temptation city for a pregnant woman. A pregnant women during Christmas time? It's hopeless!

Christmas Goodies to Make:
Peppermint Bark
Rolo Pretzel Turtles

One Bowl Chocolate Pudding Cake
Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Lunch: Turkey sandwiches with veggies & dip
Supper: Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu, Scalloped Potatoes, Steamed Carrots, Tossed Salad

Lunch: "Homemade" Creamy Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese
Supper: Leftovers
*Make Spaghetti Sauce for tomorrow*

Lunch: Spaghetti & Meat Sauce, Cooked Peas, Caesar Salad
Supper: Leftovers

Lunch: Turkey Wraps, Fruit Slices
Supper: Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Veggies


Something Simple (Chicken Fingers, etc.)

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

Friday, December 9, 2011

Feminine Friday & 35 Weeks

35 weeks. I think it's going to be another big baby!

Linking up to Feminine Friday at Buildeth Her House

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toddler Ruffle Apron

I finally got around to making an apron for Ellie. She just loves helping me in the kitchen and always wants to wear my apron, so I figured it was time for her to have her own. It's supposed to be part of her Christmas present, but I just had to have her model it for the pictures. I followed a tutorial for it here at Babblings and More. It's not perfect, but it's made with a lot of love. I ran out of pink material, so I used white ribbon for the ties instead. It's so girly and cute. I think she looks just adorable in it!

Linking up to

Growing Home

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Company Meatloaf

No matter how hard I try, I'm just not talented enough to make meatloaf look pretty!

There are a million-and-one ways to make meatloaf. I've tried a few recipes, and this is one of my favourites. I am not a big fan of ground beef if it tastes like ground beef. That probably sounds weird, but I need it seasoned. This is a nicely flavoured meatloaf that even I love doesn't taste too much like meat. :-)

Company Meatloaf (easily doubled)

1 egg
1/2 package onion soup mix
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp water
3/4 cups bread crumbs
1 lb ground beef
Cheddar cheese slices

1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried mustard (I substitute prepared mustard if I don't have this on hand)
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Beat egg and stir in soup mix. Add ketchup, water, and bread crumbs to ground beef. Add the soup and egg mixture. Gently mix. Put half into a loaf pan. Put cheese slices on top, then the rest of the ground beef mixture. Cover and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes and then pour off and discard juices. Spread topping on and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Menu Plan

Our freezer is getting nicely stocked with meals for when the baby arrives. To see a list of freezer friendly meals I'm working on go here.

Leftover Turkey & Rice Casserole for lunchLinkHomemade Creamy Vegetable Soup and Egg Salad Sandwiches for supper

Something Simple (Chicken Fingers, etc.)

Sweet & Sour Chicken (freeze half), Stir Fry Veggies, Rice

*Bake Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies for cookie exchange*

Italian & Cheese Bread Sticks with Marinara Sauce, Veggies

Spaghetti & Meat Sauce (freeze leftover meat sauce), Caesar Salad


*For more menu ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu & Update

Yikes...did another week really just fly by? I am trying not to stress about the things I still have to do before BABY arrives. It doesn't help that I suddenly have much less energy than I did a few weeks ago, fighting some nausea again, and feel the need to nap during Ellie's nap and go to bed early. However, I have been fighting a pesky cold for the last month or so that keeps rearing its ugly head, which could explain the lack of energy.

On a positive note, bed times are now much happier times around here. For everyone. We tried something new (aka...consistency, anyone?? :-) ), and at home things are going very well on the nap time and bed time front. What a relief! I am finally getting decent sleep at night and sleeping in my own bed. She still gets up many nights, although usually just once, to use the bathroom, but then I can tuck her in and immediately head back to bed rather than "help" her fall back asleep. Occasionally she will sleep the whole night through till early morning (6:45 a.m. ish). We are back in business with regular, consistent nap times, too. HOORAY! This is huge for us and one of the main things we wanted to tackle before baby's arrival. Away from home, things are still stressful with bedtimes, but I truly believe that applying the same consistent method we used at home will work. It just might take a few long, difficult times to get there.

Here's the plan for this week:

Frozen pizza for lunch & Visiting family for supper
One Pot Mac n' Cheese with Chopped Tomatoes mixed in

BLT's and leftovers

Cheesearoni Beef Casserole (double and freeze), Steamed Broccoli, Tossed Salad

Easy Chicken Parmesan (double and freeze), Spaghetti, Caesar Salad

Turkey & Rice Casserole, Steamed Carrots


Something Simple (Chicken Fingers, Etc.)

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Freezer Friendly Meals

Freezer-Friendly Make Ahead Meals

These are the meals I plan on making and keeping in the freezer, so that when Baby #2 arrives in January I will have easy meals on hand for days when I am too tired to cook. I'm not sure if I'll get around to preparing them all, but this is my list of ideas.

*I will try to post recipe links of these when time permits

Main Dishes

Shepherd's Pie (done!)
Yum A Setta (done!)
Lentil Beef Soup
Cheesearoni Beef Casserole (done!)
Barbecue Meatballs (done!)
Meatloaf (done!)
Meat Sauce (for Spaghetti)

Chicken & Turkey
Chicken Parmesan (done!)
Chicken Enchiladas (done!)
Sweet & Sour Chicken
Turkey & Rice Casserole (done!)
Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

Homemade Pizza Pockets (x2) (Pepperoni & Mushroom, Ham & Pineapple) (done!)
Pizza Crust (x 2) (done!)

Bacon & Egg McMuffins
Banana Chip Muffins

Linking Up to

Growing Home

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